ALL RECENT AP STORIES

  • Rubio talks abortion, gay marriage as he works to woo social conservatives
    Jul 23, 2014 4:44 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans who oppose same-sex marriage often face "intolerance" from those who support it, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Wednesday in a speech about values that appeared aimed at wooing social conservatives. In remarks he said were likely to get him criticized as a bigot, the Florida Republican told an audience at Catholic University that a strong America is impossible without Americans who hold strong values. Seeming to seek a debate over those values, he criticized...

  • Musician Nas traces his family tree to slavery in season 2 of PBS' 'Finding Your Roots'
    Jul 23, 2014 4:30 PM CDT

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — When Nas became the first rapper invited to trace his family tree through the PBS series "Finding Your Roots," he welcomed the opportunity. But it hit him hard when he saw 1859 documentation of an ancestor being sold as a slave, he said during a panel discussion Wednesday. "First I was enraged when I looked at the bill of sale," Nas said. "I was like, that guy that owned property owes me some cash. My people made him really wealthy, so maybe I should find his family...

  • Florida appeals court refuses to lift stay that's blocking gay couples from marrying in Keys
    Jul 23, 2014 4:15 PM CDT

    MIAMI (AP) — A Florida appeals court refused on Wednesday to overturn a judge's order that is blocking gay couples from getting married in the Florida Keys. The Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal refused to invalidate a Monroe County judge's decision temporarily preventing a wedding for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones and other gay couples. Circuit Judge Luis Garcia last week ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it discriminates against gay couples...

  • Donald Trump pledges to build one of world's finest hotels 4 blocks from White House
    Jul 23, 2014 4:14 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has big plans for the Old Post Office building, a historic structure in downtown Washington that he's pledging to transform into the city's most luxurious hotel. As for the White House, four blocks away? He's not saying. The real estate mogul and reality TV star was all business in his visit to the nation's capital Wednesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking outside the 115-year-old building — shaking hands, posing for pictures with gold-plated shovels and praising...

  • Atlanta mayor: Cyclorama painting of Civil War battle will be moved across town
    Jul 23, 2014 3:35 PM CDT

    ATLANTA (AP) — The huge Atlanta Cyclorama painting is moving across town to a new home in the city's Buckhead area. Mayor Kasim Reed announced the move Wednesday as the city commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta during the American Civil War, which is the subject of the giant oil painting. The mayor said the painting will be housed in a new 23,000-square-foot addition to be constructed at the Atlanta History Center. For more than a century the painting has been on display...

  • Because of application mistake, some Pell Grant recipients might not be eligible after all
    Jul 23, 2014 3:32 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form. The mistake primarily stems from an online form change to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, made Jan. 1 that expanded the field to enter income. Many applicants unnecessarily entered a decimal point and cents that the system ignored. The error led to students being...

  • Donald Trump pledges to build one of world's finest hotels 4 blocks from White House
    Jul 23, 2014 3:16 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has big plans for the Old Post Office building, a historic structure in downtown Washington that he's pledging to transform into the city's most luxurious hotel. As for the White House, four blocks away? He's not saying. The real estate mogul and reality TV star was all business in his visit to the nation's capital Wednesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking outside the 115-year-old building — shaking hands, posing for pictures with gold-plated shovels and praising...

  • Determining right asking price, enlisting knowledgeable agent among keys to getting home sold
    Jul 23, 2014 3:00 PM CDT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The rebound in U.S. home values over the past couple of years has placed many homeowners in a better position to sell their home for a profit. Still, getting a home sold can be challenging, even in markets where tight supply favors sellers. Here are five tips on how to get your home sold for the best price: 1. STUDY THE MARKET Most homeowners enlist the services of a real estate agent to market their home and perform a variety of tasks, including reaching out to a network...

  • Considering a group tour for your next trip? Here's how to pick the tour that's right for you
    Jul 23, 2014 1:41 PM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — Group tours sound easy: Choose a destination and the tour company plans your trip, delivering you to hotels, restaurants and attractions. You don't have to Google or organize a thing. But how do you find the right tour to begin with, one that fits your age, activity levels and preferences for lodging, dining and sightseeing? And what's the difference between the $2,000 tour and the $8,000 tour to the same place, the same week? Here are some tips. START YOUR RESEARCH Travel agents...

  • Atlanta Cyclorama painting to move from Grant Park to Atlanta History Center
    Jul 23, 2014 1:36 PM CDT

    ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the massive Atlanta Cyclorama painting, which has been on display in Grant Park for the past century, will be moved to the Atlanta History Center in the city's Buckhead area. Reed announced the move Wednesday, saying it will take two years to complete and also will involve extensive restoration work. The 128-year-old painting depicts the Battle of Atlanta during the American Civil War. The mayor said the painting will be housed in a new 23,000-square-foot...

  • Clemson architecture students design bridges and drainage to rebuild SC Botanical Gardens
    Jul 23, 2014 1:25 PM CDT

    CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — After a nearly unprecedented flood destroyed the site, the South Carolina Botanical Garden is almost as good as new — because of the work of more than a dozen Clemson University architecture students. While garden staff worked to restore the thousands of plant species wiped out by the July 2013 flood, the students spent the past year designing and building trails, bridges and drainage plans for the garden on the edge of campus. They finished their work last week. "It's cool...

  • Federal judge to rule whether to overturn Colorado's gay marriage ban immediately
    Jul 23, 2014 12:55 PM CDT

    DENVER (AP) — A federal judge in Denver is expected to rule Wednesday whether Colorado's same-sex marriage ban should be overturned immediately, or if the issue should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore's decision will be in response to a lawsuit by six gay couples who want an injunction declaring Colorado's ban unconstitutional. While Moore indicated the injunction is expected to be granted, he said the question is whether to put his decision on hold....

