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WOMAN DENIES GRAND JURY TWEET

Ferguson, Mo.

A St. Louis County woman has denied that she posted on Twitter a claim that a member of a grand jury told her the panel lacked evidence to prosecute the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown. Susan M. Nichols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday that her Twitter account was hacked. A tweet posted Wednesday under Nichols' name suggested that an unidentified friend serving on the grand jury reviewing Brown's shooting by Darren Wilson said the panel lacked evidence to warrant criminal charges for using excessive force. The proceedings are conducted in secret, and a juror's sharing of information with outsiders would likely be considered misconduct. Nichols told the newspaper she had "talked to the authorities" about the matter. Approached at her home by an Associated Press reporter, she said "no comment."

Dallas

13 abortion clinics forced to close

Thirteen abortion clinics in Texas were forced to close immediately Thursday after a federal appellate court sided with the state of Texas in its yearlong legal battle over its sweeping abortion law and allowed the state to enforce one of the law's toughest provisions while the case was being appealed. The decision by the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans gave Texas permission to require all abortion clinics in the state to meet the same building, equipment and staffing standards as hospital-style surgical centers.

Washington

U.S. eases arms embargo on Vietnam

The United States on Thursday partially lifted its longtime ban on the provision of lethal arms to Vietnam, a move that is intended to help Hanoi strengthen its maritime security as it contends with a more assertive China. The policy shift was announced as Vietnam's foreign minister, Pham Binh Minh, met here with Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, and Secretary of State John Kerry.

California

4 teens arrested in clubbing of chickens

Four teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of bludgeoning 920 chickens to death with a golf club at a Foster Farms facility in central California, authorities said Thursday. The suspects were identified as 18-year-old Riverdale resident Gabriel Quintero, a 17-year-old boy from Lemoore and 15- and 17-year-old boys from Caruthers.

Elsewhere

OKLAHOMA:Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Alton Nolen, 30, who is accused of beheading one former co-worker and attacking another last week at the Vaughan Foods processing plant.

TORONTO: Toronto's embattled Mayor Rob Ford says doctors have told him there's a 50/50 survival rate for the rare and aggressive form of cancer he has been diagnosed with.

SAN DIEGO: The search for an enlisted Marine who bailed out into the Persian Gulf has concluded and the Marine is "presumed lost at sea," the Navy announced Thursday. The name of the Marine will be withheld for 24 hours after his family is notified, the Navy said.

Times wires

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