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President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.

The embattled lawyer isn't conceding anything about the substance of what was detailed in the dossier, which is unverified, but says he has too much else on his plate to proceed now that he is dealing with a federal court case in New York.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," said a lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz.

Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez has been elected president of Cuba, officially ending the Castro family's decades of domination of the country's highest office. The Communist Party formally announced the presidency's transition from Raúl Castro on Thursday, in what might better be described as a coronation than an election.

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET

Alabama has executed 83-year-old serial bomber Walter Leroy Moody by lethal injection.

Moody is the oldest inmate executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

It's getting easier to find top-notch, handcrafted whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other spirits made in the U.S. With more than 1,500 craft distillers across the country, the American spirits movement is on the rise, and in Vermont, the industry is booming.

Over the past 15 years, the number of licensed distilleries in the Green Mountain State has increased nearly tenfold: from just three to more than 24, according to Vermont's Distilled Spirits Council.

Incomplete questionnaires for the 2020 census, including those that leave the controversial citizenship question unanswered, will still be included in the upcoming U.S. headcount, the Census Bureau's top official confirmed Wednesday to lawmakers.

Updated April 19 at 12 p.m. with comments from circuit attorney's office — A St. Louis judge is allowing the criminal case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to move forward, rejecting a move by the governor's lawyers to dismiss it.

Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Thursday disagreed with defense attorneys that the conduct by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and an investigator she hired was so bad that the only way to protect Greitens’ rights to a fair trial was to dismiss the felony invasion of privacy charge. 

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The felony invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens can continue, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled in St. Louis on Thursday. Many of Greitens' fellow Republicans have urged him to resign; he has refused.

Burlison announced he would not dismiss the case in response to a motion from Greitens' defense team, reports St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum.

Room 615 in Vladivostok's Hotel Gavan is a cramped, two-room "business suite" with green wallpaper and carpeting. Yet when former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il traveled to Russia's Pacific coast in 2002, the modest digs served as his presidential suite.

The joint alert from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last month warning that Russia was hacking into critical U.S. energy infrastructure may have shaken some Americans. But it came as no surprise to the country's largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

The emphasis is on the “new” for incoming New Jewish Theatre artistic director Edward Coffield.

In July, Coffield will take the reins from founder Kathleen Sitzer who launched the company 22 years ago.

Coffield plans to shake things up by including a family show every year, collaborating with other companies and working with themes that encompass issues well beyond the realm of Judaism.

After serving as Sitzer’s assistant for 16 years, Coffield acknowledges he’s building on the work of a St. Louis theater icon.

When Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky started looking for a building to house their brewery, they didn’t plan to move from St. Louis to Alton, where they’d both grown up. But they found the perfect building on Landmark Boulevard, right near the riverfront and off Alton’s old Antiques Row on East Broadway, and it swayed them.

The downtown stretch of Broadway, Rogalsky said, had been “neglected for the last several decades.” But in the last few years, new businesses have opened on the street. Established food staples moved from the city’s traditional main street to Broadway. A tattoo parlor opened at the same intersection as beauty and art supply shops, and a self-serve craft beer bar cropped up.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of fan blades on some jet engines of the same type as the one that blew apart on a Southwest Airlines flight, causing the death of a passenger and injuring seven others.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia's medical examiner says Jennifer Riordan, who died on the Dallas-bound Boeing 737 flight, was killed by blunt trauma to her head, neck and torso when she was partially blown out a cabin window shattered by engine debris. Federal inspectors say Riordan, 43, was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

When Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore, heard that 17 high school students and educators had been killed in a shooting in Parkland, Fla., she says she felt numb.

To her, and so many others, mass shootings can feel all too common in the U.S.

"In the time I've been in high school we've had the Pulse, Las Vegas and now, [the Parkland] shooting," Murdock says.

Most people are familiar with some form of triage: When you go to an emergency room, you first sit down with a triage nurse who records your symptoms, takes your vital signs and assesses the urgency of your medical need.

