Retail funk: Stores face biggest challenges since recession
NEW YORK (AP) — It's starting to look a lot like the Great Recession redux for retailers.
More than twice as many stores have closed this year than at the same point last year. Bankruptcies are far outpacing last year's rate. Retailers slashed jobs at the sharpest pace in seven years this spring. And retailers collectively could report the biggest drop in first-quarter profits since 2009.
Robotic fruit pickers may help orchards with worker shortage
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Harvesting Washington state's vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States.
That system eventually could change dramatically as at least two companies are rushing to get robotic fruit-picking machines to market.
The robotic pickers don't get tired and can work 24 hours a day.
Abating bait: Decline in prized worms threatens way of life
WOOLWICH, Maine (AP) — Dan Harrington makes his living unearthing marine worms by hacking away at mudflats with a tool that resembles the business end of an old steel rake.
He's fine with the freezing weather, the pungent aromas and the occasional nip from an angry crab, but his latest problem is the big one — the worms just aren't there like they used to be.
Americans offer hope, prayer in assessing Trump’s 100 days
They are young and old: a high school student who can't yet vote, a Vietnam vet who did so proudly. They hail from all corners of the United States and very different walks of life: a "downhome boy" from Kentucky, a third-generation Mexican-American from Texas, a stay-at-home mom in Pennsylvania, an Iranian immigrant in Los Angeles.
Some oppose Donald Trump and all that he stands for, while others voted enthusiastically for him. Now, they are critiquing him.
Trump sons take helm of company, eye domestic expansion
NEW YORK (AP) — Apprentices no more, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are now at the helm of the Trump Organization and adjusting to the reality presented by their father's presidency. They're eyeing ways to use the new lease on the family fame by expanding the brand into parts of the United States that embrace him.
Correction: Mideast-Entrepreneurs story
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a story April 22 about entrepreneurs from the Middle East, in a section about one Saudi woman who stands out, The Associated Press misspelled her name. She is Manar Alomayri, not Manal Dhod.
After Ebola, Liberians slowly embrace mental health care
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Drawn-out deaths. Communities torn apart. Survivor's guilt. Patrick Fallah says his memories of the days when the Ebola virus swept through Liberia are so awful that he sometimes has trouble focusing on the present.
Trump tells young immigrants in US illegally to ‘rest easy’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally can "rest easy," President Donald Trump said Friday, telling the "dreamers" they will not be targets for deportation under his immigration policies.
Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, said his administration is "not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals."
Young immigrants won’t ‘rest easy’ despite Trump’s comments
HOUSTON (AP) — Young immigrants protected by executive action from deportation say they won't "rest easy," even if President Donald Trump says they should.
Several "dreamers" told The Associated Press on Friday that they were not comforted by Trump's pledge, in an AP interview, that he wouldn't target the almost 800,000 people brought to the U.S. as children and living in the country illegally under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program enacted by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Bye-bye, and here’s your check: Golden exit for the departed
NEW YORK (AP) — Don't let the vault door hit you on the way out.
Getting forced out of a job is painful, but a couple (dozen) million dollars help salve the wound. The latest big name to get a big payment with a bye-bye from the boss is Bill O'Reilly. The longtime Fox News host is in line to get up to $25 million, according to media reports, after a string of sexual-harassment allegations led to his ouster.
Retirement for O’Reilly? He’ll have other options
NEW YORK (AP) — Chances are you haven't heard the last of Bill O'Reilly. He'll have options, and retirement seems unlikely.
At least three conservative news outlets are eager to speak with him. O'Reilly, the top cable news personality for two decades until Fox News Channel fired him this week following harassment claims by women, would be a game-changer for any company trapped in Fox's shadow.
Resort island without Uber or Lyft wants to keep it that way
NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (AP) — Twelve miles and a ferry ride from the New England shore, Block Island is one of the last major tourist destinations in the United States without Uber or Lyft — and islanders want it to stay that way.
Orphaned baby of Islamic State’s caliphate trapped in prison
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — He is an orphan of the Islamic State group's self-proclaimed caliphate, a Tunisian toddler who is now caught in diplomatic limbo and has been stuck in a Libyan prison for a year.
LA’s violent uprising of 1992 returns to TV 25 years later
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Toward the end of "L.A. Burning," a new documentary about the fiery and deadly 1992 Los Angeles riots, a man who lived through the turmoil issues an ominous warning about the future.
