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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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  • Ice buckets, breaking the Internet: A year in pop culture

    Just for fun, let’s try to picture the year in pop culture, all in one image. We might begin with a singer oddly named Adele Dazeem, belting “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” Suddenly a friend would pour a bucket of ice water over her head. Adele would immediately tweet the moment on her new…

  • Thousands respond to black rhino import request

    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. Since publishing the application request in November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received more than 15,000 comments…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

    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.” A growing number of retailers are using software that changes online prices based on demand, competition, inventory and other factors. The…

  • Report: Radiation leak at nuclear dump was small

    CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A final report by independent researchers shows the radiation leak from the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was small and localized. The report released Thursday by the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center also says no negative health effects are expected among workers or the public.…

  • Deaths and sex allegations rock the comedy world

    NEW YORK (AP) — For comedians, there was very little to laugh about in 2014. Three pioneering comic legends died — David Brenner, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams — and Bill Cosby went from America’s dad to an alleged serial sexual predator. “It’s unfortunate when you lose anybody. To lose three and to have these…

  • Warehouse holding Ebola supplies in Guinea catches fire

    CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinean official says a fire at a warehouse at the Conakry airport has destroyed crucial medicine to help fight Ebola. Dr. Moussa Konate, head of logistics for Guinea’s Ebola response, said that the fire on Thursday morning engulfed a building holding medicine, like anti-malarials and antibiotics. He said: “Everything is…

  • Prince William calls Kate’s hair a ‘nightmare’

    WASHINGTON – It sounds like Duchess Kate’s famous locks may not be a favorite of her husband. Prince William was recently on a charity visit when he was overheard cracking jokes to a trainee hairdresser, according to Today. He reportedly told the woman that she should try styling Kate’s “nightmare” hair. Angel, training to be…

  • Irish face new abortion row over brain-dead woman

    DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland is debating its ban on abortion again as doctors keep a brain-dead pregnant woman on life support, awaiting a judge’s verdict on what do to with the living fetus. Irish media reported Thursday that relatives want to turn off the woman’s life support systems but doctors are refusing because the law…

  • 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 —…

  • Cambodian villagers angry over HIV outbreak

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s prime minister appealed Thursday to villagers in northwestern Cambodia not to lynch an unlicensed medical practitioner who they suspect caused more than 100 people to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Teng Kunthy, head of the Health Ministry’s HIV/AIDS center, said 106 people out of more…

  • 2014: A year of battle lines drawn over dinner

    Have you picked a side yet? If not, you’d better think fast, because the battle lines are being drawn and they cut right down the dinner table. For if there was any theme to the food world in 2014, it was the prevalence of polarizing issues. Whether we were tussling over genetically modified organisms, or…

  • Have a stress-free family holiday

    Leslie Morgan Steiner, ModernMom.com                      

  • AAA projects record holiday travel by Maryland residents

    BALTIMORE (AP) — Record numbers of Maryland residents are expected to travel for the year-end holidays due in part to lower gas prices and a longer holiday travel window. AAA Mid-Atlantic says more than 2.1 million Maryland residents are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home for the holidays. That would be a…

  • Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A lack of unanimity in both political parties toward President Barack Obama’s sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba complicates any congressional effort to scuttle the most significant change in U.S. policy toward the communist island in 50-plus years. His initiative faces some strong resistance among lawmakers, with criticism coming mostly from…

  • 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…