BRUSHY PRAIRIE, Ind. (AP) - A northeastern Indiana soldier surprised his mother Friday with an early return home, masquerading as Santa Claus while she sat on his lap at a school staff Christmas breakfast while she gave a wish list of gifts.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Authorities on Friday were trying to determine whether a Northern California man's anger over complications he suffered from a 2010 surgery prompted him to go on a shooting rampage at a Nevada urologist's office, killing one doctor and critically wounding another before committing suicide.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - SeaWorld on Friday posted ads in a handful of newspapers around the nation in response to a critical documentary that inspired eight musical acts to cancel performances at the company's Orlando marine park.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A new historical narrative posted by the Mormon church on its website officially acknowledges that some plural marriages were performed following an 1890 ban and that polygamy was widely practiced in the late 19th century.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Usher says though Justin Bieber had a wild year, people shouldn't count the pop singer out just yet.
TRYING TO SPREAD CHEER, SANTA IN NH SCARES INSTEAD: HOLLIS, N.H. (AP) - Police in southern New Hampshire say a man dressed as Santa Claus was only trying to spread some cheer but ended up panicking officials when he knocked on school windows and entered the building.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Thursday that will make it harder to force public schools to drop tribal nicknames, pushing aside opponents' charges that the measure is racist.
NEW YORK (AP) - Can an experimental drug developed to treat epilepsy block the AIDS virus? A preliminary lab study suggests it's possible, and researchers are eager to try it in people.
MIAMI (AP) - A month after pleading guilty to cocaine-possession charges, Republican Rep. Trey Radel of Florida refused to resign Thursday, saying he wants to "rebuild the trust" of voters.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a sharp and unexpected shift, the national debate over U.S. government surveillance seems to be turning in favor of reining in the National Security Agency's expansive spying powers at home and abroad.
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City lawmakers paved the way Thursday for an eventual ban on plastic foam containers, added electronic cigarettes to the city's already stringent smoking bans and approved the creation of a website that will help the public track federal dollars budgeted for Superstorm Sandy-related damages.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A suspect in a deadly hospital shooting in Reno left a suicide note at his home and claimed he had botched surgery three years ago before killing a doctor and himself this week, police said Thursday.
CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio judge rebuffed an argument Thursday that traffic cameras make law enforcement more efficient, stating sharply that violating motorists' rights isn't the American way.
McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in South Texas said in a recent order that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is assisting in criminal conspiracies to smuggle children into the country when it helps reunite them with parents who are known to be in the U.S. illegally.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A mentally ill teenager killed by police in an East Texas police station last month had gone there believing authorities would hospitalize her and was shot after officers had several opportunities to subdue her, the teen's parents said Monday.
CLEVELAND (AP) - An 11-year-old suburban girl has been charged with murder in the beating death of a 2-month-old who was staying overnight with her and her mother to give the baby's mom a break.
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A 15-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the sledgehammer slayings of an Ohio couple and could face life in prison without parole.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Federal lawsuits allege that jails in the St. Louis County towns of Ferguson and Jennings operate essentially as modern-day debtors' prisons, where minor traffic offenses can lead to extended periods behind bars.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Pharrell won four Grammys last year, and in the first hour of the awards show Sunday, he already earned three honors.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Grammys newcomer Sam Smith looked dapper in a white bow tie and Madonna rocked one of the season's most eclectic red carpets Sunday in a bedazzled two-corner black hat and burlesque-esque corset with matching thigh-high boots.
MONROEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A teenager who police say opened fire at a Pittsburgh-area mall, shooting his intended target as well as a couple, was arrested early Sunday after police used surveillance footage and an Instagram photo to link the suspect to the shooting.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A U.S. Marine who vanished from a base in Iraq and later wound up in Lebanon is set to face trial more than a decade after the puzzling case began.
NEW YORK (AP) - Embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams is backing out of scheduled appearance on David Letterman's "Late Show" on Thursday.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The lead guitarist and founder of the iconic San Francisco rock band Journey sued the city Friday over a $240,000 fee to use a city landmark for his lavish wedding to a former reality television star.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic senators on Friday called on federal regulators to investigate Verizon Wireless, the country's biggest mobile provider, for secretly inserting unique tracking codes into the Web traffic of its some 100 million customers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Companies that handle billions of dollars of cargo at West Coast seaports said Friday they will hire far fewer workers this weekend, the latest escalation in a contract dispute with dockworkers that threatens to shut down a vital link in U.S.-Asia trade.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - SacramentoKings point guard Darren Collision will miss Saturday's game at Utah with a strained hip flexor.
NEW YORK (AP) - TurboTax, the country's most popular do-it-yourself tax preparation software, halted processing state tax returns for about 24 hours because of a spike in fraudulent filings.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The rush to outfit police officers with body cameras after last summer's unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, threatens to saddle local governments with steep costs for managing the volumes of footage they must keep for months or even years, according to contracts, invoices and company data reviewed by The Associated Press.