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U.S. labor market flexes muscles as February payrolls soar

WASHINGTON - U.S. employers stepped up hiring in February and the jobless rate fell to a more than 6-1/2-year low of 5.5 percent, which could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in June. | Video

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Kremlin critic Navalny, out of jail, vows to fight on

MOSCOW - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny walked out of a Moscow detention center on Friday and promised that Russia's opposition will continue to challenge President Vladimir Putin, uncowed by last week's killing of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. | Video

World, Russia 12:25pm EST

Snowden says he'd like to return to Geneva

GENEVA - Edward Snowden has made a public appeal for Switzerland to grant him asylum, saying he would like to return to live in Geneva, where he once worked undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency.

10:00am EST

Advancing Iraq troops enter strategic town on edge of Tikrit

BAGHDAD - Iraqi government forces and Iran-backed militiamen entered a town on the southern outskirts of Saddam Hussein's home city Tikrit on Friday, pressing on with the biggest offensive yet against Islamic State militants that seized the north last year.

World, Iraq 10:46am EST

Pressure to arm Kiev could increase despite risks: top U.S. diplomat

BERLIN - The second-highest ranking U.S. diplomat warned on Friday that pressure to arm Ukraine would increase if aggression from pro-Russian separatists persisted, even though Moscow would easily be able to send more weapons into the country than the West.

World, Russia 11:47am EST

Winter storm moves away; eastern U.S. to remain cold

WASHINGTON - Record-breaking cold gripped the United States from Texas to New York on Friday as a storm that dropped roughly 2 feet (61 cm) of snow on some eastern parts of the country moved out to sea.

U.S., Environment 12:16pm EST

Train carrying liquefied propane derails in Vermont, no danger posed: report

- A train carrying 15 tanker cars of liquefied propane derailed in Essex junction, Vermont, late on Thursday, but no flammable gas was leaked and there was no danger to the public, according to a local news website on Friday.

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EU says it's ready for more Russia sanctions if necessary

RIGA - The European Union is ready to step up sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, but its priority is to bolster a fragile ceasefire agreed in Minsk, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday.