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Depression may speed brain aging

WASHINGTON — Memory and thinking skills naturally slow with age but now scientists are peeking inside living brains to tell if depression might worsen that decline — and finding some worrisome clues. Depression has long been linked to certain cognitive problems, and depression late in ...

Lawmakers question special fund tranfers

HARRISBURG — It didn’t take very long for House lawmakers from both political parties on Thursday to question Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to tap special funds to pay for Department of Environmental Protection operations. The first two legislators to pose queries to DEP Secretary Patrick ...

Ambulance rides may not end at ER

WASHINGTON — Medicare wants to change how it pays for emergency ambulance services to give seniors more options besides going to a hospital emergency department, officials said Thursday. Other options could include going to an urgent care center, a doctor’s office, or even treatment at ...

DCNR secretary defends transfers

HARRISBURG — Just like what occurred with its sister environmental agency, state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials faced questions from lawmakers Thursday about the impact of tapping special funds to support its operations next year. At the agency’s House ...

Anesthesia in short surgery OK for babies

Anesthesia during a short surgery doesn’t harm a baby’s brain development, according to an experiment involving hundreds of infants in seven countries. While the study can’t answer broader safety questions about repeated or prolonged anesthesia, it may ease the worries of millions of ...

Valentine’s Day house fire kills couple

LANCASTER (AP) — A Pennsylvania couple have died in a Valentine’s Day fire at their home. Officials told LNP that Jose and Lydia Montes, both 59, were found unconscious on the second floor of their Lancaster home early Thursday. They died at the hospital. Family members said the couple ...

Pope approves Cardinal’s miracle

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has approved a miracle needed to make Cardinal John Henry Newman, a prominent Anglican convert, a saint, the Vatican announced on Wednesday. Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Newman during a visit to Britain in 2010. In the Catholic church’s ...

Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia

BARTELLA, Iraq — In the main square in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella stands a large cross, one of the few overt signs the town was historically Christian. Nearby, a massive billboard shows Shiite Muslim martyrs alongside a photo of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Posters of ...

Rover finally bites the dust

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Oppor­tunity, the Mars rover that was built to operate for just three months but kept going and going, rolling across the rocky red soil, was pronounced dead Wednesday, 15 years after it landed on the planet. The six-wheeled vehicle that helped ...

Recall

1.5M Ford pickups can downshift without warning Ford is recalling nearly 1.5 million pickup trucks in North America because the transmissions can suddenly downshift into first gear. The recall covers F-150 trucks from the 2011-13 model years with six-speed automatic transmissions. The ...

Trump: Maduro wrong to refuse aid

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to accept humanitarian aid a “terrible mistake” and the decision an example of what can happen when the wrong government holds power. Trump seemed also to hint at future action by the ...

Judge: Manafort lied to jury

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the special counsel in the Russia probe, a judge ruled Wednesday. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was another loss for the former Trump campaign chairman, who faces years in ...

President still coy on border deal

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump isn’t showing his hand yet. But with little Washington appetite for another shutdown, he’s expected to grudgingly accept an agreement that would keep the government open but provide just a fraction of the money he’s been demanding for his Mexican ...

World briefs

NORTH MACEDONIA Bus plunges into ravine, killing 13 SKOPJE — A bus carrying workers in North Macedonia crashed into a small ravine outside the capital Skopje, killing 13 people and injuring about 30 others Wednesday, the newly renamed European nation’s health minister said. Venko ...

Nation briefs

NEW YORK FDA: Romaine outbreak a mystery NEW YORK — U.S. food regulators said they weren’t able to identify a contamination source for a food poisoning outbreak that prompted them to warn people to avoid romaine lettuce this fall. The Food and Drug Administration said it wasn’t ...

Paperback pioneer Betty Ballantine

NEW YORK — Betty Ballantine, half of a groundbreaking husband-and-wife publishing team that helped invent the modern paperback and vastly expand the market for science fiction and other genres through such blockbusters as “The Hobbit” and “Fahrenheit 451,” has died. Ballantine died ...

Guerrilla who became Afghan president

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s first president following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country and the collapse in 1992 of Kabul’s pro-communist government, Sibghatullah Mujadidi, has died. He was 93. The white-turbaned and soft-spoken Mujadidi was a mentor to former ...

FTC: Romance scams continue to grow

Is it love? Maybe not. The FTC announced this week that romance-related scams have surged recently and generated more losses than any other consumer fraud reported to the agency last year. The number of these romance scams reported to the agency jumped from 8,500 in 2015 to more than 21,000 ...

Borough, VA unveil street sign

The borough of Hollidaysburg and Van Zandt VA Medical Center will “unveil” a VA street sign on the 400 block of Blair Street in the borough at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The sign will help guide motorists to Van Zandt, which is at 2907 Pleasant Valley Boulevard. It’s the first such sign ...

Insurers’ dispute may affect troopers

HARRISBURG — The union representing state troopers says a contract dispute between western Pennsylvania health giants UPMC and Highmark could have a negative impact on troopers and their families. The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association said Monday that its contract expires next year, ...