17,000 AT&T workers in California and Nevada go on strike

NEW YORK (AP) -- A union representing AT&T workers says about 17,000 employees in California and Nevada have gone on strike. The workers install cable and phone service and work in call centers where customers can phone in with questions and problems. Union local official Sheila Bordeaux says AT&T is asking technicians who install cable to also work outside maintaining phone and cable wires, which is a higher-paid job.

EU warns of 'serious consequences' if no Brexit deal

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator warned Wednesday of "serious consequences for everyone" if Britain walks away without agreement from negotiations on leaving the 28-nation bloc. Outlining his plans in detail for the first time, Michel Barnier told lawmakers in Brussels that there could be "total uncertainty" if no deal is clinched by March 2019.

Labor nominee says he won't let politics influence hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Labor Department said Wednesday he won't allow potential political pressure from the administration to influence his hiring decisions and regrets he let that happen on his watch at the Justice Department. But Alexander Acosta, testifying before the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee, said little about what he would do about overtime pay and other issues if confirmed for the job.

High court limits president's power to fill temporary posts

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday limited the president's power to temporarily fill vacant government posts while nominations are tied up in partisan political fights. The 6-2 ruling said a former top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board had served in violation of a federal law governing such appointments.

EU to hold Brexit summit for 27 members on April 29

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Once Britain decides to trigger divorce proceedings next week, the 27 other European Union nations will be taking a month to decide on the negotiating framework to achieve the best-possible split-up for the bloc. They will hold a special Brexit summit on April 29 to draw up guidelines for the negotiations to follow.

Greece: Police find 8 parcel bombs headed to EU countries

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Police in Greece have discovered and neutralized eight parcel bombs, addressed to European Union finance officials and businesses in various European countries, at a postal sorting office near Athens. The discovery Monday came after letter bombs were sent last week to the German Finance Ministry and the Paris office of the International Monetary Fund, where a small explosion injured a member of staff.

The Latest: Germany confident Britain will pay what it owes

LONDON (AP) -- The Latest on Brexit (all times local): 2:35 p.m. Germany's finance minister says he is confident that Britain will pay what it owes the European Union as it negotiates its exit from the bloc. The EU wants Britain to pay a hefty divorce bill to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and other commitments that it has agreed to. British negotiators are sure to argue about the size of the bill.

The countdown begins: Britain to start EU exit on March 29

LONDON (AP) -- Britain will begin divorce proceedings from the European Union on March 29, starting the clock on two years of intense political and economic negotiations that will fundamentally change both the nation and its European neighbors. Britain's ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, informed European Council President Donald Tusk of the exact start date on Monday morning.

Strikes strand tourists, travelers at Italy's airports

ROME (AP) -- Tourists and travelers at airports across Italy are facing delays and canceled flights thanks to strikes by air traffic controllers and air transport workers. Italy's flagship carrier, Alitalia, said it was cancelling some 40 percent of its domestic and international flights Monday. Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and other carriers also were canceling flights due to the four-hour work action from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Home health aides: Minimum-wage hikes could deepen shortage

WEST CHAZY, N.Y. (AP) -- Only 17 snowy miles from the Canadian border, Katie Bushey's most basic needs are met by traveling health aides who come into her home to change her diapers, track her seizures, spoon-feed her fettuccine Alfredo and load her wheelchair into the shower. But that's only if someone shows up.

UN agency head resigns, stands by Israel 'apartheid' report

BEIRUT (AP) -- The head of a United Nations agency that promotes development in Arab countries resigned Friday after refusing to withdraw a controversial report concluding that Israel has established an "apartheid regime" that discriminates against Palestinians. The report titled "Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid," which was published earlier this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, drew swift criticism from U.N.

House votes to give VA more power to discipline employees

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-led House approved legislation Thursday to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire, suspend or demote employees for poor performance or bad conduct, part of a renewed GOP effort targeting VA accountability in the new Trump administration. The bill, which passed 237-178, would reduce the time that workers have available under a union grievance process to appeal a disciplinary action.

UN agency shelves vote on ties with Big Tobacco

GENEVA (AP) -- The governing body of the International Labor Organization, which has taken millions of dollars in funding from Big Tobacco, has shelved a decision about whether to cut ties with the industry. The ILO body voted Wednesday to delay until November a decision about whether to join other U.N. agencies that have pledged to fight tobacco-industry influence in policymaking.

Lawsuit alleging NJ worker was fired for passing gas tossed

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit that said one of New Jersey's top pork roll makers fired a worker for passing too much gas. Louann Clem said her husband struggled with extreme gas and uncomfortable diarrhea due to gastric bypass surgery. Her suit claimed Case Pork Roll President Thomas Dolan complained about the side effects and told her husband to work from home due to the smell.

The Latest: Government calls ruling flawed, vows court fight

The Latest on legal challenges to the Trump administration's revised travel ban (all times Pacific unless noted): 7:20 p.m. The Justice Department calls a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that halts President Donald Trump's revised travel ban "flawed in reasoning and in scope." The agency said in a statement Wednesday that the executive order falls within Trump's power to protect national security and that the department will keep defending it in court.

UK jobless rate falls to lowest level since 1975

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1975 as the economy continues to show resilience despite the uncertainty accompanying Britain's upcoming departure from the European Union. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in the three months through January, from 4.8 percent in the quarter through December. Earnings growth, however, slowed to 2.3 percent annually from 2.

Kenya's public doctors to end 100-day strike that saw deaths

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Thousands of doctors at Kenya's public hospitals have agreed to end a 100-day strike that saw people dying from lack of care, an official with the doctors' union said Tuesday. The strike was blamed for dozens of deaths, as the majority of Kenyans cannot afford private health care. The government and union officials signed a deal to address pay and other issues in dispute, said Dr.