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Five people stabbed in Washington restaurant

WASHINGTON - Five people were stabbed early on Saturday in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., police said. The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. at McFadden's, a popular restaurant and nightclub on Pennsylvania Avenue, eight blocks from the White House in the nation's capital.

'Gorillafication' in sight for abandoned baby primate at Ohio zoo

- Zookeepers wearing gorilla suits have helped rear an endangered abandoned baby gorilla in Ohio so she can join an adult group.

New York protests against police violence attract other causes too

NEW YORK - (This story corrects spelling of surname in pentultimate paragraph to "Rieth" in the December 6 story.)

Two snowmobilers die, one rescued after plunging into Montana lake

- Two men died and a third was rescued from a Montana lake when their snowmobiles plunged into the ice-covered body of water as they attempted to cross to the other side, local officials said Saturday.

Crime and lawsuits cloud new 'American Sniper' movie

DALLAS - The real-life story behind Hollywood's "American Sniper," rolled out this holiday season, has been a dark tale of lawsuits and a pending murder trial for the man accused of gunning down the movie's hero.

Transit cops deliver baby on Philadelphia train

- A baby boy was born on a crowded Philadelphia subway train late on Christmas Day, delivered by two transit policemen who harkened to the call of duty armed with surgical gloves and lots of pluck.

Former 'Saved by the Bell' actor Dustin Diamond arrested in Wisconsin

- Former "Saved by the Bell" actor Dustin Diamond, who played the nerdy "Screech" on the high school sitcom, has been arrested for stabbing a man with a switchblade at a bar north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police said on Friday.

Body of autistic New York boy found in South Carolina pond

- The body of a 4-year-old New York autistic boy who had gone missing two days earlier from his grandmother's house in South Carolina was found in a nearby pond on Friday, police said.

U.S. looking into report of kidnapped Border Patrol agent in Texas

SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into a claim made in a call to a Texas border town police department that a Mexican organized crime cartel has kidnapped a U.S. Border Patrol agent, officials said on Friday.

Crime and lawsuits cloud new 'American Sniper' movie

DALLAS - The real-life story behind Hollywood's "American Sniper," rolled out this holiday season, has been a dark tale of lawsuits and a pending murder trial for the man accused of gunning down the movie's hero.

Oregon mother calls daughter's East Timor release 'Christmas present'

- The mother of an Oregon woman newly freed from two months of imprisonment in East Timor said on Friday that news of her daughter's release was a "fantastic Christmas present," but it remained uncertain how soon she could return to the United States.

Mourners gather for slain New York policeman

NEW YORK - Police officers in dress uniform and other mourners joined a somber, four-block line outside a New York City church on Friday for the wake of one of two officers shot by a man who said he was avenging the killing of unarmed black men by police.

Mourners to gather for slain New York policeman

NEW YORK - Hundreds of mourners were due to gather at a New York City church on Friday to pay their respects for one of two policemen shot by a gunman who said he was avenging the killings this summer of unarmed black men by white officers.

Long-delayed U.S. high-speed rail plans may ride on Texas express

AUSTIN, Texas - With high-speed rail in the United States long on plans and short on construction, a Texas company is aiming to fast-track service between Dallas and Houston.

Grandmother, three grandchildren killed in Ohio house fire

- An Ohio grandmother and three of her grandchildren, who were spending the Christmas holiday with her, died in a fire that engulfed the woman's house on Friday, officials said.

Inmate uses ventilation duct to escape California jail

- Police were on the lookout on Friday for an inmate who escaped a central California jail on Christmas Day by squeezing through a ventilation duct and jumping off the roof of the building, officials said.

Former South Carolina Governor Edwards dies at 87

- James Edwards, the first Republican elected governor of South Carolina since post-Civil War Reconstruction who also served in President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet, died on Friday at age 87, his family said.

U.S. police struggle to uncover threats on social media

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES - U.S. law enforcement agencies are a long way from being able to effectively track threats of the kind a gunman posted on Instagram before his execution-style murder of two New York City policemen last weekend.

U.S. man dies at Mexico border after being subdued with stun gun

- An American man died at a U.S. border crossing with Mexico after he allegedly assaulted officers and was subdued with a stun gun, the Customs and Border Protection agency said.

U.S. city sues Petrobras for corruption-related bond loss: report

SAO PAULO - The U.S. city of Providence, Rhode Island, is suing Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and some of its executives for bond losses stemming from an alleged kickback and bribery scheme, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported on Friday.

Anti-police Oakland protesters break windows, trash Christmas tree

- Demonstrators in Oakland, California, broke store windows and vandalized a public Christmas tree during a march protesting police shootings, media reports said.

Two more NY men arrested for threatening police

- Two more men have been arrested for threatening New York police, including one who called the precinct headquarters of two officers killed as they sat in their patrol car and asked to speak to one of them, a police spokesman said on Thursday.

Storm brings white Christmas to Rockies; soggy weekend to Southeast

- A winter storm pushing across the Rockies on Thursday was expected to drop a foot of snow in some areas as it fanned eastward, threatening soggy conditions and potential weekend travel delays across a wide swath of the United States, forecasters said.

Former President George H.W. Bush spends Christmas in hospital

- Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush remained hospitalized on Thursday near his home in Houston after experiencing shortness of breath this week, and was in "great spirits," his spokesman said.

