• Ukraine, pro-Russia rebels swap war prisoners

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russia rebels exchanged nearly 370 prisoners Friday, a major step toward easing hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine handed over 222 prisoners and the rebels released 145 people, according to Russia's state RIA Novosti news agency — the biggest one-time prisoners swap since the pro-Russian insurgency flared up in eastern Ukraine in April. The Interfax news agency quoted Svyatoslav Tsegolko, a spokesman for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, saying that 146 Ukrainian prisoners were released Friday and another four will be freed on Saturday. The figures corresponded to an earlier Ukrainian official statement, which said that 150 Ukrainian prisoners were to be relea

  • Tesla upgrading Roadster car to get more miles per charge

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Tesla said improvements it is making to its older Roadster model will let the electric car travel about 400 miles on a single charge. The Palo Alto, California, company said that a new battery, new tires, and other improvements will boost the car's range 40 to 50 percent compared to the original. Tesla plans to demonstrate the higher range with a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles — about a 400-mile trip — early next year. Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the upgrade Thursday and Tesla posted more details on its website Friday. Tesla stopped making Roadsters in 2012, the year it introduced the Model S. The company said not to expect any major upgrades in the battery or

  • IRA veteran arrested after Irish wife stabbed

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    DUBLIN (AP) — Detectives interrogated a prominent Irish Republican Army veteran Friday on suspicion of stabbing his wife several times on Christmas Eve, an attack condemned by the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party. Police said Pearse McCauley tried to flee after they arrived at his family's rural home in County Cavan, northwest of Dublin, on Wednesday to find his wife bleeding from a deep chest wound and the couple's two young children nearby. Pauline Tully McCauley was reported in stable condition after treatment for a collapsed lung. The high school teacher, who served as a Sinn Fein politician on Cavan's council from 1999 to 2012, married McCauley in 2003 months after meeting him while he was still imprisoned. Irish authorities

  • Arson attack on Swedish mosque injures 5

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    HELSINKI (AP) — Swedish police say a suspected arson attack at one mosque has injured at least five people while a second mosque in the same town has been vandalized. Police said Friday the two attacks in the central town of Eskilstuna took place within hours of each other Thursday and early Friday. They said 20 people were inside the mosque when the blaze broke out. Two of the injured were treated for smoke inhalation, while the others had minor injuries. Police spokesman Lars Franzell says a witness had seen someone throwing an object through the mosque's window. Franzell also says an unidentified passer-by had also broken a window of another mosque and damaged nearby cars.

  • Third priest killed in dangerous southern Mexico

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A priest was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, his diocese said Friday, marking the latest in series of abductions, attacks and highway robberies against Roman Catholic clerics in an area of southern Guerrero state dominated by drug cartels. Rev. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta is the third Catholic priest to have been killed in the region this year, and the first to die since the federal government launched a special, stepped-up security operation in the area following the disappearance of 43 teachers' college students three months ago.

  • Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    DUBLIN (AP) — A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die — a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's strict ban on abortion in an age of medical innovation. The three-judge Dublin High Court said that all artificial support for the woman should end more than three weeks after she was declared clinically dead. Her relatives gathered at a hospital in the Irish Midlands to bid farewell to the unidentified woman, who was in her late 20s and had two young children. In their 29-page ruling, the judges accepted testimony from seven doctors who said the fetus couldn't survive for the extra two months of devel

  • Las Vegas New Year's Eve prep takes year effort

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A destination devoted to entertaining visitors every single day can't just throw any old party to ring in the New Year. For one night only, about 340,000 people spending some $226 million are expected to crowd the Strip and downtown Fremont Street all looking to be wowed — and for that reason, Las Vegas casino operators, event planners, tourism agencies and more have spent months if not the entire year planning ways to do so. The result? A veritable revelry buffet to choose from, some free, most at a price, quite a bit so exclusive it requires an invite from the hotel-casinos throwing the parties for prized customers.

