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.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A state lawmaker who resigned his seat following a sex scandal involving a teenage employee won it back during a special election Tuesday.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two Albuquerque police officers were charged with murder Monday in the shooting death of a knife-wielding homeless man that led to violent protests and brought new scrutiny to the police department amid a federal investigation.
PARIS (AP) - As many as six members of a terrorist cell involved in the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man who was seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen, French police said Monday.
RICHMOND, VA (AP) - Police said Monday that they've been unable to confirm that an alleged gang rape occurred at a University of Virginia fraternity house as described in a Rolling Stone article, and the school announced that it reinstated the group and its activities.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho State University has canceled an order for 11 AR-15 rifles for its campus security detail.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (AP) - A retired school principal is the sole winner of the $326 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn on Nov. 4, the biggest prize in New York Lottery history, officials announced Monday.
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Public Library is launching the nation's largest Internet lending program, handing out 10,000 free high-speed hot spots to some of the city's poorest residents.
VICTORIA, Texas (AP) - The lawyer for a Texas police officer fired for using a stun gun on a 76-year-old man says there was "nothing unreasonable" about using that level of force during a traffic stop that was captured on dashboard camera video.
DETROIT (AP) - Americans are ready to let their tops down and feel the wind blow through their hair.
MIAMI (AP) - Florida authorities say George Zimmerman, whose acquittal of murdering an unarmed black teen sparked a national debate on race and self-defense laws, has been arrested for allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend.
PARIS (AP) - At a kosher supermarket in Paris, a quick-thinking Muslim employee hides several Jewish shoppers in the basement before sneaking out to brief police on the hostage-taker upstairs. In the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, a poker-faced businessman fools a pair of gunmen into believing they're alone in the building before being allowed to leave unharmed.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A survivor of a 2008 head-on crash on the Golden Gate Bridge spoke Sunday from her wheelchair to help inaugurate a new mobile median safety barrier for the iconic San Francisco span.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans in Iowa have opted to carry on with their presidential straw poll, a summer political tradition that detractors decry as a sideshow.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Ever mindful that the next economic downturn could be right around the corner, Gov. Jerry Brown released a record $113 billion California spending plan on Friday that resists calls for expanding social services and instead dedicates billions for paying down debt and saving for a rainy day.
ARIS (AP) - With explosions and gunfire, security forces Friday ended three days of terror around Paris, killing the two al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a murderous rampage at a satirical newspaper and an accomplice who seized hostages at a kosher supermarket to try to help the brothers escape.