Jobless claims fall to near a 42-year low

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to near a 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring.

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U.S. asks NATO allies for flexibility in Afghan drawdown plans

BRUSSELS - The United States asked NATO allies on Thursday for flexibility as the alliance reviews its plans to rapidly withdraw troops from Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday after talks in Brussels.

World, Afghanistan 10:49am EDT

FBI says it 'disrupted' dozens of potential militants

WASHINGTON - FBI counterterrorism investigators followed "dozens and dozens" of potential militants around the United States full time during the summer and "disrupted" many of them, FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee on Thursday.

World, U.S. 11:36am EDT

Syria extends major offensive to retake territory in west

BEIRUT - Syrian troops and allied militia backed by a fresh wave of Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships attacked rebel forces on Thursday as the government extended a major offensive to recapture territory in the west of the country.

World, Russia, Syria 11:24am EDT

Republicans prepare to nominate candidate for House speaker

WASHINGTON - Hardline conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday made a play for more power in deeply divided Republican ranks as the party prepared to vote on its nominee for the next speaker of the House.

11:39am EDT

Alexievich, chronicler of Soviet life, wins Literature Nobel

STOCKHOLM - Belarussian author Svetlana Alexievich has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for her portrayal of life in the former Soviet Union which the Swedish Academy said was "a monument to suffering and courage in our time". | Video

Russia, World, Arts 11:08am EDT

Indiana University suspends fraternity over suspected sexual hazing

- A fraternity at Indiana University has been suspended due to a hazing incident caught on video in which new male chapter members were encouraged to perform sex acts on women in front of other fraternity members, the school and the national fraternity said on Thursday.


Turkey urges NATO to keep up its Patriot defenses

BRUSSELS - Turkey appealed to its NATO allies on Thursday to shore up missile defenses in the country aimed at shooting down Syrian rockets, as Germany said again that it will withdraw its Patriot batteries and the United States was set to do the same.