Kansas Supreme Court says state is inadequately funding public schools, violating constitution
Mar 7, 2014 9:47 AM CST
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says the state's current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. In Friday's much-anticipated ruling, the court said Kansas' poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession. The court also sent the case back for more review to determine what the adequate amount of funding should be. The lawsuit was filed in 2010 on behalf of parents and school...
For 2nd time this week, France's Sarkozy learns his conversations secretly recorded
Mar 7, 2014 9:47 AM CST
PARIS (AP) — Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is finding out how little is really private these days. His lawyer on Friday condemned new reports of secret recordings of his phone calls, less than 24 hours after filing a complaint over the release of an aide's audio files of private conversations. The newspaper Le Monde reported the latest recordings came in a corruption investigation that initially targeted Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. Le Monde said transcriptions of the calls...
Activists who protested in Cairo airport over not being allowed to travel to Gaza leave Egypt
Mar 7, 2014 9:42 AM CST
CAIRO (AP) — Airport officials in Egypt say women activists who held a sit-in at Cairo's international airport over not being allowed to travel to the Gaza Strip have left the country. The officials said Friday that the activists were placed on entry ban lists for "challenging and provoking security despite the good treatment." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. Nearly 40 women planned to cross into the Gaza Strip through Egypt...
Kansas Supreme Court says state is inadequately funding public schools, violating constitution
Mar 7, 2014 9:41 AM CST
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Supreme Court says state is inadequately funding public schools, violating constitution.
Saudi Arabia names Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group, along with al-Qaida and other groups
Mar 7, 2014 9:34 AM CST
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia identified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group along with al-Qaida and others Friday, warning those who join them or support them they could face five to 30 years in prison. A Saudi Interior Ministry statement said King Abdullah approved the findings of a committee entrusted with identifying extremist groups referred to in a royal decree earlier last month. The decree punishes those who fight in conflicts outside the kingdom or join extremist groups...
Russian parliament speaker says Russia would welcome Crimea; 65,000 demonstrate in Moscow
Mar 7, 2014 9:23 AM CST
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia rallied support Friday for a Crimean bid to secede from Ukraine, with Russia's top lawmaker assuring her Crimean counterpart that the region would be welcomed as "an absolutely equal subject of the Russian Federation." Across Red Square, 65,000 people waved Russian flags, chanting "Crimea is Russia!" The strategic peninsula in southern Ukraine has become the flashpoint in the battle for Ukraine, where three months of protests sent President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing to Russia....
After losses across the Midwest, unions see Illinois governor's race as a fight for survival
Mar 7, 2014 9:19 AM CST
CHICAGO (AP) — When superrich Republican Bruce Rauner decided to run for governor of Illinois, it was clear this wouldn't be the kind of race the state was accustomed to. Rauner, who made his fortune as a venture capitalist, was new to campaigning and bragged of being beholden to no one. He came out swinging at entrenched special interests and "government union bosses" with an intensity not seen before. Organized labor, which has long had cordial relations with state Republicans, went to full...
Gas leak on destroyer being built at Indian dockyard kills navy commander, sickens 2 workers
Mar 7, 2014 9:19 AM CST
NEW DELHI (AP) — A gas leak on a destroyer being built at a Mumbai dockyard killed a navy commander and sickened two workers Friday, in the latest fatal accident to hit the Indian navy. After a deadly fire on a submarine last week, navy chief Adm. D.K. Joshi resigned to take responsibility for the string of accidents. Friday's gas leak was caused by a malfunction in a carbon dioxide unit on the destroyer, which was scheduled to be delivered to the navy next month, state-owned Mazagon Dock Ltd....
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says red states are leading US economic recovery; takes jab at NY, Calif
Mar 7, 2014 9:17 AM CST
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Rick Perry says Republican governors like him are leading the nation's economic recovery. The Texas leader says governors of Democratic-led states, in contrast, are promoting policies that produce higher taxes, out-of-control pensions and fewer jobs. Perry, a 2012 presidential contender, singled out New York and California as states where taxes are too high. He says that moving trucks don't even want to go to California. The Texas governor was the first speaker Friday morning...
US says New Jersey acted properly when it hired Sandy cleanup firm that sparked protest
Mar 7, 2014 9:15 AM CST
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A federal audit has found New Jersey did nothing wrong when it used a no-bid contract to hire a firm to clean up debris left behind by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. But the U.S. Homeland Security Department says that towns that continued to use the firm for more than 60 days without putting the work out to bid might not be fully reimbursed by the federal government. The contract and the firm, Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based AshBritt, drew the ire of lawmakers months after Sandy struck....
Perry blasts Democratic states for high taxes, few jobs as GOP's big names strut their stuff
Mar 7, 2014 9:12 AM CST
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry mocked Democratic governors for leading their states to higher taxes and fewer jobs as early auditions for the next Republican presidential contest rolled on Friday at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists. It's the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings thousands of activists to suburban Washington each year to put their stamp on the Republican Party. The program featured Perry and two other...
Wig-wearing British lawyers swap courtrooms for street protest over legal aid cuts
Mar 7, 2014 9:06 AM CST
LONDON (AP) — Thousands of British lawyers have stayed away from court to protest legal aid cuts that they fear will devastate the country's respected justice system. Dozens of court hearings were canceled across the country Friday, and hundreds of lawyers in black robes and white wigs marched on Parliament. The government, which has slashed billions from public spending in the name of deficit reduction, plans to cut lawyers' fees to reduce the legal aid budget by 220 million pounds ($360 million)...
Opening statements begin in court-martial of US Army general facing sexual assault charges
Mar 7, 2014 9:02 AM CST
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — With the Pentagon under increased scrutiny over revelations of rampant rape and sexual misconduct within the ranks, opening statements began Friday in a rare court-martial of an Army general — believed to be the most senior member of the U.S. military to face trial on sex assault charges. Prosecutors were making their case against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, accused of sexually assaulting a captain under his command with whom he had a three-year affair. Prosecutors...
