Top Stories


  • Deal signs bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ELLIJAY, Ga. (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia. A few hundred gun rights advocates gathered for Wednesday's bill signing in Ellijay with top officials including House Speaker David Ralston and bill sponsor Rep. Rick Jasperse. The bill makes several changes to state law. It allows those with a license to carry to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don't have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it's OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship.

  • Business vows not to be caught napping again on Ex-Im debate

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    (c) 2014, Bloomberg News. WASHINGTON — Big business was blindsided by the tea party two years ago and almost lost a fight to keep the U.S. Export-Import Bank alive. Supporters are vowing not to let that happen this year, though they face many of the same opponents — including a congressman who now runs the committee considering the matter. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Aerospace Industries Association and Nuclear Energy Institute are stepping up their lobbying to reauthorize the bank, which helps foreign companies buy U.S.-made goods. The charter for the lender, which backed $38 billion in exports last year, expires Sept. 30.

  • Mass transit, common core, lightbulbs and other liberal conspiracies

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    (c) 2014, Slate. WASHINGTON — "Common Core," the name for a set of national education standards, is the latest rallying cry for right-wing activists. Derided as "Obamacore," it's been attacked as a government attempt to usurp local curriculums and impose liberal values on conservative communities. Glenn Beck calls it a plot to turn children into "cogs" under a police state, and several Republican politicians have jumped on the bandwagon, denouncing the Obama administration for supporting the standards. If this is confusing to ordinary observers — there's nothing totalitarian about guidelines for what students should know at the end of each grade — it's bewildering for Common Core advocates, who just four years ago were

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama has announced a new online effort to link soldiers leaving the military with jobs that match their skill sets. She said Wednesday that the new Veterans Employment Center provides one-stop shopping for troops as they transition to civilian life. The move comes as the U.S. winds down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the administration seeks to lower unemployment among veterans. Mrs. Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, made the announcement at Fort Campbell along the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. ___ Kuhnhenn reported from Washington.

  • Hemp expansion sails through Colorado Senate

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — A Colorado bill to expand industrial hemp production has said through the state Senate and now heads to the House. Senators voted 35-0 Wednesday to expand the number and size of farms growing hemp, marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin. The measure would allow year-round hemp cultivation in greenhouses and strike a 10-acre limit on hemp for research and development. Colorado just opened applications for hemp cultivation in march, with applications accepted until May. Agriculture officials say there is strong interest and that industrial hemp research and production should be expanded. ___ Online: Senate Bill 184: http://bit.

  • Ex-CEO admits stealing from prominent NYC charity

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The politically connected former CEO of a prominent city charity admitted Wednesday he helped steal more than $9 million from the organization in an insurance scheme that authorities linked to campaign contributions. William Rapfogel pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering and other charges in a case that had rattled city and state political circles. He formerly led the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which has long enjoyed close ties to politicians and has collected more than $26 million in state and city grants in recent years, and his wife is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's chief of staff. Rapfogel became the executive director of the Met Council, as it is known, in 1992.

  • Cracker Barrel says holders nix Biglari proposals

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) — Cracker Barrel says that preliminary results show its shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected two proposals put forth by an activist stockholder. The first proposal from Sardar Biglari's Biglari Capital Corp. and other affiliates of Biglari Holdings Inc. called for Cracker Barrel's board to immediately pursue potential extraordinary transactions, including a sale of the company. The second proposal sought for the restaurant operator's board to take steps to amend the Tennessee Business Corporation Act so that Biglari Capital could engage in an extraordinary transaction with the company. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.

  • Spy plane outlasts Cold War, but not defense cuts

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U-2 spy plane outlasted the Cold War, outlived its successor and proved crucial a half-century ago when two superpowers were on the brink of nuclear war. But defense cuts now threaten to knock the high-flying reconnaissance aircraft out of the sky. The Air Force wants to gradually retire the fleet of 32 "Dragon Lady" planes, which can soar to an altitude of 70,000 feet, collect intelligence on North Korea and Russia and rapidly send the data to U.S. commanders. That's a critical capability, given North Korea's unpredictable leader, Kim Jong Un, and Russia's emboldened president, Vladimir Putin.

  • Former Alabama senator responds to AG's appeal

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former state Sen. Lowell Barron and aide Jill Johnson are asking a state appeals court not to hear issues that the attorney general's office has raised about their criminal case. Barron and Johnson are charged with misusing $58,000 in campaign donations from Barron's unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2010. Attorney General Luther Strange's staff has asked the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to block a judge's ruling that would let Barron present evidence about how other candidates have spent campaign money. The attorney general is also contending the judge abused his discretion by not ruling before trial on whether prosecutors can use Johnson's grand jury testimony.

