• Emirati firm promises to send citizen into space

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One lucky citizen of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates could soon get the chance to be rocketed into space. Government-backed Aabar Investments on Sunday announced a competition to award an Emirati a free spot aboard Virgin Galactic's spaceship when it begins ferrying paying tourists on suborbital trips promising a taste of weightlessness and a view of the Earth's curvature. The UAE is a seven-state federation that includes Dubai and the federal capital Abu Dhabi. The OPEC member country has a nascent satellite program and is eager to develop its own space industry as part of a broader push to diversify its economy.

  • Construction frenzy in Beirut alters city skyline

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — One by one, the old traditional houses of Beirut are vanishing as luxury towers sprout up on every corner, altering the city's skyline almost beyond recognition amid an ongoing construction frenzy seemingly immune to tensions from the civil war raging next door. Lebanon's enchanting Ottoman and colonial French-style buildings once represented Beirut's rich history, withstanding years of civil war and invasions only to be demolished in peace time by wealthy Gulf Arab investors. In that, Beirut is no different than Dubai, Doha or other major world cities overtaken by a global trend for modern, tall buildings.

  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home. Well over 150,000 tourists — Romans and pilgrims, young and old — turned out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. So great were their numbers that they overflowed from sprawling St. Peter's Square, which was bedecked with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of blue hyacinths and bunches of white roses.

  • Florida man examines oil spill dolphin deaths

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    MANATEE, Fla. (AP) — A south Florida man's work is helping researchers better understand long-term damage to dolphins from the massive 2010 BP oil spill. The Bradenton Herald (http://bit.ly/Qxd4wb ) reported on Sunday that Randall S. Wells is helping federal researchers asses the health of dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. He is the director of the Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Wells regularly surveys a control group of about 160 dolphins living in the Sarasota Bay region and compares the health of those dolphins with the Louisiana dolphins. So far, he has found that the south Florida dolphins are healthier than the Louisiana dolphins.

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry's prospects

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time. But with eight months left on the job and a decision to make about the 2016 presidential race, the long-serving governor known for his Texas swagger is now the focus of a grand jury investigation that could cause more difficulty than any adversary has. What should have been a political victory lap for Perry could now wind up in a final tussle that has implications for his political future. "Gov. Perry is used to being challenged every step of the way in almost every issue.

  • 4 French journalists home after long Syrian ordeal

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home Sunday to joyful families, a presidential welcome and questions about how France managed to obtain their freedom from Islamic extremists. Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres were freed Saturday by their kidnappers at the Turkish border. They were captured in two separate incidents last June. Francois recounted details of the captivity on Europe 1 radio, saying there were periods of "total isolation," numerous transfers to new locations and, sometimes, chains to guard against escape. The four were kidnapped in two separate incidents last June, and it was unclear how much time they spent together.

  • Easter morning delivery for space station

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via a Dragon, versus a bunny. "Gentlemen, the Easter Dragon is knocking at the door," NASA's Mission Control said as the capsule was bolted into place. The SpaceX company's cargo ship, Dragon, spent two days chasing the International Space Station following its launch from Cape Canaveral. Astronauts used a robot arm to capture the capsule 260 miles above Egypt. More than 2 tons of food, spacewalking gear and experiments fill the Dragon, including mating fruit flies, a little veggie hothouse and legs for the resident robot. NASA also packed family care packages for th

  • Report: Next Iran nuclear talks to be in New York

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's state news agency is reporting that the next round of expert-level talks over its contested nuclear program will be held in New York. The report Sunday by the official ISNA news agency quotes Iran's senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi as saying the talks will be held along the sidelines of a meeting about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May. This would be the first time in years that Iran and the West would hold talks on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in New York. Iran and world powers continue to negotiate a final deal over its nuclear program. Under an interim deal reached in November, Iran agreed to cap its nuclear program for the easing of some financial sanctions.

  • 4-year-old half siblings die in overnight NYC fire

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Police say 4-year-old half siblings have died in an overnight fire at a home in New York City, and the twin of one of the children has survived. The New York Police Department says officers responded to the home in Queens shortly before midnight Saturday. Two 4-year-olds, a boy and a girl, were pronounced dead at St. John's Episcopal Hospital. Police have identified the boy as Jai'Launi Tinglin and the girl as Ayini Tinglin. They shared the same father. Their 4-year-old sister is hospitalized in stable condition at St. John's. It wasn't immediately clear whether she was the twin of the boy or the girl who died. A 55-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man are listed in stable condition at other hosp

