• Clinton appears to rule out return of ground forces in Iraq

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she sees "no role whatsoever" for U.S. ground forces in Iraq despite setbacks in the struggle against Islamic State militants. The existing U.S. policy of providing air support, intelligence, surveillance and training is the right one, Clinton said, in comments that appeared more definitive than her past statements about how the Iraqis themselves must carry the fight. She addressed the matter after visiting Smuttynose Brewery, where she spoke in defense of the Export-Import Bank, a little-known U.S. agency that guarantees loans to help U.S. exporters and is opposed by some Republicans.

  • Obama tells people of Israel: America has your back

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Friday he "forcefully" objects to suggestions that policy differences between his administration and the Israeli government signal his lack of support for the longtime U.S. ally. Speaking at one of Washington's most prominent synagogues, Obama said the U.S. and Israel should not be expected to paper over differences on Israel's settlement building or the frozen peace process with the Palestinians. "That's not a true measure of friendship," Obama told about 1,200 people, including members of Congress, gathered at Congregation Adas Israel. "The people of Israel must always know America has its back.

  • 2 ex-Wesleyan students face US charges over drug overdoses

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Two former Wesleyan University students pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges they distributed synthetic party drugs that resulted in on-campus overdoses and sent 11 people to hospitals. The defendants, Zachary Kramer, 21, of Bethesda, Maryland, and Eric Lonergan, 22, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, appeared in federal court in New Haven. Each was released after the judge set bond at $250,000. The two men are among five Wesleyan students who have been expelled since their arrest on state charges in connection with the on-campus drug overdoses, which left two students near death, including one who had to be revived when his heart stopped beating.

  • Yellen: 1st rate hike likely by year end if economy improves

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday she expects to begin raising interest rates later this year — if the job market improves and the Fed is confident inflation will climb closer toward its target rate. She described the U.S. economy as "well positioned for continued growth," but at the same time highlighted a number of headwinds that threaten progress. Wages have been disappointing and too many people who want full-time jobs and instead working part-time, she said. She also noted a lackluster housing recovery and modest business investment. The Fed has kept its key benchmark rate at a record low near zero since December 2008.

  • Nebraska senators urge EPA to back biofuels industry

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to continue its support for renewable fuels when drafting rules that could limit amounts of ethanol blended with gasoline for fuel. Forty-two of Nebraska's 49 senators signed a letter sent to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday, urging her to consider the impact of modifying the market for the ethanol industry that contributes $5 billion annually to the state's economy. Congress created a Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, to grow ethanol and biodiesel markets in the U.S. The policy requires specific volumes of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline. The EPA is expected to release oil industry draft rules for 2016 on June 1.

  • Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle W.Va. coal mine

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    BRISTOL, Va. (AP) — Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle a West Virginia coal mine that employs more than 400 workers. Alpha says it notified 439 workers on Friday that it expects to idle Rockspring Development's Camp Creek underground mine and processing plant in Wayne County. Last week, Alpha cut 71 jobs at four mines in Kentucky and Virginia. The Bristol, Virginia-based company attributes the cuts to weak demand for coal, depressed prices and government regulations. Alpha chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield says in a news release that the actions are difficult but necessary to align production with reduced demand.

  • US appeals court upholds delay in Alzheimer's drug swap

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a drug manufacturer's appeal and affirmed a judge's order that Actavis PLC keep distributing its widely used Alzheimer's medication until after its patent expires this summer. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had sought the order and called the Court of Appeals ruling a victory for consumers. His office says the drug Namenda should remain on shelves 30 days after the patent expires July 11. He alleged anti-trust and state law violations by Actavis in an effort to push patients to its new patented drug and avoid losses from cheaper generics. Dublin-based Actavis says its new drug Namenda XR is better and demand is growing. It's taken once daily,

  • The latest on a possible gas pipeline in the Pinelands

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    UPPER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A southern New Jersey natural gas company wants to move forward with a 22-mile-long, 2-foot-wide pipeline from one rural section of the state to another. South Jersey Gas tried and failed in 2014 to get the approval of the board that oversees the state's million-acre pineland preserve. Now the company is trying again to get that approval. So what's changed? ___ NEW COMMISSIONER Gov. Chris Christie supports the pipeline, and he's got a new appointee on the Pinelands Commission, which could decide the fate of the venture. The state Senate approved Robert Barr this year amid protests from environmentalists and after several delays.

  • Father of Santa Barbara shooting victim wants gun reforms

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Richard Martinez thinks of his son every day, and with those thoughts come the constant reminder of a young life cut tragically short by a troubled man with a gun. That is why, the 61-year-old attorney says, he crisscrosses the country, poking and prodding people to support what he calls reasonable gun-control laws. It has become his life. "I'm not anti-gun," Martinez is quick to say. "I'm anti-gun violence." Martinez had just gotten off the phone with his son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, on the night of May 23, 2014, when the sophomore English major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, decided he would head to a nearby deli for something to eat.

  • Q&A: Why are antibiotics used in livestock?

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is the latest company to ask its suppliers to curb the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Here's a rundown of what's driving the decision: Q: Why do farmers use antibiotics in raising animals in the first place? A: Farmers use antibiotics in animals for the same reason they're used in humans, to treat infections and other illnesses. But the drugs are also given to farm animals broadly in feed and water in order to fatten them up. Q: Why is the use of antibiotics a problem? A: Public health officials say the use of antibiotics leads to bacteria that are resistant to the drugs. That leads to people getting infections that are antibiotic-resistant, and harder

  • Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — America's largest tobacco companies must inform consumers that cigarettes were designed to increase addiction, but not that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a partial win for cigarette makers in the long-running legal fight that began in the Clinton administration in 1999. In this latest round, the companies objected to running court-ordered advertisements that would have branded themselves as liars. The ads would have begun with a preamble statement that the companies "deliberately deceived the American public.

