Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
1. EVIDENCE POINTS TO BOMB IN RUSSIAN PASSENGER JET CRASH, RUSSIA, EGYPT DISMISS BOMB THEORY AS PREMATURE
Intercepted communications suggest that an Islamic State affiliate planted an explosive device on the plane, a U.S. official tells the AP. The two countries brush off suggestions by Britain and the U.S. that an explosive device was likely to have brought down a Metrojet flight packed with Russian vacationers coming home from an Egyptian resort.
2. ‘HERO’ OFFICER WHOSE DEATH PROMPTED MANHUNT STAGED SUICIDE
The Illinois policeman – lauded as a hero after his fatal shooting – in fact killed himself because he was about to be exposed as a thief, authorities say.
3. WHO’S UNDER PRESSURE TO DUMP TRUMP
Groups complaining about what they call the candidate’s “hate speech” are demanding that NBC cancel his appearance on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.”
4. SENATE PANEL INVESTIGATING DRUG PRICING
As part of the probe, the committee wants a face-to-face meeting with Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, whose company raised the price of an anti-infection drug by more than 5,000 percent.
5. AMERICANS SOURING ON OBAMA’S ISLAMIC STATE PLAN
An Associated Press-GfK poll also found pessimism about U.S. prospects for success in Afghanistan and uncertainty about his initiative to leave thousands of troops there when he leaves office.
6. PROTESTS AGAINST TRUMP HOSTING ‘SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’ GROW
A coalition of advocacy groups call on NBC to drop the Republican front-runner because of his anti-immigration stance.
7. GEORGE H.W. BUSH SLAMS SON’S ADMINISTRATION
A biography of the nation’s 41st president to be published next week reportedly criticizes the actions of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
8. JEB BUSH GOES ‘PG13′ ON STUMP
The Republican presidential hopeful is punctuating his points more often with a well-placed expletive, part of ratcheting up the intensity of his faltering campaign.
9. CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR HAD STATE RESEARCH OIL ON RANCH
AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer, citing records, finds that Jerry Brown directed regulators to report back on any mining and oil drilling potential and history on his family’s private land.
10. KNIFE-WIELDING STUDENT HORRIFIES CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY
Authorities have not named the male student who stabbed four people at UC-Merced nor have they revealed a motive.
11. ILLINOIS VILLAGE REELING OVER NEWS ABOUT OFFICER
Fox Lake struggles to make sense of authorities’ announcement that Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz allegedly stole funds and staged his suicide to make it look like he died in the line of duty.
12. HOW PRO-RUSSIAN INSURGENCY IMPACTED EASTERN UKRAINE
The fighting has subsided, but Donetsk is sinking into the past – a shabby Soviet-like state of empty streets and deprivation.
13. US DEFENSE CHIEF TAKING SYMBOLIC SWIPE AT CHINA
Defense Secretary Ash Carter is visiting an American aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, amplifying the U.S. view that China is making excessive claims that nearly all the waterway is its territory.
14. CANADA SWEARS IN NEW PRIME MINISTER
Justin Trudeau now has the chance to restore the liberal legacy of his late father. Pierre Trudeau served as PM from 1968 to 1984, with a short interruption.
15. WHY MORE ADS ARE POPPING UP ON INSTAGRAM
It’s all part of Facebook’s plan to make more money from its newer services, like the mobile photo-sharing app, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012.
16. EXPECTATIONS CHANGING FOR AMERICAN TEACHERS
The vast majority of states now require that teachers be evaluated, at least in part, on student test scores – up sharply from just six years ago.
17. WHICH MUSIC STARS ARE NOW A COUPLE
Singers Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, both mentors on NBC’s “The Voice,” are dating, a representative for Shelton says.
18. JOHNNY MANZIEL TO START AT QB FOR CLEVELAND
With first-stringer Josh McCown out with a rib injury, Manziel will be under center when the Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
19. WHO WON COUNTRY MUSIC’S TOP PRIZE
Luke Bryan captures his second Country Music Association Award for entertainer of the year, besting Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and Eric Church.
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