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.
WASHIGNTON, D.C. (AP) - The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane with nearly 300 people on board over war-torn eastern Ukraine is likely to have profound consequences for the world's airlines.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday in a ground offensive that officials said could last up to two weeks as the prime minister ordered the military to prepare for a "significantly" wider campaign.
ATLANTA (AP) - As the U.S. tries to phase out a polluting refrigerant that is used in millions of air conditioners across the country, unapproved coolant is popping up on the market - with potentially dangerous consequences.
PATEROS, Wash. (AP) - A massive wildfire that has destroyed at least 100 homes forced the residents of a second north-central Washington town to leave their homes Friday, and prompted a partial evacuation of a third community in the scenic Methow Valley, a sheriff said.
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor.
DETROIT (AP) - Toyota wants to help you scream at your unruly kids.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A new Connecticut Supreme Court ruling is adding to the debate on whether gay marriage rights should be applied retroactively and qualify same-sex couples for rights and benefits for which they weren't entitled before state laws allowed them to marry.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A three-year federal investigation into groups of suburban white teens crossing into Mississippi's capital city to attack blacks has grown to 10 indictments and six convictions.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Two attorneys general from the Northwest have sued the companies responsible for the popular 5-Hour Energy drink, alleging they engaged in deceptive advertising.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - No signs of trauma or foul play were found on eight decaying bodies discovered at an abandoned funeral home in Fort Worth, Texas, officials said.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A warden and two of his assistants were fired because the investigation of an inmate who died in a scalding shower was taking too long, prison officials said Thursday.
BOSTON (AP) - Investigators looking into an unlicensed Massachusetts funeral director accused of stealing from customers said Thursday they have found human remains in a rented storage unit, a day after finding cremated remains at another storage facility linked to him.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel.
HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down a Malaysian jetliner with 298 people aboard, sharply escalating the crisis and threatening to draw both East and West deeper into the conflict. The rebels denied downing the aircraft.