• Prominent rights lawyer released in China

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    BEIJING (AP) — A prominent human rights lawyer was released Saturday from six months in police custody in central China, according a Beijing-based social justice group. Chang Boyang has been campaigning for the rights of migrant workers, HIV patients and children poisoned in a 2008 tainted milk scandal. He was detained on May 27 in Zhengzhou on suspicion of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order. His detention was part of a string of prosecutions against artists, lawyers, scholars and journalists ahead of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary. He was officially arrested on suspicion of illegal business operations. The group Beijing Yirenping said Chang was released Saturday.

  • 15 arrested at demonstration in Ferguson

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Demonstrators temporarily shut down three large malls in suburban St. Louis on one of the busiest shopping days of the year and then marched in front of the Ferguson police department to protest a grand jury's recent decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown. Several stores lowered their security doors or locked entrances as at least 200 protesters sprawled onto the floor while chanting, "Stop shopping and join the movement," at the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights a few miles south of Ferguson, Missouri, where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was unarmed, in August.

  • A glance at national protests, cleanup in Ferguson

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Protesters turned out in several U.S. cities on one of the busiest shopping days of the year Friday in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Here's a look at the protests, which are turning their attention to disrupting commerce, and the latest in the case: ___ NATIONWIDE RALLIES Crowds of protesters prompted authorities to temporarily close three large shopping malls in suburban St. Louis, including the St. Louis Galleria, about 10 miles south of Ferguson, where at least 200 protesters sprawled onto the floor while chanting, "Stop shopping and join the movement.

  • Austin police: Man fired 100-plus rounds downtown

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A gunman fired more than 100 rounds at downtown buildings in Austin and tried to set the Mexican Consulate ablaze early Friday before he died during a confrontation with police, authorities said. Some of the targeted buildings are near the popular Sixth Street entertainment district, where bars close at 2 a.m., about the same time the shootings began. Thousands of people are typically on the street at that time, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said. "Many, many rounds were fired in downtown Austin," Acevedo said. "With all the people on the streets, we're very fortunate. I give thanks that no one but the suspect is injured or deceased." Investigators identified the shooter as 49-year-old Larry McQ

  • Taiwan local elections test pro-China ruling party

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's relations with historic foe China are playing a key role in local elections on the self-ruled island Saturday as the ruling Nationalist Party meets increased resistance to forging stronger ties with Beijing. Voters on the island with a population of about 23 million will elect representatives to 11,130 local seats, including mayoral posts in major cities such as the capital, Taipei. A poor showing for the Nationalists would make it easier for the rival Democratic Progressive Party to win the presidency in early 2016, an outcome expected to disrupt negotiations with China on trade and investment deals that have lifted Taiwan's half-trillion-dollar economy while raising Beijing's hopes for polit

  • Venezuela gets ballet commemorating Chavez's life

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CARACS, Venezuela (AP) — In life, Venezuela's exuberant leader Hugo Chavez often captivated supporters by bursting into song, even the occasional dance. Now that he's gone, supporters are turning to the musical arts to help immortalize him. A state-sponsored biographical ballet premieres on Saturday, with dozens of performers recounting Chavez's life, from humble roots, to failed coup, to international fame as leader of Venezuela's socialist revolution. The hour-long show, presented by Venezuela's National Dance Company, blends classic and contemporary choreography, and draws on a range of music including Venezuelan folk melodies, African rhythms and symphonic scores.

  • Rare optimism ahead of climate talks in Lima

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — Energized by new targets set by China and the United States, the world's top climate polluters, U.N. global warming talks resume Monday with unusual optimism despite evidence that human-generated climate change is already happening and bound to get worse. Negotiators from more than 190 countries will meet in the Peruvian capital for two weeks to work on drafts for a global climate deal that is supposed to be adopted next year in Paris. Getting all countries aboard will be a crucial test for the U.N. talks, which over two decades have failed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Pledges by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S.

  • When pigs fly? Not on this US Airways plane

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) — This was a pig that truly could not fly. The pig was ordered off a U.S. Airways plane at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on Wednesday after crewmembers determined the animal had become disruptive, Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman for U.S. Airways parent American Airlines, said Friday. The pig had been brought aboard the flight by a passenger as an emotional support animal, Masvidal said. She said both the pig and its owner left the aircraft before it took off. She had no other details and did not immediately know where the flight was headed. Jonathan Skolnik, a University of Massachusetts professor who was on the flight, said he initially thought the female passenger was carrying

  • Chicago police: 1 killed in shooting at Nordstrom

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say a man shot his girlfriend before fatally shooting himself in a Nordstrom in Chicago's River North neighborhood. News affairs spokesman Hector Alfaro says police received a call about a shooting on the second floor of the store at 8:30 p.m. He says the man was found dead upon on arrival. The woman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Alfaro says the woman was a seasonal employee. Their names and ages were not immediately available. Police say there was no threat to other customers or employees.

  • NY dinner puts wealthy and homeless at same tables

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Some well-off Manhattan residents paid $100 Friday for the honor of eating a candlelit holiday dinner with homeless people at a church, an intersection of two worlds that left one down-on-his luck man thinking the seemingly impossible. "What if a love connection happened tonight between the haves and the have-nots?" 44-year-old Craig James said before guests arrived. James, who has been homeless since losing a security job four years ago, also volunteers at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan, where the dinner occurred. The Rev. Edward Sunderland called the unusual mealtime gathering a "smashing success." He said he hopes it will become a nationwide trend. "When the food was passed we all became equa

  • Ray Rice wins appeal; NFL suspension vacated

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — An arbitrator Friday threw out Ray Rice's indefinite suspension by the NFL for hitting his then-fiancee and now wife in a hotel elevator, freeing him to play again. The NFL said Rice, a free agent, is "eligible to play upon signing a new contract." Whether any team will consider signing him is another matter. Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision in September to change Rice's original suspension from two games to indefinite was "arbitrary" and an "abuse of discretion." Jones was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice's two-game suspension after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching Janay became public.