  • Soldier accused of killing unarmed teens in Iraq

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — A U.S. soldier accused of deliberately killing two unarmed teenagers as they herded cattle in Iraq seven years ago is appearing in military court, with his lawyer claiming the charges are baseless. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera has been charged with premeditated murder and faces a mandatory life sentence. A preliminary hearing opened Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. An Army prosecutor told an investigating officer the killings were unjustified. He noted that the charges were brought after a 2012 investigation by The Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh, which found that soldiers who served with Barbera had reported the slayings and remained troubled that he hadn't be

  • Gacy case helps solve unrelated Chicago area death

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    MAYWOOD, Ill. (AP) — Four decades after John Wayne Gacy lured more than 30 young men and boys to his Chicago-area home and strangled them, his case has helped authorities solve another killing — one he didn't commit. Investigators have identified the remains of a man who in 1978 never returned to his home that was just a few miles from Gacy's house. They also say they know the identity of his now-deceased killer. The Cook County Sheriff's Office announced the findings Wednesday — the result of an ongoing effort to name several unidentified victims of Gacy, who was executed in 1994.

  • Teen stowaway’s footprints, handprints found on wheel well doors, tire

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Images of footprints and handprints inside the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 jetliner appear to bolster the fantastic story of a Santa Clara teenager who reportedly survived a frigid, perilous journey cooped up inside as a stowaway. The images, including of a footprint on the tire below the wheel well, were taken by Hawaii News Now, and appear to support the boy’s story of surviving the 5-1/2 hour flight from San Jose while enduring sub-zero temperatures and deathly thin air. Authorities said it was a miracle the 15-year-old boy survived in the wheel well, as oxygen was limited at the jet’s cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, and the temperature could have dropped to 50 degrees below zero or lower.

  • NC fines state fair ride operators over injuries

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators have fined thrill ride operators more than $114,000 following a mishap at the 2013 State Fair that left five people injured, three of them critically. The state Department of Labor announced the civil fines Wednesday following a lengthy investigation into the Oct. 24 accident with the Vortex ride. Family Attractions Amusement of Valdosta, Ga., and ride owner Joshua Macaroni were fined more than $56,000. Ride operators Tim Tutterrow and Omar Toranzo were each fined $350. Macaroni and Tutterrow already face felony charges over what prosecutors say was tampering with a safety switch that was supposed to keep the ride from moving unless patrons were properly secured.

  • James Holmes' attorneys appeal sanity exam order

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — Attorneys for Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes are appealing a judge's order requiring a second sanity evaluation to the state's Supreme Court. Court filings released Wednesday show defense lawyers plan to file an appeal of the judge's ruling within 30 days. Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. says he will put the second examination on hold pending the appeal, and he will cancel court hearings next month. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes underwent a mandatory sanity evaluation last year. Samour ruled the first exam was inadequate and

  • Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LARKSPUR, Calif. (AP) — Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location. Archaeologists say the burial ground and village site in Larkspur held a treasure trove of information about Coast Miwok life and should have been preserved for future study. But The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which made the decision to remove and rebury the remains and artifacts, say the items belonged to their ancestors, and how they are handled is no one's business but the tribe's. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, (http://bit.

  • Review: Tom Hardy drives 'Locke,' in every way

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    There are plenty of minimalist films out there. And then there's the tiny sub-genre of the truly, ultra-minimalist films: One character. In one place. Think "Buried," in which Ryan Reynolds spent 94 minutes stuck in a coffin, with a waning cellphone. Or "All is Lost," in which Robert Redford spent 106 minutes adrift on a stricken sailboat, with waning options. And now there's "Locke," in which Tom Hardy spends 85 minutes in his car, just driving south on a British motorway, toward London. His life isn't in danger — well, not in the literal sense. And the Bluetooth is working just fine. The only thing waning is, quite simply, his carefully constructed existence. In the course of one car ride, it's all falling apart.

  • USAF: Colombia crash caused by plane hitting hill

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Air Force investigators say a plane crash that killed four people in Colombia this past fall occurred when the plane's pilots failed to stay over water and slammed into a hill. In October, three Americans and one Panamanian were killed while conducting drug surveillance. Two U.S. contractors on the plane were rescued by Colombian military forces. Details of the crash were released in a report by Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia on Wednesday. The report says the twin-engine turboprop crashed near the Panamanian border while on a night counter-narcotics mission.

  • 9th suspect in NC kidnapping turns self in to FBI

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said. But they had the wrong address and when the prosecutor's father answered the door, they took him instead. For five days, authorities said the kidnappers held 63-year-old Frank Janssen captive in an Atlanta apartment, tormenting his family by sending text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if police were called or their demands weren't met. They even sent a photo of him tied up in a chair.

  • Report on CIA interrogations shadows Gitmo trials

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The planned release of portions of the Senate report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques could add to the legal complications facing the long-delayed U.S. military tribunals of terrorist suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Intelligence officials head up the declassification process to remove any sensitive references, but the Pentagon will also have a key role, according to two U.S. officials familiar with planning for the report's review. The Defense Department has received copies of the still-secret summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report and expects to provide its own assessment of the material to White House and intelligence officials, the officials said.

  • Raimondo plan to aid climate change preparation

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo has unveiled environmental policy plans that include funding assistance for cities and towns to prepare for the effects of climate change. The Democratic treasurer on Wednesday reiterated her earlier call for a "green bank" to help finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and programs. The bank would house a separate revolving fund to provide low-interest loans to municipalities for climate change-related projects, including on storm water drainage and coastal erosion prevention. It would be established as a quasi-public body with its own budget and would have bonding authority.