BEIJING (AP) — For years, Alibaba faced complaints it failed to stamp out sales of counterfeit goods on its e-commerce websites. But Chinese regulators stayed silent, apparently reluctant to disrupt the rise of an Internet star even as they accused foreign automakers, dairies and others of violating anti-monopoly or consumer protection rules.
ATLANTA (AP) — Emory University says author Salman Rushdie plans to deliver a public lecture on human rights during a visit to the school.
The school says free tickets can be ordered online for the lecture, which is titled "The Liberty Instinct" and is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.
Rushdie is also set to join a panel discussion on "Disability Rights as Human Rights' on Feb. 24.
The university says Rushdie also plans to visit a number of classes to discuss topics including caste and contemporary India, his own works and novels that have influenced him, as well as "A Midsummer Night's Dream," ''The Wizard of Oz" book and film, and Gandhi.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are mixed in midday trading as the price of oil continues to fall.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,242 as of 11:57 a.m. Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 eased one point, or 0.06 percent, to 2,000. The Nasdaq slipped 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,627.
Energy stocks fell the most among the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index. The sector is down 7 percent this year, more than any other. Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 55 cents to $43.90 a barrel. As recently as June, it traded above $100
The government reported Thursday that weekly claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 15-year low.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.75 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators weigh Loretta Lynch's nomination for attorney general for a second day at a hearing certain to pile criticism on President Barack Obama and Eric Holder, the current occupant of the job.
Thursday's hearing brings a roster of outside witnesses to the Senate Judiciary Committee, including several invited by Republicans to showcase opposition to Obama's use of executive powers. It follows a cordial daylong appearance by Lynch that moved her closer to expected confirmation as she pledged independence from President Barack Obama and promised to work with the Republican-led Congress.
Lynch offered support Wednesday for some controversial Obama administration policies, including the president's unilateral protections for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
But she also suggested she would provide a fresh departure from Holder, who is deeply unpopular among some Republicans and was derided by one, Texan John Cornyn, as "openly contemptuous" of congressional oversight.
"If confirmed as attorney general, I would be myself. I would be Loretta Lynch," she said, when asked how senators could be assured that she would lead differently.
Facing skeptical but largely cordial Republicans, Lynch dispatched questions on topics including terrorism, drugs and surveillance. Even the occasional confrontational exchange over immigration, an issue some Republican lawmakers seized on as a litmus test, appeared unlikely to derail Lynch's chances of confirmation.
If approved by the committee and confirmed by the full Senate, Lynch — the top federal prosecutor since 2010 for parts of New York City and Long Island — would become the nation's first black female attorney general.
"You've acquitted yourself very well," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., after challenging Lynch on national security.
Other Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and David Vitter of Louisiana, were more openly critical and signaled probable votes against Lynch's nomination.
"Try as I might, there has been nothing I have been able to ask you that has yielded any answer suggesting any limitations whatsoever on the authority of the president," Cruz said. Lynch disagreed with that characterization, saying the American people, and not the president, would be "my client and my first thought."
Witnesses speaking on Lynch's behalf on Thursday are to include Janice Fedarcyk, the former head of the FBI's New York field office, and David Barlow, a former U.S. attorney from Utah who has served with Lynch on a committee of prosecutors that advises Holder on policy matters. Other witnesses include George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has publicly criticized Holder as not being supportive enough of law enforcement.
Though neither Obama nor Holder was present, their actions were a heavy focus of the hearing.
Republicans criticized Holder as too politically close to Obama, and they repeatedly lambasted the administration's new policy granting work permits and temporary deportation relief to some 4 million people who are in the country illegally. The committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R- Iowa, called the effort "a dangerous abuse of executive authority."
Lynch said she had no involvement in drafting the measures but called them "a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem" of illegal immigration. She said the Homeland Security Department is focusing on removals of "the most dangerous of the undocumented immigrants among us."
