• Lights, camera, blossom! Disney films inspire floral fantasy

    Updated: 22 min ago

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Lights, camera ... blossom! Floral and garden designers are paying homage to Disney and Pixar films at the Philadelphia Flower Show, which opens Saturday with the theme "Celebrate the Movies." Meticulously landscaped exhibits have been inspired by more than a dozen features, from "Frozen" and "Finding Nemo" to "Cars" and "Cinderella." Visitors enter through a huge, art deco theater facade as if they were attending a red carpet premiere. Palm trees, roses and lilies help recreate the ornate interior of a 1920s movie palace, while moss, jewels, fabric and other blooms cascade down from "chandeliers" overhead. Billed as the nation's largest and longest-running flower show, it covers 10 acres and

  • Debates rage over color of dress photographed in rare light

    Updated: 23 min ago

    It's the dress that's beating the Internet black and blue. Or should that be gold and white? Friends and co-workers worldwide are debating the true hues of a royal blue dress with black lace that, to many an eye, transforms in one photograph into gold and white. Optometry experts are calling the photo a one-in-a-million shot that perfectly captures how people's brains perceive color and process contrast in dramatically different ways. "This photo provides the best test I've ever seen for how the process of color correction works in the brain," said Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, the clinical adviser to Britain's College of Optometrists. "I've never seen a photo like before where so many people look at the same photo and see two s

  • Leonard Nimoy, word famous as Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek', dies

    Updated: 24 min ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leonard Nimoy, world famous to "Star Trek" fans through a beloved cult TV series and a half-dozen films as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, has died. Nimoy's son, Adam, says the actor died Friday morning in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 "Star Trek" run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public's mind he would always be Spock. His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner's often-emotional Captain Kirk on one of television and film's most revered cult series.

  • Russian soccer stadiums a throwback to 1980s England

    Updated: 25 min ago

    Watching a football match in Russia often carries echoes of the grim era of hooliganism in 1980s Britain. There are crumbling stadiums, sparse crowds, clashes between hardcore fans and police, and despite a recent ban, often a pervasive smell of cigarette smoke. Also, as shown Friday in a report by an anti-discrimination groupers, pervasive racism is directed against players and fans from ethnic minorities. Of the 12 glittering new and refurbished arenas which will host the 2018 World Cup, many will replace dilapidated Soviet-era bowls which often lack basic facilities such as sufficient toilets, with little effort made to accommodate female fans and families.

  • US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    Updated: 26 min ago

    MIAMI (AP) — Officials have rescinded a new rule requiring U.S. military judges presiding over tribunals at Guantanamo Bay to relocate to the base in Cuba. The rule prompted the judge in the Sept. 11 terrorism case earlier this week to order an immediate halt to proceedings unless it was rescinded. The memo rescinding the rule was released by the Pentagon on Friday. The Defense Department in January had ordered the judges to relocate after an official said it would help speed up litigation in the three active prosecutions by military commissions of prisoners at the base. That prompted lawyers for the five prisoners charged in the Sept.

  • Leonard Nimoy's son Adam says the "Star Trek" star has died in Los Angeles

    Updated: 29 min ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leonard Nimoy's son Adam says the "Star Trek" star has died in Los Angeles.

  • Whatcom man is 7th person in Washington with measles

    Updated: 29 min ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — State health officials say a Whatcom County man is the seventh person in Washington state to get the measles this year. Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer says the man was exposed while visiting a contagious relative in California. They do not know if his relative's illness was related to the Disneyland measles outbreak that began in December. He was not exposed to the other Washington cases. Six other people in the state have contracted measles this year: four people in Clallam County and two in Grays Harbor County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than 150 people across the United States have gotten measles this year. Three-quarters of those cases are related to the Disne

  • South Africa: Parents find daughter 17 years after kidnap

    Updated: 31 min ago

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A newborn was kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital in 1997 but her parents never gave up hope and now, 17 years later, they have found her. The family had always celebrated their missing daughter's birthday on April 28, and following her remarkable discovery the girls' biological family is planning a festive celebration for her first birthday with them. "We have to plan something very big," the girl's aunt told South Africa's Cape Talk radio station after it reported that DNA tests confirmed she was the child kidnapped from the Groote Schuur Hospital. A 50-year-old woman was arrested and appeared in court Friday on charges of kidnapping and fraudulently pretending to the child's biological mother, p

