• Thousands rally in Moscow against health care cuts

    Updated: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — At least 5,000 Russians marched through Moscow on Sunday to protest against plans to lay off thousands of doctors and close hospitals in the capital amid a flagging economy. Doctors, patients and other protesters braved the freezing cold to voice their opposition to an ongoing Moscow health care reform that could remove up to 10,000 doctors from their jobs and close 28 hospital and clinics by early next year. The demonstration followed a previous doctors' rally early this month, which was the first social protest in Russia in a decade.

  • Idaho Lt. Gov. Little ready to move up if needed

    Updated: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — If newly re-elected 72-year-old Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter didn't complete his full third term, Idaho's new governor would be Brad Little, the second-term lieutenant governor, rancher and former state senator who's been toiling full time in the part-time, low-paid post since Otter appointed him to it in 2009. Little's record seems decidedly more moderate than Otter's - he blocked Idaho's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage for two years before reluctantly supporting the final version in 2006. But Little, 60, is an Otter fan who says his differences with the governor are more style than substance. He also says he fully expects Otter to serve out his term but is ready should he be asked to step

  • Senator: TVs, baby monitors vulnerable to hackers

    Updated: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the manufacturers of smart televisions and other devices connected to the Internet to help protect consumers from hackers. The New York Democrat says many TVs, baby monitors and other technology with built-in cameras and microphones are vulnerable to hackers because manufacturers don't require passwords when a consumer sets up a device. He says that allows hackers to turn on the cameras and microphones remotely, violating the privacy of the owners. Schumer says electronics manufacturers should adopt uniform security rules, such as requiring new passwords when a consumer buys a product.

  • Legal loophole lets Germany spy on own citizens

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers probing the surveillance activities of the U.S. National Security Agency have uncovered a legal loophole that allows the country's foreign intelligence agency to spy on its own citizens. The agency, known by its German acronym BND, is normally forbidden from eavesdropping on Germans or German companies. But a former BND lawyer told Parliament this week that Germans aren't protected while working abroad for foreign companies. The government confirmed Saturday to The Associated Press that work-related calls or emails are attributed to the employer. If the employer is foreign, the BND can intercept them.

  • APNewsBreak: High school head injury lawsuit filed

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    CHICAGO (AP) — A former high school quarterback followed in the steps of one-time pro and college players Saturday by suing a sports governing body — in this case the Illinois High School Association — saying it didn't do enough to protect him from concussions when he played and still doesn't do enough to protect current players. The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Cook on the same day Illinois wrapped up its last high school football championship games, is the first instance in which legal action has been taken for former high school players as a whole against a group responsible for prep sports in a state. Such litigation could snowball, as similar suits targeting associations in other states are planned.

  • Dominican leader supports abortion in some cases

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Dominican President Danilo Medina has urged legislators to decriminalize abortions if a woman's life is at risk or in cases of rape, incest or fetus malformation. Medina expressed his opinions in a letter sent late Friday to the leader of the Chamber of Deputies as he explained his reasons for vetoing a measure that would double prison sentences in abortion cases. He did not oppose the stiffer penalties, but said the measure should spell out conditions when abortions can be allowed. He said allowing women to abort in those cases is "most fair, balanced and in accordance with the spirit of protecting rights.

  • Uruguay: Vazquez favored in presidential election

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Ruling party candidate and former president Tabare Vazquez is favored to win Uruguay's runoff election Sunday on the back of a strong economy, a result that would help secure the country's pioneering marijuana laws. Five polls show the left-leaning Vazquez, 74, ahead of center-right challenger Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou by a roughly 10 percentage point margin. Vazquez, who took office in 2005, was the first person to break 170 years of domination by Uruguay's Colorado and National parties. He pursued moderate economic policies that helped Uruguay outpace neighbors while improving life for the poor. He left office in 2010 with high popularity ratings that put his party's candidate, Jose Mujica,

  • A huge old Art Deco hospital into flats? Maybe.

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For nine years the soot-covered Charity Hospital — a 1-million-square-foot Art Deco hulk of a building reaching up 20 stories on the edge of the downtown — has stood empty and forlorn since the lights were turned off in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. State officials now hope real estate developers will bring new life to the old hospital — maybe as high-rise apartments, a hotel or a combination of uses. "We are open to any plan," said Mark Moses, the director of the Office of Facility Planning and Control, an agency that handles state-owned real estate. "It's important to put it back into commerce." Doing something with the building is viewed as a priority.

  • EX-UPS driver's pregnancy bias claim at high court

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Peggy Young only has to look at her younger daughter to be reminded how long she has fought United Parcel Service over its treatment of pregnant employees, and why. Young was pregnant with Triniti, who's now 7 years old, when UPS told Young that she could not have a temporary assignment to avoid lifting heavy packages, as her doctor had ordered. "They told me basically to go home and come back when I was no longer pregnant," Young said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I couldn't believe it." She sued the Atlanta-based package-delivery company for discriminating against pregnant women. She lost two rounds in lower courts, but the Supreme Court will hear her case Wednesday.

