• APNewsBreak: Dodgers end Yanks' payroll streak, owe most tax

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have ended the New York Yankees' 15-year streak as Major League Baseball's biggest spenders and owe more than $26.6 million in luxury tax. The Dodgers finished with a record payroll of $257,283,410, according to final calculations made by Major League Baseball on Friday and obtained by The Associated Press. That is more than $20 million above the previous high, set by the Yankees last year. For the first time since the current luxury tax began in 2003, the Yankees won't be paying the most. The luxury tax was put in place as a slowdown on spending by high-revenue teams, and teams pay based on the amount they are over the $189 million threshold. The Dodgers owe $26,621,125 based o

  • Iraq's Shiite fighters desert over shortages

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Abu Murtada al-Moussawi answered the call last summer from Iraq's top Shiite cleric to help save the country from the Islamic State group, but after less than three months on the front lines he and several friends returned home because they had run out of food. "Sometimes, we didn't have enough money to buy mobile scratch cards to call our families," al-Moussawi, a Shiite from the southern city of Basra, said. "Everybody felt like we were being forgotten by the government." Now Iraq's Shiite religious establishment is urging the faithful to donate food, money and supplies.

  • 2004 tsunami: A crying boy with a piece of bread

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    Some 230,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. A dozen countries were hit, from Indonesia to India to Africa's east coast. Scores of Associated Press journalists covered the disaster, and as the 10th anniversary approached, the AP asked 10 of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the fourth of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26. ___ Wally Santana, a photographer based in Taipei, Taiwan, covered the tsunami from Palai, Sri Lanka: We had spent three days driving up from Colombo, and another three days to negotiate permission to enter the then-rebel Tamil Tiger group's northern occupied area.

  • New video shows Rice and fiancee in aftermath of punch

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A video released Friday shows Ray Rice's then-fiancee crying and kissing him while they are both handcuffed and being taken to jail by police officers after Rice punched her in a casino elevator. The video was obtained by ABC News through a public records request filed with the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement Division. Rice's attorney fought to keep the video from being released but lost. The video shows Janay Palmer— now married to the former Baltimore Ravens running back — crying and being comforted by officers or security officials at the Revel casino early on the morning of Feb. 15. An officer walked a handcuffed Rice toward an elevator, pulling Rice's sweatshirt hood over his head.

  • AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — Brazilian author Paulo Coelho says the Sony hack threatens us all if society doesn't enforce important values: our individual and collective freedom of expression and an unwavering refusal to negotiate with anonymous terrorists. The best-selling author said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that he was prepared to make himself an example — even if it meant inviting criticism and potential threats — if Sony Pictures had taken him up on his $100,000 offer for the rights to its cancelled film.

  • Protesters in contempt of court for anti-whaling campaign

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers were found in contempt of court Friday for continuing their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the waters of Antarctica. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a commissioner to determine how much Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he founded owe Japanese whalers for lawyer fees, damage to their ships and for violating the court order to stop their dangerous protests. The Japanese whalers are demanding $2 million in addition to their attorney fees and damage and cost to their ships for warding off the protests.

  • Obama says North Korea hacked Sony, vows response

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. Speaking of executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama said at a year-end news conference, "I wish they had spoken to me first. ... We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship." Obama said he imagined situations in which dictators "start seeing a documentary that they don't like or news reports that they don't like.

  • Actor Stephen Collins denies he's a pedophile in interview

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Former "7th Heaven" star Stephen Collins declares he's not a pedophile, and insists he has molested a minor on just one occasion and engaged in sexual misconduct with only three girls in all. In an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric released Friday, the embattled actor described himself instead as someone suffering from "exhibitionist urges," ''big boundary issues" and "poor impulse control." Those issues prompted a physical encounter with an underage girl in 1973. He was 25, she was 10. According to Collins, the girl had come to visit and stay with him and his first wife. After his wife had gone to sleep, he and the girl were watching TV together.

  • FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine to fight complex infections in the abdomen and urinary tract, the fourth antibiotic the agency has approved since May. Zerbaxa treats serious and resistant bacteria, such as E.coli, that can cause life-threatening infections. The approval of Zerbaxa on Friday is the second antibiotic approval this year for Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a drugmaker focused on antibiotics. It is being acquired for $8.4 billion by Merck & Co. of Kenilworth, New Jersey. New antibiotic approvals are important for public health because the threat of antibiotic resistance has been growing since the early 1990s.

  • Obama says Sony Pictures ‘made a mistake’ in pulling ‘The Interview’

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday said Sony Pictures “made a mistake” in canceling the release of the satirical film “The Interview” after threats from anonymous hackers, offering an unusual public rebuke by a president of a corporate decision along with a strong defense of free expression. Obama said he was “sympathetic” to Sony executives, whose computer systems came under attack from hackers who the FBI says were directed by the North Korean government. “The Interview” depicts a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and officials of that government have denounced the film but have denied involvement in the attack.