Oregon woman freed from East Timor prison four months after arrest

WASHINGTON - A veterinarian from Oregon who was arrested while traveling in East Timor in September was released from jail on Thursday after nearly two months of detention, the U.S. State Department said.

On Christmas visit with troops, Obama lauds end of Afghanistan mission

KANOEHE BAY, Hawaii - One week before the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, thanked American troops on Thursday during a Christmas Day visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kanoehe Bay.

Texas armored car driver accused of theft arrested in Colorado

- An armored car driver in Texas who abandoned his vehicle and made off with $200,000 has been arrested in Colorado on theft charges, and the missing money has been recovered, police said on Thursday.

Two more NY men arrested for threatening police after officers killed

- Two more men have been arrested for threatening New York police, including one who called the precinct headquarters of two officers killed as they sat in their patrol car and asked to speak to one of them, a police spokesman said on Thursday.

Shooter kills man in Louisiana mall on Christmas Eve

- A gunman opened fire inside a New Orleans-area mall still busy with shoppers on Christmas eve, killing a man before he was taken into custody, police said on Wednesday.

Four shot, one fatally, in downtown St. Louis

- A shooting at a downtown St. Louis convenience store on Wednesday left one person dead and three others badly wounded, police said.

Protests flare after Missouri police killing of armed black man

BERKELEY, Mo. - Protests flared into early Thursday in the St. Louis suburb where a white policeman fatally shot a black man who brandished a gun at a gas station on Tuesday night.

Three injured, two critically, in shooting at Chicago train station

- Three people were injured, two of them critically, after a gunman opened fire in a Chicago train station on Wednesday night, police said.

CDC worker monitored for possible Ebola exposure in lab error

- A laboratory technician for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been placed under observation for possible exposure to the deadly Ebola virus due to an apparent mix-up in lab specimens, the Atlanta-based agency said on Wednesday.

Santa's global flight under way, 'All systems go': U.S. military official

DENVER - Santa Claus has embarked on his annual Christmas Eve mission to deliver presents to millions of children after a smooth take-off from his North Pole base, at least according to U.S. military officials who track his reindeer-powered sleigh.

Firefighters targeted in drive-by shooting in north Florida

TAMPA, Fla. - A firefighter was grazed in the arm during a drive-by shooting behind a north Florida fire station on Tuesday evening, police said.

U.S. South menaced by storms as Mississippi cleans up from tornadoes

JACKSON, Miss. - Severe thunderstorms menaced the U.S. Southeast on Wednesday, with a small tornado and flooding reported in parts of North Carolina, while emergency workers in Mississippi surveyed damage from tornadoes that killed at least four people and injured 20.

White Christmas expected in parts of U.S., rain elsewhere

CHICAGO - Fresh snowfall was expected to bring a white Christmas to parts of the U.S. West, Midwest and the Appalachian Mountains, while other regions of the country would slog through rain and fog, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday.

Santa's global flight under way, 'All systems go': U.S. military official

DENVER - Santa Claus has embarked on his annual Christmas Eve mission to deliver presents to millions of children after a smooth take-off from his North Pole base, at least according to U.S. military officials who track his reindeer-powered sleigh.

Two people wounded by gunfire at Atlanta movie theater

- Two people were wounded in gunfire late on Tuesday at an Atlanta theater hosting a film's premiere, and there have been no arrests, police said.

LA police investigate song mocking dead black teen at ex-cop's party

LOS ANGELES - A song poking fun at the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman, performed at a retired officer's party, has prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to launch an internal investigation, its chief said on Tuesday.

Tense scenes in Missouri after police shoot another black teen

- An 18-year-old black man was shot and killed by police late on Tuesday at a gas station in a St. Louis suburb near where unarmed teen Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in August, police and local media said.

U.S. settles with employers of contractor newly freed by Cuba

MIAMI - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Tuesday it has settled claims with a company that employed Alan Gross, the contractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail as part of a major shift in U.S.-Cuba relations.

Top Connecticut court to decide fate of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' records

MILFORD, Conn. - Connecticut's top court next month will decide whether the records of the serial killer who inspired the play "Arsenic and Old Lace" will remain sealed in perpetuity or can be opened a half-century after her death.

L.A. judge orders halt to smartphone app for medical pot delivery

LOS ANGELES - A judge in Los Angeles ordered a smartphone application company on Tuesday to stop arranging the delivery of medical marijuana to customers in the city in violation of a ban on such businesses, prosecutors said.

FBI arrests Colorado man over online threats to kill police

DENVER - FBI agents arrested a Colorado man who posted online threats advocating the killing of police officers after investigators received a tip-off about one of the messages from Google, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Despite Supreme Court order, Florida gay marriage ban back in court

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A tiny county in the northern Florida Panhandle, facing the prospect of court-ordered gay marriage going into effect next month, filed an emergency motion on Tuesday asking a federal judge to clarify whether it must marry all gay couples.

NY protesters reject plea for hiatus despite police slayings

NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio's attempts to soothe a city dismayed by the slaying of two officers were further rebuffed on Tuesday as protesters defied his call to suspend what have become regular demonstrations over excessive police force.

