• What's delaying trial of Colorado shooter

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — Defense lawyers acknowledge that James Holmes opened fire on an Aurora movie theater auditorium on July 20, 2012, killing 12 people and injuring 70. Yet jury selection for his trial doesn't begin until next month. Q: What's taking so long? A: Jan. 20 is Holmes' fifth trial date. The first, in August 2013, was canceled after prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty, raising numerous issues that had to be resolved before trial. The second, in February, was scratched after prosecutors asked for a second sanity evaluation. The third was Oct. 14, which the judge postponed to Dec. 8 after the doctor conducting the second evaluation requested an extension. That was postponed so Holmes' attorneys could have

  • Jail boss: Restrictive NYC unit will stop violence

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Correction officials on Friday encouraged the city's jail watchdog board to approve a proposed rule change to allow for the creation of a 250-bed restrictive housing unit at Rikers Island for the 2.2 percent of inmates they say are responsible for the vast majority of violence. Speaking at a public hearing before the oversight board votes on the $14.8 million proposal next month, Commissioner Joseph Ponte said the unit will allow jail officials to finally control a system racked by inmate-on-inmate violence so that much needed reforms can be instituted.

  • Man without use of arms facing gun charge released

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A man who can't use his arms because of a spinal condition and faces a gun possession charge was released from jail without having to pay bail on Friday. Marcus Hubbard had been jailed since his arrest in Trenton in August. His bail was lowered on Tuesday from $100,000 to $35,000, but The Times newspaper (http://bit.ly/1DScEHL ) reported he was released without bail on Friday morning. Hubbard's attorney, Caroline Turner, said she was delighted by the judge's decision and would fight for all charges against him to be dismissed. Turner had said at Tuesday's bail hearing that the case against Hubbard, who injured his spine in a car accident and may have Lou Gehrig's disease, "shocks the conscience.

  • Obama cautions that change may be slow to come to Cuba

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tempering his historic Cuba policy shift with a dose of realism, President Barack Obama said Friday that change may not come quickly to the communist island. He suggested Congress will keep the U.S. economic embargo in place until lawmakers can gauge the pace of progress in the "hermetically sealed society." Still, Obama's surprise announcement this week that the U.S. was ending its Cold War diplomatic freeze with Cuba appeared to have contributed to energizing the president as he closes a difficult sixth year in office. "My presidency is entering the fourth quarter," Obama said at a year-end White House news conference shortly before leaving for a two-week Hawaiian vacation. "Interesting stuff happens in

  • Man pleads guilty in gun case linked to marathon

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — A man charged with having once possessed the gun that prosecutors believe the Boston Marathon bombing suspects used to kill an MIT police officer pleaded guilty Friday to gun possession and drug charges. Stephen Silva, 21, changed his plea in U.S. District Court. He initially pleaded innocent after he was charged in July with possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number and seven counts of heroin trafficking. Silva was a friend of marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces trial in January in connection with the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. A prosecutor said Silva possessed the Ruger pistol in February 2013, and gave it to another in

  • Obama's Cuba switch forces exile groups to adapt

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    MIAMI (AP) — Hours before President Barack Obama announced an end to a half-century of U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba's communist government, the Cuban American National Foundation opened the doors to its inviting new headquarters, with a modern glass and concrete lobby in the heart of Miami's Cuban exile community. The symbolism is hard to ignore: The lobbying group was founded in 1981 by veterans of covert U.S.-supported missions to overthrow Fidel and Raul Castro, and for many years it worked to undermine the communist government from offices in an unmarked Miami building outside Little Havana. A guard kept out unwelcome visitors, and its leader Jorge Mas Canosa tended to leave little room for differing opinions.

  • PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty Friday to charges related to the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming. The subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to two counts of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act under a plea deal with prosecutors. The U.S. Justice Department said the charges stemmed from the discovery of more than 370 dead birds at the company's Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills wind projects in Carbon and Converse counties from 2009 until now. Authorities counted 38 dead golden eagles and 336 other dead protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and spa

  • 1st drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BOULDER CITY, Nev. (AP) — An aerial drone testing program got off to a bumpy start Friday in Nevada, when the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without direct Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony at a remote site. "This is still a great day for Nevada," Gov. Brian Sandoval said after the orange aircraft dubbed the Sensurion Magpie was launched by hand, flew about 10 feet and plunged nose-first to the desert floor. "This is testing," the governor said. "This is why we're here." Company and FAA officials said the drone wasn't damaged. But they didn't try to fly it again during the ceremony.

  • Chrysler gives in to gov't, expands air bag recall

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    DETROIT (AP) — After resisting for nearly a month, Chrysler has bowed to government demands and will expand a recall of driver's side air bag inflators across the nation. The automaker said Friday that it will recall nearly 2.9 million older cars and trucks in the U.S., as demanded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The vehicles have driver's air bags equipped with inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. that can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least five deaths have been blamed on Takata inflators. The recalls previously were limited to areas with high humidity. For instance, Chrysler's recall covered just Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islan

  • Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    Bean bag chairs that can trap kids are among this week's recalled consumer products. Others include a toy monkey that sings and stress balls. Here's a more detailed look: BEAN BAG CHAIRS DETAILS: Bean bag chairs sold at Burlington Coat Factory, Kroger, Meijer and other retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon, Bean Bag Company, Groupon, Kohls, Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, Wayfair and other online retailers. They were sold between January 2010 and October 2013 for up to $40. The recalled ones have a tag on the seam that reads "Made By Comfort Research" and "100% Polystyrene." They come in many colors and patterns. WHY: The zippers on the bean bag chairs can be opened by kids. If they crawl inside, they can get

  • St. Charles students expelled after computer hack

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    ST. CHARLES, Ill. (AP) — St. Charles school district officials have expelled two high school students who they say shut down the district's computer network. St. Charles Unit District 303 officials said the students used their cellphones to overload the district's servers, The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported (http://bit.ly/13HHZx2 ). Teachers were blocked from various online grading and homework programs for nearly a month, officials said. "It clearly made life very difficult for our teaching staff," Superintendent Don Schlomann said. "I think, clearly, that had a great deal of impact on our classrooms. And that was the most concerning part of this for me.

