FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A grand jury declined Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests and inflamed deep racial tensions between many African-Americans and police.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Protesters smashed windows out of police cars and businesses, several of which were later set ablaze, and officers lobbed tear gas from inside armored vehicles to disperse crowds Monday as violence overtook protests in Ferguson.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The rhetoric is barbed, but Republican presidential hopefuls generally fell in line behind the voices of restraint in the wake of President Barack Obama's order blocking deportation for millions of immigrants in the country unlawfully.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a tea party favorite in the 2012 race, urged the Republican leadership in Congress to "use any means available to stop this unconstitutional attack on our liberty."
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who once filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director in a dispute over surveillance of U.S. citizens, said: "I will not sit idly by and let the president bypass Congress and our Constitution."
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who voted for the bipartisan bill that cleared the Senate in 2013, said the Congress should try to unravel Obama's actions, and he called for Republicans to call a vote early next year on a strict immigration enforcement bill.
Yet he, like nearly all other potential presidential contenders, offered no specifics on what sort of response they favor to try and force a presidential retreat.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been an exception. He said the new Republican-controlled Senate that takes office in January should refuse to confirm any of Obama's nominees except for vital national security positions as long as the president's order remains in effect.
Interviewed on Fox on Sunday, he also said Republicans should "use the power of the purse" to attach conditions to funding, but offered no details. He disputed the suggestion that the government shutdown of a year ago inflicted long-lasting damage on the party, noting its sweeping mid-term election victories.
Republican leaders in Congress have vowed to take action in response to Obama, but have yet to say precisely how. An attempt to block his actions by restricting the use federal funds is among the possibilities, although the president could veto that. So, too, is incorporating the issue into a lawsuit the House filed on Friday against the administration's moves to implement the health care act.
Another possible response, triggering a government shutdown in hopes of turning back Obama's order, is viewed by incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner as a non-starter, particularly at the outset of a new era of Republican control of Congress. Even more so is starting impeachment proceedings.
The general reticence among presidential hopefuls comes at a time on the political calendar when jockeying for support among party activists routinely increases. With mid-term elections in the past, the focus will inevitably turn quickly toward the first caucuses and primaries now little more than a year away.
Public polls suggest immigration is an issue that divides conservatives who form the core of the Republican party from the rest of the electorate.
In exit polls from the Nov. 4 elections, 59 percent of those surveyed said they favored allowing immigrants to remain in the country and work even if they are here illegally, and only 39 percent said they favored deportation.
Support for allowing immigrants to remain in the country was 74 percent among Hispanics, whose impact on Republican presidential primaries is generally negligible, but who represent the fastest growing part of the national electorate.
Among conservative Republicans, only 36 percent said immigrants in the country illegally should be given a way to seek legal status.
In the first few days after the president's speech, pressure from tea party activists who have been influential in the past has yet to coalesce.
Jenny Beth Martin, who heads the Tea Party Patriots, asked for signatures on a petition to Congress to "defund executive amnesty."
More than a year ago, tea party groups were instrumental in pushing GOP lawmakers to defund the president's health care law. Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, took up the cause. The ensuing struggle between the GOP-controlled House and Obama produced a partial government shutdown that sent public support for Republicans plummeting.
At a meeting of Republican governors in Florida in recent days, Tex. Gov. Rick Perry said Obama's action was akin to "sticking a finger in the eye of the American people" and said a lawsuit was "a real possibility."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another possible presidential hopeful, blamed Obama for failing to deal with immigration, said a government shutdown should be avoided and declined to say what he would do in response. A request Friday for additional information went unanswered.
In contrast to Republicans, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her thanks to Obama on Thursday evening "for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction."
She added, "Now let's turn to permanent bipartisan reform."
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples contributed to this report.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Against the team of hackers, the poor car stood no chance.
Meticulously overwhelming its computer networks, the hackers showed that — given time — they would be able to pop the trunk and start the windshield wipers, cut the brakes or lock them up, and even kill the engine.
