Government and politics
CUMBERLAND, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he doesn't owe Stephen King an apology.
The governor responded to a question about the spat during a public discussion by saying he never stated King moved to Florida to dodge income taxes. Instead, he contends he said King is "not in Maine right now."
That's not how King saw it.
The governor referenced King during a radio address after noting that former Gov. Kenneth Curtis moved to Florida "where there is zero income tax." He said King "moved away as well."
ABUJA, Nigeria - The two leading candidates in this weekend's presidential elections pledged Thursday to accept the outcome as a new report showed that Boko Haram Islamic extremists, who are threatening to disrupt the vote, have killed more than 1,000 civilians this year.
BEIRUT - Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in the country's south killed at least 18 people on Thursday, including three children, opposition activists said.
The attacks come amid heightened clashes in southern Syria between government forces and rebels who seized the nearby ancient town of Busra Sham the previous day.
9:15 p.m. (2015 GMT, 4:15 p.m. EDT)
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke identified Robert Oliver as the third American citizen killed in the crash.
He provided no further details Thursday, but Oliver's parents told Spain's La Sexta television channel their son lived in Barcelona and worked for the Desigual clothing company based in Spain's second-largest city.
WASHINGTON - The United States persuaded Iraq to sideline Iranian-backed Shiite militias as a condition to American airstrikes in the strategic Iraqi city of Tikrit, a senior U.S. general said Thursday. The move limits Iran's influence, at least temporarily, and could re-invigorate a ground offensive that U.S. officials said had become stalled under Iranian leadership.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran entered a critical phase on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting his Iranian counterpart less than a week away from a deadline to secure the outline of a deal.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - N.C. State's Cat Barber says things are square again with President Barack Obama.
Last Saturday night, Barber was caught by TV cameras saying "What ... (is) wrong with Barack Obama" to his teammates in the locker room after North Carolina State upset top-seeded Villanova to reach the Sweet 16.
Obama had picked Villanova to reach the NCAA Tournament final. But the Wolfpack busted the president's bracket with the 71-68 win.
TIKRIT, Iraq - 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.
The push, however, is going ahead without the country's Iran-backed Shiite militias, which had been instrumental to the operation so far and which backed out in a protest over the U.S. action.
LONDON - Britain's Supreme Court Thursday paved the way for the public release of 27 hotly contested memos written by Prince Charles to government ministers.
The government has sought for years to keep the letters out of the public domain for fear that publishing them might damage public perceptions of Charles' neutrality.
As heir-to-the-throne, Charles is expected to remain out of politics. The letters, said to contain strong personal views, were deemed too sensitive by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who vetoed their release in 2012.
The U.S. government and major business leaders are renewing their call on the Thai government to crack down on slavery in its fishing fleets, and to punish people who force migrant workers to catch seafood that can end up in the United States.