• ECB tells governments: Don't wait to fix Europe's economy

    Updated: 6 min ago

    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says governments that share the euro currency shouldn't wait for better times to push through reforms that would boost sluggish growth. Draghi said tough measures to clear away bureaucracy and make hiring and firing more flexible are needed quickly to energize the economy. He rejected arguments that looser hiring and firing rules only work over the long term and could hurt the hesitant recovery that is taking hold. He said that "the sooner they take place, the better." Draghi spoke Friday at an ECB conference in Sintra, Portugal, where economists are discussing ways to lower unemployment. The jobless rate is 11.

  • Drought-ridden California faces decision on new water cuts

    Updated: 7 min ago

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers along the river delta at the heart of California agriculture expected to get an answer Friday on their surprise offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks as California responds to the worsening drought. Regulators with the state Water Resources Control Board promised a decision on the proposal by a group of farmers along the delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers — a rare concession by holders of some of California's strongest water rights. For the first time since a 1977 drought, California regulators are warning of coming curtailments for such senior water-rights holders whose claims date back a century or more.

  • Eiffel Tower closed amid workers' anger about pickpockets

    Updated: 7 min ago

    PARIS (AP) — The Eiffel Tower is closed to the public because workers are protesting a recent rise in aggressive pickpockets. The Paris monument is normally open every day of the year and brings in thousands of visitors daily. It sometimes closes briefly for bomb threats or strikes. The company that manages the tower said in a statement it did not open Friday because the staff is concerned about petty crime around the site. It said it is working with police to reach a solution so that the landmark can reopen. The walkout comes the day after Paris authorities said crime against tourists had dropped this year thanks to reinforced police presence and video surveillance.

  • Man hit by Portuguese policeman alleges aggravated assault

    Updated: 11 min ago

    LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The lawyer representing a man and his elderly father who were beaten by a Portuguese police officer says she has filed complaints accusing the officer of aggravated physical assault. The alleged offenses carry a combined maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Lawyer Sonia Carneiro told the AP on Friday the two complaints are on behalf of Jose Magalhaes and his 66-year-old father. Live video of the officer beating Magalhaes with a truncheon outside a Portuguese soccer stadium Sunday, and also punching his father, triggered a scandal in Portugal. Magalhaes's sons, aged 9 and 13, witnessed the incident but were not hurt. The police, the public prosecutor and the government have all

  • 5 things to know about Ireland's gay marriage referendum

    Updated: 13 min ago

    DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland's voters decide Friday whether to legalize gay marriage. While 19 other nations and most U.S. states have already done so, Ireland is the first to hold a national vote. Though voting is Friday, results won't be announced until Saturday. ___ WHY IS IRELAND VOTING? Ireland's 1937 constitution, written by then-Prime Minister Eamon De Valera in consultation with Catholic Church leaders, is a document laden with conservative Christian values. It affords special legal protections to married couples, committing state institutions "to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

  • Spanish opposition parties challenge new 'gag law'

    Updated: 15 min ago

    MADRID (AP) — Spanish opposition parties have filed an appeal against the conservative government's new Public Security Law, known as the "gag law," before the Constitutional Court, a court spokeswoman said Friday. The law, due to come into force July 1, allows for the summary expulsion of migrants caught illegally entering the country's North African enclaves, sets hefty fines for protests outside parliament buildings or strategic installations and provides for banning unauthorized television and photographic images of police. Five United Nations human rights special rapporteurs issued a statement in February calling for it to be repealed. Human Rights Watch also slammed the bill.

