Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ New York education officials are moving to recognize competitive cheerleading as a sport for the safety of its participants. 

A committee of the state Board of Regents approved the proposal Monday and the full board is expected to consider it Tuesday.

The Regents say the measure will help ensure that coaches are properly trained and that schools follow a common set of standards. Right now, there are no limits on the length of seasons or required practice days.

NEW YORK (AP) _ A new report shows New York ranks 34th in the nation for students graduating on time, with 77 percent of high school students who entered the ninth grade in 2008 earning their diplomas in 2012. 

The report was released Monday by foundations including the America's Promise Alliance headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. 

It finds that 77 percent of high school students in New York graduated on time, slightly below the national graduation rate of 80 percent. 

An income gap was also at play. 


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York lawmakers are putting forward a package of legislation that seeks to fight the resurgence of heroin with tougher penalties for dealers, more funding for overdose-reversal drugs and increased insurance coverage for treatment.  

The proposals, expected to be detailed later Monday, follow a series of forums that Senate Democrats held around the state on the sudden spread of the drug from New York City to sleepy upstate communities and Long Island suburbs.

BERLIN (AP) German engineering giant Siemens AG says it is prepared to discuss a tie-up with its French rival Alstom.

Siemens says it sent the Alstom board a letter "to signal its willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities" but declined to elaborate.

The move announced Sunday comes amid heated speculation that General Electric Co. is considering buying Alstom.

Shares in Alstom were halted Friday after its stock closed nearly 11 percent higher Thursday at 27 euros.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The New York State Board of Law Examiners says 47 percent of the 4,032 would-be lawyers who took the state bar exam in February passed it.

According to the board, the passing rate was 74 percent for candidates from American Bar Association-accredited law schools taking the exam for the first time.

Foreign-educated exam takers had a passing rate of 30 percent.

The list is posted on the board's website


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York's new budget will increase pay 2 percent for about 100,000 caretakers of the disabled and others next year, their first raise in several years for many.

They will get a second cost-of-living adjustment next April, along with about 30,000 case workers, nurses and social workers.

Both raises cover residential and developmental aides and food service workers at nonprofits funded by six state agencies that serve developmentally disabled, mentally ill, elderly and juvenile clients.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York has been on the right path during his term. Republican challenger Rob Astorino says New York is losing.

Can both be right?

With New York's economic condition an election-year issue, Cuomo claims the state reversed its decline in the last four years through tough choices and fiscal discipline. Astorino's signature campaign slogan - ``Is New York winning or is New York losing?'' - rejects the idea that things are improving.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ State lawmakers want to know if auto insurers are charging blue collar New Yorkers more for insurance based on their education and occupation. 

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill questioned insurance industry representatives about the practice during a hearing on auto insurance costs Thursday. 

The New York Public Interest Research Group reported recently that three of the state's largest insurers charge blue-collar workers significantly more than college-educated professionals with the same driving record. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A new study shows continued gains in the numbers of New York children with health insurance, driven mostly by increased coverage through public programs. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report released Thursday shows the percentage of children without insurance dropped from 5.6 percent in 2008 to 4.3 percent in 2012. 

Nationally, the percentage of uninsured children declined from 9.7 percent to 7.5 percent. The report by researchers at the University of Minnesota is based on U.S. Census date. 

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NY State Police

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ State and local police are increasing patrols and checkpoints statewide from April 10 to 15 to encourage drivers not to use their mobile phones. 

Authorities say "Operation Hang Up'' combines anti-texting and cell phone law enforcement with advertisements to let people know about the push and convince them to obey the law. 

The first offense is a minimum fine of $50. That can increase to $400 for the third offense.