• US stocks edge higher in afternoon trading; Apple up sharply

    Updated: 20 min ago

    U.S. stocks drifted higher in afternoon trading Wednesday, regaining some lost ground earlier in the day. Strong earnings from Apple, Boeing and other companies helped lift the market ahead of a mid-afternoon monetary policy update by the Federal Reserve. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,427 as of 1:14 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained one point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,030. The Nasdaq composite added 21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,702. The indexes are rebounding after closing sharply lower on Tuesday. FED WATCH: The Fed ends its first policy meeting of the year Wednesday afternoon, after which it is widely expected to repeat its pledge to stay patient in raising

  • TV star's plastic surgery disaster tests Brazil

    Updated: 24 min ago

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Andressa Urach went from being a single teenage mom nicknamed "Beanpole" to a reality TV bombshell in Brazil thanks to silicone implants, anabolic steroids, a nose job, and gel and botox injections, a fact she wasn't ashamed to share with fans. "There are plenty of ugly women," she said last year. "If you have the money, you can be beautiful. This pretty face you see here, my dear, it costs some." More, it turns out, than she bargained for.

  • Mobile provider TracFone to pay $40M in federal settlement

    Updated: 25 min ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest prepaid mobile provider, TracFone Wireless, will pay $40 million to settle government claims that it misled smartphone customers with promises of unlimited data service. The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that TracFone promised unlimited data in its advertising, but then drastically slowed down consumers' data speeds — a practice known as throttling — when they hit a certain limit of data within a 30-day period. In some cases, the FTC said, the company even cut off customers' data when it ran over the limit. TracFone's prepaid wireless service is sold under various brands, including Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile and Telcel America.

  • Ex-library contractors get prison for contract bribe scheme

    Updated: 31 min ago

    DETROIT (AP) — Two ex-contractors for the Detroit Public Library have been sentenced to more than two years in prison for their role in a $1.4 million kickback scheme. U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh on Tuesday sentenced 44-year-old James Henley of Detroit to 27 months in prison and 32-year-old Ricardo Hearn of Royal Oak to 28 months in prison. The pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Prosecutors say the library paid $4 million to two companies for information technology services. They say Henley and Hearn paid $1.4 million in kickbacks to Timothy Cromer, the library's then-technology chief. The West Bloomfield man was the library system's chief administrative and technology officer in 2006-13 and in charge of oversee

  • Chilean Mayne-Nicholls decides not to run against Blatter

    Updated: 39 min ago

    SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the former head of the Chilean football association, says he will not run against Sepp Blatter for the president of football's world governing body FIFA. Mayne-Nicholls said Wednesday he would not seek the office. In making his announcement, the Chilean says "I think there are people better prepared than I am, and I want them to go forward and I will support them in any way I can." Mayne-Nicholls announced his decision the same day that former Portugal international Luis Figo said he would be a candidate.

  • After setting iPhone record, what does Apple do next?

    Updated: 41 min ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook says consumer demand for new iPhones has been "staggering" and "hard to comprehend." That helped the company report record-smashing earnings for its latest quarter and sent the stock climbing more than 7 percent on Wednesday. But after selling a record 74.5 million iPhones in three months that ended in December, what can Apple do next? While several analysts have raised their estimates for Apple, some still worry the company depends too much on the iPhone, which contributes two-thirds of its sizable revenue — leaving Apple vulnerable if another gadget comes along to replace the iPhone in popularity. Cook and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri, however, say they're optimistic about

  • As Kansas turns 154, five events that shaped our state

    Updated: 41 min ago

    At the end of the Civil War, Kansas was the state that beckoned. People migrated to Kansas to start their lives over on the untamed prairie and in new towns and cities. On Thursday, Kansas will celebrate the 154th anniversary of its statehood. On Jan. 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union opposing slavery. It was known as the state where fiery abolitionist John Brown first gained national attention during the turbulent seven-year territorial period. Kansas, in 1865, was a Republican state, which in the mid-19th century, meant it was considered liberal and progressive. That also was the year the Civil War ended. Some estimates indicate more than 100,000 Union Civil War veterans claimed Kansas as their home state

