• Ukraine rebels close in on Donetsk airport

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine advanced Wednesday on the government-held airport in Donetsk, pressing to seize the key transportation hub even as the two sides bargained over a troop pullout under a much-violated truce. Fighting for the airport has raged for months as the insurgents have tried to dislodge the government forces using it to shell rebel positions in Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city. At least nine people were killed in the crossfire Wednesday in residential areas near the airport. Civilian and military casualties have continued to rise in eastern Ukraine despite a cease-fire Sept. 5 and a second agreement Sept. 20 that spelled out how to create a buffer zone.

  • VA Secretary visits Florida veterans' facilities

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald said during a tour of a Tampa veterans' hospital Wednesday that he wants to foster a culture of transparency at the agency after a summer of scandal over chronic delays for patients. "We know that there have been problems in the VA," he said. "We know that trust has been compromised." McDonald spoke to reporters and met with staff at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa. He also toured the VA's St. Petersburg Regional Office and is scheduled Thursday to visit the Orlando VA Medical Center's Lake Nona Campus.

  • New Mexico is awarded a suicide prevention grant

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Behavioral Health Services Division has been awarded a suicide prevention grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant totals $1.4 million over three years with the state receiving $470,000 each year. It's aimed at helping prevent suicide and suicide attempts among working-age adults from ages 25 to 64 and to reduce the overall suicide rate and number of suicides in New Mexico. The New Mexico Suicide Prevention Program will address behavioral health disparities among geographically and culturally diverse populations by encouraging the implementation of strategies to increase access, service use, and outcomes among diverse populations in

  • Man convicted of murder in killing over loud music

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who opened fire on a carload of black teenagers in an argument over their loud "thug" music was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said Michael Dunn, who is white, was shooting to kill when he fired 10 times into a sport utility vehicle outside a convenience store in November 2012. Jordan Davis, 17, was in the backseat and fatally shot. His three friends in the SUV were not hurt. Dunn told jurors that he saw Davis, of Marietta, Georgia, roll down the window and flash what he believed to be a gun after the two exchanged words. Dunn said he fired in self-defense. "I hear '.... white boy' just impolite things are being said," Dunn testified. "I saw the barrel o

  • Girl, 10, dies from complications of enterovirus

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The 10-year-old Rhode Island girl who died from complications of an unusual respiratory virus affecting children across the U.S. was remembered in a family obituary as a sweet child who loved animals and Harry Potter. The state Health Department said Wednesday the girl from Cumberland died last week of a staph infection associated with enterovirus 68, which it called "a very rare combination." It's unclear what role the virus played in the death, Health Director Michael Fine said. Her hometown paper, The Valley Breeze, identified her as Emily Otrando, a fifth-grader. The obituary says Emily loved all animals, especially horses and dolphins, and was a voracious reader.

  • Louisiana's preparations in case Ebola arrives

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Long before a man was diagnosed with the Ebola virus in neighboring Texas, Louisiana's health department was quietly working on what to do in case someone with the disease showed up in the state. Gov. Bobby Jindal met with agency heads Wednesday to get an update on preparations and precautions. He says Louisiana is ready if an Ebola case should occur. Health department officials emphasize that the symptoms are common, and people don't need to worry about Ebola unless they've recently traveled to West Africa or been close to someone with the virus. The governor says the education department will send information about the disease to school districts, teachers and parents.

  • App teaches kindergartners basic computer coding

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — This computer programming app is so easy to use that even a kindergartener can do it. Researchers in Massachusetts have created a basic computer coding app that they say is the first designed specifically for children as young as 5. Kids who haven't yet learned to read can use the app to craft their own interactive stories and games. With ScratchJr, children can snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters and other elements in their project move, jump, talk and change size. Users can modify various elements in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, and even insert their own photos.

  • Girl missing for 12 years found with mom in Mexico

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas girl reported kidnapped 12 years ago was found near Mexico City with her mother after authorities received a tip, and the mother was quickly flown to Texas and jailed on kidnapping charges, investigators said Wednesday. The FBI and Mexico authorities said 17-year-old Sabrina Allen, whose case was twice profiled on the television show "America's Most Wanted," was found Tuesday night in Papalotla, Tlaxcala. She was 4 years old when she was reported missing by her father in 2002, after she vanished following a weekend visit with her mother. "She's in pretty bad shape as far as my understanding," her father, Gregory Allen, said during a news conference with the FBI and Austin police on Wednesday. "S

  • Free birth control cuts teen pregnancy, abortions

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    Giving teens free birth control encourages them to use long-acting methods and greatly cuts the chances they will become pregnant or have an abortion, a new study finds. The average annual pregnancy rate was 34 per 1,000 girls in the study — far below the national average of 158.5 for sexually active teens. Doctors say the results show that when money is not a factor, teens will chose IUDs and hormone implants over less reliable methods such as birth control pills or condoms. Nearly three-fourths of teens in the study picked long-acting methods; only 5 percent of U.S. teens use those now. "When costs are removed, young people and families will use these effective methods," said Dr. Mary Ott of Indiana University.

  • Deal reached to help disabled people in disasters

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Advocates and city officials on Wednesday said they've struck a deal to protect nearly 900,000 residents with disabilities during disasters. The deal resulted from a federal class action lawsuit brought in 2011, a year before Superstorm Sandy left many disabled residents stranded in high-rise buildings and other areas, unsure where to turn for help. It calls for disaster centers to be upgraded to accommodate 120,000 disabled people by September 2017, with improvements to accommodate from 10,000 to 17,000 people by the middle of this month, advocates said.

