Top Stories

  • 4 French journalists abducted in Syria freed, safe

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Ten months after their capture in Syria, four French journalists crossed the border into neighboring Turkey and reached freedom Saturday, though dozens more remain held in the country's chaotic civil war. Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres — all said to be in good health — were freed over the weekend in unclear circumstances in what has become the world's most dangerous, and deadliest, conflict for journalists. "We are very happy to be free ... and it's very nice to see the sky, to be able to walk, to be able to ... speak freely," said Francois, a noted war correspondent for Europe 1 radio, in footage recorded by the private Turkish news agency DHA. Smiling broadly, he thanked T

  • Calif. customers hit with expensive Del Taco bill

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) — What was supposed to be a cheap bite at Del Taco turned out to be small fortune for some Southern California customers. About 150 people who ate this week at the Mexican-style fast food chain in Santa Paula, northwest of Los Angeles, were mistakenly charged thousands of dollars for burritos, tacos and soft drinks. Del Taco spokesman Brian Devenny tells the Ventura County Star ( ) the glitch affected ATM and credit-card transactions at one restaurant. Devenny says all charges will be refunded. Customer Michael Cole says he was surprised when he was charged $4,050 for one CrunchTada Pizza and two beef tacos. He noticed the problem Friday when he tried to withdraw $20 from

  • Deadline lapses in Peru for illegal gold miners

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000 illegal gold miners in Peru. They had until Saturday to legalize their status in a region where fortune-seekers have ravaged rainforests and contaminated rivers. Now the government's vow to enforce a ban on illegal mining is raising fears of bloody confrontations. The miners already have been clashing with police while intermittently blocking traffic on a vital highway to protesting government attempts to squeeze them out by restricting shipments of the gasoline they use for their machinery. One miner has been killed and more than 50 wounded. Officials insist they're serious about combatting the multi-billion-dollar illegal mining trade that accounts for

  • Philanthropist buys Beverly Hills Courier

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The Beverly Hills Courier has been sold to Paula Kent Meehan, a philanthropist who founded a hair product empire. The deal was announced Friday by publisher Clifton Smith, who wrote that Meehan would be "an excellent steward" of the weekly, which bills itself as "The Newspaper of Record of the World of Beverly Hills." Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Marcia Hobbs was named publisher of the Courier. She previously was the associate publisher. Meehan helped found Redken, which makes hair and skin products, in 1960. A longtime Beverly Hills resident, the former actress donated millions to the restored Beverly Hills Post Office and the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing

  • Fiat and Chrysler to build 3 Jeep models in China

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    ROME (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler announced plans Saturday to build three new Jeep models in China for that market, the biggest for the vehicles outside the United States, as they attempt to boost sales in a country where they lag behind their competitors. The automakers said they will expand their joint venture with China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd., and increase the portfolio of Jeeps, which are currently imported to China. Production is expected to start in late 2015 in Guangzhou, the companies said in a statement, adding that they are considering a Jeep model "uniquely designed for China." Chrysler Group LLC spokesman Gualberto Ranieri declined to provide details on that model.

  • Ministry: 2 killed in apparent Bahrain car bombing

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Authorities in Bahrain say an apparent car bombing has killed two people and wounded one west of the capital, Manama. A statement Saturday from the Interior Ministry said the blast happened in Mughsha, a village along a highway west of the capital. It said investigators found traces of explosives in the car. Bahrain has been roiled by three years of unrest, with a Shiite-dominated opposition movement demanding greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy. The country is a small, Western-allied island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Separately, the ministry said a bomb thrown at security officials trying to stop a tire fire Saturday wounded thr

  • Asia seeks Obama's assurance in territorial spats

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama travels through Asia this coming week, he will confront a region that's warily watching the crisis in Ukraine through the prism of its own territorial tensions with China. Each of the four countries on Obama's itinerary — Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines — has disputes with China over islands and waters in the South and East China Seas. Their leaders will be weighing Obama's willingness to support them if those conflicts boil over. "What we can say after seeing what happened to Ukraine is that using force to change the status quo is not acceptable," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is in one of the fiercest disputes with China.

  • Governor: Closing Boston amid bomber hunt 'tough'

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Several days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Gov. Deval Patrick received a call in the pre-dawn hours from a top aide telling him that police officers outside the city had just engaged in a ferocious gun battle with the two men suspected of setting the bombs and that one was dead and the other had fled. Within hours, Patrick shut down the region's public transportation system and made an extraordinary request of more than 1 million greater Boston residents: Shelter in place. And for the better part of April 19, 2013, nearly everyone did. On what otherwise would be a normal weekday, people stayed home.

