• 292 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    By HYUNG-JIN KIM and YOUKYUNG LEE | Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured. The high number of people unaccounted for — likely trapped in the ship or floating in the ocean — raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making it one of South Korea’s biggest ferry disasters since 1993, when 292 people died. One student, Lim Hyung-min, told broadcaster YTN after being rescued that he and other students jumped into the ocean wearing life jackets

  • 10 killed as truck, bus carrying students collide

    By FENIT NIRAPPIL and CHANNING JOSEPH | Published: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — The long bus ride north from Los Angeles for a group of high school students who planned to visit Humboldt State University had been fun: The hours whizzed by as they watched movies, chatted up new friends, and jammed to hip-hop on the radio. Steven Clavijo, 18, a senior at West Ranch High in Santa Clarita, was looking forward to his visit to Humboldt, where he planned to enroll. Just as Clavijo was trying to catch a nap Thursday afternoon, he said he felt the big vehicle begin to shake from left to right and then he heard a loud boom. “We knew we were in major trouble,” he said. A FedEx tractor-trailer had crossed a grassy freeway median and slammed into the bus.

  • Kathleen Sebelius resigning from top HHS post

    JULIE PACE, AP | Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from the Obama administration after the rocky rollout of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a White House official said Thursday. Her resignation comes just one week after the end of the first enrollment period for the Obamacare law. While the opening weeks of the rollout were marred by website woes, the administration rebounded strongly by enrolling more than 7 million people in the new insurance marketplaces. Sebelius' resignation following her five-year tenure in Obama's Cabinet comes as the White House seeks to rebound from the politically damaging launch of the health care law.

  • Prosecutor: Pistorius is untruthful, an egotist

    By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and GERALD IMRAY | Published: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius’ credibility was consistently questioned at his murder trial Thursday as the chief prosecutor argued that the star athlete had a string of unlikely excuses why he wasn’t to blame in the three gun charges he faces on top of murder for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, in cross-examining Pistorius for a second day, questioned Pistorius’ honesty, which goes to the heart of the case, asserting that the double-amputee Olympian wouldn’t “accept responsibility for anything” and reacted incredulously to Pistorius’ explanation of why a gun he was handling fired under a table in a packed restaurant.

  • Portraits by George W. Bush go on display

    JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press | Updated: Fri, Apr 4, 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — Former President George W. Bush is displaying his portraits of world leaders in the first exhibit of his work as an artist. The portraits, which include everyone from a grim-looking Russian President Vladimir Putin to a smiling likeness of the late Czech playwright and President Vaclav Havel, are part of an exhibit opening Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. He even did a self-portrait. The exhibit called "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" runs through June 3. "I spent a lot of time on personal diplomacy and I befriended leaders and learned about their families and their likes and dislikes, to the point where I felt comfortable painting them," he said

  • U.S. appeals court upholds new Texas abortion rules

    By WILL WEISSERT | Published: Thu, Mar 27, 2014

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions that shuttered many of the abortions clinics in the state. A panel of judges at the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court judge who said the rules violate the U.S. Constitution and served no medical purpose. In its opinion, the appeals court said the law “on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.” Texas lawmakers last year passed some of the toughest restrictions in the U.S. on when, where and how women may obtain an abortion.

  • Team brought in to remove crashed Colorado plane

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Tue, Mar 25, 2014

    RIDGWAY, Colo. — An aviation salvage team is being brought in to pull the wreckage of a single-engine plane from a reservoir in southwestern Colorado. The team is scheduled to start work Wednesday at Ridgway Reservoir, where the plane from Alabama crashed on Saturday. Divers confirmed Monday that the bodies of all five victims are still inside the wreckage of the Socata TBM700, which is upside down and partially buried in silt under about 60 feet of water. Authorities say the wreckage has to be pulled to shore before they can safely remove the bodies. Authorities haven’t released the victims’ identities but said the flight originated in Gadsden, Ala., and was flying to Montrose, about 25 miles north of the

  • Reid says GOP may have helped Russia annex Crimea

    By BRADLEY KLAPPER | Updated: Mon, Mar 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans may have helped Russia annex Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The surprising accusation came ahead of a Monday test vote on a Russia sanctions and Ukraine aid bill that Republicans blocked before Congress left for recess two weeks ago. Since, Crimea seceded and Russian lawmakers annexed the territory. Reid said, quoting, “It’s impossible to know whether events would have unfolded differently if the United States had responded to Russian aggression with a strong, unified voice.” The Nevada Democrat said blocking the bill “sent a dangerous message to Russian leaders.

  • Australia checking 2 objects in search for plane

    By SCOTT MCDONALD and KRISTEN GELINEAU, AP | Updated: Thu, Mar 20, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Military search planes flew over a remote part of the Indian Ocean on Thursday hunting for debris in "probably the best lead" so far in finding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, officials said.

