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.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Henderson woman who became separated from her family and jet ski when a sudden storm whipped up 8-foot-tall swells on Lake Mead treaded water for more than three hours before she was rescued Tuesday, National Parks Service officials said.
HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - The former public works inspector for a northern New Jersey town who admitted stealing $460,000 in quarters over two years has been spared a prison term.
CHICAGO (AP) - Bad reactions to psychiatric drugs result in nearly 90,000 emergency room visits each year by U.S. adults, with anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives among the most common culprits, a study suggests.
CEDAR HILL, Texas (AP) - A man armed with a bottle of flammable liquid set himself and a police officer ablaze Wednesday before another officer shot the suspect at a suburban Dallas shopping strip, police said.
NEW YORK (AP) - General Mills hopes a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of fiber will be a recipe for stronger sales.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - You might need a magic wand to get on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando Resort.
CUPERTINO (AP) - A two-year slump in personal computer sales ended in the second quarter, helped by improving demand in developed markets like North America and Europe.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) - Visitors peered through binoculars and spotting scopes into the depths of the Grand Canyon, straining to see the spot where two commercial airliners crashed after colliding in mid-air nearly 60 years ago. Family members of the victims who gazed out over the east rim of the canyon Tuesday tried to imagine their loved ones' final moments in a disaster that helped overhaul U.S. aviation safety.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah mother told authorities that she killed six of her newborns and stored their bodies in a garage because she was addicted to drugs and didn't want to deal with the responsibility of raising them, police said Tuesday, revealing a suspected motive for the first time.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - As Detroit struggles to climb out of bankruptcy, another Michigan city with strong ties to the auto industry may be about to fall into the same hole.
ATLANTA (AP) - A government scientist cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington made a startling discovery last week - decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten in a cardboard box.
SEATTLE (AP) - Surrounded by thousands of packages of marijuana, Seattle's top prosecutor sought some advice: Which one should he buy?
• FEDERAL JUDGE STIRS CONTROVERSY WITH BLOG POST: OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge in Nebraska is again drawing attention because of his personal blog, this time for using an obscene reference to suggest that the U.S. Supreme Court should not have heard the Hobby Lobby case.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A fuss over a police officer's vanity plate has blown up into a constitutional debate that could lead to the Indiana General Assembly deciding whether to rewrite the law or stop selling personalized license plates altogether.
ATLANTA (AP) - More American households are ditching their old telephones: 4 out of 10 only use cellphones, a government survey shows.