• Senate passes $16.1 billion transportation package

    Updated: 55 min ago

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate on Monday passed a $16.1 billion transportation revenue package that includes an 11.9-cent gas tax increase that would be phased in over two years. The chamber passed the revenue bill on a 39-9 vote and it now heads to the House, which is expected to vote on it Tuesday. The Senate also passed a bonding bill tied to the package, but wasn't expected to vote on a spending bill that designates the money to specific projects until Tuesday. Details on the 16-year package were released Monday afternoon, a day after House and Senate transportation leaders said they had reached a bipartisan agreement after months of negotiations. The plan would increase the gas tax in two stages: a 7-cent incre

  • Obama proposal would make 5 million more eligible for OT

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Salaried workers who earn nearly $1,000 per week would become eligible for overtime pay under a proposal President Barack Obama unveiled Monday, lamenting that too many Americans are working too many hours for less pay than they deserve. The long-awaited overtime rule from the Labor Department would more than double the threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime, from the current $455 a week to $970 a week by next year. That would mean salaried employees earning less than $50,440 a year would be assured overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week, up from the current $23,660 a year. "We've got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded," Obama wrote in an op-ed in The Huffington Post. "Tha

  • NBC to Donald Trump: You're fired; Televisa drops pageant

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his campaign. The network said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Miss USA has aired on NBC since 2003, and this year's edition was set for July 12. "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," NBC said in a statement. Trump's reply: a "weak" NBC should prepare to meet him in court.

  • Tsipras defiant as banks shut, markets rocked

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Anxious pensioners swarmed closed bank branches Monday and long lines snaked outside ATMs as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was defiant, urging voters to reject creditors' demands, insisting a "No" vote in next Sunday's referendum would strengthen Athens' negotiating hand. "We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible," he said on state television.

  • Duke Energy CEO getting pay raise year after coal ash spill

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good is getting a raise a year after the country's largest electric company confronted a coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday. Duke Energy's board of directors approved raising Good's annual salary by $50,000 to more than $1.2 million, the only part of her pay package that's guaranteed. Bigger boosts in incentives could push her potential annual compensation to $10.5 million a year, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Good previously topped out at about $8 million a year if she met short- and long-term goals.

  • Swedish woman gets $18M in sex harassment suit against boss

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A young Swedish woman who sued her former Wall Street executive boss over lurid allegations of sexual conquest, betrayal and stalking was awarded $18 million by a federal jury Monday. Hanna Bouveng, 25, accused Benjamin Wey in an $850 million lawsuit of using his power as owner of New York Global Group to coerce her into four sexual encounters before firing her after discovering she had a boyfriend. The jury in federal court in Manhattan awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages plus $16 million in punitive damages on sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims. It rejected a claim of assault and battery.

  • Coal plant operator says Colstrip remains profitable for now

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The formation of a new company to run Montana's largest power plant has raised questions among analysts and plant detractors about how long it can keep going, as pollution control costs rise and coal's share of the electricity market crumbles. The plant's new operator has an answer: There are no plans to shut down the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip Steam Electric Station. Talen Energy spokesman George Lewis acknowledged these are uncertain times for coal power across the U.S. But he said Colstrip for now remains a solid performer that delivers a profit for the Pennsylvania-based company that assumed operations of Colstrip earlier this month, prompting speculation about its intentions for the 360-worker

  • Chobani selected as Greek yogurt provider for school lunches

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Public schools across America will soon offer Greek yogurt as a meat substitute in school lunches beginning this fall. Chobani, a manufacturer of Greek yogurt, officials announced Monday it had been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to supply the yogurt as part of the federal school lunch program. The USDA decided in April to include Greek yogurt as a permanent option in its school lunch program after classifying it as an approved meat substitute in 2013. Chobani was selected as the exclusive provider after it successfully led a Greek yogurt pilot program over the past year, expanding the program from four to 12 states.

  • Justices rule against EPA power plant mercury limits

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday against the Obama administration's attempt to limit power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants, but it may only be a temporary setback for regulators. The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly take costs into account when it first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants. The EPA did factor in costs at a later stage, when it wrote standards that are expected to reduce the toxic emissions by 90 percent. But the court said that was too late.

  • Microsoft sheds some of its ad business, mapping service

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is handing off some its digital advertising business to AOL and selling its street-image mapping operation to Uber, as the giant software company tries to focus on activities more relevant to its core business. AOL, meanwhile, is adopting Microsoft's Bing search engine, replacing Google as the default option for visitors who want to search the Internet on AOL websites. That means Microsoft will get a share of revenue from advertising that's tied directly to Internet searches performed on AOL. But Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, will let AOL take over the selling of other types of advertising on Microsoft websites and apps, including MSN, Skype and Xbox. An AOL Inc.

