MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A tall man and a slender woman wiggled into their white hazardous materials suits, putting on protective masks and gloves before venturing into the dark, two-story home where police say a methamphetamine lab recently exploded.
NEW YORK (AP) - The heated debate over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records fell squarely into the courts Friday, when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional.
NO BEER LED TO CERAMIC SQUIRREL STABBING: NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina authorities say a 44-year-old woman angry at a man for returning home without beer on Christmas beat and stabbed him with a ceramic squirrel.
NEW YORK (AP) - Electricians working atop a New York City skyscraper on Friday installed the last of the 2,688 crystal triangles that give the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball its shimmer, including a panel dreamt up by a 12-year-old former cancer patient.
DENVER (AP) - The first batch of Denver businesses approved to sell recreational marijuana got their licenses Friday, the owners mugging for pictures and saying they never thought they'd see the day when they'd get a permit to sell pot.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Call it throwing the book at the bookworms.
SC GOV. HALEY GETS A BERETTA PISTOL FOR CHRISTMAS: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Santa was apparently right on target for Christmas for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
CHICAGO (AP) - Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven't stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.
HOUSTON (AP) - A white Houston-area man was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges for allegedly shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a "knockout game"-style attack.
PHOENIX (AP) - Two men were arrested Christmas Day on opposite sides of the country after they breached perimeters at major airports, raising questions about security measures and whether more needs to be done to protect the nation's transit hubs.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he only had holiday spirit in mind when his Florida church's marquee read: "Christmas - Easier to spell than Hanukkah."
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie they say depicts their people in a negative light.
LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) - Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada worked Wednesday to restore power to more than half a million homes left in the dark by last weekend's ice storm, and people slowly trickled out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally warm homes.
WEST READING, Pa. (AP) - A terminally ill girl who received support from thousands of Christmas carolers outside her home over the weekend died early on Christmas morning, her family said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas cab driver Gerardo Gamboa thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat of his vehicle, but the stash turned out to be $300,000 in cold hard cash.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A Mississippi man who was once declared dead, only to resurface as a suspect in a kidnapping and killing, was sentenced to death Friday after a jury earlier convicted him of murder.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A man who has bumps resembling horns implanted in his forehead was found guilty of murder and other charges Friday for his role in the kidnapping and slaying of three Massachusetts men in 2011.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina inmate with mental illness who died of thirst was held in solitary confinement for 35 days and cited twice for flooding his cell, according to prison records.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina state trooper's dashboard video shows an unarmed driver being shot just seconds after he was stopped for a seatbelt offense - and the trooper, who was fired last week, has now been charged with assault.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Eric Holder, America's first black attorney general and an unflinching champion of civil rights in enforcing the nation's laws, announced his resignation Thursday after leading the Justice Department since the first days of President Barack Obama's term. He is the fourth-longest-serving attorney general in U.S. history.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A powerful earthquake shook a large swath of Alaska on Thursday morning, knocking things off shelves and causing people to take cover but bringing no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.
BEIRUT (AP) - When the United States opened its aerial campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria this week, its first salvo also hit an al-Qaida cell it says was planning terror attacks - a move that has injected more chaos into the conflict and could help President Bashar Assad.
POLICE: BURGLAR KILLS ACCOMPLICE OVER STOLEN ITEMS: WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina authorities say a burglar fatally shot his accomplice after the two men argued about how to split up the stolen goods.
CARPINTERIA (AP) - A California woman is recovering from scratches, a bite and a broken rib after being attacked by a black bear that chased her dogs through an avocado grove.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI director on Thursday criticized the decision by Apple and Google to encrypt smartphones data so it can be inaccessible to law enforcement, even with a court order.
CUPERTINO (AP) - Apple's response to a high-profile gaffe involving its iPhone software may be more important than the glitch itself.
SOIUTH JORDAN, Utah (AP) - Parents and students at a Utah high school say they're angry at the way school administrators enforced a dress code at a homecoming dance.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The author of Washington's recreational marijuana law has suggested that Spokane test its sewage for traces of the cannabis chemical THC, to get a more accurate picture of pot use by residents.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Confronted by the growing threat of Middle East militants, President Barack Obama implored world leaders at the United Nations Wednesday to rally behind his expanding military campaign to stamp out the violent Islamic State group and its "network of death."
NEW YORK (AP) - Vietnam said Wednesday it wants to be able to buy weapons from the United States and that regional powerhouse China should not be alarmed.