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Baby born in Hawaii is 1st US birth with Zika virus, defect

Baby born in Hawaii is 1st US birth with Zika virus, defect

HONOLULU (AP) — Health officials say a baby born in a Hawaii hospital is the first in the United States born with Zika virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday it’s also the first infant born in the country with microcephaly (mye-CROW’-sef-ah-LEE’) associated with Zika virus. It’s a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Babies with the condition often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

The state Department of Health announced Friday that the baby was born recently in an Oahu hospital. The mother likely had the mosquito-borne virus while living in Brazil and her newborn acquired the infection in the womb.

Neither the baby nor the mother is infectious. Officials say there’s no risk of transmission in Hawaii.

The Latest: 2 people die, 4 children injured in Fla. tornado

The Latest: 2 people die, 4 children injured in Fla. tornado

DUETTE, Fla. (AP) — The latest developments in the tornadoes that struck communities in Florida south of Tampa Bay (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The Skyway Bridge, a major thoroughfare in Tampa, has reopened. Officials closed the bridge earlier Sunday morning for the second time since midnight after wind speeds reached up to 50 mph with wind gusts up to 60 mph.

Severe weather sparked a pair of tornadoes that ripped through central Florida before dawn Sunday, officials said. A couple was killed and their son and four grandchildren were injured when one of the twisters destroyed their mobile home in the community of Duette.

Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to tour damaged areas in Siesta Key at 1:45 p.m.

11:00 a.m.

Officials in Tampa closed the Skyway Bridge, a major thoroughfare, Sunday morning for the second time since midnight after wind speeds reached up to 50 mph with wind gusts up to 60 mph.

Severe weather sparked a pair of tornadoes that ripped through central Florida before dawn Sunday, officials said. A couple was killed and their son and four grandchildren were injured when one of the twisters destroyed their mobile home in the community of Duette.

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube says two adults, their adult son, and their four grandchildren were inside the mobile home when the early morning twister struck.

9:20 a.m.:

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube says that two adults were killed and five people injured, including four children, when a tornado touched down in central Florida.

Steube said two adults, their adult son, and their four grandchildren were inside the mobile home when the twister hit.

Steven Wilson died in the tornado when it ripped the mobile home apart. Wilson’s wife, Kate, was taken to a hospital and died from a heart attack. Their son, also named Steven Wilson, crawled out of the wreckage and helped his four children out of the house. They are being treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Public gets $16.2 million bill for Rams retention effort

Public gets $16.2 million bill for Rams retention effort

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An effort to persuade the owner of the St. Louis Rams to keep his team in Missouri by building a new riverfront football stadium not only failed but also left the public on the hook for $16.2 million in expenses.

Most of the money went to a local architecture firm and an assortment of lawyers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (bit.ly/236Nhfv) reported.

The stadium effort screeched to a halt on Tuesday when NFL owners voted 30-2 to approve a request by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to move the team to Southern California.

Instead of playing in a new, $1.1 billion open-air stadium along the Mississippi River, the Rams now are expected to move into Kroenke’s proposed $2 billion football palace in Inglewood, southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

In its bid to fend off the move, the public agency that owns the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis paid 22 companies, including architects, surveyors, bond attorneys, construction managers, geotechnical engineers, financial advisers and a minority workforce expert.

The grand vision for the new riverfront stadium included an arena with plazas and gardens, bridges and bike trails, soaring glass sides, a wall of public at, a three-story brew pub and a 30-foot-wide observation deck stretching over the Mississippi River flood wall.

Architecture firm HOK made more than $10.5 million for its work on the stadium plan, while the Dome authority’s attorneys, Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, billed almost $900,000. Thompson Coburn bond and financing lawyers charged an additional $760,000.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s stadium task force, which guided the Dome authority’s hiring, faced criticism for how it handled the project.

Contracts were awarded without bids —attorneys said the Dome authority wasn’t technically a state agency and didn’t have to follow state rules. The firm of task force co-chairman Bob Blitz was one of the largest benefactors of the effort. Many of the stadium contractors also are political donors.

HOK company declined an interview with the Post-Dispatch on Friday, but the architects said earlier that 30 employees and 30 contractors were working on the proposal.

Others who worked on the effort to build the stadium say they were frugal, followed all laws, cared deeply and worked their tails off even though they knew the outcome was far from guaranteed.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Trial delayed for ex-pro wrestler in girlfriends 1983 death

Trial delayed for ex-pro wrestler in girlfriends 1983 death

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The trial for former professional wrestling star Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka in the death of his mistress more than three decades ago has been postponed with a defense attorney saying his client is not competent for the proceedings.

Robert Kirwan II filed a motion in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Country Court for a competency hearing for the 72-year-old resident of Camden County, New Jersey, who was scheduled to go on trial in March.

Snuka has been charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Nancy Argentino, of New York, who was found dead in May 1983 after authorities were called to their hotel room near Allentown. Snuka has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer has called Argentino’s death an “unfortunate accident.”

