Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week than in any week since July, a hopeful sign that the job market is improving. Still, economists cautioned that the trend would have to continue for several more weeks before a solid conclusion could be drawn that hiring is picking up.
MENTAWAI ISLANDS, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers searching islands ravaged by a tsunami off western Indonesia raised the death toll to 370 Thursday as more corpses were wrapped in body bags or buried by neighbors. Officials said hundreds of missing people may have been swept out to sea. Elsewhere in Indonesia, the volcano that killed 33 people earlier this week began erupting again, though there were no reports of new injuries or damage. Mourners held a mass burial Thursday during a lull in Mount Merapi's rumblings.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When a widely publicized poll showed Republican John Kasich with a commandingtype:bold,italic;, 10-point advantage in Ohio's governor's race, aides to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland fought back hard. Against the poll. "With just two weeks until Election Day, it is our opinion that the Quinnipiac polls are irresponsible, inaccurate and completely removed from the reality of the Ohio governor's race," the campaign said in a statement that noted other private and public surveys were showing a much closer contest.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A strong gust of wind swept across Notre Dame's practice football field before a tower toppled, killing a student who had been videotaping the team from the tower, the university's athletic director said Thursday. Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., died Wednesday at a South Bend hospital after the hydraulic scissor lift he was on fell over at the LaBar practice complex. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick promised there would be a full investigation, but did not say who was responsible for allowing the student to use the lift.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — It's hard to turn off Meg Whitman. The most expensive campaign for governor in U.S. history — about $162 million and counting — is inundating California voters with an unprecedented array of TV and radio ads, glossy magazines, smartphone messages, Facebook videos, postcards and phone calls that will test how far a Republican dollar can go in a state Democrats often dominate. A typical TV viewer in Los Angeles will see 23 of her commercials this week alone, many roughing up Democrat Jerry Brown, according to Democrats tracking her ad buys. The story of the Silicon Valley billionaire is being told in four languages — English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. There are book-like mailers, billboards and text messages reaching voters and supporters, all while she's jetting to appearances across the state.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania couple claims in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that their newborn was taken by county officials when a drug test the mother took came out positive because she had eaten a poppy seed bagel. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit on behalf of Elizabeth Mort and her fiance, Alex Rodriguez, against the Lawrence County Children and Youth Services and Jameson Health System.
MOSCOW (AP) — Two volcanoes erupted Thursday on Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, tossing massive ash clouds miles (kilometers) into the air, forcing flights to divert and blanketing one town with thick, heavy ash. The Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Eurasia's highest active volcano, exploded along with the Shiveluch volcano, 45 miles (70 kilometers) to the northeast, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's branch in Kamchatka said, adding that flights in the area had to change course.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stage and screen actor James MacArthur, who played "Danno" in the original version of television's "Hawaii Five-0," died Thursday at age 72. MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the actor died in Florida of "natural causes," but no direct cause was specified. In a career that spanned more than four decades, MacArthur was most recognized for his role as Detective Danny "Danno" Williams on "Hawaii Five-0," which aired from 1968 to 1980. Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarret, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno."
MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — A feisty 88-year-old Kentucky woman said she must have had perfect aim when she fought off an intruder by kicking him. Kathryn Byassee said she came upon the intruder, who was wearing a pumpkin mask, at 5 a.m. Tuesday in her kitchen. Byassee told WPSD-TV that she asked him who he was and what he wanted and he never answered her, instead wrestling her into her bedroom and trying to smother her with a pillow. That's when Byassee said she was "mad enough to do almost anything," so she kicked him. She said she thinks she "hit a vital spot, and he left."
Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees have agreed on the outline of a $9 million, three-year contract for the manager, according to a baseball official familiar with the negotiations. Although the agreement is not complete, the sides "are dotting the 'i's and crossing the t's,' the person said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The person said the deal is "going to get done."