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.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.
ORANGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Police intend to charge a gun show vendor who accidentally shot a woman while demonstrating a concealed carry wallet holster.
LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) - A Detroit-area soccer player faces a felony assault charge for allegedly punching a referee during an adult-league match, critically injuring the ref.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A federal plan to lower thresholds for warning the public about contaminated beach water is drawing protests from state officials in the Great Lakes region and along the ocean coasts who say the revisions could unnecessarily scare away swimmers.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma man who was seriously injured by a line drive during a 2006 high school baseball game isn't entitled to a nearly $1 million award from the manufacturer of the bat used to hit the ball, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A suspended South Carolina state trooper threatened to use a Taser on Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Sam Montgomery during a traffic stop last week for speeding.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - An Alabama woman was sentenced Monday to a year on probation to cap a bizarre case in which a trucker enlisted her and two others to help him hide a small fortune he found stuffed in coffee cans inside an elderly man's garage.
• UTAH MAN SENT TO JAIL FOR FIGHT OVER CHURCH SEATS: OGDEN, Utah (AP) - A 52-year-old man accused of punching another man and hitting him with his car in a dispute over pew space in Utah has been ordered to spend 30 days in jail.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - President Barack Obama will seek more than $2 billion to respond to the flood of immigrants illegally entering the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas and ask for new powers to deal with returning immigrant children apprehended while traveling without their parents, a White House official said.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state can end its three-decade HIV crisis by the year 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday as he announced an ambitious plan to deliver a knockout blow to the epidemic by boosting testing, reducing new infections and expanding treatment.
BOSTON (AP) - The first of four friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to go on trial on charges he impeded the investigation into the deadly attack.
SEATTLE (AP) - A cruise ship that returned to Seattle after a fire in its boiler room left the port again on Sunday morning.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Two men exchanged gunfire early Sunday on the city's always-crowded Bourbon Street in the celebrated French Quarter and nine people were shot in the crossfire, including two who were critically wounded, police said.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities on Sunday were investigating how a metal security grate detached and fell from the facade of an Italian ice shop, killing a 3-year-old girl in front of dozens of people who tried to rescue her.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City started the year with 12 casinos. By Labor Day, it could be down to nine.