"If we don't change the way we interact with the police and they interact with us, y'all might as well just welcome the next riot," he says.
Tillerson’s Russia trip highlights emergence from shadows
WASHINGTON (AP) — Criticized for his low-profile diplomacy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is emerging from the shadows with a leading public role in shaping and explaining the Trump administration's missile strikes in Syria. And, he's set for an even higher-profile mission, heading to Moscow under the twin clouds of Russia's U.S. election meddling and its possible support for a Syrian chemical weapons attack.
Female athletes get a trio of wins in equality fight
In a matter of days, female athletes around the globe scored a trio of wins in their fight for equality after decades of work.
The U.S. women's national soccer team struck a new collective bargaining agreement with their federation, ending more than a year of at times contentious negotiations, with players seeking comparable compensation to the men's national team.
To some, aggressive Justice Dept stance looks like step back
WASHINGTON (AP) — For three decades, America got tough on crime.
Police used aggressive tactics and arrest rates soared. Small-time drug cases clogged the courts. Vigorous gun prosecutions sent young men away from their communities and to faraway prisons for long terms.
New York derailment highlights US infrastructure concerns
When a train jumped the tracks this past week at New York's Penn Station, the seemingly minor accident led to a cascade of exasperating delays for hundreds of thousands of commuters.
When a flood forced authorities to condemn a one-lane, century-old bridge in rural Ozark, Missouri, it was no less frustrating for the residents and business owners cut off from their shortest route into town.
APNewsBreak: FBI reviews handling of terrorism-related tips
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has been reviewing the handling of thousands of terrorism-related tips and leads from the past three years to make sure they were properly investigated and no obvious red flags were missed, The Associated Press has learned.
Joining high court, the real Neil Gorsuch set to stand up
WASHINGTON (AP) — Somewhere between the Republican caricature of the next justice of the Supreme Court as a folksy family guy and the Democrats' demonization of him as a cold-hearted automaton, stands Neil Gorsuch.
Largely unknown six months ago, Gorsuch has seen his life story, personality and professional career explored in excruciating detail since he was nominated by President Donald Trump 10 weeks ago.
Writers say ‘Peak TV’ has hurt them; contract talks extended
So-called "Peak TV" and its expansive array of series has been great for viewers, say Hollywood scribes, but not so much for writers. On Monday, the Writers Guild of America will resume negotiations over a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents broadcast and cable networks and movie studios.
Housing options help autistic adults find independence
DALLAS (AP) — Masha Gregory was nervous to move out of her parents' home and into her own place, where the 26-year-old Pennsylvania woman worried about making friends and being away from her parents. But after living in her own apartment at a complex that focuses on adults with autism, she's made new friends and found she loves her independence.
Republicans hope Trump amenable to food stamp restrictions
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine resident Zak McCutcheon says he likes soda but acknowledges he'd drink less of it if his governor convinced Republican President Donald Trump to put restrictions on the approximately $200 a month he receives in food stamps. He thinks it may even make recipients healthier and less overweight.
Retail store job cuts deepen as more buyers migrate online
NEW YORK (AP) — Retail stores are cutting jobs at the sharpest pace in more than seven years, evidence of a seemingly inexorable shift away from employee-heavy stores as Americans increasingly shop online.
Tales from the border: 2 weeks along the US-Mexico frontier
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — The smells and sounds of Tijuana smack us as soon as we open the doors of our bug-splattered rental, a Jeep Renegade: food stalls selling roasted corn, churros and hot dogs; a near-empty bar blaring the oompa-oompas of norteno, Mexico's answer to polka.
Drug epidemic: 1 small-town mayor takes on pill distributors
WELCH, W.Va. (AP) — In this once prosperous West Virginia coal town of 1,900 people, residents say it's not just the decades-long demise of mining that hurt the community — it's the scourge of drug use that came with it.
‘Pinkwashing’ populism: Gay voters embrace French far-right
PARIS (AP) — A political party that would abolish same-sex marriage — one whose founder wanted AIDS patients rounded up and branded homosexuality "a biological and social anomaly" — is now winning LGBT votes in France.
