• Hawaii passes bills on energy, sex trafficking, rail tax

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers passed dozens of bills Tuesday heading into the final days of the Legislative session, approving plans that could raise taxes, save energy and ban sex trafficking. A bill to set up a system of medical marijuana dispensaries is scheduled for a full legislative vote on Thursday. Here's a rundown of some of the major bills that passed both chambers and are now heading to Gov. David Ige. RENEWABLE ENERGY — Hawaii could become the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio. A bill that passed the House and Senate Tuesday calls on Hawaii to use 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2045. "This is going to be a game changer for the energy sector across the coun

  • China stocks rebound, other Asian markets fall after US drop

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were uneven Wednesday as investor sentiment was dented by losses on Wall Street and doubts about Greece's ability to repay debts due to the IMF this month. Chinese markets rebounded from the previous day's sell-off. ___ KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3 percent to 2,105.17 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.6 percent to 5,730.80. Stocks in Southeast Asia were also lower. But Chinese markets rebounded from their biggest drop in months on Tuesday that was sparked by an upcoming wave of IPOs. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.1 percent to 28,043.79 and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.5 percent to 4,362.21. Japan was closed for a holiday.

  • Uber says it is leaving Kansas after new regulations set

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Ride-hailing company Uber said Tuesday that it is pulling out of Kansas after the Republican-dominated Legislature overruled GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and imposed new regulations on such services. It was the first time a Brownback veto of a bill has been overridden, and both legislative chambers comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority votes needed for the vote. Uber said in a statement shortly after the House vote that it was ceasing operations in the state now that the regulations are set to go into force by the end of the month. "We're saddened by the loss of hundreds of jobs, safe rides and transportation choice for consumers in Kansas," the statement said.

  • US gives farmers approval to spray crops from drones

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the United States, officials said Tuesday. The drone, called the RMAX, is a remotely piloted helicopter that weighs 207 pounds (94 kilograms), said Steve Markofski, a spokesman for Yamaha Corp. U.S.A., which developed the aircraft. Smaller drones weighing a few pounds had already been approved for limited use to take pictures that help farmers identify unhealthy crops. The RMAX is the first time a drone big enough to carry a payload has been approved, Markofski said. The drone already has been used elsewhere, including by rice farmers in Japan. The FAA approved it for

  • Tech executive mourned by Silicon Valley luminaries

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Tech industry luminaries and friends gathered Tuesday for a memorial service honoring David Goldberg, a popular business leader whose marriage to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg made them one of Silicon Valley's most prominent couples. U2 vocalist Bono sang before an audience that included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, film director George Lucas and a host of tech company founders, executives and financiers. Afterward, mourners emerged teary-eyed from Stanford University's Memorial Auditorium, many wearing Minnesota Vikings paraphernalia to commemorate the NFL team loved by Goldberg, a Minneapolis native. The 47-year-old Goldberg died Friday while on a family vacation at a villa near Puerto

  • Kansas lawmakers approve changes for civil service system

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to reduce the number of state workers covered by its civil service system after the Republican-dominated Legislature approved a bill Tuesday making it easier for state agencies to reclassify jobs. The Senate approved the civil service bill, 24-16. The House approved the same measure in March, and it goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. The bill embodies an initiative from his administration. Passage of the measure came as senators also approved a measure on public pensions and a bill requiring legislators to sign off on any plan from the state for complying with a new federal rule designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

  • Senate sets test vote on Iran sanctions bill

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a test vote for Thursday on stalled bipartisan legislation to let Congress review and possibly reject any agreement the Obama administration makes to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions on nuclear research and development. The bill has been on the Senate floor off and on for more than two weeks. It has been stalled since Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas proposed politically attractive changes that drew the objections of Democrats as well as some Republicans who want the bill kept free of controversial provisions that could prompt the White House to withdraw its support.

  • Van Gogh work fetches over $66 million at New York auction

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A painting Vincent van Gogh created while briefly working side by side with his friend Paul Gauguin in the south of France brought in $66.3 million at auction Tuesday. "The Allee of Alyscamps" was offered at Sotheby's impressionist and modern art sale. The autumnal scene was painted in 1888 during a two-month period when van Gogh and Gauguin worked together in Arles, France. The painting, which had a presale estimate of more than $40 million, was sold to an Asian private collector, Sotheby's said. The auction record for a van Gogh, who died in 1890, is $82.5 million.

  • The Rubicon Project 1Q tops estimates

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Rubicon Project Inc. on Tuesday reported a loss of $5 million in its first quarter but its adjusted results topped Wall Street estimates. Its outlook for second-quarter earnings per share, however, fell below Wall Street expectations and its stock dipped in after-hours trading. On a per-share basis, the Los Angeles-based company said it had a loss of 14 cents in the first quarter. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 2 cents per share. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 12 cents per share. The digital ad exchange operator posted revenue of $37.2 million in the perio

  • New Las Vegas resort-casino to rise at Stardust site by 2018

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The developer of a sprawling Chinese-themed resort on the Las Vegas Strip said Tuesday that the long-awaited hotel-casino on the former site of the Stardust Hotel is expected to open by mid-2018. K.T. Lim, chairman and CEO of Malaysia-based Genting Group, said the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas would showcase China's people and regions, both past and present. After performances by traditional Chinese lion dancers and speeches in front of a large gathering of notable Nevada leaders and industry officials, Lim, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and other officials placed golden shovels into hard dirt at the 88-acre site next to Circus Circus, signaling the start of construction.

