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U.S. jobless claims rise; fourth-quarter productivity revised down

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter.

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Ukraine military says one soldier killed in past 24 hours in east

KIEV - One Ukrainian serviceman was killed and another wounded in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the east, military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said on Thursday, as Kiev accused rebels of increasing violations of a ceasefire deal.

World, Russia 8:53am EST

Yemen's Houthis seize national dialogue HQ, president insists group must leave Sanaa

SANAA - Yemen's dominant Shi'ite Muslim Houthi militia seized the offices of a political conciliation body late on Wednesday, hours after the president refused U.N.-brokered talks with their powerful movement unless they withdrew from Sanaa.

World, United Nations, Yemen 9:23am EST

China signals 'new normal' with higher spending, lower growth target

BEIJING - China plans to run its biggest budget deficit in 2015 since the global financial crisis, stepping up spending as Premier Li Keqiang signaled that the lowest rate of growth in a quarter of a century is the "new normal" for the world's No.2 economy. | Video

8:04am EST

Citigroup's past losses may have helped it win Costco business

NEW YORK - Citigroup Inc had at least one advantage in its successful bid for the exclusive right to issue credit cards for Costco Wholesale Corp, rivals and tax specialists say: it lost so much money during the financial crisis that it has billions of dollars of tax credits.

2:03am EST

Indonesia rejects Australian proposal of prisoner swap for death row pair

JAKARTA - Indonesia rejected on Thursday an Australian proposal for a prisoner swap made in an 11th hour effort to save the lives of two Australian drug smugglers expected to face a firing squad within days.

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Boston bombing trial to move into first full day of testimony

BOSTON - The Boston Marathon bombing trial was set to move into its first full day of testimony on Thursday, with the jury expected to hear from more people who survived the attack that killed three people and injured 264.

Islamic State torches oil field near Tikrit as militia advance

BAGHDAD - Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit, a witness said, to obstruct an assault by Shi'ite militia fighters and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns.