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  • Britain's Prince William bids Australia farewell

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Britain's Prince William bid farewell to Australia on Thursday in the only speech of his national tour, revealing that his baby son George had become particularly fond of a toy native animal during the visit. "We go away with wonderful memories and George goes away with a cuddly wombat that he's taken to chewing so...

  • Obama: Time is now to resolve trade pact issues

    TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama says the time is now to resolve issues preventing the conclusion of a major, 12-nation trade agreement. Obama is speaking at a news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay). The two leaders say they are stepping up negotiations in hopes of reaching a conclusion. Obama...

  • China to open 8 state industries for investment

    BEIJING (AP) — China's government says it will open 80 projects in eight state-run industries to private and foreign investors as part of efforts to make its slowing economy more productive. The announcement late Wednesday is the latest in a series of policy changes aimed at carrying out the ruling Communist Party's pledge in November to...

  • Obama: Not hopeful North Korea will change soon

    TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama says he's not optimistic North Korea will shift away from its irresponsible behavior in the near future. Obama says North Korea and its nuclear program comprise the most destabilizing situation in the Asia-Pacific region. He says if North Korean leaders are serious about being a normal nation, they must...

  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute

    TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama says he wants to see a dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea resolved peacefully. But he is affirming that U.S. treaty obligations to Japan cover all areas under Japan's administration. He's referring to the disputed Senkaku islands. China also claims the remote islands. The...

  • Costa Rica is demanding US explain 'Cuban Twitter'

    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The Costa Rican government says it's still waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it launched the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic relations. In an interview with The...

  • China frees Japanese boat after boat owner pays up

    BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court on Thursday released a seized Japanese freight ship after owner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. paid more than $28 million involving a dispute dating back to the wartime in the 1930s, the Shanghai Maritime Court said. In a statement, the court said it freed Mitsui's Baosteel Emotion after the Japanese shipping firm...

  • Homeowner: 2 teens shot were 'vermin,' not human

    LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota man who killed two teenagers who broke into his home can be heard on an audio recording talking to himself for hours after the shooting and at one point, apparently describing the slain teens as "vermin." Byron Smith, of Little Falls, faces first-degree premeditated murder charges in the deaths of...

  • UN considering sanctions over South Sudan massacre

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday viewed "horrific pictures of corpses" from the scene of last week's massacre in South Sudan and discussed taking actions that could include sanctions, diplomats said. The U.N. has said hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of...

  • Court won't review Michael Jackson doctor's case

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor, rejecting his lawyer's petition without comment. The decision by the state's highest court was the latest stop on Dr. Conrad Murray's legal odyssey. A state appeals court upheld his conviction...

  • Management, safety cited for radiation release

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Poor management, an eroding safety culture, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper oversight are being blamed for a radiation release that contaminated 21 workers and shuttered the federal government's nuclear waste dump two months ago in southeastern New Mexico. The series of shortcomings are identified in a...

  • Oklahoma court rejects death-row inmates' claims

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that two death row inmates are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them, putting them back on track to be executed as early as next week. In rejecting the inmates' claims, the court also lifted a stay of execution that it had granted...

  • A look at Oklahoma's execution drug secrecy case

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them. The court, which is the highest in the state for civil cases, had previously halted their executions, even though critics said only the Oklahoma Court of...

  • Convicted murderer arraigned in prison escape

    IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A convicted murderer who broke out of a Michigan prison in February was arraigned on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges Wednesday. Michael Elliot appeared in Ionia District Court, where Judge Raymond Voet entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf. Voet scheduled a court conference for May 5 and a probable cause...

  • UN: 3.5 million Syrians desperately need aid

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Almost 3.5 million civilians in Syria have virtually no access to desperately needed humanitarian aid and people are dying needlessly every day as violence and extremism escalate and the risk of sectarian violence grows, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday. In a report to the Security Council, the U.N....

  • SKorea ferry toll hits 159 as relatives wait

    JINDO, South Korea (AP) — Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the grim task of recovery soon. At a port on this island near the scene of divers' efforts, relatives...

  • Rio official pledges transparent probe in slaying

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro's top security official on Wednesday promised a rigorous investigation into the death of a young man that sparked overnight clashes in a slum near a key Olympic venue and did not rule out that police may have been responsible. Public Safety Director Jose Maria Beltrame told reporters the investigation...

  • Correction officer released by Ohio jail inmates

    WARREN, Ohio (AP) — A correction officer taken hostage by three inmates at an Ohio county jail has been released unharmed, and the inmates have been taken to a maximum-security facility. Trumbull County Sheriff's Office Major Thomas Stewart says the hostage situation ended peacefully and, "It's all over." He says the inmates talked to...

  • 6 fired for closing Arizona child abuse reports

    PHOENIX (AP) — Five senior Arizona child welfare employees were fired Wednesday for orchestrating a plan that led to more than 6,500 Arizona child abuse and neglect cases being closed without investigations, officials said. The firings were the first major personnel action since the cases were discovered in November. Charles Flanagan, who...

  • Colombia president reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's capital changed hands for a third time in little over a month after President Juan Manuel Santos executed a court order reinstating Bogota's ousted leftist mayor. The surprise ruling late Tuesday by the Superior Tribunal of Bogota was the latest twist in a legal saga pitting former guerrilla firebrand...