ROME (AP) - The face of the Roman Catholic Church has changed profoundly in Pope Benedict XVI's lifetime. Congregations in the West are smaller and older, while those in Africa, Latin America and pockets of Asia are booming, bringing youth and energy to the Catholic world.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A space rock even bigger than the meteor that exploded like an atom bomb over Russia could drop out of the sky unannounced at any time and wreak havoc on a city. And Hollywood to the contrary, there isn't much the world's scientists and generals can do about it.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A 19-year-old daycare worker was formally charged Friday in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl from her Philadelphia elementary school last month, an arrest aided by the little girl's memory of a talking bird in the home where she was taken, authorities said.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The weeklong Senate recess gives outside interest groups opposed to Chuck Hagel's nomination to become defense secretary more time to sharpen their attack against President Barack Obama's choice. And they're not wasting any of it, promising to redouble their efforts to scour Hagel's record and to pressure senators to vote against him.
WASHINGTON (AP) - House and Senate lawmakers are investigating a nearly $100 million shortfall at the federal Job Corps program that has prompted the Labor Department to freeze enrollment at all 125 job centers around the country.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a spectacular fall from political prominence, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife agreed Friday to plead guilty to federal charges growing out of what prosecutors said was a scheme to use $750,000 in campaign funds for lavish personal expenses, including a $43,000 gold watch and furs.
CINCINNATI (AP) - A woman accused of helping her 15-year-old daughter beat another teenage girl at a high school is countering a police department's version of the fight and says she and her daughter are the ones who were attacked.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a major step toward opening U.S. skies to thousands of unmanned drones, federal officials Thursday solicited proposals to create six drone test sites around the country.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - One Las Vegas shooting range was selling "take a shot at love" packages that include 50 submachine gun rounds. Another offered wedding packages in which the bride and groom can pose with Uzis and ammunition belts. And a third invited lovebirds to renew their vows and shoot a paper cutout zombie in the face.
MAN BITES OFF SWALLOWS EAR: STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man accused of biting off his cousin's ear lobe and swallowing it during a fight over loud music has pleaded not guilty to assault and other charges.
DORAL, Fla. (AP) - In many parts of Miami, Spanish is used as frequently - or more often - than English.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A food fight quickly turned into a brawl involving hundreds of students at a Minneapolis high school on Thursday, forcing police to use chemical spray to break up the melee.
NEW YORK (AP) - Many people arrested on low-level marijuana-possession charges in the nation's largest city will no longer be booked and held hours for arraignment, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) - Raising hopes among parents who want preschool for all, President Barack Obama on Thursday rolled out a plan to vastly expand government-funded early childhood while keeping the price tag a secret.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - There she is, Miss America, headed back to Atlantic City.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In June, when oil cost $107 a barrel, U.S. employers added a healthy number of jobs - 267,000. Now, with oil below $50, hopes are rising that hiring in the United States is poised to intensify.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Four animal activists who took pictures of a large southwestern Utah hog farm have pleaded not guilty to charges filed under a controversial law that criminalizes undercover investigations of slaughterhouses and factory farms.
BAD AXE, Mich. (AP) - A couple accused of keeping their 19-year-old adopted son in a cage at their home in rural eastern Michigan made a plea deal Thursday and face sentencing in March.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A 17-year-old girl being forced by state officials to undergo chemotherapy for her cancer said Thursday she understands she'll die if she stops treatment but it should be her decision.
NEW YORK (AP) - The pros are getting into pot.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Just 12 hours before police said John Jonchuck threw his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge - perhaps while she was still alive - the father calmly told a sheriff's deputy he didn't want to hurt himself or his little girl and had "new clarity in his life."
WASHINGTON (AP) - The days of the census taker with clipboard in hand may be numbered. The Census Bureau plans to test digital tools in preparation for the 2020 census, a change that could save millions of dollars.
CLEVELAND (AP) - A video released by the city of Cleveland shows a police officer pushing a 14-year-old girl to the ground and handcuffing her with the help of another officer soon after a third officer fatally shot her younger brother.
NEW YORK (AP) - A rebounding economy and big discounts fueled Americans to spend more briskly in stores than expected during the winter holiday shopping season.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple and thousands of mobile software developers are feasting on people's ravenous app-etite for apps.
NEW YORK (AP) - J.C. Penney Co. said that it will close about 40 stores this year and cut approximately 2,250 jobs, as it tries to improve its profitability.
CUPERTINO (AP) - Apple is turning its retail stores into art galleries featuring the work of professional photographers and other artists who use iPads, iPhones and Mac computers to create.
NEW YORK (AP) - Struggling teen clothing retailer Wet Seal is closing 338 stores, about two-thirds of its stores, resulting in nearly 3,700 full- and part-time workers losing their jobs.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears poised to propose new rules that would classify Internet service providers as public utilities in a move designed to ensure everyone has the same access to free content online.
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans want Congress to address the troubled finances of Social Security's disability program, setting the stage for a contentious debate that could affect 11 million people in the middle of the next presidential campaign.