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  • Slow-motion disaster: Key facts about Hawaii lava

    HONOLULU (AP) — Lava that has entered a rural Hawaii town has been described as a disaster in slow motion. After months of creeping through uninhabited areas of the Big Island, it reached Pahoa this week, crossing a residential street, burning down a garden shed and inching toward homes and a main road that goes through downtown. The lava is...

  • California eyes $500 billion in water spending

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's growing population and dwindling water require up to $500 billion in additional investment in water in coming decades, and new state fees for water users could be one way pay for it, a water plan released Thursday by the state's top water officials said. John Laird, California secretary of natural resources,...

  • First presidential debate in works for Republicans

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The 2014 midterm elections are days away, but preparation are already underway for the first debate of the 2016 presidential primary contest. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced on Thursday that it will invite GOP presidential candidates to attend a televised debate at California's Reagan Library in September...

  • Argentina OKs law aimed at luring oil investment

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's Congress has passed an energy law aimed at luring foreign investment into its promising shale oil and gas. The measure approved by the lower house Thursday cuts the minimum investment needed for energy companies to be exempt from import controls. It also sets new terms for concessions to 25 years for...

  • Arias judge bars public from witness' testimony

    PHOENIX (AP) — The judge in the Jodi Arias trial took the highly unusual step Thursday of barring the public from watching the first witness called by the convicted murderer's legal team as she fights to be spared the death penalty. The day began with dramatic statements from the victim's family members about the emotional and physical trauma...

  • Man charged with murder in SWAT officer shooting

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspected Mongols motorcycle gang member was charged with murder Thursday in the killing of a Pomona SWAT officer during a crackdown on the group. The charge against David Martinez, 36, included special circumstances that could bring the death penalty, but prosecutors had not yet made that decision. Martinez remained...

  • Mexico Supreme Court rejects energy referendum

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a bid to hold a national referendum on a major energy overhaul that opened the sector to widespread private investment for the first time in 76 years. In identical 9-1 rulings, the court found that referendum petitions filed by two leftist parties were unconstitutional because...

  • Sleuths have new hope in search for Earhart plane

    OXFORD, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia group trying to solve the Amelia Earhart mystery has new reason to think a piece of aluminum found on a Pacific atoll came from her lost plane. The Philly.com (http://goo.gl/kEBPAk) website reports Thursday that rivet holes on the 2-foot-wide piece seem to match the design of a window patch made on...

  • AP asks for accounting of fake FBI news stories

    SEATTLE (AP) — Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and The Associated Press sent separate letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday expressing concerns that the FBI faked an AP story to catch a bomb threat suspect in 2007. The AP also asked the Justice Department to account for other times it has posed as a media organization...

  • Senior US diplomat seeks end to impasse in Haiti

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The United States sent a senior diplomat to Haiti on Thursday to help resolve a political impasse blocking long-overdue legislative and local elections in the Caribbean country. Thomas Shannon, counselor to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, met with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, members of Parliament,...

  • Relatives suspected poisoning in family's deaths

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Relatives of five Utah family members found dead in a locked bedroom last month suspected the deaths weren't accidental, and revelations that poison likely killed them confirmed their suspicions, according to a statement released Thursday. Jacob Strack said his family is struggling after learning from search warrants...

  • Cali cartel boss' daughter charged with extortion

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities in Colombia have jailed the daughter of one of the world's most famous drug lords on extortion charges after she allegedly threatened a businessman who owns a farm that she says once belonged to her father. Maria Alexandra Rodriguez is the daughter of Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, a former head of the Cali...

  • Costa Rica volcano spews ash, prompts evacuations

    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The Turrialba volcano's largest eruption in over a century rained ash over parts of central Costa Rica and prompted the evacuation of some nearby communities, authorities said Thursday. Volcanologist Gino Gonzalez of the Central American country's National Seismological Network said after visiting the volcano's rim...

  • Outburst disrupts former college official's trial

    SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania state university administrator testified during a federal civil rights trial Thursday that he didn't sexually harass or assault students, prompting one of the plaintiffs to rise from his seat and shout: "Don't lie!" The 26-year-old accuser had to be restrained and the courtroom in Scranton was cleared...

  • Father of missing Cuban migrant searching for son

    MIAMI (AP) — For two days, Lazaro Allegue has scoured the waters of Miami's Biscayne Bay and combed the thick brush on nearby keys in search of his son. He trekked through mangroves, shrubs and mosquito-ridden thickets in knee-deep water, and he crossed miles and miles of vast blue sea. As the sun fell Wednesday, there was only one possible...

  • Sri Lanka says no hope finding mudslide survivors

    KOSLANDA, Sri Lanka (AP) — Hundreds of desperate Sri Lankan villagers dug with bare hands through the broken red earth of a deadly landslide Thursday, defying police orders after a top disaster official said there was no chance of finding more survivors at the high-elevation tea plantation. There were conflicting reports of how many people...

  • Trial wrapping up in drum major's hazing death

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jurors could start deliberating Friday in the case of a former Florida A&M University band member charged with manslaughter and hazing in the death of a drum major who was beaten nearly three years ago on a band bus as part of a hazing ritual. The defense presented no witnesses, and Dante Martin, 27, accused by witnesses...

  • McDonnell wants new trial over jury issues

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Lawyers for former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday he should get a new trial on corruption charges because the jury in his case was potentially biased and may have acted improperly. McDonnell's lawyers filed court documents saying U.S. District Judge James Spencer did not properly examine whether potential jurors...

  • Inmate freed in landmark Illinois case

    CHICAGO (AP) — A prisoner whose confession helped free a death row inmate in a case that was instrumental to ending capital punishment in Illinois was released Thursday after he recanted, and a prosecutor said there was powerful evidence that the other man was responsible. Alstory Simon's confession gained international attention in 1999,...

  • French town bans clown disguises after assaults

    PARIS (AP) — A small town outside Montpellier in southern France has banned people from disguising themselves as clowns from the streets — especially on Halloween. This week's decision by Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere of Vendargues follows a series of incidents around France in which people dressed as scary clowns spooked children and in several...

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