• 'Birdman'? 'Boyhood'? SAG Awards to offer Oscar preview

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    The 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards should offer a low-key preview to the Academy Awards and a chance for favorites to begin polishing up their acceptance speeches. The show kicks off Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The two-hour ceremony will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS. Vying for the evening's top honor, best ensemble, are: "Birdman," ''Boyhood," ''The Grand Budapest Hotel," ''The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything." Because actors make up the largest portion of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the SAG Awards are considered one of the most telling Oscar previews. Individually acting winners usually mirror each other exactly, or very nearly.

  • Opening statements next in murder trial of ex-Pat Hernandez

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Aaron Hernandez once seemed to be a man with a bright future. At age 23 he had a Super Bowl appearance under his belt and a $40 million contract as a star tight end with the New England Patriots. He and his fiancee had started a family, living in a mansion in the Boston suburbs with their 8-month-old daughter. This week, prosecutors will paint a different picture of Hernandez: they will portray him as a killer who orchestrated the shooting of semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was arrested days after Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near his North Attleborough mansion.

  • New Fisher-Price photo studio seeks ad, packaging diversity

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Fisher-Price has been using local kids on its packaging for years, eschewing "professional" models in favor of the babies and toddlers parents trundle in to the toy maker's headquarters in the quaint village of East Aurora, outside Buffalo. Now Fisher-Price has opened a second studio, in the city itself, to tap into Buffalo's more multi-cultural feel. Company officials say it's making it easier to better reflect the faces in the 150 countries where Fisher-Price toys are sold. Fisher-Price marketing executive Teresa Gonzalez Ruiz says the company has always featured an array of children but that internal marketers saw a need for even more diversity.

  • Travelers like plan for rail link to NY's LaGuardia Airport

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Some business travelers and others are applauding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to construct a 1.5 mile rail link from a transit hub in Queens to LaGuardia Airport. Salesman Tom Fiore says it has sometimes taken as long as two hours by cab from Manhattan to the airport eight miles away. He says a rail link would speed that trip considerably. Cuomo envisions spending $450 million on the rail link. That follows an announcement last year to spend $3.6 billion for a complete renovation of LaGuardia, which Vice President Joe Biden famously called a "third world" facility. The rail link project needs the approval of state lawmakers. Estimates are it could take five years to complete construction.

  • 'Birdman' wins Producers Guild's top trophy

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Birdman" received a welcome lift on its flight to the Oscars after winning the Producers Guild of America's highest film award Saturday night at a ceremony in Los Angeles. The win delivers needed momentum to Alejandro Inarritu's showbiz romp following its upset loss to "The Grand Budapest Hotel" in the Golden Globes' comedy category earlier this month. It's now neck and neck in the Oscar race with Richard Linklater's "Boyhood," which won in the Globes drama category. Many of the PGA's 6,700 members are also Oscar voters and for the past seven years, the guild's choices for its top trophy went on to win the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards.

  • Coal mining simulator coming to Southern Illinois

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Two Illinois colleges are planning to build a simulator that will allow coal miners to train how to react in emergencies without having to set foot in a mine. The simulator that Southeastern Illinois College and Illinois Eastern Community College plan to build will have features such as an imitation-smoke system and a control center where coordinators can monitor how the miners cope with disaster-like conditions, the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported (http://bit.ly/1C1GGY1 ). "The emphasis with (federal regulators— is for miners to understand what they're supposed to be doing in case of emergency, and this will allow them to set up the actual situation without being in harm's way," said Mik

  • Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales and other creatures that live in the water. The Navy wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys at least 12 nautical miles off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The devices, about 3 feet long and 6 inches in diameter, send out sonar signals underwater so air crews can train to detect submarines. "It sounds drastic in numbers, but it's really not drastic in its impact," said John Mosher, Northwest environmental manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Anti-submarine warfare is a critical missi

  • Santa Ana winds knock out power to thousands in California

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Power was being restored Sunday to tens of thousands of people who lost electricity in Southern California after fierce Santa Ana winds gusting as much as 89 mph toppled trees and power poles. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Saturday's outages affected more than 54,000 customers — mostly in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. Spokeswoman Terry Schneider said crews worked through the night to restore power, leaving only about 1,500 without power Sunday morning. The Santa Ana winds downed numerous trees and power poles across the region. The damage included a large billboard that blew down in Burbank, while a big tree fell into the kitchen of a house in Van Nuys.