L.A. judge orders halt to smartphone app for medical pot delivery

LOS ANGELES - A judge in Los Angeles ordered a smartphone application company on Tuesday to stop arranging the delivery of medical marijuana to customers in the city in violation of a ban on such businesses, prosecutors said.

Four tornado-related fatalities confirmed in southeastern Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. - At least four people were killed in tornadoes that struck southeastern Mississippi on Tuesday, coroner and emergency management officials said.

As more cities ban homeless camps, advocates cry foul

CHICAGO - For Teresa Sigerson, a former waitress who has lived under a Chicago expressway bridge for three years, the camp she shares with eight others provides shelter, companionship and some measure of security.

U.S. to pay $3.2 million to contractor freed from Cuba prison

MIAMI - Alan Gross, the contractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail will receive $3.2 million from the U.S. government as part of a settlement with his employer, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Tuesday.

Jurors to see graphic images at Colorado cinema massacre trial

DENVER - Jurors in the murder trial of Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes will see the majority of the gruesome photographs and video taken at the crime scene, but a handful of images will be barred, the judge overseeing the case ruled on Tuesday.

FBI arrests Colorado man over online threats to kill police

DENVER - FBI agents arrested a Colorado man who posted online threats advocating the killing of police officers after investigators received a tip about one of the messages from Google, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Tornadoes kill four people, cause major damage in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. - Tornadoes unleashed by thunderstorms along the U.S. Gulf Coast ripped through southeastern Mississippi on Tuesday, killing four people, injuring many and causing extensive damage, authorities said.

U.S. judge throws out Arizona sheriff's immigration suit against Obama

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit brought against Barack Obama by an Arizona police chief who called the U.S. president's sweeping immigration reforms unconstitutional, saying the plaintiff lacked legal standing in the case.

Former President Bush, 90, hospitalized for shortness of breath

AUSTIN, Texas - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, 90, was hospitalized in Houston, Texas, late on Tuesday after experiencing shortness of breath, a spokesman for the 41st commander-in-chief said in a statement.

U.S. State Department's Guantanamo envoy resigns

WASHINGTON - The State Department envoy responsible for negotiating prisoner transfers from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is resigning, officials said on Monday, even as President Barack Obama is promising a stepped-up push to close the facility.

Long-stalled Seattle tunnel project delayed nine months to 2017

SEATTLE - An expressway tunnel central to Seattle's $3.1 billion roadway overhaul will not open to traffic until August 2017, extending by some nine months a delay-plagued project to replace a waterfront highway, Washington state officials said.

FBI warns of Islamic State threat to Mississippi River bridge

WASHINGTON - The FBI has warned local authorities of a threat that Islamic State militants would blow up the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge spanning the Mississippi River, an agency spokesman said on Tuesday.

Police in Massachusetts seek charges over copycat cop killer Facebook post

BOSTON - Police in Massachusetts are pursuing criminal charges against a man for posting the words "put wings on pigs" on his Facebook page, a phrase similar to the one posted by a man who killed two officers in New York City last weekend.

U.S. says 6.4 million signed up for 2015 HealthCare.gov plans

- About 6.4 million Americans have selected a new individual healthcare plan or have been automatically signed up again for a 2015 insurance plan through the HealthCare.gov website, a top U.S. health official said on Tuesday, putting the agency nearer its 9.1 million goal.

Florida surpasses New York as third most populous U.S. state

TAMPA, Fla. - Florida has leapfrogged New York to rank as the third most populous U.S. state, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, reflecting demographic trends that are reshaping American politics and culture, along with state bragging rights.

Cuban dissidents shaken by U.S. rapprochement, seek new tactics

HAVANA - President Barack Obama's decision to end five decades of enmity with Cuba has shaken the island's political dissidents, dividing their ranks and forcing them to rethink tactics.

Off duty, black cops in New York feel threat from fellow police

NEW YORK - From the dingy donut shops of Manhattan to the cloistered police watering holes in Brooklyn, a number of black NYPD officers say they have experienced the same racial profiling that cost Eric Garner his life.

Woman who drove kids into ocean committed to Florida mental hospital

ORLANDO, Fla. - A South Carolina mother who drove her children into the Atlantic Ocean during what doctors determined was a psychotic break was committed on Tuesday to a Florida state mental hospital, authorities said.

Pennsylvania police find head on rural road, seeking body to match

HARRISBURG, Pa. - An aerial search for the embalmed body of a woman whose head was recovered this month along a lonely rural road was due to begin on Tuesday, police in western Pennsylvania said.

Florida police hunt for shooters who injured nine on basketball court

MIAMI - Florida police were searching on Tuesday for two people involved in a drive-by shooting on a basketball court that injured nine youths, including a 16-year-old boy with a critical head wound.

Washington state teen dies after taking punch from classmate

SEATTLE - An 18-year-old Washington state high school student died after agreeing to take a single punch to the face from a classmate to settle a dispute outside a weekend house party, local officials said on Tuesday.

New York settles wrongful conviction suit for record $4.75 million

NEW YORK - A New York man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit has reached a $4.75 million wrongful conviction settlement with the state, his attorney said on Tuesday.

