• Oxy pays confidential sum to settle Peru pollution case

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — Indigenous communities that sued Occidental Petroleum over contamination in Peru's northern Amazon have reached an out-of-court settlement in which the U.S.-based oil company will pay them an undisclosed sum. The amount is confidential, under a settlement that was reached in 2013 in Los Angeles federal court but not announced until Thursday. The money is to fund community development projects. The case was the first of its kind involving oil drilling in South America to advance in U.S. courts, said attorney Marco Simons of EarthRights International , which represented the plaintiffs.

  • Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Officials in a separatist rebel-held city in east Ukraine say the death toll from an accidental explosion at a coal mine has risen to 33. Alexei Kostrubitsky, head of the emergencies ministry for the rebel government, said late Thursday the last missing miner had been found dead. The blast occurred before dawn Wednesday more than 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) underground at the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk city. It is the largest city held by the separatist rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian forces since April. Rebel officials said the accident was caused by methane gas. Zasyadko mine has a history of deadly accidents, including one in November 2007 that killed 101 workers, and two more the

  • PLO calls for ending security coordination with Israel

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A top body in the Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday called for ending security coordination with Israel — a step that could further escalate tensions. It is not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will implement the resolution by the PLO's Central Council. Since the beginning of the year, both sides have taken retaliatory steps. In January, Abbas sought membership in the International Criminal Court, paving the way for possible war crimes charges against Israel. In response, Israel withheld tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority. Activists in Abbas' Fatah movement countered by enforcing a boycott of goods made by Israeli food companies.

  • Ringling Bros to retire its elephants, ending a tradition

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — Elephants have always been part of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, ever since showman P.T. Barnum brought Jumbo, "a massive 12-foot African elephant," to America in 1882 to star in the "Greatest Show on Earth." Whenever the circus came to town, parades of pachyderms heralded its arrival, drawing patriotic crowds that boosted sales and even attracted vote-hungry politicians. Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, still keeps 43 elephants, 13 of which are performing. But years of pressure from activists alleging abuse have caused a "mood shift" among consumers, circus executive Alana Feld told The Associated Press, and the Feld family would rather spend money on elephant care than lawyers.

  • Cardinal Egan, retired NY archbishop, dies at age 82; led archdiocese during Sept. 11 attacks

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Cardinal Egan, retired NY archbishop, dies at age 82; led archdiocese during Sept. 11 attacks.

  • New baby orca, other discoveries made by tracking team

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — A new baby orca wasn't the only interesting discovery researchers made while tracking endangered killer whales. Researchers aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel returned to Oregon earlier this week with a wealth of new data about the whales and their ocean environment. The information was gained after NOAA Fisheries researchers followed the giant marine mammals for 21 days to find out where they go during the winter, what they eat, and what risks they encounter. The data and other research will help determine what critical areas offshore need to be protected for the whales, researchers said during a briefing Thursday.

  • Second suspect arrested in deadly LA street race

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police say a second suspect has been arrested in connection with an illegal street race that ended with a crash that killed two spectators. Officer Liliana Preciado says 38-year-old Irael Valenzuela was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of murder. The Los Angeles resident is being held on $2 million bail. Preciado says the arrest came after detectives interviewed witnesses and received anonymous tips. Police didn't immediately say what Valenzuela's role in the race was. Preciado did not know if Valenzuela had an attorney. Prosecutors earlier charged 21-year-old Henry Gevorgyan with two counts of murder. Detectives say Gevorgyan was driving a Ford Mustang that went

  • Sheriffs from Colorado, elsewhere sue state over legal pot

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — Ten sheriffs from three different states sued Colorado Thursday for decriminalizing marijuana — joining a handful of recent legal challenges urging courts to strike down the state's legalization of recreational pot. The sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska say that Colorado's 2012 marijuana legalization vote violates federal law. "A state may not establish its own policy that is directly counter to federal policy against trafficking in controlled substance," the sheriffs argue in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. The lawsuit is the latest legal challenge to legal weed. Nebraska and Oklahoma have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down marijuana legalization in Colorad

  • House Republican proposes big changes in Michigan energy law

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan would end competition in the electricity market and its renewable power requirement would be left intact but not rise under legislation introduced by a key Republican. House Energy Policy Chairman Aric Nesbitt said Thursday that guaranteeing Michigan's two dominant utilities 100 percent of sales in their regions would save customers money. Competitors who sell power to businesses and schools are allowed up to 10 percent of the market under a 2008 law. Nesbitt says his goal is ensuring there's reliable electricity going forward. Critics say competition is needed to restrain energy costs. Businesses that buy power in the alternative market say eliminating competition would raise thei

  • Libya says 11 oil fields non-operational after IS attacks

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's state-run oil corporation has declared 11 oil fields in the country non-operational after attacks by suspected Islamic State militants, opting for a force majeure clause that exempts the state from contractual obligations. The National Oil Corporation blamed Islamist-backed authorities in the capital Tripoli for failing to protect the oil fields. The statement, issued late Wednesday, said "theft, looting, sabotage and destruction" of the oil fields have been on the rise despite pleas for the authorities to ensure the safety of Libya's oil installations.

  • Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors who deadlocked on punishment for convicted murderer Jodi Arias say they were split 11-1 in favor of the death penalty and that they tried unsuccessfully to get the lone holdout kicked off the panel. The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in Arias' sentencing retrial, meaning she avoids a death sentence and instead faces life in prison for killing lover Travis Alexander in 2008. Fourteen jurors, including at least one alternate and one woman removed from the panel earlier, talked to reporters Thursday after the verdict. None of them would reveal their names. Many of the jurors said Arias lacked remorse and some said she tried to manipulate them. Jurors also said they believed the holdo

  • Joy Global's 1Q disappoints, cuts full-year outlook

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Joy Global Inc. said Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter net income fell nearly 52 percent from a year ago as the company's customers bought less of its mining equipment. The company also cut its outlook for the year. Its shares fell almost 5 percent in afternoon trading. Customers are spending less on mining equipment because of falling oil prices, CEO Ted Doheny said in a statement. Due to the weakened demand, the company will try to cut costs faster than it had expected. The company reported earnings of $23.6 million, or 24 cents per share, in the quarter ending Jan. 30. That compares with $48.9 million, or 48 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

  • Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since May, though the pace of applications remains at a level consistent with steady hiring. Weekly applications rose 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 10,250 to 304,750, a six-week high. The number of applications tends to reflect the pace of U.S. layoffs. The four-week average has remained near or below 300,000 since September, a historically low level that typically signals healthy job gains. More Americans are earning paychecks, and gas prices have plummeted from last summer, thereby boosting consumers' buying po

  • NC House wants gas tax to fall, just not as much as Senate

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House has agreed to restrain an impending cut in the state's gasoline tax to keep money flowing to road and bridge projects. House lawmakers on Thursday approved letting the gas tax fall from the current 37.5 cents per gallon rate to 36 cents for the rest of 2015. Doing nothing would have meant the tax pegged to wholesale gas prices would likely drop below 30 cents per gallon, according to legislative analysts. Some Democrats branded the legislation a tax increase. The measure now returns to the state Senate, which voted last month to cut the tax to 35 cents through the end of 2015 and make that the floor under a reworked formula. The Senate can go along with the House's changes

  • Utah LGBT anti-discrimination bill passes 1st test

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A landmark Utah proposal protecting gay and transgender individuals passed its first test at the state Legislature Thursday when lawmakers on a Republican-controlled Senate committee offered their unanimous and at times emotional support of the measure. Todd Weiler, a Republican senator from Woods Cross, said he comes from "a conservative, Mormon background" but he's met many transgender individuals, including one in his neighborhood who grew up with his son. "I don't understand those things," Weiler said, "I understand that those people are different than I am, and that they have rights, and I am 100 percent convinced that they should be protected.

  • Prosecutor to seek charge against police chief who shot wife

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    ATLANTA (AP) — A prosecutor said Thursday that he plans to seek a misdemeanor charge — but no felony — against a suburban Atlanta police chief who told investigators he went to bed with a loaded gun and accidentally shot his wife after mixing alcohol and sleep medicine. District Attorney Scott Ballard said Thursday he will seek to indict Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom next month on a charge of reckless misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. Ultimately, a grand jury will decide whether to charge the chief. Ballard said evidence supported McCollom's story that the New Year's Day shooting was an accident. But the prosecutor said it also could have been avoided.

  • Data: Victim's cell pinged along Hernandez's alleged route

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Tracking data shown to the jury Thursday in the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez indicates the victim's cellphone pinged along the same route that prosecutors say Hernandez took that night. The data roughly tracks the route prosecutors say Hernandez took from Odin Lloyd's home to the industrial park in North Attleborough where Lloyd was found shot to death June 17, 2013. A T-Mobile employee testified about cell sites that pinged Lloyd's phone starting at 2:32 a.m., when prosecutors have said Hernandez picked Lloyd up at his home in Boston. Among the cell sites that pinged Lloyd's phone was one near the interchange of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 128 at 2:

  • Wisconsin close to becoming 25th right-to-work state

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — With Wisconsin positioned to become the third Midwestern state in as many years to enact a right-to-work law, proponents are touting job growth in Indiana as reason for optimism while detractors say union membership slides in Michigan signal potential problems. The state's Assembly began debate Thursday on a plan Republican Gov. Scott Walker has promised to quickly sign and Democrats lack the votes to stop. Following in the footsteps of Indiana and Michigan, the two most recent states to approve legislation making the paying of union dues voluntary, Wisconsin would become the 25th right-to-work state. The Assembly scheduled 24 hours of debate, planning to wrap up no later than 9 a.m.

  • Passenger: Wing of plane that skidded off runway got torn up

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A passenger aboard a flight from Atlanta that skidded off a runway at LaGuardia amid driving snow says one wing of the plane got "pretty torn up." Georgia marketing executive Malcolm Duckett was seated near the left wing of Flight 1086 on Thursday. He called the damage to that wing "brutal." Duckett says the landing was pretty hard and passengers initially thought the aircraft had hit water. The plane's nose came close to the edge of an icy bay. Duckett says passengers were told to exit over the right wing because the rear door was too close to the water. He says firefighters helped him get down after he slid down the wing. Duckett says it's his first time in New York. He says he's "g

  • Oil company to pay $2M for illegal well in North Dakota

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Norwegian oil company that illegally operated a well on federal property in North Dakota has agreed to pay a nearly $2 million settlement to avoid legal action, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Authorities say the well was drilled about two weeks after Statoil Oil & Gas Services Inc. acquired Brigham Oil & Gas L.P., which had originally planned the facility. The company later discovered that the well drilled into unleased federally owned minerals. Timothy Purdon, U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, credited Statoil for its willingness to settle the case without forcing the government to file a civil suit. "It is heartening to see a big oil company like Statoil step up ... to make things right w




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