  • European carriers suspend more Tel Aviv flights amid ongoing safety concerns
    Jul 23, 2014 11:45 AM CDT

    BERLIN (AP) — Air France and Germany's two largest airlines on Wednesday canceled more flights to Tel Aviv because of safety concerns amid the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Lufthansa and Air Berlin extended their cancelations through Thursday and Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice." The European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it "strongly recommends" that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. It said it would "monitor the...

  • National Retail Federation trims forecast for sales increase to 3.6 pct for year
    Jul 23, 2014 11:22 AM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's largest retail trade group has pared its annual sales forecast because of slower-than-expected growth during the first half of the year tied to winter storms and lingering economic woes. The Washington-based National Retail Federation said Wednesday that it now expects retail sales to rise 3.6 percent this year to $3.19 trillion, instead of its original prediction of a 4.1 percent increase, released in early February. The figures include sales in stores and online...

  • Abandoned horses continue to flood overtaxed rescues struggling to survive on fewer donations
    Jul 23, 2014 9:42 AM CDT

    CHINO HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Almost every horse rescue in the country is running out of room or money as they continue to be strained by an influx of abandoned equines, a trend that began during the recession. Although hundreds of nonprofits nationwide care for thousands of horses, resources are stretched thin. When the downturn started seven years ago, some owners got rid of their horses, many donors discontinued contributions to horse charities and adoptions plummeted. "Some nonprofits are down...

  • Calling all fans! 45th Comic-Con pop-culture festival takes over downtown San Diego for 4 days
    Jul 23, 2014 9:41 AM CDT

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Like Batman responding to a beaming Bat signal in the sky, fans are streaming to San Diego for the 45th annual Comic-Con pop culture extravaganza. The four-day festival celebrating film, TV, video games, comic books, costumes and other popular arts kicks off with a preview Wednesday night and goes full force Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center. More than 150,000 fans are expected to attend the sold-out event, where studios will offer exclusive previews of their latest...

  • 48 food destinations in eastern Kentucky included in promotion of Appalachian culinary tourism
    Jul 23, 2014 9:26 AM CDT

    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Forty-eight food destinations in eastern Kentucky are included in a new guidemap to promote culinary tourism. The mapguide was developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The Bon Appetit Appalachia tourism mapguide showcases 283 distinctive food destinations in the Appalachian region. Sites featured include local farms, farmers' markets, farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, food festivals and other culinary destinations. The effort to promote Appalachia's...

  • Airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket falls near Tel Aviv airport
    Jul 23, 2014 9:25 AM CDT

    When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel on Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week's downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine. Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action,...

  • Fact sheet: 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid
    Jul 23, 2014 9:25 AM CDT

    2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid BASE PRICE: $39,780. PRICE AS TESTED: $40,570. TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger, mid-size, plug-in, gasoline-electric hybrid sedan. ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam, inline, Atkinson-cycle four cylinder with i-VTEC mated to 41-kilowatt electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. MILEAGE: 115 mpg-equivalent on all-electric power, 46 mpg combined city/highway on gasoline engine. TOP SPEED: NA. LENGTH: 193.5 inches. WHEELBASE: 109.3...

  • Bells, sirens sound as shipwrecked Concordia liner leaves Italian isle, towed on final voyage
    Jul 23, 2014 9:24 AM CDT

    GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy (AP) — The Costa Concordia cruise liner began its final voyage Wednesday, slowly being towed away from the tiny Italian island where it capsized more than two years ago, killing 32 people. Boat sirens wailed and bells tolled on the island just before two tugboats pulled the Concordia away from Giglio's port, where the luxury liner ended up on its side in pristine Mediterranean waters, after being gashed by a reef it struck when its captain steered too close to the island....

  • Honda adds Accord Plug-in Hybrid to 2014 lineup
    Jul 23, 2014 9:24 AM CDT

    The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid sedan doesn't amaze and daze with its mainstream looks, nice cloth seats and pleasant ride. Its "wow" factor is, simply, how few times a driver may need to stop at a gasoline station in a year. This most fuel-thrifty Accord four door — the first with an electric plug — is propelled by stored electric power on most short trips of up to 13 miles. It carries along a 141-horsepower, four-cylinder engine for when trips go longer. But even on the longer trips, the...

  • European carriers suspend more Tel Aviv flights amid ongoing safety concerns
    Jul 23, 2014 9:18 AM CDT

    BERLIN (AP) — Air France and Germany's two largest airlines on Wednesday canceled more flights to Tel Aviv because of ongoing safety concerns amid the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Germany's Lufthansa and Air Berlin extended their cancelations through Thursday and Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice." The European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it "strongly recommends" that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. It said it...

  • Golden-age roomies: Seniors share homes for cost-savings, companionship
    Jul 23, 2014 8:27 AM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — It's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do. Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship. "It's a wonderful arrangement," said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she's a senior citizen. "The way the rents are these days, I couldn't stay here without it." She shares...

  • Airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket falls near Tel Aviv airport
    Jul 23, 2014 4:15 AM CDT

    When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel on Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week's downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine. Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action,...

  • Malaysian jet, canceled Tel Aviv flights illustrate dangers of flying over unstable territory
    Jul 23, 2014 2:26 AM CDT

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Libya, militias armed with shoulder-launched missiles are battling for control of the country's main airport. In Africa, the entire Sahel region is awash with weapons that include portable air defense systems leftover from the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Then there's Syria's civil war, in which thousands of soldiers have defected and set up new battalions that have shot down military helicopters and jets. And in Iraq, the al-Qaida breakaway group that has taken...

  • National survey finds sharp increase in use of synthetic human growth hormones by teens
    Jul 22, 2014 11:38 PM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey. In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students, being released Wednesday by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once — up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys....

  • Argentina zoo rejects moving its last polar bear to Canada despite animal activists' concerns
    Jul 22, 2014 8:48 PM CDT

    MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's last captive polar bear will remain in the country despite a petition by more than a half million people asking that it be moved to Canada. The director of the Mendoza Zoo in western Argentina told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 28-year-old bear is too old to safely be relocated. Animal rights advocates say the bear, named Arturo, paces nervously in his concrete enclosure and they suggest the animal suffers from depression. They have campaigned...

