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Accused Boston bomber says satisfied with defense lawyers

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BOSTON - The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, in his first court appearance in more than a year, told a judge on Thursday that he was satisfied with his lawyers' preparations for the January start of his trial over the deadly 2013 attack.

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years

HAVANA/WASHINGTON - The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy. | Video

World, Politics, 1:02pm EST

NYC subway extension may transform Manhattan neighborhood

NEW YORK - Work crews are scrambling underneath New York City to finish the city's first major new subway stop in 25 years, a fast-track project intended to revitalize a long-neglected slice of Manhattan.

9:06am EST

Wisconsin girls in Slenderman case ruled competent to stand trial

WAUKESHA, Wisc. - Two Wisconsin girls accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please a fictional Internet character named Slenderman are competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Thursday.

4:26pm EST

Father of unlicensed driver in fatal crash denies having let her drive his SUV

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A man whose 15-year-old daughter, an unlicensed driver, crashed his SUV in an accident in Pennsylvania that killed three people denies having given her permission to drive the vehicle, his attorney said on Thursday.

4:33pm EST

Neighboring states challenge Colorado pot laws in top U.S. court

DENVER - Nebraska and Oklahoma challenged neighboring Colorado's recreational marijuana laws in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday amid complaints its pot was seeping across their borders, and Colorado vowed to defend its laws.

4:34pm EST

Trial of Pennsylvania family accused of starving boy set for March

PITTSBURGH - The trial of three members of a western Pennsylvania family accused of beating and starving a seven-year-old boy nearly to death will begin on March 10, court officials said on Thursday.

4:27pm EST

Apple's Cook makes 'substantial' donation for gay rights in U.S. South

- Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook, the highest-profile U.S. business leader to publicly acknowledge being gay, has made a "substantial" donation to a gay rights effort in his native Alabama and two other southern U.S. states, activists said on Thursday.

Tech, Media 4:23pm EST

U.S. to sue NYC over rights violations of teen Rikers inmates

NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue New York City over widespread violations of the civil rights of teenage inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex, it said on Thursday, raising the prospect of years of federal oversight of the troubled jail.

3:16pm EST

White House does not dismiss idea of Castro visit

WASHINGTON - The White House does not dismiss the possibility of an eventual, precedent-shattering visit to Washington by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of President Barack Obama's plans to normalize relations with Havana.

Politics, Cuba 3:02pm EST

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