New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez indicted on corruption charges WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Bob Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants who rose to become one of the highest-ranking Hispanic members of Congress, was charged Wednesday with accepting nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a longtime friend in exchange for a stream of political favors. Menendez predicted he would be "vindicated" and, in a defiant statement before reporters and cheering supporters Wednesday evening, said, "This is not how my career is going to end."
Things to know about indictment against Sen. Menendez NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, were indicted Wednesday on federal corruption and bribery charges. The heart of the charges is that Menendez advocated for Melgen's personal and business interests in exchange for travel - including at least 20 flights - and political and legal-defense contributions. The senator is also accused of failing to disclose gifts from Melgen.
10 Things to Know for Thursday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday: 1. NEW JERSEY SENATOR INDICTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
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Double overtime: Faltering Iran nuclear talks extended again LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - With even a vague outline of an Iran nuclear deal eluding their grasp, negotiators headed for double overtime Wednesday night in a marathon attempt to find common ground for a more important task - forging a final deal by the end of June. Iran and six world powers had cited progress in abandoning their March 31 deadline for the basic understanding that would prepare the ground for a new phase of negotiations on a substantive deal. But as differences persisted into late Wednesday, the State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry was postponing his departure and would remain until at least Thursday morning.
Iraq hails victory over Islamic State extremists in Tikrit TIKRIT, Iraq (AP) - The government declared victory in Tikrit on Wednesday over extremists of the Islamic State group, and it warned the militants holding other Iraqi provinces that they would be the next to fall. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi walked triumphantly along a street in Tikrit, carrying an Iraqi flag and surrounded by jubilant forces.
Arkansas Senate takes up religion bill at governor's request LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson backed away Wednesday from his promise to sign a controversial religious-objections bill, bowing to pressure from critics that included his own son and some of the state's biggest employers, who say the legislation is anti-gay. The Republican governor said he wants the Legislature either to recall the bill from his desk or pass a follow-up measure that would make the proposal more closely mirror a federal religious-freedom law. Arkansas lawmakers moved quickly to advance a new version aimed at addressing the governor's concerns.
Governor in a political firestorm over Indiana law WASHINGTON (AP) - Just a week ago, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was considered one of the few Republican presidential prospects who could unite the GOP's business wing with religious conservatives. Today, his standing with both groups is threatened as the national backlash intensifies over his state's law on religious freedom.
California governor orders mandatory water restrictions ECHO LAKE, Calif. (AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping. Standing in dry, brown grass at a site that normally would be snow-covered this time of year, Brown announced he had signed an executive order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state's overall water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.
Cynthia Lennon, first wife of John Lennon, dies of cancer LONDON (AP) - Cynthia Lennon, the first wife of former Beatles guitarist John Lennon, died of cancer Wednesday at her home in Spain. She was 75. Her death was announced on the website and Twitter account of her son, Julian Lennon and confirmed by his representative.