  • Malaysian jet, canceled Tel Aviv flights illustrate dangers of flying over unstable territory
    Jul 22, 2014 7:58 PM CDT

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Libya, militias armed with shoulder-launched missiles are battling for control of the country's main airport. In Africa, the entire Sahel region is awash with weapons that include portable air defense systems leftover from the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Then there's Syria's civil war, in which thousands of soldiers have defected and set up new battalions that have shot down military helicopters and jets. And in Iraq, the al-Qaida breakaway group that has taken...

  • Judge considers overturning Colorado gay marriage ban, including whether to stay any ruling
    Jul 22, 2014 7:25 PM CDT

    DENVER (AP) — Gay couples seeking to strike Colorado's same-sex marriage ban urged a federal judge Tuesday to overturn the law immediately and reject the state's request to stay a ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the matter. U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore indicated that the injunction sought by gay couples declaring Colorado's law unconstitutional is certain to be granted. But he said what he's trying to decide is whether his ruling should be put on hold. Colorado Republican...

  • Airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket falls near Tel Aviv airport
    Jul 22, 2014 6:42 PM CDT

    When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week's downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine. Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action,...

  • Mexico's circus people caught up in fight with animal rights activists over animal performance
    Jul 22, 2014 6:38 PM CDT

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's "circus wars" are heating up, with a growing movement to ban circus animals meeting rising anger from circus workers. There have been messages posted on social networking sites urging people to attack circuses, Armando Cedeno, the head of the nation's circus owners association, said at a demonstration by circus performers Tuesday. "We have a lot of threats on Facebook, with environmentalists urging people to go burn down circuses, which is very worrisome," Cedeno said...

  • Malaysian jet, canceled Tel Aviv flights illustrate dangers of flying over unstable territory
    Jul 22, 2014 6:36 PM CDT

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Libya, militias armed with shoulder-launched missiles are battling for control of the country's main airport. In Africa, the entire Sahel region is awash with weapons that include portable air defense systems leftover from the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Then there's Syria's civil war, in which thousands of soldiers have defected and set up new battalions that have shot down military helicopters and jets. And in Iraq, the al-Qaida breakaway group that has taken...

  • Alaska sets record for number of tourists visiting nation's northernmost state
    Jul 22, 2014 6:36 PM CDT

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska has set a record for the number of tourists visiting the nation's northernmost state. The State Division of Economic Development in a release says Alaska had 1.96 million visitors between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014. That beats the previous mark by 5,000 visitors set during the 2007-2008 year. There were 1.8 million visitors last year. Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell attributes the increase to increased cruise ship calls in Alaska, and new national and international...

  • Man dies in California after 10-foot-deep beach hole he dug collapses, traps him in sand
    Jul 22, 2014 6:35 PM CDT

    HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a young man has died after a hole he dug on a Northern California beach collapsed and trapped him in the sand for at least five minutes. CalFire Coastside Capt. Jonathan Cox said Tuesday that the man was unconscious by the time firefighters arrived at Francis State Beach in Half Moon Bay. Cox says the man dug a roughly 10-foot-deep hole and was standing in it around 5:30 p.m. Monday when the sand collapsed around him. About 30 people, including the...

  • Buds of the museum: First recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle donated for display
    Jul 22, 2014 4:47 PM CDT

    SEATTLE (AP) — The first recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle will be put on display at the city's Museum of History and Industry after a woman donated part of her purchase Tuesday. Deb Greene, a 65-year-old retiree, waited all night to be first in line at the Cannabis City store when legal pot sales began in Washington on July 8. Cannabis City also donated items from its opening day, including the receipt of the first purchase. Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by voting...

  • Police: At least 21 killed in car bombing at Baghdad checkpoint
    Jul 22, 2014 4:33 PM CDT

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide driver rammed his explosive-laden car into a police checkpoint in the Iraqi capital killing 21 people, including more than a dozen civilians en route to a Shiite shrine in the final days of the Islamic holy month. At least 13 people killed in the attack were civilians, according to police and hospital officials. At least 35 people were wounded — more than half of them civilians. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak...

  • Mrs. Obama expands campaign to 'Drink Up' water, as study sees rise in bottled water sales
    Jul 22, 2014 4:28 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama is expanding her push for America to drink more water, as the White House claims partial responsibility for helping to boost nearly $1 million in bottled water sales among consumers since the national "Drink Up" campaign launched in September. The 3 percent increase in retail sales of bottled water was reported in a study released Tuesday by Nielsen Catalina Solutions. "Make no mistake about it: when we make a real effort to promote healthy products, when we put...

  • With Aug. recess looming, Congress faces highway funding, veterans care and immigration issues
    Jul 22, 2014 3:54 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pressure is on Congress to act in the next two weeks on several problems, from keeping highway projects on track and easing wait time for veterans seeking health care to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. "Pass a bill or don't come back from recess," William A. Thien, the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, warned lawmakers pondering the Department of Veterans Affairs legislation. "America's veterans are tired of waiting — on secret waiting lists...

  • Deaf educator Robert Panara, a founder of National Technical Institute of the Deaf, dies at 94
    Jul 22, 2014 3:39 PM CDT

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Robert Panara, who lost his hearing as a child and became a leading educator of the deaf and a pioneer of studies of deaf culture, has died. He was 94. Panara died of natural causes on Sunday at the Rochester nursing home where he lived, according to longtime friend and colleague Harry Lang, who recalled Panara as an educator whose influence went well beyond the classroom. "Bob was passionate about his teaching," Lang said. "He would often say (sign), 'My classroom is my...

