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.
NOVI, Mich. (AP) - They came from all walks of life - Girl Scouts troops, National Guard units, financial planning offices, Zumba classes - to spend three days packing food for thousands of hungry children they'll never meet.
WAYZATA, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota clothier spared no expense after a customer forgot his wedding pants in a changing room and flew off to get married in Costa Rica.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma pharmacy has submitted a sealed response to a Missouri death row inmate's lawsuit accusing it of illegally providing Missouri with a made-to-order drug to be used in his lethal injection.
RANCHO MIRAGE (AP) - With two visits in less than a year to the sprawling Sunnylands estate in Southern California, President Barack Obama is helping to fulfill the dream of the late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, who hoped the desert property they used as a winter home would become the "Camp David of the West."
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Los Angeles skyscraper has been cited for failing to change its light bulbs. The FCC says they're interfering with cellphones.
• POLICE: ARIZONA WALMART SHOOTING WAS SELF-DEFENSE: PHOENIX (AP) - A man who shot and killed another man inside a suburban Phoenix Walmart opened fire in self-defense, Chandler police said Monday.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The rapidly growing North Dakota oil patch city of Williston has the highest average rent in the United States, a national study from an apartment renting guide shows.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - They're hidden in babies' diapers, ramen noodle soup packages, footballs, soda cans and even body cavities.
uPOWERBALL ESTIMATED JACKPOT SURGES TO $400M: DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Without a Powerball winner this weekend, the prize has climbed to $400 million - one of the largest in U.S. lottery history.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A verdict in the city of Jacksonville is again raising the issue of self-defense and race in Florida, just seven months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.