NEW YORK (AP) - The heated debate over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records fell squarely into the courts Friday, when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional.
NO BEER LED TO CERAMIC SQUIRREL STABBING: NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina authorities say a 44-year-old woman angry at a man for returning home without beer on Christmas beat and stabbed him with a ceramic squirrel.
NEW YORK (AP) - Electricians working atop a New York City skyscraper on Friday installed the last of the 2,688 crystal triangles that give the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball its shimmer, including a panel dreamt up by a 12-year-old former cancer patient.
DENVER (AP) - The first batch of Denver businesses approved to sell recreational marijuana got their licenses Friday, the owners mugging for pictures and saying they never thought they'd see the day when they'd get a permit to sell pot.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Call it throwing the book at the bookworms.
SC GOV. HALEY GETS A BERETTA PISTOL FOR CHRISTMAS: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Santa was apparently right on target for Christmas for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
CHICAGO (AP) - Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven't stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.
HOUSTON (AP) - A white Houston-area man was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges for allegedly shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a "knockout game"-style attack.
PHOENIX (AP) - Two men were arrested Christmas Day on opposite sides of the country after they breached perimeters at major airports, raising questions about security measures and whether more needs to be done to protect the nation's transit hubs.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he only had holiday spirit in mind when his Florida church's marquee read: "Christmas - Easier to spell than Hanukkah."
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie they say depicts their people in a negative light.
LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) - Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada worked Wednesday to restore power to more than half a million homes left in the dark by last weekend's ice storm, and people slowly trickled out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally warm homes.
WEST READING, Pa. (AP) - A terminally ill girl who received support from thousands of Christmas carolers outside her home over the weekend died early on Christmas morning, her family said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas cab driver Gerardo Gamboa thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat of his vehicle, but the stash turned out to be $300,000 in cold hard cash.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mailing a letter is about to get a little more expensive.
LAGUNA BEACH. (AP) - Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple's new mobile payment system had over 1 million activations in the first three days after it became available, and is now more widely used than any competing payment system.
MENLO PARK (AP) - Facebook grew its advertising revenue by 64 percent in the third quarter, helped by a boost in mobile ads that are becoming an increasingly large chunk of the social networking giant's overall advertising business.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The father of a Connecticut third-grader filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday saying his daughter has been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa.
DENVER (AP) - One of three suburban Denver girls who authorities say tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria was confused about what her role would be if she had actually made it there, the girl's father said Tuesday.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Harmon Hotel tower was designed to soar 48 stories over MGM Resorts International's massive CityCenter complex, offering hotel guests and condominium owners unparalleled views at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An environmental group asked a federal court Tuesday to review its claim that California's last operating nuclear power plant is violating federal law and should be shut down at least temporarily.
PHOENIX (AP) - A sheriff's detention officer shot and killed a jail inmate in Phoenix who slipped out of his restraints, ran away and struggled with another officer over a gun Tuesday, authorities said.
ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) - An unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff Tuesday evening, with debris falling in flames over the launch site in Virginia. No injuries were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA's commercial spaceflight effort.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A northern New Mexico sheriff's deputy was charged with an open count of murder Tuesday after he allegedly fired several rounds from his handgun as his colleague tried to flee an alcohol-fueled argument at a hotel, police said.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday recommended new restrictions for people at highest risk for coming down with the Ebola virus and symptom monitoring for those at lower risk, but some state governors and even the Army are carving their own paths.
MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) - A popular student responsible for a shooting at a Washington state high school invited his victims to lunch by text message, then shot them at their table, investigators said Monday.
HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii officials will make arrangements for those living in the path of a lava flow to watch the destruction of their homes.
POLSON, Mont. (AP) - A 3-year-old Montana boy who died of a bullet wound last week was shot in the back by an intoxicated man who said he didn't think the gun was loaded as they played together, prosecutors said.
MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) - A student recently crowned freshman class Homecoming prince walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria Friday and opened fire, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
NEW YORK (AP) - Nearly 9,000 unpaid interns stand to benefit from a $6.4 million settlement with NBCUniversal over back wages.