VATICAN CITY (AP) - Signaling a dramatic shift in Vatican tone, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church had become obsessed by "small-minded rules" about how to be faithful and that pastors should instead emphasize compassion over condemnation when discussing divisive social issues of abortion, gays and contraception.
'NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Vince Sicari can tell all the lawyer jokes he wants - he just can't play a judge in real life.
HOLDER OF LUCKY POWERBALL TICKET A MYSTERY IN SC: LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) - When they learned that a Powerball ticket worth $400 million had been sold at a gas station across the road, workers at Econ-O-Bug Termite and Pest Control said they had a few big, wishful dreams. But they didn't have the prized ticket in their hands, so they came to work as usual Thursday in their yellow bug-battling vans.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Here's the truth about a government "shutdown." The government doesn't shut down.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government's sprawling system of background checks and security clearances is so unreliable it's virtually impossible to adequately investigate the nearly 5 million Americans who have them and make sure they can be trusted with access to military and sensitive civilian buildings, an Associated Press review found.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Holloway initially thought the Twitter photos showing young people partying at his family's second home in upstate New York were a hoax. Then he saw pictures of teenagers standing on the dining room table he bought with his Super Bowl bonus.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Two teenage boys have been arrested in a bizarre sword attack on one teen's mother that reportedly included a discussion of killing the woman and eating her liver, a Spokane County sheriff's spokesman said Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service continued to target conservative political groups even after approving their applications for tax-exempt status, a key Republican lawmaker said Wednesday.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Clicking "Like" on Facebook is constitutionally protected free speech and can be considered the 21st century-equivalent of a campaign yard sign, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
VIDEO CONFESSOR PLEADS GUILTY TO FATAL DUI IN OHIO: COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Confronted at a hospital by police who said he'd just killed a man, drunk driver Matthew Cordle was angry and in denial.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The man who gunned down 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday visited two hospitals in the weeks before the rampage but denied that he was depressed or having thoughts of harming himself or others, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - If it seems that giant lottery jackpots have people lining up at convenience stores more frequently, just wait: More big payouts could be coming.
TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - The massive fire that destroyed part of a Jersey shore boardwalk and dozens of businesses began accidentally in wiring damaged in Superstorm Sandy, and should prompt coastal property owners to get their own equipment inspected for similar danger, officials said Tuesday.
LYONS, Colo. (AP) - The emergency airlifts of flood victims waned Tuesday, leaving rescue crews to systematically search the nooks and crannies of the northern Colorado foothills and transportation officials to gauge what it will take to rebuild the wasted landscape.
TEXAS FOOTBALL PLAYER, 12, DIES AFTER ANT BITES: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A 12-year-old boy died after apparently having a severe allergic reaction to ant bites he suffered while warming up during halftime of a South Texas middle school football game, officials confirmed Tuesday.
HIDALGO, Texas (AP) - The first wave of National Guard troops has taken up observation posts along the Texas-Mexico border.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Paramedics attended to a man who was bleeding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, then left him to be taken to the morgue, saying his injuries were "not compatible with life," according to police documents.
• MASSACHUSETTS TO USE MORE HUMOR ON HIGHWAY SIGNS: BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Thursday announced the winners of a contest to come up with humorous yet important driver safety messages for electronic highway message boards.
ATLANTA (AP) - Coca-Cola is buying a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage for $2.15 billion, with the world's biggest soda maker hoping to benefit from the surging popularity of energy drinks.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut its annual profit outlook on Thursday amid sluggish sales, higher-than-expected health care costs and the need to invest more in its e-commerce operations.
NEW YORK (AP) - General Electric confirmed that it is considering the sale of its historic appliance division, part of its effort to focus on selling more complex and profitable industrial equipment.
PLANO, Texas (AP) - J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) reported a narrower loss for its second quarter that beat Wall Street expectations.
NEW YORK (AP) - The back-to-school shopping season is off to a promising start, but retailers may be sacrificing profit for sales.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Robin Williams' spirit will live on in the virtual world of Azeroth.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jan Harding and her husband had just arrived at a Utah restaurant for a relaxing lunch with friends when she filled her cup with sweet tea from a self-serve beverage station.
SEATTLE (AP) - Police in Washington state are asking the public to stop tweeting during shootings and manhunts to avoid accidentally telling the bad guys what officers are doing.
GARWOOD, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man took down a black flag with Arabic letters he's been flying outside his home for 10 years after complaints arose on Twitter about its association with Islamic militants.
CORSICANA, Texas (AP) - A teenager lived undetected for two days at a 24-hour Wal-Mart in Texas after running away from his aunt's home, police said Wednesday.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A 57-year-old woman drove herself to a hospital after she was mauled by a brown bear in Alaska, state troopers said Wednesday.