Some highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks edged higher Thursday as momentum in the technology sector offset disappointing reports on economic growth and the labor market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8 points, or 0.1%, to end at 12,403; the S&P 500 added 5 points, or 0.4%, to 1,326; and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 22 points, or 0.8%, to close at 2,783. The Dow had been down more than 70 points earlier in the session.
Comments of the Day:
â€śIt is about time that these American companies are held accountable for their actions. After all, they have been unwilling to pay fair wages to American citizens and instead have paid dirt-low wages to illegal immigrants.â€ť– sam49
â€śWhen illegal immigrants provide the backbone of produce production in the United States at costs far below minimum wage, that benefits those legally here. Wave your pom-poms for change all you want, but be sure you understand what you're changing.â€ť– GeorgeFnBush
Arizona can suspend the licenses of Arizona businesses that don't verify that new hires are in the country legally, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Many CNN.com readers, including self-proclaimed liberals, cheered the ruling.
rosalvaje said, â€śHurray for Arizona and coming to a state near you.â€ť ChrisDawg said, â€śAs a liberal, I'm fine with this.â€ť OutNasa said, â€śThis ruling is pro legal immigrant. I applaud it.â€ť NCArmyVet1 said, â€śWe welcome all immigrants who come here legally!â€ť notrolls said, â€śIt looks like even the Supreme Court is capable of grasping the concept that it is illegal to be illegal.â€ť
The Senate voted Thursday to extend three key provisions of the Patriot Act scheduled to expire at midnight, sending the measure to the House for consideration.
The House had been scheduled to begin its Memorial Day recess on Thursday afternoon. However, a protracted dispute over the legislation in the Senate, fueled by conservative newcomer Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, muddied voting schedules and required the House to stay longer than planned.
Late Thursday afternoon, Paul reached a deal with Senate leaders to allow votes on whether to table two of his amendments. Both amendments failed, and the subsequent vote on the measure to extend the Patriot Act provisions for four years passed easily on a 72-23 vote.
The expiring provisions of the law passed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks deal with roving wiretaps, tracking alleged "lone wolf" terrorists, and the ability of law enforcement officials to obtain any records they deem relevant to an investigation.
While the Senate approval was expected, passage in the House could be tougher as lawmakers on the right and left oppose an extension for various reasons. For example, some members of Congress are concerned about the law's impact on civil liberties, while others support the law but think it should be made permanent.FULL STORY
[Updated at 5:38 p.m.ET] Eight NATO soldiers - including seven Americans - were killed Thursday when two improvised explosive devices blew up in southern Afghanistan, according to the International Security Assistance Force and the Pentagon.
A coalition military official said the attack occurred in the Shorabak District, a remote area in the southeastern part of Kandahar Province, approximately 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) south of the city of Kandahar. It's the same region in which Taliban forces unleashed multiple attacks earlier this month in their so-called spring offensive.FULL STORY
Led by Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks sealed the deal and sent the Thunder packing Wednesday night with a 100-96 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Though Oklahoma City won't get a shot at the title, it certainly didn't go down without a fight. As SI.com's Chris Mannix explains, the Thunder fought to a three-point lead going into halftime but ultimately were outmatched by a better, more experienced Dallas squad.
"Oklahoma City will learn from this experience," Mannix writes. "(Kevin) Durant will learn how to play through contact, how to not let players push him off his spot. (Kendrick) Perkins will shed 15 pounds and regain the mobility he lost dealing with multiple knee injuries. Serge Ibaka will take the lessons learned from defending Nowitzki, and Zach Randolph in the conference semis, and come back in the fall a better player. (James) Harden will be a year older, a year wiser and that syrupy shooting stroke of his isn't going anywhere."
These three students dropped out of college to receive a $100,000 grant and mentorship to start a tech company. They are part of the first group of Thiel Fellows - 24 people under age 20 who have agreed to put their formal education on hold for two years for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.
Deming, 17, is developing anti-aging therapies; Zaman, 18, is building mobile payment systems for developing countries; and Burnham, 18, is working on extracting minerals from asteroids and comets. Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor, announced the first group of Thiel Fellows on Wednesday through his Thiel Foundation. He says the fellowship addresses two of the country's most pressing problems: a bubble in higher education and a dearth of Americans developing breakthrough technologies.
"We're not saying that everybody should drop out of college," Thiel told The New York Times.
The fellows can always go back to school. The problem, he said, is that "in our society, the default assumption is that everybody has to go to college."
"I believe you have a bubble whenever you have something that's overvalued and intensely believed," Thiel said. "In education, you have this clear price escalation without incredible improvement in the product. At the same time, you have this incredible intensity of belief that this is what people have to do. In that way, it seems very similar in some ways to the housing bubble and the tech bubble."