  • Airline ops manager working on 9/11 is charged in sex sting

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — An American Airlines operations manager who was among the few people to learn of the first 9/11 hijacking before the jet struck the World Trade Center has been arrested near Pittsburgh in an online child-sex sting. Ray Howland is charged with arranging a sexual encounter with a woman and a 10-year-old girl and sent explicit messages after posting online that he was "looking for a family or a couple of girls" for sex while in town on business. Howland, 55, of Arlington, Texas, was actually communicating with an undercover agent from the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, prosecutors said.

  • Now comes the SpaceX rocket whodunit: A complex mystery

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A rocket's dead, blown to bits in public view. Now it's time for "Rocket Science CSI." After 18 straight successful launches, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket broke apart Sunday morning minutes after soaring away from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Lost with the rocket was a capsule packed with supplies for the crew on the International Space Station. In this whodunit, there are clues pointing to pressure problems in the second stage's liquid oxygen tank, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted within hours. But that may be a red herring, and a former NASA shuttle chief warns against jumping to conclusions.

  • Union sues feds over hack, says agency had ample warning

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest federal employee union filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the federal personnel office, its leaders and one of its contractors, arguing that negligence contributed to what government officials are calling one of the most damaging cyberthefts in U.S. history. The suit by the American Federation of Government Employees names the Office of Personnel Management, its director, Katherine Archuleta, and its chief information officer, Donna Seymour. It also names Keypoint Government Solutions, an OPM contractor. Hackers suspected of working for the Chinese government are believed to have stolen records for as many as 18 million current and former federal employees and contractors last year.

  • Obama, Rousseff try to put spy scandal behind them

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will aim to show they have smoothed over tensions sparked by a spying scandal, as they open two days of talks at the White House Monday. The meetings come nearly two years after Rousseff canceled a rare state visit to Washington following revelations that Brazil was a target of American spy programs. The disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden deeply strained relations between the two hemispheric powers. Rather than rehash the spying controversy, officials from both countries say the leaders want to delve into talks on trade, investment and climate change.

  • Supreme Court power plant ruling panned in New England

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court decision against a federal crackdown on emissions from coal-fired power plants got bad reviews Monday in New England, where westerly winds sweep in pollution from many out-of-state plants. But several government officials and environmental group lawyers said the court's finding — that the Environmental Protection Agency did not examine the costs of its rule early enough in its development — may just be a temporary setback in the effort to reduce pollution containing mercury and other toxins. Vermont Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears called Monday's decision "a serious disappointment" for a state that has had to issue advisories about limiting consumption of f

  • Union sues feds over hack, says agency had ample warning

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest federal employee union has filed a class action lawsuit against the federal personnel office and its leaders for failing to safeguard personal files from computer hackers. The suit argues that negligence by federal officials contributed to the cybertheft of private information on up to 18 million current and former employees or contractors. The suit by the American Federation of Government Employees names the Office of Personnel Management, its director, Katherine Archuleta, and its chief information officer, Donna Seymour. The lawsuit alleges that although OPM had been warned for years that its data security was suspect, it failed to take appropriate steps to safeguard employee informati

  • News Guide: What power plant ruling means for Michigan

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday in favor of Michigan and other Republican-led states that challenged Environmental Protection Agency rules that would reduce mercury and other air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The regulations, announced in 2011, are different from rules proposed last year to cut carbon dioxide emissions. What the decision means: ___ RULING A Supreme Court majority agreed with state Attorney General Bill Schuette and said the EPA ignored a law requiring that it analyze costs before announcing regulations to cut mercury and air toxins. The Supreme Court minority who dissented said the agency did not need to consider costs at the beginning of the process because it

  • Police commissioner to City Council: NYPD can reform itself

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Police Commissioner William Bratton renewed his opposition on Monday to a set of proposed regulations on use of force and other policing issues, telling City Council members that the New York Police Department can reform itself. New policies "are better achieved through collaboration and dialogue between the council and the department, and among the various city agencies and community stakeholders, rather than through legislation," Bratton said at a hearing held by the council's Public Safety Committee.

  • Obama signs trade, worker assistance bills into law

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rare bipartisan scene at the White House, President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law two hard-fought bills giving him greater authority to negotiate international trade deals and providing aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by such pacts. The measures were politically linked to secure bipartisan support for the trade legislation, and they set the stage for the Obama administration to conclude negotiations on a 12-nation Pacific Rim economic pact. "I thought I'd start off the week with something we should do more often, a truly bipartisan bill signing," Obama said in a crowded East Room ceremony. Five Democratic and two Republican members of Congress watched as Obama affixed his name to the

  • Political opposition groups gain money for 2016 race

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It was the perfect loop: The Republican opposition research group America Rising finds footage of Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley in agriculture-loving Iowa, seeming to put down the intelligence of farmers. That footage becomes part of a 30-second TV ad, by the super PAC American Crossroads, boosting the Republican candidate, Joni Ernst. Ernst wins. So does America Rising, which used that episode in Iowa last year to show prospective clients and donors what it can do. Big political opposition operations, which didn't even exist five years ago, will be important players in the 2016 presidential election.




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