• Few hopes of success in Hong Kong talks

    Updated: 29 min ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong officials and student leaders will hold talks Tuesday to try to end pro-democracy protests that have gripped the southern Chinese city for more than three weeks, though chances of success are slim given the vast differences between the two sides. The city's Beijing-backed leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, won't be attending the discussions. But he reaffirmed his position that China's communist leaders won't allow Hong Kong citizens to openly nominate candidates for inaugural elections in 2017 to succeed him. In comments to some foreign media, Leung said giving in to student-led protesters' demands for full democracy in the Asian business hub would give the city's poor too much say.

  • 'Cadaver dog' work more accepted by cops, courts

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BENTON, Calif. (AP) — The burly Labrador retriever sticks out his wide snout to sniff the dirt and dusty air. He's clearly excited as he runs, yelping, through the high desert of California's Eastern Sierra region. "Buster, go find!" Paul Dostie commands. They are a team, the black Lab and the retired police officer. For years, they have worked together to unlock mysteries — to find the bodies of fighting men who fell long ago on foreign battlefields, or of victims of unsolved crimes or disappearances. In all, Dostie says that Buster's alerts have aided in the recovery of the remains of about 200 people. "He's a one-in-a-million dog," Dostie says. Maybe, but he's far from the only dog doing this kind of work.

  • Cost of making 'Hobbit' movies up to $745 million

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The movie trilogy "The Hobbit" has so far cost nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to make as the epic continues to set new benchmarks for studio spending. Financial documents filed this month in New Zealand, where the three movies are being made, show production costs through March had reached 934 million New Zealand dollars ($745 million). The figures include filming and digital effects completed over several years but not the final eight months of production costs leading up to the scheduled December release of the final movie. It's not clear from the documents whether worldwide marketing and distribution costs are included. Warner Bros.

  • AP PHOTOS: De la Renta's creations over the years

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar de la Renta, who died Monday at 82, shaped American couture half a century ago when it emerged as a serious rival to European fashion designers. His specialty was evening gowns, and celebrities from Penelope Cruz and Sarah Jessica Parker to former first ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton wore his creations. Here's a gallery of some of his designs over the past five decades: ___ Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo ___ This gallery was curated by photo editor Alyssa Goodman in New York.

  • Taliban attack kills 4 Afghan soldiers in Kabul

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least four Afghan soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb attack on a bus in the capital. Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, says the blast occurred Tuesday morning while army troops were on their way to the ministry in Kabul. Azimi says six other soldiers and six civilians were wounded in the blast, adding that the bomb was detonated by remote control. A Taliban spokesman tweeted that the group was claiming responsibility for the attack. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks against both Afghan and NATO security forces. Most international security forces are preparing to withdraw by the end of the year.

  • AP Photos: Children learn wrestling in Old Havana

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    HAVANA (AP) — In a wrestling suit the colors of the U.S. flag, 8-year-old Yodimiler Arias grapples with a classmate in the scorching heat of a Havana afternoon. About 20 children are learning to wrestle in the park in Old Havana. When asked why they chose wrestling in baseball-loving Cuba, they shout in unison: "To be like Mijain Lopez!" Lopez has won two Olympic gold medals in Greco-Roman wrestling, as well as five world championships, and is one of Cuba's most heralded and popular athletes. Under the watchful eye of their teacher, former wrestler Michael Guerra, the children run, do squats and practice pins and other moves. Some are barefoot while others wear sandals or tennis shoes.

  • Panama suspends Supreme Court judge for corruption

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    PANAMA CITY (AP) — A Supreme Court justice linked to former President Ricardo Martinelli was suspended on Monday over corruption charges in a landmark corruption case that has mesmerized much of Panama. Alejandro Moncada has for weeks been battling accusations he profited from his ties to the former conservative leader after documents emerged showing he paid mostly in cash for two luxury apartments valued at over $1.7 million. Such properties are seemingly incompatible with Moncada's $120,000 a year salary and don't show up in a sworn affidavit delivered shortly before joining the bench in 2010 in which he declared a 4x4 truck and an expensive watch as his only assets.

  • Total oil company CEO dies in Moscow plane crash

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — The CEO of French oil giant Total SA was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snow removal machine Monday night at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, the company said. Total "confirms with deep regret and sadness" that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died in a private plane crash at the Moscow airport, the company said in a press release dated Tuesday and posted on its website. Airport officials told Russia's Tass news agency that the collision occurred at 11:57 p.m. Monday, killing de Margerie and three crew members, all of them French citizens.

  • Former Australia Prime Minister Gough Whitlam dies

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Gough Whitlam, a flamboyant Australian prime minister and controversial social reformer whose grip on power was cut short by a bitter constitutional crisis, died Tuesday at the age of 98. Although national leader for only three turbulent years until 1975, the legacy of Whitlam's Labor Party government remains to this day. Many of its legislative and social innovations, once regarded as radical, are now accepted as part of daily life. Whitlam's four children said their father died in a Sydney nursing home. They described him as "a loving and generous father." "He was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians," they said in a statement.

