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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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  • Image of Asia: Manila zoo gets in Christmas mood

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, an orangutan named “Pacquiao” and a zoo owner wear Santa costumes while posing for pictures in the Philippine capital, Manila. The orangutan is one of the main attractions in Manny Tangco’s private animal collection in Manila’s suburb of Malabon, which also includes the native Philippine Brown Deer, in the…

  • 11th Sierra Leonean doctor dies from Ebola

    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A health official in Sierra Leone says another of the country’s doctors has died from Ebola. Dr. Brima Kargbo, the country’s chief medical officer, confirmed Thursday that Dr. Victor Willoughby died earlier in the day. He had tested positive on Saturday. Willoughby was one of Sierra Leone’s most senior physicians.…

  • S. Korean group cancels plans for border tree

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean church group said Thursday it canceled plans to erect a giant Christmas tree near the border with North Korea after locals complained that it could provoke Pyongyang. The Seoul-based Christian Council of Korea faced strong resistance from residents in the border town of Gimpo after it announced…

  • Update on the latest religion news

    UNITED STATES-CUBA-ALAN GROSS Freed Jewish American thanks supporters for their prayers WASHINGTON (AP) — The Jewish American freed after five years in a Cuban prison says this is the best Hanukkah of his life. Arriving in Washington after his release in Cuba, Gross thanked his Jewish congregation in Maryland and other Jews, Christians and Muslims…

  • Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

    NEW YORK (AP) — Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what? To give you a feel for what that connectivity brings, here’s a closer…

  • Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Opponents of President Barack Obama’s sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba have little chance of scuttling his effort in Congress. His initiative faces some strong resistance among lawmakers and opened fissures in both parties. Criticism came mostly from Republicans, who say the new policy rewards Cuba’s decades-long policies of repression, human…

  • Vegas hotelier faces gambling commission scrutiny

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The man who started a hospitality empire with a Los Angeles nightclub and turned the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip into a hipper, sleeker destination is facing questions for the second time this month from gambling regulators about his cocaine use and questionable business dealings. Sam Nazarian…

  • 14 charged in meningitis outbreak that killed 64

    BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged 14 people in a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide. Authorities say it’s the biggest criminal case ever brought in the U.S. over contaminated medicine. The co-founders, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy are accused of using expired ingredients and failing to follow…

  • 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 the first week of October, more than a million listeners have rearranged their schedules to make time for a new episode of “Serial,” an 11-part podcast that delves into the investigation of the 1999 murder of Baltimore County, Maryland, teenager Hae Min Lee. The…

  • AP News in Brief at 7:58 p.m. EST

    Sony cancels release of “The Interview” after unprecedented attack by N Korea cyberterrorists NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. official says North Korea perpetrated an unprecedented act of cyberwarfare against Sony Pictures that exposed tens of thousands of sensitive documents and escalated to threats of terrorist attacks that ultimately drove the studio to cancel all…

  • American Kennel Club adds 4 new dog breeds

    NEW YORK (AP) — A Spanish farm and fishing dog, a Sicilian rabbit-hunting breed, an Italian sheepdog with a distinctive matted coat and a rugged South African watchdog are joining the American Kennel Club pack. The kennel club announced Wednesday that the Spanish water dog, the Cirneco dell’Etna (cheer-NAY-koh-dehl-eht-nah), the Bergamasco and the Boerboel (BUHR’-buhl)…

  • APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago rejected a proposed $75 million class-action head injury settlement with the NCAA on Wednesday, portraying the deal as too unwieldy and potentially underfunded and urging both sides to go back to the drawing board. Under the proposal, NCAA would toughen return-to-play rules for players with concussions and…

  • 14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    BOSTON (AP) — Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers’ gloved fingertips. Pharmacists used expired ingredients, didn’t properly sterilize them and failed to test drugs for purity before sending them to hospitals and pain clinics. Employees falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected. Federal…

  • US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Freighters once carried Cuban nickel and limestone to the port of New Orleans and North Dakota beans to Havana. Cuban families ate bowls of American rice, while U.S. tourists flocked to casinos and nightclubs in Havana. The United States’ commercial ties with Cuba were broken 54 years ago after Fidel Castro took…

  • Image of Asia: Manila zoo gets in Christmas mood

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, an orangutan named “Pacquiao” and a zoo owner wear Santa costumes while posing for pictures in the Philippine capital, Manila. The orangutan is one of the main attractions in Manny Tangco’s private animal collection in Manila’s suburb of Malabon, which also includes the native Philippine Brown Deer, in the…

  • 11th Sierra Leonean doctor dies from Ebola

    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A health official in Sierra Leone says another of the country’s doctors has died from Ebola. Dr. Brima Kargbo, the country’s chief medical officer, confirmed Thursday that Dr. Victor Willoughby died earlier in the day. He had tested positive on Saturday. Willoughby was one of Sierra Leone’s most senior physicians.…

  • S. Korean group cancels plans for border tree

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean church group said Thursday it canceled plans to erect a giant Christmas tree near the border with North Korea after locals complained that it could provoke Pyongyang. The Seoul-based Christian Council of Korea faced strong resistance from residents in the border town of Gimpo after it announced…

  • Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Opponents of President Barack Obama’s sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba have little chance of scuttling his effort in Congress. His initiative faces some strong resistance among lawmakers and opened fissures in both parties. Criticism came mostly from Republicans, who say the new policy rewards Cuba’s decades-long policies of repression, human…

  • Obama: As a black man he’s been mistaken for valet

    WASHINGTON (AP) — He may be president now, but Barack Obama says he’s a black man who has been mistaken for the valet and worries his daughters could face stereotypes. “There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t…