  • Dunkirk marks 75 years since massive Allied rescue mission

    Updated: 20 min ago

    DUNKIRK, France (AP) — Veterans and European officials are marking 75 years since a huge operation to evacuate 338,000 troops trapped by advancing Nazi troops from the shores of Dunkirk in northern France, one of the most dramatic moments in British military history. Fishing trawlers and passenger ferries were among hundreds of private boats that helped the British Navy carry out Operation Dynamo to rescue Allied soldiers in 1940 and bring them across the English Channel. A remembrance ceremony Friday will honor more than 4,500 members of the British Expeditionary Force who died around Dunkirk. British officials will greet visitors aboard a paddle steamer that was among the ships involved in the operation, now moored in Dun

  • Herman Wouk writes book to mark 100th birthday

    Updated: 22 min ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — As he nears his 100th birthday, Herman Wouk has a book planned with a title permitted only to a man of his age. Wouk's "Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author" is coming out in December, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Friday. The book will cover his years in the Navy during World War II, inspiration for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Caine Mutiny," and will include reflections on his Jewish faith, a recurring theme in his work. "I've lived to a great age, and for that I thank Providence," Wouk said in a statement issued through his publisher. "To the readers who've stayed with me for the long pull, my warm affection, and I hope you'll enjoy the light-hearted memoir abo

  • Syrian troops evacuate besieged compound in northwest

    Updated: 25 min ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Activists and state media say Syrian troops who had been besieged for nearly a month in a hospital compound in the country's northwest managed to withdraw. State TV says the troops pulled out of the compound in the town of Jisr al-Shughour and reached government-held areas as other forces covered their withdrawal with intense shelling and airstrikes. An unnamed military official is quoted by state TV as saying the troops left the compound carrying the bodies of their dead and wounded comrades. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says dozens of troops fled the compound, which was captured Friday by Islamic militants led by Syria's al-Qaida affiliate.

  • Police arrest 2nd suspect in dispensary office robbery

    Updated: 25 min ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities say they've arrested a second suspect in the armed robbery of a medical marijuana dispensary's corporate office in Phoenix. Phoenix police say 44-year-old Robert Veto Gastelum is being held on suspicion of burglary, aggravated assault, kidnapping, armed robbery and drug-related charges. One female suspect was arrested earlier and police say a second woman suspected in the robbery remains on the loose. Witnesses say the three suspects entered the business office on May 13 and immediately began pointing guns at two employees. One of the workers was quickly bound and held at gunpoint on the floor. The suspects then forced the second employee to unlock the safe before he was also bou

  • Kenya says attack by Somali militants thwarted in Garissa

    Updated: 26 min ago

    KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Kenyan authorities say they have foiled an attempted attack by suspected Somali militants on a village in the same northeastern county where militants killed 148 college students last month. The interior ministry said in a statement Friday that Yumbis village in Ijara country was attacked Thursday evening by a gang of armed militants who were repulsed after a gun battle with the security forces, with no casualties. Al-Shabab has launched several attacks inside Kenya in retaliation over Kenya's military involvement in Somalia, where the Kenyan military is part of African Union forces battling the militants. The group claimed responsibility for a deadly April 2 attack on Garissa University College

  • French parliament cracks down on supermarket waste

    Updated: 29 min ago

    PARIS (AP) — France's parliament has voted to forbid big supermarkets from destroying unsold food, encouraging them to donate to charities or farms instead. The amendment on food waste approved by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, late Thursday is part of a larger environmental bill. The overall bill is still under discussion, and will need to go to the Senate for final approval. The bill would require big supermarket chains to donate unsold goods to charity or for use as animal feed or compost. It also aims at reducing waste in school cafeterias. Environmental groups welcomed the vote. A trade group said large supermarkets are being disproportionately targeted by the bill. The government is

  • EU, Ukraine sign $2 billion loan deal at Eastern summit

    Updated: 32 min ago

    RIGA, Latvia (AP) — The European Union offered more money and the promise of visa-free travel to some post-communist nations Friday in an East-West partnership that has tempered its ambitions after Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. Meeting in Riga for the Eastern Partnership summit, EU and Ukrainian officials signed a 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) loan agreement meant to help revive the country's ailing economy, which is suffering from structural problems and unrest in the industrial east. The deal requires Ukraine to adopt a series of reforms including anti-corruption measures. Ukraine's economy contracted by nearly 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from a year earlier.