  • Dealer wanted in US for art fraud nabbed in Spain

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    MADRID (AP) — A Spanish businessman suspected of having dealt in millions of dollars of fake art has been arrested during Easter festivities in southern Spain, officials said Sunday. Art dealer Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, who is wanted for fraud in the United States, was arrested Friday at a luxury hotel in Seville. The Interior Ministry said he was so surprised by his arrest that he had to be attended by medical workers. Glafira Rosales, Bergantinos Diaz's partner, was arraigned in New York in August, accused of peddling counterfeit art for 15 years as undiscovered works by world-renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

  • Syria's Assad visits recaptured Christian village

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's president marked Easter with a tour Sunday of an ancient Christian village recently recaptured by his forces, state media said, as the country's Greek Orthodox Patriarch vowed that country's Christians "will not submit and yield" to extremists. Syrian state TV and the country's official SANA news agency said President Bashar Assad visited the hilltop hamlet of Maaloula, inspecting the damage done in recent fighting to its monasteries and churches. Rebels, including fighters from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, seized Maaloula several times late last year, most recently in December. Government troops swept through the village on Monday, sending rebel fighters fleeing to nearby hills.

  • Militants kill 14 Algerian soldiers in ambush

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Islamist insurgents ambushed an Algerian military convoy in the mountainous Kabylie region, killing 14 soldiers, the state news agency reported Sunday. The attack came two days after Algeria's presidential election. The attack near the village of Iboudraren began at 10 p.m. Saturday with 11 soldiers being killed immediately and another three succumbing to their wounds, the agency said. A local official said a large group of insurgents hid on both sides of the road and opened fire with automatic weapons as the military bus drove by. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The region has been the site of past clashes, including one three years ago that killed

  • New portrait unveiled for British queen's birthday

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by renowned British photographer David Bailey has been unveiled to mark the monarch's 88th birthday. The black-and-white photograph, taken at Buckingham Palace in March, shows the queen smiling broadly. Bailey described his subject as a "very strong woman" with "very kind eyes with a mischievous glint." The portrait, unveiled Sunday for the queen's birthday on Monday, was commissioned for a government campaign to promote Britain's heritage and tourism to potential visitors abroad. Britain's monarchy and royal history is one of the biggest drivers of its strong tourism industry. The queen celebrates two birthdays each year: Her actual one on Apr.

  • Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of pilgrims from around the world are celebrating Easter in the Holy Land, commemorating the day when according to Christian tradition Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem two millennia ago. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal led Mass at the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem on Sunday. The site is where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, worshippers prayed and lit candles at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. Easter was also celebrated in Gaza where less than three thousand Christians live among about 1.7 million Muslims.

  • Pope's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi'

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The following is the text of the Vatican's official English-language translation of Pope Francis' Easter Sunday "Urbi et Orbi" (Latin for 'to the city and to the world') read by him in Italian from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. "Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter! The Church throughout the world echoes the angel's message to the women: "Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised . Come, see the place where he lay" (Mt 28:5-6). This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope.

  • AP NewsAlert

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian military, police say least 10 soldiers killed in mountain ambush by militants.

  • AP NewsAlert

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian military, police say least 10 soldiers killed in mountain ambush by militants.

  • Palestinian rock throwers arrested at holy site

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police entered the compound of Jerusalem's holiest site to disperse Palestinians who were throwing rocks at them on Sunday, as thousands of tourists packed the Old City for the Easter and Passover holidays. The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. Known to Muslims as the "Noble Sanctuary," it is Islam's third-holiest site. It is one of the most sensitive sites in the region. Tensions have been high at the site for months and similar incidents play out almost every Friday after Muslim prayers. Sunday's violence erupted as thousands of tourists flocked to the area.

  • Aesthetics-minded Americans decry Paris love locks

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Without love, what is Paris? And yet what is a trip to Paris without unfettered vistas of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre or Notre Dame from bridges over the River Seine? Concerns about scenery are clashing with sentimentality in this reputed City of Love over a profusion of padlocks hitched by lovers on bridges as symbols of everlasting "amour" — locks that some decry as an eyesore. Part of a global phenomenon, the craze has grown in Paris recently and now two American women who call Paris home have had enough. They've launched a petition to try to get the city's mostly laissez-faire officials to do something. City leaders say they're exploring alternatives.

  • NASA: Engineer vital to moon landing success dies

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) — John C. Houbolt, an engineer whose contributions to the U.S. space program were vital to NASA's successful moon landing in 1969, has died. He was 95. Houbolt died Tuesday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, of complications from Parkinson's disease, his son-in-law Tucker Withington, of Plymouth, Mass., confirmed Saturday. As NASA describes on its website, while under pressure during the U.S.-Soviet space race, Houbolt was the catalyst in securing U.S. commitment to the science and engineering theory that eventually carried the Apollo crew to the moon and back safely.