Ukraine decides against boycott and will compete in Winter Paralympics in Sochi
Mar 7, 2014 8:58 AM CST
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Ukraine will compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi despite Russia's military moves in Crimea. The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee decided against boycotting the games, announcing a few hours before Friday's opening ceremony that its athletes would stay. The decision came after discussions between Ukrainian officials and athletes over whether to pull out in light of the crisis back home and Russia's military takeover of the Crimean peninsula. "We are staying at the Paralympics,"...
With winners already decided, NKorea uses elections to keep tabs on citizens
Mar 7, 2014 8:54 AM CST
TOKYO (AP) — North Korean voters will make a choice Sunday when they elect a new national legislature, but not for a candidate. The ruling elite have already done that for them, and there's only one per district. They get to vote "yes" or "no." Virtually all pick "yes." One thing they don't get to decide is whether to bother voting. Going to the polls is expected of all eligible voters, which effectively makes North Korean elections a powerful tool for checking up on the people. For outsiders...
Court in northern Greece gives doctor suspended sentence for breaking anti-racism laws
Mar 7, 2014 8:52 AM CST
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A court in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has given a Greek doctor a 16-month suspended sentence for breaking anti-racism laws and for weapons possession after he put up a sign outside his office that said, in German, "Jews not welcome." Police searching the 57-year-old neurologist's home just outside the city found daggers with Nazi symbols, a Nazi flag and printed material from the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party. The doctor was sentenced to 12 months...
Brig. Gen. Peggy Combs takes over at Fort Knox, becomes first female commander at post
Mar 7, 2014 8:47 AM CST
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs has become the first woman to take command over Fort Knox and U.S. Army Cadet Command. The News-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/1fLnzGR) reports the change of command ceremony took place Thursday at the central Kentucky Army post. Combs, who's served in the Army for 28 years, succeeds Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith in the role. In a speech during the ceremony, Combs noted that Fort Knox is an important hub in attracting and recruiting soldiers. She praised...
Spain's government approves an increase in US rapid reaction force deployed in south air base
Mar 7, 2014 8:39 AM CST
MADRID (AP) — Spain's government has authorized an increase in a temporary force of U.S. marines and aircraft based at a southwestern Spanish air base as part of a rapid reaction force to deal with crises in Africa. The American presence at Moron base will increase to 850 marines from 500 approved in April, while the number of transport and support aircraft will double to 16, the government says. The authorization under a 1988 cooperation was approved by Spain's Cabinet on Friday. The Cabinet...
AP Interview: Karzai's brother says he quit Afghan presidential race in favor of moderate
Mar 7, 2014 8:32 AM CST
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The elder brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Friday he dropped out of the country's April 5 presidential election to leave the field open to a candidate that he hoped would steer the nation through a "dignified" transition. In an interview with The Associated Press, businessman Qayyum Karzai said he believed the majority of voters remained undecided in the upcoming election. He said he's thrown his support behind former Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul...
New Mexico residents, officials want more information on nuclear dump radiation release
Mar 7, 2014 8:30 AM CST
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — It's been three weeks since the radiation sensors were triggered and the exhaust dampers at the federal government's only underground nuclear waste dump slammed shut, putting the repository's massive salt caverns off-limits and the nation's cleanup efforts on hold. The U.S. Department of Energy says low levels of radiation made it past the ventilation system's air filters and exposed 13 workers. Agency officials describe the amount as minuscule, saying the workers aren't...
Malaysian court sentences opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to 5 years in jail on sodomy charges
Mar 7, 2014 8:29 AM CST
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian court on Friday sentenced opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges, overturning an earlier acquittal and throwing his political career into jeopardy. An angry Anwar vowed to appeal to the country's highest court. He accused Prime Minister Najib Razak's government of orchestrating his conviction and warned that it "faces the wrath of the people." The court said Anwar could remain free on bail during the appeal. Anwar, 66,...
Brazilian football player racially abused by fans during post-match interview
Mar 7, 2014 8:23 AM CST
SAO PAULO (AP) — Fans yelled racist insults at a Brazilian football player being interviewed by reporters after a match, the latest case of racism to hit the country that will host the World Cup in a few months. Santos midfielder Arouca, who played for Brazil's national team last year, was on the field talking to reporters after his team's 5-2 win in the Sao Paulo state championship on Thursday when some fans in the stands called him "monkey." The insults came a day after a referee said he was...
German president Gauck lays wreath at site of WWII massacre in northwestern Greece
Mar 7, 2014 8:23 AM CST
LIGIADES, Greece (AP) — A visibly emotional German president laid a wreath Friday at a monument in northwestern Greece to villagers massacred by German soldiers during World War II, at the end of a three-day visit that combined political talks with efforts to bring closure to wounds from the German wartime occupation of Greece. Joachim Gauck expressed "shame" at the 1943 atrocity at Ligiades, where Nazi troops executed dozens of villagers, including months-old babies, in reprisal for a partisan...
International scrutiny of Venezuela grows amid continuing violence
Mar 7, 2014 8:17 AM CST
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is coming under increasing international scrutiny amid violence that most recently killed a National Guardsman and a civilian in a clash at a protest barricade. United Nations human rights experts demanded answers Thursday from Venezuela's government about the use of violence and imprisonment in a crackdown on widespread demonstrations. The six experts, who report to the U.N.'s top human rights body in Geneva, wrote the administration of President Nicolas Maduro...
Renamo attacks displace more than 6,000 people in central Mozambique
Mar 7, 2014 8:13 AM CST
MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambican Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina says attacks by the opposition party and former rebel movement Renamo have displaced more than 6,000 people in the central parts of the country. Vaquina told the Mozambican parliament Friday that armed attacks by Renamo have displaced 6,727 people in the central Gorongosa district alone. An agreement signed between Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party in Rome in 1992 ended a bitter 16-year civil war but violence flared up again...
