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.
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.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The judge who lodged a nearly $1 million fine against a Philadelphia-area lawyer believes she intentionally elicited banned testimony that caused a mistrial - and then lied about it.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska man who attempted to walk 50 miles between two villages at 35 below zero was found in good shape 4 miles from his goal by searchers called by his family.
911 OPERATOR TOLD TEEN TO STOP WHINING AFTER FATAL CRASH: MARYLAND CITY, Md. (AP) - Officials in Maryland say a 911 dispatcher told a teenager to stop whining after a hit-and-run crash that killed her father.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two city police officers were arrested Thursday and accused of knocking a man off a scooter and beating him so severely that another officer thought he had been shot.
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - A man who sometimes held his coat together with safety pins and had a long-time habit of foraging for firewood also had a knack for picking stocks - a talent that became public after his death when he bequeathed $6 million to his local library and hospital.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's new postmaster general says the Postal Service is looking beyond its regular mail and package delivery for new sources of revenue.
CINCINNATI (AP) - A comedy promoter who asked people if they wanted to laugh at a "crippled girl" in a wheelchair and then was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge has received $25,000 from the city to settle his federal lawsuit alleging violation of his free-speech rights, his attorney said Wednesday.