  • Nebraska couple marries among living, dead in Omaha's largest cemetery
    Jul 22, 2014 2:57 PM CDT

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska couple chose an unusual venue for their wedding: the largest cemetery in Omaha. Janyl Jumadinova and Oliver Bonham-Carter exchanged vows Saturday in Forest Lawn Cemetery. They were surrounded by family, friends and more than 100,000 souls buried in the 349-acre cemetery. The bride, who is from Kyrgyzstan, said her culture holds a firm belief in spirits. Some of the groom's ancestors are buried in the cemetery, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1nQEe9W ) reported....

  • California's Wawona Packing issues voluntary nationwide fruit recall over listeria concerns
    Jul 22, 2014 2:09 PM CDT

    CUTLER, Calif. (AP) — A Central California company is recalling specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots sold nationwide over concerns of possible listeria contamination. Wawona Packing Co. President Brent Smittcamp said in a statement that he is not aware of any illnesses caused by the fruit, and the voluntary recall was announced after consulting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "By taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even...

  • FAA tells US airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv airport after Hamas rocket explodes nearby
    Jul 22, 2014 1:59 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration told U.S. airlines Tuesday they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel for 24 hours following a Hamas rocket explosion nearby. The ban began 12:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday, the agency said in a statement. "Due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, all flight operations to/from Ben Gurion International Airport by U.S. operators are prohibited until further advised," the FAA...

  • European airlines Air France, Lufthansa suspend all flights to Tel Aviv over safety concerns
    Jul 22, 2014 1:57 PM CDT

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany and France's largest airlines Lufthansa and Air France say they're suspending all flights to Tel Aviv over safety concerns amid the increasing violence. Lufthansa said Tuesday evening that it was suspending all Tel Aviv flights for 36 hours, including those operated by subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss. The company says it made the decision as a precaution to protect the safety of its passengers and crews. Air France says it was suspending its flights...

  • The Source will celebrate its 25th anniversary with expo, concert in Brooklyn, New York
    Jul 22, 2014 12:58 PM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — The hip-hop magazine The Source is celebrating its 25th year with an expo and an anniversary concert. "The Source 360" at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, is being billed as the place "where hipsters meet hip-hop," but will expand to include fashion, fitness, tech and more. The magazine says the goal is to show how hip-hop has led to innovation in other areas. The Sept. 19-21 event will include an anniversary concert featuring Wu-Tang and others, according to a statement...

  • US home sales increase 2.6 percent in June to 5.04 million, fastest pace in 8 months
    Jul 22, 2014 11:00 AM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of previously owned homes rose for a third straight month in June, pushing activity to the highest level in eight months and providing evidence that housing is regaining lost momentum. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes increased 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million homes. It marked the first time that sales have been above the 5 million-mark since October. Even with the three months of increases,...

  • JetBlue pilot among 6 arrested in police investigation of drug dealing near Boston park
    Jul 22, 2014 9:39 AM CDT

    BOSTON (AP) — A JetBlue pilot from Florida is among six people arrested by Boston police over the weekend in an investigation of drug dealing incidents near the Boston Common. Police said John Manwaring, 42, of Maitland, Florida, and a woman with him were charged with heroin possession. Police said Manwaring told them he was a pilot and had arrived in Boston on Sunday. Two men were charged with selling heroin and a third was charged with cocaine possession and trespassing. Another man was also...

  • National WWII Museum marks milestone, welcomes 4 millionth visitor
    Jul 22, 2014 9:34 AM CDT

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The National WWII Museum has capped a record-breaking fiscal year with another milestone: welcoming its four-millionth visitor since its founding in 2000. Officials say visitation for fiscal year 2014 had exceeded 483,000, beating its previous best attendance year, fiscal year 2013, by more than 85,000 visitors. Museum President and CEO Gordon Mueller says the highlight comes on the heels of major events in New Orleans and France commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied...

  • China warns of delays at 12 airports through mid-August; employee cites military exercises
    Jul 22, 2014 9:32 AM CDT

    BEIJING (AP) — China's airline regulator has warned travelers to expect flight delays at 12 airports through mid-August, and an airport employee said military exercises are the reason. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said airports affected include the major cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Zhengzhou and Qingdao, China Central Television said Tuesday on its website. Disruptions began July 20 and are due to last through Aug. 15, according to CCTV. It said the delays were due to...

  • Mechanic who built first aircraft engine for Wright brothers honored at Air Force museum
    Jul 22, 2014 9:25 AM CDT

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The man who built the engine for Orville and Wilbur Wright's first powered aircraft has finally gotten his due. It was Charles Taylor — a mechanic in the brothers' Dayton bicycle shop — who built the engine for the airplane that first took flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. On Monday, a bronze bust of Taylor was unveiled at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. The self-taught mechanic hand-built...

  • Clarification: GM-Recalls-Rental Cars story
    Jul 22, 2014 9:14 AM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story July 16, The Associated Press reported that General Motors became the first big automaker to support legislation barring rental-car companies from renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall. The story should have specified that current law bans car dealerships only from selling new cars under recall, not used recalled cars.

  • US home sales increase 2.6 percent to 5.04 million, fastest pace in 8 months
    Jul 22, 2014 9:02 AM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — US home sales increase 2.6 percent to 5.04 million, fastest pace in 8 months.

  • Buds of the museum: First recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle to be donated
    Jul 22, 2014 8:50 AM CDT

    SEATTLE (AP) — The first recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle is headed to the Museum of History and Industry. The woman who waited all night to be first in line at the Cannabis City store, 65-year-old Deb Greene, plans to donate her pot on Tuesday to the Seattle museum on South Lake Union. Cannabis City says it also will donate items from the opening day of the store.

  • Mechanic who built first aircraft engine for Wright brothers honored at Air Force museum
    Jul 22, 2014 8:30 AM CDT

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The man who built the engine for Orville and Wilbur Wright's first powered aircraft has finally gotten his due. It was Charles Taylor — a mechanic in the brothers' Dayton bicycle shop — who built the engine for the airplane that first took flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. On Monday, a bronze bust of Taylor was unveiled at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. The self-taught mechanic hand-built...

