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No confirmation that U.S. hostage was killed...Rebels complete Yemen takeover...Stocks slip



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BEIRUT (AP) — There's still no independent confirmation of a claim attributed to Islamic State extremists that an American woman being held hostage by the group was killed today in a Jordanian airstrike. Kayla Mueller (MYOO'-lur) of Arizona is the only known remaining U.S. hostage held by the Islamic State. The 26-year-old went to Syria to do aid work. Jordan says it's "highly skeptical" of the claim -- and that it wonders, for example, how the militants could know that it was a Jordanian plane that carried out the airstrike.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Shiite rebels in Yemen are proclaiming a formal takeover of that Arab nation. They dissolved parliament today in a dramatic move that completes their power grab in the region's poorest nation -- one in which a stronghold for an offshoot of al-Qaida that is considered the world's most dangerous wing of the terror movement. The White House says it's "deeply concerned" with the move -- but that it won't affect U.S. counterterrorism efforts there.

MOSCOW (AP) — Talks among the leaders of Russia, France and Germany have wrapped up in Moscow -- and there's no word on whether they've been able to move toward a peace agreement for eastern Ukraine. A spokesman for Russia's Vladimir Putin says the next step in the process will be a phone call on Sunday involving the three leaders and the president of Ukraine.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending slightly lower but they're still closing out a strong week. News of a burst of hiring by U.S. employers led investors to dump safe-play stocks with high dividends today in anticipation of higher interest rates and faster economic growth. The Dow fell 60 points. The S&P fell seven, and the Nasdaq lost 20 points.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama says he dropped a plan to scale back tax benefits for college savings accounts, because it wasn't worth it. Speaking at a community college in Indiana today, Obama said he looked at reducing the tax savings because the accounts tended to be used by "folks a little more on the high end." But after opposition arose, he says, he decided the change wouldn't save enough money to keep pursuing.

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The Associated Press

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