Kirwan told Judge Kelly Banach on Friday that the former WWE wrestler’s mental health has declined steadily in recent months and he no longer understands the charges or even knows that he was arrested.

“He had no idea what charges he faced,” Kirwan said, and added, referring to Argentino’s death, that “He has no recollection of the incident.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher called for an independent evaluation of Snuka’s fitness for trial, but Banach said she wanted to research the law to see whether that was required.

Gallagher said he will challenge the defense motion for a competency hearing, noting that the defendant’s mental health was considered during the grand jury process. He also suggested that Snuka “has had a career in entertainment,” only to be told by the judge that “He’s also had a career in head trauma theater.”

Snuka, who had been at a World Wrestling Federation taping at the Allentown Fairgrounds, told police shortly after Argentino’s death that he had returned to the couple’s Whitehall Township hotel room to find her unresponsive in bed. An autopsy determined she died of traumatic brain injuries and had more than two dozen cuts and bruises, and said her injuries were consistent with being hit with a stationary object. Snuka wrote about Argentino’s death in his 2012 autobiography, maintaining his innocence and saying the episode had ruined his life.

Snuka was known for diving from the ropes and even the top of steel cages in a career that spanned four decades. He was admitted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1996, according to the organization’s website.

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Iran welcomes sanctions end, but tough thaw ahead

slid1Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, is surrounded by lawmakers as he leaves the parliament after presenting draft of the country’s next year budget and sixth development plan in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Rouhani said Sunday that the official implementation of the landmark deal reached between Tehran and six world powers has satisfied all parties except radical extremists. Rouhani said the deal has “opened new windows for engagement with the world.” (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The implementation of a historic nuclear deal with world powers is expected to pave the way for a new economic reality in Iran, now freed from harsh international sanctions.

More than $30 billion in assets overseas will become immediately available to the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Central Bank Governor, Valiollah Seif, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that Iran will not transfer the cash and instead will use it to import the goods it needs. Official Iranian reports have set the total amount of frozen Iranian assets overseas at $100 billion.

A European oil embargo on Iran will end. Already, some 38 million barrels of oil are in Iran’s floating reserves, ready to enter the market, according to the International Energy Agency.

All that means even more money coming into the country, allowing it to undertake needed repairs to its oil and gas fields to boost its own production. Iran is home to the world’s fourth-largest proven reserve of crude oil and ranks second in proven natural gas reserves behind Russia.

Tehran already seems to be making plans for its post-sanctions economy and infrastructure. Transport Minister Abbas Akhondi told the official IRNA news agency Saturday that his government had agreed to buy 114 new planes from the European consortium Airbus. Iran is looking to buy up to 400 new planes to replace its aging commercial fleet — some of which has been grounded due to a lack of spare parts.

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presented parliament with a draft budget that plans for an economic windfall even as it reduces reliance on oil revenues. The $75 billion budget is about 4.2 percent higher than the previous year’s budget of $72 billion.

Sizeable financial challenges will remain for Iran, a country in which ATMs don’t link to the global banking system and restaurants can’t accept foreign credit cards. Local banks remain burdened with bad debt, inflation is still high and unemployment stands at around 10 percent.

The International Monetary Fund in October noted that some businesses and consumers were putting off major purchases in hopes of getting higher-quality foreign goods when sanctions end. This delayed spending is dragging down domestic growth, but could amplify the economic boost delivered by the lifting of sanctions.

As Iran emerges from sanctions it will join a global economy in flux, with fears of a Chinese slowdown that led to a plunge in U.S. stocks last week. Oil is selling at around $30 a barrel, a 12-year low already affecting Iran’s oil-producing neighbors in the Gulf. Any new Iranian supply to the market is likely to keep oil prices down.

“In terms of the global backdrop, Iran’s reintegration could hardly come at a worse time,” an October report by the Dubai-based bank Emirates NBD said. “Ultimately, we still suspect that growth can rebound sharply.”

Under the deal, the United Nations’ arms embargo on the country continues, as do ballistic missile restrictions.

Since July, there has been some hard-line pushback. Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has launched missiles and shown footage of an underground weapons base, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned against Western influence spreading in the country.

But this week, when U.S. sailors were captured by Iran after straying into its territory, the Islamic Republic let them leave within a day after direct contacts between Kerry and Zarif. The two diplomats formed close ties during the nuclear negotiations.

The implementation of the nuclear agreement was accompanied by the release of four U.S.-Iranian prisoners held in Iran, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and a number of Iranians from U.S. custody, signaling a further thaw in ties.

Kerry said Saturday that the prisoner swap was not formally linked to the nuclear deal, but that it was “accelerated in light of the relationships forged in the nuclear talks.”

The deal also could affect Iran’s upcoming parliamentary election in February, further changing the balance of political power inside the country. Already, analysts have predicted it will boost allies of Rouhani, a moderate whose administration helmed the deal.