Two airliners clip wings in New York's LaGuardia Airport, no one injured

NEW YORK - Two commercial airliners loaded with passengers clipped each other's wings as they taxied through New York's LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday, injuring no one but causing more than 280 travelers to have to change their plans.

NY protesters reject plea for hiatus despite police slayings

NEW YORK - Protesters who have rallied for weeks over excessive police force rejected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's plea to suspend demonstrations after the killing of two officers, and vowed to march in the center of Manhattan on Tuesday evening.

Atlanta baggage handler charged with helping smuggle guns onto flight

ATLANTA - A Delta Air Lines baggage handler has been charged with helping another man smuggle 18 handguns onto a flight from Atlanta to New York City, in a scheme that prosecutors said ran for years and also involved assault weapons.

New Jersey to bail out Atlantic City with short-term loan

- Atlantic City, New Jersey's struggling gambling hub, will get a short-term $40 million loan from the state rather than try to borrow the money in the capital markets this year, a city official said on Tuesday.

Detroit man dressed as Santa shot two in defense of Mrs. Claus: attorney

DETROIT - A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit accused of shooting two men over the weekend at a Detroit gas station was acting in defense of a co-worker who was dressed as Mrs. Claus, his attorney said on Tuesday.

Grand jury clears Houston policeman for fatal shooting of black man

AUSTIN, Texas - A grand jury in Houston decided on Tuesday not to indict a police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a case that has been placed into a national debate about the role race plays in police interactions with the public.

Former coach in Ohio rape case sentenced for probation violation

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - A former volunteer football coach who was convicted of lying to authorities in connection with an Ohio high school rape case was sentenced to 60 days in jail on Monday for violating his probation.

U.S. House panel seeks update on plans to upgrade White House fence

WASHINGTON - The top two members of a U.S. House of Representatives committee said on Monday they had written to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson asking for a briefing on his agency's plans to enhance the fence around the White House.

Evidence of second suspect admissible in Etan Patz murder trial in New York

NEW YORK - A New York judge on Monday ruled that evidence pointing to an additional suspect in the 1979 abduction and murder of Etan Patz can be presented in the trial against Pedro Hernandez, who confessed to killing the 6-year-old.

Two more Colorado foreclosure law firms charged with fraud

DENVER - Colorado's Attorney General John Suthers has sued two more law firms in the state for fraud, accusing them of inflating foreclosure costs charged to homeowners, his office said.

U.S. support grows for Obama's push to boost ties with Cuba

WASHINGTON - American support for lifting the trade embargo on Cuba appears to be growing after President Barack Obama said he plans to restore diplomatic ties with Havana, new Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.

U.S. judge denies injunction seeking halt to executions in Oklahoma

AUSTIN, Texas - A U.S. district judge on Monday denied an injunction seeking to halt executions in Oklahoma filed by attorneys for death row inmates who argued a troubled lethal injection in the state in April exposed deep flaws in the state’s death chamber protocols.

Arizona to change lethal injection drugs after drawn-out execution

PHOENIX - Arizona will no longer use the two-drug lethal injection cocktail it employed to execute a convicted killer in July after the man took almost two hours to die, the state's prison chief said on Monday.

U.S. to review move not to charge ex-officer in Milwaukee fatal shooting

MILWAUKEE - The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the death of a black man who was fatally shot by a white former Milwaukee police officer after local prosecutors refused to charge him, saying he acted in self-defense.

Confusion over start of gay marriages next month in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida court officials, citing confusion after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend a stay on the state's same-sex marriage ban, agreed on Monday to ask a federal judge to clarify where gay couples may begin to tie the knot next month.

U.S. judge denies motion seeking halt to executions in Oklahoma

AUSTIN, Texas - A U.S. district judge on Monday denied an injunction seeking to halt executions in Oklahoma filed by attorneys for death row inmates who argued a troubled lethal injection in the state in April exposed deep flaws in the death chamber protocols.

U.S. West Coast port employers seek mediation in dockworker talks

LOS ANGELES - Shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports asked the union representing 20,000 dockworkers on Monday to consent to federal mediation in contract negotiations, saying the parties remained far from a deal after seven months of talks.

Cruelty case against U.S. senator's son dropped in Arizona dog deaths

PHOENIX - Animal cruelty charges against the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and two others will be dismissed after new information came to light about the deaths of 21 dogs at a suburban Phoenix kennel in June, prosecutors said on Monday.

New York mayor calls for pause in protests after police killings

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio implored protesters on Monday to wait until after the funerals of two policemen shot dead in an ambush before resuming rallies that have roiled the city and beyond over the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

Secret Service needs to beef up IT security: report

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service refused to provide data on its computer security systems to the Department of Homeland Security in 2014, preventing it from being able to verify if it was complying with security policies, an inspector general's report said on Monday.

U.S. Army refers Bergdahl case to commander, punishment possible

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army said on Monday it sent findings from an investigation into Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his base in Afghanistan to a U.S. general, a move that leaves open the possibility of disciplinary action for leaving his post.

Former South Carolina sheriff agrees to guilty plea in bribery case

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A former South Carolina sheriff agreed on Monday to plead guilty to conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants, a deal that could land him in prison after a federal judge rejected a similar agreement that would have resulted only in probation.

