House to vote on health care bill Thursday

WASHINGTON The House will vote Thursday on GOP legislation to repeal and replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, as Republicans finally aim to deliver on seven years of campaign promises that helped them gain control of Congress and the White House.

But the move announced late Wednesday by GOP leaders also carries extreme political risk, as House Republicans prepare to endorse a bill that boots millions off the insurance rolls and may not even survive the Senate.

"We will pass this bill," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confidently predicted after a day of wrangling votes and personal arm-twisting by President Donald Trump.

Reports: At least 35 killed in Iran coal mine explosion

TEHRAN, Iran Three semi-official news agencies in Iran say the death toll from a coal mine explosion has risen to at least 35 people killed.

The Fars, Mehr and Tasnim news agencies all carried similar reports Thursday morning.

The explosion Wednesday rocked the Zemestanyurt mine, which lies 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Azadshahr in Iran's northern Golestan province.

Government officials have rushed to the site. So far, investigators believe gas in the mine sparked the explosion.

Trump to sign order on political limits for churches

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Thursday targeting a rarely enforced IRS rule that says religious organizations and other non-profits that endorse political candidates risk losing their tax-exempt status.

The order also promises "regulatory relief" for groups with religious objections to the preventive services requirement in the Affordable Care Act, according to a White House official. Those requirements include covering birth control and the move could apply to religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have moral objections to paying for contraception.

Trump will sign the order as he marks the National Day of Prayer at the White House Thursday.

N. Korea issues direct criticism on China amid nuke dispute

SEOUL, South Korea North Korea has issued a rare direct criticism of China through a commentary saying its "reckless remarks" on the North's nuclear program are testing its patience and could trigger unspecified "grave" consequences.

China, North Korea's largest trading partner and main benefactor, suspended imports of North Korean coal in line with U.N. sanctions and has been urging its traditional ally to stop nuclear and missile activities amid U.S. pressure to use its leverage to resolve the nuclear standoff.

The commentary released Wednesday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency said that "a string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China everyday only to render the present bad situation tenser."

World Video Game Hall of Fame to announce class of 2017

ROCHESTER, N.Y. The World Video Game Hall of Fame is set to reveal its class of 2017.

The inductees will be announced Thursday morning at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, where the hall of fame was established in 2015.

The hall named 12 finalists for this year's class in March. They are: "Donkey Kong," ''Final Fantasy VII," ''Halo: Combat Evolved," ''Microsoft Windows Solitaire," ''Mortal Kombat," ''Myst," ''Pokemon Red and Green," ''Portal," ''Resident Evil," ''Street Fighter II," ''Tomb Raider" and "Wii Sports."