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  • NASA’s Orion spacecraft back in Florida after test flight

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s experimental Orion spacecraft left Florida by rocket and returned by truck. The capsule arrived back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. It rocketed into orbit Dec. 5, traveling 3,600 miles into space on an unmanned test flight that proved to be a great success. NASA plans to…

  • Questions and answers about traveling to Cuba

    NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t rush to book that flight to Cuba just yet. While the U.S. plans to restore diplomatic ties with the Caribbean island nation, globe-trotting tourists won’t be able to hop on a plane to Havana anytime soon. It remains illegal for most U.S. citizens to travel to — and spend money…

  • 2nd security clearance investigation contractor hacked

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say the private files of 48,439 workers may have been compromised by a computer breach at government contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions Inc. The hacking incident is the second this year at a major firm handling national security background investigations of federal workers for the government. KeyPoint became the largest private…

  • Iraqi Kurdish troops open corridor to Sinjar

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants managed on Thursday to open up a corridor to Sinjar Mountain so that thousands of people from the country’s Yazidi minority who have been trapped there can flee, said a senior Kurdish official. The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake…

  • Correction: Meningitis Outbreak story

    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. A corrected version of the story is below: 14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak 14 employees at ‘filthy’ pharmacy…

  • Bernie Ecclestone back on F1 board, to stay as CEO

    LONDON (AP) — Bernie Ecclestone’s control of Formula One was fully restored on Thursday after overcoming court cases that threatened his grip on the motorsport series. The 84-year-old Ecclestone stepped down as a board member of F1’s holding company this year while standing trial for bribery in Germany. The case was closed in August when…

  • California power regulator to address allegations

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s chief utility regulator is expected to address allegations of backroom dealings with the state’s largest utility on Thursday when he presides over his last voting meeting of the five-member commission. California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey is due to chair the meeting amid an ongoing scandal over secret emails…

  • Pope Benedict got ball rolling with Cuba on Gross

    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 actually Francis’ predecessor, Emeritus Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists. The Associated…

  • Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

    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. Security was tight at…

  • More US troops going to Iraq in a couple of weeks

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The next wave of American troops will begin moving into Iraq in a couple of weeks to train local forces, the top U.S. commander for the mission said Thursday while cautioning that it will take at least three years to build the capabilities of the Iraqi military. Army Lt. Gen. James Terry,…

  • Group challenges timber producer’s ‘green’ label

    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. The Center for Sustainable Economy, based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, filed the complaint Thursday with a nonprofit group that verifies whether timber producers follow standards for…

  • Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

    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. While he issued a litany of sharp rebukes against the West, Putin struck a conciliatory note on Ukraine, saying that the…

  • Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

    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. No country would welcome a movie portraying the glib…

  • Judge: Slender Man stabbing defendant competent

    WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — One of two girls accused of stabbing a classmate in a southeastern Wisconsin park to please a fantasy character known as Slender Man is competent to stand trial for attempted homicide, a judge ruled Thursday. A state psychiatrist determined that the girl would be able to assist in her defense, but…

  • US announces protections for transgender workers

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender individuals. That means the Justice Department will be able to bring claims on behalf of people who say they’ve been fired by a public employer based on gender identity. In defending lawsuits, the federal government also will no…