U.S. judge's rebuke prompts prosecutors to rethink N.Y. man's sentence

NEW YORK - A convicted robber and drug dealer who had faced a mandatory minimum 52 years in prison has instead been sentenced to 27 years, after prosecutors took the rare step of following a judge's urgings for a shorter prison term after the trial had ended.

U.S. border guards shoot Canadian man wielding gun

SEATTLE - Two U.S. border patrol agents shot a Canadian man brandishing a handgun near the border crossing between Detroit, and Windsor, Ontario, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

Republicans weigh big changes at U.S. budget referee agency

WASHINGTON - When Republicans take full control of Congress on Jan. 6, they will face decisions on major changes at the Congressional Budget Office, including possibly naming a new head and changing the rules used to assess the cost of legislation.

Georgia man killed after firing hail of bullets at police, neighbors

ATLANTA - A man with a high-powered rifle was killed by police near Atlanta early on Monday after a tense four-hour standoff during which he fired at officers and neighbors, a police spokesman said.

Condition of Muhammad Ali 'vastly improved'

- The condition of Muhammad Ali has "vastly improved" since he was admitted to the hospital over the weekend with a mild case of pneumonia and doctors hope to discharge the boxing legend soon, a spokesman said on Monday.

Justice Department official condemns killings of officers as 'heinous'

WASHINGTON - Deputy Attorney General James Cole said on Monday the fatal shootings of two New York police officers on Saturday were "heinous and cowardly acts."

Court strikes down North Carolina ultrasound abortion law

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A North Carolina law requiring doctors to perform an ultrasound and describe the displayed images to women seeking abortions constitutes compelled speech that violates the patients' free speech rights, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

Ex-police officer not charged in Milwaukee shooting death

MILWAUKEE - A former Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man was acting in self defense and will not be charged, the district attorney said on Monday, two days after dozens of demonstrators calling for justice in the case were arrested.

New York police commissioner urges calm in police ties with mayor

NEW YORK - New York City's police commissioner urged an easing of tensions on Monday after some in his force, responding to the fatal shooting of two officers, accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of being insufficiently supportive of police.

Maine man charged with killing girlfriend, two children

- A 27-year-old man was arrested in Maine on Sunday and charged with killing his girlfriend and her two young children, whose bodies were discovered in their mobile home a day earlier, state police said.

Florida police officer dies on duty after getting shot, run over

TAMPA, Fla. - A veteran Florida police officer died on Sunday after being gunned down and run over with a car by a felon who said he "felt like a caged rat" because he faced likely arrest and more prison time, a law enforcement official said.

Obama to name Sally Yates as pick for deputy attorney general

HONOLULU - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Monday that U.S. Attorney Sally Yates will be his nominee for deputy attorney general, the No. 2 position at the Justice Department, a U.S. official said.

In wake of police killings, New York officers on edge

- On December 13, as thousands of protesters mobbed the New York streets, Yuseff Hamm, an NYPD police officer, was monitoring the demonstrations from a mobile command unit near the Brooklyn Bridge. As the protest drew near, Hamm and his fellow officers could hear the chants of the noisy throngs:  “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.”

Florida State quarterback Winston cleared in conduct hearing into alleged rape

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into charges that he sexually assaulted a female student two years ago, according to documents released to Reuters on Sunday.

Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio faced the biggest crisis of his political career on Sunday after a gunman killed two police officers in an attack intended to avenge recent police killings of unarmed black men in the United States.

Obama to name Sally Yates as pick for deputy attorney general

HONOLULU - President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Monday that Attorney Sally Yates will be his nominee for deputy attorney general, the No. 2 position at the Justice Department, a U.S. official said.

Florida State quarterback Winston cleared in conduct hearing into alleged rape

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into charges that he sexually assaulted a female student two years ago, according to documents released to Reuters on Sunday.

Florida police officer killed; shooting suspect in custody

TAMPA, Fla. - A veteran Florida police officer was shot and killed while on duty early Sunday, law enforcement officials said, providing no details about the suspect in custody or motive for the shooting.

Guy Harvey, marine artist and environmentalist, fishes for growth

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - Guy Harvey stared at a mural of his marine paintings - images that are reproduced on 2 million T-shirts a year - and frowned at a butterfly fish. The Pacific species didn't belong among the Florida wildlife depicted at a beach resort restaurant bearing his name.

Obama approves U.S. World War One memorial in Washington

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has approved the creation of a national memorial to commemorate World War One in which more than 116,000 Americans died, the memorial's commission said on Saturday.

Megabus rollover in Indiana injures at least 28

- More than two dozen people were injured on Saturday when a commercial passenger bus traveling to Atlanta from Chicago crashed in Indiana, officials said.

Child tests negative for Ebola at Chicago hospital

- A child being monitored for Ebola in a Chicago hospital has been discharged after testing negative for the virus, the state health agency said on Saturday.

Protesters shut down part of Mall of America in Minnesota

- Hundreds of protesters against police violence shut down part of the Mall of America in Minnesota on Saturday, during the final weekend before Christmas as shoppers scrambled to buy gifts at one of the nation's largest shopping centers, a community group member said.

Two New York police officers killed, gunman dead: NYT

NEW YORK - A gunman fatally shot two New York police officers as they sat in their squad car on Saturday and then killed himself, the New York Times reported, in the first deaths of police officers by gunfire in the city in three years.