  • When NY court named for ex-judge, another bristles

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York courthouse is being named for a recently retired judge, but another jurist is saying, "Objection!" The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted Friday to name the county's courthouse after recently retired state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Mercure, The Post-Star of Glens Falls ( ) reported Saturday. But former Washington County Judge Philip Berke says that's "a slap in the face" to other longtime judges in the area, the newspaper said. "I'm pretty ticked off," Berke told the Board of Supervisors on Friday. "This has taken a lot out of me." Berke said he wasn't criticizing Mercure, but others also deserved recognition for their judicial career

  • DC convention center hosts Awesome Con

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Superheros are taking over the Washington Convention Center. The weekend-long comic book and sci-fi convention Awesome Con is at the convention center Saturday and Sunday. Comic book creators and celebrity guests will be at the convention center, which is hosting discussion panels, gaming tournaments, costume and trivia contests and activities. Earlier this week, the convention helped organize an attempt to break the world record for the most people dressed up as comic book characters. They fell short of the 1,530 record set in China in 2011. Just over 230 people showed up in full costume in front of the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool. Two-day tickets to Awesome Con cost $50. A one-day ticket is

  • Exhibit recreates Warhol's 1964 World's Fair mural

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Even for a 1964 New York World's Fair that celebrated "The World of Tomorrow," Andy Warhol may have been ahead of his time. His monumental piece commissioned specifically for the fair was deemed too edgy for the family friendly event. The mural, depicting mug shots of the New York Police Department's most-wanted criminals, was painted over just before opening day. Now, 50 years later, the work is the focus of a museum exhibition on the very fairgrounds where the pop-art provocateur was infamously censored. "13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair" runs April 27 to Sept. 7 at the Queens Museum. It includes never-before-shown archival materials, including the NYPD mug shot booklet. <

  • Man arrested over murder of ex-IRA leader

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    DUBLIN (AP) — Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man for questioning about the killing of a senior Irish Republican Army hard-liner. Police said Saturday the 26-year-old man was being questioned about the shooting of Tommy Crossan. Local residents say that gunmen escorted the 43-year-old Crossan to a fuel depot on Friday and shot him in the head and body at close range. Residents say a Catholic priest was called to give him the last rites. No group has claimed responsibility, but police and politicians accused Crossan's former group, the Continuity IRA, of following through on 2011 death threats against him.

  • Strong earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    SYDNEY (AP) — A powerful earthquake struck off the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The magnitude-7.5 earthquake was located 75 kilometers (47 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck late Saturday at a depth of 31 kilometers (19 miles). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but canceled it a short while later. Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the "Ring of Fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

  • Va. Beach mulls arena that could lure NBA, NHL

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Beach metropolitan area is one of the largest in the country without a major professional sports team, and numerous attempts to lure one here have repeatedly left sports fans in the area disappointed. The area's most recent flirtation with the NBA was rebuffed just last year after a deal to get the Sacramento Kings to relocate fell apart when plans to build them an arena and pay for their moving expenses didn't come to fruition, among other reasons. But rather than be jaded, hope springs eternal in Virginia's largest city that one day an NBA or NHL team will call the region home.

  • $14M awarded in suit linking contraceptive, stroke

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — A jury has awarded $14 million to a suburban Chicago woman who sued her doctor over a debilitating stroke she suffered after taking the birth control drug Yasmin. Lawyers for Mariola Zapalski, of Elmwood Park, say the stroke occurred 13 days after she began taking the drug, paralyzing her left side and causing permanent brain injury. Defendant Dr. Zbigniew (ZBEEG'-nyehf) Aniol declined to comment Saturday. Friday's verdict came after a two-week trial in Cook County Circuit Court. A $2.5 million settlement in the same matter was reached a month ago with Resurrection Medical Center. Drugmaker Bayer has also faced lawsuits from women claiming the contraceptive caused blood clots that led to serious h

  • Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election. "When you look at me as being moderate, that's being somebody who understands what the issues are (and) working to get action done in specifics on those issues," Hagan said in a recent interview, adding that she's been telling supporters about "the common-sense results that I've been able to put forward for North Carolina families." But Hagan believes that's what North Carolina voters elected her for in 2008 and prefer now as they decide whether to give her a secon

  • Oklahoma City Public Schools will spend $1 million to put carbon monoxide detectors in every building, classroom

    By Tim Willert, Staff Writer | Updated: 13 hr ago

    Oklahoma City Public Schools will spend $1 million to equip every building and classroom in the district with carbon monoxide detectors, officials said Friday.

  • NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The first out-of-this-world humanoid robot is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up at the International Space Station. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot won't be stuck on a pedestal and can go mobile. The robot's legs are packed aboard a SpaceX supply ship that launched Friday, more than a month late. The cargo arrives on Easter Sunday morning. It's the next big step in NASA's quest to develop robotic helpers for astronauts. With legs, the 8-foot Robonaut will be able to climb throughout the space station, performing mundane cleaning chores and fetching things for the human crew. Each leg has seven joints.

  • Range showdown draws armed supporters to Nevada

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A week after a tense standoff between gun-toting states' rights advocates and federal Bureau of Land Management police, self-described militia members are still protecting Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada calls the armed campers "domestic terrorists." He says a federal task force was being formed to deal with the unrest. Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller says those who Reid may call domestic terrorists, he calls patriots. The Bundy ranch is the latest skirmish in a dispute about whether states or the federal government should control public range lands in the West. Left unresolved is the government's claim that Bundy owes more th

  • Famous television host in Pakistan shot by gunmen

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Police in Pakistan say gunmen have shot a famous television talk show host amid a wave of attacks on journalists in the country. Police say Hamid Mir, a host on the private television broadcaster Geo, was wounded in the attack Saturday near Karachi's airport. Senior police officer Pir Mohammad Shah says a single gunman first opened fire on Mir's car, followed by others who chased him on motorcycles. Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat told Geo that Mir suffered three gunshot wounds to the stomach and the upper legs, but was expected to survive. Last year, authorities found a bomb under Mir's car. Pakistan is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists.