Israeli ultra-Orthodox party reinstates leader

JERUSALEM (AP) — A spokesman for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party says it has reinstated Arieh Deri as party leader. Deri last held the post in 1999, the year he was convicted of accepting bribes and went to prison.…

Calif. may speed inmate releases to ease crowding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California may speed up the release of some inmates while allowing other inmates with a violent history to become firefighters, under a proposal to cut crowding in state prisons filed by Gov. Jerry Brown…

The nation’s weather

Weather Underground Forecast for Friday, May 03, 2013. A winter storm will persist for the center of the nation on Friday, as a cold front slows and becomes a stationary front stretching from Michigan through the Lower Mississippi…

Winds ease but Calif. wildfire threat remains

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire burned across a Southern California region, flaring up amid strong winds in the morning and cutting a 10-mile path to the Pacific by nightfall. By the time it reached Pacific Coast Highway…

Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies at 49

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of Slayer whose career was irrevocably changed after a spider bite, has died. He was 49. Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald said Hanneman died Thursday morning of liver failure at…

Family: Utah ref in coma had been assaulted before

MURRAY, Utah (AP) — A longtime Utah soccer referee in a coma after being punched by a teenager during a weekend game had been attacked by other angry players before, but he continued refereeing because he loved the…

Lawyer for Jodi Arias makes closing arguments

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias’ defense attorneys are set for closing arguments in a case that has captured headlines worldwide with tales of sex, lies and a bloody killing. Arias faces a potential death sentence if convicted of…

Drought across the West spurs resurgence of faith

BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) — Congregations across eastern New Mexico and West Texas are planning a special day Sunday to pray for rain. It’s a reaction to a relentless drought that afflicts much of the western U.S. From the…

China emerging as new force in drone warfare

BEIJING (AP) — Determined to kill or capture a murderous Mekong River drug lord, China’s security forces considered a tactic they’d never tried before: calling a drone strike on his remote hideaway deep in the hills of Myanmar.…

German neo-Nazi trial sparks fear of hidden racism

BERLIN (AP) — Most of the victims were immigrants and their deaths at first failed to make headlines. Police were quick to blame the slayings on foreign gangs with links to gambling and drugs. But revelations that a…

Film collection marks 100 years of Indian cinema

NEW DELHI (AP) — Four top Indian filmmakers have come together to make “Bombay Talkies,” a short-film collection that hits theaters Friday to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema. India’s first full-length feature film “Raja Harishchandra,” or “King…

Last South Koreans leave factory in North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says its last remaining nationals are about to leave a jointly run factory park in North Korea. Seoul said seven South Koreans who had been negotiating North Korean wages at the…

Giant rubber duck makes splash in Hong Kong harbor

HONG KONG (AP) — A six-story-high rubber duck is making a big splash in Hong Kong. Crowds watched the inflatable duck being pulled by tugboat across Victoria Harbor in front of Hong Kong’s signature skyscraper skyline. Tourist Zhang…

Gelding whose mother was rescued wins horse race

CICERO, Ill. (AP) — He may never run for the Kentucky Derby roses, but Illinois race horse Magna Fortuna and his owners are celebrating a victory none-the-less — his survival. The 3-year-old gelding’s name means “great luck,” and…

Sectarian killings reported in Syrian village

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s main opposition group says President Bashar Assad’s regime was behind an attack on a Sunni village near the Mediterranean coast that killed at least 50 people, according to activists. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for…

Chicago terror suspect won’t be released to home

CHICAGO (AP) — A U.S. district judge in Chicago is scheduled to hear the government’s appeal of a decision to release an Illinois teenager accused of seeking to join al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria. The hearing in Abdella Ahmad…

Ohio lawmakers to hold hearing on Medicaid future

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers will hold a hearing next week looking at ways to help people move off Medicaid and into private health care plans. The hearing will f……

Quotations of the day

“Arming the rebels — that’s an option. You look at and rethink all options. It doesn’t mean you do or you will. … It doesn’t mean that the president has decided on anything.” — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel…

Oil tank explodes in Louisiana; homes evacuated

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (AP) — An oil tank has exploded in Louisiana in an area outside Baton Rouge, prompting the evacuation of 30 to 35 homes. The explosion happened late Thursday night near Denham Springs. No injuries had…