  • Pistorius trial: cricket bat, toilet door shown

    By GERALD IMRAY and CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, AP | Published: Wed, Mar 12, 2014

    PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius was probably on his stumps when he fatally shot his girlfriend through a toilet door, a forensic analyst said Wednesday at the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial. The matter of whether Pistorius was on his stumps is critical because it tests his assertions about what exactly happened on the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom on Feb. 14, 2013. The athlete has said he fearfully approached the bathroom on his stumps and shot Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. According to his account, he then put on his prostheses and tried to kick down the locked toilet door, and battered it with a cricket bat to get to his girlfriend after realizing what he had

  • Oklahoma House OKs guns in school parking lots

    BY SEAN MURPHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS | Updated: Mon, Mar 10, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahomans with a permit to carry a handgun could keep their weapon locked inside their vehicle on public school campuses under a bill approved by the Oklahoma House. The House voted 76-17 Tuesday for the bill by Oklahoma City Republican Rep. Sally Kern, despite opposition from a lawmaker who is a former school principal and voiced concern about the safety of having guns on school campuses. Kern says her bill is about protecting the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. But Lawton Republican Rep. Ann Coody, a former principal at a Lawton high school, says school administrators are telling her they don't want more guns on campus. Coody says the bill would even allow a gun to be stored

  • Minnesota GOP lawmaker apologizes for NBA tweet

    By BRIAN BAKST | Published: Mon, Mar 10, 2014

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota lawmaker apologized Monday for his tweet about NBA players that some saw as racist, saying he was rightly held accountable for inaccurate stereotyping. Rep. Pat Garofalo, a fifth-term Republican from the St. Paul suburb of Farmington, tweeted Sunday night: “Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime,” Garofalo tweeted Sunday night. Garofalo initially stuck by his words even after they drew hundreds of negative comments and more than 1,000 retweets, insisting they were misinterpreted. About three-fourths of the NBA’s players are black, according to a 2013 report card from The

  • Guard: Pistorius told me ‘everything is fine’

    By GERALD IMRAY and CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, AP | Published: Fri, Mar 7, 2014

    PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius told a concerned security guard on the phone that everything was “fine” after neighbors reported gunshots coming from the athlete’s house the night he shot dead his girlfriend, according to testimony in the South African murder trial Friday. The security guard, Pieter Baba, testified that Pistorius phoned him back moments after the initial brief conversation, but then started crying, didn’t say anything and the line went dead. It was minutes after the double-amputee Olympian fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp, for which Pistorius is now on trial for murder. “Not everything was in order as Mr.

  • Pistorius pleads not guilty at start of trial

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Mon, Mar 3, 2014

    Pretoria, South Africa — The first witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial testified Monday to hearing a woman’s “blood-curdling” screams before the sound of four gunshots on the night the double-amputee Olympian killed his girlfriend. Michell Burger, a woman who lives on an estate next to Pistorius’ gated community, said she and her husband were awoken by the screams in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14 last year, when Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp by shooting four times through a door in his bathroom.

  • Ukraine official: 8 Russian cargo planes in Crimea

    | Published: Fri, Feb 28, 2014

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A spokesman for the Ukrainian border service says eight Russian transport planes have landed in Crimea with unknown cargo. Serhiy Astakhov tells The Associated Press that the Il-76 planes arrived unexpectedly Friday and were given permission to land, one after the other, at Gvardeiskoye air base, north of the regional capital, Simferopol. Astakhov says the people in the planes refused to identify themselves and waved off customs officials, saying they didn’t require their services. Earlier Friday, Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador said he had told the U.N. Security Council that Russian military helicopters and transport planes are entering his country and that Russian armed forces seized Crimea’s

  • Lawyers appeal overturned gay marriage ban, say same-sex unions are harmful to children

    BY KRISTI EATON, Associated Press | Updated: Tue, Feb 25, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Lawyers who are appealing a federal judge's ruling that overturned Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage said in a court filing Monday that legalizing gay marriage would harm children, undermine society and make traditional marriages unstable. The Alliance Defending Freedom cited courts and anthropologists, saying children are better off in a home with a mother and a father. It said traditional couples would be less likely to marry, or stay together, if marriage became a genderless institution not focused on procreation. U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled last month against Tulsa County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith, whose office refused to grant a marriage license to two women who wanted to marry.

  • Hagel says U.S. military must shrink to face new era

    Published: Mon, Feb 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Looking beyond America’s post-9/11 wars, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday proposed shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, closing bases and reshaping forces to confront a “more volatile, more unpredictable” world with a more nimble military. The nation can afford a smaller military so long as it retains a technological edge and the agility to respond on short notice to crises anywhere on the globe, Hagel said. He said the priorities he outlined reflect a consensus view among America’s military leaders, but Republicans in Congress were quick to criticize some proposed changes.

  • Move to (401)k-style retirement clears Okla. Senate

    ASSOCIATED PRESS | Updated: Wed, Feb 19, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Newly hired state workers would be shifted from a traditional pension to a 401(k)-style retirement plan under a bill that has been given final approval in the Oklahoma Senate. The Senate voted 34-11 Wednesday to approve the bill and send it to the House. Under the measure, state employees hired after Nov. 1, 2015, would be shifted from the current defined-benefit pension to the 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan. The changes do not apply to teachers or public safety employees like police, firefighters or prison guards. Supporters say the bill will help reduce the estimated $11.6 billion in unfunded liability of the state's public pension systems.

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court reinstates challenge to voter ID law

    By The Associated Press | Published: Wed, Feb 12, 2014

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit that challenges the state's voter ID law, ruling that the Tulsa County resident who filed it has legal standing to challenge the law's constitutionality.

  • Oklahoma House panel passes 'Merry Christmas Bill'

    BY TIM TALLEY | Published: Mon, Feb 10, 2014

    The bill would allow school students and staff member to greet one another with phrases like “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays.”