NEW YORK (AP) - For a significant number of Americans, Christmas has largely lost its religious meaning, becoming an occasion focused instead on visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Bernie Goetz said he thought he was going to be mugged by a man who turned out to be a plainclothes cop arresting him in a low-level drug sting - the same explanation he used nearly three decades ago when he opened fire on four panhandling youths on a subway train.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Police think a suicidal gunman was on a mission of violence when he calmly entered a third-floor urology office and opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing one doctor, critically wounding another and shooting a third victim after warning patients and their children in a waiting area to "get out."
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont city of only 17,000 souls just smashed the national one-day record for blood donations - and it's likely to stand for quite a while.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumers anxious over tight insurance deadlines and lingering computer problems during the holidays will get extra time to pay their premiums under President Barack Obama's health care law, insurers announced Wednesday.
CHICAGO (AP) - Many older adults with high blood pressure can be treated less aggressively, which could mean taking fewer pills to get it under control, according to new treatment guidelines from an expert panel. But not all experts are on board with the advice - including the federal agency that appointed the group.
PURPORTED ZIMMERMAN ARTWORK LISTED ON AUCTION SITE: ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Artwork reportedly created by George Zimmerman is attracting bids of more than $100,000 on eBay.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA has ordered up a series of urgent spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line at the International Space Station, a massive repair job that could stretch to Christmas Day.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee man is charged with two counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a motorcyclist several times and backing his SUV into another - after almost hitting them as they exited an interstate.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $636 million for Tuesday night's drawing, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
HOUSTON HOTEL DISPLAYS HALF-TON CHOCOLATE SANTA: HOUSTON (AP) - Santa Claus has come to town in Houston and he's sweeter than your average holiday fellow.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A suicidal gunman opened fire at a Reno hospital campus Tuesday, killing one person, wounding two others and sending police on a door-to-door search within the facility amid the chaos.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is - and isn't - sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - North Texas prosecutors are trying a second time to imprison a teen who was sentenced last week to 10 years' probation for drunkenly driving his truck into four pedestrians, killing them all.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Year-end legislation to ease Congress' chronic budget brinkmanship and soften across-the-board spending cuts moved to the cusp of final passage Tuesday, a rare display of Senate bipartisanship that masked strong Republican complaints about slicing into military retirement benefits.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Renewing a push for paid leave for workers, President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Congress, states and cities to pass measures to allow millions of workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year, the White House said. He'll also ask Congress for more than $2 billion in new spending to encourage states to create paid family and medical leave programs.
DETROIT (AP) - Protesters on Wednesday called for criminal charges to be brought against two police officers who appear to be white who were caught on video beating and kicking a black carjacking suspect during an arrest.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A man shot and killed by Albuquerque police was wearing sheriff-issued body armor and fired a stolen gun at officers, police said Wednesday.
ODESSA, Texas (AP) - A prison bus skidded off an icy Texas highway, slid down an embankment and collided with a passing freight train Wednesday, killing eight inmates and two corrections officers, including the bus driver, authorities said.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators have approved an appetite-suppressing implant designed to treat obesity by zapping nerves that connect the stomach and the brain.
PARIS (AP) - Parisians lined up Wednesday to empty the newsstands of the first issue of Charlie Hebdo, a week after Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper's office, and French justice officials began cracking down by arresting dozens of people who glorified terrorism or made racist or anti-Semitic remarks.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - In a rare scare, astronauts fled the American side of the International Space Station on Wednesday after an alarm indicated a possible toxic leak. NASA later said there was no leak of ammonia coolant and a computer problem likely set off the false alarm.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Author Salman Rushdie, who lived for years under a death threat after his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses" drew the wrath of Iranian religious leaders, said Wednesday the right to free speech is absolute or else it isn't free.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Twenty percent of California's oil production now comes through hydraulic fracturing, according to a study commissioned by the state and released Wednesday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An 8-foot alligator that was found in a box with two cat carcasses in a suburban Los Angeles backyard might have been living at the home for as long as 40 years, animal officials said Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Filing a federal tax return is about to get more complicated for millions of families because of President Barack Obama's health law. But they shouldn't expect much help from the Internal Revenue Service.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Not only do more Americans have health insurance, but the number struggling with medical costs has dropped since President Barack Obama's health care law expanded coverage, according to a study released Thursday.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Google announced Wednesday that it will unveil a modular smartphone in Puerto Rico this year as part of a pilot program that will allow people to choose their own hardware based on their needs and interests.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A revised settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit alleging Apple and Google conspired with other Silicon Valley companies to block more than 60,000 high-tech employees from getting better job offers.
DETROIT (AP) - The head of self-driving cars for Google expects real people to be using them on public roads in two to five years.