Wet winter gives way to colorful 'Superbloom' in US West
The tiny rain-fed wildflowers, no bigger than a few inches, are so vivid and abundant across California this year that their hues of purple, yellow and orange look like paint swatches from space. From the mist-shrouded San Francisco Bay area to the deserts of Arizona near the Mexican border, there are flashes of color popping up following an unusually wet winter that experts say helped produce a so-called "Superbloom." Experts say this year's show is especially stunning because it is so widespread. Botanists say it is expected to last well into May with some areas just starting to bloom.
America's first heroes: Revolutionary War soldiers reburied
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Historians and archeologists in South Carolina are preparing to rebury 12 unknown U.S. Revolutionary War soldiers who died in the 1780 battle at Camden. The ceremonies starting April 20 are the result of months of work to carefully excavate the bodies from shallow graves, take DNA samples and study them, and give them a proper burial where they fell on the now-protected battlefield. Several of the soldiers were teenagers. Historians say they should be honored as America's first heroes and that their sacrifice helped make the U.S. the country it is today. A similar project is studying a dozen German soldiers, called Hessians, who died fighting for the British at Red Bank, New Jersey.
Russell Crowe stars as Vatican's 'James Bond of exorcists'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Rev. Edward Siebert is a key figure behind the new film "The Pope's Exorcist" starring Russell Crowe. About six years ago, Siebert bought the rights to the story of the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the Catholic priest who is known as "the James Bond of exorcists." For three decades until his death in 2016, Amorth served as the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome. He claimed to have performed over 60,000 exorcisms. The Oscar-winning Crowe said he was honored to play Amorth, particularly highlighting his unshakeable faith and his wicked sense of humor. Siebert says he is happy to see a Catholic priest portrayed as a hero and a vanquisher of evil.
DA: Suspect in killing of Cash App founder planned attack
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors say the tech consultant charged with the killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee planned the attack. They say Nima Momeni, 38, stabbed Lee over an apparent dispute involving Momeni's sister. The information was included in a motion filed Friday to detain Momeni without bail. Momeni made his first appearance Friday in a San Francisco courtroom, but he did not enter a plea. The motion is the first official accounting of what may have led to the stabbing death of Lee. The prosecutor's office says if convicted, Momeni faces 26 years to life in prison.
Florida floods: Businesses, residents begin cleaning up mess
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Business owners and residents have begun the slow process of drying out and recovering possessions following an unprecedented deluge that dumped more than 2 feet of rain in some areas of South Florida in one day. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened Friday morning after a nearly two-day closure because of flooding caused by the rains. By the afternoon, airport operations were slowly returning to normal, but the closure was still affecting some passengers. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Miami say the amount of rain the area received is unprecedented.
'Water was red': Hawaii surfer recalls costly shark attack
HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii surfer credits his faith in God for surviving an Easter shark attack. Mike Morita said Wednesday from a hospital bed that he's at peace with losing his right foot to Sunday's shark attack at his regular Honolulu surfing spot known as Kewalos on the south shore of the island of Oahu. Morita credits the bravery of his surfing friends, who came to his aid and used their board leashes to fashion a tourniquet. Doctors already had to amputate his foot, and he was scheduled for another surgery Thursday and was praying that they wouldn't have to take more of his leg. Morita has been surfing since childhood and believes he'll surf again.
Black church, NHL's Penguins reach historic land-use accord
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team has reached an agreement with a historic Black church to provide it development rights to a 1.5-acre parcel near the church's former property. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church's old sanctuary was demolished along with much of the surrounding Black neighborhood in the 1950s in a now-lamented urban-renewal project. The Penguins hold development rights in the area near the arena where they currently play. Bethel says public authorities compensated it in the 1950s for a fraction of its property's value. The Penguins only came in existence a decade after that happened. But the agreement is being called "restorative justice."
NJ charges itself with damaging land it was bound to protect
New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection has issued a violation notice against itself for wrongly clearing nearly 15 acres of a wildlife management area. The work in February and March was designed to create habitat for the American woodcock. But it destroyed habitat for the barred owl, a threatened species, and the red-shouldered hawk, an endangered species. A division of the department has 30 days to decided how to restore the site in Clayton, a town in the southwestern part of the state. The violation notice includes the threat of penalties. How that would work when the state is both the accuser and the accused was not immediately clear.
JPMorgan Chase profits jump 52% amid banking turmoil
JPMorgan Chase says first-quarter profits rose 52%, helped by higher interest rates which allowed the bank to charge customers more for loans. The bank saw deposits grow noticeably, as business and customers flocked to the banking titan after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. With its strong results, as well as solid results out of Citigroup and Wells Fargo on Friday, there seem to be few signs of potential trouble in the banking system — at least for the nation's biggest, most complex financial institutions. Shares of each of the three big banks rose in early trading.
European spacecraft on way to Jupiter and its icy moons
A European spacecraft has blasted off on a quest to explore Jupiter and three of its ice-encrusted moons. Dubbed Juice, the robotic explorer set off on an eight-year journey Friday from French Guiana in South America, launching atop an Ariane rocket. Juice is taking a long, roundabout route. It should reach Jupiter in 2031 and spend three years buzzing Callisto, Europa and Ganymede. Then it will attempt to enter orbit around Ganymede, our solar system's largest moon. The three moons are believed to harbor underground oceans, where sea life could exist. If underground seas are confirmed, ice picks and a submarine could be next up.