  • Vatican denounces leaks of documents on finance reforms

    Updated: 34 min ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican spokesman on Friday condemned as "unworthy and petty" the leaks of documents detailing power struggles inside the Holy See and the expenditures of Pope Francis' new finance czar. In a cover story Friday, Italy's L'Espresso weekly detailed opposition to Cardinal George Pell's financial reform and revealed that his Secretariat for the Economy had racked up a half million euros (dollars) in expenditures in the last six months. Some of the expenses seemed legitimate, but one was a 2,508-euro ($2,800) bill from Rome's swanky Gamarelli tailor. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, condemned the leaks as illegal and called the attacks on Pell "unworthy and petty." He said Pell's office was

  • NBA to release 'last 2 minutes' reports on crunch-time calls

    Updated: 35 min ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA will begin revealing whether it determined referees' crunch-time calls to be right or wrong. Starting Monday and continuing throughout the playoffs, the league will release play-by-play reports of all calls and relevant no-calls in the final minutes of close games. Such information had been shared only internally. The assessments will be released by 5 p.m. the day after each game and will stand as the league's comment on whether the most disputed calls were correct. The reports will focus on the last two minutes of games that were within five points at the two-minute mark and all of any overtime periods. Each play is reviewed by a senior basketball operations manager or senior referee manager.

  • Rival protests in Yemen in wake of Shiite rebel power grab

    Updated: 36 min ago

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Tens of thousands of Yemenis marched Friday in the capital, Sanaa, in support of Shiite rebels who captured the city last year. The demonstrators denounced alleged "foreign conspiracies" — a reference to international backing for Yemen's embattled president, who managed to escape house arrest at the hands of the rebels earlier this month. Meanwhile, rallies against the rebels known as Houthis took place in several other places across the country, including cities of Taiz, Hodida, Bayda and Dhamar. The rival rallies underscored the depth of the crisis that has gripped Yemen after the Houthis overran Sanaa last September and declared in January that they have taken over the country.

  • BC-AP Entertainment and Arts Digest,1st Ld-Writethru

    Updated: 36 min ago

    If you have questions, please contact Steve Loeper at sloeper@ap.org. Expanded AP content, beyond what appears on this wire, can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customer support@ap.org or call 877-836-9477. For reruns of stories and questions about the best-seller lists, call the Service Desk at 800-838-4616. Times are EST. UPDATES FRIDAY, FEB. 27 FILM-TRAVOLTA-HIGHS AND LOWS NEW YORK — Since strutting onto the big screen in "Saturday Night Fever," John Travolta's career has been one of dramatic ups and downs, from comeback king to Internet meme. Here's a look at his highs and lows. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 800 words, photos.

  • Cash-strapped Ukraine struggles to keep Russia gas supplies

    Updated: 37 min ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Cash-strapped Ukraine sought to buy time in its effort to ensure continued gas supplies from Russia, making a $15 million payment Friday to Moscow as it waits for international rescue loans to arrive. But Moscow says the sum will cover only an additional day, leaving a potential gas cutoff looming Tuesday. That increases the pressure on Ukraine to strike a deal at a meeting Monday with Russian officials in Brussels — a showdown that comes amid rising fears in Europe that energy supplies could be threatened by a shutdown to Ukraine. With Ukraine's economy on the brink of collapse and money from a 15.5 billion-euro ($17.

  • Mysterious graffiti artist Banksy illustrates Gaza debris

    Updated: 37 min ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The work of mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy has made an appearance in Gaza. In a short film posted on his website, the popular street artist appears to have sneaked into Gaza through an underground tunnel from Egypt. The video combines footage from the Israeli-Hamas war last summer, with political commentary about the coastal strip's misery. Some of Banksy's work is seen as well, such as a drawing of a Greek goddess cowering against a remaining concrete slab of a destroyed structure. Banksy publicist Jo Brooks confirmed on Friday that he visited Gaza, getting there through a tunnel. Brooks would not say when. It's not Banksy first foray into the Mideast conflict.

