• New York fire, building collapse injure 12; gas blast blamed

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — An apartment building collapsed in a fiery burst of rubble on Thursday and flames spread to nearby buildings in what officials said appeared to be a gas-related explosion, injuring at least a dozen people and scattering debris across surrounding streets in the heart of Manhattan's trendy East Village. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blast appeared to have been caused by plumbing and gas work inside one building. Inspectors from utility Con Edison had been there to check on a planned gas meter installation about an hour before the fire, but they decided the building wasn't ready for gas to be introduced, company President Craig Ivey said.

  • Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The fiancee of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be called to testify in his murder trial Friday. Two people with knowledge of the matter confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that Shayanna Jenkins would be called. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of a gag order. Jenkins has been granted immunity, which means she can be compelled to testify or face time behind bars. There had been a question over whether prosecutors would call her. Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to perjury. Prosecutors say she lied to a grand jury investigating the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating her sister. Prosecutors have said Jenkins removed a box from their h

  • Woman accused of kidnap plot claimed to be business coach

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A woman who is accused of masterminding a scheme to kidnap two babies and pass them off as her own after she told her married boyfriend she'd given birth to his twins is a self-styled business mogul with scores of podcasts, websites and a book to her name, records searches revealed Thursday. Giseleangelique René D'Milian, 47, and three others were arrested Wednesday in what police called an 'evil' scheme to abduct infants and kill their mothers. The sordid plot led to the abduction and murder of a 3-week-old girl in January after her parents and uncle were shot in a home invasion and a second woman was attacked in February with a baseball bat in an attempt to steal her 4-month-old son, police said.

  • Obama praises payday lender rules, vows veto of limitations

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Embracing proposed new rules aimed at payday lenders, President Barack Obama on Thursday said working families need protections from heavy debt burdens and warned Republicans that he would veto attempts to unravel regulations that govern the financial industry. Obama praised the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its proposal to set standards on a multibillion-dollar industry that has historically been regulated only at the state level. "One of the main ways to make sure paychecks go farther is to make sure working families don't get ripped off," Obama told about 1,800 people at Lawson State Community College.

  • Worker struck by new roller coaster during testing at park

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ELYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A worker is recovering from a broken hand and staples in his head after being struck by a newly built roller coaster during testing at a Pennsylvania amusement park. A Knoebels Amusement Resort spokeswoman said the company employee was struck by the Impulse roller coaster Thursday morning. Public relations manager Stacy Ososkie says the man was beside the track when he was hit by a passing car. She says family members report a CT scan did not show signs of more serious injuries. The 99-foot-high coaster is the largest project in the park's history. The accident occurred at the lowest point of the ride in an area that isn't accessible to the public.

  • $1 billion water spending plan heads to California governor

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A plan to pump $1 billion of water spending into drought-stricken California cleared the Legislature on Thursday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign the legislation. The California Assembly voted unanimously, 74-0, on AB91 a day after the Senate approved bills that would expedite infrastructure spending; offer aid to communities hit hard by dry conditions; and authorize fines for illegal diversions of water that hurt fish. "The severity of the drought requires us to start now," said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. "Delay for the sake of addressing every single outstanding issue or need would be irresponsible.

  • Diet sodas fall in US; Pepsi takes back No. 2 spot

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Americans bought less soda for the 10th straight year in 2014, with diet sodas shrinking more than their sugary counterparts, according to a report released Thursday. An annual report by the industry tracker Beverage Digest found that overall soda volume slipped 0.9 percent last year, moderating from the decline of 3 percent the previous year. And the poor performance of diet sodas in particular led to a shake-up in the top 10 U.S. soda rankings; even though people bought less Pepsi, it managed to regain the No. 2 spot from Diet Coke, which suffered an even steeper decline. Diet Coke had knocked Pepsi off the No. 2 spot in 2010. Coke remained by far the most popular soda in the U.S., selling about twic

  • Ex-NFL star Sharper to appear twice in New Orleans court

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An April 7 court date has been set in a Louisiana state court for Darren Sharper, the former NFL star who has entered pleas in four states where he is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women. So far, Sharper has pleaded guilty to charges in Las Vegas and Arizona, and no-contest in Los Angeles. The April 7 appearance in New Orleans criminal district court will follow an April 6 date in federal court, also in New Orleans. Sharper, who has been jailed for more than a year, is expected to serve another nine years in prison as a result of the multi-jurisdiction plea deal. Sharper retired in 2011 after a 14-year NFL career that included a Super Bowl victory with the New Orleans Saints.

  • BC-ME--Maine News Digest 6 pm, ME

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Upcoming Maine news from The Associated Press for Thursday, March 26, 2015. Good evening. Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up today in Maine. Questions about today's coverage plans are welcome, and should be directed to Maine Correspondent David Sharp at (207) 772-4157, or Northern New England Correspondent Rik Stevens at 603-224-3327 or rstevens@ap.org. A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking news and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date. Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNows.

  • UN more than doubles its count of besieged in Syria: 440,000

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has more than doubled its estimate of Syrians who are living in besieged areas — and risk death by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care — to roughly 440,000. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos announced the new number Thursday while briefing the Security Council on what she called the "breathtaking levels of savagery" that continue as Syria's civil war enters its fifth year. The Syrian American Medical Society this month released a report arguing that the U.N.'s estimate of 212,000 people cut off from the outside world was far too low and that the U.N. was inadvertently underplaying the crisis.