  • Texas movie set used by John Wayne fading away

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    BRACKETTVILLE, Texas (AP) — Time and Mother Nature are threatening to dismantle the Alamo. Not the original, but the replica 18th-century Spanish mission and Old West movie set John Wayne built for his Oscar-nominated 1960 movie and that for decades was a tourist mecca and film production site. "It's not just something that represents history to a movie set — it is now history for sure," says Rich Curilla, the one-man curator and custodian of the now-closed Alamo Village. Alamo Village, a 400-acre plot of land about 120 miles west of San Antonio, was carved out of a large ranch in the late 1950s for Wayne's directorial debut. Starring Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie and Wayne as Davy Crockett, "The Alamo" had an estimated $1

  • NY man says wife shot him to avoid messy divorce

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — A real estate developer who was shot in the head as he slept at home says his cheating wife did it in an attempt to kill him and avoid a messy divorce. Kenneth Dearden provided an unusually detailed look at the case from his point of view by filing a lawsuit against his wife, a New York Police Department psychologist, a year after the shooting and two weeks before she was arrested. He said he was sleeping in their upscale suburban home on Nov. 14, 2013, and woke up with a searing pain in his jaw — from a gunshot to the base of his skull. He survived, possibly because the shooter apparently used an antique derringer that had been a gift to his wife from her parents.

  • Vatican arrests activist who bared chest in square

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has arrested the Femen activist who on Christmas Day bared her chest and snatched the statue of Baby Jesus in the life-size Nativity scene in the center of St. Peter's Square, a spokesman said Friday, emphasizing that the protest insulted the faithful gathered to celebrate Christmas. Ukrainian activist Yana Zhdanova was being held for questioning, with possible charges including carrying out obscene acts in public, insults and theft. A topless Zhdanova grabbed the Baby Jesus statue about an hour after the pope offered his Christmas blessing Thursday. A Vatican guard immediately covered her with his cape and detained her, while Zhdanova, still clutching the figure, shouted "God is woman." <

  • Flying high: Airstream can't keep up with demand

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    JACKSON CENTER, Ohio (AP) — Bob Wheeler still gets the question sometimes when people find out he runs the company that builds those shiny aluminum campers: "Airstreams? They still make those?" Not only are the retro-looking "silver bullet" travel-trailers still being built by hand at the same western Ohio site that has produced them for 60 years, but the company also can't roll them out of there fast enough to meet the demand these days. The instantly recognizable silver bubble design — inspired by airplane fuselages — hasn't been tweaked much since the first Airstreams took to the open road in the 1930s on the way to becoming an American icon.

  • Key developments in case of 2 slain NYPD officers

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    Two New York Police Department officers were ambushed last weekend by Ismaaiyl Brinsley after he had made threatening posts online, including references to high-profile cases of white police officers killing unarmed black men and a vow to put "wings on pigs." After shooting the officers, Brinsley ran into a Brooklyn subway station and committed suicide. The killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have raised concerns in the already tense nationwide debate surrounding police conduct.

  • California gears up for migrant driver's licenses

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — While tens of thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally are gearing up to apply for a long-sought driver's license in California starting Jan. 2, others are being urged to think twice. Immigrant advocates say the vast majority should be able to get licensed without trouble but they want anyone who previously obtained a driver's license under a false name or someone else's Social Security number to speak first with a lawyer, fearing a new application could trigger a fraud investigation. The same applies to immigrants with a prior deportation order or criminal record because federal immigration officials and law enforcement can access Department of Motor Vehicles data during an investigation.

