• Costs of closing, cleaning toxic coal ash pits grows clearer

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    EDEN, N.C. (AP) — Two years after one of the worst coal ash spills in U.S. history, the country's largest electricity company is digging up and hauling away the residue. The 2014 disaster polluted a river that runs through North Carolina and Virginia and led legislators to order Duke Energy Corp. to close all 32 of its coal ash pits in North Carolina by 2029. It's also closing its South Carolina pits. The bill for a long-delayed cost of burning coal for power could burden consumers for years. Duke Energy faces about $4 billion in cleanup liabilities in the two states. If it's all passed along to ratepayers, accountants at the state agency that represents consumers calculate North Carolina households could see rates ri

  • Return of Purple Heart from WWII turns up missing family

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A Purple Heart awarded to a soldier from New Hampshire killed in World War II's Battle of the Bulge has brought together two branches of a family that never knew of the other's existence. Eugene Victor Call was a 32-year-old U.S. Army technician when he was killed on March 2, 1945, near Kapellen, Germany. Recently, the Vermont group Purple Hearts Reunited got a call from Rick Daigle in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Daigle's wife had died, and among her possessions were Call's Purple Heart and other medals. Her mother was once married to Call. Daigle wanted the medals returned to family. The search led to a namesake great-nephew in Newport, New Hampshire, and to grandchildren in California.

  • Afghanistan hopes for talks with Taliban this month

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan expects to hold direct talks with the Taliban by the end of this month, an official said Sunday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shakib Mostaghani told reporters that Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States agreed on a roadmap toward peace talks at a meeting in Islamabad the day before. He said the government hopes to "put an end to the futile violence which is imposed on our people." The last direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban broke down after just one session last summer when Kabul announced that the Taliban's reclusive, longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar died two years earlier. The next four-country meeting is scheduled for Feb. 23 in Kabul.

  • Massachusetts plan could spur hydro imports to New England

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Tapping into Canadian hydropower is hardly a new concept in energy-starved New England. But Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to authorize long-term contracts between utilities and hydropower producers is being viewed in some quarters as a potential game-changer for the region. The move is not without doubters, and the question of how to deliver Canadian hydro on a large scale remains unanswered. Among several plans yet to secure final approval are the $1.4 billion Northern Pass project, designed to bring 1,090 megawatts of Hydro-Quebec power through New Hampshire into southern New England and a 1,000-megawatt transmission line beneath Lake Champlain in Vermont. A single megawatt can power up to 1,000 home

  • Algeria's parliament OKs new constitution with term limits

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution aimed at reforming the country by limiting presidents to two terms and recognizing the language used by its Berber minority as official. The text was presented Sunday to the assembly and the senate — with 499 lawmakers voting for it, two against and 16 abstentions. The reforms were promised by 79-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his government following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring countries. Trumpeting the victory, Algeria's Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said "history will remember that you all have contributed to a renewed republic, to which the people can aspire.

  • Museum puts on free planetarium event for supporting towns

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    ST. JOHNSURY, Vt. (AP) — The Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury is offering a free planetarium presentation next weekend to residents of the more than a dozen communities that support it. The presentation and special programing takes place Saturday, Feb. 13. The towns are St. Johnsbury, Barnet, Burke, Danville, East Haven, Granby, Kirby, Lyndonville, Newark, Peacham, Sheffield, Stannard, Sutton, Walden, and Waterford. Residents of those towns also can visit the museum any day at no charge.

  • Iraqi Kurds protest against Turkey, 3 police wounded

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Protests against Turkey in Iraq's northern Kurdish region have turned violent, with three police officers wounded. Hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday outside the United Nations compound in the northern city of Irbil calling for an end to Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish militants. Local media reported that three police were wounded. Turkey began launching airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in July 2015 as part of the U.S.-led coalition's fight against the Islamic State group. In Syria it has targeted the IS group, while in Iraq it has taken aim at the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Ankara.

  • Afghanistan hopes to meet with Taliban this month

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan expects to hold direct talks with the Taliban by the end of this month, an official said Sunday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shakib Mostaghani told reporters that Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States had agreed on a roadmap toward peace talks at a meeting in Islamabad the day before. He said the government hopes to "put an end to the futile violence which is imposed on our people." The last direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban broke down after just one session last summer when Kabul announced that the Taliban's reclusive, longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar died two years ago. The next four-country meeting is scheduled for Feb. 23 in Kabul.

  • Pope pleas for help for Syrians fleeing war so they survive

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has made a public plea for help for Syrians fleeing civil war so that their survival and dignity are assured. Francis told a crowd in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that "I am following with strong worry the dramatic fate of the civilian population caught up in the violent combat in Syria and forced to abandon everything to flee the horrors of the war." He said he hoped that thanks to the world's "generous solidarity" the necessary aid would be given so these refugees' "'survival and dignity" are guaranteed. The pope also called upon the international community to spare no efforts to revive negotiations to end the war that began in 2011. The latest round of Syrian peace talks recently s

  • Israeli leader calls on world to condemn arson of synagogue

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the world to condemn a suspected arson attack against a makeshift synagogue in the West Bank where Jewish Torah scrolls were burned. The scrolls were stored inside a tent that was used as a synagogue near a West Bank outpost that overlooked the site where the bodies of three Jewish teenagers were found in June 2014. Their abduction and murder was carried out by Palestinians said by Israel to be members of the militant group Hamas and set off a series of events that ultimately led to that summer's 50-day war in Gaza.

