China's Feb manufacturing eases on tighter credit

SHANGHAI (AP) -- China's manufacturing boom slowed further in February as authorities tightened controls on credit to cool inflation and factories eased output, especially of food and textiles.

The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Tuesday that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 52.2 last month, from 52.9 in January and 53.9 in December.

Despite declining for three months, the reading has remained above 50, the benchmark for expansion, for two straight years.

Govs to feds: Avoid causing states any more pain

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Their states on the brink of financial catastrophe, governors pleaded Saturday for the divided federal government to avoid doing anything that would hamper the tenuous economic recovery back home.

Their message to Washington: prevent a government shutdown, abstain from spending cuts that dramatically will affect states and end even preliminary discussions about allowing states to declare bankruptcy.

"Anything that Congress does that will undermine our recovery is quite troublesome to us," said Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, head of the National Governors Association, as she opened the bipartisan group's winter meeting. "We're asking for cooperation."

Warren Buffett remains optimistic about US future

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett wants Americans to be optimistic about the country's future but wary about borrowing money and the games public companies play with profit numbers they report.

Buffett said in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders Saturday that he still believes America's best days are ahead.

"Commentators today often talk of 'great uncertainty.' But think back, for example, to December 6, 1941, October 18, 1987 and September 10, 2001," Buffett wrote, referring to the days before the Pearl Harbor attack, a stock market crash and terrorist attacks in the U.S. "No matter how serene today may be, tomorrow is always uncertain. Don't let that reality spook you."

Psst. No shutdown during a 'government shutdown'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, though not until later. And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open.

That's the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn't shut down.

And it won't on March 5, even if the combatants on Capitol Hill can't resolve enough differences to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the government while they hash out legislation to cover the last seven months of the budget year.

Iranian warships arrive in Syria, witness says

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A witness said two Iranian warships docked in Syria on Thursday, completing a voyage that has raised tensions with Israel during a time of upheaval in the Middle East.

The ships arrived at Syria's Latakia seaport, after sailing through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean - the first such trip in at least three decades. A witness confirmed the ships' arrival, but asked that his name not be used because of the sensitivity of the issue.

UN Calls for Restraint in Violence Between Rival Ivorian Governments

The United Nations mission in Ivory Coast is calling for restraint from both rival governments as violence continues in neighborhoods of Abidjan that support the U.N.-certified winner of November's vote.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast is concerned about the level of violence in Abidjan over the last few days, as African Union heads of state met with both incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and the U.N.-certified winner of the election, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

In a written statement, the U.N. mission condemned what it calls, "the inappropriate use of force," especially the use of heavy weapons. It urged all parties to "show a sense of restraint as political and diplomatic efforts are being made at the highest level to find a peaceful solution to the post-electoral crisis."

Americans, Turks among the thousands fleeing Libya

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Foreigners fled the chaos in Libya by the thousands Wednesday, with Americans and Turks climbing aboard ships, Europeans boarding evacuation flights and North Africans racing to border crossings in overcrowded vans.

Two Turkish ships whisked 3,000 citizens away from the unrest engulfing Libya as Turkey cranked up its largest-ever evacuation, seeking to protect an estimated 25,000 Turkish workers in Libya. More than 200 Turkish companies are involved in construction projects in Libya worth over $15 billion, and some construction sites have come under attack by protesters.

Police say dognapper kills Honduran pastor

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- An evangelical pastor walking his two schnauzers was shot to death by a gunman who tried to steal the dogs, Honduran authorities said Tuesday.

Witnesses told police that the assailant got out of a car and tried to snatch the two schnauzer puppies from pastor Carlos Marroquin in the northern city of San Pedro Sula on Monday, Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said.

Marroquin refused to hand over the dogs, and the gunman opened fire. Neighbors said the dogs then ran across the street to their home and the shooter fled in the vehicle.

Study finds learning a second language may boost brain to delay the beginning of Alzheimer's

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mastering a second language can pump up your brain in ways that seem to delay getting Alzheimer's disease later on, scientists said Friday.

Never learned to habla or parlez? While the new research focuses mostly on the truly long-term bilingual, scientists say even people who tackle a new language later in life stand to gain.

The more proficient you become, the better, but "every little bit helps," said Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto.

Diamond Engagement Rings Symbol of Endless Love

Reason of choosing diamond is that they believed as symbol of love, purity and unity. This attain diamond engagement rings are one of the most popular alternatives in engagement rings. You can find that these days couples choose representing diamond engagement ring to their beloved and the reason of its popularity is its unique look and it has the power to melt heart. Hence by representing diamond engagement ring to your beloved you'll express her that how romantic you are and how much you love her.