As of Thursday, that's happening over the phone for 911 callers in Washington, D.C., where triage nurses now sit alongside 911 dispatchers to help field calls.

Political brawls over voting laws have consumed states across the country for the past decade. But below the surface, a movement to automatically register eligible voters to vote is rapidly gaining traction. By next year, more than a quarter of all Americans will live in states where they no longer have to fill out registration forms in order to cast a ballot.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does not support a measure that would make it harder for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but that isn't stopping some Republicans from forcing the debate.

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis said Wednesday that he will continue working on a bill to allow Mueller access to speedy judicial review if Trump tries to force him out of his job leading the Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — with or without McConnell's support.

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

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Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had a 10-month affair with President Trump that ended in 2007, has settled a lawsuit with the owner of the National Enquirer that kept her from publicly discussing the relationship.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET Friday

Facebook on Wednesday announced it is introducing "new privacy experiences" aimed at complying with European Union regulations that will give users worldwide a chance to opt out of some features that could expose their personal data.

"Everyone – no matter where they live – will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook," said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer and Ashlie Beringer, deputy general counsel.

Friday is April 20, a day that some people celebrate by smoking marijuana. The Police Department in Lawrence, Kan., is preparing for this week's pot holiday by sending safety tips via their official Twitter account, run by officer Drew Fennelly.

Those tweets have gotten thousands of likes, and they aren't the only ones. Fennelly says that using humor serves a purpose: The funnier the tweet, the more likely the department's updates reach a wider audience.

Fifty years ago, Johnny Cash performed at Folsom State Prison in Folsom, Calif. The January 1968 concert and live album it produced, At Folsom Prison, helped revitalize Cash's career, inspiring him to testify for prison reform and cementing his reputation as a voice for the downtrodden.

At Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami this week, executives with the nation's payday loan industry are holding their annual conference with receptions, breakout sessions and a golf tournament.

Outside the gates of the resort Tuesday, a smaller group gathered to hold a protest. They were trying to shame an industry that they say preys on the vulnerable, by lending them money at interest rates as high as 200 percent to 300 percent a year.

Newly filed reports show Democratic House candidates outpacing Republicans in raising money for the midterm elections. Here's what's going on:

1. Democratic donors are excited by the possibility of gaining a House majority.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

SpaceX has launched NASA's planet-hunting satellite TESS into outer space Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral.

Tess — short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — will spend two years searching for planets near bright, nearby stars. The satellite was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch window was narrow — just 30 seconds — and TESS was to be deployed into orbit about 48 minutes after launch.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ambitious plans for European Union reform and has been counting on cooperation from Germany, France's closest European ally, to see those plans come to fruition. But when he meets in Berlin Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss his proposals, he may face resistance.

While Germany is decidedly pro-EU, Merkel is under domestic pressure to push back against economic reforms that could vex taxpayers. And some of Macron's proposals would do exactly that.

People across the United States are focusing on the youngest in their communities during the National Week of the Child.

Sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the week aims to bring attention to early childhood education.

The Child Development Laboratory Center at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley is celebrating in its own way; first with Tasty Tuesday, where parents and their children made tacos, and then Work Together Wednesday, which involved a clean-up of the playground.

Three Kansas men were convicted Wednesday of plotting to bomb an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived and worshiped in Garden City, following a four-week trial in Wichita.

Where they stand: What Missouri lawmakers are saying about Gov. Eric Greitens

Apr 18, 2018

Gov. Eric Greitens is facing unprecedented bipartisan calls for his resignation or impeachment after a series of unfolding political and legal scandals.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, on Tuesday became among the latest to join the dozens of lawmakers already calling for the governor to step down. See below how each member of the General Assembly has weighed in on the matter:

New York's attorney general wants lawmakers to change the state's criminal laws so that potential pardons by President Trump wouldn't necessarily protect people from being charged in the state system.

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