• Official: Debris from NYC blast going to secure location

    Updated: 34 min ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Some debris from an explosion and fire in Manhattan's East Village is being taken to a secure site where it will be examined again for any human remains. An official with knowledge of the operation told The Associated Press of the plans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the operation is ongoing. Emergency workers have been looking through the rubble for signs of two people who have been missing since Thursday's blast. The explosion and subsequent fire leveled three buildings. The official says upper layers of debris have already been removed and workers have reached the basement level. One of the buildings contained a restaurant where the missing men are believed to have been at the

  • Officials: Iran nuke talks solving some issues, not others

    Updated: 56 min ago

    LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but is pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms, Western officials involved in the nuclear talks said Sunday. Iran's potential movement on enrichment reflected the intense pressure to close a deal. But substantial differences between the sides may prove too difficult to bridge before Tuesday's deadline for a preliminary agreement, which is meant to set the stage for a further round of negotiations toward a comprehensive deal in June. The goal is a long-term curb on Iran's nuclear activities. In return, Tehran would gain relief from the burden of global economic penalties.

  • Mining for tourists? A dubious economic savior in Appalachia

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    SECO, Ky. (AP) — Mines built this company town. Jack and Sandra Looney hope vines — the wine grapes growing on a former strip mine in the hills above — will help to draw visitors here. Their Highland Winery — housed in the lovingly restored "company store" — pays tribute to coal-mining's history here, as do their signature wines: Blood, Sweat and Tears. "The Coal Miner's Blood sells more than any of them," Jack Looney says of the sweet red. The couple have converted the store's second and third floors into a bed and breakfast and restored a couple dozen of the old coal company houses as rentals. Seco, like so many Central Appalachian communities, owes its existence to coal — its very name is an acronym

  • Obama golfs with big money, oil moguls in Florida

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    PALM CITY, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama is teeing off in Florida with a trio of oil and private equity moguls. The president is spending the weekend in Palm City in eastern Florida, at the private Floridian National Golf Club. Obama was joined for his round of golf Sunday by Jim Crane, who owns the Floridian. Crane is a major Democratic donor who also owns the Houston Astros and golfed with Obama and Tiger Woods in 2013. He's also a major player in the Texas energy industry. Also in Obama's foursome is Milton Carroll. He's on the board of directors of Halliburton, the oil company closely associated with former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney. Private equity investor Glenn Hutchins rounds out the pres

  • Israel installs solar panels at parliament to save energy

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has installed solar panels on the roof of its parliament building, creating what it calls the largest solar field of any national assembly in the world. The office of the parliament speaker says energy generated from some 1,500 solar panels will provide 10 percent of the electricity used at the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The Knesset is also advancing other energy-saving projects, like installing energy-saving lights, automatically shutting down lawmakers' computers at the end of each workday, and using air conditioning systems to help irrigate the gardens surrounding the building. The statement says the measures will reduce the Knesset's energy use by a third. Scientists will also cond

  • DreamWorks' 'Home' bests 'Get Hard' at box office with $54M

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The DreamWorks animated alien adventure "Home" beat out the Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard" at the box office, but both films debuted strongly. According to studio estimates Sunday, "Home" opened with $54 million, giving DreamWorks Animation a much needed hit. Jeffrey Katzenberg's studio has struggled recently, but the better-than-expected debut of "Home," with a voice cast led by Rihanna and Jim Parsons, gives DreamWorks a welcome lift. "Get Hard," which teamed two of the most bankable stars in comedy, opened with an estimated $34.6 million for Warner Bros. That gives both Ferrell and Hart one of their best box-office debuts.

  • Northeast, despite highest gas costs, resists more pipelines

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Most people agree the Northeast must expand its energy supply to trim the nation's highest costs and natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. Still, there is loud opposition to building or expanding pipelines here. Last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company moved it to New Hampshire — where it's also generating plenty of venom. That line is one of about 20 pipeline projects being proposed throughout the Northeast, where savvy environmental and political forces combine with population density to provide formidable opposition. The lines are in a region looking to tap the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.

  • Who pays for solar power? Utilities, energy firms disagree

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — One of the more recurring disagreements before the legislature's Energy Committee at a recent meeting centered on whether residents with solar panels are really paying for all they get from the power grid. It is called cost shifting, a phrase that echoed through the hearing room in the Legislative Office Building during conversations on bills that would expand residential solar and enable shared solar facilities in Connecticut.

  • Painstaking search continues after NYC blast, but hope dims

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Searching with hands and dogs through scoops of rubble from three apartment buildings leveled in an apparent gas explosion, emergency workers painstakingly looked for signs of two missing people Saturday, though authorities acknowledged the chances were slim. Meanwhile, investigators worked to piece together exactly what caused the blast Thursday that injured 22 people in Manhattan's East Village. More than seven months earlier, utility workers discovered that the gas line to a restaurant in one of the destroyed buildings had been tapped, creating a "hazardous situation," according to Consolidated Edison. On Aug. 6, a meter reader at the restaurant detected the smell of gas and reported it, utility spokesman

  • Boko Haram kills 41, prevents hundreds voting in Nigeria

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram extremists killed 41 people, including a legislator, and scared hundreds of people from polling stations in the northeast, but millions voted across Nigeria Saturday in the most closely contested presidential race in the nation's history. In electoral violence elsewhere, three people including a soldier were shot and killed in political thuggery in southern Rivers state, and two car bombs exploded at polling stations in the southeast but no one was injured, according to police. All the Boko Haram attacks took place in northeastern Nigeria, where the military Friday announced it had cleared the Islamic extremists from all major centers, including the headquarters of their so-called Islamic ca

  • Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An outbreak of a deadly bird flu strain spread to one of the top poultry producing counties of the nation's top turkey producing state of Minnesota, government officials confirmed on Saturday, raising fears that the that the highly contagious disease could seriously damage the industry. The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza has infected a third turkey farm in the state, this time a commercial flock of 39,000 birds in Stearns county in central Minnesota. The county is No. 2 in turkey production in Minnesota and is also one of the state's top chicken and egg producers. State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann said one of the four barns at the Stearns County farm was infected and that many turkeys in

  • Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Some British Airways frequent flier accounts have been hacked, but the airline says that most personal information is safe. The London-based airline did not say how many accounts were compromised, but said they have been locked down and can no longer be accessed. British Airways is not aware of any access to any personal information within Executive Club accounts, including travel histories or credit card details, according to spokeswoman Michele Kropf. Customers were emailed details on how to reactive their accounts. The breach apparently was the result of a third party using information obtained elsewhere on the Internet, via an automated process, to try to gain access to accounts.

  • Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A long legal battle over accusations that a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm demeaned women and held them to a different standard than their male colleagues became a flashpoint in the ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms. Though Ellen Pao lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Silicon Valley observers say her case and the attention it received will embolden women in the industry and continue to spur firms to examine their practices and cultures for gender bias.

  • Duke Energy CEO loses $600K in pay over coal ash pollution

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good saw her pay docked about $600,000 in the aftermath of last year's massive spill of collected coal ash that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals. A portion of Good's $8.3 million compensation was reduced 35 percent in 2014 compensation, according to a proxy statement released this week ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in May. The compensation of four other top executives that is linked to short-term incentives was also reduced 35 percent.

  • Best Buy closes Canadian Future Shop brand, 1,500 lose jobs

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    Best Buy is laying off 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time employees in Canada as it consolidates operations. The Richfield, Minnesota-based company also announced Saturday that it will close 66 of its Future Shop locations and rebranding the remaining 65 as Best Buy stores. The Future Shop website will be folded into Best Buy's site. A company spokeswoman said some employees will be rehired at other locations but declined to give a number. After the changes, Best Buy will have 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores. All Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at any Best Buy Canada location and at BestBuy.ca and items can also be returned to any Best Buy locatio

  • In NYC, an unusual task force fights home-as-hotel rentals

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — From an office by the Brooklyn Bridge, a specialized team of investigators tackles a fast-growing concern in the nation's biggest city: apartments being rented like hotel rooms. Building and fire inspectors, police, lawyers, city tax specialists and others combine door-knocking, digital sleuthing and even video surveillance in an uncommon approach to an issue bubbling up around the country. New York's investigators have cited over 7,000 fire and building code violations, shut down over 200 short-term apartments and sued several operators — ending an additional 250 short-term rentals — over the last nine years, according to the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement.

  • US State Dept: Difficult work remains on Iran nuke talks

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program grew frantic on Saturday amid signs of discord, with the French and German foreign ministers joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in talks with Tehran's top diplomat ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a preliminary deal. With just four days to go until that target, negotiators in the Swiss town of Lausanne were meeting multiple times in various formats to produce what they hope will be an outline of an agreement that can become the basis for a comprehensive deal to be reached by the end of June. The U.S. State Department said "serious but difficult work" remained for negotiators, with the pace of discussions expected to intensify as "we assess if

  • SESSION 2015: Lawmakers have lots left to tackle after break

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Legislature has reached its spring break before grinding its way to the May 18 mandatory adjournment. Once lawmakers return in early April they'll concentrate on shaping a new two-year budget, but there's much more hanging in the balance. Here's a look at where many issues stand. ABORTION Anti-abortion activists still hope a new Republican majority in the House will give them some clout this year. They want to end state funding for abortions and require clinics to be licensed. Similar moves have stalled before, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he doesn't see himself signing any new restrictions into law. __ BUDGET One thing is nearly certain: Minnesota will see its first two-y

  • Oyster Creek nuclear plant restarted after repairs completed

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The nation's oldest operating nuclear power plant is once again working at full power. The Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township resumed normal operations Saturday. That came nearly a week after it went offline after an electrical issue occurred in a system that regulates steam used to turn the plant's turbines. After repairs were completed, technicians inspected and tested the electrical system before returning the unit to service. Oyster Creek is located about 60 miles east of Philadelphia. It generates enough electricity to power 600,000 homes, or roughly all the homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties combined. Oyster Creek is due to shut down by the end of 2019 instead of 2029 as cal

  • Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property


    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The smell of Cuban coffee drifts from the kitchen as Carolyn Chester digs through faded photos that fill boxes spread across the dining table. Friends linked arm-in-arm on a Cuban beach. Men in suits and women in evening gowns at a Havana nightclub. And in almost every frame, an American man with a salt-and-pepper mustache and a raven-haired woman — Chester's parents — smiling at good fortune that, they could not know, would soon be snatched away. "I always heard about Cuba ... and all this money that we lost and 'Maybe one day,' but I didn't understand it," Chester says. Six decades later, that day may finally be nearing for Chester and others like her. To reach it, though, diplomac