PINGSHAN COUNTY, China - Huge chunks of concrete and broken machinery are all that is left of a cement plant that once spewed clouds of pollution over China's most polluted province, Hebei. Demolished in December, the factory was one of 35 closed or torn down in Pingshan county as part of the government's drive to clear up China's notoriously smoggy skies.
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Lawmakers in the embattled Crimean region of Ukraine have decided to hold a referendum March 16 on whether Crimea should become part of Russia.
"This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kyiv," Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the local Crimean legislature, said Thursday. "We will decide our future ourselves."
RALEIGH, N.C. - A U.S. Army general accused of sexual assault was set to plead guilty to three lesser charges Thursday in a move that his lawyer says will strengthen his position going into trial.
WASHINGTON - Congress is rushing to put in place hard-hitting sanctions on Russia in response to its takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, hoping Europe will follow the lead of the United States in upping the pressure on President Vladimir Putin's government.
WASHINGTON - Legislation to curb sexual assaults in the military by stripping senior commanders of their authority to prosecute rapes and other serious offences is headed for a highly anticipated vote in the Senate.
The bill, which is expected to come up for a vote Thursday afternoon, is firmly opposed by the Pentagon's leadership, which argues officers should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the troops they lead.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Jurors at the Manhattan trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law watched video of al-Qaida's leaders threaten America before and after the Sept. 11 attacks as the government launched its case against the terror group's one-time spokesman, a presentation dismissed by a defence lawyer as movie-like theatrics.
CONROE, Texas - A Texas man is waiting to learn whether he'll be tried as an adult for allegedly dousing a boy with gasoline and setting him on fire when he was a teenager in 1998.
Don Collins is accused of pouring gasoline on Robert Middleton during his eighth birthday. Middleton survived but died in 2011 from skin cancer that authorities say was caused by his injuries.
A judge is expected to rule Thursday whether the now 28-year-old Collins will be tried for murder in Middleton's death.
Collins was 13 at the time of the alleged attack.
AUSTIN, Texas - Two more Texas abortions clinics are closing because of new restrictions placed on the facilities by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Ten clinics have already closed because of a new law, which strictly limits where, when, how and from whom women can obtain abortions.
Amy Hagstrom Mill owns the Whole Woman's Health Clinic. She said Thursday that Republican lawmakers have made it impossible to keep her clinics open in Beaumont and McAllen.
BRUSSELS - The European Union says the asset freezes it has imposed against 18 people held responsible for embezzling state funds in Ukraine include the country's ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.
The 28-nation bloc revealed the names of those targeted by its sanctions early Thursday.
The list includes Yanukovych's closest aides, including a former interior minister, justice minister, the prosecutor general, the head of the security services and Yanukovych's son.
The sanctions also target former Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov and his son.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A businessman who lost $500,000 on table games at a Las Vegas casino on Super Bowl weekend is arguing that he shouldn't have to pay because he was blackout drunk.
Southern California gambler Mark Johnston, 52, is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him money and serving him drinks when he was visibly intoxicated.
Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.