  • Body of autistic boy, 4, found in South Carolina pond

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (AP) — The body of an autistic, 4-year-old boy who had been missing since Christmas Eve has been found in a pond in South Carolina. Coroner Robert Edge told local media outlets that the body of Jayden Morrison was found late Friday morning in Little River, northeast of Myrtle Beach. Police, first responders, K9 units, dive teams and volunteers had been searching for the boy since he disappeared from his grandmother's house around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The New York boy's family had been visiting his grandmother. His mother, Tabatha Morrison, had gone shopping and left her three children at the home. Jayden's grandmother, Carolyn Sumpter, said minutes later, she noticed the front door was ajar an

  • Conservationists, loggers team up on forest health

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    JOHN DAY, Ore. (AP) — Logs are piled high in the yard of the Malheur Lumber Co. mill in this small town in northeastern Oregon, ready to be sawed into lumber. Steam pours out of the stacks. Trucks loaded with logs roll in. John Day, a town of 1,700, nearly died two years ago. Its lifeblood, the sawmill, was about to close. So few logs were coming off the nearby Malheur National Forest, the mill's owners decided it was time to shut down. But the mill and the town's economy were rescued by a detente between the timber industry and environmentalists — foes since the battles over logging that erupted in the Pacific Northwest three decades ago. The sides uncovered a shared goal: thinning overgrown forests to prevent catastroph

  • India's brass bands struggle amid changing tastes

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    NEW DELHI (AP) — The wedding season is in full swing in India, marking what should be the busiest time of year for the traditional brass bands that lead raucous processions announcing the arrival of the bridegroom to the neighborhood. Dressed in faded military-style uniforms or long silken tunics and turbans, brass bands playing the latest Bollywood tunes have long been a must-have at any Indian wedding. But as the tastes of young, wealthier Indians shift to more modern music, young couples increasingly choose DJs playing electronic music instead of live bands. The shift is leaving band owners and musicians struggling to find gigs, exacerbating an already difficult existence.

  • People slide down bedsheets to escape motel fire

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Some residents slid down knotted bedsheets or clambered down people standing on one another's shoulders to flee a raging Christmas night fire that injured six people and badly damaged a residential motel near downtown Los Angeles, authorities said Friday. Two of the injured suffered critical burns and smoke inhalation, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said. Five people were hospitalized, and the injured ranged in age from 28 to 73. The fire, which broke out about 6 p.m. Thursday, was traced to a kitchen in one of the three-story motel's 135 units.

  • Neighbor convicted of euthanizing ill man's dog

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh woman has been convicted of stealing her cancer-stricken neighbor's dog and paying to have it euthanized. An Allegheny County jury on Friday convicted 58-year-old Gisele Paris of theft, receiving stolen property and cruelty to animals. Prosecutors say Paris stole a Siberian husky named Thor from the neighbor's yard on Thanksgiving 2013 because she believed it was being neglected despite assurances to the contrary from a humane officer. The dog's owner has stage 3 esophageal cancer. He says the dog had health problems but wasn't suffering. Police say Paris paid a veterinarian to euthanize the dog in February. Prosecutors say she did that to "destroy the evidence" of her crimes.

  • Syrian air raids on IS-held towns kill dozens

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian air raids on two northern towns held by the militant Islamic State group have killed more than 50 people in two days. Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that several airstrikes on the towns of al-Bab and neighboring Qabasin killed at least 53 people, including seven children. The strikes occurred Thursday. Another Syrian monitoring group also reported the raids, and activists uploaded video of the strikes' aftermaths to social networks. They appeared genuine and corresponded to Associated Press reporting. The Syrian government has been heavily bombing areas held by rebels and the militant Islamic State group in recent days.

  • Police: Baby Jesus taken, replaced with pig's head

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    HAVERHILL, Mass. (AP) — A mayor in Massachusetts is outraged that someone stole a baby Jesus statue from a church's Nativity scene and replaced it with a pig's head. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini says the desecration has "all the elements of a hate crime." The parish priest noticed the statue had been taken from the creche at Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church on Christmas morning. Police say the pig's head left in its place appears to have been recently severed, and investigators are seeking help from butcher shops and pig farms. Police say the perpetrator could face animal cruelty charges. Meanwhile, a neighbor replaced the baby Jesus with one from her own creche.