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Bergdhal charges stoke fresh criticism of prisoner swap

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tough military charges against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have revived the questions and controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s decision to swap five Taliban detainees to secure his release, as well as the wisdom of the White House fanfare that followed.

Co-pilot deliberately slams plane into Alps

Families ask why

Passengers with moments to live screamed in terror and the pilot frantically pounded on the locked cockpit door as a 27-year-old German co-pilot deliberately and wordlessly smashed an Airbus carrying 150 people into an Alpine mountainside.

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Co-pilot was ‘very happy’ with Germanwings job

Andreas Lubitz never appeared anything but thrilled to have landed a pilot’s job with Germanwings, according to those who helped him learn to fly as a teenager in this town in the forested hills of western Germany.

MIT expert: US rules make chances of cockpit takeover slim

U.S. flight regulations make it unlikely that a single jetliner pilot could barricade himself or herself inside the cockpit like French prosecutors say the Germanwings co-pilot did before crashing his airliner into the French Alps, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology aviation analyst said Thursday.

House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

In uncommon bipartisan harmony, the House approved a $214 billion bill on Thursday permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts, moving Congress closer to resolving a problem that has plagued it for years.

Guardsman, cousin planned US terrorist attack

An Illinois Army National Guard soldier vowed to bring “the flames of war to the heart” of America if he was unable to get to the Middle East to join the Islamic State group, and his cousin bragged he could kill up to 150 people in a terrorist attack in the U.S., federal prosecutors said Thursday in announcing the men’s arrests. Both are also accused of hatching a plot to attack a U.S. military facility.

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Royals, Cumberbatch help bury comeback King Richard III

A maligned monarch found under a parking lot was buried in pomp Thursday, as Britain embraced comeback King Richard III, a long-reviled ruler who is experiencing a remarkable posthumous renaissance.

US probes effectiveness of 2 Nissan air bag sensor recalls

U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that two Nissan recalls didn’t go far enough to fix a problem with front-seat air bag seat sensors.

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Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes.

Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

A nationwide crackdown on auto dealers has turned up widespread evidence of false ads, deceptive loans and fake odometer readings, the government said Thursday.

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Michigan man retraces Daniel Boone’s trip into Kentucky

Keeping up a quick pace to the finish line, Curtis Penix didn’t look like someone who had walked nearly 240 miles in the footsteps of frontiersman Daniel Boone, an arduous trip through the Appalachian terrain that was inspired by his own family’s pioneering roots in the Kentucky wilderness.

NASA details plans to pluck rock off asteroid, explore it

NASA is aiming to launch a rocket to an asteroid in five years and grab a boulder off of it — a stepping stone and training mission for an eventual trip sending humans to Mars.

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What to pack for a year in space?

What’s one thing astronaut Scott Kelly can’t do without when he moves into space this week for a year? A belt.

Jury: Life for grandma in running death of girl

A jury is recommending life without parole for an Alabama woman convicted of capital murder in her granddaughter’s running death.

Sheriff: Young brothers cooking before fatal shooting

A 12-year-old boy was cooking with his older brother when an argument erupted, and the boy shot his 6-year-old brother to death, wounded his older brother in the leg and killed himself, a sheriff said Thursday.

Lawyer disputes police's hoax claim in Calif. kidnapping

A lawyer disputes police claims that the kidnapping of a California woman was a hoax and says her boyfriend was bound and drugged during the abduction.

Gas blast blamed as New York fire, building collapse leave 12 injured

An apartment building collapsed in a fiery burst of rubble on Thursday and flames spread to nearby buildings in what officials said appeared to be a gas-related explosion, injuring at least a dozen people and scattering debris across surrounding streets in the heart of Manhattan’s trendy East Village.

After US airstrikes, Iraq troops start final push for Tikrit

Iraqi troops started the final phase of an offensive to recapture Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on Thursday, a military official said, just hours after the United States launched airstrikes on the Islamic State-held city.

Bergdahl charged despite torture, attempts to escape Taliban

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl says he was tortured repeatedly in the five years he was held captive by the Taliban: beaten with a copper cable, chained, held in a cage and threatened with execution after trying to escape.

Kansas lawmakers pass nation’s first ban on abortion procedure

Kansas legislators Wednesday approved a proposed ban on a common second-trimester procedure described by abortion opponents as dismembering a fetus, making their state the first to adopt a national group’s model policy.