Protesters shut down part of Mall of America in Minnesota

- More than 1,500 protesters against police violence shut down part of the Mall of America in Minnesota on Saturday, resulting in about 25 arrests during the final weekend before Christmas as shoppers scrambled to buy gifts at one of the nation's largest shopping centers, officials said.

Gunman kills two New York police officers in possible revenge attack

NEW YORK - A gunman shot dead two New York City police officers and then killed himself, police said, after a social media post indicated he may having been seeking revenge for the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest attempt.

CIA unlikely to punish staff over Senate computer search: NYT

WASHINGTON - A panel investigating the CIA's search of a computer network used by U.S. Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times.

Video seems to show football's Rice, future wife kiss after brawl

NEW YORK - Newly released video footage appears to show professional football's Ray Rice and his future wife kissing while handcuffed in a casino elevator following the couple's fight that cost Rice his job with the Baltimore Ravens.

Obama's year-end message to Americans: I'm not a lame duck

WASHINGTON - If U.S. President Barack Obama is feeling the pain from a rough year at the office, he did a great job of covering it up on Friday.

Parents of Colorado theater gunman plead for son’s life to be spared

DENVER - The parents of the man charged in the fatal shootings of 12 people at a Colorado movie theater broke their silence over the 2012 killings on Friday, saying their son is mentally ill, "not a monster," and should be spared the death penalty.

Deportations from U.S. decline in fiscal 2014: DHS report

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported fewer undocumented immigrants in fiscal year 2014, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday in a report that also showed a decline in the number coming from Mexico.

Oklahoma to again employ injection mix used in flawed execution

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma plans to use the same lethal injection drug combination it employed during a botched execution in April, Department of Corrections officials told a federal court hearing arguments on whether to halt death sentences in the state from being carried out.

Ex-NYC councilman loses bid for new corruption trial

NEW YORK - Former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook lost a bid for a new trial on Friday after a federal judge rejected his claim that his brother and aide were excluded from watching jury selection.

Jerry Sandusky's pension appeal denied but lawyer vows to keep fighting

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach sentenced to decades in prison for sexually molesting boys, has lost his first appeal of a decision to strip him of his $4,900 monthly pension, but his lawyer says the fight is not over.

Former Florida mayor sentenced to prison for secret consulting job

MIAMI - A south Florida mayor was sentenced to 22 months in prison on Friday after being found guilty of corruption tied to his lobbying work for a secret consulting job while in office.

Kentucky county passes ordinance that hits at power of unions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Warren County, Kentucky passed a right-to-work ordinance on Friday, making the fifth most-populous county the first in the state to pass legislation prohibiting unions from requiring members to pay dues in exchange for representation.

Remains of two infants found in California storage locker

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Officials in northern California have asked for help finding information about the grisly discovery of two infants or fetuses in an abandoned storage unit.

U.S. Supreme Court allows gay marriage to proceed in Florida next month

TAMPA, Fla. - Gay marriages may proceed in Florida next month after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday declined to extend a stay requested by state officials seeking to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

U.S. Supreme Court allows gay marriage to proceed in Florida next month

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday declined to extend a stay sought by Florida officials defending the state's ban on same-sex marriages, allowing gay marriages to proceed in Florida next month.

Inspections prompt changes at mismanaged Yellowstone, Yosemite jails

LOS ANGELES - The National Park Service says it has revamped operations at jail facilities in two of its largest and most popular parks after a review by federal auditors revealed that the detention sites were being improperly managed.

Cuban relatives of U.S. spy in dark after news of release

WASHINGTON/MIAMI - His release from a Cuban prison has been as cloak-and-dagger as his spying career ever was.

American nurse exposed to Ebola released from hospital

- An American nurse who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was released from the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center in Maryland on Friday without showing signs of the disease, NIH said.

U.S. judge restores protections to Great Lakes wolves

- A federal judge on Friday restored U.S. Endangered Species Act protections to gray wolves in the western Great Lakes in a decision hailed by wildlife advocates for halting wolf hunting and trapping planned in such states as Minnesota and Wisconsin.

NY police officer suspended after new video shows brutality

NEW YORK - A New York City police officer who appears to punch a black youth during an arrest that was captured on video and widely circulated on the Internet has been suspended from duty, the department said on Friday.

Seventy-four arrested in Milwaukee during police shooting protest

MILWAUKEE - Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year.

San Francisco prosecutor charges deputy in hospital assault: report

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco District Attorney's office charged a sheriff's deputy on Friday for allegedly attacking a hospital patient and covering it up with a false police report, according to officials and local media.

Protesters from both sides of policing controversy face off in NYC

NEW YORK - Scores of protesters denouncing police violence against non-whites rallied alongside dozens of supporters of New York City police officers on Friday in a tense standoff outside City Hall that comes amid weeks of mostly peaceful protests.

Child under observation at Chicago hospital to rule out Ebola

CHICAGO - A child who arrived in Chicago with a fever was under observation on Friday at a city hospital to rule out the Ebola virus, hospital officials said.

U.S. court backs $2.1 million copyright award for song 'Whoomp!'

TEXARKANA, Texas - The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld a $2.1 million jury award in a copyright infringement case involving the 1993 hit rap song "Whoomp! (There It Is)."

