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.
NEW YORK (AP) - The daughter of a man pushed in front of a subway train and photographed a split-second before his death said Wednesday after a suspect was arrested that it "would have been great" if someone had helped her father up but "what's done is done."
NEW STUNNING NIGHTTIME VIEWS OF EARTH UNVEILED: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Twinkling city lights, raging wildfires and colorful auroras are lit up in new dazzling nighttime views of the Earth.
RICHMOND, Texas (AP) - Hilmar Moore, who has been mayor of the Southeast Texas town of Richmond since 1949, has died at age 92.
SEATTLE (AP) - Legal marijuana possession becomes a reality under Washington state law on today, and some people planned to celebrate the new law by breaking it.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The moon took quite a beating in its early days, more than previously believed, scientists reported Wednesday.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A weekend fire that tore through a North Las Vegas home with 93 small dogs - more than 15 times the maximum number of canines allowed in a house by the city - killed 45 of them and injured one man.
GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - Hundreds of suburban Denver high school students missed school again Monday as teachers shut down two high schools by calling in sick amid a controversy over proposed changes to an Advanced Placement history class and changes to their pay.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut firefighter says in a federal civil rights lawsuit that she was unfairly disciplined by a city fire department and forced to take unpaid leave because she was pregnant.
WITNESSES: SKYDIVERS WHO DIED DESCENDED TOO FAST: BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) - The two skydivers killed after they crashed into a building during a tandem jump on Cape Cod appeared to be having problems as they descended, police said.
NEW YORK (AP) - When the economy tanks, women have fewer babies. But what happens in the following years, when conditions improve?
NEW YORK (AP) - Macy's plans to hire about 86,000 seasonal holiday workers nationwide to bolster its stores, call centers and distribution hubs, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.
FERGUSON, Missouri (AP) - Authorities searched Sunday for a suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where there have been angry protests since a white officer fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old black man last month.
TOKYO (AP) - Finally reaching the ash-covered summit of a still-erupting volcano in central Japan, rescue workers made a grim discovery Sunday: 31 apparently dead people, some reportedly buried in knee-deep ash.
MIAMI (AP) - A shooting sent terrified patrons scrambling from a Miami nightclub early Sunday and left 15 people wounded, including an 11-year-old child, authorities said.
CHICAGO (AP) - Teen girls who have sex should use IUDs or hormonal implants - long-acting birth control methods that are effective, safe and easy to use, the nation's most influential pediatricians' group recommends.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A marijuana giveaway for veterans attracted about 1,000 people to a Colorado hotel.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A northern New Mexico sheriff who has fought off accusations of misconduct throughout his career was convicted Friday of abusing a driver during a bizarre traffic stop that prosecutors called a fit of road rage.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The arrests of several protesters for writing anti-police messages with chalk on a sidewalk last year have spawned a federal civil rights lawsuit against Las Vegas police.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A Mississippi man who was once declared dead, only to resurface as a suspect in a kidnapping and killing, was sentenced to death Friday after a jury earlier convicted him of murder.