Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment


Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 12:01 PM


Deal signed between protesters and Ukraine's president

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — An agreement between Ukraine's president and the opposition is taking effect.

The country's parliament has voted to restore a previous constitution that limits presidential powers -- a move that was part of the agreement signed today. The country's president had changed the constitution in 2010 to increase his powers. Although he retains an apparent majority in parliament, his powers are now significantly reduced.

Lawmakers also approved an amnesty for protesters involved in violence during a months-long standoff over Ukraine's future.

The deal calls for presidential elections to be held this year, instead of in March of next year. And Ukrainian authorities are supposed to name a new government, including opposition figures, within 10 days.

Despite today's agreement, protesters who are angry over police violence are showing no signs of abandoning their camp in central Kiev. The standoff worsened sharply this week with scores of people killed and hundreds of others wounded in the worst violence Ukraine has seen since it became independent in 1991.


US stocks edge higher

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are inching higher, putting the Standard & Poor's 500 index on track for its third straight week of gains.

If the S&P 500 ends the week higher, it would be the longest stretch of weekly gains since an eight-week span from early October through November.

Priceline.com climbed 3.5 percent after the online travel company reported earnings that beat expectations.


US home sales plunged 5.1 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing U.S. homes plummeted in January to the worst pace in 18 months. Cold weather, limited supplies of homes on the market and higher buying costs held back purchases.

The National Association of Realtors says sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million units last month. That was down 5.1 percent from the December pace. The sales rate declined 5.1 percent over the previous 12 months. Higher mortgage rates and higher prices have contributed to a slowdown in home buying in five of the past six months.

The median home price has risen 10.7 percent to $188,900 since January 2013. The flagging sales suggest a deceleration from the momentum for much of 2013, when 5.09 million homes were sold, the most in seven years.


UPDATE: Detroit files plan to fix debt, leave bankruptcy

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit's emergency manager has filed a plan to restructure the city's $18 billion debt.

It makes cuts to pensioners and creditors while offering a blueprint for the city to emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Kevyn Orr's plan was filed Friday in federal bankruptcy court. An early draft of the filing called for city pensioners to receive $4.3 billion in payments and bondholders about $1.1 billion during the next 40 years.

That draft also detailed plans to help pensioners keep more of what they are owed by using state and private funds to protect art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The plan still faces numerous obstacles. Most aspects are still being negotiated in mediation sessions with stakeholders.


UPDATE: Ugandan president set to sign anti-gay law

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The president of Uganda is signaling that he's ready to sign into law a controversial anti-gay bill.

In a statement today, the leader of the African country says he doesn't want to hear any lectures from Western governments opposed to the measure. He says the legislation wouldn't have been necessary had it not been for what he describes as "Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality."

The bill carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment for what is termed "aggravated homosexuality." President Barack Obama says it's a "step backward for all Ugandans."


FDA looks to reboot nonprescription drug system

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is seeking to revamp its 40-year-old system for regulating hundreds of over-the-counter drugs, saying the decades-old process is not flexible enough to keep pace with modern medical developments.

In a federal posting Friday, the agency announced a two-day meeting next month to discuss overhauling the system known as the over-the-counter monograph.

The system was put in place in 1972 as a way to set dosing, labeling and other standards for hundreds of nonprescription drug ingredients, everything from aspirin to anti-bacterial hand scrubs.

But the process has proven cumbersome and extremely time-consuming, requiring multiple rounds of scientific review, public hearings and comments before a final monograph can be published. As a result, many common pain relievers and cough medicines are still technically under review.


NEW: Autopsy set for body found in ticketed car in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An autopsy is scheduled Friday on the body of a missing woman found inside a car that was parked near Philadelphia's main train station and had a number of parking tickets on the window.

The body of 22-year-old Nadia Malik of Delaware County's Marple Township was found Thursday near 30th Street Station. She had last been seen on Feb. 9.

Authorities said the car was first ticketed on Feb. 10 and ticketed repeatedly after it was towed on Valentine's Day because it was blocking snow removal.

But authorities said the body would've been hard to see in the fully-reclined passenger seat because of heavily tinted windows, a snow-covered windshield and a duffel bag atop the woman's head.

Investigators say they want to question Malik's boyfriend, who is awaiting extradition from Ohio. He hasn't been charged in the case.


NEW: Ukraine wins women's biathlon relay for 1st gold

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Ukraine won the Olympic women's 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay on Friday for its first gold medal of the Sochi Games.

The team of twins Vita and Valj Semerenko, Juliya Dzhyma and Olena Pidhrushna missed five targets but avoided penalty loops to finish in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 2.5 seconds.

Defending champion Russia was 26.4 behind to take silver, and Norway trailed by 37.6 to win bronze.

It was the second medal for Ukraine these games, after Vita Semerenko took bronze in the women's 7.5K sprint.


Italian bobsledder tests positive at Sochi Games

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — The Italian Olympic Committee says bobsledder William Frullani has been kicked out of the Sochi Games after a positive doping test.

In a statement Friday, Italy's governing body CONI says it was informed by the International Olympic Committee that Frullani came up positive for the substance dymetylpentylamine in a test taken in the Olympic Village on Feb. 18.

CONI says Frullani asked for a backup test that was taken Friday and "confirmed the positive result, resulting in his exclusion from the Italian delegation."

CONI adds that it replaced Frullani on its four-man bobsled team with Samuele Romanini.


Under Armour extends speedskating suit deal

BALTIMORE (AP) — Athletic gear maker Under Armour has signed an eight-year deal with with U.S. Speedskating to provide uniforms despite controversy over the suit it provided the team at the Sochi Olympics.

Under Armour spent years developing a new speedskating suit that debuted during the Olympics but flopped. U.S. speedskaters, including favorite Shani Davis, didn't medal, and some blamed the suit. The team reverted to an older Under Armour suit, but results did not improve.

But Under Armour says it is ready to try again. The company will outfit the U.S. speedskating team for the next two Winter Olympics, beginning with South Korea in 2018.

Company CEO and founder Kevin Plank said in an interview with CNBC that Under Armour was "doubling down" and hoped to move past the Sochi controversy.


Versatile TV newsman Garrick Utley dies at 74

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC News says veteran reporter Garrick Utley (UHT'-lee) has died of cancer. He was 74.

Utley began at NBC News in 1963, where for three decades he handled a wide variety of assignments. Early on, he reported from Vietnam on the escalating conflict. In later years, he moderated "Meet the Press."

He once speculated that he may have been the only person at NBC News who handled every type of programming as host or anchor.

In 1993, he left NBC to be a foreign correspondent for ABC News. He reported for CNN from 1997 to 2002.

Standing a lanky 6-foot-6, Utley was known for his courtly and knowledgeable on-the-air manner.

An opera buff, he was also a host of PBS' "Live From the Met."