North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later this month, the Kremlin said Thursday, in a meeting that offers President Vladimir Putin an opportunity to emerge as a broker in the long-running nuclear standoff and raise Russia's profile in regional affairs.
The Kremlin said in a brief statement Thursday that Kim will visit Russia "in the second half of April" on Putin's invitation, but gave no further details.
Russian media have been abuzz in recent days with rumors about the first one-to-one meeting between the leaders.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in nearly half a century.
The Labor Department says claims for jobless aid fell by 5,000 last week to 192,000, lowest since September 1969. The four-week average, which is less volatile, dropped by 6,000 to 201,250, lowest since November 1969.
Weekly claims have been at historically low levels — below 300,000 — for more than four years.
The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50% last year, according to a new Gallup poll. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics.
Gallup said church membership was 70% in 1999 — and close to or higher than that figure for most of the 20th century. Since 1999, the figure has fallen steadily, while the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8% to 19%.
More than a dozen wild bee species critical to pollinizing everything from blueberries to apples in New England are on the decline, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire wanted to understand if the documented declines hitting honeybees and bumblebees were also taking a toll on the lesser studied bee species in New Hampshire.
So, they examined 119 species in the state from a museum collection at the college dating back 125 years. Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Insect and Conservation Diversity this month, Sandra Rehan and Minna Mathiasson concluded 14 species found across New England were on the decline by as much as 90 percent. Several of them are leafcutter and mining bees, which unlike honeybees, nest in the ground.
North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of "tactical guided weapon," its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations.
The test, which didn't appear to be of a banned mid- or long-range ballistic missile that could scuttle negotiations, allows North Korea to show its people it is pushing ahead with weapons development while also reassuring domestic military officials worried that diplomacy with Washington signals weakness.
Separately, the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by leader Kim Jong Un, who said last week that Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy. Both the demand for Pompeo's removal from the talks and the weapon test point to North Korea's displeasure with the deadlocked negotiations.
France paid a daylong tribute Thursday to the Paris firefighters who saved the internationally revered Notre Dame Cathedral from collapse and rescued many of its treasures. As the ceremonies took place, construction workers hurriedly secured key sections of the fire-weakened cathedral, including an area above one of its famed rose-shaped windows.
Fire officials warned that the massive cathedral still remains very fragile and extremely dangerous for construction workers and other specialists. On Thursday, workers using a crane were removing some statues to lessen the weight on cathedral's fragile gables, or support walls, and to keep them from falling, since the section lacked the support of the massive timber roof that burned up in Monday's evening's devastating blaze.
They were also securing the support structure above one of Notre Dame's rose windows with wooden planks.
HMP Couture Imagery/Heather Miller
While chatting with the other moms at her eight-year-old daughter's softball practice recently, Heather Mitchell was hit with the inspiration to create a photo series that shows young girls dressed simultaneously as athletes and princesses.
"One of the moms told me (my daughter) was not athletic — that she was a girly girl," Mitchell told TODAY Parents. "I couldn't sleep that night. All I could think was, 'Why does she have to choose?'"
Mitchell, an Alabama portrait photographer, says during her school days, she "played every sport offered and wore lipstick to every game."
Earth, meet Polo.
Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched a version of its iconic polo shirt made entirely of recycled plastic bottles and dyed through a process that uses zero water.
David Lauren, the youngest son of the company's founder and its chief innovation officer, told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement that the new shirt is part of a broader strategy of fresh environmental goals throughout the manufacturing process.
The suicide of a Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine shooting and may have planned to carry out her own attack will not end an investigation to determine if she had any accomplices, officials said as Denver schools reopened Thursday and preparations to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy resumed.
The body of 18-year-old Sol Pais was discovered Wednesday in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after investigators got a tip from a driver who took her there, the FBI said.
Dozens of schools that closed as a precaution during the daylong manhunt reopened their doors with heightened security measures. Events planned to mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine attack will go on as scheduled throughout the week, starting with a church service Thursday night and culminating with a ceremony near the school on Saturday.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File
As the nation awaits the release of the special counsel's report Thursday, a new poll finds that many Americans aren't ready to clear President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation. Slightly more Americans want Congress to keep investigating than to set aside its probes after special counsel Robert Mueller left open the question of whether Trump broke the law.
About 6 in 10 continue to believe the president obstructed justice.
The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds greater GOP confidence in the investigation after Attorney General William Barr in late March released his letter saying Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but didn't make a judgment on the obstruction question.
Church bells across France rang out on Wednesday in a show of support for the Notre Dame Cathedral after this week’s fire.
Taroko National Park via AP
A strong earthquake shook eastern Taiwan on Thursday afternoon, causing scattered light damage in the capital and along the eastern coast.
The 6.1 magnitude quake was centered northwest of the city of Hualien at a depth of nearly 12 miles, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.
Water pipes at the city's train station burst and rail traffic was briefly suspended. Schools along the east coast were evacuated, with students holding their backpacks over their heads for protection. TV news showed at least one landslide in a lightly populated area.
Patrick Semansky/AP, File
The elite academies that educate officers for the nation's armed forces have begun to implement the Trump administration's ban on transgender service members.
The U.S. Naval Academy will ban people who are transgender from attending the school, beginning with the 2020 school year. The Defense Department confirmed that change to the Capital Gazette newspaper on Monday. The school in Annapolis, Maryland, currently accepts transgender students and retains midshipmen who transition to another gender.
The administration's new policy took effect last week, stripping transgender troops of rights to serve openly and denying servicemen and women medical care if they choose to transition to another gender.
New Census Bureau data shows Puerto Rico lost nearly 4% of its population after Hurricane Maria — the greatest population drop in the recorded history of the island, according to one demographer.
Data released Thursday shows the U.S. territory's population dropped by 129,848 people between July 2017 and July 2018. The hurricane struck two months into that period, in September 2017. The population loss was due to both deaths and people moving away, although emigration accounted for most of the drop. The heaviest population drops occurred in metropolitan areas such as the capital of San Juan, the city of Ponce and surrounding areas.
"It's the largest population drop seen in a single year ever registered in Puerto Rico," demographer Raúl Figueroa said.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office via AP
A Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine school shooting and may have been planning an attack in Colorado just ahead of the 20th anniversary was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide after a nearly 24-hour manhunt.
The body of 18-year-old high schooler Sol Pais was discovered in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after investigators got a tip from the driver who took her there, the FBI said.