DNA from dirt: Tracing ancient humans found in 'empty' caves

BERLIN (AP) -- No bones? No problem! Scientists say they've figured out a way to extract tiny traces of ancient human DNA from dirt in caves that lack skeletal remains. The technique could be valuable for reconstructing human evolutionary history, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Science. That's because fossilized bones, currently the main source of ancient DNA, are scarce even at sites where circumstantial evidence points to a prehistoric human presence.

Costs up to remove Matthew debris from South Carolina coast

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) -- The costs of cleaning up South Carolina's coast after Hurricane Matthew are going up. The island Packet of Hilton Head reports (http://bit.ly/2pnt3lF) the cost of cleaning up local waterways in Beaufort County has increased by $2.5 million. Beaufort County environmental engineering director Eric Larson says the initial estimate for the cleanup was about $4.5 million.

UAE's first solar-powered gas station opens in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A government oil company in the United Arab Emirates says it has opened the country's first solar-powered gas station in Dubai. The Dubai-owned Emirates National Oil Company said on Wednesday the service station on the city's main Sheikh Zayed Road thoroughfare is covered with solar panels that can generate up to 120 kilowatt hours.

Monument review includes oceans, tribal lands and Sequoias

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- President Donald Trump's call to review 24 national monuments established by three former presidents puts in limbo protections on large swaths of land home to ancient cliff dwellings, towering Sequoias, deep, canyons and oceans habitats where seals, whales and sea turtles roam.

In tweetstorm, Trump takes aim at Democrats on spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday unleashed a tweetstorm of criticism of Democrats involved in tense negotiations on a spending bill to keep the government open, accusing them of trying to close national parks and jeopardize the safety of U.S. troops over demands to provide Americans with health care.

As Trump calls for wall, a look at the world's barriers

As President Donald Trump marks 100 days in office, he is vowing to keep his campaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Despite widespread skepticism and Mexico's refusal to pay for the wall, as Trump has demanded, the U.S. government has been soliciting bids and test sections could be built as soon as this summer.

Liability limits on hog farm nuisance awards passes Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A measure placing limits on what hog farms could pay out in lawsuits filed by neighbors complaining about animal waste odors is nearing final approval by the North Carolina legislature. The Senate voted 30-19 late Wednesday for the measure restricting compensatory damages in cases where a judge or jury rules a farm or forestry operation has become a nuisance.

Wyoming wolf hunts to start again after US court decision

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Wyoming will hold a wolf hunt for the first time in four years this fall now that a federal court has lifted endangered species protection for wolves in the state, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said Wednesday. Planning is now underway for the hunt in northwestern Wyoming, which will probably be similar to the state's last wolf hunting seasons in 2012 and 2013, officials said.

Southern Cross to carry Texas wind power through Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A San Francisco-based renewable energy company wants Mississippi regulators to approve a $1.4 billion power transmission line that would carry electricity from wind generated in Texas to the Southeast. The Southern Cross Transmission line would extend from Texas through Desoto Parish in Louisiana, crossing into Mississippi south of Greenville. It then would run across Mississippi, to a $300 million transmission facility near Columbus, where it would tie into existing power lines.

Order sets up legal showdown with vast lands at stake

President Donald Trump's order for the government to review national monuments created by three of his predecessors sets up a potential legal showdown over whether one chief executive has the power to undo another's decisions. At stake are federal lands revered for their natural beauty and historical significance. The review goes well beyond a few declarations made in the waning months of Barack Obama's term.

South Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers: ___ April 22 The Sun News of Myrtle Beach on a road that's been the center of a court battle: From a public perspective, lawsuits are best settled at some point in the legalities when the parties resolve their differences, agree on terms, and the court (judge) approves. Last week, the 4th U.S.

Cyprus activists protest Turkey's planned nuclear plant

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- Greek and Turkish Cypriot activists have formed a human chain across Cyprus' ethnic divide to protest Turkey's planned nuclear power station, which they say poses real dangers to the nearby east Mediterranean island. About 100 activists linked arms Wednesday across the 70-meter U.N.-controlled buffer zone between the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and the internationally recognized south in the medieval heart of the capital, Nicosia.

Dye for mulch leaks from trailer, turning creek bright red

LANCASTER, N.Y. (AP) -- A mulch dye that leaked from a company's property is being blamed for turning the waters of a western New York creek a bright red. Officials in the town of Lancaster say they were alerted late Tuesday morning that a miles-long stretch of the Scajaquada (skuh-JAK'-kwah-dah) Creek had turned red.

Dem Senator accuses EPA chief Pruitt of violating ethics law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate Democrat is accusing the head of the Environmental Protection Agency of violating federal law by agreeing to headline a state GOP fundraiser. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt over a planned May 5 appearance as the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Republican Party's annual gala dinner.

What's in a name? Bronx Zoo proudly displays 'snot otters'

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's a salamander by any other name -- and some of those names are comical. The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo is now proudly displaying two Eastern hellbenders -- also known as "devil dogs," ''snot otters" or "old lasagna sides." Eastern hellbenders have flattened heads and bodies, small eyes, and slimy, wrinkly skin. They're typically brown or reddish-brown with a pale underbelly. There's also a serious side to the subject.

Bad beasts, good treats: Feral hog slaughterhouse takes off

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- In a region that takes food seriously, feral hogs are despised as destructive, but their rich, dark meat is winning fans among Louisiana chefs. A small slaughterhouse is butchering the wild pigs , which cause the state $76 million-plus in annual damage, and selling sausage to grocery stores and meat to restaurants, where chefs are turning it into savory prosciutto, chorizo and meatballs.

Heavy rains cause sewage, wastewater spills into creeks

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Heavy rains across North Carolina have caused wastewater and sewage to spill into creeks. News outlets report that around 85,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Boyd Creek from Boyd Creek Pump Station in Graham on Monday, while 10,000 gallons of wastewater spilled in Newton the same day with 3,000 gallons reaching McLin Creek.

South Carolina woman pleads to under-reporting income

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The former manager of a plastic surgery office in South Carolina has pleaded guilty to under-reporting income. The Post and Courier of Charleston reported (http://bit.ly/2oL2dk8) 46-year-old Cynthia Cave on Tuesday acknowledged failure to report $220,000 in income over a three-year period. Cave was charged in March 2016 with 10 counts of wire fraud and three counts of filing a false tax return. She pleaded guilty to the tax charges before U.S.