Buoyed by ECB decision to not cut rates, euro breaches $1.39 for first time since Oct 2011
Mar 7, 2014 8:07 AM CST
LONDON (AP) — The euro has struck its highest level against the dollar for nearly two and a half years in the wake of the European Central Bank's decision not to cut interest rates further. At one point Friday, the currency, which is used by 18 European Union countries, rose to $1.3917, its highest rate since it touched $1.4170 in October 2011. The currency backed off after a slightly stronger than anticipated U.S. jobs report for February. The 175,000 increase in payrolls was ahead of the consensus...
One by one, Obama's warnings to Russia brushed aside by Putin
Mar 7, 2014 8:01 AM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — One by one, President Barack Obama's warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be speeding up efforts to formally stake his claim to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. In the week since Obama first declared there would be "costs" if Putin pressed into Crimea, Russian forces have taken control of the region and a referendum has been scheduled to decide its future. Obama declared the March 16 vote a violation of international law, but...
Ukrainian government looks to oligarchs for help in pro-Russian regions, gives them key posts
Mar 7, 2014 7:50 AM CST
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — In a surprising move after Russia flexed its military might in the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine's new leadership has reached out to oligarchs for help — appointing them as governors in eastern regions where loyalties to Moscow are strong. With their wealth, influence and self-interest in preventing further conflict, the oligarchs could be the key to calming tensions and maintaining Ukraine's control in areas where pro-Russian activists have stoked separatist tensions. But the...
International Criminal Court convicts Congo rebel leader of involvement in 2003 village attack
Mar 7, 2014 7:47 AM CST
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The International Criminal Court on Friday convicted a rebel leader of charges including murder and pillage over a deadly attack on a village in eastern Congo, but acquitted him of rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers. Germain Katanga showed no emotion as judges convicted him as an accessory in the attack on the strategic village of Bogoro on Feb. 24, 2003, in which some 200 civilians were hacked or shot to death and many women were raped and turned into...
Court approves 2nd lawyer to help with convicted Boston mobster 'Whitey' Bulger's appeal
Mar 7, 2014 7:41 AM CST
BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has approved a second taxpayer-funded lawyer to help with convicted Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger's (BUHL'-jurz) appeal. The 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals approved a request Wednesday from Bulger's lawyer, Henry Brennan, to hire James Budreau. The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/1gXAMJh ) reports that in granting permission to hire Budreau, Judge Juan R. Torruella cited the apparent difficulty of the appeal. Bulger's assets have been seized by the federal...
Those Dutch drug laws in a nutshell: 5 things to know about pot policy in the Netherlands
Mar 7, 2014 7:03 AM CST
AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Netherlands may be known as home to one of the world's most liberal drug policies, but it isn't totally freewheeling. There are plenty of rules and regulations smokers and weed-selling coffee shops must stick to. Here are five things to know about drug laws in the Netherlands: PERSONAL USE: The Dutch policy allows citizens to own small amounts of weed and cultivate a few cannabis plants. The maximum amount of weed you can carry is five grams (0.2 ounces) and you can grow...
As US states liberalize pot laws, Netherlands reverses course _ with unexpected results
Mar 7, 2014 6:55 AM CST
MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (AP) — A young man at a bus stop hisses at a passer-by: "What you looking for ... marijuana?" It's a scene of street peddling that the Netherlands hoped to stamp out in the 1970s when it launched a policy of tolerating "coffee shops" where people could buy and smoke pot freely. But Maastricht's street dealers are back, local residents complain. And the reason is a crackdown on coffee-shops triggered by another problem: Pot tourists who crossed the border to visit the cafes...
Syrian President Assad says Russian military takeover of Crimea shows Putin's 'wise policy'
Mar 7, 2014 6:39 AM CST
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad says Russia's military takeover of Crimea reflects President Vladimir Putin's "wise policy" and his efforts to restore "security and stability" in Ukraine after an "attempted coup." In a letter addressed to the Russian president, Assad claims Putin's move in eastern Ukraine prevented "terrorist extremists" from taking power in Kiev. Assad's comments — his first since the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis last month — were carried by the Syrian...
Army checkpoints set up against unrest in Thai capital get makeover to project gentler image
Mar 7, 2014 6:18 AM CST
BANGKOK (AP) — Military checkpoints set up in Thailand's capital to keep security during the country's political unrest are getting a makeover in a bid to project a kinder, gentler image, the army said Friday. Maj. Gen. Wara Boonyasit, a division commander, said soldiers have decorated some bunkers with colorful flowers and potted plants after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra suggested that the 176 checkpoints around Bangkok may be unnerving residents and scaring foreign tourists. Soldiers...
Palestinian President Abbas says there is 'no way' he'll recognize Israel as Jewish state
Mar 7, 2014 6:04 AM CST
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there is "no way" he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, rebuffing what Palestinians fear will be key elements of a U.S. peace proposal. Abbas' comments signaled that the gaps between him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain wide after seven months of mediation efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Abbas, whose remarks...
China allows first corporate bond default in step toward reforming financial markets
Mar 7, 2014 5:55 AM CST
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities allowed the country's first corporate bond default on Friday, inflicting losses on small investors in a painful step toward making its financial system more market-oriented. Investors in bonds sold in 2012 by Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co., a manufacturer of solar panels, were paid as little as 3 percent of the interest that was due Friday, according to two bondholders, one of whom said he put his parents' savings into the bonds. The company...
Turkey's Erdogan, fighting corruption scandal, threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube
Mar 7, 2014 5:52 AM CST
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this month's local elections. In a late-night interview Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV station that his government is determined to stem the leaks he insists are being instigated by followers of an influential...
Obama to highlight education agenda at Miami high school, then spend weekend in Florida Keys
Mar 7, 2014 5:07 AM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is beginning a new effort to help students take the first step toward getting a college education. During a visit to a Miami high school on Friday, Obama was announcing a new initiative to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form. The application is required for students to receive federal student aid, like Pell Grants, or federal student loans. States, colleges and universities also award student financial aid...
