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Tesla has raised prices on its Model Y in the U.S., apparently due to rising demand and changes in U.S. government rules that make more versions of the small SUV eligible for tax credits. The electric vehicle company bumped up the price of the Model Y Long Range version by about 2% to $54,990 and the Performance version by about 2.7% to $57,990. The moves made Friday come three weeks after Tesla cut prices nearly 20% on some versions of the Model Y, the company’s top-selling vehicle. The price cuts were made to boost sagging demand, and also to make more versions of the Model Y eligible for the full $7,500 electric-vehicle tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act.

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High-profile problems involving electronic pollbooks in recent years have opened the door for those peddling election conspiracies. And those problems also are making clear the critical role that technology plays in whether voting runs smoothly. Poll workers use electronic pollbooks to check in voters. The pollbooks typically are a tablet or laptop computer that accesses an electronic list of registered voters with names, addresses and precinct information. National standards for the security and reliability of electronic pollbooks don’t exist. And efforts underway to develop them may not be ready or widely adopted in time for the 2024 presidential election. Russia and Iran already have demonstrated interest in accessing these systems.

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China has played down the cancellation of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after a large Chinese balloon suspected of conducting surveillance on U.S. military sites roiled diplomatic relations, saying that neither side had formally announced any such plan. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Saturday morning that the U.S. and China have never announced any visit. Blinken was due to visit Beijing on Sunday for talks aimed at reducing U.S.-China tensions, the first such high-profile trip after the countries’ leaders met last November in Indonesia. But the U.S. abruptly canceled the trip after the discovery of the huge balloon despite China’s claim that it was merely a weather research “airship” that had blown off course.

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A growing online conspiracy theory is using the tagline “died suddenly” to baselessly claim that COVID-19 vaccines are killing people. The filmmakers and anti-vaccine activists behind the misinformation campaign have flooded social media with news reports, obituaries and GoFundMe pages about sudden deaths or injuries alongside the term “died suddenly” and syringe emojis. The media intelligence firm Zignal Labs found that the use of “died suddenly” or a misspelled version of it in tweets about vaccines have surged more than 740% in the past two months compared with the two previous months. Rigorous study and real-world evidence from hundreds of millions of administered shots prove that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

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It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. The roads are plagued by drug cartels, common criminals, and extortion and kidnap gangs so state police provide escorts for the trucks brave enough to face the 40-mile (60-kilometer) trip to packing and shipping plants in the city of Uruapan. Drivers are often robbed of their avocados and their trucks.

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Southern California's most popular puma gained fame as P-22 and cast a spotlight on the troubled population of California’s endangered mountain lions and their decreasing genetic diversity. After his death in December, wildlife officials and representatives from the region’s tribal communities are now debating his next act. Biologists and conservationists want to retain samples of P-22’s body for scientific testing to aid in future wildlife research. But representatives of the Chumash, Tataviam and Gabrielino (Tongva) peoples say his body should be returned, untouched, to the ancestral lands where he spent his life so he can be honored with a traditional burial.

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A train derailment and resulting large fire have prompted an evacuation order in an Ohio village near the Pennsylvania state line. The Friday night derailment covered the area in billows of smoke lit orange by the flames below. Rail operator Norfolk Southern says about 50 cars derailed in East Palestine from a train carrying a variety of freight. No injuries were reported. Officials say they're trying to determine which cars are still burning. An evacuation order remained in place for residents within a mile of the scene, and the local air quality is being monitored. A National Transportation Safety Board team was heading to the scene to investigate.

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The first drug to show that it slows Alzheimer’s is on sale, but treatment for most patients is still several months away. Experts say scant coverage of the drug and a long setup time needed by health systems are two main factors behind the slow debut. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Leqembi from Japanese drugmaker Eisai in early January. It was approved for patients with mild or early cases of dementia tied to Alzheimer’s disease. Patients take the drug by IV every two weeks. A year’s treatment will run about $26,500, making coverage important for access.

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A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top Democratic priorities that were sure to face a battle in the narrowly divided Congress — tough asks like an assault weapons ban. He also laid out a “unity agenda for the nation” — four goals that it would be hard for anyone to argue against: improving mental health, supporting veterans, beating the opioid epidemic and fighting cancer. Biden is still pushing for some of those big Democratic goals, but he’s fared better on the “unity” goals.  White House officials cite significant progress on all four items, while noting they won’t be solved overnight.

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The Chinese balloon drifting high above the U.S. and first revealed over Montana has created a buzz down below among residents — and raised a chorus of alarm from elected officials. The high altitude balloon roiled diplomatic tensions as it continued to move over the central U.S. Friday and Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled an upcoming trip to China. Montana is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base and dozens of nuclear missile silos, causing doubt over Beijing’s claim that it was a weather balloon gone off course. The governor and members of Congress pressed the Biden administration over why the military didn’t immediately bring it down from the sky.

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A huge, high-altitude Chinese balloon is sailing across the U.S. The spectacle drew severe Pentagon accusations of spying on Friday, while sending some excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars. President Joe Biden had been inclined to blow it out of the sky, officials say, but bowed to strong recommendations against that by top military leaders, who feared harm to Americans on the ground from debris from the large, heavy ship. Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing U.S.-China tensions. Late Friday, the Pentagon acknowledged reports of what it called "another Chinese surveillance balloon” flying over Latin America.