  • Gluten timing does not prevent celiac disease

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    Two studies give disappointing news for parents looking for a way to prevent celiac disease in babies at higher risk for it because of family history. Neither breast-feeding nor timing the start of gluten-containing foods makes a difference in whether a child develops the problem, researchers found. There is no early window of opportunity to help sensitize a baby to gluten, and delaying its start until 1 year of age just briefly postpones the onset of symptoms, the studies found. "We don't have a recipe to prevent it right now," said Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. He helped lead one of the studies, which are in this week's New England Journal of

  • AP-GfK Poll: Top issues in the midterm election

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It's October and in some places, voters are already voting. The latest Associated Press-GfK poll finds those likely to cast a ballot are focused more on the economy than other issues. But that hasn't stopped campaigns from trying to appeal on other topics as well. Here's a look at what voters think on the top issues of the election cycle. THE ECONOMY: The nation's economic blues remain at the top of voters' list of important issues. Asked to name the nation's biggest problem, 19 percent cite the economy, significantly higher than the 12 percent who name the next highest issue on the list, terrorism and national security. Among all adults, 4 in 10 approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the issue, a

  • 911 caller: Cop told man to drop gun at Wal-Mart

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A 911 caller who reported a man carrying a gun in Wal-Mart told state investigators he heard an officer repeatedly say "put it down" about two seconds before police shot the man, killing him, according to a summary of the interview released by the state. The 24-year-old caller, Ronald Ritchie, was interviewed the day after the Aug. 5 shooting at the Beavercreek store in suburban Dayton that killed John Crawford III. Crawford, 22, had been talking on a cellphone and carrying an air rifle he picked up from a shelf as he walked through the store.

  • Court blocks part of new North Carolina voting law

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Parts of North Carolina's new voting law, considered one of the toughest in the nation, were set aside for next month's elections because they were likely to disenfranchise black voters, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday. In a 2-1 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended provisions of the Republican-backed law that would have eliminated same-day registration during early voting and voided ballots cast on Nov. 4 outside of a person's assigned precinct. "Whether the number is 30 or 30,000, surely some North Carolina minority voters will be disproportionately adversely affected in the upcoming election," wrote Judge James Wynn, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice.

  • Police made tough call with UVa student missing

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Police have revealed next to nothing about the evidence they have against Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., and they won't have to for months to come. But his name is already familiar in Virginia, and linked by authorities to multiple crimes involving young women. Charlottesville police identified Matthew as a suspect even before his arrest last week in Texas on a warrant alleging he abducted University of Virginia student Hannah Graham with the intent to attack her sexually. That strategy can potentially vilify an innocent person, some defense lawyers say. But a missing persons advocate said the judgment call was more than justified by the need to find her alive.

  • GM looks to new vehicles, China to boost profit

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MILFORD, Mich. (AP) — General Motors CEO Mary Barra told investors Wednesday that GM plans a raft of new models and a big push to sell more cars in China to drive profits in coming years, as the biggest U.S. automaker tries to shift the spotlight from a mishandled recall of older small cars. Barra needed to reassure investors that GM has a strong plan going forward. The stock has dropped about 18 percent this year. It rose 1.7 percent in afternoon trading. GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide earlier this year to fix faulty ignition switches that are now blamed for at least 23 deaths nationwide. Barra said suppliers have built all the replacement switches, but only about 1.2 million small cars have had the repairs s

  • Lawmakers seek more oversight of pot caregivers

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — A legislative panel advanced a bill that would place new restrictions on Colorado medical marijuana growers, including limits on the number of plants they can cultivate for patients. Lawmakers say the goal is to curb abuses in the state's medical marijuana industry, which is taxed at a lower rate than Colorado's new recreational pot businesses. The proposal given initial approval Wednesday would require caregivers to resister with the state health department and the state department of revenue. They would also need approval from state health officials to grow more than six plants for each of the patients they have. The proposal still faces another vote in a couple of weeks from legislative leaders.

  • Delta and General Mills are big market movers

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Delta Air Lines Inc., down $1.25 to $34.90 The airline stocks turned lower following reports of the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the U.S. General Mills Inc., down 47 cents to $49.98 The consumer foods company will cut up to 800 jobs, mostly in the U.S., its second workforce reduction in a month. The Greenbrier Cos., down $7.47 to $65.91 The railroad freight car company's stock came under pressure as oil and railroad companies fight proposed federal safety rules. MGM Resorts International, down 67 cents to $22.

  • General Electric to study Hudson shore for PCBs

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — General Electric has agreed to do a comprehensive study of PCB contamination of the upper Hudson River shoreline along the 40-mile stretch of river north of Albany where it has been dredging contaminated sediments under a Superfund cleanup project since 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. "GE takes great pride in what has been accomplished thus far on an extraordinary series of environmental cleanup projects conducted on and near the Hudson River," Ann Klee, GE's vice president of corporate environmental programs, said in a prepared statement. "The agreement announced today builds on the significant sampling and interim remedial work GE already has completed in the floodplain.

  • AP-GfK Poll: Divided voters still focus on economy

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not Obamacare or climate change. It's not yet terrorism or fear of the Islamic State group. Those issues are on the minds of voters as they begin casting ballots in this year's midterm elections, but nothing matters to American voters as much the economy. In a new Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday, 9 in 10 of those most likely to go to the polls or mail in a ballot in this year's midterm elections call the economy an extremely or very important issue. "We need jobs," said Christine Kamischke, 45, of rural northern Michigan. She works in a large retail store and her husband was recently laid off from his job at an Air Force base near their home. Wednesday was his first day without work. The