NEW YORK (AP) - For a significant number of Americans, Christmas has largely lost its religious meaning, becoming an occasion focused instead on visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Bernie Goetz said he thought he was going to be mugged by a man who turned out to be a plainclothes cop arresting him in a low-level drug sting - the same explanation he used nearly three decades ago when he opened fire on four panhandling youths on a subway train.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Police think a suicidal gunman was on a mission of violence when he calmly entered a third-floor urology office and opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing one doctor, critically wounding another and shooting a third victim after warning patients and their children in a waiting area to "get out."
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont city of only 17,000 souls just smashed the national one-day record for blood donations - and it's likely to stand for quite a while.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumers anxious over tight insurance deadlines and lingering computer problems during the holidays will get extra time to pay their premiums under President Barack Obama's health care law, insurers announced Wednesday.
CHICAGO (AP) - Many older adults with high blood pressure can be treated less aggressively, which could mean taking fewer pills to get it under control, according to new treatment guidelines from an expert panel. But not all experts are on board with the advice - including the federal agency that appointed the group.
PURPORTED ZIMMERMAN ARTWORK LISTED ON AUCTION SITE: ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Artwork reportedly created by George Zimmerman is attracting bids of more than $100,000 on eBay.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA has ordered up a series of urgent spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line at the International Space Station, a massive repair job that could stretch to Christmas Day.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee man is charged with two counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a motorcyclist several times and backing his SUV into another - after almost hitting them as they exited an interstate.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $636 million for Tuesday night's drawing, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
HOUSTON HOTEL DISPLAYS HALF-TON CHOCOLATE SANTA: HOUSTON (AP) - Santa Claus has come to town in Houston and he's sweeter than your average holiday fellow.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A suicidal gunman opened fire at a Reno hospital campus Tuesday, killing one person, wounding two others and sending police on a door-to-door search within the facility amid the chaos.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is - and isn't - sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - North Texas prosecutors are trying a second time to imprison a teen who was sentenced last week to 10 years' probation for drunkenly driving his truck into four pedestrians, killing them all.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Year-end legislation to ease Congress' chronic budget brinkmanship and soften across-the-board spending cuts moved to the cusp of final passage Tuesday, a rare display of Senate bipartisanship that masked strong Republican complaints about slicing into military retirement benefits.
BOSTON (AP) - Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Pharmacists used expired ingredients, didn't properly sterilize them and failed to test drugs for purity before sending them to hospitals and pain clinics. Employees falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair in the killings of two white girls in a segregated mill town, a judge threw out the conviction, saying the state committed a great injustice.
WASHINGTON (AP) - After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations - a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations.
DENVER (AP) - The discovery that a Cleveland officer who shot and killed a 12-year-old boy last month had washed out at another police force highlights what some experts call an unnerving truth about policing: Departments don't always dig deeply enough into recruits' pasts.
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana man who shot and killed a German exchange student caught trespassing in his garage was convicted of deliberate homicide Wednesday despite arguing that a state "castle doctrine" law allowed him to use deadly force to protect his home and family.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Uber promises to focus on rider safety amid increasing concerns that its drivers are not adequately screened for past criminal convictions.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve is edging closer to raising interest rates from record lows given a strengthening U.S. economy. But it will be "patient" in deciding when to do so.
NEW YORK (AP) - Under the threat of terrorist attacks from hackers and with the nation's largest multiplex chains pulling the film from their screens, Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy "The Interview."
NEW YORK (AP) - BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones - and most smartphone customers - have embraced touch screens.
NEW YORK (AP) - Dish is making it easier to watch video from an online rival, Netflix.
PHOENIX (AP) - An Oklahoma man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for his conviction on charges of mailing an inoperable homemade bomb to an Arizona sheriff in a plot to frame a former business partner.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Banks, retailers, commuters and teachers will keep their temporary tax breaks for another year after Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a massive tax package affecting millions of businesses and individuals.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A man who can't use his arms because of a spinal condition is being held in jail while facing a gun possession charge his lawyer calls shocking.
CINCINNATI (AP) - The family of a black man fatally shot by a white police officer as he held an air rifle inside a Wal-Mart filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday charging negligence and violation of the man's civil rights.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - A retired police officer from Michigan has made it his mission to educate first-responders and others about how to more effectively interact with people with autism spectrum disorder.