  • Ronaldo suspended 2 games for kicking Cordoba player

    Updated: 41 min ago

    MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended from Real Madrid's next two matches after his violent outburst in last weekend's league game that included kicking an opponent. The federation's disciplinary committee on Wednesday banned Ronaldo from home games against Real Sociedad on Saturday and Sevilla on Feb. 4. The two-game ban will mean Ronaldo will return for the derby at Atletico Madrid on Feb. 7. Ronaldo, who won his third Ballon d'Or award earlier this month, earned a direct red card for kicking Cordoba defender Edimar in Saturday's 2-1 win. He then swiped the face of Cordoba's Jose Crespo. He apologized later.

  • Egypt seeks to distance police from protester killing

    Updated: 42 min ago

    CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian government on Wednesday sought to distance the police from last weekend's shooting death of a female protester, saying a forensic examination showed she was killed by a type of projectile that is "absolutely" not used by security forces. The case of 32-year-old Shaimaa el-Sabbagh, who died after birdshot fired by police hit her during a peaceful rally on Saturday in Cairo, has stirred withering criticism of the police force and its heavy-handed implementation of a law banning demonstrations without prior government approval.

  • Greece, eurozone creditors gear up for clash over bailout

    Updated: 42 min ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's new radical left government has shot the first salvo in what is expected to be a tough clash with fellow eurozone countries over budget cuts that Athens says are choking the life out of its economy. The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said it would ignore key budget commitments and reforms previous administrations had promised in exchange for rescue loans from fellow eurozone countries. The hard line prompted a quick warning from the European Union and sent local investors into a panic on the prospect that the country might get cut off from its financial lifeline. Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange tumbled more than 9 percent, with the country's four main banks losing over a

  • Fight to unseat Blatter as FIFA chief heats up in Europe

    Updated: 44 min ago

    GENEVA (AP) — The fight to remove Sepp Blatter from the most powerful job in world soccer intensified in Europe on Wednesday. In a surprise entry to the FIFA presidential contest, Portuguese great Luis Figo — the 2001 world player of the year — claimed the required support of five national federations by the entry deadline Thursday. "I look at the reputation of FIFA right now and I don't like it. Football deserves better," the former Barcelona and Real Madrid playmaker said in a statement without giving detailed campaign plans. Meanwhile, Dutch federation president Michael van Praag launched his campaign in Amsterdam, promising to modernize FIFA, expand the World Cup with more places for non-European countries and

  • Man who made Facebook postings about mass murder wins appeal

    Updated: 51 min ago

    HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court threw out the harassment conviction Wednesday of an Iowa man who posted disturbing messages and photos about mass murder on Facebook. Jonathan Elphic of Hampton didn't admit to facts that supported his February 2014 guilty plea to first-degree harassment, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled. The decision reinstates the original charges filed against Elphic of first-degree harassment and threat of terrorism, and gives prosecutors the option of seeking to prove them at trial. Elphic, now 30, was charged after making a series of Facebook posts that referenced killing students at a local high school in November 2013.

  • Petrobras releases profit drop in 3rd quarter 2014

    Updated: 53 min ago

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's scandal-plagued state-run oil company Wednesday released its third quarter report for 2014, showing that profits dropped 9 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Petrobras' quarterly results were released two months late amid ongoing investigations into a massive corruption scandal. Third quarter profits totaled 3.1 billion reals ($1.2 billion), down 38 percent from those posted in the second quarter of 2014. In a letter to investors and shareholders, chief executive Maria das Gracas Foster said corruption-related payments were wrongly recorded in the past as legitimate costs.