  • Campbell Soup says 3Q profit and soup sales declined

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Campbell Soup said Friday that its net income and revenue fell in the fiscal third quarter, with U.S. soup sales declining. Its earnings topped Wall Street expectations, however, and the company reaffirmed its full-year profit guidance, and suggested it could skew toward the high end of that range. Its shares rose almost 2 percent in afternoon trading Friday. The maker of canned soup, Pepperidge Farm cookies and V8 juice said the stronger dollar hurt its sales overseas, and sales of soup slumped in the U.S. Campbell's said domestic soup sales fell 10 percent, with broths and ready-to-serve soups taking larger declines than its condensed soups. Campbell Soup Co. said its net income slipped 1 percent

  • US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 3 to 885

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three this week to 885. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 659 rigs were seeking oil and 222 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,857 rigs were active. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana lost four rigs, West Virginia declined by three and Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio each lost one. New Mexico and Pennsylvania gained three rigs apiece, Arkansas was up by two and Oklahoma increased by one. Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas, Utah and Wyoming were all unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981

  • Wal-Mart's push on animal welfare hailed as game changer

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart's push to get its suppliers to give farm animals fewer antibiotics and more room to roam is expected to have a big impact on the food industry, experts say. Though the steps are voluntary, Wal-Mart, which sells more food than any other store, has a history of using its retail muscle to change the way products are made and sold across the retail industry. Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it's asking meat producers, eggs suppliers and others to use antibiotics only for disease prevention or treatment, not to fatten their animals, a common industry practice. The guidelines also aim to get suppliers to stop using pig gestation crates and other housing that doesn't give animals enough space.

  • Coast Guard: Fire on Gulf oil platform; 28 workers evacuated

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Twenty-eight workers have been evacuated from an oil production platform that is on fire off Louisiana's coast. A Coast Guard news release says the fire was reported at 2:50 a.m. Friday near Breton Island, which is close to Louisiana's southeastern coast. Production was shut down, and no injuries have been reported. The Coast Guard reported a light sheen of oil could be seen from the air along a more than one-mile stretch of water. Also, about 4,000 barrels of crude oil is stored on the platform. Authorities are working to put out the fire and keep that oil from getting into the water. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

  • House GOP's NC budget proposal gets lots of Democratic votes

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In the first showing of strong bipartisan support for a comprehensive state budget bill since before the Great Recession, North Carolina House Republicans have passed a two-year spending plan that benefited from a revenue windfall. The House gave final approval early Friday to its version of the budget, with a majority of Democrats and Republicans voting yes. It would spend $22.2 billion — nearly $1.1 billion more next fiscal year than the current year. "We're very pleased," said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, after the final vote of 93-23, at 1:15 a.m. "We tried to be very inclusive and transparent and open and collaborative in the development of this budget.

  • HSBC getting new trial in securities class action lawsuit

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has awarded HSBC a new trial in a securities class action suit that ended with a $2.46 billion judgment against the company. The ruling was made Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Europe's largest bank said it argued the verdict in the case, which dates to 2009, was defective and should be reversed. The company said it looks forward to the new proceedings. In 2013 a division of HSBC was ordered to pay $2.46 billion in a class action lawsuit that said its Household International mortgage lending business violated federal securities laws by misleading investors about its lending practices, the quality of its home loans and its financial accounting in 2001 and

  • US consumer prices ticking up as Fed weighs first rate hike

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Core consumer prices outside of food and energy posted the biggest increase in April in more than a year, suggesting that an improving U.S. economy is finally starting to lift prices. That could prompt the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates later this year. Overall consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent for the third straight climb, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall gains were held back by a 1.3 percent drop in energy costs. But excluding food and energy, core inflation rose 0.3 percent in April, marking the biggest one-month increase since January 2013. That means core inflation has risen at an annual rate of 2.6 percent over the past three months — the fastest pace in four years.

  • Prosecutors: Professor offered China data on US-made device

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Temple University has appointed an acting chairman of its physics department after its leader was arrested and accused of scheming to provide U.S. technology secrets to China. Federal prosecutors say 47-year-old Xi Xiaoxing (shee show-shing) is an expert in the field of superconductivity and sought prestigious appointments in China in exchange for providing data on a device invented by a U.S. firm. Xi appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court on four counts of wire fraud. He has been released on $100,000 bond. A person who answered the phone at his suburban Philadelphia home says he isn't available to comment. Temple spokesman Ray Betzner says an acting chairman was appointed in light of Xi's need t

  • Expedia sells stake in Chinese travel service

    Updated: Fri, May 22, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Expedia sold its entire stake in eLong, a Chinese travel service, to a group of businesses based in China for roughly $671 million. The news sent shares of the online travel company up more than 5 percent in midday trading Friday. Before the market opened, Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia said that it had sold its 62.4 percent share in eLong to a group that includes Ctrip.com International Ltd., Keystone Lodgings Holdings Ltd., Plateno Group Ltd. and Luxuriant Holdings Ltd. The company said the transaction closed Friday. Separately, Shanghai-based Ctrip, said it had acquired a 37.6 percent stake in eLong for roughly $400 million.




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