NEW YORK (AP) - Years after being exiled to New York City's sidewalks by a ban on smoking in indoor public places, some smokers relished electronic cigarettes as a way to come in from the cold.
BRUSHY PRAIRIE, Ind. (AP) - A northeastern Indiana soldier surprised his mother Friday with an early return home, masquerading as Santa Claus while she sat on his lap at a school staff Christmas breakfast while she gave a wish list of gifts.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Authorities on Friday were trying to determine whether a Northern California man's anger over complications he suffered from a 2010 surgery prompted him to go on a shooting rampage at a Nevada urologist's office, killing one doctor and critically wounding another before committing suicide.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - SeaWorld on Friday posted ads in a handful of newspapers around the nation in response to a critical documentary that inspired eight musical acts to cancel performances at the company's Orlando marine park.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A new historical narrative posted by the Mormon church on its website officially acknowledges that some plural marriages were performed following an 1890 ban and that polygamy was widely practiced in the late 19th century.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Usher says though Justin Bieber had a wild year, people shouldn't count the pop singer out just yet.
TRYING TO SPREAD CHEER, SANTA IN NH SCARES INSTEAD: HOLLIS, N.H. (AP) - Police in southern New Hampshire say a man dressed as Santa Claus was only trying to spread some cheer but ended up panicking officials when he knocked on school windows and entered the building.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Thursday that will make it harder to force public schools to drop tribal nicknames, pushing aside opponents' charges that the measure is racist.
NEW YORK (AP) - Can an experimental drug developed to treat epilepsy block the AIDS virus? A preliminary lab study suggests it's possible, and researchers are eager to try it in people.
MIAMI (AP) - A month after pleading guilty to cocaine-possession charges, Republican Rep. Trey Radel of Florida refused to resign Thursday, saying he wants to "rebuild the trust" of voters.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a sharp and unexpected shift, the national debate over U.S. government surveillance seems to be turning in favor of reining in the National Security Agency's expansive spying powers at home and abroad.
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City lawmakers paved the way Thursday for an eventual ban on plastic foam containers, added electronic cigarettes to the city's already stringent smoking bans and approved the creation of a website that will help the public track federal dollars budgeted for Superstorm Sandy-related damages.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A suspect in a deadly hospital shooting in Reno left a suicide note at his home and claimed he had botched surgery three years ago before killing a doctor and himself this week, police said Thursday.
CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio judge rebuffed an argument Thursday that traffic cameras make law enforcement more efficient, stating sharply that violating motorists' rights isn't the American way.
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) - As the campaign increased for tension-filled Crimea to split off from Ukraine in a weekend referendum and join Russia, the region's parliament said Tuesday that if voters approve the move it would first declare itself an independent state, a maneuver that could de-escalate the standoff between Moscow and the West.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - For much of the past three decades, pit bulls have been widely regarded as America's most dangerous dog - the favorite breed of thugs, drug dealers and dog-fighting rings, with a fearsome reputation for unprovoked, sometimes deadly attacks.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota high school wrestler won over the crowd with a hug that came away from the mat - and after a loss.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Bitcoin, 3-D printed candy and George Takei, the Star Trek-actor-turned-Facebook-phenomenon, are among the attractions this week at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, where the geek set is slowly filing out to make room for hordes of musicians descending on the city.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Would Parmesan by any other name be as tasty atop your pasta? A ripening trade battle might put that to the test.
NEW YORK (AP) - Looks like the best suitor won.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Labor Department on Tuesday proposed a new rule that would make it easier for those with 401(k) retirement plans and their employers to locate just what fees and expenses are attached.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - With more trains and buses to take, and the appeal of using travel time for pursuits other than dodging traffic, Americans are taking greater advantage of a renaissance in public transit, according to a new report.
WYLIE, Texas (AP) - Two 16-year-olds are accused of targeting and killing a classmate in what may have been a dispute over a girl, after police in Texas say they were caught trying to dump the other boy's body.
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - An elderly woman who suffers from Alzheimer's disease lived with her husband's body for a month after he died not realizing what happened, authorities said Monday.
• VICIOUS PET CAT TRAPS OREGON COUPLE, WHO CALL 911: PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland police had to be called in to subdue a 22-pound house cat that trapped its owners inside their bedroom after attacking their baby.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Speaking over Skype from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said his living situation is a bit like prison - with a more lenient visitor policy.
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Sheila MacRae starred on the Broadway stage and in films, yet it was her small-screen role as the tolerant and brassy wife of a Brooklyn bus driver for which she is most remembered.
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - An early St. Patrick's Day celebration around the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus known as "Blarney Blowout" spun out of control Saturday as police officers in riot gear arrested more than 70 people while dispersing massive crowds, including unruly students throwing beer cans and bottles.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 90