• 2 killed, 3 hurt in Oklahoma oil rig explosion

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    COALGATE, Okla. (AP) — An explosion and fire at a southeastern Oklahoma oil rig early Friday killed two workers and injured three others, two of them critically. The explosion occurred around 1 a.m. on the deck of a rig about 2 miles west of Coalgate, a community about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, said Sam Schafnitt, chief of operations for the state Fire Marshal's Office. Schafnitt said the fire had been extinguished and that investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were helping investigate the cause of the explosion. "We're just trying to put the puzzle pieces on the table and (are) looking at them," he said.

  • Brazil to study legalization of medical marijuana

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil will soon look into the possibility of legalizing the use of a marijuana derivative to treat people suffering from severe seizures. ANVISA, the country's Health Surveillance Agency says in a statement posted on its website that the "reclassification" of marijuana derivative cannabidiol, which is banned in Brazil, will be discussed starting next month. The statement came Friday, one day after some 40 people protested in Brasilia to demand the legalization of cannabidiol. Some people resort to a clandestine network of illegal marijuana growers in Rio de Janeiro state that extract cannabidiol and donate it.

  • Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's conclusion that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator. The 77-page report from the Government Accountability Office says the FBI's research, including novel microbial forensic tests, did not provide a full understanding of how bacteria change in their natural environment and in a laboratory. This failure to grasp the reason for genetic mutations that were used to differentiate between samples of anthrax bacteria was a "key scientific gap" in the investigation, the report says.

  • LA airport OKs $4B link from terminals to trains

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leaders at the Los Angeles International Airport have formally given the go-ahead to a $4 billion plan to build an "automated people mover" that would connect terminals to the region's rail system. The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to approve the project, which would take people around the nation's third-busiest airport, and to and from a new rental car center and to-be-built Metro light rail station about 1.5 miles away. Next up will be an environmental review, set to begin in January. Construction is targeted to begin early in 2017. The goal is to connect LAX to the region's growing light rail and subway network before 2024.

  • Sheriff: Beheading photo sent to New York lawmaker

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) — A suburban New York sheriff says he has contacted federal authorities to investigate a threatening photo of a beheading sent to an Orthodox Jewish lawmaker. Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco says county legislator Aron Wieder received a crudely altered photo showing Wieder's head on top of the body of a victim of a recent beheading by Islamic State extremists. The photo is labeled with some Arabic writing and Wieder's name. Wieder says he opened the envelope Monday during a legislative session in New City and took it directly to Falco. The envelope had a return address in Monsey, New York. Falco says the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI, is investigating.

  • US stocks edge higher after a big two-day rally

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are edging higher as the market comes off a massive two-day rally. The market closed out its second-best week of the year Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,070. It rose 3.4 percent for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 17,804. The Nasdaq composite added 17 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,765. CarMax jumped 11 percent after the used car dealership chain reported a surge in earnings. Nike fell 2 percent after reporting a drop in orders from Japan and developing markets in Asia. Crude oil surged $2.36 to $56.52 a barrel in New York. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasur

  • Jerry Sandusky is denied $4,900-a-month pension

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has lost a legal battle to restore his $4,900-a-month pension, a benefit that was canceled two years ago after he was sentenced for child molestation. The State Employees' Retirement Board's 122-page opinion, made public Friday, determined Sandusky remained a Penn State employee after his announced retirement in 1999, meaning his abuse of children fell under a 2004 state law that added sexual offenses against students to the crimes that trigger forfeiture. Sandusky attorney Chuck Benjamin said he planned to file a challenge to the decision in court. "All I can say at this point is we're looking forward to litigating the revocation of the

  • EPA sets first national standard for coal waste

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday set the first national standards for waste generated from coal burned for electricity, treating it more like household garbage rather than a hazardous material. Environmentalists had pushed for the hazardous classification, citing the hundreds of cases nationwide in which coal ash waste had tainted waterways or underground aquifers, in many cases legally. A hazardous classification would have put the federal government in charge of enforcement, which has been uneven across states that have varying degrees of regulation. The coal industry wanted the less stringent classification, arguing that coal ash wasn't dangerous, and that a hazardous label would hinder recycling. Abo

  • PETA wins suit for names of UConn researchers

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A judge has ordered the University of Connecticut Health Center to disclose the names of researchers who were found to have violated federal guidelines for treating animals, granting an appeal from an animal advocacy group. The order Thursday by Superior Court Judge Carl Schuman reverses a ruling by Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission. Names of the researchers had been redacted from documents the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received in response to an October 2012 FOI request. The group sought correspondence between the health center and the National Institutes of Health "regarding animal welfare problems and potential noncompliance with federal animal welfare guidelines.

  • Hackers warn not to release 'The Interview' in any form

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hackers sent a new email Friday to Sony Pictures Entertainment, gloating over the studio's "wise" decision to cancel the release of "The Interview" and warning not to distribute the film "in any form." The email was confirmed by a person close to the studio who requested anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter. It was sent to several employees of the Culver City, California, company that's been roiled by a hacking group calling itself Guardians of Peace. "Very wise to cancel 'the interview' it will be very useful for you," read the message. "We ensure the purity of your data and as long as you make no more trouble.

  • Sponsors pay big bucks to join college bowl games

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ready! Set! Hut, hut: This holiday season's blitz of college football bowl games will feature a reshuffled roster of corporate sponsors spending millions to thrust their names in front of fans watching on TV and in the stands. The bowls haven't disclosed their asking prices, but sports marketing experts contacted by The Associated Press estimated the annual cost for the top-tier games ranges from $25 million to more than $30 million. That's up from $16 million to $20 million previously. The substantial price increase probably prompted sponsors to reassess the value of the bowl affiliations, says Kevin Adler, chief engagement officer for sports marketing specialist Engage Marketing in Chicago.

