Homebuilder sentiment slips; outlook remains positive

U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their sales prospects, even as their overall outlook remains favorable ahead of the spring homebuying season.

GOP still struggling with Trump's remarks on Africa

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are struggling to get their stories straight as President Donald Trump's Homeland Security secretary became the latest GOP official to offer an inconclusive version of a meeting in which Trump is said to have used vulgar remarks that have been criticized as racist.

Across the South, it's snow, ice and record-breaking cold

ATLANTA (AP) — The South awoke Wednesday to a two-part Arctic mess that caused problems as far south as the Gulf Coast. First came a thin blanket of snow and ice, then came below-zero wind chills and record-breaking low temperatures in New Orleans and other cities.

UIC breaks ground on academic, residential complex

CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Illinois at Chicago has broken ground on a $100 million academic and residential complex.

Girl jumps out window, reveals that 13 siblings kept captive

PERRIS, Calif. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl who looked closer to 10 jumped out a window, called 911, and showed the world the strange and secret horror she and her 12 brothers and sisters had been living through.

Her parents had made their suburban Southern California home a private school, a prison and a veritable torture chamber for the siblings aged 2 to 29, authorities said.

GOP senator denounces Trump attacks, recalls Stalin rhetoric

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator is denouncing President Donald Trump's use of the terms "fake news" and "enemy of the people" to describe the news media and stories he doesn't like.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said Trump's attacks were reminiscent of words infamously used by Russian dictator Josef Stalin to describe his enemies.

Champaign County sues drugmakers, 3 doctors over opioid risks

URBANA — A Champaign law firm has filed suit on behalf of the state of Illinois and Champaign County against a handful of drug companies, asserting that they knew that the painkilling pharmaceuticals they manufactured misled "consumers and medical suppliers through misrepresentations or omissions regarding the appropriate uses, risks and safety of opioids."

Nestle selling U.S. candy business for $2.8 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy's Ferrero for about $2.8 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Nerds, SweeTarts and FunDip.

Vacancy on UI Board of Trustees still unfilled after a year

For a year now, there has been an empty seat on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

As the board prepares to elect new officers Thursday in Chicago, Gov. Bruce Rauner has yet to choose an appointee for the ninth statewide seat vacated last January.

Champaign council approves new video-gambling regulations

CHAMPAIGN — The city council voted Tuesday night to enact regulations on video gambling.