  • Freedom or freedoom? Spelling off course on Mandela T-shirts worn by Johannesburg cyclists
    Jul 22, 2014 6:54 AM CDT

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela had a way with words, but not quite like this. Cyclists traversing Johannesburg in the former South African president's honor on Sunday wore T-shirts with one of his many inspiring quotations, along with a glaring typographical error in the word "freedom." The T-shirt read: "The purpose of freedoom is to create it for others." Some 5,000 T-shirts with the typo were made for the 35-kilometer (22-mile) "Freedom Ride," which passed landmarks in downtown Johannesburg...

  • George turns 1: Big milestone for Britain's little prince
    Jul 22, 2014 5:36 AM CDT

    LONDON (AP) — The palace is releasing special pictures, the Royal Mint is striking a commemorative coin and newspapers are publishing glowing tributes. What's all the fuss about? A little boy who will be king. Prince George turns 1 on Tuesday. While he may be too young to appreciate it, the milestone is a national event. Editorial writers call him a symbol of hope, newspaper headlines hail him as "Gorgeous George" and one published a 24-page glossy magazine chronicling his first 12 months. Prince...

  • Olympic National park to review goat-management options after 2010 fatal goat attack
    Jul 21, 2014 6:05 PM CDT

    SEATTLE (AP) — Four years after a mountain goat fatally gored a hiker in Olympic National Park, officials are looking at ways to manage the goats to protect public safety and the environment. The National Park Service is evaluating preliminary options, including capturing and relocating the goats to the Washington Cascades, increasing hazing activities, killing them, doing nothing, or some combination of those approaches. Robert Boardman, 63, of Port Angeles, was fatally attacked in October 2010...

  • Obama bans discrimination against federal workers and contractors who are gay and transgender
    Jul 21, 2014 4:42 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who work for the federal government or for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates he embraced the "irrefutable rightness of your cause." "America's federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people," Obama declared at a White House signing ceremony. Obama said it was unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in many places...

  • Country star Shania Twain's 2-year-long series of shows in Las Vegas set to end in December
    Jul 21, 2014 4:25 PM CDT

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Country superstar Shania Twain will end her residency in Las Vegas with a final show Dec. 13, two years after she made a grand Sin City entrance on horseback and began performing at Caesars Palace. Twain announced 16 "Shania: Still the One" shows in October and December, in addition to summer performances running through Saturday at the Colosseum — the same venue that hosts fellow Canadian Celine Dion. "I can't thank Las Vegas enough," Twain said in a statement, calling the city...

  • Red meat isn't very green: Study finds beef pollutes far more than pork, poultry, dairy, eggs
    Jul 21, 2014 4:23 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Raising beef for the American dinner table does far more damage to the environment than producing pork, poultry, eggs or dairy, a new study says. Compared with the other animal proteins, beef produces five times more heat-trapping gases per calorie, puts out six times as much water-polluting nitrogen, takes 11 times more water for irrigation and uses 28 times the land, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cows...

  • Obama announces expansion, new partnerships for My Brother's Keeper program for minority boys
    Jul 21, 2014 4:13 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama announced a major expansion of his initiative to improve the lives of boys and young men of color, with educators, star athletes, companies and foundations announcing partnerships to help minority boys in conjunction with his "My Brother's Keeper" program. Obama, who first announced his initiative in February, said Monday they plan to continue to build support for the program around the nation to ensure those who are the most risk will get the help that...

  • Report says boy also injured fingers on Disney World ride, months before British tourist did
    Jul 21, 2014 4:11 PM CDT

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A report says a 12-year-old boy suffered cuts to four fingers on Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean ride, three months before a British tourist had a similar accident. The report made public Monday by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shows the boy lacerated his fingers in mid-April. No other details were released. The British tourist lost two fingertips on his right hand almost two weeks ago while on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride....

  • 'Simpsons' 500-plus episode marathon coming in August to FXX; digital Simpsons World in fall
    Jul 21, 2014 3:50 PM CDT

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be followed this fall by a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy. A website and app dubbed "Simpsons World" will allow on-demand access to all of the 500-plus episodes of Fox's animated comedy and enable users to search through the life histories of Mr. Burns, Bart and other lemon-hued Springfield residents. "I'm not going to overpromise,...

  • Go For the Food: The cranky "hot dog Nazi" of Anchorage wins fans with reindeer dogs
    Jul 21, 2014 3:26 PM CDT

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There's no shortage of hot dog stands hawking that spicy, oh-so-Alaska treat, the reindeer dog, in downtown Anchorage. But only one of them has consistently long lines. M.A.'s Gourmet Dogs is owned by a guy with an attitude and seven types of tasty grilled dogs — including one with a little bit of Rudolph in it. The reindeer meat, too lean to hold together alone, is mixed with pork and beef. It's the hands-down crowd favorite, every bite delivering a pleasing crunchy pop....

  • No 'Jaws' panic here: Frenzy over shark sightings off Cape Cod are a boon for tourism, sales
    Jul 21, 2014 3:12 PM CDT

    CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — Great white sharks are having an unusual effect on Cape Cod this summer, and many a merchant is going to need a bigger wallet. The sharks being spotted in growing numbers are stirring curiosity and a buying frenzy for shark-related merchandise. Shark T-shirts are everywhere, "Jaws" has been playing in local movie theaters and boats are taking more tourists out to see the huge seal population that keeps the sharks coming. Harbormasters have issued warnings but — unlike the...

  • Hermes' women's ready-to-wear artistic director Christophe Lemaire to leave luxury house
    Jul 21, 2014 2:47 PM CDT

    PARIS (AP) — Christophe Lemaire, the artistic director of Hermes women's ready-to-wear line, is parting ways with the luxury house after four years. Lemaire will take his final bow on Oct. 1 at the presentation of the Spring-Summer 2015 collection, Hermes said Monday in its announcement. There was no word about who would replace the designer, whose clothes convey the kind of relaxed, understated luxury befitting the image of the stately Hermes, which got its start in the 19th century as a saddle-maker....