  • More people near coal ash pits told not to drink their water

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials are warning more residents living near Duke Energy's coal ash pits that it's not safe to drink or cook with their well water after tests showed contamination levels that is raising health concerns. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday that 152 wells tested near Duke's dumps failed to meet state groundwater standards. That represents more than 93 percent of the 163 wells for which tests have been completed so far. Many of the tests results show high levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, vanadium and hexavalent chromium. Last month, the state said tests of 87 private wells near Duke's plants failed to meet state standards.

  • Senate adopts GOP budget targeting 'Obamacare'

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday adopted a GOP budget that paves the way for an assault on President Barack Obama's health care law this summer and a partisan showdown over spending bills this fall. The Senate passed the nonbinding measure by a nearly party-line 51-48 vote. The House adopted it last week. The measure sets a potential path for a balanced budget within a decade. It promises to cut domestic agencies and safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps, carve up transportation spending and student aid, and curb tax breaks for the poor. Republicans don't plan to adhere to most of its cuts in follow-up legislation, however.

  • Duke seeks delay in suit over North Carolina coal ash spill

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge is considering Duke Energy's request for a six-month halt of a shareholder lawsuit prompted by a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina while the company tries to resolve related lawsuits and finalize a $102 million settlement of a federal criminal investigation. After hearing arguments Tuesday, Vice Chancellor John Noble of Delaware's chancery court, which specializes in business disputes, declined to rule immediately. He said he would await the outcome of a hearing in North Carolina next week in the U.S. Department of Justice criminal case, which involves nine alleged misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act from the 2014 spill.

  • Man admits pointing laser at aircraft near New York airport

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A man who aimed a laser pointer at planes near LaGuardia Airport pleaded guilty to a new federal charge on Tuesday. Elehecer Balaguer entered the plea in Manhattan federal court to a count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. Though the charge carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison, Balaguer is likely to receive leniency at his September sentencing after describing his crime and his history of mental illness. A plea agreement called for a sentence of between 2 and 2 1/2 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, noting Balaguer's psychiatric history and apparent lack of wrongful intent, told defense lawyers and prosecutors, "This is not going to be a routine sentence.

  • Duke seeks delay in shareholder suit over coal ash spill

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge is considering Duke Energy's request for a six-month halt in a shareholder lawsuit prompted by a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina while the company tries to resolve related lawsuits and finalize a $102 million settlement of a federal criminal investigation. After hearing arguments Tuesday, Vice Chancellor John Noble of Delaware's chancery court, which specializes in business disputes, declined to rule immediately. He said he would await the outcome of a hearing in North Carolina next week in the U.S. Department of Justice criminal case, which involves nine alleged misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act. "We hope and expect that the DOJ matter will be resolved soon," said Ke

  • Macau death plot raised during casino mogul testimony

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson found himself answering questions in a Las Vegas courtroom on Tuesday about what he knew about a plot to behead employees in Macau and if Chinese government promises were broken as Las Vegas Sands Corp. developed properties on the lucrative Cotai Strip. The billionaire chairman of Sands and Venetian resorts in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore testified at proceedings that mostly focused on jurisdiction for the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by ousted Sands China Ltd. chief Steven Jacobs. With reporters and Nevada gambling regulators taking notes, Adelson, the top Republican party donor in the U.S., found himself characterizing a dispute with China about obtaining permits for a

  • SEC lawsuit accuses company of fraud in 'man camp' projects

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A company that sold investments in housing developments for workers in the North Dakota oil patch ran an illegal fraud scheme that bilked investors out of millions of dollars, state and federal authorities said Tuesday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit in federal court in North Dakota against North Dakota Developments LLC and its owners, Robert Gavin and Daniel Hogan, accusing them of raising more than $62 million in a Ponzi-like scheme that centered on stakes in so-called "man camps." The suit seeks to recoup money from the alleged scheme and impose fines against the defendants. In addition, North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler on Tuesday ordered the defendants to s

  • Feds offer exit plan for Montana town's asbestos cleanup

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A long-delayed U.S. government cleanup plan for a Montana community where asbestos contamination has sickened thousands would leave the deadly material in the walls of houses, underground and elsewhere — stirring worries among residents and state officials about future exposures. Tuesday's proposal, for the neighboring mining towns of Libby and Troy, calls for asbestos-containing vermiculite to be left in place where the Environmental Protection Agency says it presents minimal risk and can be safely managed. But some Libby residents said the asbestos inevitably will escape during future excavation work, home renovations and accidents such as fires.

  • Mexico: 2 workers dead, 10 hurt in Mexico oil rig accident

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — An accident on an oil well-maintenance platform killed two workers and injured 10 off Mexico's coast on Tuesday, company officials reported, blaming the incident on the collapse of one of the rig's legs. State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said the Troll Solution rig was maneuvering to perform offshore maintenance at the time of the accident in the Bay of Campeche, in the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex blamed a structural failure in the leg. The rig was "listing" but had not sunk, the company said via Twitter. Pemex said in a statement that the platform belongs to oil services provider Typhoon Offshore. Ninety-eight of that company's workers and three Pemex employees were removed from the rig an

  • Comcast says adding thousands of customer-support jobs

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Comcast, long dogged by a terrible reputation for customer service, is planning to hire thousands and is rolling out new tools to improve its interactions with customers. "There are times you just need to transform things and rethink things from the base level. That's what we've done," Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said at a cable-industry trade show in Chicago. The company has set aside $300 million for efforts to improve customer service and will add to that, he said. The Philadelphia company will add 5,500 customer service jobs over the next two to three years. It's also building three new call centers and adding technicians. Comcast is the country's biggest cable company.