Since the deal was signed, however, there have been a series of legal cases in Iran targeting poets, filmmakers, artists, activists and journalists, which analysts attribute to hard-liners’ continuing struggle with moderates.

Prominent analyst Sadeq Zibakalam said implementation of the nuclear deal has brought a genuine rapprochement between Iran and the West for the first time in nearly four decades.

“It’s the first time, 37 years after Iran’s 1979 revolution, that Iran has succeeded in detente with the West, specifically with the U.S., despite radical and hard-line opponents both inside Iran and America as well as the Israeli lobby and Saudi opposition,” Zibakalam said.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Follow him on Twitter at

In Omaha, and much of US, debate over sex education rages on

In Omaha, and much of US, debate over sex education rages on

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Rival factions yelling at one another amid angry pushing. Tirades about condoms, and claims of misinformation. A parent declaring that children are being force-fed course material “straight from the pits of hell.”

Such has been the tenor of recent school board meetings in Omaha as board members contemplate the first update in three decades of the school district’s sex education curriculum.

A public meeting in October ended in chaos after shouting and shoving broke out between supporters and opponents of the update who had packed by the hundreds into an auditorium. This month, as board members sat in stoic silence, activists from both sides vented their feelings during three hours of public comment — reflecting divisions that have bedeviled school boards nationwide, as well as state legislatures and even Congress.

Kathryn Russell, a grandmother who formerly worked for the Omaha school district, said the proposed curriculum “rapes children of their innocence.” Another critic, Jesse Martinez, used the “pits of hell” reference, calling elements of the course material “garbage.”

Supporters of the update — ranging from the president of the city council to students who spoke — exhorted the school board to equip students with reliable information that would help the Omaha region lower rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases that are above the national average.

“I have a right to this information,” said Ryleigh Welsh, a sophomore at Omaha’s Central High School. “Sexual health is more than just sex. It’s about understanding and taking care of your body and being prepared for a healthy future.”

In Omaha, as in many U.S. communities, some parents and conservative activists insist that any school-based sex education emphasize sexual abstinence as the wisest course. Yet as more young people turn to social media and online resources — including pornography— for sex-related information, there’s pressure on schools from other quarters to offer accurate, candid information that can compete with and correct what’s available beyond the classroom.

“The notion that sex education is limited to what happens in school is an antiquated one,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. It is one of several organizations that’s developing online sex education to supplement school-based programs.

In Omaha, school board president Lou Ann Goding said one of the motivations for updating the sex-ed curriculum is to counter misinformation that students encounter outside of school.

“There’s so much social media and other sources that they can go to that are not always reliable,” Goding said.

Sex education in America has a long and checkered history, winning the backing of the U.S. Public Health Service in 1940, gaining traction in the 1980s during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, but generating steady opposition from social conservatives.

Omaha Public Schools, which serves about 52,000 students, has taught sex education since 1986 as part of a course called Human Growth and Development.

Abstinence is encouraged in the curriculum, which also covers such topics as reproductive anatomy, pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases.

As initially proposed, the updates would add discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in 7th and 8th grades, and discussion of abortion and emergency contraception in 10th-grade lessons on birth control.

The school district conducted a telephone survey of about 1,500 parents last year, and reported that a sizable majority supported adding those topics to the curriculum. But the margins of support for the abortion and emergency contraception components were smaller than for other topics, and school officials now plan to omit them.

Over the course of 2015, some churches and other groups began to circulate criticisms of the district’s plans. Spearheading the opposition is a conservative Christian group, Nebraskans for Founders’ Values, which has held briefings at local churches and encouraged skeptical citizens to attend school board meetings.

Many of the opponents’ allegations have been denied by the school district, including claims that the new curriculum was designed by Planned Parenthood, would authorize school staff to take students to get abortions, and would provide them with birth control.

Board members stress that none of the sex-ed courses will be mandatory — parents must opt their children into the classes offered in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, and can keep them out of the classes in middle school and high school. Topics for 4th graders include puberty and how to stay safe from sexual abuse; by middle school students are learning about methods of contraception.

The board plans to vote on new standards for the sex-ed program on Jan. 20, then work on details of a new curriculum in time for any changes to be implemented next fall.

Sex education is taught in varied forms and under different rules across the 50 states.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states require public schools to teach sex education. In other states, including Nebraska, it’s generally up to individual school districts to decide what form of sex education, if any, is offered. In 35 states, parents are allowed to keep their children out of sex-ed classes.

There’s no detailed nationwide breakdown of how America’s 13,500 school districts handle sex education, although the Centers for Disease Control compiles partial data. Its latest report, with 2014 data, suggests that programs in most school districts stress the benefits of sexual abstinence, while a smaller portion offer instruction in high school about usage of specific contraceptive methods.

In most of the U.S., fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 topics recommended by the CDC as essential components of sex education.