  • Judge rules students, faculty can oppose merger of Corcoran Gallery with 2 larger institutions
    Jul 21, 2014 2:35 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Nine current students, faculty and staff members can argue against the proposed merger of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the nation's oldest museums, and its college with two larger institutions in Washington, a judge ruled Monday. District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun decided the group has a special interest in the merger, noting the students have paid tens of thousands of dollars in tuition to the Corcoran college, and could possibly be harmed by the deal....

  • Mississippi's Margaritaville casino to close by Sept. 19, saying its location was a handicap
    Jul 21, 2014 2:23 PM CDT

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Company officials say Mississippi's Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant will close on or before Sept. 19. Margaritaville said in Monday's announcement that it will pay 371 employees up to Sept. 19, but could close before then. Managers say the casino in Biloxi couldn't overcome an out-of-the-way location and lack of a hotel. Owners of the casino had planned to invest $64 million to build a 250-room hotel and overhaul the rest of the casino, but said they couldn't resolve...

  • A Star Wars Car, a Doomsday doll highlight some of Mattel's creations for Comic-Con
    Jul 21, 2014 2:08 PM CDT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to designing coveted collectible toys for sale at Comic-Con, the annual celebration of pop culture lifting off Thursday in San Diego, the sky's the limit for the designers at Mattel. Fittingly, the building where Mattel's dreamers conceive of their limited-edition playthings is just down the street from the Los Angeles International Airport. Inside the colorful design center — a Hot Wheels-themed shuttle bus transports employees from Mattel's parking garage — the...

  • Report says boy also injured fingers on Disney World ride, months before British tourist did
    Jul 21, 2014 1:16 PM CDT

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A report says a 12-year-old boy suffered cuts to four fingers on Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean ride, three months before a British tourist had a similar accident. The report made public Monday by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shows the boy lacerated his fingers in mid-April. No other details were released. The British tourist lost two fingertips on his right hand almost two weeks ago while on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride....

  • Georgia's Jekyll Island board approves using government sharpshooters to thin deer population
    Jul 21, 2014 1:06 PM CDT

    JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The governing board for Georgia's Jekyll Island has approved using government sharpshooters to thin the deer population on the island state park. The board voted unanimously Monday to move toward controlled killing of some of the white-tailed deer after three years of grappling with the issue. Surveys going back to 2011 have shown the park has far too many deer to support a healthy population. Residents who oppose the plan say any deer killing would clash with the wildlife...

  • Karl Albrecht, reclusive billionaire who co-founded German supermarket chain Aldi, dead at 94
    Jul 21, 2014 12:47 PM CDT

    BERLIN (AP) — Karl Albrecht, co-founder of the Aldi grocery store empire and one of the world's richest people, has died in the western German city of Essen. He was 94. Essen's city hall told The Associated Press that Albrecht was buried Monday in a family plot in a small ceremony in the city's Bredeney district where he lived. Aldi's press office said Albrecht died July 16. "He created a corporate culture of mutual respect, he trusted his employees and their talents, and he gave them a chance...

  • Malaysian PM says rebels to give Flight 17 black boxes to Malaysia investigators
    Jul 21, 2014 12:34 PM CDT

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The leader of the pro-Russian rebels has agreed to hand over both black boxes from Flight 17 to Malaysian investigators who are in Ukraine, Malaysia's prime minister said early Tuesday. Prime Minister Najib Razak also said that as part of an agreement he reached by phone with rebel leader Alexander Borodai on Monday evening, independent international investigators will be given "safe access" to the site where the Malaysia Airlines jet went down in eastern Ukraine...

  • Swimwear designer, age 19, makes debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami Beach
    Jul 21, 2014 11:24 AM CDT

    MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It was nearly show time as designer Francesca Aiello snapped pictures backstage of models in her latest swimwear designs. This was Frankie's Bikinis' debut show for the 19-year-old designer at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami Beach, but Aiello is a pro when it comes to social media. "I was nervous at first ... of all the attention. But I'm excited," she said before posting the photos on Instagram and Twitter, where her brand started just a couple years ago and...

  • Luxurious, sporty-chic looks make waves at Miami Beach swimwear shows
    Jul 21, 2014 11:10 AM CDT

    MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Surf's up next summer. From rash guards to zipper-brief bottoms, sporty-chic looks made waves on the runway in Miami Beach for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, which celebrated its 10th year with more than a dozen shows ending Monday. The shows previewed summer 2015 swimwear. "Sport luxe is making a big impact into swimwear," said Sue Di Chio, creative director of Suboo. She said customers are looking for more than triangle bikinis, and sportswear design "lends itself...

  • Mattel boosts Thomas & Friends efforts with direct-to-consumer catalog, website
    Jul 21, 2014 8:56 AM CDT

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Toy company Mattel is ramping up its efforts to bring Thomas & Friends products to consumers, rolling out a new direct-to-consumer catalog and website. Mattel Inc. said Monday that it is also teaming with 20 independent specialty retail stores to sell the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway goods. Toys R Us will serve as the exclusive national chain. U.S. shoppers will be able to purchase limited edition toys through the catalog, website or at an official specialty...

  • See the sights, contemplate history, wildlife, culture in Namibia, a southern African jewel
    Jul 21, 2014 7:57 AM CDT

    TORRA CONSERVANCY, Namibia (AP) — Before setting out on a game drive across ruggedly beautiful northwest Namibia, we told the safari camp managers we were happy to take sandwiches. We were intent on finding the notoriously elusive desert elephant, and we didn't want to waste time returning to camp to eat. "Lunch in the bush?'" food and beverage manager Alfonzo Langbooi queried with an enthusiasm we did not immediately understand. We did find the elephants. After all, looking for wildlife — rhinos,...

