• Easter butter lamb gets 'pardon' at Buffalo market

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — There's at least one butter lamb in Buffalo that won't be going under the knife this Easter. Butter sculptures in the shape of a lamb are a traditional part of Easter meals among Buffalo's large Polish-American population. Butter lambs are sold this time of year at western New York delis, Polish markets and supermarkets. On Wednesday, an elected official went to Buffalo's Broadway Market to "pardon" a butter lamb, much in the way U.S. presidents issue pardons for a turkey before Thanksgiving. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz pardoned a butter lamb from its traditional duties on tables throughout the Buffalo area for the duration of Easter.

  • U.S. sanctions on Russia would buy negotiating power

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    (c) 2014, The Washington Post. The following editorial appeared in Thursday's Washington Post: Russia and the United States have pursued dramatically different strategies on Ukraine in the 10 days preceding a diplomatic meeting Thursday in Geneva. While loudly denouncing what it has described as direct Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine and threatening tough sanctions, the Obama administration elected not to take any concrete action in the hope that the meeting, which also includes the foreign ministers of Ukraine and the European Union, will produce positive results. The administration also has refused Ukraine's desperate requests for non-lethal aid for its military as it attempts to turn back the quasi-covert offensive

  • Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the incoming head of the Nuclear Energy Agency told The Associated Press. Size is relative — the modular plants could be about as big as a couple of semi-trailers — easily fitting on the dimensions of coal plants they're ultimately intended to replace in the U.S. They would have factory-built parts that are slotted together like Lego blocks and hauled by train or truck — making assembly possible anywhere. William Magwood, the incoming director of the Paris-based forum for nuclear energy countries, said the U

  • Full docket for judge in Detroit bankruptcy case

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    DETROIT (AP) — The judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy is holding a hearing during a week of significant breakthroughs in the case. The city has the support of pension funds and a retirees' group to reduce payouts to thousands of former Detroit employees. The retirees still must vote, but the tentative deals are a major step toward eventually emerging from bankruptcy. More details could emerge Thursday in Judge Steven Rhodes' courtroom. He's holding a hearing to listen to objections to Detroit's disclosure statement, which is hundreds of pages of information about the city's finances. Rhodes also is likely to get an update on Detroit's plan to send ballots to creditors who will soon vote on a plan to settle debts.

  • BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ASIA: SKOREA-SHIP SINKING MOKPO, South Korea — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member says. The first instructions from the captain were for the passengers to put on life jackets and stay put, and it was not until about 30 minutes later that he ordered an evacuation, the crew member tells The Associated Press. But he says he isn't sure if the captain's order, given to crew members, was actually relayed to passengers on the public address system. By Youkyung Lee and Foster Klug. SENT: 1,1

  • EU warns Russia against using gas for politics

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is warning Russia that interfering with gas deliveries to Ukraine to apply political pressure would backfire by damaging its reputation as a reliable supplier for the EU. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a letter on behalf of the EU's 28 governments that Russia's "contractual reliability as a supplier of gas is at stake in this matter." The letter to Russia's President released Thursday was the bloc's joint response to Vladimir Putin's threat last week that Moscow might cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and the pipelines shipping gas to western Europe through Ukrainian territory if Kiev fails to pay its debts. Barroso stressed stable deliveries are in both side

  • Ukraine, US work to reduce tensions with Russia

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. The carrot-stick strategy emerged as diplomats from Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and Russia met Thursday for the first time over the burgeoning crisis that threatens to roil the new government in Kiev. It also comes as Russia hones a strategy of its own: Push the West as far as possible without provoking crippling sanctions against its financial and energy sectors or a military confrontation with NATO.

  • AP-Daybook-Thu-White House

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    AP WASHINGTON DAYBOOK, Thursday, April 17 WHITE HOUSE, ECONOMY, COURTS

  • Texas town recovering, year after deadly blast

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WEST, Texas (AP) — As word spread of a spiraling fire at this Texas town's fertilizer plant, volunteers raced to protect families and elderly residents who lived nearby. Then came the deafening explosion. Stores of ammonium nitrate exploded in a gigantic blast that registered as a small earthquake and sprayed debris miles away. Fifteen people were killed, including 12 volunteer firefighters and others responding to the fire, and more than 200 were injured. The blast caved in homes and schools, and destroyed water lines and roads. Residents of West, which is recovering but has a long way to go, will mark the one-year anniversary of the blast Thursday with a moment of silence at 7:51 p.m., the exact time of the leveling blast

  • Robber who was homesick for prison to be sentenced

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Walter Unbehaun has spent nearly all of his adult life behind bars, so it's not surprising that he faces sentencing Thursday for yet another crime, a bank robbery last year. His reason for robbing the bank is surprising, though: He was homesick for prison. The 74-year-old high-school dropout and part-time bathtub repairman probably isn't the first long-term convict to find he prefers being barked at by guards to life on the outside, which has its own demands. But living alone and feeling unhappy, Unbehaun decided to change his situation by committing a crime in order to get caught. On Feb.

