In Memphis and around US, economic averages miss big picture

EDITOR'S NOTE _ This story is part of Divided America, AP's ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — Dozens of FedEx jets queue up for takeoff at the airport here. Beale Street, the heart of the music district, hums with tourists. Yet the empty storefronts in Memphis' moribund downtown and the cash-advance shops strewn near its highways tell another story.

  • Written by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer

AP Exclusive: Water giant gave $1.4M loan to official

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California public water district that earned a rare federal penalty over what it described as "a little Enron accounting" loaned one of its executives $1.4 million to buy a riverfront home, and the loan remains unpaid nine years later although the official has left the agency, according to records and interviews.

  • Written by ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press Writer

With debt payment looming, House weighs Puerto Rico bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders and President Barack Obama pressured lawmakers in both parties to back legislation to help ease Puerto Rico's financial crisis as the U.S. territory faces a $2 billion debt payment in just over three weeks.

  • Written by MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

US backed fighters almost surround IS stronghold in Syira

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed fighters on Thursday closed all major roads leading to the northern Syrian town of Manbij, a stronghold of the Islamic State group and surrounded it from three sides, officials and Syrian opposition activists said.

  • Written by BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press