  • Dispatchers surprise serial 911 caller with gift

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — Emergency dispatcher Kari Bueno once wanted the person clogging up their lines with false 911 calls to get into a lot of trouble. "At first, I admit it, we were pretty mad. 'We've got to find who this person is. This is ridiculous,'" she recalled saying. "'What are we going to do? We are so mad.'" In less than a week, someone had made more than 4,000 calls to 911. At one point, Bueno was receiving three to four calls a minute — all of them from the same number, which traced back to a disconnected cellphone. "It ties up all your 911 operators. We have to answer every call. We have to track down every call," she said. About three weeks ago, West Jordan police finally tracked down th

  • Man pleads guilty in airplane groping case

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A California man accused of groping and sexually propositioning a teenage girl on a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Friday. Hans Loudermilk, 66, of Oceanside, California acknowledged touching the 15-year-old's chin and rubbing her leg on the March flight. Loudermilk was sitting next the girl when he told her he could teach her things sexually that boys her age could not and said she was old enough to marry him in Utah, according to charging documents. The girl reported the incident to security shortly after the plane landed. When Loudermilk saw her talking to officers, he entered an airport gift shop, removed his button-up shirt and replaced it with a jacket

  • 1 thing even Rahm can't fix: Da Bears

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Rahm Emanuel traded Washington politics for the City of Big Shoulders because here, at least, he figured he could actually fix things. The Chicago Bears were not on his list. "There are certain things that are just above my pay grade," the city's straight-talking mayor laughed, "and that's one of them." When Emanuel announced in October he was bringing the NFL draft back to Chicago in 2015 — 51 years after the last one outside New York City was held here — the Bears were a .500 team, but still loaded with big-play talent, and he was on a roll. Five months earlier, Emanuel had wrestled the Beard Awards show — "The Oscars of Food" — away from New York.

  • Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information. Lionel Felix's lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles states he ran the company's infrastructure for Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment from 2001 to 2004. His lawsuit is joined by Michael Levine, one of the company's former technical directors. The suit seeks class action status for the nearly 50,000 current and former employees' whose data was stolen and posted online by hackers. Their suit alleges Sony ignored warnings about the security of its networks.

  • Gold medalist Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps avoided jail time on Friday when a judge placed him on probation for pleading guilty to a drunken driving charge for the second time in 10 years. The punishment came with a warning. "You don't need a lecture from the court," Baltimore District Judge Nathan Braverman told Phelps. "If you haven't gotten the message by now, or forget the message, the only option is jail." Probation allows the most decorated Olympian ever to focus on training for the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro, which would be his fifth. The 29-year-old came out of a year's retirement with his sights set on Rio, and the plea is not expected to have any ill effect on those plans.

  • Suspected Honduran drug kingpins extradited to US

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Two Honduran brothers suspected of running one of the world's largest drug-trafficking rings have been extradited to the U.S. and charged in federal court. The Valle Valle (VYE'-ay VYE'-ay) brothers, 42-year-old Miguel Arnulfo and 45-year-old Luis Alonso, made initial appearances in Alexandria, Virginia, on Friday, a day after being extradited from Honduras. The brothers are being held pending formal arraignment Tuesday. Court records do not list attorneys for them. Dana Boente (BENN'-tay) is U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He said the brothers are responsible for importing tons of cocaine into the U.S. over the past decade. The brothers were arrested in Honduras in Oct

  • Key Profumo scandal figure Mandy Rice-Davies dies

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — Mandy Rice-Davies, a key figure in the "Profumo Affair," a sex-and-politics scandal that rocked Cold War Britain, has died at age 70. Her PR firm, Hackford Jones, said Friday that Rice-Davies died Thursday evening "after a short battle with cancer." Rice-Davies was an 18-year-old model and nightclub dancer in 1963 when her friend Christine Keeler had an affair with War Secretary John Profumo. Keeler had also slept with a Soviet naval attache, and the resulting collision of sex, wealth and national security issues rattled Britain's establishment, almost toppled the Conservative government and fascinated the nation.

  • Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home. The 37-year-old woman, who is recovering in a hospital from stab wounds, was under guard and speaking with police, Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said. She has not yet been charged. Police haven't said how the children died. But Asnicar said they're examining several knives in the home that may have been the weapon used to kill them. The children ranged in age from 18 months to 14 years, Asnicar said. The woman is thought to be the mother of seven of the children. The eighth is believed to

  • AP National News Calendar

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    Eds: Major scheduled events for the week of Dec. 21-27. Note that many events are subject to change at the last minute. The following economic reports will be issued in Washington (all times EDT), unless otherwise noted: SUNDAY: No events of note. MONDAY: National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for November, 10 a.m. TUESDAY: Commerce Department releases durable goods for November, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases third-quarter gross domestic product, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for November, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases new home sales for November, 10 a.m. WEDNESDAY: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.