  • Venezuela's No. 2 distances himself from defecting bodyguard

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The powerful head of Venezuela's congress moved Wednesday to distance himself from a bodyguard who defected to the United States and reportedly has implicated his former boss as head of drug ring of political and military officials. National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello, who has denied the drug allegation, told Blu Radio of Colombia that former bodyguard Leamsy Salazar was never his head of security, as had been reported. He acknowledged that Salazar worked for him, but added, "They want the world to understand that he was the person closest to me. It's a lie, a lie." The newspapers ABC of Spain and the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald reported this week that Salazar had gone to the U.S.

  • Workers at Britain's National Gallery vote for 5-day strike

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — Workers at Britain's National Gallery will be staging a five-day strike beginning next week in a dispute over whether some of its services should be run by an outside contractor. Some 250 workers voted overwhelmingly to strike beginning Tuesday to protest the move. The museum expects to remain open throughout. Mark Serwotka, the general-secretary of the union representing the workers, says the privatization plan risks "damaging the worldwide reputation of what is one of the U.K.'s greatest cultural assets." But National Gallery director Nicholas Penny said in a statement Wednesday that change is necessary to thrive with reduced public money. The National Gallery is a major tourist attraction, with 6 mill

  • Jordan ready to swap inmate for pilot held by Islamic State

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan is willing to swap an Iraqi woman prisoner involved in deadly 2005 hotel bombings for a Jordanian pilot captured in December by extremists from the Islamic State group, a government spokesman said Wednesday. Such a swap would run counter to Jordan's hardline approach toward Islamic militants and to the position of its main ally, the United States, of not negotiating with extremists. An exchange also would set a precedent for negotiating with Islamic State militants, who in the past have not publicly demanded prisoner releases. However, Jordan's government faces domestic pressure to bring the pilot home, while its participation in a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group is wi

  • UN can't reach residents of Islamic State's de facto capital

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations says it cannot deliver aid to 600,000 people in two Syrian cities controlled by the Islamic State group. Deputy humanitarian chief Kyung-wha Kang told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that residents of the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa and the city of Deir ez Zor received no food deliveries in December because the U.N. had no agreement with armed groups there. The U.N.'s monthly reports on efforts to get food and other aid to millions trapped in Syria's four-year civil war have been unrelentingly grim. Kang said 12 million people inside Syria need humanitarian aid, and 3.8 million people have fled to neighboring countries. Another 7.6 million are displaced ins

  • Google: YouTube is so overloaded staff cannot filter content

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — Internet giant Google said Wednesday that its video-sharing website YouTube is so inundated that staff cannot filter all terror related content, complicating the struggle to halt the publication of terrorist propaganda and hostage videos. Google Public Policy Manager Verity Harding said that about 300 hours of video material is being uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it virtually impossible for the company to filter all images. Harding spoke at a European Parliament meeting of the ALDE liberal group on a counter-terrorism action plan. She said that "to pre-screen those videos before they are uploaded would be like screening a phone call before it's made.

  • FA charges Chelsea's Costa over stamp in Liverpool semifinal

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — Chelsea striker Diego Costa is facing a three-match ban after being charged Wednesday by the English Football Association with violent conduct for stamping on an opponent during the League Cup semifinal win over Liverpool. The Spain international stamped on Emre Can's right ankle early in the game, but it was missed by the officials at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The FA reviewed video footage before charging Costa, who has until 1800 GMT on Thursday to respond to the governing body. If Costa is found guilty, he could receive the same three-match ban as Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam received last season for a stamp.

  • Faced with a tech tsunami, Motorola fights to preserve cop-com franchise

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON — As Chicago cops braced for protests in advance of the NATO and G-8 summits in 2012, hometown radio giant Motorola made what seemed like a grand gesture. The company, which for years has used tenacious marketing and clout to reign over the emergency radio business, donated to the city $1.8 million worth of telecom equipment that could beam data and videos to law enforcement officers shielding the world leaders. Generosity wasn’t the only motive behind the gift.