  • Blast on site of ammunition plant kills 1

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An explosion and fire at a Tennessee plant where ammunition is made has killed one person and left three others injured. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Michael Knight says rescue workers were called Wednesday afternoon to a blast at the Rio Ammunition plant in McEwen, about 55 miles west of Nashville. Knight says agents are still trying to determine exactly what happened. Odell Poyner, director of the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency, said authorities received reports that about 20 employees were in the building at the time of the explosion, which blew out two of the walls and a large portion of the roof. A call to Rio Ammunition on Thursday morn

  • Portland plans reservoir flush after teen cited

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Call it the Big Flush 2, and this time the sequel promises to be much bigger than the original. Portland officials said Wednesday they are flushing away millions of gallons of treated water for the second time in less than three years because someone urinated into a city reservoir. In June 2011, the city drained a 7.5 million-gallon reservoir at Mount Tabor in southeast Portland. This time, 38 million gallons from a different reservoir at the same location will be discarded after a 19-year-old was videotaped in the act. "The basic commandment of the Water Bureau is to provide clean, cold and constant water to its customers," bureau administrator David Shaff said Wednesday. "And the premise behind

  • Singer Chris Brown's bodyguard goes on trial in DC

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Singer Chris Brown's bodyguard is going on trial on assault charges in Washington, a case that will be a preview for the musician's own trial. Christopher Hollosy's trial begins Thursday in Superior Court. Both men were arrested in October after a man accused them of punching him outside a Washington hotel. Hollosy told police he punched the man after he tried to get on Brown's tour bus. The man told police Brown and later Hollosy punched him after he tried to get in a photo Brown was taking with two women. Court papers say the man's nose was fractured. Hollosy's trial is expected to last one to two days. Brown's trial will follow. Brown has denied punching the man.

  • BC-AP News Digest 7 am

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    The world at 7 a.m. Times are EDT. At the Nerve Center, Karen Mahabir and Barb Whitaker can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477. TOP STORIES UKRAINE-DIPLOMACY GENEVA — Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its fellow former Soviet republic even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. The carrot-stick strategy emerged as diplomats from Ukraine, the U.S.

  • Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    PERTH, Australia (AP) — Investigators were analyzing data collected by a robotic submarine that completed its first successful scan of the seabed Thursday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, but say tests have ruled out that a nearby oil slick came from the aircraft. The unmanned sub's first two missions were cut short by technical problems and deep water, but the Bluefin 21 finally managed to complete a full 16-hour scan of the silt-covered seabed far off Australia's west coast, the search coordination center said. While data collected during the mission, which ended overnight, were still being analyzed, nothing of note had yet been discovered, the center said. The sub has now covered 90 square kilometers (35 square mil

  • Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week. The actions of the man, whose mother said he had a mental disorder, rattled nerves as Boston prepared for the annual race, but authorities said they did not consider it a security breach. Officials also expressed confidence in heightened security measures for Monday's event while acknowledging the challenge of protecting an estimated 1 million spectators and 36,000 runners across 26.2 miles and eight Massachusetts communities.

  • Turkey debates controversial spy agency bill

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament looks set to pass a bill that increases the powers and immunities of the country's spy agency. It is the latest in a string of moves critics say is undermining democracy in the country that is a candidate to join the European Union. The bill, expected to be voted on Thursday, gives the National Intelligence Agency greater eavesdropping and operational powers and increases its immunities and abilities to keep tabs on citizens. Journalists publishing classified documents would face prison terms. The government insists the overhaul will make the agency more efficient and meet "new security and foreign policy needs.

  • Israel arrests Arab journalist over Lebanon visit

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service says it has detained a young Israeli Arab journalist for traveling to Lebanon, which Israel considers an enemy country. Majd Kayyal, a 23-year-old journalist for the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, traveled to Beirut last month for a conference. Although Lebanon bars Israeli citizens from entering, the Shin Bet says Palestinian officials in the West Bank gave Kayyal Palestinian travel documents. Kayyal was arrested last Saturday at the Israeli border on suspicion of being recruited by a militant organization. The Shin Bet says it dropped that suspicion, and is considering indicting him for traveling to Lebanon. Kayyal has been held since his arrest without acc

  • Heavy winter storms weigh on DuPont during 1Q

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — DuPont says that lost sales and increased operating costs from adverse weather conditions dragged on first-quarter earnings. The Wilmington, Del., chemical maker reported net income Thursday of $1.4 billion, or $1.54 per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That's down from $3.35 billion, or $3.58 per share, for the same quarter a year ago, which included a one-time gain from completion of the sale of DuPont's performance coatings unit. Excluding one-time items, The DuPont Co. had operating earnings of $1.58 per share, up from $1.56 per share on an adjusted basis in last year's first quarter, but slightly off the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.59 per share. Sales declined 3 percent to $10.1

  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants launched a brazen attack on a military base in a restive area in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 10 soldiers and wounding 12, officials said. The morning attack at the base outside the city of Mosul, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, started with a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives-laden truck at the gates of the facility, an army officer and a police officer said. A group of gunmen then opened fire from apparently commandeered military Humvees and a shootout ensued. At least 10 troops were killed and 12 were wounded, the officials said. Eight militants were also killed in the fighting. A medical official confirmed the causality figures.