While the federal government has no direct role in dictating sex-education curriculum, it has influence in the form of federal funding for various programs. From 1981, the start of Ronald Reagan’s administration, through 2009, such funds went predominantly to abstinence-only programs; since 2010, under President Barack Obama, abstinence funding has been reduced and larger sums appropriated for comprehensive sex-ed programs.

Rival advocacy groups lobbied hard in Congress last year to get a favorable outcome for their approach. The end result maintained annual spending at about $100 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which incorporates comprehensive sex education, and doubled spending from $5 million to $10 million to abstinence-oriented programs.

According to the CDC’s latest figures, from 2013, 44 percent of female teens and 47 percent of male teens between 15 and 19 have had sexual intercourse.

Follow David Crary on Twitter at

US imposes new Iran sanctions for ballistic missile testing

US imposes new Iran sanctions for ballistic missile testing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Sunday imposed sanctions against 11 individuals and entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program as a result of Tehran’s firing of a medium-range ballistic missile, a new punishment one day after the Obama administration lifted economic penalties against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

The missile program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in a statement.

He said the U.S. has made it clear that it will “vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities” outside the terms of the nuclear agreement. Szubin cited Iran’s “support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile program.”

Also Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that the U.S. and Iran had settled a dispute over $400 million in Iranian money dating back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and end of diplomatic ties. The Iranians also get $1.3 billion in interest. At issue was money used by Iran to buy military equipment from the U.S. before the break in ties between the countries.

U.N. experts said in a report in December that the missile test in October violated sanctions banning Iran from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The U.S. also believes there was a November missile test.

U.S. officials have said the Treasury planned to announce the penalties in late December, but held off after Iran’s foreign minister said they could have derailed the prisoner exchange that took place this weekend.

Blizzards, high winds batter Eastern Europe, cause havoc

Blizzards, high winds batter Eastern Europe, cause havocA man crosses a bridge as snow has covered Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Blizzards battered parts of Eastern Europe on Sunday, forcing roads to close, trains and flights to be cancelled and producing power outages.

The snow blanketed parts of Romania, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Poland, while Croatia’s Adriatic coast was hit by unseasonably low temperatures and high winds.

Romania’s transportation ministry said 12 major roads were closed Sunday due to heavy snow and three Black Sea ports had to shut down because of high winds. Railway authorities said 20 trains had been canceled. At least three flights were also canceled.

Some 14 communities in Romania suffered power outages and the Education Ministry said schools would close Monday in Bucharest, the capital, and in other southeastern regions.

The Interior Ministry said 6,000 officers were helping to clear the snow.

The cold snap also gripped other countries, causing traffic problems and power outages.

Hundreds of refugees traveling from Macedonia trudged through the snow, bracing freezing temperatures to arrive Sunday at the registration center in Presevo in southern Serbia.

Milica Nikolic, a doctor at the registration camp, said the refugees risked frostbite due to the low temperatures. Aid workers inside the camp handed out warm tea and soup to the migrants Sunday before they resumed their journey to Western Europe.

Sub-zero temperatures and strong winds battered the Adriatic Sea coast in Croatia, disrupting some ferry lines and air traffic in the coastal city of Dubrovnik.

Suicide bomber targets police chief in Yemens Aden, kills 7

Suicide bomber targets police chief in Yemens Aden, kills 7An employee inspects Youth and Sports Ministry’s building destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the police chief’s house in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, killing seven civilians and security forces in a failed assassination attempt after militants killed two other security officials elsewhere in the country.

Police Chief Shallal al-Shayei survived a similar assassination attempt last month, as did the governor of the province, which forces loyal to the internationally recognized government pried away from Shiite Houthi rebels last year. Aden’s previous governor was killed in an attack claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate.

Ambulances raced to the police chief’s house after the explosion, which could be heard across the city, witnesses said. Officials said an armored vehicle blocked the suicide car bomber meters from the gates of the house. Seven people were killed and 12 injured after the explosion ripped through a bus that was passing by.

Yemen has been mired in a conflict pitting the Shiite Houthi rebels against the internationally-backed government, which is allied with a Saudi-led coalition. The fighting has killed more than 5,800 people since last March, when the coalition began striking Houthi targets from the air.

The chaos has allowed a powerful local al-Qaida affiliate and a more recently formed branch of the Islamic State group to expand their reach, including in Aden, Yemen’s commercial hub.

U.S. drones have carried out a number of strikes since the start of the year targeting al-Qaida militants, according to security officials and witnesses, who said drone strikes killed 13 militants on Sunday in Jaar, a town seized by al-Qaida last year. They did not know the affiliation of the militants.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the account. U.S. officials rarely speak publicly about the covert drone program.

The Saudi-led coalition meanwhile appears to have stepped up airstrikes in northern Yemen targeting the Houthis and allied army units loyal to a former president. Residents said the coalition launched at least 35 strikes on Sunday in the capital and the northern province of Jawf.