  • Court finds Texas 'stand your ground' trial unfair

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas appeals court has ruled that a man convicted of murder after jurors rejected his "stand your ground" self-defense claim didn't get a fair trial and deserves a new one. Raul Rodriguez, 49, has been serving a 40-year prison term for the May 2010 slaying of a 36-year-old man during an argument over loud music in a rural Harris County neighborhood northeast of Houston. The 1st Texas Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the instructions given to the jury in Rodriguez's 2012 trial, before deliberations, were too confusing. The function of the jury charge "is not merely to avoid misleading but to lead and prevent confusion," a three-judge panel of the court said in a 39-page ruling.

  • German Amazon strikes to last until Christmas Eve

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — A German labor union says striking workers at four Amazon.com distribution centers in Germany will remain off the job until Christmas Eve. The ver.di union said Friday the strikes at Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben and Rheinberg will last until the afternoon of Christmas Eve on Dec. 24. Companies in Germany normally shut down for the holiday at that time and reopen on Dec. 27, or the next working day. The walkouts at four of Amazon's distribution centers in Germany are part of an effort by workers to push for higher pay. The union says Amazon workers receive lower wages than others in retail and mail-order jobs. Amazon says its distribution warehouses in Germany are logistics centers and employees earn rel

  • T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — T-Mobile US will pay at least $90 million, mostly in refunds, for billing customers for cellphone text services they didn't order, under a settlement with federal regulators. The Federal Trade Commission announced the agreement Friday with T-Mobile over billing for unauthorized charges, a practice known as "cramming." T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. cellphone company, is paying at least $67.5 million in refunds to affected customers plus $18 million in fines to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and $4.5 million in fines to the Federal Communications Commission. The FTC sued T-Mobile in July, accusing it of billing customers for subscriptions to text services like $9.

  • Cops: Woman killed boy, falsely reported abduction

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    BERNE, N.Y. (AP) — A 19-year old New York woman is accused of killing a 5-year-old cousin in her care and then calling in a false report that two masked intruders took the boy from their Albany-area home. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says Tiffany VanAlstyne is being arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Kenneth White. He says VanAlstyne strangled the boy and tossed his body "like a piece of trash" into a culvert across the street sometime before making the bogus 911 call Thursday afternoon in the town of Berne. VanAlstyne's parents have been the legal guardians of Kenneth, his twin sister and a 4-year-old sister since September. Apple declined to comment on a motive. It wasn't immedia

  • Flu season, early again, hitting hard in South and Midwest

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say the flu is now hitting hard in parts of the country, especially the South and Midwest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported cases were widespread in 29 states last week. If the trend continues, it could bring another early peak to the flu season as happened in the last two winters. Experts worry this will be a bad season because the dominant strain — seen in roughly two-thirds of recent tests — is a nasty bug not covered in this year's vaccine. But officials have not seen an unusually high number of hospitalizations or deaths so far. Flu season traditionally peaks around February. But in the last two winters, flu peaked by early January. ___<

  • Oil's slide shakes up the junk-bond market

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil's slump didn't just hit the stock market, it's shaken up the junk-bond market, too. High-yield bonds are on track for their worst drop in a year and a half after investors dumped risky securities issued by energy companies. Those bonds make up about 13 percent of the category. The Barclays U.S. high-yield corporate bond index, a benchmark for the securities, has dropped 2.5 percent this month, after a 1.4 percent drop in November. If the index were to end December at that level, it would mark the biggest two-month slump since June 2013. By comparison, a broader Barclays index tracking the entire bond market, which includes corporate bonds with better credit ratings and Treasurys, is largely unchang

  • Austin software company BidPrime set for growth

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    An Austin software company has big growth plans for 2015. BidPrime, which helps businesses find government bids and contracts, has moved into new offices off South Interstate 35 in southeast Austin and plans to potentially double its staff of 14 next year, company officials say. The company’s software allows users to find government bids and contracts from over 90,000 government agencies, including U.S. federal, state, cities, counties, and schools. Its process is automated, “scraping” such data from a variety of websites, said co-founder and operations officer Stephen Hetzel. “It is fairly unique. I know that nobody else has caught up to us yet,” Hetzel said. “We still have the edge, really, with spee

  • Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan hanged two convicted militants Friday in the country's first executions in years, while warplanes and ground forces pounded insurgent hideouts in a northwest region bordering Afghanistan — part of a stepped-up response to the Taliban slaughter of scores of schoolchildren. Unchastened by criticism from all corners of the globe, the Taliban threatened earlier Friday to kill more children if executions were carried out as promised. "We can create a mourning situation at the homes of many army generals and politicians," spokesman Mohammad Khurassani said in a statement emailed to reporters. A key question now is whether attacking children will undermine the sympathy many Pakistanis have for the

  • Judge says pet bobcat Rocky must live at the zoo

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A pet bobcat that has escaped from its owner's home multiple times since April will be made to live at a zoo, a judge ruled Friday, and its owner will be fined for letting it run free. Rocky the bobcat has been the subject of an ongoing legal fight between owner Ginny Fine and town officials because of the repeated escapes. A judge in Stafford Township fined Fine $500 and ordered her to pay $560 in restitution to the zoo, where the bobcat has been since it last escaped in October. "This should be an end to the tortured history of this case," Municipal Judge Damian Murray said. "Some things are not meant to be. Rocky living in your household is one of them.