National News

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

This photo, which witnesses say shows Venezuelan beauty queen Genesis Carmona being evacuated from the scene of a protest on Tuesday, is ricocheting around the Web. She died after being shot.

In Venezuela, Another Beauty Queen's Death Adds To Anger

There's a sad symmetry to the news from Venezuela, where anti-government protests in recent weeks have been fueled in part by outrage over the shooting death of a beauty queen — a death that underscored that nation's struggle to control violent crime.

One of the five people killed this week during protests against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, it's now being reported, was another young beauty queen.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the media after meeting with President Obama at the White House last month.

Ex-Aides' Emails May Taint Wis. Governor's Political Ambitions

A Wisconsin court has released an enormous number of emails — 27,000 pages — from a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker.

Kelly Rindfleisch was convicted last year of using her government job to do illegal campaign work. At the time, Walker was the Milwaukee County executive.

The emails paint a picture of constant coordination between Walker's county office and his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. They were made public in the middle of Walker's gubernatorial re-election campaign, and at a time when the governor is considered a presidential hopeful for 2016.

An injured man is carried away Thursday after more clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev.

'Absolute Chaos' In Kiev: Truce Collapses, Death Toll Rises

This post is being updated as the day continues.

Just hours after a truce was declared, deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces broke out again in Ukraine's capital.

North Carolina's Dan River was polluted with toxic coal ash that leaked from a coal plant earlier this month. The spill is under investigation.

Toxic Leak Taints North Carolina Coal Plants, And Regulators

A broken pipe funneled 30,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina earlier this month, turning it gray. The pipe has been plugged, but the spill has reignited a fight over storage of coal ash, and scrutiny of the state regulators responsible for monitoring it.

A case against the Swiss bank UBS in 2008 led Congress to create more regulations for foreign banks holding American money. Rather than comply, many banks opted to stop serving American account-holders.

Why More Americans Are Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

A few times a year, the Treasury Department publishes a long list of names announcing all of the Americans who have lately abandoned their U.S. citizenship.

According to the legal website International Tax Blog, the number hovered around 500 a decade ago. Last year, it hit a record high of nearly 3,000.

This was not a gradual change. It was a sudden spike. It's a story of dominoes falling, one after another, leading to an unexpected outcome.

Benny Bunting, a farm advocate for Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, in front of one of his old chicken houses in Oak City, N.C.

The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer

After reading Christopher Leonard's The Meat Racket, a broadside against the contract-farming system, I decided to take a closer look at it.

I drove to North Carolina and ended up in the kind of place that supplies practically all of our chickens: a metal-sided, 500-foot-long structure near the town of Fairmont.

The Alaska village of King Cove wants an all-weather road to the outside world. Election-year politics is complicating that wish.

How A Remote Alaska Road Became A Political Wedge Issue

Judging from an attack by one of his Republican opponents, you could easily draw the conclusion that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska opposes a road that would serve as a lifeline to the remote Aleutian village of King Cove. But you would be wrong.

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp Message Service For $19 Billion

Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.

This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.

Yuna Kim, of South Korea, won gold in Vancouver. She's leading the field after Wednesday's short program.

Female Figure Skaters Compete For Gold — And The Sport's Future

If there is such a thing as a home rink advantage, that makes the competition in the women's figure skating program fierce. Russian fans erupted with glee for Adelina Sotnikova on Wednesday. And then there's Yulia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old Russian phenom who has thrilled Russian fans and stunned the figure skating world.

Scott Hamilton, a 1984 figure skating gold medalist, has been watching Lipnitskaya closely.

"She's beyond her years. Like, you look at her and she qualified [to be age-eligible] for the Olympics by days," he says.

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