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.
NEW YORK (AP) - America's top doll, Barbie, finds herself in controversy once again, this time over a business partnership between her manufacturer, Mattel, and the Girl Scouts.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Issuing a last call for health care, President Barack Obama assured Latinos on Thursday that signing up for new insurance exchanges won't lead to deportation for any relatives in the U.S. illegally.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The California Highway Patrol's fleet of airplanes and helicopters may be getting old, but state lawmakers should not fund the purchase of replacements until the state police force justifies why it needs 26 new aircraft, according to the independent Legislative Analyst's Office.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A new survey of the nation's college freshmen has found that the percentage attending their first-choice school has reached its lowest level in almost four decades, as cost and the availability of financial aid have come to play an influential role in decisions of where to enroll.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge has admitted that he posted a series of anonymous online comments that critics say are racist, sexist and otherwise inappropriate, including one in which he revealed alleged details of confidential proceedings involving actress Charlize Theron's adoption of her son.
SAN FRANCISO (AP) - Relief may be on the way for a weather-weary United States with the predicted warming of the central Pacific Ocean brewing this year that will likely change weather worldwide. But it won't be for the better everywhere.
PLESANTON (AP) - Safeway has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner several supermarket chains.
NEW YORK (AP) - Staples has become the second major chain to announce the mass closing of stores this week, providing the latest evidence of how the retail landscape is being remade by shifts in American shopping habits.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The man Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin denied he had anything to do with the digital currency.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - You're a 16th century German prince plotting to crush a peasant rebellion, or perhaps you're leading an army against the Ottoman Empire or looking to settle the score with a rival nobleman. What's a guy looking for a tactical edge to do?
WASHINGTON (AP) - Warding off the specter of election-year health insurance cancellations, the Obama administration Wednesday announced a two-year extension for individual policies that don't meet requirements of the new health care law.
PARIS (AP) - The United States and Western diplomats failed to bring Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers together Wednesday for face-to-face talks on the confrontation in Crimea, even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced optimism that an exit strategy was possible. "I'd rather be where we are today than where we were yesterday," he said.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state issued its first legal-marijuana business license Wednesday, launching a new phase in the state's ambitious effort to regulate a market that has been illegal for more than 75 years.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say deputies of a North Carolina sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers shared links to a bloody video game in which players shoot people entering the country illegally, including children and pregnant women.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Essay optional. No penalties for wrong answers. The SAT college entrance exam is undergoing sweeping revisions.