Top Stories


  • Defense says bombing suspect's family key to case

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Wednesday that understanding Tsarnaev's family is key to their case, offering a glimpse of the defense strategy as they prepare to defend him against charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty. Tsarnaev's lawyers have previously indicated that they are planning to argue that he was influenced by his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who authorities say was his co-conspirator. On Wednesday, the defense suggested that they will delve deeper into the dynamic of the Tsarnaev family, including the relationships the brothers had with their two sisters and their parents. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police s

  • Chelsea Clinton: I might run for office someday

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Chelsea Clinton says she's happy right now with her elected representatives — but might come for their jobs if that changes. Clinton, 34, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, told Fast Company that she has always denied any interest in running for office. "The answer was just a visceral no," she said. "Not because I had made any conscientious, deliberate decision, but since people had been asking for as long as literally I could remember, it was no." Besides, said Clinton, a Manhattan resident, "I live in a city and a state and a country where I support my elected representatives.

  • Detroit still needs $350M from state lawmakers

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    DETROIT (AP) — Pressure is building for Michigan lawmakers to commit $350 million to Detroit pensions after the bankrupt city reached tentative agreements with pension funds and a retiree group. The deals are tied to Detroit getting money from the state over 20 years, along with $466 million in private money, all to shore up pensions. Retired police and firefighters would see smaller cost-of-living payments. Other city retirees would see a 4.5 percent pension cut. The $816 million vanishes if retirees don't vote in favor in the weeks ahead. Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger says deals reached Tuesday are important. But he tells The Associated Press that persuading lawmakers to approve the money soon is difficult be

  • Knife found in enchilada at California airport

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — A woman is facing a possible fine after federal officials say they found a knife inside an enchilada in her bag during security screening at a Northern California airport. Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez says the 8 and a-half inch long blade was found Monday at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The passenger, who has not been identified, said she made the enchilada over the weekend, and didn't know how the knife got into the bag. She was questioned by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies, but then cleared to board her flight. Melendez says the TSA will review the case, and the passenger could be issued a fine for carrying a concealed weapon.

  • Officials gather in ND to discuss new EPA rules

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday signaled a potential legal challenge to proposed federal rules aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and oil refineries. "We cannot jump to a much higher standard for CO2 overnight," the Republican governor told representatives from more than 20 states and companies that own utilities and power plants. "It simply is not possible. It's not attainable, and we will fight that with every tool that we have available." The federal Environmental Protection Agency is crafting rules, part of a Climate Action Plan released by President Barack Obama last year, that would cap emissions at existing coal-fired power plants and set limits

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Budweiser Made in America music festival is coming to Los Angeles, but who is performing and how the city will manage the two-day concert are still mysteries. Jay Z and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a news conference Wednesday to announce the music festival, which is planned for Labor Day weekend and will be held simultaneously with one in Philadelphia. They did not announce the lineup of performers or address residents' concerns about the venue — a park in downtown Los Angeles that is crossed by several streets and partially surrounded by residential buildings. The Made in America festival could draw 50,000 concertgoers, Garcetti said.

  • Soybean prices rise on signs of strong demand

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    Soybean futures are higher as traders see more signs of strong demand for beans. Wheat futures are lower. The actively traded contract for soybeans delivered in July rose 21 cents to $15.09 a bushel Wednesday. Brandon Marshall, commodity trader with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis, said soybean processing plants are bidding higher prices for beans. That's a sign of robust demand for products they make including soybean meal, which is commonly used as animal feed in China. Wheat for July delivery fell 15 cents to $6.95 a bushel. Corn edged down 6 cents to $4.98 a bushel. Metals prices mostly rose. Gold for June delivery rose $3.20 to $1,303.50 an ounce. Crude oil was little changed at $103.76 a barrel. Oth

  • Alfa heads to US in June with sporty $54,000 4C

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — After a nearly 20-year absence, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. market. Alfa CEO Harald Wester said Wednesday the company plans to ship around 100 4C sports cars to the U.S. this June. Alfa expects to ship a total of 800 cars to the U.S. this year, including 500 limited edition 4C models. Wester expects 4C shipments will grow to 1,200 to 1,300 per year in 2015 and beyond. "It's just an appetizer," Wester said at the New York auto show, where the 4C is displayed next to its sister Italian luxury brand, Maserati. Wester is also the head of Maserati. Wester won't yet say which U.S. dealers will sell Alfas, or how customers can order them. Alfa's parent company, Italian automake

  • 2 charged in kidnapping of NC prosecutor's father

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The FBI is offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of two men suspected in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father. The FBI said Wednesday they are seeking Jakym Camel Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson, also known by the nickname "Kirkwood Quan." The agency says the two should be considered armed and dangerous. Authorities say six other people are accused in the kidnapping last week following a late-night raid by the FBI on an Atlanta apartment. Rescued was Frank Arthur Janssen, a Wake Forest man whose daughter is an assistant district attorney in Wake County.

  • Bloomberg plans $50M gun control network

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million this year on a new group that will mix campaign contributions with field operations aimed at pulling 1 million gun-control supporters to the polls, he announced Wednesday, adding a new dimension to his long-running fight for tighter firearms regulation. The new organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, plans to mobilize voters to back candidates and ballot measures supporting such causes as enhancing background checks for gun buyers, according to a news release. The group also plans to issue candidate questionnaires and scorecards and form a political action committee.