Kerry meets with Jordan's king on peace plan; April target date for framework agreement nears
Mar 7, 2014 4:48 AM CST
AQABA, Jordan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is in Jordan to meet with its king about Mideast peace. Kerry is hoping to broker a peace plan between Israel and Palestine authorities, and wants to present a framework for an agreement by the end of April. A major part of his proposal centers on security in the Jordan Valley that runs through parts of Israel and the West Bank. Jordan has been a key part of those negotiations. Kerry was to meet privately Friday afternoon with Jordan's King...
Russian parliament speaker: Crimea would be welcome as 'equal subject' of Russia
Mar 7, 2014 4:31 AM CST
MOSCOW (AP) — The speaker for Russia's upper house of parliament says Crimea would be welcome as an "equal subject" in Russia if the region votes to leave Ukraine in an upcoming referendum. Valentina Matvienko met with the head of Crimean parliament on Friday to discuss the region's possible accession to Russia. On Thursday, the parliament of Crimea voted to move the referendum date up by two weeks, to March 16, and to include a question on joining Russia. Russia's parliament is planning to review...
Syrian activists say 17 rebels have died in clashes at rebel stronghold near Lebanese border
Mar 7, 2014 4:28 AM CST
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say at least 17 rebels have been killed in a battle with government troops for an opposition stronghold near the border with Lebanon. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the opposition fighters died in overnight clashes with troops loyal to President Bashar Assad near Yabroud. The town is the last rebel stronghold in Syria's mountainous Qalamoun region that stretches to the border with Lebanon. The Observatory says government aircraft carried...
Bill introduced in Ky. legislature would let Rand Paul's name to appear twice on state ballot
Mar 7, 2014 4:06 AM CST
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Rand Paul's biggest political decision is approaching: whether to run for president in 2016 or focus solely on re-election to his U.S. Senate seat. A Republican lawmaker from his home state wants to free him from the potential dilemma by letting him run for both. State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said Thursday he wants to clarify that current Kentucky law, which prevents someone from running for multiple offices, does not apply to federal elections. A bill he introduced...
International Criminal Court convicts rebel in deadly 2003 attack on eastern Congo village
Mar 7, 2014 3:52 AM CST
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — International Criminal Court convicts rebel in deadly 2003 attack on eastern Congo village.
Discovery of long-forgotten trenches hints at how World War I transformed Britain's landscape
Mar 7, 2014 3:20 AM CST
GOSPORT, England (AP) — Two lines of trenches face off across No Man's Land. A soldier marches, rifle in hand, along a ditch. These are instantly familiar images of World War I — but this is Britain, a century on and an English Channel away from the battlefields of the Western Front. This overgrown and oddly corrugated patch of heathland on England's south coast was once a practice battlefield, complete with trenches, weapons and barbed wire. Thousands of troops trained here to take on the German...
5 things to know about Kansas Supreme Court ruling in lawsuit over funding for public schools
Mar 7, 2014 3:17 AM CST
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court will issue a decision Friday in a lawsuit filed by parents and school districts that accuses the state of not spending enough money on its public schools. Here are five things to know about the case: ___ LONG-AWAITED RULING: Parents and four school districts sued the state in 2010, saying Kansas lawmakers reneged on promises to provide a certain level of funding for public schools. A lower court ordered the state to increase school funding by at least...
Heavier sanctions on Russia over Ukraine could backfire on US, Europe
Mar 7, 2014 2:44 AM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Underlying talk about taking harsh punitive measures against Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine are economic complications and worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could backfire on the U.S. and Europe. Heavier U.S. and European Union sanctions could sting Russia's already slow-growing economy and hurt its financial sector. But Moscow could retaliate and seize American and other foreign assets or cut exports of natural gas to Europe, which is heavily dependent...
Survey: Half of America's young people say they're Democrats or lean Democratic
Mar 7, 2014 2:40 AM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Young adults like to think of themselves as independent, but when it comes to politics, they're more likely than not to lean to the left. Half of American adults ages 18 to 33 are self-described political independents, according to a survey out Friday, but at the same time half of these so-called millennials are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, the highest share for any age group over the last decade. In addition, young adults tend to be single and churchless —...
Taxi, limo firms upset over rules for tech competition ask officials to regulate Uber, Lyft
Mar 7, 2014 1:08 AM CST
DENVER (AP) — Frustrated and angry, more than 100 cabbies pulled up outside the Colorado Statehouse early this legislative session to protest tech startups known as ridesharing services. The taxi drivers say the emerging firms, which allow passengers to hail rides with the swipe of a smartphone, are avoiding costly requirements that they and other commercial drivers are forced to follow. Ridesharing company officials say they're open to regulation and point to self-imposed controls such as criminal...
As Egypt's economy flounders, some look to informal entrepreneurs as engine for recovery
Mar 7, 2014 1:07 AM CST
CAIRO (AP) — In Egypt's newest reality television show, contestants sold fruit juice from push carts in Cairo's busiest market and later organized a desert safari for tourists, hustling to make sales in the capital's crowded streets. The program, called "The Project" in Arabic, highlights entrepreneurship and small business acumen — something experts say is more crucial than ever as Egypt tries to claw its way out of tough economic times. With youth unemployment upward of 30 percent and its economy...
Putin says Russia's moves in Ukraine consistent with international law in call with Obama
Mar 7, 2014 12:54 AM CST
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian president has defended the country's moves in Ukraine consistent with international law during a phone call with President Barack Obama. A statement published on the Kremlin website early Friday said that during the call, Vladimir Putin condemned the newly formed Kiev government as the result of an "anti-constitutional coup" and said Russia was "unable to ignore" requests for protection from Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south. Putin stressed the importance of Russian-American...