Pakistan court reissues arrest warrant for former president Musharraf

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A court in Pakistan reissued an arrest warrant Saturday for former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a public prosecutor told CNN.

Prosecutors claim that an investigation shows Musharraf was responsible for not providing adequate protection for Bhutto and has not responded to a prosecutor's request to answer questions, prompting the court-ordered arrest warrant.

Authorities were unable to serve an arrest warrant issued last week because Musharraf is not in Pakistan, prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told CNN.

Brian Keselowski picks up sponsor for Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The feel-good story of Daytona Speedweeks took another turn Saturday when Brian Keselowski picked up a sponsor for the Daytona 500.

The journeyman driver received funding from Discount Tire and was applying the logos to his car before practice.

"It's awesome," Keselowski said. "I've had a lot of calls and a lot of people I'd really like to work with, but when they called up last night and said Discount Tires was interested, I said, 'We need to make this happen.' It's awesome. They've made it happen."

Oil spill claims chief announces new payment rules

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The administrator of BP's $20 billion Gulf oil spill fund announced new rules Friday on how final payments will be determined in the highly criticized claims process, but the central payment formula remained unchanged from a proposal released earlier this month.

Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington lawyer who oversees the fund, said in a news release that he'll begin making payments based on the rules.

He's been criticized about the size and pace of payments. During a speech before the rules were released, Feinberg said Friday that he took into consideration hundreds of comments he has received in recent weeks, including numerous complaints that he wasn't distributing enough money fast enough.

Cavaliers avenge 55-point defeat against Lakers

Looking nothing like two-time defending NBA champions, they dropped their third straight game, a stunning 104-99 loss Wednesday night to the Cleveland Cavaliers - the league's worst team, which avenged a 55-point embarrassment against Los Angeles last month.

Ramon Sessions came off the bench and scored a season-high 32 points for the Cavs, who were beaten 112-57 by the Lakers on Jan. 11. That loss was No. 11 in a league-record streak that eventually reached 26 before Cleveland ended it last week with an overtime win against L.A.'s less-heralded squad, the Clippers.

Pau Gasol had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers.

Machines beat us at our own game: What can we do?

Machines first out-calculated us in simple math. Then they replaced us on the assembly lines, explored places we couldn't get to, even beat our champions at chess. Now a computer called Watson has bested our best at "Jeopardy!"

A gigantic computer created by IBM specifically to excel at answers-and-questions left two champs of the TV game show in its silicon dust after a three-day tournament, a feat that experts call a technological breakthrough.

Watson earned $77,147, versus $24,000 for Ken Jennings and $21,600 for Brad Rutter. Jennings took it in stride writing "I for one welcome our new computer overlords" alongside his correct Final Jeopardy answer.

Apple reports labor, safety problems at suppliers

SHANGHAI (AP) -- Apple Inc. says its audits found labor, safety and other abuses by its suppliers in 2010, though it praised Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn for saving lives through its handling of a spate of suicides at its factories in China.

The findings, outlined in Apple's annual supplier responsibility report, prompted local reports Wednesday to decry the "high price" paid by Chinese workers who assemble hit gadgets like the iPod and iPad.

"Apple Releases Supplier Report: Chinese Environmental Groups Dissatisfied," said a headline Wednesday in the state-run newspaper 21st Century Business Herald. "China Pays a High Cost for Apple's Success," said the Shanghai Daily.

US Urges Pakistan to Free American Official

U.S. President Obama is urging Pakistan to immediately free a detained American diplomat accused of killing two Pakistanis during an alleged attempted robbery.

Mr. Obama told reporters in Washington that Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity and that the United States expects Pakistan to abide by international conventions.

The president said the U.S. will continue to work with Pakistan to secure the American official's release. But he also said the U.S. was not "callous" about the loss of life.

Davis is accused of killing two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore last month.

US, Ukraine fight human trafficking

WASHINGTON - The United States and Ukraine say they will step up efforts to combat human trafficking in the eastern European country.

Experts say more than 100,000 Ukrainians have been trafficked abroad and forced into indentured labor or prostitution since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko signed an agreement Tuesday to fight what Clinton called the "tragic worldwide blight" of trafficking.

She said cooperation would be strengthened. One effort she cited was Ukraine's recent transfer to the United States of a trafficker who made $1 million in profits from the women he exploited.