  • Victims in Texas blast choose closure over answers

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WEST, Texas (AP) — Families of the 15 people killed in a massive explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant have spent the year since the blast navigating the difficult balance between moving forward and digging for answers from the past. Many of them filed lawsuits seeking answers after a fire at West Fertilizer Company caused a blast so powerful that it leveled nearby schools and homes, left a wide crater at the plant site, and scattered debris miles away. Key questions about the April 17, 2013, blast remain unanswered, including what sparked the fire and what firefighters knew about the chemicals inside the plant.

  • Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided. Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as "modest or moderate." Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth. In March and early April, consumers took advantage of better weather to go shopping. Manufacturing expanded across most of the country. Ports and highways were busier. Across most of the country, home prices rose modestly and homebuilding picked up. Tourism was "generally positive." In several districts, ski

  • Ex-California city leader gets 12 years in prison

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former city manager of Bell was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $8.8 million in a corruption scheme that nearly bankrupted the small, blue-collar city. Robert Rizzo apologized during sentencing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, telling Judge Kathleen Kennedy he breached the public's confidence. "It is a good thing to hear that he is sorry, and I'll take him at his word that he is sorry," Kennedy said before addressing Rizzo directly. "But it doesn't change the fact that, Mr. Rizzo, you did some very, very bad things for a very long time.

  • Toyota Camry gets a top-to-bottom makeover

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Shaken by the advances of newer, sportier rivals, the Toyota Camry is trying to shed its vanilla reputation. The redesigned 2015 Camry, unveiled Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, is longer and wider, with a large, aggressive grille and chiseled sides. Toyota says it changed every exterior piece but the roof. The Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the last 12 years, supported by loyal buyers wedded to a dependable family car. But Toyota acknowledges that tastes have changed, and buyers of midsize cars want more style, comfort and performance to go with the reliability. U.S. Toyota division chief Bill Fay said the company started redesigning the Camry almost immediately

  • Disney Channel's 'Jessie' breaks romantic ground

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The title character of "Jessie" heads in an unprecedented direction for a Disney Channel series: toward the altar. In a four-episode arc that will conclude the season this fall, 22-year-old Jessie Prescott dives into a whirlwind romance and accepts her boyfriend's proposal of marriage. It's the first time a lead character on the children's TV channel has become engaged, said Adam Bonnett, Disney Channel executive vice president of original programming. "Jessie is an adult, and we felt we could tackle this in a way that still feels appropriate for our audience," Bonnett said. The Disney Channel focuses on children ages 6 to 11, with "Jessie" also attracting 9-to-14-year-old "tween" viewers among its

  • Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Some workers won't benefit even if a long-shot Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage becomes law. That's because more than a dozen categories of jobs are exempt from the hourly minimum, currently $7.25. Those exclusions run from some workers with disabilities to crews on fishing ships to casual baby sitters. Legislation sponsored by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin would gradually raise the minimum to $10.10 by 2016. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the measure would boost earnings for 16.5 million workers — but also cost 500,000 others their jobs. And the bill doesn't eliminate exemptions from the required minimum.

  • New Mexico prisons to end overnight family visits

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Joining a growing trend nationally, New Mexico Department of Corrections announced Wednesday it is ending its 30-year-old policy of allowing inmates overnight visits with lovers and family. Beginning May 1, inmates in the state's 11 prisons will no longer be allowed conjugal visits, the agency announced. That change means New Mexico is the latest state to end what used to be a common practice in prisons across the country. Mississippi, for example, ended its conjugal visit policy earlier this year despite criticism from some civil rights groups, while only four other states — California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington — still allow the practice.

  • Ohio's new top utility regulator is sworn in

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) has sworn in a former state budget director and lawmaker as Ohio's top utility regulator. The Republican governor swore in Thomas Johnson as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday. Johnson, of suburban Columbus, replaces Todd Snitchler (SNIHCH'-lur), who decided not to seek reappointment when his term expired April 10. Johnson was appointed by Kasich and confirmed by the Ohio Senate. He spent 22 years in the Ohio House before becoming budget director for then-Gov. Bob Taft. Snitchler has joined the business department at McDonald Hopkins, where he'll counsel clients on issues of energy policy and strategy, government affairs and regulato

  • New Jersey panel could call Christie to testify

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey legislative committee investigating traffic jams orchestrated by Chris Christie's aides plans to start calling people who work for him to testify beginning next month — and it hasn't ruled out asking to hear from the governor himself. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who co-chairs the panel, would not specify who might be called, but he said no one has been excluded, including the governor. Wisniewski said it is "a possibility but not a certainty" that the governor would be asked to testify under oath. He said the investigation is not far enough along to decide whether Christie's testimony will be sought. The governor's office didn't return a message for comment.

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a toddler has been reunited with his mother after employees found him playing inside a claw crane machine at a Nebraska bowling alley. Lincoln police say a 24-year-old woman called 911 Monday afternoon because her 3-year-old son was missing from her apartment. Employees at the bowling alley across the street meanwhile called police to say a small boy was playing with stuffed animals inside the coin-operated machine. It was unclear how the boy ended up inside the claw crane machine. A representative from the vending machine company let him out and he was reunited with his mother a short time later. He was not hurt.