Philadelphia's soda tax brings in $6.4M in February

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia's new tax on sweetened beverages is exceeding expectations. Figures released Thursday by the city's Department of Revenue show the tax brought in $6.4 million in February. The city had projected the tax would generate $5.9 million for the month. The 1.5-cent-per-ouce tax on sweetened and diet beverages funds pre-K and community schools. It also will help pay to renovate recreation centers, libraries and parks. The tax generated $5.

At 93 years old, Zimbabwe's Mugabe remains a jet-setter

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's 93-year-old leader might be slowing down, but his busy foreign travels have led the opposition to call him the "non-resident president." President Robert Mugabe has visited Singapore, Ghana, Swaziland and Mauritius in the past three weeks alone. At times he stops over in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, for just a night before leaving again. Some critics say Mugabe's trips are a drain on this southern African country's depleted finances.

Royal Jordanian rhymes about laptop ban to cheer customers

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan's national airline has taken up rhyming to cheer up customers following the new U.S. aviation restrictions -- and entice them to book flights before more rules are imposed. Royal Jordanian posted a five-line poem on its Twitter account, telling potential travelers: "Every week a new ban. Travel to the U.S. since you can." It promises: "No one can ruin our in-flight fun.

Stocks mixed ahead of US vote seen as Trump bellwether

TOKYO (AP) -- Global stocks were mixed Thursday, as investors awaited a vote in the U.S. Congress on health care legislation that is seen as a bellwether for President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on campaign promises of tax and regulatory reforms. KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX was up 0.4 percent at 11,949 and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent to 5,003. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,325. U.S.

A winner in GOP plans to repeal Obamacare: tanning salons

As Republicans try to shore up support for their health care overhaul, one group can't wait for the replacement: owners of tanning salons. President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act imposed a 10 percent tax on tanning as a way to help fund provisions of the law that expanded coverage for some 20 million Americans. The so-called tan tax took a heavy toll on the industry. Nearly 10,000 salons closed in the U.S.

GOP health bill on the brink hours from House showdown vote

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The GOP's long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare" stood on the brink just hours before Republican leaders planned to put it on the House floor for a showdown vote. Short of support, GOP leaders looked to President Donald Trump to close the deal with a crucial bloc of conservatives, in the first major legislative test of his young presidency.

Obama health law's 'essential benefits' may be in jeopardy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scrambling to nail down votes for the health care overhaul legislation, Republicans are considering ways to ease federal requirements that insurers cover such basic services as prescription drugs, maternity care and substance abuse treatment. Lawmakers emerging from a meeting late Wednesday of the conservative Freedom Caucus said "essential health benefits" are in play as party leaders and the White House explore ways to advance the bill.

Republican health bill would widen America's big wealth gap

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans' health care bill provides massive tax cuts to the wealthy while increasing taxes for many lower income families, adding to America's big income gap between the rich and everyone else. Over the past quarter century, only one group of people has seen significant increases in income -- those at the very top.

5 dead in vehicle, knife attack at British Parliament

LONDON (AP) -- A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage in the heart of Britain's seat of power Wednesday, plowing a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Five people were killed, including the assailant, and 40 others were injured in what Prime Minister Theresa May condemned as a "sick and depraved terrorist attack.

The Latest: Chinese citizen among injured in London attack

LONDON (AP) -- The latest on the attack outside Britain's Parliament (all times local): 6:40 a.m. China says one of its citizens was among 40 people injured in the attack outside Britain's Parliament, and is urging Chinese nationals in the country to avoid crowded areas or traveling alone at night. The Chinese Embassy in London said Thursday it was in touch with the family of the Chinese citizen injured in Wednesday's attack.

South Korea to inject $2.6 bln into ailing shipyard Daewoo

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea announced Thursday a fresh capital injection for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., seeking to prevent the world's second-largest shipbuilder from defaulting on its debts. The injection of 2.9 trillion won ($2.6 billion) in additional loans will prevent Daewoo from going bankrupt when some of its debt matures next month, which could have had a damaging impact on the economy, the Financial Supervisory Commission said in a statement.

Chinese premier warns Australia against protectionism

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- China's premier on Thursday warned against protectionism, saying his country planned to close its $50 billion a year deficit with Australia by expanding the trading relationship rather than retreating from it. Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech in Australia's Parliament House that globalization created "some problems," but that free trade was not to blame.

Obama health law's 'essential benefits' may be in jeopardy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scrambling to nail down votes for the House health care bill, Republicans are considering ways to ease federal requirements that insurers cover such basic services as prescription drugs, maternity care and substance abuse treatment. Lawmakers emerging from a meeting late Wednesday of the conservative Freedom Caucus said "essential health benefits" are in play as party leaders and the White House explore ways to advance the House legislation.

Trucker: 'Surreal' to be topic of Supreme Court nomination

DETROIT (AP) -- During Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's Senate confirmation hearings, one case came up repeatedly: A truck driver was fired for leaving his trailer of meat on the side of an Illinois road after breaking down on a frigid night in 2009, fearing he'd freeze to death. The federal appeals court judge last year dissented from a ruling ordering a trucking company to rehire Alphonse Maddin.

UN atomic chief: Iran inspections at risk without more money

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The inspections regime put in place to closely monitor Iran's nuclear activity is in jeopardy unless the U.S. and other nations contribute more money, the head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. Yukiya Amano, the agency's director general, said he used his visit to Washington to make the case for an increase to the Trump administration and to U.S. lawmakers who control the federal budget.

North Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers: ___ March 21 The News & Observer of Raleigh on "dark money" fundraising If you can't beat 'em, join 'em apparently is the new mantra for those of the Democratic political persuasion, who now are adopting tried-and-true methods of money-for-access fundraising by Republicans. It's not good and it frankly does not reflect well on Gov. Roy Cooper and his supporters.

APNewsBreak: Illinois governor seeks prison tower cameras

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to replace guards in watchtowers with closed-circuit cameras at nearly two dozen lower-security Illinois prisons, an effort to cut expenses for a cash-strapped state that has gone two years without a budget. The administration is projecting $4 million in annual savings through reduced overtime pay and "more efficient management strategies," Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis told The Associated Press.

Concerns about investigation stall picks for Ports board

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A widening investigation into potential Statehouse corruption prompted a screening panel to delay voting Wednesday on whether to advance Gov. Henry McMaster's picks for the South Carolina Ports Authority board. The Ports Authority oversight board wants to thoroughly review the two nominees' associations with veteran political and public relations consultant Richard Quinn, said its chairman, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston.

Retirement dreams fizzle for some with 'Obamacare' repeal

CHICAGO (AP) -- Workers dreaming of early retirement are getting the jitters as Washington debates replacing the Obama-era health care law with a system that could be a lot more expensive for many older Americans. The uncertainty over the cost of coverage in the individual market has caused some in their 50s and early 60s to put plans on hold.