Russian Mars mission lands on red planet -- virtually

Moscow (CNN) -- Cosmonauts walked on the surface of Mars on Monday, nearly a year into a mission to the red planet. Unfortunately, it's only a simulation, designed to test what would happen on a real flight to Mars.

The project is an attempt to simulate the experience of a manned trip to Mars, with an international team of researchers locked in a windowless capsule for about a year and a half -- time required for a round trip to the next planet out in the solar system.

Starting in June of last year, the all-male "crew" of six -- three from Russia, one from France, one from Italy and one from China -- began spending 520 days in the cramped and claustrophobic conditions of a special facility in Moscow, following a strict regimen of exercise and diet.

Middle East nations scramble to contain unrest

Reporting from Amman, Jordan -
To track the growing political movements gaining strength from the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia across North Africa and the Middle East, one would be well advised to get a planner.

There were Saturday's clashes between demonstrators and police in Algeria, now referred to as #feb12 on Twitter, much as Egypt's uprising shall forever be known as #jan25. New popular protests are scheduled Monday in Bahrain (#feb14) and Iran (#25Bahman). Libya comes next on #feb17, followed by Algeria again on #feb19, Morocco #feb20, Cameroon #feb23 and Kuwait #mar8.

4 Die, 1 Lives After Boat Capsizes Near Louisiana Coast

VENICE, Louisiana -- Four people died and one was rescued after their boat capsized during a fishing trip on the Gulf of Mexico, according to Louisiana authorities.

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Adam Einck said the five left a marina near Venice in south Louisiana at about 6:30 a.m. local time Saturday but that their twin-engine boat's motor went out an hour or so later. The boat took on water and capsized.

Einck said three victims were from Alabama and one was from Louisiana. He said the survivor, 33-year-old Heath Dowsey of Alabama, told authorities he held onto a rope on the front of the capsized sport fishing vessel. The four others, including his father and uncle, became unresponsive, apparently from hypothermia. They were clinging to the side of the boat and four lifejackets, which they had not been able to put on, Eink quoted Dowsey as saying.

Watching the revolt in Egypt, and waiting

Philadelphia (CNN) -- The first days of the protests in Egypt were torture for Hala Elnaggar.

"I waited two days and I finally heard my mom's voice," says Elnaggar, who lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband, Ahmed. "And of course when I heard her voice I started crying, and screaming 'come home.'"

Her parents, Nafissa and Farouk Osman, live half the year in New Jersey, and the other half in Cairo, just 20 minutes from Tahrir Square, the epicenter of recent protests.

After days of not hearing from her parents, her worry turned to frustration. Random families answered her repeated phone calls because the telephones were getting crossed, she says.

Man Gets 60 Years in Prison in Levy Slaying

WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON - The man convicted of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy nearly a decade ago was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison.

In November, a jury convicted Ingmar Guandique of first-degree murder in Levy's 2001 disappearance and death, despite a lack of witnesses and no DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

Levy's mother, Susan Levy, asked Guandique directly if he had been responsible for her daughter's death. He shook his head.

"Mr. Guandique, you are lower than a cockroach," Susan Levy told Guandique, before closing her statement with: "F... you."

Obama Administration Corrects Clapper's Claim That Muslim Brotherhood Is 'Secular'

The Obama administration took the rare step Thursday of correcting its own intelligence chief after the official claimed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular."

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper discussed the Islamist group during a hearing on Capitol Hill earlier Thursday. He testified that the organization has "pursued social ends" and a "betterment of the political order," and downplayed its religious underpinnings.

"The term 'Muslim Brotherhood' ... is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam," Clapper said.

But the DNI later issued a statement to "clarify" that claim.

What Lindsay Lohan's Parents Stole From Her

If Lindsay Lohan is guilty of stealing a $2500 necklace from a jewelry store (as felony charges against her now state), it isn't because she's financially strapped. She's very, very rich. So, why would a wealthy and beautiful woman like her steal something she could easily have thrown on a credit card?

If she's guilty, she did it for the same reason she illegally used drugs and drove under the influence and-maybe-assaulted an employee at The Betty Ford Center: She had so much stolen from her as a young person, had her boundaries violated so feloniously, that she considers the boundaries of others irrelevant.

Yeah, that's right. I said that if she is a thief, it is because of what was stolen from her. If she is an assailant, it is because she was assaulted. If she is without regard for others it is because she has no deep, internal regard for herself.

