Soon-to-be Columbia kindergartners draw how they picture school

At Mill Creek Elementary School's kindergarten registration, 4- and 5-year-olds drew pictures of what they thought they would do once they started school in the fall. 

WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF: Syrians holds pro-government rallies; Swiss crash victims identified

In Cuba,  dissidents vowed to continue their two-day occupation of a Havana church. The Syrian government postponed the observance of Arab Teacher Day to make it easier to bus state employees and students to pro-government rallies, and some Iranian banks were blocked from doing international bank transfers. Also, relatives visited the bus crash site in Switzerland where schoolchildren and adults died.

Cuban dissidents vow to stay in church

A group of 13 Cuban dissidents who have occupied a Havana church for two days are no longer demanding an audience with Pope Benedict XVI when he visits this month, but they ask that the Pope mediate their grievances with the Cuban government.

Relatives identify bodies of family members killed in Swiss bus crash

Families went to the morgue near the Swiss town of Sion to identify their relatives killed in a Tuesday's crash. Twenty-two schoolchildren and six adults were killed. Investigations are under way to determine how a modern bus with two rested drivers and a tunnel considered safe could result in one of the deadliest highway crashes in Swiss history.

Internal competition strengthens Missouri gymnastics team

Internal competition among the team during practice has helped team members stay focused and sharp on their routines.

Iran isolated from global financial system

Western countries imposed new sanctions on Iran by blocking 30 of the country's banks from making international transfers. These measures may make it more difficult for Iran to sell oil because a single tanker can hold $100 million of oil and electronic transfers are crucial to the sale.

Syrian government holds rallies, demonstrates public support on uprising anniversary

Arab National Teacher Day was postponed one week to allow for transportation of state employees and students to the rallies. This demonstration of support for the government was orchestrated to overshadow the opposition.

Analysis: As Afghanistan mirrors Iraq, Obama sees reasons to leave

Both President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said NATO forces would begin handing over the lead combat role to Afghan forces next year in order to meet the planned 2014 withdrawal date.

Teachers pensions face upheavel in underfunding

As retiring baby boomer teachers retire, states find their pensions to be severely underfunded. Many state governors look at different solutions, such as raising the retirement age.

James Cameron, others to explore the real abyss

Director James Cameron is set to explore the deepest trench in the ocean. Cameron recently set the record for the deepest solo sub dive.

Democrats propose rules for Hall of Famous Missourians

The proposed new requirements, released Thursday to The Associated Press, would require that selections for the Hall of Famous Missourians be supported by at least three of the top four legislative leaders.

Missouri women's basketball team looks ahead to offseason

With three seniors graduating, coach Robin Pingeton is looking to the future with new recruits and Missouri's transition to the Southeastern Conference.

Low-interest loans available in 14 Missouri counties

Missouri counties recently affected by severe weather may qualify for low-interest loans.

Schools will get to opt out of 'pink slime' beef

Amid a growing social media storm over so-called "lean finely textured beef," the Agriculture Department announced that schools involved in the national school lunch program will have the option of avoiding the product.

Sex-deprived male flies go for the booze, could link to alcoholism cure

Rejected flies consistently went for the alcohol more than did the male flies that had just mated. In fact, they evidently got plastered.

CDC launching graphic anti-smoking ad campaign

The government is trying to shock smokers into quitting with a new ad campaign announced Thursday that includes sometimes-gruesome stories of people damaged by tobacco products.

Columbia College women's basketball ends season with NAIA tournament loss

Ashley Fisher led the Cougars with 23 points, but No. 10 Langston University ended the Cougars' season Thursday with a 76-46 victory.

I-70 stops net 117 pounds of pot, two pounds of meth

Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers seized 117 pounds of marijuana near Marshall Junction. A trooper also found two pounds of methamphetamine in another stop near Sweet Springs.

St. Louis soldiers memorial falls short of national monument

Although the decision isn't final, a federal report found the memorial and museum lack the "national significance" to become a national monument.

Sales tax might help pay for Arch project

The sales tax would affect St. Louis city and St. Louis and St. Charles counties by three-sixteenths of a cent.