• Applications for US jobless aid tick up to 287,000

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but remained at historically low levels that signal a strengthening job market. Weekly applications increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 250 to 281,000, the lowest level in more than 14 years. Applications are a proxy for layoffs and have fallen 20 percent in the past year. Faster growth has encouraged companies to hold onto their staffs and step up hiring. Employers are adding jobs at the healthiest pace in eight years. That is contributing to faster growth: The economy expanded at a solid annual rate of 3.

  • New dynasty: Giants capture 3rd title in 5 years

    Yesterday

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bruce Bochy is crazy superstitious. It's a little-known fact about the unflappable San Francisco Giants manager. Mere mention of anything about a dynasty during the World Series made him uncomfortable. He felt equally uneasy when his name got linked to the best skippers of all-time — those Hall of Famers he well could join someday. Bochy doesn't have to worry about a jinx now. After winning its third championship in five seasons, the new label for his team looks as if it will stick. "Dynasty" blared the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. The Giants closed it out with a 3-2 win in Game 7 at Kansas City on Wednesday night, sealed by Series MVP Madison Bumgarner's five shu

  • Zambian president dies after long illness

    Yesterday

    LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — Zambian President Michael Sata, dubbed "King Cobra" for his sharp-tongued remarks, has died in a London hospital after a long illness. Vice President Guy Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent, became the country's acting president Wednesday, making him the first white leader in continental sub-Saharan Africa since 1994 when South Africa moved to majority rule. Sata, 77, had largely dropped out of public view months ago as his health deteriorated. The government did not divulge details of his condition, but some Zambian media outlets said he suffered multiple organ failure.

  • Oregon, Alaska are ground zero in pot fight

    Yesterday

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — From slick video ads online to scrawled chalk messages on college campus sidewalks, intense get-out-the-vote drives are mobilizing in Oregon and Alaska to legalize retail sales of marijuana to anyone old enough to drink. But backers of the legal-pot ballot measures in both states have a challenge that their predecessors in Colorado and Washington state didn't face two years ago — increasing turnout of young voters in a midterm election. Young voters, who as a generation are more likely to support recreational marijuana, usually turn out during presidential years like 2012, but stay home during midterms, when the electorate skews older and more conservative.

  • Quarantined Ebola nurse goes outside; police watch

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    FORT KENT, Maine (AP) — A nurse who treated Ebola patients in West Africa vowed on Wednesday to end her voluntary quarantine, even going so far as to step out of her home and shake a reporter's hand, signaling a showdown with state police monitoring her and state officials seeking to legally enforce her confinement. Kaci Hickox broke her quarantine by leaving her home with her boyfriend and speaking briefly to reporters in her driveway Wednesday evening. State and local police could only watch from across the street because a judge hadn't signed off on a court order sought by state health officials. She reiterated that she planned to fight the state's quarantine and said there was no need to stay inside because she's not ex

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Galway Kinnell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who opened up American verse in the 1960s and beyond through his forceful, spiritual takes on the outsiders and underside of contemporary life, has died at age 87. Kinnell's wife, Bobbie Bristol, said he died Tuesday afternoon at their home in Sheffield, Vermont. He had leukemia. Among the most celebrated poets of his time, he won the Pulitzer and National Book Award for the 1982 release "Selected Poems" and later received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship. In 1989, he was named Vermont's poet laureate, and the Academy of American Poets gave him the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement.

  • Obama on Ebola fight: US can't seal itself off

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing to confront Ebola at its West African source, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States was not immune to the disease but cautioned against discouraging American health care workers with restrictive measures that confine them upon their return from the afflicted region. "We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he declared. Obama said doctors and nurses from the United States who have volunteered to fight Ebola in West Africa are American heroes who must be treated with dignity and respect. His remarks came amid debate between the federal government and several states over how returning health care workers should be monitored.

  • WHO: Ebola decline in Liberia could be real trend

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The rate of new Ebola infections in Liberia appears to be declining and could represent a genuine trend, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, but the epidemic is far from over. The disease is still raging in parts of Sierra Leone and there is still a risk that the decline in Liberia won't be sustained, Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general for WHO, warned reporters. Several times during the outbreak officials have thought the disease's spread was slowing, only to surge again later. Officials have often blamed those false lulls on cases hidden because people were too afraid to seek treatment, wanted to bury their relatives themselves or simply weren't in contact with authorities.

  • Chrysler recalls over 566,000 trucks, SUVs

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 566,000 trucks and SUVs in two recalls to fix malfunctioning fuel heaters that can cause fires and a software glitch that can disable the electronic stability control. The recalls bring the newly merged company's total for the year to 6.4 million vehicles worldwide and 5.1 million in the U.S. as it continues to struggle with reliability problems. The total is short of Chrysler's annual record for recalls of 7.7 million set in 2000. On Tuesday, its longtime quality chief abruptly left after Fiat Chrysler performed poorly in Consumer Reports magazine's annual reliability rankings.

  • New York, New Jersey look back 2 years after Sandy

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    BELMAR, N.J. (AP) — The second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy arrived Wednesday in a region where recovery in New Jersey and New York is happening unevenly, with many houses, boardwalks and businesses rebuilt but many people still unable to return to their homes. Officials in both states visited houses and businesses badly damaged by the storm to meet with victims still rebuilding and promised to keep working until the recovery is complete. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and federal officials toured a flood-ravaged neighborhood near Raritan Bay in Union Beach where many residents are struggling to rebuild.

