• Obama: Debate to lift Cuban trade embargo not expected soon

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says it will likely be a while before Capitol Hill begins a debate about possibly lifting the trade embargo with Cuba, which must be done by Congress. Obama spoke Friday during his year-end news conference, shortly before he was leaving the White House for a Hawaii vacation. The news conference came two days after the president made the surprise announcement that he was moving to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba after half a century of Cold War acrimony. Obama has said it's clear that isolating Cuba has not worked. He says changes in Cuba could come quickly, or slower than he would like to see, but that change will come.

  • Obama willing to work with GOP on tax overhaul

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he will try to undertake an overhaul of the tax system with the new Republican majorities in Congress. He says the "devil is in the details." He says the tax system needs to be simpler and fairer. He says some corporations engage in tax avoidance while others pay full freight. He also says he would like to combine tax changes with money for capital works projects. Obama spoke Friday during his year-end news conference, shortly before he was leaving the White House for a Hawaii vacation. Obama will have a Republican-led Congress for the first time in his presidency when the GOP takes control of the Senate in January. Republican leaders have said that creates opportunities f

  • Weird weather lingers in Alaska's largest city

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A week before Christmas, Alaska's largest city should look like a postcard wonderland, and the last place you'd expect to see equipment making snow. "We want Santa to bring snow, soon," Terry Goodwin said as she hit a ski trail in Anchorage on Thursday near snowmaking machines churning out the white stuff. A picturesque northern winter-scape is hardly the reality here as a spate of weird weather lingers in Anchorage, which is almost 2 feet behind the snowfall totals typical by this time. With just days to go until solstice Sunday signals the official start of winter, bare ground can be seen in places and temperatures have been averaging in the 30s, prompting a few hardy residents to take to the stre

  • Obama vows US will respond to North Korea "in a place and manner and time that we choose"

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama vows US will respond to North Korea "in a place and manner and time that we choose"

  • AT&T hikes quarterly shareholder payout by a penny

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    DALLAS (AP) — AT&T will raise the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders by a penny, to 47 cents per share, starting early next year. The Dallas-based company said Friday that its board approved the roughly 2 percent increase. The new payout, which totals $1.88 annually, will be paid Feb. 2 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 9. Shares of AT&T Inc. slipped a penny to $33.50 in Friday afternoon trading while broader indexes rose slightly. That share price has slipped about 5 percent so far this year.

  • NYC mayor finally supports 'Taxi of Tomorrow'

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is finally moving ahead with a new generation of yellow taxis. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced Friday that most taxi operators will be required to buy the "Taxi of Tomorrow" starting April 20. The Nissan NV200 minivan was named the city's official taxi by de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. Officials in the yellow taxi industry then sued, and the measure has been tied up in court. De Blasio, who has many supporters in the industry, also opposed the plan. But faced with Nissan suing if the city did not honor the agreement, his administration shifted gears. Nissan no longer has the exclusive agreement to make taxis. But officials said the Taxi of Tomorrow shoul

  • US rig count down 18 to 1,875

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 18 this week to 1,875. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,536 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,768 rigs were active. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Arkansas gained three rigs, Kansas and New Mexico each rose by two and Alaska and Pennsylvania were up one apiece. North Dakota declined by seven, Oklahoma by six, Texas down four, Louisiana off three, and Ohio and West Virginia each decreased two. California, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,53

  • SC former Marine ruled insane in pedestrian death

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — A judge has ruled a South Carolina man was insane when he stole a fire truck while naked and then struck and killed a pedestrian. Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen found Kalvin Hunt not guilty by reason of insanity on Thursday after prosecutors and Hunt's attorneys agreed on his mental state, multiple media outlets reported. The 28-year-old former Marine fled naked from the Naval Hospital in Beaufort in 2012, stole a Port Royal fire truck that was responding to a medical call at a nearby apartment complex, then struck and killed Justin Nicholas Miller before crashing into woods. Hunt was sent for treatment to a secure care facility run by the South Carolina mental health department.

  • AstraZeneca cancer drug, companion test approved

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — U.S. regulators have granted accelerated approval to the first in a new class of drugs for ovarian cancer, AstraZeneca PLC's Lynparza. The drug is for women whose ovarian cancer is associated with certain defective genes and whose cancer persists after multiple treatments. Women with mutated BRCA genes have a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. About 10 percent to 15 percent of ovarian cancer cases are due to those hereditary mutations. The Food and Drug Administration also approved a companion diagnostic test from Myriad Genetics Inc. called BRACAnalysis CDx. The test is to be used to identify women most likely to benefit from the new medication.

  • Warren County passes local right-to-work law

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — If you want to build Corvettes in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you have one option: Join a labor union. The General Motors plant in Warren County is a closed shop, meaning its 888 employees must pay union dues in order to work there. But the Warren County Fiscal Court passed a local law Friday banning that practice in the future, defying the state's Democratic attorney general and taking the first step toward trying to overturn a 49-year-old state Court of Appeals decision. The small county along the Tennessee border is the only local government in the country to approve a so-called "right-to-work" law, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

  • Global oil impact: Who's hurting, happy, hopeful

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil's plunge is spreading both pain and gain across the globe. The price of a barrel has fallen by about half since June, punishing the economies of some major exporters. Russia's currency has nose-dived, for instance, and investors worry Venezuela could default on its debt. For countries that consume a large amount of the world's oil, it's a different story. The world's four biggest economies — U.S., China, Japan and that of the European Union — all benefit from lower oil prices. "Economically this is a good thing for the U.S.

