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.
US to "fine tune" Iraq strategy in light of Ramadi debacle WASHINGTON (AP) - Pentagon leaders are trying to "fine tune" U.S. strategy for ousting the Islamic State group from Iraq, focusing on faster and better training and arming of Sunni tribes whose combat role is central to reversing the extremists' advances, senior U.S. officials said Thursday. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking to reporters while traveling to Asia, said he told senior military officers at the Pentagon this week to come up with ideas to improve training and equipping, particularly of the Sunni tribes who complain that the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad is dragging its heels on helping them.
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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.
Army chief: Human error likely not cause of anthrax mistake WASHINGTON (AP) - Human error probably was not a factor in the Army's mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples to numerous U.S. government and commercial laboratories in the U.S. and in South Korea, the Army's top general said Thursday. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told reporters the problem may have been a failure in the technical process of killing, or inactivating, anthrax samples. The process in this case "might not have completely killed" the samples as intended before they were shipped, he said.
Ex-US Speaker Hastert indicted on bank-related charges CHICAGO (AP) - Federal prosecutors announced bank-related charges against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Thursday, accusing the 73-year-old Illinois Republican of withdrawing $952,000 in cash in a way that evaded the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He's also accused of lying to the FBI. Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.
Heavy rain eases Texas drought, but high water could linger HOUSTON (AP) - This week's record rainfall in Texas eased the state's drought and swelled rivers and lakes to the point that they may not return to normal levels until July, scientists said Thursday. Just weeks ago, much of the state was parched with varying levels of drought. But the same drenching rainfall that paralyzed parts of Houston and swept away a vacation home with eight people inside also offered relief from a long dry spell.
Bush earned millions in juggling act as corporate adviser WASHINGTON (AP) - During his transition from Florida governor to likely presidential candidate, Jeb Bush served on the boards of or as an adviser to at least 15 companies and nonprofits, a dizzying array of corporate connections that earned him millions of dollars and occasional headaches. Bush returned to corporate America after leaving the governor's mansion in early 2007, and his industry portfolio expanded steadily until he began shedding ties late last year to prepare a run for president.
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."