• EPA administrator at Vatican ahead of encyclical.

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met Friday with Vatican officials who helped draft Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on ecology, evidence that the Obama administration is seeking to hitch its climate-change message onto that of the popular pope. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that her aim in visiting was to show the Vatican how aligned President Barack Obama and Francis are on climate change. She said she wanted to stress that global warming isn't just an environmental issue, but a public health threat, and yet also a chance for economic opportunity.

  • BRIEF: Video online

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    Aaron Seller, co-owner of Rock City Sliders and Coneys, prepares Detroit-style hot dogs and sliders. Visit gazette.com to view the video. ——— ©2015 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Visit The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at www.gazette.

  • Myanmar opens deep sea port for Chinese oil pipeline

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar has officially opened a deep sea port off its western coast, part of a $2.45 billion port and pipeline project that will carry crude oil from the Middle East to China. The port and 770-kilometer (480-mile) pipeline are a joint venture between the China National Petroleum Corp. and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. Both are state companies. Myanmar's Kyemon daily reported Friday that the port has 12 storage tanks with a combined capacity of 22 million gallons of oil. CNOC said in a statement on its website that a recently completed pipeline from Kyaukphyu district in Myanmar's Rakhine state to China's Yunnan province will be able to transport an estimated 190 million gallons of oil per day.

  • West Virginians warned about tax refund email scam

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning West Virginia taxpayers to be aware of an email scam claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. Morrisey says with tax season is in full swing, scammers are busy trying to steal personal information. In this particular scam, consumers receive an email telling them they're eligible for a refund. They are then directed to a third-party website and asked to provide vital personal and financial information. Morrisey says consumers should view any email offering prizes, rewards or even a tax refund with a degree of skepticism.

  • Cold-stunned turtles rehabilitated in New Orleans, released

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) — Nearly two dozen turtles that were stranded by cold weather last year in Massachusetts have successfully undergone rehab and have been returned to waters off Louisiana's coast. More than 1,200 young, "cold-stunned" Kemp's ridley sea turtles were stranded in November and December. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "cold-stunning" occurs when the circulatory systems of sea turtles exposed to frigid water temperatures for several days slow down to a point where the turtles cannot function. Various sea-turtle rehabilitation facilities along the east and Gulf coasts joined in the effort to care for the stunned turtles.

  • Merkel to visit Hungary at time of huge political challenges

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is traveling to Budapest next week for talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that come at a time of strain between the two nations, with Orban moving closer to Russia and imposing higher taxes and other burdens on German and other foreign companies operating in the country. During a visit Monday, Merkel will also visit a synagogue, which her spokeswoman said she felt important given Germany's history. It also reflects German concerns at the rise of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party, an anti-Semitic and anti-Roma party that became the second-largest opposition force in parliament in elections last year.

  • How can Google snap its stock out of its stupor?

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google has turned into a stock market laggard as the shift to mobile devices has lowered the Internet search leader's digital ad prices and the company's expensive investments in far-out technology has trimmed its profit margins. Those factors have left some investors wondering what Google might do to boost its stock price, especially after the company's latest financial report. The earnings released late Thursday missed analyst targets, marking the fifth consecutive quarter that has happened. That discouraging trend is one reason Google's stock price ended Thursday's trading session 8 percent below where it stood 13 months ago. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed by 9 percent during the same st

  • Russia cuts key rate to help economy, leaving ruble to drop

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — In a surprise decision, Russia's central bank on Friday cut its key interest rate, which it had raised sharply last month to support the collapsing ruble, in order to help the fading economy. The move triggered a drop in the ruble, which was down more than 3 percent at 71 rubles against the dollar in early afternoon trading in Moscow. The central bank explained its decision to cut the rate from 17 percent to 15 percent by saying that the risks of an economic slowdown are now higher than the risks associated with the ruble's drop. The currency's 50 percent drop since the summer has caused a spike in inflation. Higher interest rates can help a currency but also hurt economic growth by making loans more exp

  • Police: Teen who demanded airtime on Dutch TV acted alone

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A 19-year-old student carrying a fake pistol who forced his way into the Dutch national broadcaster and demanded airtime has told detectives he was acting alone and had no links to any terror organization, police said Friday. In a statement, police said the teenager also told them he had not placed explosives around the Netherlands and that no major cyber attack was imminent as he had claimed Thursday. "What brought the man to his actions is still being investigated," the police statement said. Prosecutors and police have not identified the man who was seen pacing around a TV studio at the NOS broadcaster's headquarters in the city of Hilversum Thursday night holding what appeared to be a

  • Russia gives $3 billion Crimea bridge contract to Putin ally

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government has awarded the contract for the construction of a $3 billion bridge to Crimea to a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin. In a decree published online Friday, the government said that a company owned by Arkady Rotenberg would be given the commission to build a bridge linking Crimea — the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in March — to mainland Russia. Costs for the automobile and railroad bridge cannot exceed 212 billion rubles ($3 billion) and it must be completed by December 2018. The government decree does not give any specifics about the design of the bridge or exactly where it will cross the 5-kilometer (3-mile) -wide Kerch Strait, both of which would gre