  • New York mayor caught between protests, police

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected last year after making promises to keep crime low while improving relations between police and the community. As the tensions between those promises continue to mount, Friday showed just how tricky threading that needle has been. In the morning, de Blasio met with leaders of the protests that have swept through New York City in the weeks after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold while trying to arrest him. In the afternoon, he ventured to New York Police Department headquarters to heap praise on the force, a week after an angry police union circulated a petition to bar him from any NYPD funerals.

  • Driver pleads not guilty in pedestrian deaths

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A woman accused of killing four people, including a 6-year-old boy, while running her car into pedestrians outside a California church appeared in court Friday cuffed to a gurney and pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges. An attorney for Margo Bronstein, 56, entered the plea on her behalf to four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury. Bronstein was wheeled into court on the gurney by two attendants from an ambulance company. She was propped up with pillows and spoke only to her lawyer. A judge ordered her held on $500,000 bail, the amount requested by prosecutors.

  • Oklahoma official says state has execution drugs

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's prison system chief says the state has the drugs it needs to execute four inmates early next year and plans to administer the same three drugs used in a botched execution this spring, but with an increased dose. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told a federal judge Friday the agency plans to use the exact formula used successfully in 11 executions in Florida, one that he believes is "humane." The judge plans to rule Monday in a case in which lawyers for 21 death row inmates say one of the three drugs, the sedative midazolam, presents a risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

  • AP WAS THERE: US breaks relations with Cuba

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    EDITOR'S NOTE — When the United States severed its diplomatic relationship with Cuba on Jan. 3, 1961, it kicked off a year in which CIA-funded counterrevolutionaries would try to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and after that, the withdrawal or ouster of almost all American and European media from the island, including The Associated Press' American staff. Isaac M. Flores was the first American AP reporter allowed back into Cuba, in 1965. He said the lack of diplomatic ties and tense relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in those days made reporting all the more difficult. He had to contend with officials who would summon him to their offices after he wrote something they didn't agree with and threaten to revoke his visa. But in

  • UN asks Israel to pay Lebanon $850 M for oil spill

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday asking Israel to pay Lebanon over $850 million in damages for an oil spill caused by an Israeli air force attack on oil storage tanks during its war with Hezbollah in July 2006. The assembly voted 170-6 in favor of the resolution, with three abstentions. Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, Micronesia and Marshall Islands voted "no." General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion. The resolution says "the environmental disaster" caused by the destruction of the tanks resulted in an oil slick that covered the entire Lebanese coastline and extended to the Syrian coastline, causing

  • Ashanti 'shocked' by prospect of stalker retrial

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Ashanti is appalled by the prospect of facing her accused stalker again in court, but the Grammy-winning R&B singer said Friday she's determined to see the case through after a mistrial. "I'm shocked and horrified at the thought of going through this ordeal again, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure my family is safe and that justice is served," she said in a statement to The Associated Press. A juror's illness prompted a mistrial during deliberations Thursday in Devar Hurd's case, which marks the second time in five years he's been tried on charges of harassing the singer or her relatives. Ashanti told jurors Tuesday she was "disgusted ...

  • Some gray wolves to be returned to endangered list

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday threw out an Obama administration decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that will ban further wolf hunting and trapping in three states. The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the combined population is estimated at around 3,700. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday the removal was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

  • Sony on shelving 'The Interview': 'We had no choice'

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Following pointed criticism from President Barack Obama for shelving "The Interview," Sony Pictures Entertainment on Friday defended its decision, claiming it had no choice but to cancel the film's Christmas Day theatrical release. Obama said during a press conference Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in dropping "The Interview." However, the studio fired back, saying the cancellation happened only because the country's top theater chains pulled out. "This was their decision," Sony said in a statement. "Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

  • Jailed ex-billionaire's lawyers seek his release

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Attorneys for jailed real estate mogul Tim Blixseth filed an emergency motion with a federal judge Friday seeking his release, saying the one-time billionaire was willing to provide whatever information the court wants. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon on Thursday found Blixseth in contempt and ordered him incarcerated until he accounts for millions of dollars owed to his creditors. Blixseth attorney Michael Ferrigno asked Haddon for a five-day stay on that order. That would give his client time to obtain documents related to the 2011 sale of a Mexico resort in defiance of an earlier court order, Ferrigno wrote in his request. "Mr. Blixseth simply cannot comply with anything that the court directs

  • FDA approves AbbVie combo hepatitis C treatment

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Patients with chronic hepatitis C have a new option for treating the liver-damaging virus, with the approval of a combination treatment developed by AbbVie. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the sale of a packaged treatment called Viekira Pak made by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois. It includes a combination pill, which contains the antiviral drugs ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir, along with a tablet of dasabuvir. All the ingredients are new except for ritonavir, which works to increase blood levels of paritaprevir. It's among several new pill-only hepatitis C treatments that are big improvements over earlier treatments that are less effective, require injections an