Audit: Contracts awarded in Liberia violate law

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The Liberian government awarded some $8 billion in contracts to multinational companies without following its own laws, according to a draft of a new audit that reviewed dozens of deals. Critics say the way…

Survey: US service firms grew more slowly in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey of U.S. service firms says the sector expanded at a slower pace in April than March, as companies reported less business activity and couldn’t raise their prices. The Institute for Supply Management said…

Court: Iowa must recognize both lesbian parents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says the state health department must list the names of both spouses in a same-sex relationship on a child’s birth certificate. The court ruled Friday that the department must…

US factory orders down 4 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in March by the largest amount in seven months but a key category that signals business investment plans managed a small increase. The Commerce Department says factory orders dropped 4…

Kobe Bryant battles mom, NJ business over auction

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Kobe Bryant is in a court battle to try to keep his mother from auctioning off mementoes from his high school days in Pennsylvania and his early NBA career. A southern New Jersey auction…

Arrest made in NY fire that killed man, 3 kids

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities have charged an upstate New York man with starting the house fire that killed a father and three of his young children and left a fourth child in critical condition. Schenectady police Lt.…

Boston suspect’s mortuary offers Muslim services

BOSTON (AP) — Funeral arrangements for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed in a shootout with police are being handled by a funeral home that has experience with Muslim services. Peter Stefan, owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney…

Man acquitted of Real IRA murder of 2 UK soldiers

DUBLIN (AP) — A man suspected of involvement in the Real IRA faction’s killing of two British soldiers in Northern Ireland in 2009 has been acquitted of murder charges after a judge dismissed the forensic evidence and ruled…

Pressure on Bangladesh, retailers to fix factories

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — In the aftermath of a building collapse that killed more than 500 people, Bangladesh’s garment manufacturers may face a choice of reform or perish. Home to five factories that supplied clothing to retailers in…

Sole opposition TV channel in Venez makes changes

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s only opposition television channel says it is bringing in new management after its sale to new owners, but pledges to maintain its critical line against the government. Leopoldo Castillo is Globovision’s main news…

Stocks open sharply higher after US hiring surges

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are soaring in early trading after hiring surged in the U.S. last month and unemployment hit a four-year low. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index crossed 1,600 for the first time. In the…

Small Wash. school closes because of nice weather

SEATTLE (AP) — In sun-deprived Washington state, the promise of nice spring weather has prompted a small private school to give students a day off to enjoy the sunshine. Friday will be a “sun day” of sorts for…

Calif. wildfire burns 15-mile path to Pacific

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California wildfire cutting a path to the sea has grown to more than 15 square miles, and crews are preparing for another bad day of gusting winds and hot weather. The fire…

12-year-old misses China cut, Ilonen shoots 63

TIANJIN, China (AP) — The youngest player to compete on the European Tour missed the cut, while Mikko Ilonen of Finland tied the course record with a 9-under 63 Friday for a three-shot lead at the China Open.…

Catholic bishops condemn Irish abortion bill

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland’s Roman Catholic bishops say the public should lobby lawmakers to reject a bill that would allow abortions to save the life of the mother. The bishops in a statement Friday say the bill represents…