  • From July to October, almost every weekend offers a New Hampshire fair
    Jul 21, 2014 7:49 AM CDT

    STRATHAM, N.H. (AP) — The heaviest baby contest and "girlie shows" are gone, but New Hampshire's traditional summer and fall fairs live on. With just two exceptions, there's a fair somewhere in New Hampshire every weekend between now and Columbus Day. In between the leadoff Stratham fair, which run through Sunday, and the Sandwich Fair in October, there are nine more scheduled, covering every weekend except the last full weekend in August and the first weekend in October. Most of the fairs offer...

  • Graceland Too memorial tours Aug. 12 to help pay late owner's funeral, estate expenses
    Jul 21, 2014 7:43 AM CDT

    HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — The Holly Springs mansion that became a popular Elvis Presley museum will reopen to the public during Elvis Presley week with a memorial for owner Paul MacLeod. MacLeod was found dead Thursday on his front porch. He was 71. MacLeod's family, friends and lifetime members will lead tours of Graceland Too on Aug. 12 to raise money for MacLeod's funeral and estate expenses, attorney Phillip K. Knecht and the city of Holly Springs said in a news release. The day will end...

  • No 'Jaws' panic here: Frenzy over shark sightings off Cape Cod are a boon for tourism, sales
    Jul 21, 2014 7:40 AM CDT

    CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — In "Jaws," the fictional mayor tried to protect the summer tourism season by keeping a lid on reports of the man-eater lurking offshore. As sightings of great white sharks mount off Cape Cod in real life, however, businesses in the Massachusetts town of Chatham are embracing the frenzy. Shark T-shirts are everywhere, "Jaws" has been playing in local theaters and boat tours are taking more tourists out to see the huge seal population that keeps the sharks coming. Harbormasters...

  • Southwest jet bound for Dallas safely returns to Austin, reports of smoke in cabin, no fire
    Jul 21, 2014 7:38 AM CDT

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Southwest Airlines jet bound for Dallas has safely returned to Austin after reports of smoke in the cabin. No injuries were reported as Southwest Flight 4625 returned to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport just minutes after takeoff Sunday night. A statement Monday from Dallas-based Southwest says the plane, with 27 passengers a five-person crew, taxied to the gate and was taken out of service for inspection. Authorities are trying to determine what caused the smoke...

  • AP PHOTOS: As a long summer's day of Ramadan fasting ends, the joy of nighttime feasts begins
    Jul 21, 2014 3:28 AM CDT

    For the millions of Muslims abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset every day during Islam's holiest month of Ramadan, that first sip of water after a grueling fast is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. In some corners of the world, Muslims are fasting for more than 20 hours a day, depending on when the sun rises and sets in their city. It is a physical and mental exercise meant to draw worshippers closer to God and increase empathy for the poor. But after a long day...

  • Q&A: How Malaysia Airlines can restore employee and customer confidence after 2 disasters
    Jul 20, 2014 10:41 PM CDT

    Malaysia Airlines is in uncharted territory after the disappearance of Flight 370 in March with 239 people aboard was followed this week by the downing of another of its jets, carrying 298 people, over Ukraine. Before the disasters the carrier had among the worst financial performance of any airline. An even bigger question mark now hangs over the future of Malaysia Airlines, with its brand tied to two almost unfathomable tragedies. Some analysts say the state-owned airline won't survive a year...

  • Country singer Leann Rimes applauds skimpy swimwear at Fla.'s Mercedes Benz Fashion Swim shows
    Jul 20, 2014 9:01 PM CDT

    MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Country singer LeAnn Rimes attended the Mercedes Benz Fashion Swim shows in Miami Beach and says she was wowed by a selection of skimpy swimwear on the walk. "I like butts and they do a really good butt," she said after the Luli Fama show, which she attended along with husband Eddie Cibrian. The designers behind the Miami-based collection are known for their abbreviated bikinis. "Before everything sags I might as well," Rimes joked of the string bikini and laser cut...

  • Cancellation of 5K Foam Fest fun runs in US angers participants, no refunds offered
    Jul 20, 2014 6:57 PM CDT

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Utah company's cancellation of an annual fun run featuring a muddy, foamy obstacle course has left participants out of money in Nevada, Oregon and other states. Registered runners for the 5K Foam Fest set for Aug. 2 in Reno received an email Thursday from Spanish Fork, Utah-based Round House Racing saying it went out of business and the event was canceled. Similar emails went out earlier in the week to runners who signed up through the company for the July 26 run in Portland,...

  • Authorities: Body found in waters off New Jersey shore identified as missing French swimmer
    Jul 20, 2014 4:15 PM CDT

    ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a body found in waters off the Jersey Shore has been identified as that of a French man who disappeared while trying to swim in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey coast. Nicolas Guilhot of Lyon, France was swimming with friends off Island Beach State Park late Friday morning when he began to struggle and slipped under the waves. On Saturday morning, a fisherman found a body not far from where the 25-year-old Guilhot was last seen. That came...

  • Group vows to keep pushing for state funds to build Oklahoma pop culture museum
    Jul 20, 2014 9:52 AM CDT

    TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Jamie Oldaker toured the world drumming for the likes of Eric Clapton, among others, but he never lost touch with Oklahoma, where he honed the skills that enabled him to spend his life making music. Oldaker, who grew up in Tulsa, has lent his support to a group pushing for the construction of a museum that would showcase the many contributions to music, acting, writing and the arts by people with ties to the state. "People just need to be aware that Oklahoma's not just a bunch...

  • NYC apartment house seeks to show how modular design stacks up in the quest for cool
    Jul 20, 2014 9:27 AM CDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It's billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation's apartment capital. Called the Stack, the building near Manhattan's northern tip aims to show that while stackable apartments can save builders time and money, modular doesn't have to mean monotonous. Its chunky front embraces its building-block roots, but the apartments'...