Obama, Japanese PM discuss Ukraine, call Russian's actions a threat to international peace
Mar 7, 2014 12:27 AM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) about the situation in Ukraine and both leaders agree that Russia's actions threaten international peace and security. In the call late Thursday, the White House says that Obama and Abe spoke of the importance of preserving Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The two leaders noted there is still an opportunity for Russia to resolve the situation diplomatically....
Citing lack of regulations, judge dismisses FAA's only fine for flying a small drone
Mar 6, 2014 11:45 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed the Federal Aviation Administration's only fine against a commercial drone user on the grounds that the small drone was no different than a model aircraft, a decision that appears to undermine the agency's power to keep a burgeoning civilian drone industry out of the skies. Patrick Geraghty, a National Transportation Safety Board administrative law judge, said in his order dismissing the $10,000 fine that the FAA has no regulations governing model...
New Mexico residents, officials want more information on nuclear dump radiation release
Mar 6, 2014 11:39 PM CST
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Residents and local officials voiced frustration Thursday with the amount of information being released by the U.S. Department of Energy about a radiation leak last month at the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump. John Heaton, a former state representative and head of Mayor Dale Janway's nuclear task force, said at a town hall meeting in Carlsbad that the community feels as if it's being sidestepped, with action being orchestrated in Washington, D.C., instead of...
Imminent release of Colombia far-right militia leaders draws concern
Mar 6, 2014 11:02 PM CST
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — One veteran of Colombia's disbanded far-right militias admitted to ordering or taking part in at least 3,000 killings, mostly targeting leftists, and incinerating many of the corpses to destroy evidence. Another ordered a hit on a prominent intellectual who had been unjustly accused of backing insurgents and whose laptop held evidence that helped convict Colombia's then-national spy chief in the killing. Those two men and about 400 other right-wing paramilitaries are due...
Today in History
Mar 6, 2014 11:00 PM CST
Today is Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On March 7, 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., unanimously ruled that a parody that pokes fun at an original work can be considered "fair use" that doesn't require permission from the copyright holder. (The ruling concerned a parody of the Roy Orbison song "Oh, Pretty Woman" by the rap group 2 Live Crew.) On this date: In 1793, during the French...
Cummings says Issa apologized for conduct at hearing on IRS scandal
Mar 6, 2014 10:30 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Elijah Cummings said Thursday night that California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called him and apologized for refusing to let Cummings speak during an IRS hearing. The Maryland Democrat said he accepted the apology. Issa abruptly adjourned a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. He instructed committee staff to turn off the microphone of the committee's top Democrat, Cummings. The hearing was on the improper targeting of tea party groups by the Internal...
National Guardsman, civilian killed as Venezuelans clash over protest barricades
Mar 6, 2014 9:50 PM CST
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A National Guardsmen and a civilian were killed Thursday after a group of men on motorcycles rode into an east Caracas neighborhood to remove a street barricade erected by anti-government protesters. The clash that erupted in the mixed industrial and residential district of Los Ruices heightened tensions on the same day the Venezuelan government expelled foreign diplomats for the second time in a month. More than 100 men on motorcycles carrying pipes and rocks swarmed...
Southern Philippine town vice mayor freed by kidnappers, flies to Manila
Mar 6, 2014 9:38 PM CST
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A southern Philippine town vice mayor who was reportedly abducted outside a shopping mall earlier this week has been released, police said Friday. An anti-kidnapping task force informed authorities in the southern port city of Zamboanga where Arsina Nanoh was last seen Tuesday that she was freed a day later in another southern city, said local police spokesman Alex Mabalot. Alnajil Nanoh told police that his wife called him late Tuesday saying that she was being held...
Indianapolis man fatally shot in police raid watched officers on cameras; 4 officers wounded
Mar 6, 2014 9:11 PM CST
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man who was shot and killed by police after allegedly wounding four SWAT officers watched them approach the suspected drug house on surveillance cameras, Indianapolis' public safety director said. Police said Andrew Sizemore, 27, of Indianapolis died Wednesday when officers returned fire after Sizemore allegedly shot and wounded four SWAT officers. None of those officers suffered life-threatening injuries. Two remained hospitalized Thursday. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs...
Disabled Canadian ship arrives at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor under tow after engine fire
Mar 6, 2014 8:50 PM CST
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — A Canadian refueling ship disabled by an engine fire pulled into Pearl Harbor under tow Thursday morning with nearly 300 sailors aboard. U.S. Navy tug boats guided the HMCS Protecteur to a pier after making a slow journey from Pacific Ocean waters north of Hawaii. The ship got help from the U.S. Navy after the fire broke out last week, leaving 20 sailors with minor injuries, the Royal Canadian Navy said. The fire engulfed a space as large as a school gymnasium, three...
Obama plan for weekend family vacation in south Florida thrown into doubt because of Ukraine
Mar 6, 2014 8:46 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed be a weekend getaway to Florida for President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters, an escape from the frigid weather and lingering piles of snow around Washington. But Russia's intervention in Ukraine has put Obama's plans in doubt, making it possible the family could end up at the White House. The White House said late Thursday that Obama would spend the weekend in Key Largo, Fla., although that still could change. "It is possible the president may return...
Obama bobbles spelling but shows R-E-S-P-E-C-T for "women of soul" at White House
Mar 6, 2014 8:32 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — He bobbled the spelling, but President Barack Obama had nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the "women of soul" who shook and rattled the rafters of the White House on Thursday night. "What a lineup!" Obama declared at the outset of a concert that featured a generations-spanning array of soul singers that stretched from musical legends Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle to 20-year-old Ariana Grande. Obama paid tribute to Franklin for turning her signature song "Respect" into "a rallying...
Michigan says guards' failure to reset motion alarms played 'major' role in killer's escape
Mar 6, 2014 8:21 PM CST
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A convicted quadruple killer escaped from a Michigan prison for 24 hours last month primarily because guards didn't properly operate the motion-detector alarms at a gate the inmate pried open with scissors and a belt buckle, investigators concluded Thursday. A control center officer failed to reset two alarms for 5½ hours after they were tested, and a supervisor who noticed the problem left when her shift was over without notifying others to check the gate, according to a...
