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.
McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in South Texas said in a recent order that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is assisting in criminal conspiracies to smuggle children into the country when it helps reunite them with parents who are known to be in the U.S. illegally.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rosemary Anderson could be 81 by the time she pays off her student loans. After struggling with divorce, health problems and an underwater home mortgage, the 57-year-old anticipates there could come a day when her Social Security benefits will be docked to make the payments.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Gadsden County sheriff was accused Tuesday of allowing inmates - including violent felons - out of jail without court permission for short periods so they could visit with family or meet girlfriends in motel rooms.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - In the latest dispute over public lands in the West, New Mexico ranchers are suing the federal government over its attempts to limit their cattle's access to water and grazing areas after a tiny mouse won endangered species protections in the Southwest.
CAMDEN, Ala. (AP) - A man is suspected of killing his five children in South Carolina and then driving all the way to Alabama before dumping their bodies on a dirt road and fleeing to Mississippi, authorities said. Following his arrest, he led police to the site where the lifeless children were found wrapped in individual plastic bags.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - An ex-nurse who admitted going online and encouraging people to kill themselves was convicted Tuesday of assisting the suicide of an English man and attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman, following a legal battle that has spanned more than four years and led to the reversal of part of a Minnesota law that outlaws the practice.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to halt the execution of a Missouri inmate, hours before he was scheduled to be put to death.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - An 83-year-old woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to beating her 89-year-old husband to death in their home.
CUPERTINO (AP) - Apple unveiled its long-anticipated smartwatch Tuesday, introducing a device that transplants the features of an iPhone onto a smaller screen that's never more than an arm's length away.
DETROIT (AP) - Honda shared its vision of the hands-free highway commute Tuesday, a car that can safely drive itself on the freeway while the driver's hands are off the wheel.
NEW YORK (AP) - In the world of currencies, the dollar is starting to look like a safe home in a tough neighborhood.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Clinton juggernaut hits the midterm campaign trail this week as the power couple lends fundraising prowess and their seal of approval to Democratic candidates shunning an unpopular President Barack Obama. For Hillary Rodham Clinton, the events with Democratic donors and activists are keeping her profile high as she weighs a second bid for the presidency.
PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) - Lava from one of the world's most active volcanos has been advancing at a slower pace the past few days and is now moving parallel to a sparsely populated subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Indiana couple accused of holding a woman captive for two months, often locking her in a small wooden cage, was charged Monday with rape, criminal confinement, kidnapping and other felonies in a case one officer likened to "modernized slavery."
CHICAGO (AP) - Hundreds of children in more than 10 states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials say may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.
PHOENIX (AP) - The remnants of Hurricane Norbert pushed into the desert Southwest and swamped Phoenix with record rainfall for a single day, turning freeways into small lakes and sending rescuers scrambling to get drivers out of inundated cars.