In Saada, the Houthis’ northern heartland, Houthi officials and witnesses said an air raid killed at least 30 people on Saturday. It was not clear if they were civilians or fighters.

Elsewhere in Yemen, Police Chief Adel al-Asbahi of Bayda province was killed by a bomb planted in his vehicle on Sunday, while Mohammed al-Dhali, of the special forces, was gunned down by attackers on a motorcycle in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Witnesses requested anonymity for security reasons.

This story has been corrected to show that the last name of the police chief in Bayda province is al-Asbahi, not al-Asshabi.

star Leslie Caron visits Broadway

 star Leslie Caron visits BroadwayIn this Jan. 12, 2016, image released by Boneau/Bryan-Brown, actress Leslie Caron, who starred in the film, “An American in Paris,” center, appears with flowers on stage with the cast of the musical, background from left, Jill Paice, Max von Essen, Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope after a performance in New York. (Apples and Oranges Studios/Boneau/Bryan-Brown via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Leslie Caron carries a souvenir of making the classic 1951 film “An American in Paris” with her every day.

The 84-year-old French beauty wears a ring she bought with her first paycheck from the Gene Kelly film. Back then, she was a shy teenage ballerina and the jewelry she picked made a statement: A phoenix with a globe in its talons.

“It means I can grapple the world,” the actress said late last week in the midst of a whirlwind trip to New York.

Two people who gazed reverentially at her ring in her hotel suite were two young dancers who know exactly how she must have felt — Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope, currently starring in the lush Broadway musical “An American in Paris.”

Like Caron, Fairchild and Cope are ballet dancers who spread their wings into another medium thanks to the power of the story set in post-war Paris with Gershwin songs.

“That’s what changed your life,” said Fairchild, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, speaking to Caron. “That’s what changed our lives,” he said, pointing to him and Cope, a first artist at The Royal Ballet.

When it was released, the film “An American in Paris” became an instant hit, winning the best picture Oscar. Caron skyrocketed to fame, appearing in such hit musicals as “Lili,” “Daddy Long Legs” and “Gigi” before moving on to success in both comedies and dramas.

Caron hadn’t ever intended on a career in film. “When I was told, ‘Gene Kelly wants to meet you,’ I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t even know who he was. ‘Gene, who? Who is that?'”

More than 60 years later, Fairchild and Cope, who each took a leave from their ballet companies, made their own brave leaps out of the bubble of ballet and received Tony nominations.

Caron couldn’t visit New York without seeing the musical adaptation of her most famous movie and she did on Tuesday, getting a standing ovation and flowers after being brought onstage.

“It was so cool to have you in the audience,” said Fairchild. “There’s a heightened obligation to bring it to you. What an incredible opportunity for us to have you there. It was amazing.”

Caron, who almost blushed at the attention, replied; “It was an inspiring evening. I was really thrilled the moment the curtain went up.”

During a 45-minute meeting, the three chatted about everything from onstage injuries — Cope suffered a concussion during one performance, Fairchild a calf injury — to how hard it is to capture dance on film. Caron recalled long hours dancing on concrete during the “An American in Paris” filming.

“We filmed a 30-second commercial two weeks ago and I found it the most difficult thing,” said Cope. “It was so hard and it was for 30 seconds. That’s all it was. I can’t imagine filming what you did.” (Caron replied: “I was very young.”)

Both Fairchild and Cope recently marked the show’s 300th performance but their time together is winding down. Fairchild will permanently return to New York City Ballet in March.

“You may come back to Broadway?” asked Caron.

“He will!” insisted Cope. “He’s Mr. Broadway.”

“Oh, I would love to,” Fairchild answered. “If I can do both, God, I’ll be happy.”

As for Cope, bigger changes are in the works. The same day her show honored Caron, the English dancer resigned from the Royal Ballet, her home for the past 20 years and where her husband dances.

“I feel like this is my world now,” she said, tearing up. “I feel like it’s time to make a change and do something new.” She will stay with the show and then pursue Broadway career.

“I couldn’t say no,” she said. “And then, fingers-crossed, who knows? I mean, I never imagined this would happen, so who knows what’s going to happen next.”

Caron was encouraging: “You’ve been given an enormous gift,” she said to the young dancer. “She has the discipline and open enough mind to take it in, learn and keep on growing.”

It’s no surprise that Caron was encouraging: She has a soft spot for Broadway and adores its depth, including “Hamilton,” which she also saw (“It’s staggering and so amusing.”)

Did she ever want to make her own Broadway debut? “I do still — 80 years later,” she said, laughing. “I think Broadway is the top. It’s so rich, so full of mind-blowing shows.”

