McCain calls news report suggesting relationship false

TOLEDO, Ohio - John McCain emphatically denied a romantic relationship with a female telecommunications lobbyist on Thursday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is 'not true.'

'I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true,' the likely Republican presidential nominee said as his wife, Cindy, stood beside him during a news conference called to address the matter.

'I've served this nation honorably for more than half a century,' said McCain, a four-term Arizona senator and former Navy pilot. 'At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust.'

Ark. school shooter, now 23, faces theft, marijuana charges

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - One of the men who killed a teacher and four students in a school shooting a decade ago faces two new felony charges accusing him of stealing a debit card as he awaited sentencing in a separate case.

A federal jury convicted Mitchell Johnson, 23, of a weapons charge in January. On Feb. 2, Bentonville police arrested Johnson after officers said they found a small amount of marijuana in his possession while he worked as a clerk at a local Fast Trip gas station.

In 1998, Johnson, then 13, and Andrew Golden, then 11, opened fire at Jonesboro Westside Middle School, killing an English teacher and four students ages 11 and 12. Ten other people were wounded.

Vindicated lacrosse players sue school

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming they suffered emotional distress during the furor over the now-discredited rape case against three of their teammates.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Durham, accuses Duke University, the City of Durham and several school and police officials of fraud, abuse and breach of duty for supporting the prosecution of the case.

The lawsuit accuses the private university of implying the highly ranked team was guilty by canceling its season after the rape allegation surfaced. It also accuses Duke of ignoring, suppressing and discrediting evidence that proved the players innocent, and of idly standing by while players suffered abuse and harassment on campus.

Quake strikes Nev.; damage reported

WELLS, Nev. - A strong earthquake shook rural northeastern Nevada Thursday, damaging a town's historic district but sparing residents from any serious injuries.

The magnitude of the quake, initially estimated at 6.3, was later revised to 6.0 by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

The quake, which struck at 6:16 a.m., was centered in a sparsely populated area 11 miles southeast of Wells near the Nevada-Utah line.

Officials probe cause of jet crash

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Air Force investigators were trying to determine the cause of an apparent collision of two fighter jets that killed one pilot during a training exercise.

The single-seat F-15C Eagles crashed Wednesday into the Gulf of Mexico, said Col. Todd Harmer, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, 58th Fighter Squadron. The pilots had ejected and were rescued, but one died later.

The surviving pilot was in good condition. The names of the pilots were not released.

Authorities plan to remove gray wolves from endangered list

BILLINGS, Mont. - Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list, following a 13-year restoration effort that helped the animal's population soar, federal officials said Thursday.

An estimated 1,500 wolves now roam Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. That represents a dramatic turnaround for a predator that was largely exterminated in the United States in the early 20th century.

Feds set recipe for next flu vaccine

WASHINGTON - Next year's flu vaccine is getting a complete overhaul to provide protection against three new and different influenza strains - hopefully better protection than this year's version.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously backed the new recipe on Thursday, echoing an earlier decision by the World Health Organization. It's a highly unusual move: Seldom are more than one or two strains swapped out from one year to the next.