Military sexual assaults: Impassioned Senate debate but no change in the handling of cases
Mar 6, 2014 8:15 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bowing to the Pentagon, the Senate agreed after impassioned debate Thursday to leave the authority to prosecute rapes and other serious crimes with military commanders in a struggle that highlighted the growing role of women in Congress. The vote was 55-45 in favor of stripping commanders of that authority, but that was short of the 60 necessary to move ahead on the legislation sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Her bill would have given the decision to take serious crimes...
Review: Bryan Cranston a superb President Lyndon Johnson in Broadway's 'All the Way'
Mar 6, 2014 8:05 PM CST
NEW YORK (AP) — The new Broadway play "All the Way," about President Lyndon B. Johnson's first bumpy term in office, may seem like a serious, dusty affair suitable for high school field trips. Don't be fooled: Leave the little ones at home or risk having some kids come home with foul stories. The Johnson who emerges at the Neil Simon Theatre is ferocious and vulgar, likely to grab you by your throat and toss off a disgusting joke or throw around four-letter words. In Bryan Cranston's hands, he's...
10 Things to Know for Friday
Mar 6, 2014 7:58 PM CST
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday: 1. HOW OBAMA IS PUSHING BACK AT PUTIN IN UKRAINE STANDOFF The U.S. president is imposing sanctions against Moscow and rejecting a referendum on the future of Russian-occupied Crimea. 2. SOME SENATORS WON'T STOP TRYING TO TAKE SEX CASES AWAY FROM MILITARY COMMANDERS Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says the defeat of her bill won't be the last attempt to put serious sexual crimes in the hands of...
Crimea parliament sets vote to break away from Ukraine; West imposes first real sanctions
Mar 6, 2014 7:41 PM CST
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine lurched toward breakup Thursday as lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to voters in 10 days. President Barack Obama condemned the move and the West answered with the first real sanctions against Russia. Speaking from the White House, Obama said any decisions on the future of Crimea, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine, must include the country's new government. "The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea...
Massachusetts sheriff: Complaint sought against former NFL star Hernandez in jail fight
Mar 6, 2014 7:06 PM CST
DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts sheriff is seeking a criminal complaint against former NFL star Aaron Hernandez after a recent jail scuffle with another inmate. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told Boston's WHDH-TV Thursday the paperwork has been filed in district court. A clerk magistrate will review it. Hodgson said last week neither inmate required medical attention after the Feb. 25 fight in the Bristol House of Correction. Hernandez is held there without bail after pleading...
2016 GOP nomination fight: Possible presidential hopefuls vie for clout with conservatives
Mar 6, 2014 6:39 PM CST
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Republicans vying for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 auditioned Thursday before some of the nation's most ardent conservative leaders, calling for the party to unite behind a clear agenda and draw contrasts with Democrats. The contestants ranged from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party champion, to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite of the GOP establishment. "If you want to lose elections, stand for nothing," said Cruz, who referred as examples to the unsuccessful...
IBF light middleweight champ Carlos Molina jailed in Las Vegas days before undercard bout
Mar 6, 2014 6:25 PM CST
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A scheduled fight this weekend between IBF light middleweight champion Carlos Molina and challenger Jermall Charlo appeared to be in jeopardy Thursday, with Molina jailed in Las Vegas on a federal immigration hold and an arrest warrant from Wisconsin. Molina, 30, of Mexico, was arrested Tuesday by Las Vegas police on a 2007 felony warrant from Outagamie County, Wisc., accusing him of failing to register as a sex offender, Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer said. Molina made...
Obama orders Russia sanctions, declares US won't let Russia carve up Ukraine; EU more cautious
Mar 6, 2014 6:21 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama ordered the West's first sanctions in response to Russia's military takeover of Crimea on Thursday, declaring his determination not to let the Kremlin carve up Ukraine. He asserted that a hastily scheduled referendum on Crimea seceding and becoming part of Russia would violate international law. European leaders announced their own measures but split over how forcefully to follow America's lead. Obama threatened further steps if Russia persists. After...
Colorado launches ad campaign to stop stoned driving
Mar 6, 2014 6:02 PM CST
DENVER (AP) — Colorado is spending $1 million on television ads making fun of marijuana users who space out during everyday tasks — an effort to stop stoned driving. The Colorado Department of Transportation unveiled the "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign Thursday, the state's first effort since marijuana was legalized in 2012 to remind drivers that pot should be treated like alcohol and not used before driving. One ad shows a spaced-out basketball player at the foul line in a playground, endlessly...
Official: Groping accusation leveled against Army lawyer who trains prosecutors in sex cases
Mar 6, 2014 5:58 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army is investigating sexual abuse allegations against an officer who trains military prosecutors who handle sexual and physical abuse cases, a defense official said Thursday. Lt. Col. Joseph Morse is being investigated by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command for allegedly groping a female Army lawyer in 2011 while both were attending a weeklong training session in Northern Virginia on prosecuting sexual assaults, said the official. The revelation comes as reports of...
Massachusetts lawmakers OK bill outlawing 'upskirt' photos after court says photos not illegal
Mar 6, 2014 5:54 PM CST
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation Thursday to crack down on those who secretly take photographs of "the sexual or other intimate parts" of women or children in public. Approval of the bill, which also would apply to male victims, came a day after the state's highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female passengers riding the Boston subway didn't violate state law. Top lawmakers said the bill will send a clear message to those who take...
Obama tells Putin Russia's moves in Ukraine are a violation, keeps open path for resolution
Mar 6, 2014 5:37 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country's actions are a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The White House says the two leaders spoke for an hour Thursday afternoon. It's their first known contact since Saturday, shortly after Russian troops took control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. The White House says Obama told Putin there was still a way to resolve the dispute diplomatically. He said...