  • Cops: Child-rape suspect vowed to kill his accuser

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    BOSTON (AP) — A man suspected of child-rape and committing crimes across the country after snipping off his court-ordered ankle bracelet had an "ultimate goal" of returning to Massachusetts to kill his 13-year-old accuser, state police said Wednesday, hours after he was captured in New York. Police said Gregory Lewis, 26, of Southbridge, spent six weeks on the run after cutting off the GPS monitoring device ordered by a judge following his arraignment in August on charges that included statutory rape of a child. Lewis is suspected of committing a string of rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon. "It was almost like he had nothing to lose.

  • Boy or girl? Family with 12 sons awaits baby 13

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    ROCKFORD, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan couple with 12 sons is expecting baby No. 13, and even though they're sticking to their tradition of not finding out in advance whether they're having a boy or girl, they said they'd be shocked if their streak is broken. Jay and Kateri Schwandt's baby is due May 9, The Grand Rapids Press reported (http://bit.ly/1wLt00x ). Even though they expect it will be another boy, the couple said they would welcome either into the family. "If we were to have a girl, I think we would go into shock," Kateri Schwandt said. "It would probably be disbelief." If he had a choice, Jay Schwandt said he would love to have a girl, but they're just "hoping for a healthy baby.

  • Georgia Rep. Broun's hiring of consultant faulted

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An outside ethics review has found "substantial reason to believe" that Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, violated House rules and federal law by using official House funds to hire a consultant for debate preparations and other campaign work. The independent Office of Congressional Ethics said in a report released Wednesday that Broun paid GOP political consultant Brett O'Donnell nearly $44,000 from June 2012 to March 2014 using his official allowance as a member of Congress. Lawmakers are barred from using official funds for campaign purposes. O'Donnell worked for Broun during his 2012 re-election campaign and a failed Senate campaign this year.

  • Report faults Red Cross response to Isaac, Sandy

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The American Red Cross mishandled its responses to Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and often seemed more focused on public relations than on helping storm victims, according to a report from investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica and NPR published Wednesday, the second anniversary of Sandy. The report (http://bit.ly/1vgh69o) cites internal documents and interviews with current and former Red Cross staffers who said the organization repeatedly failed to get relief supplies to people who needed them. American Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that the organization disputes many of the allegations in the story. She called it "distorte

  • Ex-student: I didn't report harassment out of fear

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A man who accuses a former state university administrator of groping him said Wednesday he didn't report it out of fear he'd be perceived as gay. The accuser, who now works as a college coach, is among three former students who filed a civil rights lawsuit against Isaac Sanders. The lawsuit accuses Sanders of molestation or unwanted sexual touching while the plaintiffs were students at East Stroudsburg University. Sanders, who worked as East Stroudsburg's vice president of advancement, was fired six years ago following an investigation by the agency that oversees Pennsylvania's state university system. He has consistently denied wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime.

  • Small business divided over minimum wage votes

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Workers in five states could get a raise after Election Day. Some small business owners say raising the minimum wage will pressure their companies, forcing them to cut employees' hours or jobs. Others say it's the right thing to do for workers and the economy. Minimum wage referendums are on Tuesday's ballots in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, where minimums range from $6.25 to $8.25 an hour. Some small business owners say raising the minimum wage will force them to cut employees' hours or jobs. Higher minimums were already approved this year in 10 states, the District of Columbia and Seattle.

  • Residents: Islamic State group kills 30 Iraqi men

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State group militants lined up 30 men in western Iraq and shot them dead Wednesday, an official and residents said, the latest mass killing carried out by the group since its advance across the country. The slayings, on a main street in the al-Bakir district in the town of Hit, targeted Sunnis tribal fighters allied with the government and members of the security forces that the extremists captured when they overran the town, the official and the residents said. The militants first paraded the men through town, shouting through loudspeakers that the captured men were apostates who fought against them, residents said. The extremists then lined up the men and shot them dead with assault rifles, resident

  • Tulsa mayor says city ready for winter weather

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett says the city is ready to deal with snow and ice and keep the city's arterial streets drivable as quickly as possible when winter weather strikes. Bartlett said Wednesday that the city is preparing for the upcoming winter season. The city is responsible for clearing snow and ice from certain segments of the Tulsa expressway system and all main arterial streets. Other expressway segments in Tulsa are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The goal of the program is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible after snowfall or ice begins. Resources available to the city include 63 truck-mounted sand-salt spreaders

  • Israeli leader lashes back at harsh US criticism

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister said Wednesday that recent verbal attacks against him from the United States were merely because he was "defending Israel" and vowed to carry on with his policies despite the vitriolic rhetoric. Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks to parliament followed a report in The Atlantic this week in which unidentified U.S. officials lambasted the Israeli premier for his settlement policies and for undermining American peace efforts. The officials derided Netanyahu as cowardly and recalcitrant, among other insults. The report reverberated throughout Israel, with some coming to the prime minister's defense while others pointing to them as an indication of just how bad relations between the two close a

  • Pope praises 'heroic' responders to Ebola

    Updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2014

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has praised the "heroic" response by doctors, nurses and volunteers helping contain the Ebola epidemic and has urged renewed international efforts to defeat the virus. Francis also asked for prayers for the victims during his Wednesday general audience, noting that Ebola is striking parts of Africa where some of the world's most disadvantaged already live. He said that he was gravely concerned about this "implacable illness" and was praying for those infected as well as those "who are heroically doing everything possible to care for our sick brothers and sisters.