Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
1. NO LET-UP IN HOSTAGE DRAMA
The Islamic State group releases a new audio recording purportedly made by a Japanese hostage, again demanding the release of an Iraqi would-be bomber.
2. WHAT GOP IS DEMANDING OF ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE
Republican senators at Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing repeatedly seek assurances that she would do things differently than the current occupant of the job, Eric Holder.
3. HEZBOLLAH FIRES ON ISRAELI MILITARY CONVOY
The salvo of missiles in a disputed border kills two soldiers and a U.N. peacekeeper.
4. RAUL CASTRO PUTS BRAKES ON CLOSER US-CUBA TIES
The Cuban president says normal relations depend on a series of American concessions — including the return of the U.S. base at Guantanamo — that appear highly unlikely anytime soon.
5. FACEBOOK BEATS PROFIT, REVENUE FORECASTS
Among the bright spots: Ad revenue jumped 53 percent to $3.59 billion in the fourth quarter.
6. 'FRIENDSHIP 9' CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS CLEARED
A judge tosses the convictions of the nine men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, S.C., in 1961.
7. US TIGHTENING RULES ON HEART-ZAPPING DEFIBRILLATORS
The devices have been plagued by design and manufacturing flaws for years.
8. WHY LAW ENFORCEMENT IS CRITICIZING GOOGLE
Authorities are complaining that the tech giant's popular Waze traffic app — which allows drivers to share information on things like speed traps — is making it harder to nab offenders.
9. CO-INVENTOR OF LASER DIES AT 99
Charles Townes shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics for the work he did while on the faculty at Columbia University.
10. WHO'S GOOD BET TO WIN SUPER BOWL
New England will down Seattle 27-24 in overtime, predicts Barry Wilner, the AP's pro football writer.