3 ex-leaders of major NYC law firm charged with committing fraud as it fell into bankruptcy
Mar 6, 2014 5:31 PM CST
NEW YORK (AP) — Three former executives conspired to hide a powerhouse law firm's snowballing financial problems from auditors and even their own partners as it headed toward collapse in the nation's biggest law firm bankruptcy, prosecutors said Thursday. Dewey & LeBouef LLP ex-chairman Steven Davis, former chief executive Stephen DiCarmine and former chief financial officer Joel Sanders oversaw years of accounting tricks and lies, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said as he...
Boeing to freeze 68,000 nonunion workers' pensions in 2016, put them in 401(k)-style plan
Mar 6, 2014 5:30 PM CST
SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co. said Thursday it is freezing the traditional defined-benefit pensions for 68,000 nonunion employees - including managers and executives - starting in 2016. The Chicago-based aerospace company said in a statement that the employees will transition to a company-funded defined contribution retirement plan, effective Jan. 1, 2016. They will have a 401(k)-style retirement plan similar to what union machinists approved in a contentious contract-extension vote earlier this year....
Army general accused of sex assault faces up to 15 years for guilty plea to 3 lesser charges
Mar 6, 2014 5:26 PM CST
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — In his immaculate blue dress uniform, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair stood ramrod straight before a judge Thursday and pleaded guilty to three charges that could send him to prison for up to 15 years. It was a remarkable admission sure to end the military career of a man once regarded as a rising star among the U.S. Army's small cadre of trusted battle commanders. Sinclair, 51, still faces five other charges stemming from the claims of a female captain nearly 20 years...
House passes Republican bill to block Obama's EPA rules on new power plants
Mar 6, 2014 5:09 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming at the heart of President Barack Obama's strategy for fighting climate change, the Republican-controlled House voted Thursday to block the administration's plan to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The bill targets Obama's proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency to set the first national limits on heat-trapping carbon pollution from future power plants. It's part of the GOP's election-year strategy to fight back against what Republicans call a "war...
Bill introduced in Ky. legislature would let Rand Paul's name to appear twice on state ballot
Mar 6, 2014 5:04 PM CST
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul faces a potential quandary as he weighs whether to run for president in 2016 or focus solely on re-election to his Senate seat. Legislation introduced Thursday in his home state would allow him to run for both. The measure would clarify that current Kentucky law, which prevents someone from running for multiple offices, does not apply to federal elections, said state Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer. His bill would allow Kentucky candidates' names...
Texas law closes 2 more abortion clinics, in Rio Grande Valley and between Houston, Louisiana
Mar 6, 2014 4:58 PM CST
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The last abortion clinic in the vast, impoverished Rio Grande Valley closed Thursday, along with the sole remaining clinic in the 100-mile stretch between Houston and the Louisiana border, posing a tall obstacle to women seeking to end pregnancies across a wide swath of the nation's second-largest state. The closures in McAllen and Beaumont bring to 19 the number of clinics that have shut down since Texas lawmakers adopted tough new abortion restrictions last summer. Twenty-four...
Judge rules Duke must take immediate action to clean up contaminated groundwater at ash ponds
Mar 6, 2014 4:39 PM CST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy must take immediate action to eliminate sources of groundwater contamination at its coal ash dumps, a judge said Thursday in a ruling that came from a complaint filed before a massive spill from one of the utility's plants coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in toxic gray sludge. North Carolina has 14 coal-fired plants and at least 32 ash dumps spread across the state - all stored in unlined, leaky pits near public waterways. Environmental groups said in...
Mayor: 4 killed in New Jersey fire as firefighter response delayed due to address mix-up
Mar 6, 2014 4:38 PM CST
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A fast-moving fire claimed four lives on Thursday in New Jersey's second-largest city, where the mayor said a mix-up over the street name delayed the emergency response. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said the fire also likely destroyed five houses and displaced at least 30 people. He said it took firefighters 7 to 8 minutes to get to the scene instead of the usual 3 to 4 minutes because a dispatcher misunderstood a caller. But the mayor told The Associated Press that...
Stocks mostly higher on encouraging news about US job market; S&P 500 sets another record high
Mar 6, 2014 4:35 PM CST
NEW YORK (AP) — Investors were looking for any reason to look past the cold weather that has hampered the U.S. economy in the last few weeks, and they found it. Stocks mostly rose Thursday, lifted by a report that showed the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in three months. The gains were enough to give the Standard & Poor's 500 index its third all-time high this week. The report on unemployment claims was one of the first bits of good...
Riot police and off-duty colleagues face off in Portuguese austerity protest
Mar 6, 2014 4:29 PM CST
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Scores of Portuguese riot police have stopped protesting off-duty colleagues breaking through a security cordon around Parliament. In a tense two-hour standoff Tuesday, uniformed police formed a barrier around the parliament building to keep out the protesters who were part of a march of more than 10,000 police officers. Dozens of demonstrators pushed up against the police line but failed to break through. In a similar demonstration last November, protesters reached the...
Federal appeals court revives soldiers' lawsuits against defense contractors over waste pits
Mar 6, 2014 4:24 PM CST
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday revived dozens of lawsuits by soldiers and others who claim they were harmed by improper waste disposal while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuits claim Houston-based contractors KBR and Halliburton Co. exposed soldiers to toxic emissions and contaminated water when they burned waste in open pits without proper safety controls. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus in Maryland dismissed the lawsuits last year, ruling that the contractors...
Gay hiring policy dispute at Kentucky Baptist-affiliated child care agency: Donations dry up
Mar 6, 2014 4:18 PM CST
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Uncertainty over a short-lived proposal to open employment to gays at Kentucky's largest private child care agency prompted many of its supportive churches to withhold giving last year, causing a multi-million dollar shortfall. Sunrise Children's Services depends on giving from Baptist congregations in Kentucky, along with government funding. But Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director Paul Chitwood said those offerings dried up last year because donors were concerned...