Ethiopia Seeks to Keep Trade Restrictions While Joining WTO

Ethiopia is asking to join the World Trade Organization without meeting WTO standards for liberalizing key sectors of its economy. The move is an attempt to kick-start Ethiopia's WTO accession process, which has been stalled for seven years.

Senior World Trade Organization officials joined a delegation from Ethiopia's Trade Ministry this week for a U.S.-government sponsored workshop. The objective was finding a middle ground between Ethiopia's refusal to open sectors such as banking and telecommunications to foreign competition, and the WTO open trade regime.

Anglo Irish warns of record loss of €17.6B

Anglo Irish Bank, the lender most exposed to Ireland's property crash and which was nationalised in 2009, said it expected to report a record loss of €17.6bn (£15bn) for 2010.

In a trading update on Tuesday, the bank said this would include a loss of €11.5bn on impaired loans transferred to the National Asset Management Agency, the body set up to take over loans where the developers that borrowed are either bankrupt or cannot repay.

The loss included a provision of €7.8bn set aside to cover other loan losses. The 2010 result would set a record for an Irish company, beating Anglo Irish's €12.7bn loss for the 15 months to the end of 2009.

Ivorians edge Mali on Drogba's return

(CNN) -- Didier Drogba made a successful return to international football on Tuesday as the Ivory Coast beat Mali 1-0 in a friendly in France.

The striker, who took a break after last year's World Cup finals, lined up for the first time under the charge of Sven Goran Eriksson's successor as coach, Francois Zahoui.

The Chelsea player, who was his country's captain in South Africa, did not get on the scoresheet but helped his team take the lead as early as the third minute through midfielder Didier Ya Konan.

Drogba was involved in the build-up as he chested down a long pass and threaded the ball into the box to Gervinho, whose low cross was met powerfully by Ya Konan.

Church Approves 'Confession' App for iPhone

An iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.

"Confession: A Roman Catholic app" is thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority. It walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a "personalized examination of conscience for each user."

"Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," said Patrick Leinen of the three-man company Little iApps, based in South Bend, Indiana.

Activists at ‘World Social Forum’ Seek World without Capitalism

Tens of thousands of activists are in Senegal for the World Social Forum, an annual gathering of anti-capitalists promoting progressive causes.

The 11th annual World Social Forum officially kicked off this week with representatives of more than 123 countries convening in Senegal's capital to highlight the world's problems.

The gathering follows the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, serving as a foil to what activists see as an elitist convention for the well-to-do.

The week's events include a roster of discussion panels to address issues such as gender rights, the environment, democracy, land grabs and sovereign debt.

Winner of Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' Will Receive $5 Million Contract

The winner of Simon Cowell's upcoming game show on Fox will get a $5 million record deal. Fox says it believes that's the biggest guaranteed prize in television history.

"The X Factor" is due to premiere on Fox next fall. Cowell left "American Idol" in part to concentrate on the new show, which has been a successful format in several countries since its debut in Britain in 2004.

The winner of the inaugural American edition gets a recording contract with Syco, a joint venture between Cowell and Sony Music.

Cowell will be an on-air participant in "The X Factor," which Fox advertised on Sunday's Super Bowl. Other judges have not been announced.

Doritos Finger Sucker, Dogs Are Highlights of Super Bowl Ads

With a creepy finger licker, a resurrected grandpa and a pug puppy getting the best of a bad man, Doritos was the clear fan favorite out of this year's Super Bowl commercials.

The brand began trending on Twitter by the middle of the first quarter and the commercials were showered with accolades over social media throughout the game. By halftime Doritos was mentioned in more than 32,000 tweets according to

"The Doritos commercials work for consumers because they are based on consumer insights. They are simple and real and I think their ads are resonating a lot more than the spots with celebrities and crazy graphics this year," social media marketing expert Matt Britton, CEO and founder of Mr. Youth, told Fox411.

Reagan Centennial Birthday Party Imbued With Memories, Hopeful Spirit

"Happy Birthday, Ronnie."

Those were the words delivered by an 89-year-old Nancy Reagan Sunday under the din of a standing ovation during the 100th birthday celebration of her late husband, Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president and an enduring beacon for conservative thinkers.

With a strong voice though ever-slight in frame, Nancy Reagan looked strong as she appeared in a red pantsuit and thanked the invitation-only audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, which has held a weekend-long celebration of the late president's 100th birthday.

Hmong General Denied Arlington Cemetery Burial

The United States Army has denied a request to allow United States Army has denied a request to allow former Royal Lao Army general Vang Pao, a U.S. ally in the Vietnam War, to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Officials informed Vang Pao's friends and family of their decision Friday, as thousands of mourners gathered in the western U.S. state of California for the start of a six-day funeral service there.

