Syrian villagers hope for calm as Russia keeps eye on truce

MAARZAF, Syria (AP) — Just days into a U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire, many residents in a pro-government Syrian village long engulfed in fierce fighting in a central province expressed hope Wednesday that the truce will prevail and that a sense of normalcy could soon return.

  • Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

Falling lottery sales pinch college scholarships in 8 states

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The ticket-buying frenzy that erupted over January's $1 billion Powerball jackpot wasn't enough to reverse a long-running trend: Proceeds from lottery games aren't keeping pace with the higher education costs they were supposed to pay.

  • Written by SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

UN approves toughest sanctions on North Korea in 20 years

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang's latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

  • Written by EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

Virginia man pleads guilty to killing 2 college students

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A convicted rapist pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing two Virginia college students and avoided the death penalty by taking a deal that calls for him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

  • Written by LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press