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A jury has decided Elon Musk didn’t defraud investors with tweets in 2018. The verdict by the nine jurors was reached after less that two hours of deliberation following a three-week trial. The trial pitted Tesla investors represented in a class-action lawsuit against Musk, who is CEO of both the electric automaker and the Twitter service he bought for for $44 billion a few months ago. In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had the financing to take Tesla private even though it turned out he hadn’t gotten an iron-clad commitment for an aborted deal that would have cost $20 billion to $70 billion to pull off. The verdict is a major vindication for Musk.

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California won’t make children get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools. The California Department of Public Health said Friday it is not exploring emergency rules to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school vaccinations. That’s a reversal from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021 announcement that the state would add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of mandated vaccinations for kids to attend school. Last year, state officials delayed that requirement until at least the summer of 2023. Now public health officials say they are no longer moving ahead with the effort as the state prepares to end its coronavirus emergency on Feb. 28.

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Alaska authorities say a skull found in a remote part of the state’s Interior in 1997 belongs to a New York man whose death was likely caused by a bear mauling. The Alaska State Troopers said in a statement that investigators used genetic genealogy to identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden. DNA was taken from the remains in April. Troopers say they contacted a relative who also provided a DNA sample. The relative told troopers Sotherden had been dropped off to go hunting in the 1970s in the area where his skull was found. A troopers spokesperson said Sotherden had been reported missing in the late 1970s.

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A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation’s new 988 mental health helpline late last year, federal officials tell The Associated Press. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks. The attack occurred on the network for Intrado, the company that provides telecommunications services for the helpline. The agency did not disclose details about who it believes launched the attack or what kind of cyberattack occurred. Those who tried on Dec. 1 to reach the line for help with suicidal or depressive thoughts were instead greeted with a message that said the line is “experiencing a service outage."

Farmworkers at two mushrooms farms in California's Half Moon Bay are back at work barely a week after seven of their colleagues were shot and killed. Three workers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity say they need to earn a living and the farm is the only place where others understand what they experienced. The three all work at Concord Farms, where three people died. They were granted anonymity because they are traumatized and feared the attention that would come if their names are publicized. Authorities say Chunli Zhao shot and killed seven current or former coworkers at two farms because of workplace grievances.

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Ford will return to Formula One as the engine provider for Red Bull Racing in a partnership announced Friday that begins with immediate technical support this season and engines in 2026. Red Bull powertrains and Ford will partner on the development of a hybrid power unit that will supply engines to both Red Bull and AlphaTauri when new F1 regulations begin in 2026. The American automaker dominated F1 in the late 1960s and 1970s as an engine manufacturer with Cosworth and Ford is the third most successful engine maker in F1 history with 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships.

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Officials say a sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, including rules surrounding the deployment of a stun gun. Preston Hemphill had previously been suspended as he was investigated for his role in the Jan. 7 of Nichols, who died three days later. Five Memphis officers have already been fired and charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death. Hemphill was the third officer at a traffic stop that preceded the violent arrest but was not where Nichols was beaten. Body camera footage from the initial stop has Hemphill saying that he stunned Nichols and “I hope they stomp his ass.”

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Adults ages 21 and older now can legally buy marijuana for recreational use in Missouri. The state health department approved marijuana dispensary licenses unexpectedly early Friday. Recreational pot became legal in Missouri in December, but the health department had until Friday to approve or deny licenses. Missouri voters amended the state constitution in November to legalize recreational pot. The amendment also calls for the expungement of records of past arrests and convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, except for selling to minors or driving under the influence.

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Spanish-born fashion designer Paco Rabanne has died at age 88. The company that owns the Rabanne brand on Friday announced the death of the designer known for perfumes and metallic, space-age fashions. Fashion and beauty company Puig described Rabanne as a “visionary designer” and “among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century.” Rabanne’s fashion house shows its collections in Paris and is scheduled to unveil the brand’s latest ready-to-wear designs during the upcoming Feb. 27-March 3 fashion week. Coco Chanel reportedly called Rabanne “the metallurgist of fashion.” He used various kinds of metal in his designs, including the chain-like mail associated with Medieval knights.

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A major rail project in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is intended to drive economic development to some of the country’s poorest areas, in part by bringing up to three million tourists each year. Scientists and environmentalists worry that the project will hurt ecosystems like the Calakmul jungle, home to one of the most important jaguar populations in Mesoamerica and one of Mexico’s largest bat colonies. Opponents of the project also argue that construction is moving ahead without sufficient time for public hearings and environmental oversight. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants the train rolling by the end of this year, when his term ends. He has designated it a matter of “national security” so as to speed up the process.

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A standoff over abortion in politically conservative regions of New Mexico escalated as Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would prohibit local governments from interfering with women’s access to reproductive health care. The initiative from state House Democrats comes in response to abortion restrictions recently adopted in two counties and three cities in eastern New Mexico. A legislative panel endorsed the bill Friday on a party-line vote with Republicans in opposition. The measure would also ban interference with gender-affirming care. The anti-abortion ordinances reference an obscure U.S. anti-obscenity law that prohibits shipping of medication or other items intended for abortions.

A Massachusetts woman is scheduled to be arraigned from a hospital next week in the deaths of her three children. Lindsay Clancy is facing murder and assault charges after her 5-year-old daughter, Cora, and her 3-year-old son Dawson, were strangled Jan. 24 inside the family home in Duxbury, a coastal town about 30 miles) south of Boston. They were pronounced dead at a hospital.  Her younger son, 7-month-old Callan, died several days later. A private funeral service was held for the children Friday. The Boston Globe reported Friday that her attorney received permission from a judge to be examined by a forensic psychologist for evidence of postpartum mood disorder.

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