• Deadly 1924 Christmas Eve fire in Oklahoma brought reform

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    A 1924 Christmas Eve fire in the rural Oklahoma hamlet of Babbs Switch killed 36 people, many of them children, and helped spark safety reforms. The fire during a Christmas program is considered among the most devastating fires in Oklahoma’s history.

  • Protesters in Mexico slam German weapons supplier

    Updated: 34 min ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Protesters in Mexico claim that German arms manufacturers exported rifles to a corrupt local police department implicated in the disappearance of 43 students. About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the German embassy in Mexico City on Thursday to denounce what they said is the use of German-made G36 assault rifles by police in southern Guerrero state. The police are accused of detaining the students and turning them over to a drug gang, which apparently killed them. Protest leader Felipe de la Cruz said Germany should prevent such sales.

  • Man in a kayak helps nab suspected mail thief

    Updated: 40 min ago

    SAMMAMISH, Wash. (AP) — A fast-paddling good Samaritan in a kayak helped sheriff's deputies in Washington state nab a suspected Christmas mail thief. Q13 reports (http://is.gd/XNy7tv ) deputies received multiple calls on Wednesday morning that a man and a woman were going through mailboxes around the town of Sammamish (suh-MAM'-ish). While deputies were on their way, residents spotted a car filled with mail and used their cars to block it in. The suspected mail thieves ran off, and one was caught immediately. The other fled into a nearby pond with a kayak he grabbed out of a yard. A resident grabbed his own kayak, caught up to the suspect and convinced him to return to shore, where he was arrested.

  • Bitcoin Preview Capsule

    Updated: 58 min ago

    Central Florida (9-3, 7-1 American) vs. North Carolina State (7-5, 3-5 ACC), 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) Line: UCF by 2. Series Record: Tied 1-1. WHAT'S AT STAKE UCF has chance to finish with at least 10 wins for the fourth time in five seasons. The Knights, co-champions of the American Athletic Conference, played in a BCS bowl for the first time a year ago, beating Baylor in the Fiesta. North Carolina State went 3-9, including 0-8 in the ACC, in its first season under coach Dave Doeren in 2013. Wolfpack won three of past four to become bowl eligible, and beating UCF would represent another step forward under their second-year coach.

  • Paws by Claus: Santa delivers for animal shelter

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    MADISON, N.J. (AP) — Santa Claus is going to work for an animal shelter in northern New Jersey. NJ.com reports (http://bit.ly/1zkOeii) that Santa Claus is delivering dogs and cats as Christmas presents Thursday for the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison. Shelter staffer Melissa Morgan donned the costume to deliver the animals adopted this week by parents to doubly surprised children in the area. Shelter CEO Heather Camissa says that this is a time of "great warmth and family bonding" and "why not add this extra bit of special?" The animal shelter says it only permits adoptions after one-on-one counseling with families to make sure they understand the responsibilities and can offer a safe environment.

  • Hundreds of theaters begin screening 'The Interview'

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Critics and early viewers agree that "The Interview" is less than a masterpiece. But thanks to threats from hackers that nearly derailed its release, it has become an event. Hundreds of theaters Thursday, from The Edge 8 in Greenville, Alabama, to Michael Moore's Bijou by the Bay in Traverse, Michigan, made special holiday arrangements for the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Sony Pictures had initially called off the release after major theater chains dropped the movie that was to have opened on as many as 3,000 screens. But with President Obama among others criticizing the decision, Sony officials changed their minds.

  • Snow-capped summits give Hawaii a white Christmas

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — A rare blizzard that dusted two island mountaintops gave tourists and residents in Hawaii a white Christmas. The blizzard has eased, but strong winds are blowing the snow around on two Big Island summits. While snow on the mountains is common, a blizzard is unusual. The National Weather Service canceled a blizzard warning Thursday morning for the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Weather service meteorologist Norman Hui says the mountains will remain snow-capped for a day or two before the powder melts. Hui says a high wind warning for the summits will likely be canceled later Thursday.

  • Groups contest use of helicopters to manage sheep

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Helicopters could be landing more frequently in central Arizona wilderness areas if a plan to manage bighorn sheep survives a challenge by conservationists. The Tonto National Forest has proposed allowing wildlife officials up to 450 landings in a handful of wilderness areas over 10 years. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish says it's an effective way to monitor and capture sheep in remote, rugged terrain. The Wilderness Act prohibits helicopter landings and motorized travel in wilderness areas, but exceptions can be made. Conservation groups including the Sierra Club and Friends of Wild Animals say this should not be one of them.

  • Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — Goats are known to eat just about anything, but it didn't dawn on Vince Thomas until recently that the menu might include Christmas trees. "They'll eat the pine needles and leave the skeleton of the tree," said Thomas, a longtime volunteer firefighter who has come up with a new use for his family-owned goat herding business, "Goat Grazers." "It basically looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas with a scrawny tree that has nothing but the branches," he told the Reno Gazette-Journal (http://tinyurl.com/kctx67s). Thomas is launching a new program with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District on Friday to use his 40 goats to help recycle Christmas trees.

  • Potential Revel casino buyer wants discount

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Florida developer in line to purchase the former Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City says in court filings that the auction for the property wasn't run fairly and he wants an $8 million discount. Lawyers for Glenn Straub said in a court filing Wednesday that the property should be sold for $87 million, not the $95.4 million runner-up bid his Polo North Country Club put in at auction. Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management won the auction for $110 million but backed out of the deal when it couldn't resolve a dispute over debt from the casino's costly power plant. A judge is scheduled to consider Revel's request to sell the casino to Straub on Jan. 5.

  • Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police say a 40-year-old man died after a border inspector shot him with a stun gun at the nation's busiest crossing. Police said Thursday that the man jumped over a counter and attacked an inspector after being escorted to a separate area for questioning at the San Ysidro port of entry between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, and. A records check revealed he was wanted on a felony charge. Police say the man attacked as authorities tried to take him into custody Wednesday night. He was attempting to enter the U.S. on foot. Four Customs and Border Protection officers suffered moderate injuries and were hospitalized. Authorities attempted CPR on the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospit

  • Police respond to Midwest City, Oklahoma hit and run involving pedestrian

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Thu, Dec 25, 2014

    Police responded to an accident involving a pedestrian. The driver of a vehicle left the scene.

  • Bear loose in suburban Phoenix is finally wrangled

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona wildlife managers say they believe the black bear that was spotted twice this week in a Phoenix suburb but eluded capture finally has been caught. The bear was captured Christmas morning in the backyard of an empty home in eastern Mesa. Authorities spotted the animal around 5 a.m. and followed it to a neighborhood. Mesa police set up a perimeter, and a wildlife officer shot it with a tranquilizer dart. "It climbed a 6-foot block wall fence and then promptly went to sleep, and we were able to capture it safely. It was a great, happy ending to the story," Arizona Game and Fish Department spokeswoman Amy Burnett told KSAZ-TV (http://bit.ly/1EjYxuV ).

  • Thousands pour into Cox Convention Center for Red Andrews Christmas dinner

    By Robert Medley, Staff Writer | Updated: 3 hr ago

    A large donation of toys just before Christmas ended any worries there would not be enough to go around for children at the Red Andrews Christmas dinner Thursday. More than 8,000 people were expected by the end of the day.

  • Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ATLANTA (AP) — Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of movie release. "The Interview" stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Its Christmas Day release was canceled by Sony after threats of violence by hackers linked to North Korea. But after an outcry, the release was reinstated in some independent theaters and now, through a few online video services.

  • Israeli man, daughter wounded in West Bank attack

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military says a young Israeli girl and her father were wounded in the West Bank when a firebomb was thrown at their car on a road near Palestinian villages. It said the 11-year-old girl sustained severe burns and her father was lightly wounded when the car was engulfed in flames Thursday evening. Searches are underway in the Palestinian villages to find the attacker, it said. On Sunday, a four-year-old Israeli boy was wounded by Palestinians hurling stones at cars in the West Bank. Earlier this month a Palestinian splashed acid on a family with four girls, also in the West Bank. Palestinians demand the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, as part of their future state

  • 'Sons of Liberty' tells tale of America's founders

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Don't let the powdered wigs and oil paintings fool you: Samuel Adams, John Hancock and the other eventual Americans who changed the course of history were a ragtag band of secretive and sometimes mischievous young radicals. Just ask Paul Revere, aka actor Michael Raymond-James, who's part of the cast of "Sons of Liberty," a new miniseries premiering in January on the History Channel. There was more to Revere than his famous ride of April 18, 1775, to warn the colonists the British were coming. "He was so much more involved than that.

  • Saudi to dig into reserves for 2015 budget

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's Cabinet on Thursday endorsed a 2015 budget that projects a slight increase in spending and a significant drop in revenues due to sliding oil prices, resulting in a nearly $39 billion deficit. In a sign of mounting financial pressure, the Finance Ministry said the government would try to cut back on salaries, wages and allowances, which "contribute to about 50 percent of total budgeted expenditures." That could stir resentment among the kingdom's youth, who make up a majority of the population and are increasingly struggling to find affordable housing and salaries that cover their cost of living. The price of oil— the backbone of Saudi Arabia's economy — has fallen by about a ha

  • Iraq seeks Turkish support in fight against IS

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Iraq and Turkey on Thursday discussed cooperation in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State group, including an Iraqi request for intelligence sharing and the possible delivery of Turkish arms to Iraqi forces, Iraq's prime minister said.   Haider al-Abadi told reporters during a visit to the Turkish capital that he had provided "lists" of things Iraq was requesting from Turkey that included military cooperation, training and delivering weapons to fighters. "(Islamic State group) is not only a threat to Iraq and Turkey, but is it a threat to the whole region. Therefore, there is a need for cooperation. That's what we expect of Turkey," al-Abadi said.

  • Father of pilot captured by IS pleads for release

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The father of a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria pleaded for his son's release on Thursday, asking him to treat him well in captivity as a fellow Muslim. So far, there has been silence from the extremists about the fate of their captive, 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, since gunmen from the group dragged him away following his crash Wednesday morning. Al-Kaseasbeh was carrying out air strikes against the militants when his warplane crashed near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital. The group has executed captured Iraqi and Syrian Muslim soldiers in the past — it follows an extremist version of Islam that considers rivals, even some Sunn

  • Lawmakers promise to help strapped oil-patch towns

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Relief could be on the horizon for strapped public services in the Northern Plains' booming oil patch, as elected leaders in Montana and North Dakota move to steer more money into the region during the states' upcoming legislative sessions. Tens of thousands of workers have been drawn to the region's shale oil boom in recent years. Their arrival has brought increased demands for services ranging from roads and sewage treatment to affordable housing. Prior efforts to put more money toward those needs came up short or got delayed by political disagreement. Political leaders on both sides of the Montana-North Dakota border said they are optimistic more can be done in 2015. Lawmakers from the states