AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The first wave of victim lawsuits since four people died at the South by Southwest music festival accused organizers Thursday of safety lapses after a driver smashed through a barricade and into a crowd of concertgoers.
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A watchdog group is challenging the environmentally friendly "green lumber" certification for Plum Creek Timberlands, one of the nation's biggest landowners and timber producers.
LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — A woman who was accused of fleeing with her daughter to Central America in a custody dispute 10 years ago and recently returned home was sent back to jail Thursday to await trial.
BOSTON (AP) — Two men at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people around the U.S. will be released from custody, pending their criminal trials, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people, according to a memo released Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Stephen Colbert leaves Comedy Central's satirical political talk show "The Colbert Report" after nine years Thursday night. He will become host of the "Late Show" on CBS, replacing David Letterman in May. So ends the "Stephen Colbert" character he created: the outlandishly tongue-in-cheek conservative host who leapt from late-night TV to become a political and pop culture phenomenon. Many of his "Colbert Nation" fans are left trying to imagine life without his incessant lampooning of the Washington establishment and TV pundits. Here's a brief explanation of Stephen Colbert and the alter ego he is retiring:
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Latin America is welcoming the renewal of ties between Cuba and the United States, but the rapprochement may complicate matters for Havana's chief ally, Venezuela, which has been moving in the opposite direction, becoming more stridently anti-American.
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders agreed Thursday to create a strategic investment fund that could generate up to 315 billion euros ($386 billion) in private- and public-sector money to upgrade infrastructure, jumpstart the EU's sluggish economies and ignite job growth.
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Pedestrians were filing out of a church Christmas service when a car sped around other vehicles at a red light and plowed into the crowd before hitting another car head-on, police and witnesses said. Three people were killed, and several more were injured, California authorities said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — While West Coast seaports struggle to keep up with billions of dollars of cargo, dockworkers and their employers apparently aren't close to a new contract nearly six months after their old deal expired.
NEW YORK (AP) — C'est la vie, fashionistas. The city of New York and Lincoln Center are evicting the invitation-only, twice-yearly Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in a court spat over destroyed trees and displaced park benches.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sony's decision to cancel "The Interview" in the face of terrorist threats is already affecting the way Hollywood does business, and it's killing artists' faith in studios to release envelope-pushing content.
ATLANTA (AP) — Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being the next company brought to its knees by hackers like those that executed the dramatic cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
HAVANA (AP) — The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States unleashed expectations Thursday of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest surge in three years Thursday, its second straight triple-digit gain following the Federal Reserve's reassurance that it was in no hurry to raise interest rates.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for crackdowns on people living in the country illegally is giving up his last major foothold in immigration enforcement efforts that won him popularity among voters but gradually were reined in by Congress and the courts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The computer files of more than 40,000 federal workers may have been compromised by a cyberattack at federal contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions, the second breach this year at a major firm handling national security background investigations of workers at federal agencies, the government confirmed Thursday.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Mark Helfrich confirmed Thursday that the third-ranked Ducks will be without star cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu when they face Jameis Winston and Florida State in their playoff game next month.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska and Oklahoma on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional, saying the drug is being brought from Colorado into the neighboring states.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — When state inspectors arrived at Freedom Industries asking about a licorice smell enveloping West Virginia's capital city, the point person at the tank farm, Dennis P. Farrell, told them he knew nothing about a chemical leak.
NEW YORK (AP) — An up-and-coming rapper pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he moonlighted as a gun-toting member of a New York City street gang responsible for several shootings during turf wars over drug trafficking.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service is an "insular" agency that needs a new director hired from the outside, according to former government officials tasked with examining the embattled agency after a man with a knife stormed the White House.
WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please a fantasy character called Slender Man are mentally fit to stand trial on attempted homicide charges, a judge ruled Thursday.
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man was convicted Thursday of murder in a plot to kill his wife so he could devote himself to a life of bondage and domination in an upper-class suburb with women who called him "Master Bob."
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system said Thursday that he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, even though the state didn't have the drugs yet to carry them out.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senior Islamic State group leaders were killed in U.S. and coalition airstrikes in northern Iraq over the last week, U.S. officials said Thursday, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved new orders for several hundred troops to deploy to Iraq to train Iraqi forces.