Convicted leader of New Jersey's Conrail Boyz faces new rail theft charges

NEW YORK - The man convicted of leading a gang of modern-day train robbers that preyed on New Jersey rail lines for more than 10 years was arrested again this week on charges that mirror those that landed him in prison a decade ago, prosecutors said on Friday.

Boy found dead in New York after false kidnap report, police say

NEW YORK - The body of a 5-year-old boy was found near his home in upstate New York on Thursday night hours after a relative told police two men in ski masks had kidnapped him, a report the local sheriff said on Friday appeared to have been a lie.

Washington state middle school closed for third day over threats

SEATTLE - A Washington state middle school remained closed for a third day on Friday due to threats contained in an anonymous letter targeting four staff members and referencing violence during lunch and at an assembly, officials said.

Five dead, dozens ill from bacteria linked to caramel apples

- Five people have died and 21 others have been hospitalized in recent weeks in a listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples, federal health officials said on Friday.

Gold tooth lands in Missouri Salvation Army kettle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - People have tossed gold and silver pieces into Salvation Army holiday kettles but a gold tooth found this week in Kansas City was a local first, an organization leader said on Friday.

Child becomes fourth to die from California crash outside church

LOS ANGELES - A 6-year-old boy has become the fourth person to die from a crash earlier this week that saw a driver plow into a group of pedestrians leaving a church in Southern California, a coroner's official said on Friday.

NY police officer apparently punches teen in video, probe underway

NEW YORK - New York City police are investigating a plainclothes officer who appears to punch a teen-aged black boy during an arrest that was captured on video and widely circulated on the Internet, the department said on Friday.

California's winter storms spark hope for recovery from three-year drought

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The wet weather that has soaked California for the past few weeks may be a sign that the state is beginning to pull out of its devastating three-year drought, climate experts said on Friday.

Man allegedly used Ponzi scheme proceeds to freeze deceased wife

NEW YORK - A man U.S. prosecutors say bilked investors out of $5 million by telling them he would invest it in commodities and currencies allegedly used some of the money to have his wife cryogenically frozen after she died, according to a court filing on Friday.

U.S. offers reward for poacher who shot bald eagle in Connecticut

BOSTON - U.S. wildlife authorities are on the hunt for a poacher who shot a bald eagle to death last week in Connecticut, officials said on Friday, announcing a $5,000 reward.

ACLU seeks halt U.S. detentions of immigrant families seeking asylum

SAN ANTONIO - The American Civil Liberties Union and others have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Central American immigrants seeking to halt the Obama administration from placing immigrant women with children seeking asylum in detention centers.

Indiana stage collapse survivors settle for $50 million: lawyers

- Survivors and bereaved family members of a deadly August 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse have reached a settlement totaling nearly $50 million, plaintiffs' lawyers said on Friday.

Pennsylvania prosecutor to seek death for couple in toddler's murder

PITTSBURGH - Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty for a Pennsylvania mother and her boyfriend accused of beating her 3-year-old son to death, a spokeswoman for the Chester County District Attorney said on Friday in announcing a formal arraignment for the couple on Dec. 31.

Influential Rabbi Harold Schulweis dies at 89 in California

LOS ANGELES - Rabbi Harold Schulweis, a tireless innovator who implored followers to fight against genocide and see Judaism as a religion with universal significance, has died at age 89 at his Los Angeles home, his synagogue said in a statement.

Overseas tip led FBI to recover stolen art worth up to $24 million

LOS ANGELES - An overseas tip investigators received six years after one of the biggest art heists in Los Angeles led to the return of nine stolen paintings, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, collectively worth as much as $24 million, police and FBI said on Friday.

Obama says U.S. blacks better off overall than when he began presidency

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Friday that U.S. blacks are better off now than they were when he began his presidency in 2009, but that the gap between blacks and whites remains.

Friend of accused Boston bomber pleads guilty to gun, drug charges

BOSTON - A high school friend of the accused Boston Marathon bombers pleaded guilty on Friday to charges including having possessed a gun that prosecutors contend the suspects used to shoot dead a university police officer as they tried to flee the city.

Neighboring states challenge Colorado pot laws in top U.S. court

DENVER - Nebraska and Oklahoma challenged neighboring Colorado's recreational marijuana laws in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday amid complaints its pot was seeping across their borders, and Colorado vowed to defend its laws.

Journalist sues over arrest at protest in Ferguson, Missouri

- A Washington-based journalist has sued St. Louis County and one of its police lieutenants, saying his rights were violated when he was arrested while covering protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, court papers showed.

Exclusive: Creditor to oppose San Bernardino bankruptcy plan favoring Calpers - source

LOS ANGELES - A major capital markets creditor of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, will oppose any exit plan that is more favorable to Calpers, California's public pension fund, a source familiar with the creditor's strategy said on Thursday.

Washington governor pushes capital gains tax in face of budget gap

SEATTLE - Washington state Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday proposed a new tax on capital gains to try to close a projected budget shortfall of more than $2 billion, rolling back on a no-new-taxes campaign pledge.

Uber's fight of California data-sharing rule highlights its bumpy road

SAN FRANCISCO - Uber argued Thursday that it should not have to turn over ride data in a California regulatory standoff that shows how the transportation service is falling afoul of officials who could threaten its expansion.

