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Podcast ‘Serial’ turns town into fan destination

“Serial” has turned the town of Woodlawn into a destination for zealous fans, anxious to uncover answers to questions in a 1999 murder mystery.

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  • NYC event marks winter solstice with music parades

    NEW YORK (AP) — Walking? Check. In a winter wonderland? Well, it marks the beginning of the season. Bells ringing? Sure, along with trumpets and some fiddles. An outdoor musical celebration is marking the winter solstice on Sunday with just over a dozen small parades in locations around New York City, and people are invited…

  • Ex-worker at China’s Forbidden City gets death

    BEIJING (AP) — A Beijing court on Friday sentenced a former employee of the Forbidden City to be executed for stabbing two of his supervisors to death on the museum’s grounds, state media reported. Zheng Zhibiao argued at his trial in early December that he had been concerned over a lack of protection of artifacts…

  • Marathon bombing survivor in ‘Yes to Dress’ finale

    BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon bombings took Rebekah DiMartino’s leg, but they couldn’t rob her of her joy as a new bride. Her sometimes faltering search for the perfect wedding dress — trying on designer gowns while balancing on crutches — is featured in Friday night’s season finale of TLC’s popular reality show, “Say…

  • NHL Capsules

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Blake Comeau scored 2:24 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, registering his sixth shutout of the season just hours after the Penguins thought their starting goalie had the mumps. Fleury, who recorded his 34th NHL shutout,…

  • Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

    HAVANA (AP) — The parents of convicted spy Rolando Sarraff Trujillo feared the worst when their son failed to call home from prison and they were told he had been taken away at dawn. But officials assured the couple that their son was now better off. Sarraff was publicly identified by a former intelligence official…

  • Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

    HAVANA (AP) — The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States has unleashed expectations of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings. On the first full day after the surprise announcement Thursday, many Cubans expressed hope that…

  • Comeau leads Penguins over Avalanche 1-0, OT

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins and captain Sidney Crosby hope that a recent bout with the mumps is a thing of the past. Blake Comeau scored 2:24 into overtime to give the Penguins a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, registering his career-best sixth shutout of…

  • Minnesota links caramel apples, 2 listeria deaths

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials say two people died and two others became ill this fall after eating prepackaged caramel apples contaminated with the bacterium listeria. The Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture are warning consumers to wait for more information before eating any pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples, including those topped with nuts, chocolate…

  • Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited

    TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited has resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results. Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem…

  • Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

    HAVANA (AP) — When convicted spy Rolando Sarraff Trujillo failed to call home from prison, his parents went to the jail to see if their son had fallen ill. Officials told the elderly couple not to worry, saying only that he was better off. A former intelligence official in the United States on Thursday publicly…

  • Hellmann’s maker Unilever drops suit over ‘Just Mayo’

    Hellmann’s mayonnaise maker Unilever has withdrawn its lawsuit against the maker of “Just Mayo.” Unilever filed suit against Hampton Creek earlier this year claiming the name of the small California company’s product amounted to false advertising. The consumer-products giant, whose U.S. arm is based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, had said that “Just Mayo” has…

  • Milwaukee to speed police training in handling mentally ill

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Police Department is stepping up training so that all police officers on the force would be fully trained to deal with the mentally ill by 2018, the mayor announced Thursday, months after a Milwaukee police officer killed a schizophrenic man at a park. “I have heard the concerns of the…

  • Police: Man hid gun parts in luggage at NY airport

    NEW YORK (AP) — Police say a New York City man has been arrested at Kennedy International Airport after TSA agents found handgun parts hidden in his luggage. Port Authority Police Department spokesman Joe Pentangelo says that Oscar Ramirez was arrested Wednesday attempting to board a plane to Mexico City. Pentangelo says agents found pieces…

  • Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

    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. On the first full day after the surprise announcement, many Cubans expressed hope that it…

  • ‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jared Cook wants to be more than hands up, he wants to be hands on this holiday season. The St. Louis Rams tight end and four other players who recently did the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture are following through on plans to aid residents in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Cook and…

  • European court rules obesity can be a disability

    LONDON (AP) — Obesity can be a disability, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday — a decision that could have widespread consequences across the 28-nation bloc for the way in which employers deal with severely overweight staff. The ruling, which is binding across the EU, has such profound implications for employment law that experts…

  • 3-D prosthetics give dog freedom (Video)

    WASHINGTON — A dog with no front paws learned to run with the help of a 3-D printer. A promotional video for 3D Systems tells the story of how the company’s 3-D-printed prosthetics allowed Derby, a disabled dog, to run upright for the first time. Derby was born with a congenital deformity characterized by small…

  • Charlie Brown and a city’s ugly Christmas tree

    READING, Pa. (AP) — Reading’s official Christmas tree has brought the city plenty of grief. Good grief. When the 50-foot Norway spruce went up last month, it drew immediate comparisons to the scraggly sapling in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Its giant bare spots and asymmetrical branches were no one’s idea of Christmas tree perfection —…

  • Podcast ‘Serial’ turns town into fan destination

    WASHINGTON – Thursdays have never been more exciting. Each week since October, more than a million listeners have rearranged their schedules to make time for a new episode of “Serial,” a 12-part podcast that delves into the investigation of the 1999 murder of Baltimore County, Maryland, teenager Hae Min Lee. The podcast’s popularity has inspired…

  • New York to ban fracking; environmentalists cheer

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Handing environmentalists a breakthrough victory, New York plans to prohibit fracking for natural gas because of what regulators say are its unexplored health risks and dubious economic benefits. New York, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has led to a drilling boom in Pennsylvania and other nearby…