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Las Vegas to welcome 2019 with superstars, fireworks show

LAS VEGAS — No other city does New Year’s Eve like Las Vegas. Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Gwen Stefani are among the superstars who will be ushering in the new year with performances at venues on the Las Vegas Strip, while more than 300,000 people are expected to gather on the world-famous ...

Mariah Carey Christmas classic sets new record on Spotify

NEW YORK — Mariah Carey’s 24-year-old Christmas classic is so popular it set a new one-day streaming record on Spotify on Christmas Eve. Chart Data reported that “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” released in 1994, was played 10.8 million times on Spotify on Monday. The song bested ...

Times Square New Year’s Eve ball gets some new sparkle

NEW YORK (AP) — Preparations for New Year’s Eve in Times Square are taking shape, and some of those shapes are 192 new crystal triangles on the famous ball. The new Waterford crystal triangles will join about 2,500 others Thursday on the big, sparkling sphere. Some new crystals are ...

Whitmer names much of Cabinet

LANSING — Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday named much of her Cabinet, including officials who will be involved in two of her top priorities — cleaning up drinking water and improving roads. Liesl Eichler Clark, who worked in former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s ...

Army looks for a few good robots, sparks industry battle

CHELMSFORD, Mass. — The Army is looking for a few good robots. Not to fight — not yet, at least — but to help the men and women who do. These robots aren’t taking up arms, but the companies making them have waged a different kind of battle. At stake is a contract worth almost half a ...

Euro currency remains a work in progress on 20th birthday

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The euro is about to celebrate its 20th birthday, but the countries that use it are still wrestling with how the shared currency should work and how to fix flaws exposed by the debt crisis that marred its second decade. The euro was launched on Jan. 1, 1999, when ...

Road salt storage sites need work

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — About half of Michigan’s road salt storage facilities are in poor condition. The critique comes from the Michigan Department of Transportation and was included Thursday in a report from the state auditor general. Road salt buildings are owned by the counties, but ...

Latino support for GOP is steady

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — Pedro Gonzalez has faith in Donald Trump and his party. The 55-year-old Colombian immigrant is a pastor at an evangelical church in suburban Denver. Initially repelled by Trump in 2016, he’s been heartened by the president’s steps to protect religious groups and ...

Syria forces enters Kurdish-led town

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s military announced Friday it entered the flash-point Kurdish-held town of Manbij and raised the national flag there, where Turkey has threatened an offensive. A Kurdish official said the government troops arrived only at the front lines. Ilham Ahmed, the senior ...

Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdrawal after Trump visit

BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Politicians from both blocs of Iraq’s divided Parliament called for a vote to ...

Indonesia widens danger zone around island volcano

CARITA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia raised the danger level for an island volcano that triggered a tsunami on the weekend, killing at least 430 people in Sumatra and Java, and widened its no-go zone. The country’s volcanology agency said Thursday that the Anak Krakatau volcano’s alert ...

Pope Francis’ early blind spot on sex abuse threatens legacy

VATICAN CITY — It has been a wretched year for Pope Francis, whose blind spot on clergy sex abuse conspired with events beyond his control to threaten his legacy and throw the Catholic hierarchy into a credibility crisis not seen in modern times. The latest development — a high-profile ...

American traverses Antarctica solo

(AP) An Oregon man became the first person to traverse Antarctica alone without any assistance on Wednesday, trekking across the polar continent in an epic 54-day journey that was previously deemed impossible. Colin O’Brady, of Portland, finished the bone-chilling, 930-mile journey as ...

Legal marijuana industry had banner year in 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. — The last year was a 12-month champagne toast for the legal marijuana industry as the global market exploded and cannabis pushed its way further into the financial and cultural mainstream. Liberal California became the largest legal U.S. marketplace, while conservative Utah ...

2 Michigan regulators take plea deals in Flint water case

LANSING, Mich. — Two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor Wednesday in exchange for more serious charges being dropped, bringing to six the number of officials who have agreed to such deals. Stephen Busch pleaded no ...

Baby born in car, named after road

NEW YORK (AP) — It was my way and the highway for a newborn New Yorker, who’s now named after the expressway where she was born in her parents’ minivan as they raced to a hospital. Alie Albarracin arrived around 3 a.m. Wednesday as parents Maria and Ivan Albarracin headed east on the ...

$52M for lock may save money

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s commitment of up to $52 million toward construction of a new Great Lakes shipping lock could accelerate the project’s completion by a year and save taxpayers $30 million. Gov. Rick Snyder and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the figures ...

Putin crows as he oversees hypersonic weapons test

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a test Wednesday of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, declaring that the weapon is impossible to intercept and will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come. Speaking to Russia’s top military brass after watching the live feed of the ...

Report: Israeli attack near Syrian capital wounds 3

BEIRUT — Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reported, saying that most of the missiles were shot down by air defense units. The TV, quoting ...

Koreas break ground on railways but sanctions block project

SEOUL, South Korea — North and South Korea broke ground Wednesday on an ambitious project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South, but without progress in nuclear negotiations, regular trains won’t be crossing the border anytime soon. The ceremony at ...