Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods posted a solid gain for the second straight month in March. A key category that signals business investment plans increased at the fastest pace in four months.

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits surged 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 last week, though the gain likely reflected temporary layoffs in the week before Easter.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is about even with his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, according to a poll released Thursday that confirms Colorado's Senate race is one of the nation's most competitive.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called on President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, joining 11 incumbent Democrats as the party tries to keep control of the Senate this November.

Former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who became the chamber's leader by winning support of its broad right wing, welcomed three tea party favorites to a campaign event Thursday as he seeks the Republican nomination for a soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Schalke's chairman is drawing criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party for suggesting that his team, sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom, would accept an invitation to Moscow from President Vladimir Putin.

A slew of tea party favorites are heading to central Nebraska this week to support Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse, less than three weeks before the May 13 primary election.

A panel of state lawmakers looking for ways to combat the rise in heroin and opioid abuse is holding the first of two forums in the Hudson River Valley.

Top aides to Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that it would be unwise for the next Texas governor to uproot lucrative taxpayer-footed business funds that are legacies of Perry's 14 years in office but have become less popular among Republicans.

The federal government's move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

The federal government wants to extend its oversight of tobacco to include cigars, hookah, nicotine gels, pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced her bid to seek a fourth two-year term to Wyoming's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Five Vermont athletes who competed at the Sochi Winter Olympics received standing ovations and thanks from the governor on Wednesday at the Statehouse.

The Obama administration needs to take steps immediately to protect the public from potentially catastrophic oil train accidents even if it means using emergency authority, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said Wednesday.

Some Republicans in conservative South Dakota are putting the contentious politics of immigration reform aside and backing a measure to provide prenatal care to women living in the state illegally whose children will become citizens of the United States.

The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved legislation to recognize top-notch trails as "Pure Michigan" trails and to create a mobile app for trail users.

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she believes the outcome of the standoff in Ukraine will be a bad one for Russia.

Republican Greg Abbott says that as Texas governor he would seek bonuses for high school teachers whose students perform well on college readiness exams.

Parents whose children were killed in a Colorado theater shooting on Wednesday demanded a conservative group stop running ads featuring an image of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall visiting a hospital where other victims were recovering.

Australian researchers are trying a novel way to boost the power of cochlear implants: They used the technology to beam gene therapy into the ears of deaf animals and found the combination improved hearing.

Scientists are watching an iceberg bigger than the island of Guam as it slowly moves away from an Antarctic glacier.

Allegations painting a culture of patronage hiring in Gov. Pat Quinn's administration became an election-year obstacle for the Chicago Democrat on Wednesday as good government groups raised concerns about the potential for corruption and his Republican challenger latched onto the idea.

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed criminal charges against a former Blackwater security guard whose actions allegedly triggered the shootings of dozens of Iraqi citizens at a traffic circle in Baghdad nearly seven years ago.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of a rare pneumonia that had sickened five Los Angeles gay men. The AIDS epidemic had begun.

Rio de Janeiro's top security official on Wednesday promised a rigorous investigation into the death of a young man that sparked overnight clashes in a slum near a key Olympic venue and did not rule out that police may have been responsible.

French economist Thomas Piketty and his research partners have transformed the wealth gap debate by popularizing the concept of a financially elite 1 percent.

Postal workers plan protests in 27 states Thursday against the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with Staples employees.

The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to overturn the death sentence of a man who confessed to kidnapping, raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in Kentucky.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

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