Credit agency sees greater chance of municipal bankruptcies, bond defaults in Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- One of the nation's top credit rating agencies said Friday that it expects more municipal bankruptcies and defaults in California, the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds.

Moody's Investors Service said in a report that the growing fiscal distress in many California cities was putting bondholders at risk.

The service announced that it will undertake a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in the nation's most populous state because of what it sees as a growing threat of insolvency.

The report has both investors and government leaders worried.

Three California cities - Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes - have filed for bankruptcy so far this year. They are not likely to be the last, Moody's said.

Just getting started? Dwyane Wade thinks LeBron James could blossom after Heat title

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- All LeBron James has done so far this year is win the NBA's MVP award for the third time, an NBA Finals MVP trophy to go along with that one, his elusive first championship and a second Olympic gold medal.

Dwyane Wade thinks his Miami Heat teammate is just getting started.

With the start of Heat training camp now just six weeks away, Wade said on Friday that he expects James to be even better this coming season now that the will-he-ever-win-a-championship question has been forever put to rest.

"That monkey is off his back and now he's just playing basketball," Wade said while taking a break from his annual fantasy camp, where fans pay up to $12,500 to get a four-day luxury taste of NBA life. "I think we'll see a better LeBron James - scary to say, three-time MVP - than we've seen. And it's because all he has to do is play basketball now. He doesn't have to worry about what he hasn't done. It'll always be something, but he's got the biggest one off his back."

Apple stock hits new high after 4-month dip

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple's stock hit a new high Friday after a four-month swoon, as investors looked ahead to the release of a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad.

Already the world's most valuable company, Apple Inc. saw its stock hit $648.19 just before closing, before retreating to $648.11. That was up $11.77, or 1.9 percent, from Thursday's close.

The previous high for the stock was $644, hit on April 10.

Apple has a market value of about $608 billion, almost 50 percent higher than No. 2 Exxon Mobil Corp. at $408 billion.

Apple's stock fell last month after the company's earnings report for the April-June quarter showed the slowest growth in more than two years. It was only the second time in 10 years that Apple had missed analyst expectations.

Disappointing numbers: UK trade body says tourism slumped during London Olympics

LONDON (AP) -- The Olympics brought less tourist money to recession-hit Britain than businesses had hoped for, a trade group said Monday, with a majority of tourist companies reporting losses from last year.

A survey of more than 250 tour operators, hoteliers and visitor attractions found that tourist traffic fell all over Britain, not just London, said UKinbound, a leading trade association representing British tour operators and other businesses dependent on tourists.

"A lot of people thought London would be very busy and very expensive at this time," said Mary Rance, the group's chief executive. "We weren't completely surprised but we were a bit disappointed that (the Olympics) seem to have had an impact around the U.K., not just London."

US Navy ship collides with oil tanker in Gulf

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer was left with a gaping hole on one side after it collided with an oil tanker early Sunday just outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The collision left a breach about 10 feet by 10 feet (three by three meters) in the starboard side of USS Porter. No one was injured on either vessel, the U.S. Navy said in a statement.

The collision with the Panamanian-flagged and Japanese-owned bulk oil tanker M/V Otowasan happened about 1 a.m. local time. Photos released by the Navy showed workers standing amid twisted metal and other debris hanging down from the hole.

The cause of the incident is under investigation, the Navy said, though the collision was not "combat related." There were no reports of spills or leakages from either the USS Porter or the Otowasan, the Navy said.

Navy spokesman Greg Raelson said the destroyer now is in port in Jebel Ali, Dubai. "We're just happy there were no injuries," he said. "An investigation is under way."

Olympics exalt the individual, but national pride is never far from mind

LONDON (AP) -- Given the depths of his anguish, you might have thought Wu Jingbiao had lost a loved one. Heaving with shame, the double world champion weightlifter wept like a child in the arms of the TV reporter interviewing him.

"I let my country down," he sobbed. "I let the Chinese weightlifting team down. I let everyone who has cared about me down. I am sorry."

He had won the silver medal.

Organizers insist that the Olympic movement exalts individual achievement, not national pride or prowess. Look at the official Olympic website: There is no medal table. The International Olympic Committee doesn't keep count.

Yet nationalism has infused the Olympics - at its origins in ancient Greece, at its height during the Cold War and still strongly in London in 2012. So it's only natural that at this most global event unfolding in this most multinational of cities, questions of national identity and the very essence of nationhood arise.