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SweetN Low to end Brooklyn production after nearly 60 years

SweetN Low to end Brooklyn production after nearly 60 yearsIn this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 photo, Cumberland Packing Corp. employees and union representatives chant slogans during a protest of Cumberland’s closure in New York. After nearly 60 years, the New York City factory that makes the sugar substitute Sweet?N Low will soon be stopping local production. The family-owned company told workers that production would stop in Brooklyn over the year and shift entirely to other parts of the country, leaving only headquarters in the borough. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — For almost 60 years, tiny pink packets of Sweet’N Low have flowed, millions upon millions, from Cumberland Packing Corp., the Brooklyn company where the sugar substitute was first created.

But the family-owned company told workers just over a week ago that manufacturing and packing work would stop in Brooklyn over the course of the year and shift entirely to other parts of the country, leaving only its headquarters in the borough.

It’s the latest chapter in a familiar tale. New York City hasn’t been a manufacturing contender in decades, with global competition and the high costs of labor and real estate taking their toll.

“It’s a miracle they were here this long,” said Adam Friedman, executive director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. “They make a very standardized, commodity, low-value-added product, and that is not what New York is today, nor has it been for 10, 15, even 20 years.”

News of the shutdown came as a shock to the 300 or so employees when they were told at a meeting.

“It’s just like a bomb just dropped on us; nobody expected that,” said Delbert Ranger, 52, who has worked as a machine operator at the company for about six years.

Their union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013, had been in contract negotiations for several months, but the closure was never mentioned “at any time at all with us,” said Jahan Khan, an employee on the bargaining committee.

Workers, along with elected officials, have protested the closing, decrying the loss of manufacturing jobs, some held by employees for decades.

The decision to move all packing and manufacturing out of New York City is one “that we’ve been holding off for decades” out of commitment to employees, said Steven Eisenstadt, company CEO and grandson of the founder, Benjamin Eisenstadt. The company had started using other packing companies for at least some of the production in the early 1980s, he said.

“As much as we would like the ‘Made in Brooklyn’ aspect to be meaningful, it doesn’t seem to necessarily have the same resonance in other parts of the country as it would around here,” he said. “There are other aspects where it’s just about how competitive are you compared to others.”

The company is committed to helping employees find new jobs, he said, and is talking to the union about it. Company officials wouldn’t say where the old jobs will move.

Benjamin Eisenstadt’s story of founding Sweet’N Low has become the stuff of business folklore.

After starting with a company that filled teabags, he had an idea: Sugar could also be put into individual packets, an unheard-of thought in the late 1940s when restaurants used only bowls and glass dispensers for sugar. But Eisenstadt didn’t patent his idea, and it was adopted by sugar companies.

That led Eisenstadt and his son in 1957 to develop a new product to put into packets, a low-calorie sugar alternative using saccharin that they called Sweet’N Low.

The product is still made on antiquated machines, some that previous generations of the family helped design, Steven Eisentstadt said. It’s created in blenders from a mix of ingredients, and then fed into machines that fill the packets, which are then shipped out. The company also makes Sugar in the Raw and Stevia in the Raw, among other products.

Manufacturing jobs in the city at the time of Sweet’N Low’s start numbered at about 1 million. That’s compared with a mere 75,000 now, according to a report from the Center for an Urban Future. But after decades of decline, there’s been some very slight uptick in recent years, said Jonathan Bowles, the center’s executive director.

But New York City’s manufacturers nowadays tend to be smaller enterprises, such as artisan food or high-end furniture companies, that have a handful of employees making products on a small scale for local markets.

“This kind of more local product, this interest in something that isn’t mass-produced, that is something that is really growing again in New York,” he said.

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Ex-DA expected to be key defense witness at Cosby hearing

Ex-DA expected to be key defense witness at Cosby hearing

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An ex-prosecutor is expected to testify that he promised Bill Cosby would never be charged over a Pennsylvania sex-assault complaint, but a judge must decide if that constitutes an immunity deal.

Then-District Attorney Bruce Castor will be a key defense witness at a Feb. 2 hearing to determine if the case is thrown out.

The defense argues that prosecutors who arrested Cosby last month unfairly used his deposition testimony from the accuser’s 2005 lawsuit against him. Castor supports their position.

But new District Attorney Kevin Steele says there’s no evidence of a signed immunity agreement. And accuser Andrea Constand’s lawyer says she doesn’t know of one.

The deposition shows Cosby testifying that he gave Constand wine and pills before performing a sex act. He calls it consensual. She says she was drugged and violated.

Launch set for US-European ocean-monitoring satellite

Launch set for US-European ocean-monitoring satelliteThis undated artist rendering provided by NASA shows the Jason-3 satellite. The latest in a series of U.S.-European satellites designed to detect ocean events like El Nino is scheduled for launch Sunday, Jan. 17, from California. If successful, the Jason 3 satellite will continue more than two decades of sea level measurements. (NASA via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest in a series of U.S.-European satellites designed to detect and measure ocean phenomena like El Nino is scheduled for launch this weekend aboard a SpaceX rocket that will attempt to land its discarded first stage on a floating barge.