  • Woman who foiled abduction was ready for a fight

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine State Museum worker who police say prevented the abduction of a 2-year-old girl is a 65-year-old woman with a bum knee. But Sharon Wise says she was ready for a "big fight" if the assailant hadn't stopped trying to yank the girl through the exit. Wise, of Winthrop, said Friday that James Cavallaro caught her eye because he was acting strangely. She intervened Tuesday when he suddenly grabbed the girl while her grandmother's back was turned, saying she looked the man in the eye and told him: "Don't you touch her. You let her go!" "I did what I had to do, because he wasn't leaving there with her," she told The Associated Press. "There would've been a fight, a big fight, if he kept yanking

  • Cyprus: initial offshore drilling finds no gas

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' Energy Ministry says initial exploratory drilling by an Italian-Korean consortium off Cyprus' southern coast has failed to find significant quantities of gas. The ministry said Friday that the SAIPEM 10000 rig belonging to the Eni-Kogas consortium drilled to a depth of 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) without success. The ministry said new drilling will begin elsewhere inside an area, or block, where Cyprus has licensed the consortium to search for fossil fuels. The consortium had identified six potential gas fields inside the block. Cyprus has also licensed France's Total and U.S. firm Noble Energy to search for offshore gas.

  • Gang accused of robbing New Jersey freight trains

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — More than a decade ago they were called the largest gang ever to attack North American railroads and gained enough notoriety to be the subject of a television documentary. Now, prosecutors in northern New Jersey say their ringleader is back at it. In an age when cyber-criminals can make millions with a few keystrokes, railroad cargo theft is an anachronism, evoking images of six-shooters and 10-gallon hats. But it has not disappeared entirely, as demonstrated by details provided by the Hudson County prosecutor's office, which announced the arrests of the so-called "Conrail Boyz" gang Thursday.

  • Correction: Custody-Surrender story

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — In a story Dec. 18 about a custody dispute, The Associated Press erroneously reported that a judge did not rule on a prosecutor's request that the daughter at the center of the case be brought out of hiding for a psychological evaluation. The judge denied that request but said he would rule separately if a motion were made to produce her for questioning by prosecutors. A corrected version of the story is below: Mom jailed in custody case, says daughter safe Mom sent back to jail to await trial in New Hampshire custody case, says daughter safe By KATHY McCORMACK Associated Press LANCASTER, N.H.

  • Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone revolution. The FAA is expected to propose restricting drones weighing less than 55 pounds to flights under 400 feet high, forbid nighttime flights, and require drones be kept within sight of their operators. It also may require drone operators to get pilot's licenses, which would be controversial. Critics say the skills needed to fly a manned aircraft are different from those needed to operate a drone.

  • Cuban cigar boom? A look at what new rules mean

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    MIAMI (AP) — Americans travelers can soon legally bring back one of Cuba's most celebrated products, but some limitations remain. Here's a look at some facts and figures surrounding the loosened restrictions on cigars: — THE RULES Licensed American travelers can bring back no more than $100 in cigars. That will get travelers three to 20 "habanos," depending on brand and size, said Gary Heathcott, an expert who writes for tobacco magazines. Prices in Cuba range from $6 for a petite Partagas stogie to $30 for a long, chubby Cohiba. The last time travelers were able to bring Cuban cigars back was before Aug. 1, 2004. On that day, the U.S. tightened restrictions on Cuba and implemented a full ban on personal allotment p

  • 3.2 quake recorded in Oregon

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A 3.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded at 6 a.m. Friday about 25 miles west of Salem, Oregon. A report from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network says it was centered about 16 miles deep. A sheriff's dispatcher in Salem says the 911 center received calls from residents saying they felt the shaking, but there are no reports of damage. The quake was near Willamina in Oregon's Coast Range. That's 250 miles from the area south of Lakeview in northwest Nevada where hundreds of small quakes have been recorded in a swarm that began last July.

  • New Jersey beach owner sues over dune project

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — A major Jersey shore beach owner is suing the state, the federal government and the borough of Point Pleasant Beach over a project to establish protective sand dunes along the state's shoreline. Jenkinson's Pavilion, one of the state's largest and most popular beaches, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court claiming the project would transform its privately owned beach into a public one. The lawsuit seeks clarifications on just what the government can do in its efforts to carry out the project along the state's 127-mile coastline. Gov. Chris Christie began a push to erect dunes along the entire coastline after parts of the Jersey shore with dunes fared much better during Superstorm Sandy

  • Amazon, Macmillan reach multiyear deal

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Another major publisher has reached a multiyear deal with Amazon.com. Amazon and Macmillan CEO John Sargent confirmed this week that they had agreed to terms for both print and electronic books. The deal will allow Macmillan to set prices for e-books, an arrangement known as the "agency model," and appears similar to agreements Amazon reached in the past two months with Hachette Book Group and Simon & Schuster. Authors at Macmillan range from Jonathan Franzen and Hilary Mantel to Oprah Winfrey and Bill O'Reilly.