  • Records: Suspect in Vegas killing was abused as a baby

    Updated: 37 min ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Records show a 19-year-old accused of killing a Las Vegas mother in a neighborhood gunbattle suffered a severe head injury at the hands of his father when he was a 7-week-old infant. Archived court documents reviewed by The Associated Press show the father, Erich Milton Nowsch Sr., pleaded guilty in 1997 to child abuse that caused his baby's skull to be fractured. The father killed himself in 2010 at 39 when the son was 14. Defense attorney Augustus Claus says he wants to investigate the extent and effect of the injury before deciding whether to use it as part of the defense in the murder case. Nowsch faces murder, attempted murder and weapon charges in the shooting death of Tammy Meyers earlier

  • 8 shot to death, including gunman, in Missouri rampage

    Updated: 37 min ago

    TYRONE, Mo. (AP) — A gunman killed seven people and wounded an eighth person in an overnight house-to-house rampage in a small Missouri town before apparently committing suicide in a vehicle, authorities said Friday. The victims were found in four homes in Tyrone, about 40 miles north of the Arkansas line. The 36-year-old gunman was discovered in a neighboring county, dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder said. Kinder gave no information on a motive for the shootings or whether the gunman and the victims were connected. The names of the dead were being withheld until their relatives could be notified.

  • US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    Updated: 38 min ago

    BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — The U.S. and Liberian governments are starting the first formal patient testing of an experimental Ebola virus treatment that's been used on an emergency basis. The drug, ZMapp, contains three genetically engineered proteins designed to home on a target on the surface of the deadly virus to stop the disease's progression. ZMapp, developed by San Diego-based Mapp Pharmaceuticals Inc., is "grown" in tobacco plants engineered to make large quantities of the virus-blocking proteins. Adults and children in both countries, infected with Ebola or with suspected infection, will be included in the study. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says half the participants will receive three

  • US 75 north of Dallas closes during snowy weather, accidents

    Updated: 40 min ago

    DALLAS (AP) — A Texas snowstorm has closed schools, snarled traffic and forced a main highway to Oklahoma to shut down after dozens of vehicles slipped off the road. The Texas Department of Public Safety says US 75 near Melissa, 25 miles north of Dallas, was closed in both directions Friday. Sgt. Lonny Haschel (HASH'-el) had no reports of injuries after numerous trucks and cars went off slick US 75. The Collin County Sheriff's Office says as many as 40 vehicles left the road, but did not wreck into each other. Forecasters say the Dallas-Fort Worth area received nearly an inch of snow Friday as the system moved in from West Texas. Schools in Lubbock, Abilene, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo called off classe

  • Crews repairing pump, water lines in Fort McHenry Tunnel

    Updated: 42 min ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — The Maryland Transportation Authority says workers are making repairs to water lines and a sump pump used to discharge water in part of the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate-95 after the lines were frozen due to the winter weather. Crews are temporarily closing one of the tunnel's northbound tubes during overnight hours for emergency repairs. Officials say the problems with an underground sump pump and frozen water lines do not impact the structural integrity of the roadway or the tunnel. Crews are making repairs and also monitoring the lines under the southbound tunnel lanes to rule out any potential issues there. During the overnight closures, traffic is being directed through the northbound tube th

  • White House drafts privacy bill, consumers push for more

    Updated: 43 min ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House this week circulated legislation aimed at encouraging U.S. businesses to do more to protect consumer privacy. But privacy advocates were pushing back even before its release, saying it does nothing to hold businesses accountable for misusing a consumer's personal information. According to a draft obtained by The Associated Press, the bill identifies seven principles for safeguarding personal data, including giving Americans the right to access information that technology and marketing companies gather online. It says businesses should act with transparency and take steps to protect that data from being leaked or misused. The bill also encourages industries to draft "privacy codes of conduct