3 for 3: Bolt breaks relay record, gets more gold

Having built a big lead on the 4x100-meter relay anchor leg, Bolt knew he was about to earn his third gold medal in three events at the London Olympics.

What he really wanted Saturday night was a world record, the only thing missing from his 2012 Games. So the Jamaican dispensed with the sort of "Look at me!" stuff he's done at the end of races before - slapping his chest four years ago, putting a finger to his mouth to hush critics the other day - and focused on what he does better than anyone ever has.


"Fans really enjoy a world record," Bolt said later with a smile, "so I think they'll forgive me for not posing."

Almost even with the last U.S. runner when he got the baton, Bolt pulled away down the stretch and capped his perfect Olympics by leading Jamaica to the relay victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds.

Security firm: New computer virus prowling Mideast

LONDON (AP) -- A new computer virus tied to some of the most sophisticated cyberweapons thus-far discovered has been found circulating in the Middle East, a Moscow-based computer security company said Thursday. If a link were confirmed, the find would expand the electronic arsenal reportedly deployed by the U.S. and Israel against their rivals in the region.

Kaspersky Lab ZAO said in a statement that the new virus, dubbed "Gauss," was aimed at stealing financial information from customers of a series of Lebanese banks.

The firm said that similarities in coding, structure, and operation meant it could say "with a high degree of certainty" that Gauss was related to "Flame," a sophisticated piece of spyware which prompted an Internet blackout across Iran's oil industry in April, and to "Stuxnet," an infrastructure-wrecking worm whose discovery revolutionized the cybersecurity field.

Fannie Mae posts $2.2B net gain for Q2

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fannie Mae earned $2.2 billion from April through June, its second quarterly gain in net income since being taken over by the government during the 2008 financial crisis.

The mortgage giant attributed the increase to improving home prices and fewer foreclosures.

Fannie said Wednesday that it paid a dividend of $2.9 billion to the Treasury Department and sought no additional aid.

Fannie's net income attributable to common shareholders was 37 cents per share in the second quarter. That compares with a net loss of $5.2 billion, or 90 cents per share, in the same period last year.

"We think home prices have stabilized," Fannie President and CEO Timothy Mayopoulos said in an interview on CNBC.

Fannie has reported gains in net income in both quarters this year. It earned $2.7 billion in the January-March quarter and paid a dividend of $2.8 billion to the Treasury.

Standard Chartered chief rejects NY claims on Iran

LONDON (AP) -- The Bank of England criticized New York financial regulators Wednesday for unilaterally accusing Standard Chartered of illegally laundering oil money for Iran, while the chief executive of the embattled London bank denied claims of systematic sanctions-busting.

On Monday, the New York State Department of Financial Services accused Standard Chartered of laundering $250 billion of Iranian oil money over a decade in defiance of an American order prohibiting such transactions. The bank admits violations totaling $14 million.

Standard Chartered chief executive, Peter Sands, rejected the U.S. investigators' central accusation that bank officials had conspired with Iran to evade U.S. sanctions by systematically removing Iranian identification from wire transfers of Iranian cash cleared through its New York office.

Cayman Islands withdrawing income tax on expatriates after plan outraged many in tax haven

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- The Cayman Islands is scrapping a plan to impose a direct income tax on thousands of expatriates working in the British Caribbean territory that is famed as a no-tax financial center.

Premier McKeeva Bush issued a terse statement late Monday saying that his proposed tax was "off the table and will not be implemented." He did not say what alternative revenues might replace it.

The islands' leader said only that his administration was "satisfied that many of the commitments from the private sector" will meet his demands for a new source of revenue for the government that won't hit the poorest citizens. He has been huddling with business leaders in recent days.

Lenovo unveils lighter, quicker ThinkPad laptop

BEIJING (AP) -- Lenovo unveiled a lighter, quicker ThinkPad notebook computer on Monday to appeal to customers who like the convenience of tablets and smartphones.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon will go on sale later this month, the Chinese computer maker said.

Lenovo Group acquired the ThinkPad brand with IBM Corp.'s personal computer unit in 2005. Lenovo passed Dell Inc. last year to become the second-largest PC manufacturer after Hewlett-Packard Co.

The latest ThinkPad has third-generation wireless connectivity and other features inspired by tablets and smartphones, said Dilip Bhatia, vice president of the ThinkPad business unit. He said that was in response to demands by customers who want a tablet's convenience but need a notebook's wider range of functions.

