AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges - but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Danielle Powell was going through a hard time in the spring of 2011, just months away from graduating from a conservative Christian college in Nebraska. She had fallen in love with another woman, a strictly forbidden relationship at a school where even prolonged hugs were banned.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman disfigured by a friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009 was denied permission Friday to sue the state for $150 million on her claim that officials knew the animal was dangerous but didn't do anything about it.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The revelation Friday that a former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has lived quietly in Minneapolis for the past six decades came as a shock to people who knew him, prompted harsh condemnations from World War II survivors in the U.S. and Europe, and led prosecutors in Poland to say they would investigate.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Authorities lifted evacuations in a wide swath of terrain outside Colorado Springs on Friday as they said a surprise rain shower helped them expand containment of a wildfire that has destroyed 400 homes.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - One of two Czech-built military training jets that collided in midair while practicing for this fall's National Championship Air Races in Reno had to make a belly landing on the runway with no wheels, but neither pilot was hurt at the airport where 11 people were killed during the finals competition in 2011.
PHOENIX (AP) - A 91-year-old Arizona weightlifter didn't just break a world record for the bench press, he powered through it by 52 pounds.
NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. (AP) - Investigators began examining a twisted pile of concrete, metal and wood on Friday to determine why a waterfront deck at a popular sports bar collapsed into shallow Biscayne Bay, injuring two dozen people gathered to cheer the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A high school football player convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer was given the state's second-toughest sex offender classification at a Friday hearing.
BOSTON WOMAN PAYS $560,000 FOR 2 PARKING SPOTS: BOSTON (AP) - Parking is such a precious commodity in Boston that one woman was willing to pay $560,000 for two off-street spaces near her home.
NEW YORK (AP) - There's little wonder why George Orwell's novel "1984" is seeing a resurgence in sales.
CHICAGO (AP) - The generation that's grown up posting their lives online wants a little privacy. That's not what we might expect as we debate just how much access the government should have to our mobile and online lives.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A San Diego-area teacher says she is losing her job for being the victim of domestic violence.
NEW YORK (AP) - Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding the creation of a "kill switch" that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York's top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to the world's smartphone manufacturers.
POLICE: THIEF GETS STUCK IN MUD AFTER BURGLARY: FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Police say a man who robbed a Foxborough home had to call a tow truck after getting stuck in the mud while making his getaway.
PARIS (AP) - At a kosher supermarket in Paris, a quick-thinking Muslim employee hides several Jewish shoppers in the basement before sneaking out to brief police on the hostage-taker upstairs. In the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, a poker-faced businessman fools a pair of gunmen into believing they're alone in the building before being allowed to leave unharmed.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A survivor of a 2008 head-on crash on the Golden Gate Bridge spoke Sunday from her wheelchair to help inaugurate a new mobile median safety barrier for the iconic San Francisco span.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans in Iowa have opted to carry on with their presidential straw poll, a summer political tradition that detractors decry as a sideshow.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Ever mindful that the next economic downturn could be right around the corner, Gov. Jerry Brown released a record $113 billion California spending plan on Friday that resists calls for expanding social services and instead dedicates billions for paying down debt and saving for a rainy day.
ARIS (AP) - With explosions and gunfire, security forces Friday ended three days of terror around Paris, killing the two al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a murderous rampage at a satirical newspaper and an accomplice who seized hostages at a kosher supermarket to try to help the brothers escape.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Northern California man described by federal officials as an anarchist and eco-terrorist intent on blowing up government and commercial buildings was set free after nine years in prison when the government conceded that evidence in the case was never turned over to his defense attorney.
NEW YORK (AP) - Enough New York police officers stopped writing tickets and making low-level arrests in the weeks since two officers were fatally shot that the number of summonses plummeted 90 percent, the city's police commissioner said Friday.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - A southwest Ohio sheriff's office is trying to figure out how a critically injured man was left inside a vehicle for six hours after it was towed from a crash scene in suburban Dayton on New Year's Day.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Golden Gate Bridge will shut down to private vehicles for 52 hours starting at midnight Friday so workers can install a moveable median barrier designed to prevent head-on collisions, part of an effort to increase safety along the iconic structure.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Sure, the International CES show was chock full of connected cars, smart home sensors, music gear and computer gadgets, as you'd expect. There were even drones buzzing the 160,000-plus people that tromped across the 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space along the Las Vegas Strip. But if you didn't get to see some of these goodies, well, you just haven't lived.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Self-driving cars garner much of the attention, but in reality, we're years away from tooling around in something like Knight Rider's KITT. Coming sooner to a car near you: smartphone apps on dash displays, cruise control that adapts to cars around it, remote engine starting and more.
MEXICO CITY (AP) - The U.S. Department of Transportation says it will soon allow Mexican trucking firms to apply for authorization to make long-haul cross-border runs, potentially ending a longstanding dispute.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - An estimated 100 cattle drowned when they fell through the ice on a reservoir that straddles the South Dakota-Nebraska border.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A healthy month of hiring in December capped the best year for U.S. job growth since 1999, demonstrating that employers are more confident than they've been since the Great Recession began.
PARIS (AP) - The younger brother was a ladies' man who belted out rap lyrics before the words of a radical preacher persuaded him to book a flight to Syria to wage holy war.