  • Ebola scare boosts business for Alabama company

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Ebola scare has subsided in the United States, at least temporarily, but an Alabama manufacturer is still trying to catch up with a glut of orders for gear to protect against the disease. Located in north Alabama, the family-owned Kappler Inc. of Guntersville typically gets only a few orders annually for the type of suit needed by health workers who are in contact with Ebola patients. That changed once the disease showed up in Texas, Kappler vice president of marketing Dennis Sanders said. Quickly, orders were flooding in for thousands of the company's Provent 10,000 coverall. "It happened, literally, overnight," he said.

  • French president cheered in Ebola-stricken Guinea

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — French President Francois Hollande brought a message of hope to Guinea on Friday, where thousands of residents lined the roads while clapping, drumming and dancing to catch a glimpse of the first Western leader to visit a country hard hit by Ebola. Guinean President Alpha Conde greeted his French counterpart at the airport and said that if Hollande could visit the country, then anybody could. "There is hope," said Hollande, "The hope of those who have been cured. The hope that we can control this epidemic ... The very fact that hope exists." But the French leader also warned that isolation "in a health crisis can become an economic crisis which can set off a political crisis.

  • Protesters break windows in San Francisco shops

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters are marching through downtown San Francisco streets packed with Black Friday shoppers to protest a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri. KGO-TV is reporting some in the crowd are using hammers to smash the windows of stores in the city's touristy Union Square. KGO-TV reports the crowd marched Friday night through the heart of the city's shopping district and arrived at Union Square, where police stopped them from disrupting the lighting of a Christmas tree in the popular area. Earlier Friday, another group of protesters chained themselves to trains in Oakland and temporarily interrupted Bay Area Rapid Transit service from Oakland to San Francisco.

  • Gov. Nixon to call special session over funding

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that he will call a special session of the state General Assembly to provide funding for public safety efforts related to protests in the Ferguson area. A news release from the governor's office issued late Friday says that due to the increased presence of the State Highway Patrol and the Missouri National Guard in the region, the state's financial obligations for emergency duties are on track to exceed what is appropriated. The statement says that Nixon held a call with legislative leaders Friday night and that more details about the session will be announced in the coming days.

  • Police: Blasts at mosque in Nigeria kill 35 people

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    KANO, Nigeria (AP) — Multiple explosions tore through the central mosque in Nigeria's second-largest city on Friday, killing 35 people, police said. One hundred and fifty others sustained various degrees of injury in the blasts in the city of Kano, State Deputy Police Commissioner Sanusi Lemu said. Hundreds had gathered to listen to a sermon in a region terrorized by attacks from the militant group Boko Haram. Witnesses said heavy smoke could be seen billowing in the sky from a long distance away. Immediately after the blasts, hundreds of angry youth took to the streets in riots, throwing stones, brandishing sticks and shouting at security officials. The palace of the Emir of Kano is near the central mosque.

  • NY boys buried in snow pile heard rescuers calling

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Two boys trapped in a snow pile for about seven hours after a plow buried them could hear their worried family's cries but couldn't respond loudly enough to be heard, they said Friday. Police credited an air pocket with saving their lives. The two cousins, 11-year-old Elijah Martinez and 9-year-old Jason Rivera, were building a snow fort Wednesday night across the street from Elijah's apartment in Newburgh when a plow operator clearing a parking lot unknowingly pushed snow over them. Buried in about 5 feet of snow, they could barely move and couldn't breathe very well, so they could do nothing as they heard the anguished cries nearby. Jason lost his gloves. His hat flew off.

  • Black Friday gets a little less frenzied

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday seemed a little less crazy this year. There were squabbles here and there, and elbows got thrown, but the Friday morning crowds appeared smaller than usual and less frenzied, in part because many Americans took advantage of stores' earlier opening hours to do their shopping on Thanksgiving Day. That might be hard to stomach for people worried about commercial encroachment on Thanksgiving. But it is good news for bargain-hunters who hate crowds. Whether it's good news for retailers remains to be seen. Sales estimates for the start of the holiday shopping season will start trickling out later in the weekend. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Target reported brisk Thanksgiving crowds.

  • BLACK FRIDAY LIVE: Thinner crowds, protests, beer

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday shoppers are starting to look like procrastinators. The traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season didn't seem as frenzied as in past years after many die-hard shoppers swarmed stores the night before on Thanksgiving. Still, millions of Americans headed out in search of deals. In Colorado, the new retail marijuana industry joined in the discounting, as did a brewery in Milwaukee. The day wasn't all about deals, though. In some regions, shoppers ran into protesters who turned out after a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Elsewhere, protesters once again called on Wal-Mart to pay its workers $15 an ho

  • Mom: Missing Ohio player texted about concussions

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A missing Ohio State University football player told his mother in a text message the day he disappeared that concussions had his head messed up, according to a report filed with police. Kosta Karageorge, a 22-year-old senior defensive tackle from Columbus, was last seen at his apartment around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Team spokesman Jerry Emig confirmed that Karageorge missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, which his family says was uncharacteristic. Karageorge's parents filed a missing-person report Wednesday evening, listing him as white, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, bearded and bald. His mother, Susan Karageorge, told police he has had several concussions and a few spells of being extremely confused, acco