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.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mailing a letter is about to get a little more expensive.
NEW YORK (AP) - Graphic videos have surfaced previously that kindled outrage over police use of force - the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles, last year's chokehold death in New York City. The new video from South Carolina is perhaps the most striking yet - its depiction of a fleeing, unarmed black man being shot in the back by a white policeman so vivid that a murder charge came swiftly.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former state lawmaker accused of raping his wife in a nursing home is forcing an Iowa court to confront a little-discussed question of aging: When is a person suffering from dementia unable to consent to sex?
ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) - Elmont High School senior Harold Ekeh had a plan - he would apply to 13 colleges, including all eight Ivy League schools, figuring it would help his chances of getting into at least one great school.
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) - A divorced father and the seven children he was trying to raise on a kitchen worker's salary were poisoned in their sleep by carbon monoxide only days after the power company discovered a stolen meter and cut off electricity to their rental home, police said Tuesday.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A white South Carolina police officer was charged with murder Tuesday, hours after law enforcement officials viewed a dramatic video that appears to show him shooting a fleeing man several times in the back.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lesbian honors student in northeast Louisiana has been told she may wear a tuxedo to her prom, after all, a national advocacy group said Tuesday.
INKSTER, Mich. (AP) - A 115-year-old Detroit-area woman now listed as the world's oldest living person still makes plans for a fishing trip each year and credits God for her longevity.
MIAMI (AP) - A federal judge rejected a bid by two women to join a high-profile sexual abuse lawsuit and ordered scandalous sex allegations against Britain's Prince Andrew and a prominent U.S. lawyer removed from the court record.
NEW YORK (AP) - Drivers will see the lowest summer gasoline prices in about 6 years, according to the Energy Department.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The new YouTube Kids mobile app targets young children with unfair and deceptive advertising and should be investigated, a group of consumer advocates told the Federal Trade Commission in a letter Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Singer-songwriter Don McLean's original manuscript and notes to "American Pie" sold at auction Tuesday for $1.2 million.
DENVER (AP) - Detectives in Denver were on the hunt for an increasingly brazen shooter.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A fraternity at the University of Virginia announced Monday that it will "pursue all available legal action" against Rolling Stone, saying a Columbia Journalism School review shows the magazine acted recklessly and defamed its members by publishing an article that falsely accused them of gang rape.
NEW YORK (AP) - A fourth man was charged on Monday in a terrorism case accusing him of raising money for a plot to have U.S. residents travel overseas to fight for the Islamic State.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A 19-year-old already awaiting trial on murder and other charges in the shooting death of a Las Vegas mother of four is being hit with a separate felony charge alleging that he held a knife to the throat of a 13-year-old boy, authorities said Monday.