  • 'Death-qualified' juror search slows marathon, theater cases

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — One prospective juror was brutally frank when asked whether he could consider a sentence of life in prison for the man accused of bombing the Boston Marathon. "I would sentence him to death," he said, then added: "I can't imagine any evidence that would change how I feel about what happened." Another prospective juror said he couldn't even consider the death penalty, telling the court, "I just can't kill another person." The two men are on opposite sides of the capital punishment debate, but both unlikely to make it on the jury for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: to be seated for a death penalty case a juror must be willing — but not eager — to hand down a sentence of either life or death.

  • Nebraska could require carbon monoxide detectors in homes

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An increase in carbon monoxide poisoning calls last year could prompt Nebraska lawmakers to require alarms in houses and apartments. A bill set for a legislative hearing this week would add Nebraska to a growing list of states that require the devices in addition to smoke alarms. The hearing comes after a year that saw the number of carbon monoxide calls to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center climb from 107 in 2013 to 167 last year, said Kathy Jacobitz, the group's managing director. No deaths were recorded. Most of the calls to the center, which operates a 24-hour statewide emergency telephone service, come in winter months, as people use furnaces and gas appliances to heat their homes, said Jaco

  • Vermont Student Assistance Corp. found energy efficient

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WINOOSKI, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Student Assistance Corp. says its Winooski headquarters building has once again earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star certification. VSAC's Mike Stuart says this is the fifth year the organization has received the award and the score of 87 means the building is in the top 14 percent of similar buildings in the program. Commercial buildings that earn Energy Star certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. VSAC is a public, nonprofit group that helps students obtain education loans, grants and scholarships.

  • Analysis: GOP calls for bipartisanship, says Obama defiant

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Winners by far in last fall's elections, Republicans now demand bipartisanship from President Barack Obama as their due and the voters' desire. They saw things far differently when the political fortunes were reversed six years ago. Then, with the president newly in office and the economy cratering, minority Republicans overwhelmingly opposed Obama's stimulus legislation and voted unanimously against the health care overhaul for which he had campaigned. "We can't buy prosperity with more and more government spending," Rep. John Boehner, then the Republican leader and now the speaker, said as Obama and Democrats pressed for both tax cuts and budget increases to revive an economy shedding jobs at an al

  • Balloon crew launches in bid to break 2 major records

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An international team has launched its helium-filled balloon from Japan in a bid to reach North America and break two major records en route. Pilots Troy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan, shortly before 6:30 a.m. Sunday Japan time. "Everything went just like a textbook," said Letitia Hill, social media director for the team's mission control in Albuquerque. Unfavorable weather changes scuttled two previous launch attempts more than a week ago. The pilots are looking to reach North America, an attempt that will put them on course to break a distance record of 5,208 miles.

  • TV talk show pioneer Franklin, who gave Pacino chance, dies

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Pioneering radio and TV host Joe Franklin, who gave breaks to the likes of Al Pacino and Bill Cosby on his variety show long before they became famous and who boasted he never missed a broadcast in decades, has died at age 88. He died Saturday of cancer, which he had had for a few years, longtime producer and friend Steven Garrin said. Franklin often is credited with developing the standard TV talk show format, sitting behind a desk while interviewing wanna-be celebrities, minor celebrities and the occasional bona fide celebrity. The host of "The Joe Franklin Show" started in TV in 1950. By the early 1990s, he often said, he had chatted with more than 300,000 guests, including Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minn

  • New tax penalty for not having health insurance subject only to the honor system this year

    By Paula Burkes, Business Writer | Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Additional forms are required only for taxpayers who bought insurance on the exchange last year and for those filing exemptions to the new law.

  • Taking Stock: Growing consumer debt makes auto stocks a poor investment

    Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Malcolm Berko: While broader consumer spending is showing signs of fatigue, auto sales are sizzling and setting records. But not for long.

  • Social Security Q&A: Will benefits be affected by unemployment payments?

    Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Social Security Q&A: Will benefits be affected by unemployment payments?

  • Book review: 'On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller' by Richard Norton Smith

    Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Book review: ‘On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller’ by Richard Norton Smith

  • Futures File: Cheaper commodities prices put money in consumers' pockets

    Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Walt and Alex Breitinger: Falling commodities prices, foreign currency values, and interest rates combined to make life less expensive for Americans this week.

  • Officials scramble after massive power outage hits Pakistan

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — A massive blackout struck Pakistan early Sunday, leaving as much as 80 percent of the country without electricity at its height as officials rushed to restore power. By mid-morning Sunday, officials said power had been restored to roughly half this country of 180 million people. A militant attack on a transmission tower in the southwestern Baluchistan province caused the blackout, said Zafaryab Khan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Water and Power. Khan said the attack caused a power surge that eventually affected about 80 percent of the country. Khan estimated that it would take another six to eight hours for the rest of the power to be restored to the system.