  • Poll: Brazil's leader gains ground in tight race

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A poll released Monday night shows Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gaining ground over her rival in a tight re-election race, though the contest remains in a technical tie. The Datafolha polling group's latest survey has Rousseff with 52 percent of voters' support, compared to 48 percent for challenger, Aecio Neves. With the margin of error at 2 percentage points, that keeps the pair statistically tied. But the poll was the first to show Rousseff numerically in front of Neves — meaning she's trended upward while Neves has slipped. The previous poll by Datafolha released late last week had the race at 51-to-49 in Neves' favor.

  • White House opposes Nazi benefit payments

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Nazis should not be getting the Social Security benefits they are receiving as they age overseas, the White House said Monday, responding to an Associated Press investigation that revealed millions of dollars have been paid to war-crimes suspects and former SS guards who left the U.S. for Europe. "Our position is we don't believe these individuals should be getting these benefits," said spokesman Eric Shultz when asked about the situation. He said the Justice Department has said it has "aggressively pursued Nazi war criminals and brought over 100 of them to justice.

  • Restitution ordered in dinosaur footprint theft

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man who pleaded guilty in the theft of a priceless fossilized dinosaur footprint that's never been recovered was sentenced Monday to a year of probation and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. Jared Ehlers, 35, in February pried a piece of sandstone with an ancient three-toed dinosaur track from a trail for off-road vehicles near Moab in southeastern Utah, federal prosecutors say. Authorities believe he got nervous after being questioned in the case and dumped the print — thought to be up to 190 million years old — into the Colorado River. In court Monday, the Moab man told U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball he regretted pulling up the 150-pound piece of sandstone. "I don't have

  • Appeals court revives Syngenta, Bunge GMO lawsuit

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal appeals court gave agricultural chemical-maker Syngenta Seeds hope Monday that it may be able to proceed with a lawsuit against grain storage and transportation company Bunge North America for refusing to accept one of Syngenta's genetically modified corn varieties. Syngenta sued Bunge in 2011, claiming it illegally refused to buy Syngenta's Viptera corn from farmers that year. Viptera is genetically modified to control pests. The case highlights the complications arising from genetically modified grain entering international markets; some foreign importers accept GMOs, while others do not. China is a significant buyer of U.S. corn but has strict rules against accepting GMO grain.

  • 5.6-magnitude quake felt on Ecuador-Colombia line

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A magnitude-5.6 earthquake rattled Ecuador's border with Colombia on Monday, shaking low-lying buildings and frightening residents in the sparsely-populated area. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 3:33 p.m. EDT, had a depth of about 10 kilometers (6 miles) and was centered about 113 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of Quito. It initially measured the quake at 6-magnitude, but downgraded it to 5.6 several hours later. The tremor was felt in small towns on both sides of the border. Officials in the Colombian town of Cumbal, near the quake's epicenter, said they formed an emergency committee to survey possible damage.

  • Millions in Social Security for expelled Nazis

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger lived the American dream. His plastics company in the Rust Belt town of Akron, Ohio, thrived. By the late 1980s, he had acquired the trappings of success: a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town Car, a lakefront home, investments in oil and real estate. Then the Nazi hunters showed up. In 1989, as the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship, Denzinger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. He later settled in this pleasant town on the Drava River, where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.

  • US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers. The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes. Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries. Multiple automakers have recalled vehicles in the U.S. over the past two years to repair air bag inflators made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts.

  • New atlas will help find 'gaps' in crop production

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new mapping tool unveiled Monday and developed by the University of Nebraska and other project partners could help boost global crop production while conserving land and water. The Global Yield Gap Atlas allows farmers, governments and businesses to estimate the "gap" between potential and actual crop yields based on plant, soil and climate data in a specific area, said Roberto Lenton, founder and director of the university's Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute. Creators of the atlas say the technology could help farmers produce enough food to support more than 9 billion people by 2050 while conserving water and other natural resources.

  • Mexico offers reward for info on missing students

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government announced rewards Monday of 1.5 million pesos ($111,000) for information on 43 students from a rural teachers' college who have been missing since Sept. 26. The government ran full-page ads in Mexican newspapers with pictures of the 43 young men. The government also offered 1.5 million pesos for information on those who had abducted or killed the students. The government says it still does not know what happened to the students of the radical teachers' college, after they were rounded up by local police and allegedly handed over to gunmen from a drug cartel. About 50 people have been arrested or detained in the case, including police officers and suspected members of the Guerr

  • Convicted murderer sues state over prison porn ban

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A convicted murderer sentenced to more than a half-century behind bars is suing the state of Connecticut, saying its ban on pornography in prison violates his constitutional rights. Dwight Pink Jr., 44, says in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in July that guards have used the policy to deny him an art book, "The Atlas of Foreshortening," which uses nude models to help show how to draw the human form. Pink says the ban is a violation of his free speech rights and serves no meaningful objective in prison. The state filed its response Monday, saying Pink has not been harmed by the ban and none of his rights were violated.

  • Smithsonian aims to raise $1.5B to improve museums

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Smithsonian Institution has embarked on a major campaign to raise $1.5 billion and increase private support for the world's largest museum and research complex to fund programs in history, science, art and culture. The Smithsonian's Board of Regents announced the goal Monday and revealed more than $1 billion already has been raised in a quiet phase since October 2011. This is the first institution-wide fundraising effort and the largest campaign in history for any cultural institution, Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said. The campaign will continue through 2017. Several large gifts were previously announced for large projects. David H. Koch donated $35 million for a major renovation of the Smithson