Japan says it's trying to work with the Islamic State group for the release of a freelance journalist and founder of a private security company who are being held hostage for ransom. The deadline for the group to receive the $200 million is believed to be Friday.

Seventy people have now become infected with the measles in an outbreak linked to two Disney theme parks in California. The outbreak is said to have spread to five U.S. states and Mexico.

Rep. Thomas Jackson of Thomasville is sponsoring a bill in the Alabama House to make it illegal to carry a gun in a church without permission, even if there is a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Darrio Melton of Selma and is one of 12 pre-filed so far by House members for the upcoming legislative session, according to AL.com.

Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul McKendrick will host a community meeting at Bryant High School from 6:30 to 7:30 this evening to discuss recent academic achievements. Attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions, as well.

So far, only 59 bodies have been recovered of the 162 people aboard the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month. Today, talks continue between delegations from the U.S. and Cuba on how the nations may re-establish embassies and post ambassadors in the coming months after half a century of political conflict.

The Commerce Department is reporting a rebound in new home construction. In addition, stocks opened the trading day modestly higher yesterday.

Northport native Derrick Cunningham has been sworn in as the Montgomery County Sheriff. He is the first black to hold the position, according to our daily.

Alton Hyche, who was accused of killing his wife Penny in 2008, was found not guilty of any charges in his wife's death.

After years of speculation, it has been confirmed that a Walmart Neighborhood Market is planned for the Skyland Boulevard and Hargrove Road East area. The store's opening is planned for the fall, reports the Tuscaloosa News.