If the launch is successful, the Jason-3 satellite would continue an unbroken record of more than two decades of sea level measurements from orbit. Liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Los Angeles, was planned for a 30-second window at 10:42 a.m. PST Sunday, with a backup opportunity on Monday.

Air Force meteorologists predicted 100 percent favorable weather for the launch, NASA said.

As the current El Nino in the eastern Pacific has strengthened, Jason-3 has been stuck on the ground. Jason-3’s launch was originally scheduled for August 2015 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. However, the launch was postponed after a different Falcon 9 rocket failed during a supply mission to the International Space Station in June. After correcting the problem, a successful launch last month restored Falcon 9s to flight status.

Like its three predecessors, Jason-3 is equipped with radar altimeter to bounce microwave energy off the ocean and a GPS system to identify the satellite’s precise location. Timing of how long it takes the signal to return indicates sea level height, which rises or falls depending on the temperature of the water.

The data collected can detect the weather-altering El Nino condition and its opposite, La Nina, and are most familiar to the public in images of the Pacific Ocean that use colors to illustrate variations in heat. Other pragmatic uses include measuring global sea level rise, and forecasting the strength of hurricanes, other severe weather and ocean conditions for the shipping industry and in response to oil spills.

“Jason allows us to get the big picture in terms of sea-level change in the years to come,” said Laury Miller, Jason-3 program scientist.

Jason-3 is a project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. It was built by Thales Alenia of France.

Jason-3 will ultimately replace Jason-2, which has been in orbit since mid-2008 and has been tracking the current El Nino that experts say has tied the 1997-98 version as the strongest recorded and is expected to last through the winter before weakening in spring.

Despite being in its eighth year and only designed to last five, Jason-2 “is still in great shape,” Jason-3 project scientist Josh Willis said. After being used to help calibrate the new satellite, Jason-2 will be moved to an orbit to study the shape of the sea floor.

The series of spacecraft began with Topex-Poseidon, which operated from 1992 to 2006. Topex, short for ocean surface topography experiment, revolutionized understanding of the role of ocean temperature on climate. Its successor, Jason-1, operated from 2001 until it was decommissioned in 2013.

Mission scientists emphasized at a prelaunch briefing that it is important to maintain an unbroken record of global sea level variation.

SpaceX will use the Jason-3 launch to again try to land a Falcon 9 first stage on an oceangoing barge, with the second stage and satellite continuing toward orbit. The Hawthorne, California, company hopes to reduce launch costs by reusing rockets rather than having them fall into the ocean.

Two previous attempts to land a rocket on a barge in the Atlantic failed, but last month SpaceX succeeded in returning a rocket to a vertical landing at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after putting a cluster of satellites into orbit.

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of mission assurance for Space-X, said the current rocket would have been able to return to land but the company does not have environmental approval at Vandenberg yet.

Meteorologists predict swells of 10- to 13-feet where the barge will be waiting for the rocket landing attempt.

“The sea state is good for surfing and a little high for landing but we don’t anticipate that that’s going to be a major problem,” said Koenigsmann. “I’m really hopeful. We had a really good landing last time.”

The barge landing attempt would not be visible from shore because it will occur beyond the horizon, he said.

The cost of the mission, including five years of operation, was put at $180 million.

Particles could reveal clues to how Egypt pyramid was built

Particles could reveal clues to how Egypt pyramid was builtFILE – This file Aug. 19, 2011 photo shows tourists as they leave the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, about 25 miles south of Cairo, Egypt. An international heritage research group says scientists will begin analyzing radiographic muons, or cosmic particles, collected from the ancient Bent Pyramid built by the Pharaoh Snefru. (AP Photo/Coralie Carlson, File)

CAIRO (AP) — An international team of researchers said Sunday they will soon begin analyzing cosmic particles collected inside Egypt’s Bent Pyramid to search for clues as to how it was built and learn more about the 4,600-year-old structure.

Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute, said that plates planted inside the pyramid last month have collected data on radiographic particles known as muons that rain down from the earth’s atmosphere.

The particles pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces. By studying particle accumulations, scientists may learn more about the construction of the pyramid, built by the Pharaoh Snefru.

“For the construction of the pyramids, there is no single theory that is 100 percent proven or checked; They are all theories and hypotheses,” said Hany Helal, the institute’s vice president.

“What we are trying to do with the new technology, we would like to either confirm or change or upgrade or modify the hypotheses that we have on how the pyramids were constructed,” he said.

The Bent Pyramid in Dahshur, just outside Cairo, is distinguished by the bent slope of its sides. It is believed to have been ancient Egypt’s first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid.

The Scan Pyramids project, which announced in November thermal anomalies in the 4,500 year-old Khufu Pyramid in Giza, is coupling thermal technology with muons analysis to try to unlock secrets to the construction of several ancient Egyptian pyramids.

Tayoubi said the group plans to start preparations for muons testing in a month in Khufu, the largest of the three Giza pyramids, which is known internationally as Cheops.