"They want faster. They want thinner," Bhatia said.

Jets WR Santonio Holmes day-to-day after X-rays reveal no broken ribs

CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) -- Good news, Jets fans. Santonio Holmes is OK.

X-rays on the New York wide receiver's ribs Saturday night were negative, easing concerns that Holmes might be sidelined a while. The team said Holmes is day-to-day after he was injured in the team's scrimmage.

That quelled the Jets' initial fears after coach Rex Ryan said that Holmes "might" have broken a rib. That would have been bad news for a team that lacks depth at the position because of other injuries.

"I'm sure he'll be fine, but we'll have to check on him later," Ryan said. "Other than that, he had a good day."

It is believed Holmes was injured on a third-down play when he was hit by cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who earlier in the week made some waves when he said he thought he was the team's second-best wide receiver - behind Holmes.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, in South Africa, pays respects to Nelson Mandela at his home

QUNU, South Africa (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited with Nelson Mandela at his home on Monday to pay her respects to the aging South African icon.

Clinton and a small group flew to the 94-year-old Mandela's home village of Qunu, where they reminisced and had a small private lunch.

Clinton and Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, talked as photographers snapped pictures and Mandela looked on smiling from his wingback chair.

Syrian PM joins rebel side in latest blow to Assad

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria's prime minister defected on Monday, evidence that the widening cracks in President Bashar's Assad's regime have reached the highest echelons of government.

Riad Hijab - who planned the break for months, according to an aide - is the highest-level political figure to switch sides and is certain to encourage rebels after a string of military and diplomatic figures abandoned the regime. A Jordanian official and a rebel spokesman said he fled to Jordan.

Ahmad Kassim, a senior official with the Free Syrian Army, initially said Hijab defected along with three other ministers but later said only two other ministers had left. There has been no confirmation, however, from Syria or any other source on other ministers defecting.

A senior U.S. official said the defection is more evidence that the Assad regime "is crumbling." The official, traveling with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Johannesburg, urged other senior members of the government and military to break with Assad.

NKorean leader turns attention to foreign diplomacy, meets with visiting Chinese officials

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Kim Jong Un the marshal became Kim Jong Un the statesman as he met with Chinese political dignitaries in meetings that marked his first official foray into foreign affairs since becoming North Korea's leader.

Kim told Wang Jiarui, head of the Communist Party's international affairs office, that his government is focused on building the economy, and then invited the Chinese delegation to a banquet Thursday, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. The Korean Central News Agency reported the meeting without details on their discussions.

The occasion was Kim's diplomatic debut as leader of North Korea, seven months after he took power following the December death of his father, longtime leader Kim Jong Il.

Jamaica gets rain as TS Ernesto passes to south

PORT ROYAL, Jamaica (AP) -- Tropical Storm Ernesto brushed past the Caribbean country's southern coast Sunday, causing heavy rains but few problems as it took a course expected to carry it by Honduras and across the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters at Jamaica's Meteorological Service said rain had tapered off by Sunday evening although light to moderate showers from squalls were still reported across most of the island, especially eastern areas.

In Jamaica's southern capital of Kingston, Ernesto dumped some rain but left no noticeable damage.

Island authorities urged people in flood-prone areas to stay on alert and urged fishermen on outlying cays and banks to remain in safe harbors on the main island.

As the storm's outer bands approached earlier, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller called on all Jamaicans to make the necessary preparations to ensure their safety.

"I urge you to especially consider the children, the sick, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and the most vulnerable in the society," she said.

UN General Assembly denounces Syrian crackdown

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Syria's crackdown on dissent Friday in a symbolic effort meant to push the deadlocked Security Council and the world at large into action on stopping the country's civil war.

Before the vote, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reminded the Assembly of the fresh violence in the city of Aleppo and drew comparisons between the failure to act in Syria with the international community's failure to protect people from past genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

"The conflict in Syria is a test of everything this organization stands for," Ban said. "I do not want today's United Nations to fail that test."

The vote came after the more powerful Security Council was stopped by a series of Russian and Chinese vetoes on resolutions that would have opened the door to sanctions on Syria.

Century-old baseball cards found in Ohio attic sell big at auction; cousins to share proceeds

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Century-old baseball cards discovered in an Ohio attic sold big at an auction but they aren't going to make anyone super-rich. That's because the cards and the money are being evenly divided among 20 cousins.

