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Associated Press

CDC expands tropical virus alert, Samoa on the list

(AP) — Health authorities have added eight tropical destinations to a travel alert about an illness linked with a severe birth defect and spread by mosquitoes.

The updated alert issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brings the total to 22 destinations, most in Latin America and the Caribbean, where there have been outbreaks of the Zika virus.

The new locations are Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and Guyana; Cape Verde, off the coast of western Africa; and Samoa in the South Pacific.



2015 was Earth's hottest by a wide margin

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Last year wasn't just the Earth's hottest year on record - it left a century of high temperature marks in the dust.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and NASA announced Wednesday that 2015 was by far the hottest year in 136 years of record keeping. For the most part, scientists at the agencies and elsewhere blamed man-made global warming, with a boost from El Nino.



Search off Hawaii finds life rafts but no sign of Marines

HONOLULU (AP) — Authorities searching the area where two Marine helicopters crashed off Hawaii have found some life rafts that were carried aboard the aircraft, but still no sign of the 12 crew members who were on board.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers said Monday she believes three life rafts have been recovered so far. Some were inflated, but it was unclear how they came to be inflated, she said.

The search for the Marines entered its fourth day Monday. Mooers said at this point, it is still a search for survivors.



High surf complicating Hawaii search for Marines

HALEIWA, Hawaii (AP) -- Rescuers battled winds of up to 23 mph and waves up to 30 feet Saturday as they searched for 12 Marines who are missing after two helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The winds and the waves dispersed the debris and complicated the search, which was expanded Saturday to include waters off Oahu's west coast.

"It makes finding things incredibly difficult," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.



Marine helicopters collide off Oahu, search started

HALEIWA, Hawaii (AP) -- Two Marine Corps helicopters carrying six crew members each collided and went down off the Hawaiian island of Oahu while on a nighttime training mission, and rescuers searched choppy waters Friday where debris had been sighted, military officials said.

There was no immediate word on the fate of those aboard or what caused the accident.

The transport helicopters known as CH-53Es crashed just before midnight Thursday, officials said.

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New dietary guidelines: cut the added sugars

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some Americans may not have to cut back on eggs and salt as much as they once thought and eating lean meat is still OK. But watch the added sugars, especially the sugary drinks.

The Obama administration's new dietary guidelines, released Thursday, back off the strictest sodium rules included in the last version, while still asserting that Americans consume too much salt. The guidelines reverse previous guidance on the dangers of dietary cholesterol and add strict new advice on sugars.



A look back, and a technology wish list for 2016

NEW YORK (AP) -- This past year brought lots of new products, services and features - including a few that even managed to improve everyday life.
 
For instance, a double tap of the home button on Samsung's newest phones instantly launches the camera, so you're less likely to miss that magical moment. TiVo has a smart way to skip commercials and speed up video playback so that you can watch TV shows and movies in half the time.



Hawaii raises smoking age to 21; military supports new law

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii is raising the legal smoking to age 21 for traditional and electronic cigarettes on Jan. 1, becoming the first state in the nation to do so.

Public health officials are hoping that by making it more difficult for young people to get their hands on cigarettes, they will keep them from developing an unhealthy addiction.



Pope: Now's the time to end indifference, 'false neutrality'

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Wishing for a year better than 2015, Pope Francis on Friday called for an end to the "arrogance of the powerful" that relegates the weak to the outskirts of society, and to the "false neutrality" toward conflicts, hunger and persecution that triggers exoduses of refugees.

In his New Year's homily, Francis emphasized the need to "let ourselves be reborn, to overcome the indifference which blocks solidarity, and to leave behind the false neutrality which prevents sharing."



Facebook to enable viewing of Apple's animated photos

NEW YORK (AP) -- The latest iPhones come with the ability to turn still images into video - just like magic - but sharing options had been limited to other Apple apps.

That's changing as Facebook, one of the leading forums for photo sharing, adds Apple's Live Photos feature to Facebook's iPhone and iPad app. Facebook will start offering it Monday to a limited number of users initially, with a broader rollout planned in the coming weeks. Facebook's support follows a similar move by Yahoo's Tumblr service.



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