Ousted Air Force base official under sexual misconduct probe

BELLEVILLE (AP) — Scott Air Force Base officials say a commander who was ousted from his job this week is being investigated for sexual misconduct.

A base news release says details about the investigation of Col. John Howard won't be released while it's happening "to ensure the integrity of the process." The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will head the investigation.

Judge: Video gambling profits must be split with operators

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge has ruled that Illinois video gambling parlors must continue to evenly split their profits with companies that operate the terminals.

The Chicago Tribune reports Cook County Judge Neil H. Cohen ruled this month that splitting profits equally prevents terminal operators from offering incentives to gambling establishments.

Italy OKs living wills amid long-running euthanasia debate

ROME (AP) — Italy's Senate gave final approval Thursday to a law allowing Italians to write living wills and refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, the latest step in the Roman Catholic nation's long-running and agonizing debate over euthanasia and end-of-life issues.

Putin: U.S. hurts itself with 'invented' collusion case

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed Thursday at allegations of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, saying the reports have been "invented" by Trump's foes and have hurt the U.S. political system.

Retail sales jump in November on strong holiday sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers went on a shopping binge last month as the holiday season began, leading to big gains among online retailers, electronics stores and furniture stores.

Coroner: Accused lawmaker's death is apparent suicide

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Dan Johnson, a Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky who defiantly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the basement of his home, died in an apparent suicide, the county coroner said.

Ample tax cuts for business, wealthy in new GOP tax accord

WASHINGTON (AP) — Generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would be delivered in a sweeping overhaul of the tax laws, under a new agreement crafted by Republicans in Congress.

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion in stock, including film and television studios and cable and international TV businesses, as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.

Peoria man who burned child in shower gets 50 years

PEORIA (AP) — A Peoria man convicted of beating and severely burning a 2-year-old girl by putting her into a scalding hot shower to punish her has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that 26-year-old Willie Vail was sentenced on Wednesday, about six weeks after he was convicted of aggravated battery.

Farenthold to retire from House amid harassment accusations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election next year, two Republicans said Thursday, adding his name to the list of lawmakers leaving Congress amid sexual harassment allegations that have cost powerful men their jobs in politics, the arts and other businesses.