Officials will release a list of 232 people officially reported missing or unaccounted for following the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.
"Our goal is to get that number to 0," Andrea Spillers, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety said Thursday. "We will dedicate as much state resources as needed, around-the-clock, to make sure all of those family members that have loved ones that cannot be found are connected."
Authorities urged residents who may have been reported unaccounted for to let officials know they are okay by calling following number: (417) 895-6868. Those needing to report someone missing to law enforcement should call (417) 659-5464.
Super Typhoon Songda ripped across the western Pacific on Thursday, dropping heavy rain on the Philippines and threatening Okinawa and the Japanese main islands with rain and damaging winds into the weekend.
Songda was a Category 5 storm late Thursday, with maximum sustained winds of 161 mph and gusts of 195 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The storm was producing wave heights of 38 feet in the Pacific, forecasters said.
The forecast track for Songda put it over Okinawa on Saturday night as a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 109 mph and gusts up 132 mph.
Okinawa is home to several U.S. military installations, including Kadena Air Base, home to nearly 18,000 Americans, and Camp Courtney, home of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and its 16,000 Marines, according to U.S. Forces Japan.
It's one thing to survive the nation's deadliest tornado. It's another to then try to track down your missing loved ones. For Joplin, Missouri, residents, part of the healing process is accounting for all the missing. But many families are frustrated by bureaucratic policies that are hampering their search efforts. Watch as these families try to learn the fate of their relatives and learn how you can help.
Radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is accumulating in marine life off Japan's coast above legal limits for food contamination, Greenpeace said Thursday.
The environmental group said its findings run counter to Japanese government reports that radiation from the Fukushima plant, damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, is being diluted as time passes.
â€śDespite what the authorities are claiming, radioactive hazards are not decreasing through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is instead accumulating in marine life," Greenpeace radiation expert Jan Vande Putte said in a press release.
The office of Libya's prime minister sent a message to the Spanish government listing "a series of proposals that could lead to a ceasefire," a spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday.
The message, from the office of Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, was also sent to other European capitals, the spokesman said, adding that he could not name which capitals.
Spain has contributed military assets, including troops, to the NATO-led mission to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya.Read CNN's full coverage of the Libyan ceasefire proposal
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the devastating storms that have hit parts of the U.S.
Today's programming highlights...
8:45 am ET - G8 summit meeting - President Obama and other world leaders participate in a G8 working session in Deauville, France.
9:00 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Testimony continues in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.
Three things you'll want to know about Thursday:
Flags-in: The soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) will be placing flags before each of the gravestones and niches in Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.
Every available soldier in the unit will participate, placing the small flags one foot in front of each of the more than 280,000 gravestones and niches of service members laid to rest in the two cemeteries.
The event is known as "flags-in" and it has been observed before Memorial Day weekend each year since 1948. The 3rd Infantry soldiers will remain in the cemeteries throughout the weekend to be sure the flags are undisturbed.
NBA playoffs: The Miami Heat can wrap up the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night with a win against the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and one more win will put superstar LeBron James into his second NBA Finals and his first since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat last summer.
Police in Serbia have arrested a man suspected of being former Serbian military commander Ratko Mladic, the highest-ranking war crimes suspect still at large from the Balkan wars of the 1990s, Serbia's B92 radio reported Thursday.
Police are doing DNA tests on the man to determine if he is Mladic, the radio station reported, citing a leading Croatian newspaper. The radio station said it "contacted the police, but was told only that an indentity check and DNA analysis were 'ongoing.'"
CNN has not confirmed the report, but Serbian President Boris Tadic's office announced a surprise press conference for Thursday afternoon, shortly after the reports first appeared.
Mladic is wanted on charges of genocide, extermination and murder, among other charges, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The tribunal accuses him of "direct involvement in the genocide committed after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995," and the killing of "close to 8,000 men and boys following the fall of this enclave."
The massacre of the Muslim men and boys is thought to be the largest individual slaughter in Europe since the end of World War II.
Mladic has been on the run since the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended in 1995.
His former boss, Radovan Karadzic, was arrested in July 2008 and is now on trial in The Hague.
Slobodan Milosevic, who was president of Yugoslavia during the conflict, was toppled in 2000 and put on trial at The Hague. He died in jail before the trial came to an end.FULL STORY
America is older and more middle-aged-looking than ever before.
Thatâ€™s the take-away from a new dump of data the U.S. Census Bureau released on Thursday morning as part of its efforts to quantify American life.
In demographer-speak, the median age of the United States is now 37.2, according to census data. That means there are the same number of people older than that age as younger. Or, in everyday-language, the country is approaching that ripe old age of 40.
â€śForty makes it sound like a middle-aged country,â€ť said Carl Schmertmann, an economics professor at Florida State Universityâ€™s Center for Demography and Population Health.