Lynch aligned herself with Holder on certain policy decisions, agreeing with his assertions that interrogation by waterboarding is torture and illegal, that civilian courts are an appropriate venue to prosecute suspected terrorists captured overseas and that the department's limited resources are best reserved for prosecuting violent offenders.
But on other points, she also struck a firmer law-and-order stance.
Lynch, whose office in New York is leading a civil rights investigation into the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island last summer, was also careful to express solidarity with law enforcement at a time when racially charged incidents of police force have stirred community concerns of bias.
Witnesses on Thursday are to include Janice Fedarcyk, the former head of the FBI's New York field office, and David Barlow, a former U.S. Attorney from Utah.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful gas tank truck explosion shattered a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens.
Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told MVS radio that the body of a woman was found inside the hospital and many people were injured by flying glass. He earlier told the Televisa network that at least 54 people were injured, 22 of them children. Most of the injuries were relatively minor, he said.
Fausto Lugo, the city's civil defense director, said in a television interview that the death toll had risen to two. He said 37 people were transported to other hospitals and he said other people were likely still buried in the rubble.
The explosion sent a column of smoke billowing over the area on the western edge of Mexico's capital and television images showed much of the hospital collapsed, with firefighters trying to extinguish fires. Mancera said the heaviest damage was near the hospital's loading dock.
Borough chief Adrian Rubalcava said the injured were being taken to a nearby hospital, but the area had insufficient ambulances.
Rubalcava said, "the most worrisome is the collapse of a large part of the hospital."
HONOLULU (AP) — Coral rely on algae for food and their survival.
So when the stress of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures prompted many of Hawaii's corals to expel algae last year — a phenomenon called bleaching because coral lose their color when they do this — many were worried they might die.
Now the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources says most of the bleached corals have recovered. It plans to announce the result of its coral surveys on Thursday.
Even so, scientists say the experience weakened the coral, making them more likely to get sick. It's also going to be harder for them to withstand warm temperatures in the future.
The incident is a blow to the state's fragile reefs, which are already under pressure from runoff from development, overfishing and recreational use of the ocean.
Coral reefs are a critical part of the ecosystem, and their health is vital to the ocean environment. Coral cover just one-tenth of the ocean floor but are home to 25 percent of known marine species. Some fish eat coral, others hide from predators in them. Some species use coral as nursery grounds. Some types of shark will frequent coral reefs.
Mark Eakin, the coordinator the Coral Reef Watch program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said coral bleaching demonstrates that "climate change isn't something of the distant future."
Kaneohe Bay on Oahu's east side suffered the most serious bleaching in the state, which is home to 15 percent of all coral under U.S. jurisdiction. Seventy-five percent of the dominant coral species there lost some color or turned completely white.
Subsequent studies after waters cooled showed 12 percent of the bay's bleached coral died, said Anne Rosinski, a marine resource specialist with the state Division of Aquatic Resources.
The remainder regained some color and have been recovering. The coral were weakened to begin with after being covered by runoff from flooding. Then after the bleaching, a boat propeller destroyed some of the coral, she said.
Most bleached corals off Maui and Kauai have also recovered.
The state is trying to do what it can to eliminate other stresses on the coral so they'll be in better shape to survive warmer temperatures, Rosinski said.
"I just worry how much the corals can take," she said.
There's even bleaker news expected from an isolated atoll about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu.
Lisianski Island, which is part of a national marine preserve, suffered months of warmer-than-normal waters over the summer. Researchers visiting in the fall observed some bleaching, but the area is so remote scientists haven't been able to return to check on them since even though temperatures were high there for weeks afterward.
"We're expecting when they go back there's going to be a lot of dead coral," Eakin said.
Eakin recalled diving on a reef in Thailand after most of the coral there died after a 2010 mass bleaching event. He said the fish were hanging out in the water not knowing what to do.
"Severe bleaching events are like a blight that goes through and kills all the trees in the forest," he said.