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.
OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A pedestrian who was struck by a car in southern New Jersey and then became lodged in the vehicle's windshield has died.
ATLANTA (AP) - Home Depot's third-quarter profit rose 14 percent as comparable-store sales climbed in the U.S., suggesting that a huge data breach announced exactly two months ago has not shaken the faith of its customers.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, two of California's largest health insurers, misled customers about the number of doctors in their networks under plans sold through the state's insurance marketplace, according to a state report released Tuesday.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah woman says she encountered only brief resistance when she recently had her driver's license photo taken while wearing a colander on her head as a religious statement.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and activated the National Guard ahead of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
BOSTON (AP) - When police in Junction City, Kansas, stopped a beat-up pickup truck for speeding in June 2013, the driver got a lot more than a traffic ticket: The stop led authorities to Massachusetts and Arizona, where they said they found about $15 million in cash, almost 400 pounds of marijuana and ledgers detailing drug deals going back to 1992.
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Should tour guides in Washington have to prove they know James Madison from James Monroe? Should those in New Orleans take tests on the difference between Creole and Cajun?
BOSTON (AP) - Lawsuits filed Monday against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill argue that affirmative action policies should be banned at colleges across the nation.
BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico middle school teacher is facing charges that allege he threatened a student with a knife for talking during a pop quiz, police said Monday.
HUNTER SHOOTS AT DEAD DEER ON CART, HITS OTHER MAN: EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a man who had shot a deer in the Hudson Valley woods was hauling it away on a cart when he was wounded by second hunter firing at the dead animal.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A surgeon who contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone did not receive aggressive treatment until nearly two weeks after he first started showing symptoms - a delay that doctors said probably made it impossible for anyone to save his life.
BEIRUT (AP) - The Islamic State group has beheaded Peter Kassig, releasing a video Sunday showing a masked militant standing over the severed head of a man it said was the former U.S. Army Ranger-turned-aid worker, who was seized while delivering relief supplies in Syria last year.
PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Washington state's first marijuana auction brought in about $600,000.
NEW YORK (AP) - The man who became known as the "20th hijacker" from the Sept. 11 attacks wants to testify in lawsuits filed by victims of terrorism.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 172 people on a cruise ship arriving in California on Sunday have fallen ill with the highly contagious norovirus during a nearly monthlong trip.