U.S. blacklists companies over Iran sanctions
The Obama administration blacklisted 17 companies and individuals Thursday for allegedly helping Iran evade international sanctions. The move is aimed at showing it would maintain pressure on Tehran even after an interim nuclear deal last month in Geneva. The deal "does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran's nuclear program or seeking to evade our sanctions," said David Cohen, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Plane crash pinned on engine failure
Engine failure caused a small commercial plane carrying nine people to crash into the ocean off Hawaii, killing state health director Loretta Fuddy, the airline's owner said Thursday. Eight others onboard, including the pilot, survived. Owner Richard Schuman of Makani Kai Air said the pilot did his best to get the single-engine plane down safely and keep passengers together in the water off Molokai. In 2011, Fuddy released President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate after he and his personal attorney wrote to her to make it public.
Newlywed admits she killed husband
A Montana newlywed pleaded guilty Thursday to killing her husband of eight days by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park as they argued about her second thoughts about the marriage. Jordan Graham's surprise plea agreement with prosecutors came before closing arguments were to begin in her trial. Graham, 22, could face up to life in prison when she is sentenced March 27 for the death of Cody Johnson, 25.
Execution sparks opposition protests
The execution of a top opposition leader Thursday night spurred violent protests across Bangladesh. Worse is expected Sunday, when the opposition has called for another nationwide strike. Abdul Quader Molla, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic party, is the first person executed as a result of a war-crimes tribunal that has sought to hold people to account for atrocities committed during Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence.
Des Moines, Iowa
Mega Millions jackpot swells
Outshined by Powerball's massive jackpots since Powerball doubled the cost of a ticket last year, Mega Millions enacted its own, very different, changes in October to inflate its jackpots and lure those who only play when the pots get really big. The changes may already be working, as the jackpot for tonight's drawing stood Thursday at an estimated $400 million. It is the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, behind a $656 million jackpot won in March 2012, and the fifth largest U.S. lottery jackpot of any kind. Operators kept the ticket price at $1 but slashed the odds of winning the jackpot to increase the chances of it rolling over.
Sponge replaced on family tree
Sponges are getting squeezed out of a distinctive role in evolution. A new study says they don't represent the oldest branch of the animal family tree after all. DNA research reported Thursday in the journal Science gives the spot instead to comb jellies, a group of gelatinous marine animals.