WASHINGTON (AP) - The 2012 presidential election broke the $2 billion milestone in its final weeks, becoming the most expensive in American political history, according to final federal finance reports released Thursday. The reports detailed a last-minute cascade of money from mega-donors and an onslaught of spending by the Obama and Romney campaigns and "super" political action committees.
SEATTLE (AP) - A man pleaded guilty Thursday to plotting an attack on a Seattle military complex with machine guns and grenades.
SEATTLE (AP) - People openly lit joints under the Space Needle and on Seattle's sidewalks - then blew the smoke at TV news cameras. To those looking to "get baked," the city's police department suggested pizza and a "Lord of the Rings" movie marathon.
NEW BATAAN, Philippines (AP) - The Philippine government's geological hazard maps show why this farming community was largely washed away by a strong typhoon: "highly susceptible to flooding and landslides." That didn't stop some villagers from rebuilding even with bodies still lying under the mud.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) - President Barack Obama, trying to put a personal touch on "fiscal cliff" negotiations, visited a northern Virginia family's basement apartment Thursday to press his hard line on tax rate increases for the wealthy.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Jim DeMint, patron saint of the tea party and a would-be Republican kingmaker, announced suddenly Thursday he would resign his South Carolina seat to head Washington's conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, a shift that reverberated through a soul-searching GOP.
MAINE MALL SACKS SANTA AFTER RUDENESS COMPLAINTS: SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A mall in Maine has sacked Santa Claus after children and parents complained he was rude, grumpy and wouldn't even let one child sit on his lap.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - George Zimmerman sued NBC on Thursday, claiming he was defamed when the network edited his 911 call to police after the shooting of Trayvon Martin to make it sound like he was racist.
AUTOPSY: BORDER PATROL AGENT FIRED GUN 10 TIMES: SAN DIEGO (AP) - A Border Patrol agent in Southern California who shot and killed a mother of five after she hit him with her vehicle fired his gun 10 times from the hood of her car as he tried to get the woman to stop, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.
HONOLULU (AP) - Ray Emory could not accept that more than one quarter of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor were buried, unidentified, in a volcanic crater.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - New York's Times Square is getting a little bit Jersey for New Year's Eve.
SEATTLE (AP) - Hundreds of same-sex couples across Washington state started picking up marriage licenses Thursday as a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage took effect.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Mormon leaders made their most significant outreach yet to gays and lesbians, unveiling a new website Thursday that encourages church members to be more compassionate in discussions about homosexuality.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - At about 450 pounds, Ohio death row inmate Ronald Post is so fat that his executioners won't be able to find veins in his arms or legs for the lethal injection, and he might even break the death chamber gurney, his lawyers say.
ATLANTA (AP) - An elderly man opened fire on a woman after her car came into contact with his motorized wheelchair at a central Georgia service station, authorities said Wednesday. She died shortly afterward at a hospital despite the efforts of a crowd of people to aid her.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Whoops!
CINCINNATI (AP) - Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday he has definite plans to run in 2016 - at least for re-election. Whether he decides to aim higher, he said, will depend on the field of presidential candidates and the issues they campaign on.
MILTON, Ga. (AP) - Two months before police say a high-priced prostitute calmly left a Google executive dying from a heroin overdose on his yacht, the woman panicked on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as her boyfriend lay on the floor of their home in the throes of a fatal overdose.
HOT SPOT: YELLOWSTONE ROAD MELTS, SITES CLOSED: CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of tourist season, officials said Thursday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Emmy voters may need to steel themselves to sort through this year's top nominees: a macabre, medieval-style tale; a meth kingpin and his violent downfall; a bleak mystery about detectives tracking a ritual killer, and a heartbreaking saga of the AIDS epidemic's roots.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tax credits for families that don't qualify. Medicare payments for treatments that might not be necessary. Unemployment benefits for people who are secretly working. Federal agencies reported making $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them.
MANCHESTER, Md. (AP) - More than 100 young campers sang songs, read stories and prayed in an open-air pavilion, as they did each night at the River Valley Ranch camp. Then, the sky began to darken and a light rain began to fall.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - John Wayne's heirs are taking Duke University to court to assert the family's right to market bottles of bourbon branded with the late movie star's nickname, Duke.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A well-known American Indian artist said police in New Mexico pulled a rifle on him after his dog pooped in his SUV and a woman mistook his cleanup efforts for a burglary.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked a parade of campaign-season votes on gun rights Wednesday that could have been a political thorn for Democrats seeking to retain control of the chamber in this fall's elections.
SPRING, Texas (AP) - Six people are dead, including four children, after someone opened fire at a home in a normally quiet neighborhood in a northern Houston suburb.
BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A casket carrying the body of Richard Clement was slowly lowered into its final resting place on Wednesday.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Halfway up the 264 stairs leading to the top of the world's tallest waterslide, it was clear this was the most breathtaking ride I'd ever encountered.
RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) - The father of a 15-month-old Connecticut boy who died after being left in a car on a hot day was supposed to drop him off at day care but went to work and left his son inside the parked vehicle, police said Wednesday.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Henderson woman who became separated from her family and jet ski when a sudden storm whipped up 8-foot-tall swells on Lake Mead treaded water for more than three hours before she was rescued Tuesday, National Parks Service officials said.