  • $65,000 grant: Waller students learning tech skills

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    Students at Waller Middle School are learning how to use some of the latest technology, including a 3D printer. Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust gave $65,000 to Waller as part of a trust established in 2001. The trust, funded by AT&T, works to provide technology and technological skills to students in order to prepare them for tomorrow’s job market. Representatives from OETT and AT&T visited the school Thursday to see the grant at work. The school received the grant in June and was able to acquire all the necessary equipment before the school year started, Principal Adam Beauchamp said. “It was a pretty seamless deal,” he said. “Some other schools’ products were on backorder. We didn’t have any of

  • Smart Spending: Why investors are applauding Amazon earnings

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon.com Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings roundly beat analyst expectations, sending the Seattle e-commerce giant's stock soaring 11 percent in premarket trading Friday. Here's a closer look at what investors applauded and hope continues. SMART SPENDING Operating expenses rose 15 percent to $28.74 billion but that was less than some analysts had expected Amazon would spend. Investors have long wanted Amazon to show some restraint as it invests in its business, and this metric seemed to be a sign that Amazon is willing to do that.

  • Eurozone prices plunge 0.6 pct amid weak growth, cheap oil

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Falling prices sent another worrying signal about the eurozone economy just before the European Central Bank starts a 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) stimulus effort. Consumer prices fell 0.6 percent in the 12 months to January, accelerating the 0.2 percent annual drop in December. Prices are weighed down by the recent plunge in oil prices. But even excluding energy costs, they are weak, a sign of the deep economic malaise afflicting the 19 countries that share the euro currency. Friday's report by the Eurostat statistics agency showed that the core inflation rate, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, was at plus 0.5 percent, down from 0.7 percent the month before.

  • Image of Asia: Waiting for word on Japanese hostage

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    In this photo by Eugene Hoshiko, Japan's government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga bows toward to Japanese flag prior to a news conference about a hostage crisis involving a Japanese journalist in Syria. The fates of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and a Jordanian military pilot held by the Islamic State group remained unknown Friday after a purported deadline for a possible prisoner swap lapsed with no word from the militants.

  • Mattek-Sands, Safarova win Australian Open doubles title

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won the Australian Open women's doubles title on Friday in their first tournament together as a partnership, beating Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-6 (5). Not only had Mattek-Sands and Safarova never played together before the first Grand Slam of the year, they had never even practiced together. "Actually, we didn't even really know which side we were going to play," Mattek-Sands said. "We started off on the opposite sides, (then) we switched. I think we switched again. It was pretty spur of the moment." It marked the first time a new pairing had won a Grand Slam title since Nathalie Dechy of France and Russia's Dinara Safina captured the 2007 U.

  • Israeli conductor collapses at Swiss concert, dies

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — Organizers of a Swiss music festival say Israeli conductor Israel Yinon collapsed during a performance and died. Yinon was conducting a piece by Richard Strauss on Thursday night when he collapsed, said Marc Reinhardt, a spokesman for the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, whose students were performing. Reinhardt told The Associated Press on Friday an audience member tried to save Yinon, but he died in the ambulance on his way to a hospital. He had no details on what caused Yinon to collapse. The 59-year-old conductor had previously led the students of the Jungen Philharmonie Zentralschweiz orchestra in concerts in 2009 and 2012.

  • Va. middle school students participating in NASA challenge

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Students at nine Virginia middle schools are participating in a NASA program to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Virginia Department of Education says the state is one of ten chosen by NASA and the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the 2014-2015 Engineering Design Challenge. Officials say students will take on after-school challenges designed by NASA aimed at solving real-world problems such as how to successfully parachute a spacecraft onto the surface of Mars. The Virginia schools participating are: Caroline Middle in Caroline County, Falling Creek Middle in Chesterfield County, Holmes Middle and Key Middle in Fairfax County, Peabody Middle in Petersburg

  • AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCENE: No sleep for Mattek-Sands' relatives

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bethanie Mattek-Sands had relatives in about five U.S. states wide awake watching as she and Lucie Safarova won the women's doubles title at the Australian Open on Friday. The match started about 4:30 p.m. locally, just after midnight on the east coast of the United States, and finished well into the overnight hours. By the time she and Safarova accepted their trophy after their 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Zheng Jie of China, it was really getting late. Asked if they were dancing in the streets of her hometown of Neenah, Wisconsin, Mattek-Sands said she wasn't sure. "But I know a lot of my family was up," she said. "I just Face Timed them all.

  • Cosmosphere's planetarium to undergo complete renovation

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Cosmosphere's is planning a complete renovation for its Justice Planetarium. The Hutchinson-based facility announced Thursday in a news release that the planetarium will close its doors Feb. 2 for the planned upgrades. It is expected to reopen April 12. Upgrades include the installation of a new digital projection system that it says will transform the venue into a state-of-the-art facility. The new projection system will utilize the planetarium's full dome for all programs and imagery. It also has the ability to link via the Internet to other planetariums, observatories and telescopes around the world in real time. Other improvements include new carpet, seats, electric and sound, LED

  • Philippines mourns 44 commandos; terror suspect hunted

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president said Friday he has ordered the hunt for a Filipino terror suspect who escaped an anti-terrorist operation that resulted in the killings of 44 police commandos, the biggest single-day combat loss in recent years that threatened to derail a peace deal with Muslim rebels. On a national day of mourning, President Benigno Aquino III promised grieving relatives of the slain commandos that government forces will capture suspected bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman. He said that Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as Marwan, one of Southeast Asia's top terror suspects, apparently was killed during the Jan. 25 operation. Officials said a DNA test was still needed to confirm Marwan's identit




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