  • Heavy Saudi-led airstrikes target Shiite rebels in Yemen

    Updated: 33 min ago

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Saudi-led coalition has launched heavy airstrikes on Shiite rebels in Yemen, targeting camps and weapons depots in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. Yemenis awoke to the sound of explosions early Friday when warplanes targeted weapons caches in Noqum mountain, sending up bursts of flames and columns of smoke. Airstrikes also targeted the rebels, known as Houthis, in Saada, their northern heartland. Witnesses saw Apache helicopters flying overhead that appeared to be targeting rebel vehicles. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity out of security fears. The Houthis have carried out cross-border attacks from Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia.

  • Abbas: Israeli settlement expansion blocks any peace deal

    Updated: 34 min ago

    SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel stands in the way of any peace deal because it is perpetuating its military occupation and keeps expanding settlements. Abbas spoke Friday at a regional World Economic Forum conference in Jordan. The Palestinian leader says he remains committed to setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel, in the lands Israel captured in 1967. He says that "what prevents the achievement of this desire is Israel's continuation of its occupation and settlement activity and imposing realities on the ground." Abbas did not refer to the changed circumstances created by the formation of a new hardline Israeli government this month; key members oppose any la

  • Turkey: businessmen, police detained in new raids

    Updated: 46 min ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Officials say police have detained dozens of businessmen and police officers in a new wave of raids against people suspected of links to a movement led U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the government accuses of attempting to topple the government. The governor's office for central Konya province says police have warrants to arrest 69 people suspected of "membership in the pro-Fethullah terror organization" and other crimes. It says raids were launched Friday in Konya and 19 other provinces. The detained officers include the former police chief for Konya and other senior officers. The governor's office did not identify the wanted businessmen.

  • Police: Counselor charged after having sex with student

    Updated: 56 min ago

    ROSTRAVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a western Pennsylvania high school guidance counselor has been charged after having sex with a football player who came to her for help. The Post-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1Aja8cK) that 33-year-old Lianne Danko, of Rostraver, was charged Thursday with three counts of institutional sex assault. Her lawyer, David Shrager, says the Ringgold High School counselor is well-liked and respected in the community and will fight the charges. Police say she engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student who was seeing Danko to discuss relationship problems. They say they began exchanging intimate text messages and later met in a parking lot to have sex.

  • South Sudan alleges Khartoum role in new rebel offensive

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — South Sudan's military is accusing the government of Sudan of aiding a new rebel offensive against South Sudanese government forces in the state of Upper Nile, where oil fields are now threatened by fresh fighting. South Sudanese military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer told The Associated Press on Friday that the recent defection in Upper Nile state of a key general to the rebel side was likely tied to incentives from Sudan's government. It's not the first time South Sudan is accusing its neighbor of supporting rebels, charges routinely denied by Khartoum. Fighting has recently escalated in the states of Unity and Upper Nile, where the last remaining functional fields of Paloch are threatened.

  • Suspect in killings of wealthy DC family arrested

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities have arrested an ex-convict who's accused in the killings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper. Members of a fugitive task force arrested 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint on Thursday around 11 p.m., about a week after authorities said the family was killed and their mansion set on fire. D.C. police and the U.S. Marshals Service say Wint has been charged with first-degree murder while armed. Police haven't detailed why Wint would want to kill 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his 47-year-old wife, Amy; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa. Three of the four victims had been stabbed or bludgeoned before the fire.

  • 38th annual blowout golf tournament starts Saturday

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Duncan Golf and Tennis Club General Manager Mike Hansen has been waiting for Saturday for close to four months. The club’s signature event, the 38th annual Spring Blowout Golf Tournament tees off on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with a shotgun start and ends Monday. The field is completely full with 256 players split into the two-person scramble format and eight handicap flights. For Hansen and assistant golf professional Mark Budler, this is the big dance. “It’s the biggest one we do, and to be perfectly honest of all the golf professionals that I know of across the United States it’s the biggest one that I know of,” Hansen said. “256 players a day is enormous. Most clubs’ member-guest are 144 maxim