A sampling of the treasure trove that had been untouched for 100 years was sold Thursday night during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Md. The 37 baseball cards featuring the likes of Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner fetched a combined $566,132 in brisk online and live bidding. They were expected to bring about $500,000.

Family member Karla Hench, who helped uncover the cards, said they brought "fantastic prices." She said family members were thrilled by the results. "We're very excited that we can all share in this find," she said.

Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, which conducted the sale, said two lots were sold to Internet bidders and the third went to a bidder present at the auction. The auction house declined to identify the winning bidders.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "The room was packed."

Jim Furyk, thriving on the fast greens of Firestone, has lowest 36-hole score of career

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Jim Furyk went from a bunker to the right of the 10th fairway at Firestone to another bunker short of the green, leaving a difficult shot that he blasted out some 8 feet by the hole for an even tougher putt to save his par because of how it broke sharply to the right.

He made the putt, which was as satisfying as some of the birdies he made Friday on his way to the lowest 36-hole score of his career and a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Furyk is not the longest hitter, though he's long enough and atones for it by being straight. No one ever questions the quality of his iron play. His fortunes depend largely on how well he putts, and that explains why he had his worst full season a year ago since his rookie year on tour.


BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria reached out to its powerful ally Russia on Friday, as senior officials pleaded with Moscow for financial loans and supplies of oil products - an indication that international sanctions are squeezing President Bashar Assad's regime.

The signs of desperation came as resilient rebels fought regime forces in the Syrian capital only two weeks after the government crushed a revolt there. The renewed battles in Damascus show that Assad's victories could be fleeting as armed opposition groups regroup and resurge.

"The fighting in Damascus today proves that this revolution cannot be extinguished," said activist Abu Qais al-Shami. "The rebels may be forced to retreat because of the regime's use of heavy weaponry but they will always come back."

Syria is thought to be burning quickly through the $17 billion in foreign reserves that the government was believed to have at the start of Assad's crackdown on a popular uprising that erupted in March 2011. The conflict has turned into a civil war, and rights activists estimate more than 19,000 people.

Report: Generic drugs saved $193 billion in 2011

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Growing use of generic medicines has reduced U.S. health care spending by more than $1 trillion over the past decade, according to an industry-funded study released Thursday.

The fourth annual report, produced for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, found use of generic prescription drugs in the U.S. saved about $193 billion last year alone. That amount was up 22 percent from the $158 billion in savings from generics in 2010, and was more than three times the $60 billion in savings in 2002, the report states.

The report notes that using inexpensive generic versions of pricier brand-name prescription drugs now saves the country about $1 billion every other day.

Aaron Sorkin defends HBO drama 'The Newsroom'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Aaron Sorkin is confronting critics of his HBO drama head on.

The Oscar-winning writer-producer defended "The Newsroom" during a Wednesday gathering of the Television Critics Association and denied reports that he fired his entire writing staff. Sorkin said there were staff changes, but all the writers were not dismissed.

"They're coming to work early. They're being polite to me," he joked. "I want the old gang back."

Sorkin spent most of his 30 minutes in front of TV critics responding to those who lambasted the series starring Jeff Daniels as a cable news anchor for being inauthentic in its portrayal of women and the cable news industry. He said because the first season was written and filmed before it debuted in June, it was impossible to address any concerns.

Syrian refugees grow impatient with top defectors

YAYLADAGI, Turkey (AP) -- Syrians hoping for a swift rebel victory in their homeland are growing impatient with top army defectors who are staying in Turkey even after fighters on the ground have gained territory across the border in northern Syria.

Turkey has emerged as a haven not only for tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, but for some of the most high-level defectors from President Bashar Assad's regime. The Free Syrian Army, the loose umbrella group of rebel fighters, uses Turkey as a headquarters and staging ground, in part because the rebels have not been able to secure a safe haven inside the country.

But now rebel fighters have carved out some ground for themselves along the border inside Syria, and some rebels and refugees say it's time for the most elite defectors - including dozens of officers and more than 25 generals - to go home and fight.

"Why does an officer defect? He defects in order to protect the nation," Baraa, a Syrian refugee in Turkey, told The Associated Press. He asked that only his first name be published, fearing for the safety of his family in Syria. "They should go into Syria and let the revolution benefit from their long years of experience."

Column: The 19 medals say Phelps is greatest ever Olympian, but is he?

