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.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Brittany Maynard's mother is responding angrily to criticism from the Vatican of Maynard's decision to end her life early under an Oregon law written to let terminally ill patients die on their own terms.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - WhatsApp, the globally popular instant messaging system owned by Facebook, has begun using a powerful new encryption program aimed at protecting users' conversations from unwanted surveillance and snooping.
OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A pedestrian who was struck by a car in southern New Jersey and then became lodged in the vehicle's windshield has died.
ATLANTA (AP) - Home Depot's third-quarter profit rose 14 percent as comparable-store sales climbed in the U.S., suggesting that a huge data breach announced exactly two months ago has not shaken the faith of its customers.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, two of California's largest health insurers, misled customers about the number of doctors in their networks under plans sold through the state's insurance marketplace, according to a state report released Tuesday.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah woman says she encountered only brief resistance when she recently had her driver's license photo taken while wearing a colander on her head as a religious statement.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and activated the National Guard ahead of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
BOSTON (AP) - When police in Junction City, Kansas, stopped a beat-up pickup truck for speeding in June 2013, the driver got a lot more than a traffic ticket: The stop led authorities to Massachusetts and Arizona, where they said they found about $15 million in cash, almost 400 pounds of marijuana and ledgers detailing drug deals going back to 1992.
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Should tour guides in Washington have to prove they know James Madison from James Monroe? Should those in New Orleans take tests on the difference between Creole and Cajun?
BOSTON (AP) - Lawsuits filed Monday against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill argue that affirmative action policies should be banned at colleges across the nation.
BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico middle school teacher is facing charges that allege he threatened a student with a knife for talking during a pop quiz, police said Monday.
HUNTER SHOOTS AT DEAD DEER ON CART, HITS OTHER MAN: EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a man who had shot a deer in the Hudson Valley woods was hauling it away on a cart when he was wounded by second hunter firing at the dead animal.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A surgeon who contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone did not receive aggressive treatment until nearly two weeks after he first started showing symptoms - a delay that doctors said probably made it impossible for anyone to save his life.
BEIRUT (AP) - The Islamic State group has beheaded Peter Kassig, releasing a video Sunday showing a masked militant standing over the severed head of a man it said was the former U.S. Army Ranger-turned-aid worker, who was seized while delivering relief supplies in Syria last year.
PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Washington state's first marijuana auction brought in about $600,000.