Their motives were not malicious. These hackers worked on behalf of the U.S. military, which along with the auto industry is scrambling to fortify the cyber defenses of commercially available cars before criminals and even terrorists penetrate them.
"You're stepping into a rolling computer now," said Chris Valasek, who helped catapult car hacking into the public eye when he and a partner revealed last year they had been able to control a 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Ford Escape by plugging into a port used by mechanics.
These days, when Valasek isn't working his day job for a computer security firm, he's seeing how Bluetooth might offer an entry point.
Automakers are betting heavily that consumers will want not just the maps and music playlists of today but also Internet-enabled vehicles that stream movies and the turn dictation into email. The federal government wants to require cars to send each other electronic messages warning of dangers on the road.
In these and other connections, hackers see opportunity.
There are no publicly known instances of a car being commandeered outside staged tests. In those tests, hackers prevail.
One was the Defense Department-funded assault on a 2012 model American-made car, overseen by computer scientist Kathleen Fisher.
Hackers demonstrated they could create the electronic equivalent of a skeleton key to unlock the car's networks. That may take months, Fisher said, but from there it would be "pretty easy to package up the smarts and make it available online, perhaps in a black-market type situation."
The project's goal is more than just to plug vulnerabilities — it is to reconceive the most critical lines of computer code that control the car in a way that could make them invulnerable to some of the major known threats. The model code would be distributed to automakers, who could adapt it to their needs. That should take a few more years.
The industry is participating — and not waiting.
One major association representing brands including Honda and Toyota is helping establish an "information sharing and analysis center" patterned after efforts by big banks to try to thwart cyberattacks.
"Before, when you designed something, you looked at how might components fail," said Michael Cammisa, director of safety for the Association of Global Automakers. "Now, you have to look at how would somebody maliciously attack the vehicle."
The so-called Auto-ISAC will allow participating companies to evaluate the credibility of threats and, in the event of an attack, let one warn others so they could test their own systems. The effort was announced this summer at the Cyberauto Challenge in Detroit, one of an increasing number of programs focused on auto hacking. Several days later, in China, organizers of a cybersecurity conference announced success in their challenge to hack a Model S made by Tesla Motors.
Another American company, General Motors, has checked how Boeing and defense companies create systems to repel hackers, according to Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president of global product development.
Cybersecurity is "one of the highest priority things that we have," Reuss said. "We have got to make sure that our customers are safe."
From new marijuana strains for the holidays to gift sets and pot-and-pumpkin pies, the burgeoning marijuana industry in Colorado is scrambling to get a piece of the holiday shopping dollar. Dispensaries in many states have been offering holiday specials for medical customers for years — but this first season of open-to-all-adults marijuana sales in some states means pot shops are using more of the tricks used by traditional retailers to attract holiday shoppers.
Here's a look at how the new recreational marijuana industry is trying to attract holiday shoppers:
Traditional retailers sell some items below cost to drive traffic and attract sales. Recreational marijuana retailers are doing the same.
The Grass Station in Denver is selling an ounce of marijuana for $50 — about a fifth of the cost of the next-cheapest strain at the Colorado dispensary — to the first 16 customers in line Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That works out to less than $1 a joint for the ambitious early-rising pot shopper. Owner Ryan Fox says his Black Friday pot is decent quality, and says he's selling below cost to attract attention and pick up some new customers. As Colorado dispensaries approach a year of being able to sell weed to all adults over 21, not just card-carrying medical patients, Fox says retailers have to do more than just sell pot to get public attention.
Pot shops are using old and new media to tout the sales. One dispensary is taking out a full-page "Happy Danksgiving" ad in The Denver Post and is inviting shoppers to text a code for extra savings.
VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS
Sweets and marijuana seem to go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Many dispensaries this time of year resemble a Starbucks at the mall, with holiday spices and festive music in the air. One of the state's largest edible-pot makers, Sweet Grass Kitchen, debuted a new miniature pumpkin pie that delivers about as much punch as a medium-sized joint. The pie joins holiday-spiced teas, minty pot confections and cannabis-infused honey oil for those who want to bake their own pot goodies at home. Even some edibles makers that specialize in savory foods, not sweets, are putting out some sugary items for the holidays. "It just tastes too good, we had to do it," Better Baked owner Deloise Vaden said of her company's holiday line of cannabis-infused sweet-potato and pumpkin pies.