It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents have been posted online, employees and their families were threatened, and unreleased films were stolen and made available for illegal download. The hackers then escalated this week to threatening 9/11-like attacks against movie theaters scheduled to show the Sony film "The Interview." That fanned security fears nationwide and resulted in the four top U.S. theater chains pulling the film from their screens, ultimately driving Sony to cancel the film's release.
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When the U.S. government's global-aid agency launched secret plans to undermine Cuba's communist government, it didn't turn to the CIA for help. Instead, it used little-known contractors to carry out the operations — leading to multiple detentions and the high-profile arrest of American Alan Gross.
MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge has delayed for two months the trial of a cousin of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez on charges stemming from dealings with the clinic that illegally provided performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's government on Thursday rebuffed a unilateral truce declared by the country's largest rebel group, saying the guerrillas' conditions are unacceptable until a peace deal is reached.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the U.S. and Cuba together and free U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The nightlife mogul who opened the SLS Las Vegas hotel and casino on the Strip has won a gambling license from Nevada regulators after intense scrutiny into his past business dealings and drug use.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A federal agency is sifting through thousands of comments regarding a Texas hunter's application for a permit to import the carcass of an endangered black rhinoceros that he hopes to kill.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle clues in the hacking tools left behind and the involvement of at least one computer in Bolivia previously traced to other attacks blamed on the North Koreans.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers' Cam Newton will "probably" start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns barring any physical setbacks this week, Carolina coach Ron Rivera said after the quarterback practiced on Thursday.
BERLIN (AP) — A World War II bomb has been successfully defused in an eastern German city after some 9,700 people were evacuated from the surrounding area and a meeting of a state legislature was interrupted.
MOSCOW (AP) — Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years.
MIAMI (AP) — A man who admitted working as a black market chemist at a garage lab in his suburban home pleaded guilty Thursday to being the main supplier of banned performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball's most recent steroid scandal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday capped a swift and forceful response to an Associated Press investigation by signing into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving U.S. Social Security benefits.
INDIAN ISLAND, Wash. (AP) — Some Washington state residents are getting in the holiday spirit by decorating a Douglas fir that toppled onto an unused utility line in a recent windstorm and looks like an upside-down Christmas tree.
DENVER (AP) — Researchers say they have collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now, they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how tornadoes form.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he supports further negotiations on a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that sets a 2017 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from war-won lands the Palestinians seek for their state.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A driver has pleaded not guilty to a more serious charge of manslaughter after being accused of hitting a pedestrian with such force that he flipped on top of her car, carrying him on the roof for 11 blocks and leaving him in the street to die.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Despite the grim picture painted by court documents this week, a trauma expert said Thursday there's every reason to believe a New Hampshire teenager who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted over nine months will not only recover but thrive.
BOSTON (AP) — In a story Dec. 17 about arrests in a deadly meningitis outbreak, The Associated Press erroneously reported Stuart Delery's title. He is the acting associate attorney general, not an assistant U.S. attorney.
TOKYO (AP) — If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday the lengthy U.S. economic embargo against Cuba "just hasn't worked" and voiced support for opening trade with Cuba in the aftermath of the Obama administration's policy shift regarding the communist island.
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors sued New York City on Thursday to speed the pace of reforms at the Rikers Island jail complex and address what a Justice Department investigation found was a "deep-seated culture of violence" toward young inmates.
DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland has repaid 9 billion euros ($11 billion) to the International Monetary Fund several years early, a move that saves heavy interest costs and illustrates the strong Irish rebound after its bailout.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In a story Dec. 17 about a former Marine believed to have killed six people, The Associated Press misidentified the agency that deemed him free of any suicidal or homicidal thoughts. It was Veterans Affairs, not the Veterans Administration.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged more than 300 points on Thursday, building on gains from a day earlier after the Federal Reserve indicated that it was in no rush to raise interest rates as the economy strengthened.
Harlon Hill Trophy finalists Jason Vander Laan of Ferris State and Anthony Bilal of Lake Erie highlight The Associated Press Little All-America team, honoring the top players in Divisions II and III and NAIA.
NEW YORK (AP) — Online shopping has become as volatile as stock market trading. Wild, minute-by-minute price swings on everything from clothes to TVs have made it difficult for holiday shoppers to "buy low."
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Fistfights and scuffles broke out in Kenya's parliament Thursday as legislators passed a controversial security measure which the government says will help fight terrorism but which critics say are meant to silence dissent by curtailing civil liberties.