Decision on next Fed chief a rare political battle

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) — Bette Midler wouldn’t normally be expected to trumpet her opinion on who should be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. This time is different. A battle over what’s arguably the world’s most…

Measure of US economy’s health rose in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — A gauge of the U.S. economy’s health rose in July, pointing to stronger growth in the second half of the year. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month…

Egypt's ousted leader Mubarak released

Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, wearing a white shirt and loafers while flashing a smile, was released from prison Thursday and transported to a military hospital in a Cairo suburb where he will be held under house arrest.

Stock market gains on better global growth outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in early trading on Wall Street after encouraging economic figures from Asia and Europe boosted the outlook for global growth. In China, a private survey by the HSBC bank indicated expansion, providing…

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage at 4.58 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose this week to their highest levels in two years, driven by heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases later this year. Mortgage buyer Freddie…

Man charged with trespassing at Swift’s RI house

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Authorities say a Maine man went to the Rhode Island beach house of singer Taylor Swift and handed a security guard a note telling her to call him and leaving his cellphone number.…

Stocks open higher after six days of declines

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging news from Europe and China sent the stock market higher in early trading despite another batch of bleak earnings from retailers. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36 points, or 0.2 percent, to…

Group honors Pa. lemonade stand robbery victim, 10

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (AP) — A college business group has honored a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy whose lemonade stand was robbed by a 12-year-old boy with a BB gun. The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1d56qXD ) says 10-year-old Anthony Sanders, of Johnstown,…

Fund for slain Australian player tops $100K

ADA, Okla. (AP) — Chris Lane loved baseball, but knew it wouldn’t make him a star. Instead, the Australian youth with a quirky passion for America’s pastime came to the U.S. for a college education, found a girlfriend…

Russia defends anti-gay law in letter to IOC

LONDON (AP) — The Russian government assured the IOC on Thursday it will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Sochi Olympics, while defending the law against gay “propaganda” that has provoked an international backlash. The IOC received a…

Complicated fun: Are theme parks going geeky?

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — Boasting obscure characters and detailed story lines, several new attractions opened at theme parks this summer in Central Florida. The new rides and areas are much different from those just a generation ago,…

‘The World’s End’ a toast for 3 filmmaking friends

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s not the end of the world, but “The World’s End” marks a creative conclusion for Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. For the British trio behind “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot…

Review: Buffett returns with lackluster new album

Jimmy Buffett, “Songs From St. Somewhere” (Mailboat) On Jimmy Buffett’s first album in four years, the mayor of Margaritaville returns to mixing softly swaying beach tunes with pirate tales of foreign intrigue and social commentary. The problem, however,…

Police: Intruder found at Lopez’s Hamptons estate

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Police say an intruder had been living for a week on Jennifer Lopez’s property in the Hamptons while she was away. Southampton police said Wednesday the entertainer had an order of protection against 49-year-old…

Pakistani Taliban commander welcomes talks offer

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A senior Pakistani Taliban commander welcomed the government’s recent offer to hold peace talks Thursday, raising the possibility the militant group has changed its stance after shunning negotiations earlier this year. Asmatullah…

Greek bailout talk ruffles German election

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opponents are assailing her credibility after her finance minister said Greece will need a third bailout package — injecting Europe’s debt crisis for the first time into the campaign for next month’s…

Unification Church member inflames self, 2 others

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Three Japanese nationals who reportedly are members of the Unification Church have suffered burns after one of them set herself and the other two on fire in a South Korean town known as…

Lawyer: UK mounts criminal inquiry into NSA leaks

LONDON (AP) — The Guardian newspaper went to a British court on Thursday, demanding an injunction protecting materials that the government seized from the partner of a journalist who has written stories based on documents leaked by former…

Calif. girl: I texted abductor about a ride

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The 16-year-old California girl who was kidnapped by a family friend and later rescued says she first went online to talk about her ordeal because that’s how she and her friends communicate the most.…

Explosions shut down oil pipeline in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials say bomb attacks in northern Iraq have damaged part of a pipeline exporting oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. A police officer and an oil official said Thursday that three bombs went off…