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.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A spacewalking astronaut ended up with unwanted water in his helmet Wednesday after breezing through a cable and lube job outside the International Space Station.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - First, Iowa. Then, South Carolina. Now, New Hampshire.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Warm weather continues to play havoc for organizers of the world's most famous sled dog race.
• POLICE: BUS AIDE STOLE LUNCH MONEY, FOOD FROM PRESCHOOLERS: MILVILLE, N.J. (AP) - A school bus aide has been charged with stealing lunch money and bagged lunches from preschoolers in New Jersey.
NEW YORK (AP) - Nickelodeon is creating brand-new content and resurrecting old shows for a mobile subscription service aimed at preschoolers.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a state regulatory board made up mostly of dentists violated federal law against unfair competition when it tried to prevent lower-cost competitors in other fields from offering teeth-whitening services.
NEW YORK (AP) - The owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores became the latest retailer to boost pay for its U.S. workers, putting pressure on other chains to do the same.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Police knew a 19-year-old suspect in a shooting that killed a neighborhood mother of four smoked marijuana before he surrendered during a standoff last week, and investigators questioned him while he was high, a defense lawyer said Tuesday.
MIAMI (AP) - George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in a 2012 confrontation with the teenager, will not face federal charges, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
SEATTLE (AP) - For the first time, a study shows that a drug used to treat HIV infection also can help prevent it when taken before and after risky sex by gay men.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) - A former Marine was convicted Tuesday in the deaths of the "American Sniper" author and another man at a shooting range two years ago, as jurors rejected defense arguments that he was insane and suffered from psychosis.
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri sixth-grader with Asperger's syndrome has suffered complications from a severe beating he took in the lunchroom from another student, his parents say.
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote in Tuesday's municipal election, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff because it forces him into a runoff this spring against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Smoking, growing and possessing marijuana becomes legal in America's wildest state Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of conflicting laws and court rulings.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man who was released on bond in a burglary case used snacks to lure a 6-year-old girl into his motel room in the southwest Missouri tourist town of Branson and strangled her, court records say.