Indictment says ex-US House Speaker Hastert paid hush money CHICAGO (AP) - Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican who once was second in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday. The indictment, which doesn't describe the alleged misconduct by Hastert, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements. He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals.
10 Things to Know for Friday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday: 1. EX-HOUSE SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT ACCUSED OF PAYING HUSH MONEY
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Defiant soccer chief resists calls to resign amid scandal ZURICH (AP) - As defiant as ever, Sepp Blatter resisted calls to resign as FIFA president Thursday and deflected blame for the massive bribery and corruption scandal engulfing soccer's world governing body. "We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time," Blatter said in his first public remarks on the crisis that has further tainted his leadership on the eve of his bid for a fifth term as president.
National Spelling Bee ends in tie for 2nd year in a row OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - They couldn't be rattled. They couldn't be denied. Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar had worked too hard and come close too many times not to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. So they shared the title on Thursday, making history in two different ways.
Kurdish fighters in Syria on the march against IS militants BEIRUT (AP) - In contrast to the Iraqi army's failures, Kurdish fighters in Syria are on the march against the Islamic State group, capturing towns and villages in an oil-rich swath of the country's northeast under the cover of U.S.-led airstrikes. As the Kurds close in on Tel Abyad, a major commercial center on the Turkish border, their advance highlights the decisive importance of combining airstrikes with the presence of a cohesive and motivated ally on the ground - so clearly absent in Iraq.
CDC investigating error that caused live anthrax shipments WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Army's top general said Thursday that human error probably was not a factor in the Army's mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples from a chemical weapons testing site that was opened more than 70 years ago in a desolate stretch of desert in Utah. Samples from the anthrax lot ended up at 18 labs in nine states and an Army lab in South Korea, leading more than two dozen people to get treatment for possible exposure.
Thai official warns of 'alarming level' of boat people BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand's Foreign Minister said Friday that the upsurge of boat people in Southeast Asia has reached an "alarming level," and called for governments in the region to address the root causes of the crisis - a reference to the swelling number of refugees who have fled persecution in Myanmar. Speaking at the opening of a regional meeting in Bangkok aimed at tackling the issue, Foreign Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn said that "no country can solve this problem alone."
Google unveils Android's latest technological tricks SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google's next version of its Android operating system will boast new ways to fetch information, pay merchants and protect privacy on mobile devices as the Internet company duels with Apple in the quest to make their technology indispensable. The upgrade will give Android's personal assistant, Google Now, expanded powers of intuition that may be greeted as a great convenience to some and a tad too creepy for others.
Demi Lovato is the face of mental health in new campaign LOS ANGELES (AP) - When Demi Lovato was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was actually relieved. "Growing up, I felt very, very depressed," she said. "Even though I was playing concerts and living out my dream, I couldn't tell you why I was upset."