  • Seeger tribute at Newport Folk Festival honors tradition, spotlights lesser-known performers
    Jul 20, 2014 9:22 AM CDT

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — There are few musicians as inextricably linked to the Newport Folk Festival as the late Pete Seeger. Newport, known as the place where Bob Dylan cast aside his acoustic guitar and went electric in 1965, has made its mark on the festival scene more recently with an innovative mix of old and new — most with a far different sound than the folk movement Seeger helped lead. This year's top acts include Jack White, Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples. In a hearkening back to its roots,...

  • As numbers of gray seals off New England rise, so do conflicts with fishermen and beachgoers
    Jul 20, 2014 9:00 AM CDT

    ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — Decades after gray seals were all but wiped out in New England waters, the population has rebounded so much that some frustrated residents are calling for a controlled hunt. The once-thriving New England gray seal population was decimated by the mid-20th century because of hunting, with Massachusetts keeping a seal bounty on the books until the 1960s. But scientists say conservation efforts, an abundance of food and migration from Canada combined to revive the population....

  • How the AP-NORC Center poll on finding a doctor and evaluating provider quality was conducted
    Jul 20, 2014 8:51 AM CDT

    The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll on finding a doctor and evaluating provider quality was conducted from May 27 to June 18 by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is based on landline and cellular telephone interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 1,002 adults. Interviews included 595 respondents on landline telephones and 407 on cellphones. Digits in the phone numbers dialed were...

  • Tips for choosing a doctor
    Jul 20, 2014 8:48 AM CDT

    Referrals from another physician or family and friends are a first step in choosing a doctor, but specialists advise doing some research to finalize your choice. Some tips: —The insured typically look in-network. Some insurers are starting to score their providers on certain quality and cost measures. Ask what your plan's listing means. —Check if the doctor is board-certified, which indicates particular expertise in an area such as internal medicine, gynecology, allergy and immunology. You don't...

  • HEALTHBEAT: Poll shows few Americans check doctors' vitals before letting them check theirs
    Jul 20, 2014 8:45 AM CDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don't know how to determine that. Being licensed and likable doesn't necessarily mean a doctor is up to date on best practices. But consumers aren't sure how to uncover much more. Just 22 percent of those questioned are confident they can find information to compare the quality of local doctors, according to the poll by The...

  • National parks, monuments boost Wyoming, Montana and Idaho economies by $1.15 billion
    Jul 19, 2014 3:25 PM CDT

    JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — National parks and monuments boosted the economies of surrounding communities in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho by a combined $1.15 billion last year, according to a new study. Wyoming saw $723.3 million in spending by visitors to parks and monuments run by the National Park Service; Montana, $397.3 million; and Idaho, $29.4 million. On Friday, the National Park Service released a report that says spending on hotels, restaurants, gas and supplies by visitors to U.S. national...

  • Correction: Switzerland-Obit-Winter story
    Jul 19, 2014 1:27 PM CDT

    GENEVA (AP) — In a story July 17 about the death of Texas blues legend Johnny Winter, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Winter's last performance was on July 12 at the Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria. His last performance was on July 14 at the Cahors Blues Festival in southwestern France, not July 12 in Austria. A corrected version of the story is below: Blues legend Johnny Winter dies at 70 in Zurich Texas blues legend Johnny Winter dies at age 70 in Zurich amid European...

  • No walls, no classrooms: London's first forest nursery school lets kids learn in the woods
    Jul 19, 2014 12:56 PM CDT

    LONDON (AP) — In the heart of north London lies the ancient Queens Wood, a green forest hidden away in a metropolis of more than 8 million residents. The sounds of the city seem to fade away as a group of children plays in a mud kitchen, pretending to prepare food and saw wood. These aren't toddlers on a play date — it's an unusual outdoor nursery school, the first of its kind in London, following a trend in Scandinavia, Germany and Scotland. It allows local children to learn, and let their imagination...

  • Ag-gag laws in Utah, Idaho face court challenges; some farm groups to turn to social media
    Jul 19, 2014 12:37 PM CDT

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The years-long fight between farm organizations and animal rights activists over laws prohibiting secretly filmed documentation of animal abuse is moving from state legislatures to federal courts as laws in Utah and Idaho face constitutional challenges. Half of U.S. states have attempted to pass so-called ag-gag laws, but only seven have been successful. Among them are Idaho, where this year's law says unauthorized recording is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000...

  • Kenya Red Cross says 7 killed in bus attack on Kenyan coast; Al-Shabab claims responsibility
    Jul 19, 2014 12:11 PM CDT

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Seven people were killed when gunmen attacked a bus at the Kenyan coast where previous attacks had left 87 people dead, Kenya Red Cross said Saturday. The attack Friday night occurred in an area called Corner Mbaya, which is 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the coastal town of Witu in Lamu county, the humanitarian group said. Authorities believe many of the passengers who were on the 52-seat bus traveling from Mombasa to Lamu town, fled into a nearby forest. Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab...

  • Sudden death of Ohio teen highlights popularity, dangers of unregulated caffeine powder
    Jul 19, 2014 11:33 AM CDT

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A few weeks before their prom king's death, students at an Ohio high school had attended an assembly on narcotics that warned about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers. But it was one of the world's most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner — a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal. The teen's sudden death in May has focused attention on the unregulated powder and drawn a warning from federal health...

  • Some tales woven into folklore about man known to generations of Americans as Johnny Appleseed
    Jul 19, 2014 10:48 AM CDT

    Some tales told in folklore accounts about the man known as Johnny Appleseed: — Wore his cooking pot as a hat to save having to carry it while traveling. — Extinguished a fire he had built when he realized mosquitoes drawn to the flames were dying. He didn't want to kill living creatures. — Went barefoot year-round, even in ice and snow, and entertained children by pressing hot coals or needles into the leathery soles of his feet. — Found a bear and its cub inside a hollow log where he had...

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