Arlington Cemetery, outside Washington, is the premier burial ground for members of the U.S. military. It is considered an honor to be buried there.

House Republicans slash agencies, nick themselves

WASHINGTON - Even as they take a cleaver to many domestic agencies, Republicans now running the House are barely touching Congress' generous own budget.

A new GOP proposal would reduce domestic agencies' spending by 9 percent on average through September, when the current budget year ends.

If that plan becomes law, it could lead to layoffs of tens of thousands of federal employees, big cuts to heating and housing subsidies for the poor, reduced grants to schools and law enforcement agencies, and a major hit to the Internal Revenue Service's budget.

Simpson: Leaving Entitlements on Auto Pilot Will Crush the U.S. Economy

President Obama's calls for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending, as well as Republican demands to turn back the budget clock to 2008 spending, will save "peanuts" and do nothing to turn around the country's "sacrosanct" entitlement culture, one head of the president's deficit commission said Sunday.

Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who was appointed by Obama along with former Bill Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles to lead the president's panel for reducing the nation's debt, said leaving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on auto pilot will crush the U.S. economy.

"I'm waiting for the politician to get up and say, there's only one way to do this, you dig into the big four, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense. And anybody giving you anything different than that, you want to walk out the door, stick your finger down your throat and give them the green weenie," Simpson said on CNN's "State of the Union."

FIFA considering snood ban; Suspended pair fail with appeal bid

(CNN) -- They are the beautiful game's must-have fashion accessory -- but now soccer's governing body are considering a ban on snoods.

The trend of wearing a neck-warmer has become prevalent in the European game, especially in the English Premier League with stars such as Manchester City's Carlos Tevez and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri sporting them.

But FIFA now say they could be outlawed from football if they are proved to be a safety issue.

A FIFA spokesman said: "We want a debate over the snood and whether it could be dangerous.

Egyptians Gather for 'Day of Departure' Protest

Thousands of anti-government protesters in Egypt have launched a new push to oust embattled President Hosni Mubarak. They have gathered for a rally at Cairo's Tahrir Square.

In the air, and on the ground, the Egyptian army took up positions to guard the entrance to Tahrir square. The Friday rally follows days of bloody street battles between pro- and anti-government supporters, and tensions were high in the hours before the rally.

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched peacefully into the square following Muslim Friday prayers.

Lawsuit on Hamas slayings lingers in court in RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A long and tortuous legal wrangle that brought the fallout of Mideast terrorism to U.S. courts, culminating in a $116 million default judgment against the Palestinian Authority, may be moving toward resolution.

It's been nearly 15 years since a machine-gun attack by Hamas militants killed U.S. citizen Yaron Ungar and his pregnant wife, Efrat, as they drove home from a wedding in Israel. Their relatives sued in American courts under a statute allowing U.S. citizens and their estates to seek damages for overseas acts of terrorism.

A federal judge in 2004 entered the $116 million judgment against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the following year froze Palestinian Authority assets in this country. The sum has not been paid and the case has slogged fitfully through the U.S. courts during appeals, inspections of Palestinian finances and diplomatic discussions between government officials.

South Dakota Lawmakers Propose Mandating Gun Ownership -- to Make Point About Health Law

A group of South Dakota lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require almost everyone in their state to buy a gun once they turn 21.

Turns out it's not a serious attempt. Rather, the lawmakers are trying to make a point about the new health care law -- that an individual mandate is unconstitutional, whether it requires everyone to buy health insurance or, in South Dakota's case, a firearm.

Rep. Hal Wick, one of five co-sponsors, told The Argus Leader newspaper that he expects the bill to fail.

NY Gov. Cuomo wields ax in 2011-12 state budget

ALBANY, N.Y. - Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday did what no New York governor has tried in 15 years: He unveiled a budget plan that calls for an overall reduction in spending and up to 9,800 layoffs as the state tries to get out from under crippling deficits.

Cuomo's $132.9 billion budget - about $2 billion less than last year's plan - cuts education and health care spending and recommends layoffs through attrition. New York faces a $10 billion deficit, the same kind of historic shortfalls that states nationwide face when their executive budget proposals are due in the coming months.

Cuomo's budget, which includes no new or increased taxes, calls for a 7.3 percent cut in state aid to schools, or $1.5 billion from the state's more than $20 billion in annual school aid. Cuomo said that means local school budgets will get 2.9 percent less state aid.