Muppet magic probed in new biography of Jim Henson

“Jim Henson: The Biography” (Ballantine Books), by Brian Jay Jones. If ever you had a single question about the felt magic Jim Henson managed to create, chances are Brian Jay Jones’ sweeping new biography of the puppeteer will…

NYC crackdown on art vendors in parks is upheld

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court has upheld new regulations that limit the number of art vendors allowed in Manhattan’s busiest parks. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Wednesday. It denied…

Luxury river cruise opens up mysteries of Myanmar

MANDALAY, Myanmar (AP) — After closing its doors to the West for half a century, Myanmar has reopened, inviting all to come and discover its treasures, ancient palaces of kings long gone, legends and mysteries told in stone.…

3 freight trains collide in Texas, 4 crew hurt

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Three freight trains collided in the Texas Panhandle before dawn Wednesday, derailing up to 30 cars and injuring four crewmembers, including two critically. An eastbound BNSF Railway train rear-ended a stopped train, then moments…

US signs treaty to regulate global arms trading

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States, the world’s largest arms dealer, has joined more than 90 other nations in signing a treaty that regulates global arms trading, but there is strong resistance in the Senate, which must…

Cuba: Nearly 183,000 travel abroad since reform

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities say nearly 183,000 islanders have traveled overseas since a migratory reform law took effect earlier this year. A report on state television also says 1,900 Cubans who emigrated over the years have applied…

Harsh treatment of Roma in France draws scrutiny

PARIS (AP) — France’s treatment of thousands of Roma migrants who have been expelled to Eastern Europe came under new scrutiny Wednesday from the European Commission and a leading rights group, after France’s top security official said the…

Stocks little changed after 4 days of declines

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is adrift a week after setting a record. Stocks were flat in late-morning trading Wednesday as investors continue to worry about the economy and the growing possibility of a government shutdown.…

Shabab: Foreigners in Kenya “legitimate target”

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Al-Shabab, the armed Islamic extremist group that attacked a shopping mall in Kenya, says foreigners were a “legitimate target” and confirmed that gunmen separated Muslims from others and let the Muslims go. In an email…

USPS seeks increase in cost of stamps, to 49 cents

WASHINGTON (AP) — The financially ailing Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter — and that would raise the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents. The chairman of the…

State Dept audit: Benghazi review wasn’t biased

WASHINGTON (AP) — A State Department audit has found that an investigation of the deadly attack on the Benghazi, Libya diplomatic post was unbiased. But it says weaknesses persist in how the U.S. identifies threats overseas. The assessment…

Bull shot after dodging rush hour traffic

WOODBURY, Minn. (AP) — A runaway bull managed to dodge rush hour traffic in the Twin Cities, but was fatally shot by law enforcement officers concerned about public safety risk. Authorities say the 1,600-pound bull ran in and…

US: ATF misplaced 420 million cigarettes in stings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s internal watchdog says the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mounted dozens of undercover investigations into illicit cigarette sales without proper approval. It says the agency misused some of $162…

Poland asks Dominicans for priest abuse details

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish authorities have asked the Dominican Republic for details about its child sex abuse investigation into two Polish priests, one of whom was the Vatican envoy to the Caribbean country, officials said Wednesday. The…

Clinton to evaluate women’s rights across globe

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton says she plans to lead an effort to evaluate the progress women have made around the globe in becoming full and equal participants in society. The former secretary of state says…

Ohio cancer scheme suspect wants to plead insanity

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — A central Ohio woman accused of faking a cancer diagnosis for her 4-year-old son is pursuing an insanity plea on a child endangerment charge. Authorities allege Emily Creno, 31, of Utica, shaved her son’s…

Religion news in brief

Senate chaplain prays budget battle will be resolved WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black is asking God to give senators the wisdom to know how to pass a budget that would avert a government shutdown and…

UK lawmaker charged over anti-fracking protest

LONDON (AP) — A British lawmaker is facing criminal charges after taking part in a protest against shale gas extraction. Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green Party member in Parliament, was arrested last month at a protest near the…