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.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A judge in Wyoming sentenced a 75-year-old Missouri woman to life in prison on Monday for killing her husband with a rifle in the mid-1970s and throwing his body down the shaft of an abandoned gold mine, where it remained for nearly 40 years.
BEND, Ore. (AP) - It cost a Bend teenager about $800 in revenue from chores, yard work and birthday gifts to buy a miniature aircraft and a camera he sent aloft to capture video of a forest fire this summer that was threatening the western edge of the city.
MAINE LOBSTERMAN CATCHES RARE BLUE LOBSTER: SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) - A Maine lobsterman says he and his 14-year-old daughter caught a one-in-two-million crustacean: a blue lobster.
ATLANTA (AP) - The American Heart Association's first policy statement on electronic cigarettes backs them as a last resort to help smokers quit. The American Cancer Society has no formal policy but quietly took a similar stance in May.
LANCASTER (AP) - A man has been arrested on suspicion of killing his brother's friend with a bow and arrow during a dispute at his Southern California home.
CHICAGO (AP) - Pediatricians have a new prescription for schools: later start times for teens.
ELMENDORF, Texas (AP) - The police chief of a small Texas town was killed Saturday while attempting to arrest a man on a warrant, authorities said.
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - Biologists plan to recapture and re-collar OR-7, Oregon's famous wandering wolf that is now a settled father of pups.
NEW YORK (AP) - A child care worker charged with killing a toddler in her home told police she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times, and after that, he could no longer walk on his own, authorities said.
CHILMARK, Mass. (AP) - President Barack Obama has spent less time away from the White House than his predecessors. But his two-week break on the resort island of Martha's Vineyard and hours on the golf course have his detractors teeing up as they highlight the slew of foreign policy crises currently facing the United States.
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A reigning North Dakota teacher of the year was charged Friday with five felony counts for allegedly having sexual contact with a female student more than five years ago.
SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - People who told police they were not that drunk while driving may have been right in one Pennsylvania county.
SELMA, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama teacher was suspended without pay after being accused of having sixth-grade students re-enact the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Friday for jokes he made about Asians during a luncheon of business leaders in Las Vegas earlier this week.
NEW YORK (AP) - John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, correction officials said Friday.