Motivated in part by the deadly Islamic extremist attacks at home and at a Florida gay nightclub, a growing bloc of traditionally left-leaning gay voters has embraced far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, leader of the once-fringe National Front party.
Cuban biologist raises 2 chimpanzees in her Havana apartment
HAVANA (AP) — Over the last year Ada and Anuma II have broken Marta Llanes' television and computer key board, chewed her telephone to pieces and ruined much of her furniture.
She has forgiven them every transgression. It's hard to stay angry at a baby chimpanzee when it clambers up your leg and into your arms and plants a kiss on your cheek in a plea for forgiveness.
Girl found living with monkeys in Indian forest
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Indian police are reviewing reports of missing children to try to identify a girl who was found living in a forest with a group of monkeys.
The girl, believed to be 10 to 12 years old, was unable to speak, was wearing no clothes and was emaciated when she discovered in January and taken to a hospital in Bahraich, a town in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India.
Madagascar forest overwhelmed by thousands seeking sapphires
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) — A sapphire rush has brought tens of thousands of people into the remote rainforests of eastern Madagascar, disfiguring a protected environmental area and prompting calls for military intervention.
Trump’s stance on Iran emboldens hard-liners in Iran
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's hard-liners are hoping they can benefit from the rise of Donald Trump in upcoming elections, arguing that their own country needs a tougher leader to stand up to an American president whose administration has put the Islamic Republic "on notice."
They say it's time for a "revolutionary diplomacy" to confront the U.S. after four years of a more conciliatory policy under moderate incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.
South Sudan’s civil war creates a new lost generation
BIDI BIDI, Uganda (AP) — Six-year-old Santo proudly wears a Harvard T-shirt as if he has just been accepted into the elite institution, but its warped lettering, layers of dirt and gaping holes say more about the young refugee's future.
After fleeing South Sudan's three-year civil war, Santo and his family have found themselves in the bleak Bidi Bidi settlement in northern Uganda, among hundreds of thousands of people who make up the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis.
Once-booming gun industry now recalibrating under Trump
WEBSTER, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump promised to revive manufacturing in the United States, but there's one once-burgeoning sector poised to shrink under his watch: the gun industry.
Coffee shop brews up backlash with political punch cards
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh coffee shop is brewing up backlash over a loyalty punch card featuring pictures of President Donald Trump and other conservatives.
Black Forge Coffee House owner Nick Miller says the satiric cards are meant to express frustration with the system and nothing more. However, critics complain the punch holes make it look like the politicos have been shot in the forehead.
Empty jails hope to cash in on illegal immigration crackdown
DALLAS (AP) — Several Texas counties that are struggling with debt because their jails have few or no prisoners hope to refill those cellblocks with a different kind of inmate: immigrants who have entered the country illegally.
More US cities aim to make Chinese travelers feel at home
BOSTON (AP) — Hotels offer congee and other Chinese staples for room service. Casinos train staff members on Chinese etiquette. Restaurants, tourist sights and shopping malls translate signs, menus and information booklets into Chinese.
The American hospitality industry is stepping up efforts to make Chinese visitors feel more welcome, since they are projected to soon surpass travelers from the United Kingdom and Japan as the single largest overseas demographic.
Black women reveal indignities via #BlackWomenAtWork
A few hours apart on Tuesday, two Black women were confronted by white, male public figures in exchanges that many viewed as demeaning and disparaging. In those few moments, Black Twitter coalesced and fired back with memes and a viral #hashtag that declared both incidents as unacceptable, but also unfortunately familiar.
Living by the sword: Carving a niche making warrior blades
NEW HAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Through smoke and sparks and staccato banging from his anvil, John Lundemo forges swooping swords that look like they should be pulled from a stone, swung by a samurai or thrust on "Game of Thrones."
The 60-year-old has carved out a niche making pricey blades that are inspired by history but liberally mix in elements of East and West, high art and Hollywood.
"I do tend to add my own flair," Lundemo said in his shop recently. "Making exact copies, I don't do."
Liberia asks as UN leaves: Who will pursue war’s atrocities?
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The skeletal remains of 27 people were all that was left of a massacre, one of many in this West African nation's back-to-back civil wars more than a decade ago. When the United Nations handed over the bones to the government last month, it was an invitation to investigate. Instead the remains were buried quickly, without ceremony, in a site intended for victims of the Ebola virus.