“Even if we find one square meter void somewhere, it will bring new questions and hypotheses and maybe it will help solve the definitive questions,” said Tayoubi.

Cardinals Hail Mary

Cardinals Hail MaryArizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) celebrates his game winning touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during overtime of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 26-20 in overtime. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic via AP) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — After being forced into overtime by another Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers, the Arizona Cardinals wasted no time calling for the “Hail Larry” to get to the NFC title game.

On the first play of overtime, Carson Palmer spun away from a defender and throw across his body to an uncovered Larry Fitzgerald. The 32-year-old darted through tacklers for 75 yards as the screaming Cardinals fans finally drowned out the visiting Cheeseheads. He was tackled at the 5. On the next play, Palmer shoveled the ball to Fitzgerald who ran it in to give the Cardinals a 26-20 victory over the Packers Saturday night.

The stadium rocked with chants of “Larry! Larry!”

“As simple a word as ‘special’ is, it describes him probably the best,” Palmer said.

Fitzgerald, who still holds single-season playoff records set during Arizona’s Super Bowl run seven years ago, gave the Cardinals the signature plays that prevented what would have been a devastating loss for a team that has its sights on another trip to the NFL’s biggest stage. He finished with eight receptions for 176 yards.

“As an elder statesman on this team I just try to elevate my game and make plays for my teammates,” he said.

The Cardinals (14-3) play the winner of Sunday’s Seattle-Carolina game for the NFC title.

It can’t be any crazier than this one, which unfolded on the same field where the Cardinals beat the Packers in overtime 51-45 in a 2009 wild-card game and where Arizona routed Green Bay 38-8 three weeks ago.

“Losing in that fashion, especially with the offense pulling that out, another Hail Mary, is unbelievable,” Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews said.

Rodgers, in a play reminiscent of his final-play heave against Detroit this season, took the snap with 5 seconds to go in regulation, scrambled around and heaved it 41 yards to the end zone.

Jeff Janis, a 6-foot-3 receiver pressed into extended duty because Green Bay’s top two receivers were hurt, outjumped defenders Patrick Peterson and Rashad Johnson and clutched the ball to his chest as he fell to the turf in the silence of University of Phoenix Stadium, except for the Packers fans, who went nuts.

“I didn’t know where anybody was really,” Rodgers said. “I saw Jeff briefly and I just tried to put some air on it to give him a chance.”

Arizona won the overtime coin toss — after the referee declared the first toss hadn’t flipped — took the ball and scored a touchdown, denying the Packers a chance to touch the ball in the extra period.

“It comes down to a coin flip sometimes after a long hard-fought game,” Rodgers said, “back and forth, bizarre plays made by both teams and unfortunately it comes down to that..”

The Packers, already without wide receiver Davonte Adams, lost Randall Cobb in the first quarter to a chest injury. James Jones was neutralized most of the game with All-Pro Peterson on him, forcing Rodgers to go to Janis, who had seven catches, five more than he had all year.

A strange play had given Arizona a 20-13 lead with 3:44 to play.

Damarious Randall, who moments earlier had made a key interception in the end zone, deflected a pass intended for Fitzgerald and the ball sailed into the end zone into the hands of Michael Floyd for a 9-yard touchdown. Floyd also had an 8-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, dragging his foot to stay in bounds and gather in Palmer’s high throw.

The Packers (11-7) took the kickoff but went nowhere and turned the ball over on downs, setting up Chandler Catanzaro’s 38-yard field goal that put Arizona up 20-13 with 1:55 to play.

With 55 seconds left, Green Bay was pushed back into a fourth-and-20 at its 4. Rodgers scrambled and threw 60 yards to Janis at the 36. A penalty pushed it back to the 41 and Rodgers threw incomplete before getting off his last completion for the touchdown.

“That’s Aaron Rodgers,” Arizona linebacker Kevin Minter said. “I think it was No. 83 (Janis). Man, he made a play, didn’t he? It looked like they batted it down and he just made a great play. My (darn) jaw was on the ground.”

Rodgers completed 24 of 44 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Palmer, in his first playoff victory (in three tries) was 25 of 41 yards for 349 yards and three scores with two interceptions.

“It was a roller coaster on the sidelines,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “You’ve just got to keep all your emotions in check and go to the next play. No matter what happened on the last play, you’ve got to go good, bad or ugly on the next play, and that’s basically what our football team did.”

Green Bay dominated statistically for much of the game, taking a 13-7 lead on Rodgers’ pass to Janis with 10:17 left in the third quarter.

“I can’t say we played our best game,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “We didn’t play well. We didn’t do enough to win. We had a lot of things we needed to overcome and they just kept battling.”

Notes: Green Bay lost safety Micah Hyde to a hip injury in the second quarter. The Packers’ Eddie Lacy had 90 yards, 61 on a ramble to set up the first Green Bay TD.

AP NFL website:

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