  • California refuge puts down former zoo elephant

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California sanctuary for circus and zoo animals has euthanized a 55-year-old elephant named Annie. The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday on the last days of the Indian elephant (http://bit.ly/1pzDfml ), which had come to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) refuge in Calaveras County nearly 20 years ago. Captured in her native India at the age of 1, Annie spent most of her life chained in U.S. zoos. Outcry over videos showing keepers at the Milwaukee County Zoo beating her in 1994 spurred her transfer to the more than 2,000-acre elephant refuge in Calaveras County. Exotic-animal veterinarian Jackie Gai told the Sacramento Bee that Annie suffered from arthritis and foot disea

  • Nigeria: Kano mosque blasts death toll above 102

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    KANO, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to track down the perpetrators of the bomb blasts that killed more than 100 people at the central mosque in the city of Kano. Jonathan said his government will "continue to take every step to put an end to the reprehensible acts of all groups and persons involved in acts of terrorism." More than 102 people were killed in the bomb explosions at the central mosque in Kano, said a hospital worker. The multiple explosions that hit the mosque on Friday injured more than 150. "Most of those receiving treatment ... are in dire need of blood and we are appealing to people to come and donate their blood to rescue the victims," Dr. Usman Bashir told Associate

  • A look at who qualifies for Medicaid Checkup

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Uninsured South Carolinians who earn up to 194 percent of the federal poverty limit are eligible for Healthy Connections Checkup, a limited-benefit program offered by the state's Medicaid agency. It covers physical exams every other year that include screenings for obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, hepatitis C, hypertension, several cancers and mental health. Those eligible include people who fall into a gap of making too much to qualify for full Medicaid and too little to qualify for federal subsidies toward buying private insurance. It also includes childless adults, who generally don't qualify for Medicaid in South Carolina regardless of how little they earn.

  • State looks at medical fees in hospital mergers

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Comptroller Kevin Lembo has scheduled a public hearing to look into consolidation of hospitals and other health care providers in Connecticut and the impact on the state health plan. Lembo will look into the increasing use of "facility fees," or charges submitted by a medical facility to cover overhead costs and materials. He said facility fee charges are often in addition to "professional fees" that are supposed to cover costs of professional services provided. A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Hospital Association didn't immediately return a call seeking information.

  • Uninsured in SC eligible for Checkup screenings

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's Medicaid agency is offering residents who fall into an insurance gap due to Republican's refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility a limited benefits program intended to catch illnesses early. What happens if a problem is detected is still being worked out. The program, named Healthy Connections Checkup, provides physical exams every other year that include screenings for obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and several types of cancer. The coverage that began Aug. 1 expanded on a 20-year-old state program that provided only "family planning" services.

  • Ebola death toll up, Sierra Leone needs more beds

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Sierra Leone will soon see a dramatic increase in desperately needed Ebola treatment beds, but it's still not clear who will staff them, according to the top United Nations official in the fight against the disease. Ebola has sickened more than 16,000 people of whom nearly 7,000 have died, according to figures released by the World Health Organization Friday. Sierra Leone is now bearing the brunt of the 8-month-old outbreak. In the other hard-hit countries, Liberia and Guinea, WHO says infection rates are stabilizing or declining, but in Sierra Leone, they're soaring. The country has been reporting around 400 to 500 new cases each week for several weeks.

  • Lawmakers to meet to review state's Ebola plans

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Lawmakers are meeting to continue reviewing the state's plans for dealing with Ebola. Rep. Joseph McNamara has called a second hearing of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare on Tuesday afternoon at the State House to discuss health care preparations and prevention planning. The committee invited medical professionals from the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Health Center Association, Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care and Rhode Island Medical Society to testify. Health care workers have expressed concerns over the state's readiness. Rhode Island's health director met with lawmakers Nov. 12 to answer questions about the state's response plan. Dr.

  • Opiates outpace alcohol as cause for treatment

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — New figures from the state Health Department show more Vermont residents sought treatment for opiate addiction than for alcoholism in fiscal 2013 for the first time. In the 12 months ending in June of last year, 4,043 Vermonters sought treatment for addiction to heroin and opiate-based prescription drugs like Oxycontin. Meanwhile, 3,776 people sought treatment for alcohol addiction. Human Services Secretary Harry Chen says it's the first time opiate addiction has outpaced alcoholism as a reason for Vermonters to seek treatment. Treatment for alcoholism has been trending downward for about 10 years, but officials say alcohol is still a big problem in Vermont.

  • Sandia Labs to help develop museum programs

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories is teaming up with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. The two have signed a memorandum of understanding in which the lab will help identify and develop programs and exhibits that focus on space exploration, renewable energy, water and nanotechnology. The museum will evaluate initiatives of interest to Albuquerque and the region. Lab director Paul Hommert says Sandia and the museum have a common interest in exposing young people to science, technology, engineering and math. He says the agreement signed last week serves as a vehicle to strengthen the relationship that the lab already has with the museum.

  • Greenwich museum tracks cats' moves with GPS

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — Dan Ksepka calls his cat, Oscar, "the Buzz Aldrin of cats." It's a fitting nickname, as the trailblazing tabby becomes the first feline to take part in a new initiative exploring life in Greenwich — among a very particular part of the population. The program is called Cat Tracker. Run by the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, it seeks to learn where Trixie or Mittens goes and what they might be doing after they meow to be let outside. Cats in the experiment are outfitted with a lightweight nylon harness equipped with a GPS device that is used to track their every move. For five days, the GPS information is recorded with animal tracking data used by animal researchers.

  • Beijing bans smoking in public spaces

    Updated: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — Beijing has adopted a smoking ban in all indoor public spaces including workplaces and public transport. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the ban will go into effect in the capital city of 21 million people on June 1 and carry a fine of up to 200 yuan ($32.50). The Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress passed the draft regulation Friday. China is home to the most smokers of any country, with 300 million smoking and 740 million exposed to secondhand smoke every year. Xinhua reported the number of smokers in Beijing alone exceeds 400,000 people. The new regulations also ban outdoor tobacco advertisements and as well on TV and in films and newspapers.