ADT settles FTC charges it paid experts to promote security products without disclosing link
Mar 6, 2014 4:16 PM CST
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. regulators said Thursday that ADT Corp. has settled charges that it deceived consumers by paying people to recommend its home security products on media outlets without disclosing their connection to the company. The Federal Trade Commission said ADT paid child-safety, home-security and technology experts more than $300,000 to promote its ADT Pulse security system online and on TV, including during a January 2011 segment on NBC's "Today" show. One expert received more than...
Libya says Niger handed over Gadhafi's son al-Saadi, wanted by authorities in Tripoli
Mar 6, 2014 4:06 PM CST
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — One of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, al-Saadi, was extradited on Thursday to Libya from Niger, where he had taken refuge as his father's regime crumbled in 2011, bringing cheers from Libyans as the government prepares to prosecute him for his alleged role in trying to suppress the uprising against Gadhafi's rule. Al-Saadi becomes the second son of the ousted and slain leader to be held in custody in Libya. His brother Seif al-Islam was captured in 2011 and has been held in a western...
WV lawmakers calls on Labor Department to change rule they say would hurt black-lung patients
Mar 6, 2014 4:06 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven Democratic members of Congress are urging the Labor Department to change a proposed rule that they say would harm black-lung patients. In a Feb. 28 letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, released Thursday, the lawmakers say that the rule would make it harder for miners to receive medical reports. The lawmakers, including West Virginia Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, cite a section of the rule that would change evidence standards in cases before administrative law...
Obama signs law renewing national drought information system through 2018
Mar 6, 2014 3:55 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has signed into law a reauthorization of the National Integrated Drought Information System. The law extends until 2018 a system that provides drought information to farmers, ranchers and others affected by the weather. It supports an early warning system for droughts, including monitoring and weather forecasting. The reauthorization comes as California is suffering its worst drought in more than 100 years. Obama says climate change...
Senators say government too slow to write safety rules after freight, commuter train crashes
Mar 6, 2014 3:53 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government regulators are taking too long to write new rail safety regulations in light of recent fiery oil train accidents and a deadly commuter train derailment, senators complained Thursday. Railroads are also taking too long to implement safety improvements Congress ordered under legislation passed seven years ago, lawmakers said at a hearing before the Senate's surface transportation panel. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the panel's chairman, said he is "disappointed...
Legion of Christ lawsuit is allowed to proceed in Rhode Island over Yale professor's estate
Mar 6, 2014 3:49 PM CST
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal judge in Rhode Island has agreed to let a lawsuit move forward against the Roman Catholic religious order the Legion of Christ, turning down an attempt by the disgraced order to end the lawsuit brought over a late Yale University professor's $1 million bequest. U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux signed an order last week to adopt a magistrate judge's recommendation that the lawsuit be allowed to proceed. The decision does not address the merits of Paul Chu's claims,...
Nominee to head CFTC says he will be tough against misconduct, pursue anti-speculation rule
Mar 6, 2014 3:48 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's choice to head an agency overseeing potentially risky financial market activities is promising to act aggressively against misconduct to ensure investors' confidence. The nominee as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Timothy Massad, said at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday that he'll make enforcement a top priority if he is approved for the position. Massad also said he would pursue final action on a revised rule aimed at clamping...
Senate approves Obama's picks for 3 senior Homeland Security jobs
Mar 6, 2014 3:45 PM CST
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed three of President Barack Obama's Homeland Security nominees. R. Gil Kerlikowske was confirmed Thursday as the first permanent commissioner for the agency that oversees both customs and immigration officers at the country's ports of entry and the Border Patrol since before Obama took office in 2009. Kerlikowske was previously head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Senate also confirmed Suzanne E. Spaulding as deputy undersecretary...
Report: Dropped or kicked grenade 'probable cause' of blast that killed 4 at Camp Pendleton
Mar 6, 2014 3:43 PM CST
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A dropped or kicked grenade was the "most probable cause" of an explosion that killed four Marines during a training exercise last year at Camp Pendleton and a captain and master sergeant who were in charge were relieved of their duties, a base spokesman said Thursday. The Nov. 13 blast occurred as ordnance disposal specialists were collecting unexploded rounds from a firing range at the San Diego County base for demolition — part of their training in the dangerous...
Bill introduced in Ky. legislature would let Rand Paul's name to appear twice on state ballot
Mar 6, 2014 3:41 PM CST
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill introduced in the Kentucky legislature is aimed at ensuring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul can appear twice on Kentucky's ballot if he runs for president and another Senate term in 2016. The measure was offered by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a Republican. Thayer says the measure would clarify that current Kentucky law, which prevents someone running for multiple offices, does not apply to federal elections. Thayer says Paul is the impetus for the bill but that it could...
Lawsuit says Univision newscaster Ramos' book falsely identified Guatemalan man as US agent
Mar 6, 2014 3:39 PM CST
MIAMI (AP) — A Guatemalan man claims in a lawsuit that popular Univision news host Jorge Ramos wrongly identified him as a U.S. immigration agent in a 2005 book about a fatal migrant smuggling venture, leading to death threats and eventually forcing the man and his family to leave Guatemala. The lawsuit, filed late last month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages from Ramos and HarperCollins Publishers, which published the Ramos book "Dying To Cross." The book examines the deaths...
US Department of Agriculture cites Harrah's act in Reno and Laughlin for animal abuses
Mar 6, 2014 3:28 PM CST
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a circus act featured at two Harrah's casinos in Nevada has been treating its big cats poorly. The department cited Dirk Arthur's Wild Magic show in December for declawing lions and tigers, keeping a snow leopard in a rusty cage and chaining a bobcat in a dangerous way. The USDA also found that the animals' cages were too small. In January, the USDA issued a formal warning about the way the animals were living. The show is featured in...