LONDON (AP) -- Nineteen - say that again, nineteen - Olympic medals. All won by one man unlike any other. It simply defies belief. Imagine the space that much heavy metal takes up. Even more unimaginable is the effort it took to get them.

No one could disagree with the bedsheet unfurled by fans in the crowd that said: "PHELPS GREATEST OLYMPIAN EVER."

So thank you, Michael. Thanks for another milestone in human history. The simple words "Olympic record" didn't quite do justice to the achievement, which Phelps sealed and delivered in London, but which really was a monument to a lifetime of dedication to the goal of being the best one can be.

Sounds so simple. It's anything but.

For the first time in all of the hundreds of races he has swum, Phelps said he smiled to himself underwater in the last 20 meters of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay on Tuesday night that got him the medal - it was gold, yet another one - he needed to become the first Olympian in history with 19 medals.

Twitter admits mistake in reporter case

LONDON (AP) -- Twitter is acknowledging a mistake in how it handled a tweet by a Los Angeles-based journalist that included the email of the NBC Olympics president.

Alex Macgillivray, general counsel for the social media website, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the company's team working with NBC for their Olympic partnership "proactively" identified the tweet it said was in violation of its rules and encouraged the network to report it.

"This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us," Macgillivray wrote. "We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is - whether a business partner, celebrity or friend."

Seif Gadhafi says trial in Libya would be murder

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The son of killed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi says that he wants to be tried for alleged war crimes in the Netherlands, and a trial in Libya would be tantamount to murder.

In a filing by defense lawyers at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands late Tuesday, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi said "There will certainly be no justice in the case if the prosection is based on evidence from torture."

"I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder."

Fire on overnight train kills 32 in southern India; dozens burned

HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- A fire swept through a train car packed with sleeping passengers in southern India on Monday, killing at least 32 people and sending panicked survivors rushing for the only clear exit once the train stopped, officials said.

Investigators found charred remains of victims still in their sleeping berths and were struggling to identify them.

A railway station worker noticed the burning coach as the overnight train from New Delhi to the southeastern city of Chennai passed through the town of Nellore at about 4 a.m., local official B. Sridhar said. Nellore is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Once the alarm was raised, the train was stopped and the coach was detached from the rest of the train to prevent the blaze from spreading.

Passengers were evacuated once the train was halted.

"Since the fire had engulfed one door of the coach, people had to rush to the other end of the coach to exit," Sridhar said by telephone from the accident site.

Obama campaign to use Bill Clinton in prominent role at Democratic convention

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton will have a marquee role in this summer's Democratic National Convention, where he will make a forceful case for President Barack Obama's re-election and his economic vision for the country, several Obama campaign and Democratic party officials said Sunday.

The move gives the Obama campaign an opportunity to take advantage of the former president's immense popularity and remind voters that a Democrat was in the White House the last time the American economy was thriving.

Obama personally asked Clinton to speak at the convention and place Obama's name in nomination, and Clinton enthusiastically accepted, officials said. Clinton speaks regularly to Obama and to campaign officials about strategy.

Clinton's prominent role at the convention will also allow Democrats to embrace party unity in a way that is impossible for Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Spanish regions rebel against deficit targets

MADRID (AP) -- A growing number of Spain's regions are rebelling against central government attempts to rein in their spending, threatening the country's efforts to convince investors that it can manage its finances.

A meeting called Tuesday to slash the 17 semiautonomous regions' total deficit to 0.7 percent of Spain's economic output by next year was boycotted by the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia while the chief financial officer for the southern Andalusia left the meeting early in protest.

Two other regions, Asturias and the Canary Islands, voted against the proposal, which was eventually approved by a majority of the regional governments.

Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro warned the regions that the federal government would not tolerate any deviation in the deficit targets. Curbing Spain's central and regional deficits is seen as key to satisfying Spain's 16 euro partners that it is in control of its finances and in bringing down the country's borrowing costs.

Romney plans visit Monday to site in Poland where first shots were fired in World War II

JERUSALEM (AP) -- U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney heads to Poland on Monday, where he will visit the site of the first shots fired in World War II and pay tribute to the country's anti-communist movement.

Romney plans to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Gdansk (guh-DANSK) before heading to the Westerplatte memorial, where a German battleship shelled a Polish military outpost in 1939.

Romney also plans to see former Polish President Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEHN'-sah) and visit the famed shipyard where the electrician began an anti-government movement in the 1970s.