AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges - but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Danielle Powell was going through a hard time in the spring of 2011, just months away from graduating from a conservative Christian college in Nebraska. She had fallen in love with another woman, a strictly forbidden relationship at a school where even prolonged hugs were banned.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman disfigured by a friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009 was denied permission Friday to sue the state for $150 million on her claim that officials knew the animal was dangerous but didn't do anything about it.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The revelation Friday that a former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has lived quietly in Minneapolis for the past six decades came as a shock to people who knew him, prompted harsh condemnations from World War II survivors in the U.S. and Europe, and led prosecutors in Poland to say they would investigate.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Authorities lifted evacuations in a wide swath of terrain outside Colorado Springs on Friday as they said a surprise rain shower helped them expand containment of a wildfire that has destroyed 400 homes.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - One of two Czech-built military training jets that collided in midair while practicing for this fall's National Championship Air Races in Reno had to make a belly landing on the runway with no wheels, but neither pilot was hurt at the airport where 11 people were killed during the finals competition in 2011.
PHOENIX (AP) - A 91-year-old Arizona weightlifter didn't just break a world record for the bench press, he powered through it by 52 pounds.
NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. (AP) - Investigators began examining a twisted pile of concrete, metal and wood on Friday to determine why a waterfront deck at a popular sports bar collapsed into shallow Biscayne Bay, injuring two dozen people gathered to cheer the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A high school football player convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer was given the state's second-toughest sex offender classification at a Friday hearing.
BOSTON WOMAN PAYS $560,000 FOR 2 PARKING SPOTS: BOSTON (AP) - Parking is such a precious commodity in Boston that one woman was willing to pay $560,000 for two off-street spaces near her home.
NEW YORK (AP) - There's little wonder why George Orwell's novel "1984" is seeing a resurgence in sales.
CHICAGO (AP) - The generation that's grown up posting their lives online wants a little privacy. That's not what we might expect as we debate just how much access the government should have to our mobile and online lives.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A San Diego-area teacher says she is losing her job for being the victim of domestic violence.
NEW YORK (AP) - Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding the creation of a "kill switch" that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York's top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to the world's smartphone manufacturers.
POLICE: THIEF GETS STUCK IN MUD AFTER BURGLARY: FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Police say a man who robbed a Foxborough home had to call a tow truck after getting stuck in the mud while making his getaway.
CHICAGO (AP) - Comedian Jimmy Fallon took a quick but icy dip in Lake Michigan - dressed in a full suit and tie - eyes bulging as he darted out of the slushy water and headed straight for a pile of dry towels.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - In Maryland each year, thousands of defendants appear before court commissioners - not judges - who set their bail without an attorney present.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Floridian with an IQ as high as 75 may be diagnosed as mentally disabled and be eligible for help getting a job. But on death row, the state says having an IQ higher than 70 categorically means an inmate is not mentally disabled and may be executed.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut and New York have found a way around federal budget cuts that played a central role in the massive farm bill passed this month: bump up home heating assistance a few million bucks in return for preserving more than a half-billion dollars in food stamp benefits.
WILLOW, Alaska (AP) - A New Zealander was the first musher en route to the town of Nome when the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began Sunday.
HINGHAM, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man busted for speeding had a pretty good excuse when he was pulled over: He had just won a big lottery prize and was on his way to collect his cash.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A bill to allow students, staff and visitors to carry guns on Idaho's college campuses passed out of a legislative committee Friday afternoon, despite objections from students, multiple police chiefs and leaders of all eight of the state's public colleges.
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - An avalanche roared into a residential neighborhood in the western Montana city of Missoula on Friday, destroying a house and leaving an elderly woman missing, but rescuers found an elderly man and an 8-year-old boy alive, police said.
NEW YORK (AP) - Philip Seymour Hoffman died from taking a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs, the New York City medical examiner ruled Friday, a toxic mix that addiction specialists say is not uncommon in the tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S. each year.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's regional airlines are having trouble hiring enough pilots, the government says, suggesting one reason may be that they simply don't pay enough.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In elections that begin next week, voters in 10 states will be required to present photo identification before casting ballots - the first major test of voter ID laws after years of legal challenges arguing that the measures are designed to suppress voting.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - Kerry Kennedy was swiftly acquitted Friday of drugged driving in a case that her lawyers said would never have been brought if she were simply "Mary Housewife" rather than a member of one of America's most glamorous political families.
Q: We are going to hire a nanny to help care for our two small children. We have heard different opinions about whether we will have to deduct Social Security taxes from the wages we will be paying this person. Can you please clarify this?
CUPERTINO (AP) - Apple CEO Tim Cook is still trying to convince shareholders that the iPhone maker remains a step ahead in the race to innovate, even though recent performance of the company's stock lags behind other technology trendsetters.
NEW YORK (AP) - Sotheby's says an enormous diamond known as "The Pink Star" is back in its possession after the buyer couldn't pay for the jewel and defaulted.