Some shops are angling for high-end holiday shoppers, not an increase in foot traffic. Colorado Harvest and Evergreen Apothecary timed the release of some top-shelf strains of potent pot for the holiday season. Spokeswoman Ann Dickerson says they're "sort of like the best bourbon or Scotch that will be competing on quality, rather than price."
What holiday shopper doesn't appreciate free gift wrapping? Or a gift set ready to pop under the tree? The Growing Kitchen is making $49.99 gift sets for both the medical and recreational pot user. The sets include the edible-pot maker's new Mighty Mint cookie, a pot-infused confection new for the holiday shopping season, along with marijuana-infused salves for muscles sore from the ski slopes. Other dispensaries are offering free gift totes and stockings with purchases.
For the shopper who wants to give pot but doesn't know how the recipient likes to get high, Colorado's 300 or so recreational dispensaries so far have been able to issue only handwritten gift certificates. That's because banking regulations prohibit major credit cards companies from being able to back marijuana-related gift cards the way they do for other retailers.
Just this month, a Colorado company started offering pot shops a branded gift card they can sell just like other retailers. The cards are in eight Denver dispensaries so far, and coming soon will be loyalty cards similar to grocery-store loyalty cards that track purchases and can be used to suggest sales or new products to frequent shoppers.
CANNAGIFTS FOR THE MAIL
Just because marijuana can't legally leave Colorado doesn't mean dispensaries don't have items for out-of-state friends and family. Some dispensaries are highlighting some non-cannabis gift items — things like T-shirts, rolling papers and lotions made with legal herbs. The sets are for shoppers who want to give a taste of Colorado's new marijuana industry without breaking federal law by mailing it or taking it out of state.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Counting your calories will become easier under new government rules requiring chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores — and even movie theaters, amusement parks and vending machines — to post the calorie content of food "clearly and conspicuously" on their menus.
The Food and Drug Administration plans to announce the long-delayed rules on Tuesday. The regulations will apply to businesses with 20 or more locations and they will be given until November 2015 to comply.
The idea is that people may pass on that bacon double cheeseburger at a chain restaurant, hot dog at a gas station or large popcorn at the movie theater if they know that it has hundreds of calories. Beverages are included, and alcohol will be labeled if drinks are listed on the menu.
"Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. She said the effort is just one way that Americans can combat obesity.
The menus and menu boards will tell diners that a 2,000-calorie diet is used as the basis for daily nutrition, noting that individual calorie needs may vary. Additional nutritional information beyond calories, including sodium, fats, sugar and other items, must be available upon request.
The rules deal a blow to the grocery and convenience store industries, which have lobbied hard to be completely exempted since the menu lables became law in 2010 as a part of health overhaul. Even before the new rules were announced, Republicans in Congress had expressed concern that they would be too burdensome for businesses.
The law came together when the restaurant industry agreed to the labeling in an effort to dodge a growing patchwork of city and state rules. But supermarkets, convenience stores and many other retailers that sell prepared food said they wanted no part of it. The restaurant industry pushed to include those outlets as they have increasingly offered restaurant-like service.
The FDA issued proposed rules in 2011 that included supermarkets and convenience stores but excluded movie theaters. The final rules being released Tuesday include all of them.
The restaurant industry, along with nutrition and consumer advocates, has said that any business that sells prepared foods should be included. If a rotisserie chicken is labeledwith a calorie count at a takeout restaurant, it should be labeled at a grocery store, they argued.
Representatives for the supermarket industry have said it could cost them up to a billion dollars to put the rules in place — costs that would be passed on to consumers. They said the rules could cover thousands of items in each store, unlike restaurants, which typically have fewer items.
To assuage some of their concerns in the final rules, FDA excluded prepared foods that are typically intended for more than one person to eat and require more preparation, like deli meats, cheeses or bulk deli salads.