NEW YORK (AP) - Years after being exiled to New York City's sidewalks by a ban on smoking in indoor public places, some smokers relished electronic cigarettes as a way to come in from the cold.
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.
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana man pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after prosecutors said his companies ran up $70 million in unauthorized charges on phone bills across the nation in a "cramming" scheme.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The man who apparently shot and killed himself in a busy Easter Sunday buffet line at a suburban Las Vegas casino had a lengthy dispute with managers at the resort and had been banned from the business.
LYNDON, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man was sentenced Monday to four years and two months in prison for beheading another man with a guitar string after a plea deal that prosecutors said they accepted because of problems with the case.
4TH TEEN ARRESTED IN DEATH OF MAN WITH PLASTIC BAG OVER HEAD: ALLENDALE, S.C. (AP) - A 16-year-old boy is the last of four teenagers charged with robbing and beating an 86-year-old man before killing him by tying a plastic bag around his head, authorities said.
WASHINGTON (AP) - As the April 15 tax deadline nears, people who got help paying for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law are seeing the direct effect on their refunds - hundreds of dollars, for better or worse.
DENVER (AP) - Drought-weary Californians can't expect much encouragement from mountains elsewhere in the West: Snow that fills the Colorado River is lagging, too, officials said Friday.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - A Maaco body shop worker will be suspended for leaving a profane, threatening message telling a customer's husband to "get her in check" after her she posted a scathing review on Facebook, the company said Friday.
NEW YORK (AP) - An apartment house where only high-paying tenants can use the gym may be illegally discriminating, city officials said this week amid debate over luxury buildings that provide fewer amenities - or even separate doors - for residents of affordable apartments.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - Adrift on the ocean, the mast of his 35-foot sailboat torn away, Louis Jordan says he was able to survive more than two months at sea by catching rainwater in a bucket, scooping up fish that were attracted to the laundry he hung over the side, and fervently praying to God for help.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Philadelphia woman was arrested Friday on charges she tried to join and martyr herself for the Islamic State group, a day after two women in New York were charged with plotting to wage jihad by building a bomb and using it for a Boston Marathon-type attack.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A San Diego man who operated a "revenge porn" website and then charged victims to remove nude images and personal information was sentenced Friday to 18 years in state prison, the attorney general's office said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Three Ku Klux Klan members who worked at a Florida prison have been charged with plotting to kill a black inmate after his release because they believed the man is infected with HIV and hepatitis and he bit one of them during a fight, officials said Thursday.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah man got a surprise when he stopped to pull a large orange bag off the highway, fearing that it would become a traffic hazard.
NEW YORK (AP) - Two women were arrested Thursday on charges they plotted to wage violent jihad by building a homemade bomb and using it for a Boston Marathon-type attack.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A man whose family reported him missing at sea more than two months ago was found sitting on the overturned hull of his 35-foot sailboat far off the North Carolina coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.