The death toll from Indonesia's fiery volcano has climbed to 56 after a blistering gas cloud ripped through a mountainside village. Rescuers say at least 12 people were killed in the inferno and 50 others were hospitalized with injuries.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama's prized health care overhaul. At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to "focus on the economy and jobs" as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation's newly elected governors two weeks later.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Self-proclaimed tea party leader Michele Bachmann's bid for a top Republican post in the House received a cool reaction Thursday from Speaker-to-be John Boehner, an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement's winners in Tuesday's elections. "Constitutional conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!" Bachmann, R-Minn., who founded the Tea Party Caucus, said in a one-paragraph Facebook announcement that she is running for GOP conference chairman.
SINGAPORE (AP) — First came two quick bangs. Then, on the left side of the Qantas superjumbo jet, passengers saw flames, a stream of smoke and debris from a stricken engine. A gouge scarred the top of the Airbus 380's left wing, scorch marks were on the outside of the blown-out engine and part of its cover depicting the airline's familiar red kangaroo logo had fallen off during the flight over Indonesia. After a tense 95 minutes while the pilots dumped fuel, the massive, double-decker plane — the world's largest — returned safely Thursday to Singapore, where it made an emergency landing with 459 people aboard.
CHICAGO (AP) — Election results still trickling in Thursday made it clear Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn won his extremely close bid for a full term, avoiding the fate of other Democratic governors across the country and adding pressure on his Republican challenger to concede. An Associated Press analysis of uncounted votes from absentee and other ballots showed that Bill Brady, a state senator from Bloomington, won't be able to overcome the just more than 19,400-vote lead Quinn held with 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting.
GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — After their bruising U.S. Senate battle, Democratic senator-elect Chris Coons and his defeated Republican opponent Christine O'Donnell made nice Thursday in a time-honored Delaware ritual where political foes bury a hatchet as a symbol of making amends. Coons and O'Donnell rode together in a parade of horse-drawn carriages and old-time automobiles that ended with party leaders burying a hatchet in a box of sand. Coons sat by his wife, Annie, while O'Donnell was accompanied by a bodyguard.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man who admitted pulling the trigger in the execution-style killings of three college students in a schoolyard was sentenced Thursday to three consecutive life terms in a case that jolted New Jersey's largest city into dealing with its crime problem. Melvin Jovel pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and weapons charges days before his trial was to begin in September.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft sped past a small comet Thursday, beaming pictures back to Earth that gave scientists a rare close-up view of its center. Mission controllers burst into applause upon seeing images from the flyby that revealed a peanut-shaped comet belching jets of poisonous gases. "It's hyperactive, small and feisty," said mission scientist Don Yeomans of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wedding bells will ring again for one-time "Newlyweds" star Nick Lachey. A rep for Lachey says the singer and TV personality is engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo. The couple said in a statement released Thursday through publicist Jessica Berger that they're "excited and incredibly happy" about their engagement. They didn't announce a wedding date.
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania man faces shoplifting charges after police said he tried to steal a pair of women's high-heel shoes by wearing them out of a department store. Lancaster police said 22-year-old Kyle James Eckman went into a store dressing room and put on a pair of size-10 heels then walked out without paying. He was stopped outside the store with his own shoes inside the shoebox in a shopping bag. Police said Eckman faces felony charges because of two prior retail theft convictions. He is being held on $50,000 bail.