  • Hut fire kills all 10 family member on Pakistani island

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani police official says fire has killed all 10 members of a fisherman's family on an island in southern Pakistan. Mohammad Javed said Sunday that the incident took place late Saturday night on Kharo Chan island in the southern province of Sindh. He said initial reports suggest that an oil lamp fell due to high winds and sparked flames that engulfed the family's wooden hut. Javed said the victims included five men, three women and two children.

  • Islamic authority rejects new Jerusalem Jewish prayer area

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The Islamic authority that oversees a sensitive Jerusalem holy site says it opposes a new prayer area for non-Orthodox Jews at the adjacent Western Wall. The Waqf's rejection may present an obstacle for Israel which has tried to defuse tensions with more liberal streams of Judaism who have demanded the right to pray at the wall according to their customs. After three years of negotiations, Israel announced the creation of the new prayer area last week. Any changes to the hilltop compound, holy to Jews and Muslims, stoke tensions. The Western Wall is the holiest place where Jews can pray. The director of the mosque compound, Omar Kiswani, said Sunday: "We will never accept it.

  • Kindred-spirit QBs Favre, Stabler voted into Hall of Fame

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The first NFL game Brett Favre ever attended, as a teenager growing up in Mississippi, was the final home game of Ken "The Snake" Stabler's career. Favre, a New Orleans Saints fan, traveled the hour-or-so drive from home to the Superdome on that Sunday in 1984 with his father, older brother and uncle — and it was a thrill to watch a guy who electrified a stadium the way Favre himself would one day. "All of a sudden, the crowd goes crazy, and it's because Ken Stabler poked his head out of the locker room. He had hair like mine. His was just a lot longer, kind of aged and gray," recounted Favre, wearing an all-black outfit and sporting a full white beard. "And I thought: Man, that's cool. ... It's got t

  • Backstage with Flea on Super Bowl, Bernie Sanders

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It's been a busy weekend mixed with football and politics for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and bassist Flea wouldn't have it any other way. "I'm always ready to play my heart out," Flea told The Associated Press backstage on Saturday night before the band took the stage at a San Francisco venue as part of the Super Bowl weekend festivities. "I'm coming here, and I'm going to rock like a feral beast. Then I'm going to leave and go home," said Flea, whose offstage name is Michael Peter Balzary. The show was part of the Direct TV SuperSaturday concert series. Run DMC opened for them at the Pier 70 stage, and then Snoop Dogg played DJ in between. Later, the rapper came out at the end of the Red Hot Chil

  • AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EST

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    Rubio under fire in GOP debate after rise in polls MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Marco Rubio, a first-term senator on the rise in the presidential race, faced a barrage of attacks in Saturday night's Republican debate, with rivals vigorously challenging his readiness to be president and the depth of his expertise as they sought to salvage their own White House hopes. Sen. Ted Cruz, fresh off his victory in the Iowa caucuses, also came under withering criticism for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having "Washington ethics" and being willing to test the campaign's legal limits. The focus on the two senators allowed GOP front-runner Donald Trump to go largely untouched in his return to t

  • Extremists free Australian woman kidnapped in Burkina Faso

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Islamic extremists have freed an Australian woman kidnapped last month in northern Burkina Faso, although her husband remains in captivity despite pleas from the family and efforts by officials to secure his release. Jocelyn Elliott and her husband — surgeon Ken Elliott — were kidnapped on Jan. 15 near the Burkina Faso town of Djibo, where they have run a medical clinic for four decades. Al-Qaida's North Africa wing claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, though the group said in an audio recording Friday that it would release Jocelyn Elliott so as "not to make women involved in the war." Both Elliotts are in their 80s.

  • NU State Museum offering free Thursday night admission

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska State Museum is offering free Thursday night admissions in February. Admission to Morrill Hall will be free between 4:30 and 8 p.m. on Feb. 11, 18 and 25. The museum is also hosting a series of science related events throughout the month where admission will be charged. The University of Nebraska State Museum is the state's premier museum of natural history. The museum is focused on natural science and the state's natural and cultural heritage.

  • Evolution of public health will be focus of event

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The evolution of public health policy will be the subject of the next Omaha Science Cafe. Barbara Hewins-Maroney is an associated professor of urban studies and urban administration. She will talk about how public health policy is changing. The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Science Cafes are free educational events sponsored by the university to increase people's science literacy. They are open to everyone 21 and older. Go to www.unmc.edu/sciencecafe for more information about Science Cafes.

  • Inarritu wins top DGA prize, further obscuring awards season

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — An unclear season got a little foggier on Saturday with Alejandro Inarritu's Directors Guild win for his harrowing frontier epic "The Revenant." With only weeks to go before the Academy Awards on Feb. 28, the race is still as wide open as ever. Even the guilds are divided in their top awards. "Spotlight," the drama detailing the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sex abuses in the Catholic Church, won the Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble, while the financial crisis dramedy "The Big Short" picked up the Producers Guild Award. The DGA win for "The Revenant" is not insignificant. Inarritu won last year for the showbiz sendup "Birdman," which went on to win the best picture and best director

  • Debate Takeaways: Rubio shaken, Trump not stirred

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — There have been no higher stakes on a Republican debate stage in the 2016 campaign for president than there were Saturday night. Seven GOP Republican hopefuls faced off just three days before a make-or-break New Hampshire primary that some of them are not likely to survive. Coming off a strong Iowa finish, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tripped up early under attack from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are jockeying for the same Republican voters. At the same time, the candidates on the still-crowded stage seemed unwilling to mix it up with Donald Trump, the national front-runner for months who needs a win in New Hampshire on Tuesday to avoid starting the 2016 rac




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