  • Trooper's killer had been convicted in supremacist brawl

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Michigan man killed in a shootout that also left a rookie Wisconsin state trooper dead was part of a group of skinheads who attacked black and Hispanic people nearly 20 years ago, court records show. Steven Timothy Snyder was convicted in 1996 of disorderly conduct in Fond du Lac, the same city where he killed Trooper Trevor Casper on Tuesday. A third person was also found dead, but police have not said who was responsible. According to charging documents, Snyder, then 19, was part of a group of skinheads police noticed walking through downtown in April 1996. Police saw the group walk up to a house. A group of black and Hispanic people emerged and the two groups pulled out pipes and baseball bats and

  • US government approves Dallas club's rhino import permit

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    DALLAS (AP) — The U.S. government will allow a Texas man to import the trophy of an endangered black rhinoceros should he kill one in Africa as part of a conservation fundraiser. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that importing a carcass from Namibia meets criteria under the Endangered Species Act of benefiting conservation. Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 last year in a Dallas Safari Club auction billed as a fundraising effort to save the black rhino. In a letter to the agency in December, the club's executive director, Ben Carter, said the money raised from such auctions is "critical to supporting the Namibian government in their efforts to stem the tide of commercial killing of these animals.

  • Stephen King gets no apology from Maine governor

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    CUMBERLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he doesn't owe Stephen King an apology. The governor responded to a question about the spat during a public discussion by saying he never stated King moved to Florida to dodge income taxes. Instead, he contends he said King is "not in Maine right now." That's not how King saw it. The governor referenced King during a radio address after noting that former Gov. Kenneth Curtis moved to Florida "where there is zero income tax." He said King "moved away as well." The reference to King was later removed from a transcript of the address. King, who lives in Bangor and pays Maine income taxes, demanded an apology. He said of LePage in an email Thursday: "I repea

  • Man retraces Daniel Boone's nearly 240-mile trek to Kentucky

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    FORT BOONESBOROUGH, Ky. (AP) — Inspired by his own family's pioneering roots in the Kentucky wilderness, Curtis Penix walked nearly 240 miles through arduous Appalachian terrain, to follow in the footsteps of frontiersman Daniel Boone. The Michigan steel mill worker, toting a 40-pound backpack, completed his 16-day journey Thursday following the path known as Boone Trace, which Boone and his band of axe men had carved out in March and April 1775. Penix's trek started in Tennessee, wound into Virginia and took him to hallowed ground in Kentucky, — Fort Boonesborough, which was built after Boone and men finished the trail. The path became an important early artery for settlers heading westward. "The American dream started o

  • Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (AP) — Oklahomans salvaged soggy belongings Thursday after the Plains' first tornado outbreak of 2015, expressing gratitude that casualties were low but understanding that nature's next punch could be far worse. One person died and dozens of people were injured when tornadoes hit parts of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas during Wednesday's evening rush hour. The mayor in Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb devastated by a massive tornado two years ago, called the storm that hit his city a "junior tornado." But residents of a hard-hit Sand Springs, just west of Tulsa, said the storm was agonizing.

  • Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft said Thursday that it will push its U.S. suppliers to give their employees paid time off — but that only applies for the staffers that do work for Microsoft. Microsoft said it has about 2,000 U.S. suppliers, who provide services such as maintenance and security. The technology company does not know how many of its suppliers don't provide paid time off. It has heard from workers and media reports that some companies don't provide the benefit. The announcement comes at a time when paid sick leave and income inequality have become hot topics. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass measures that would allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid leave. Microsoft

  • Indiana governor overrides law to authorize needle exchange

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence overrode state law and his own anti-drug policies Thursday to authorize a short-term needle-exchange program designed to help contain HIV infections in a rural county where more than six dozen cases have been reported, all of them tied to intravenous drug use. Pence issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency in Scott County, an economically depressed area about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, that has seen 79 new infections since December. The county typically sees only about five HIV cases each year, health officials said. All of those infected either live in Scott County or have ties to the county, and all of the infections have been linked to needle s

  • Lawyer disputes police's hoax claim in California kidnapping

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — A lawyer disputes police claims that the kidnapping of a California woman was a hoax and says her boyfriend was bound and drugged during the abduction. Attorney Dan Russo said Thursday his client Aaron Quinn did not immediately call police when his girlfriend Denise Huskins was abducted because at least two kidnappers "forced him to drink something" they said was a drug. Investigators said they were suspicious when Quinn took hours to report that strangers broke into his home early Monday and abducted Huskins for an $8,500 ransom. Police could not be reached for comment Thursday. Huskins turned up safe Wednesday in Huntington Beach. Police later revealed they had no proof of a kidnapping and bel

  • New Jersey suit over Florida pizza shop logo tossed

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Turnpike Authority's lawsuit against a Florida pizza shop for using a logo similar to the Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs has been tossed. Federal Judge William Martini granted the Jersey Boardwalk Pizza shop's request to dismiss the suit Thursday, saying that the shop doesn't have enough contact with the state for New Jersey to bring the lawsuit here. In his written ruling, he also said the company hasn't conducted business with residents in New Jersey other than branded merchandise that he says were arguably only purchased because of the publicity surrounding the lawsuit. Turnpike Authority spokesman Thomas Feeney said the state is continuing to fight the company bef

  • Settlement reached in lawsuit filed by Ferguson protesters

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three Missouri police agencies will restrict their use of tear gas and other chemical agents on crowds as part of a lawsuit settlement with six Ferguson protesters. Court records show that U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson officially dismissed the lawsuit Thursday. But she'll supervise the case through 2017 to ensure the agencies comply. Protesters sued over the "unified command" that handled security at the protests sparked by the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. The command included the State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County police and St. Louis police. Jackson issued a temporary restraining order in December requiring police to provide "reasonable" warning before using




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