Colorado boy, 14, sentenced to 10 years for dad’s murder

DENVER - A 14-year-old Colorado boy who admitted shooting his father dead and concealing the death by calling the man’s work for five days to say his dad was ill was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Massive Los Angeles construction fire was arson, authorities say

LOS ANGELES - A construction fire that gutted an entire city block of downtown Los Angeles and caused up to $30 million in damages was an act of arson, authorities said on Thursday.

As U.S. eases hostilities, Cuba faces new challenge

HAVANA - For decades, it was Cuba's first response to criticism.

Most steel fasteners safe on San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: officials

- The vast majority of steel rods and bolts holding together a new section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge are safe, state investigators said Thursday, despite earlier cracks in about 32 fasteners on the span, which replaced a section of the bridge lost in a 1989 earthquake.

Apple's Cook makes 'substantial' donation for gay rights in U.S. South

- Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook, the highest-profile U.S. business leader to publicly acknowledge being gay, has made a "substantial" donation to a gay rights effort in his native Alabama and two other southern U.S. states, activists said on Thursday.

Father of unlicensed driver in fatal crash denies having let her drive his SUV

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A man whose 15-year-old daughter, an unlicensed driver, crashed his SUV in an accident in Pennsylvania that killed three people denies having given her permission to drive the vehicle, his attorney said on Thursday.

Trial of Pennsylvania family accused of starving boy set for March

PITTSBURGH - The trial of three members of a western Pennsylvania family accused of beating and starving a seven-year-old boy nearly to death will begin on March 10, court officials said on Thursday.

U.S. FCC declines to punish radio station for use of NFL Redskins team name

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday rejected a petition that asked regulators to punish a radio station for using on air the name of the National Football League's Washington team, Redskins, a word some consider a slur to Native Americans.

Missouri attorney general sues cities over predatory traffic ticketing

- Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a civil lawsuit on Thursday against 13 St. Louis suburbs for predatory traffic ticketing, saying the cities were depending on traffic fines for too much of their budgets.

Detroit-area businessman guilty in murder-for-hire of his wife

DETROIT - A Detroit jury on Thursday found a suburban businessman guilty of hiring his handyman to kill his wife.

Obama to set up panel to boost trust between police and communities

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Thursday will set up a task force to draw up recommendations to strengthen trust between law enforcement and local communities, following protests over several instances of police killings of unarmed people this year.

Neighboring states challenge Colorado pot laws in top U.S. court

DENVER - Nebraska and Oklahoma challenged neighboring Colorado's recreational marijuana laws in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday amid complaints its pot was seeping across their borders, and Colorado vowed to defend its laws.

Fraternity closed at California university over anti-rape march harassment

LOS ANGELES - (This story corrects headline, first paragraph to show that fraternity agreed to close but was not banned by university)

Arizona sheriff to disband unit that targeted immigrants workers in raids

PHOENIX - Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is disbanding a squad that targeted undocumented immigrants in workplace raid, his office said on Thursday, following a lawsuit by groups that accused the controversial lawman of infringing on the powers of the federal government.

Pennsylvania couple plead not guilty in starvation death of disabled son

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania mother and father accused of letting their 9-year-old disabled son starve to death last summer entered pleas of not guilty on Thursday.

NYC subway extension may transform Manhattan neighborhood

NEW YORK - Work crews are scrambling underneath New York City to finish the city's first major new subway stop in 25 years, a fast-track project intended to revitalize a long-neglected slice of Manhattan.

Uber driver in Boston charged with kidnapping and rape

- A driver for ride-sharing company Uber in Boston was charged with the kidnapping and rape of a woman who used the service earlier this month.

Accused Boston bomber says satisfied with defense lawyers

BOSTON - The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, in his first court appearance in more than a year, told a judge on Thursday that he was satisfied with his lawyers' preparations for the January start of his trial over the deadly 2013 attack.

Washington state middle school closed after letter threatens violence

SEATTLE - A Washington state middle close was closed for a second day on Thursday as police investigated a letter left in a hallway that threatened violence against four staff members, school officials said.

Four new dog breeds added to American Kennel Club

- The American Kennel Club has recognized four more dog breeds, including a Spanish fishing dog and a South African guard dog, in a move allowing them to compete in prestigious canine competitions nationwide.

Honduras extradites accused drug gang leader to United States

TEGUCIGALPA - A man accused of leading a major Central American drug trafficking gang has been extradited to the United States by Honduras, a Honduran government official said on Thursday.

Mercedes recalls 4,871 cars, SUVs in U.S. for possible oil leak

DETROIT - Mercedes-Benz is recalling 4,871 sedans and SUVs in the United States because of a potential oil leak, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

Castro visit to White House not ruled out: Obama spokesman

WASHINGTON - A White House spokesman on Thursday declined to rule out an eventual visit to the White House by Cuban President Raul Castro a day after President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize U.S. relations with Havana.

New York Mayor de Blasio named PETA's Person of the Year

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was named 2014 Person of the Year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for opposing horse-drawn carriages in Manhattan and advocating other animal friendly causes, the group said on Thursday.

American accused of counterfeiting $2 million in Uganda

- An American man has been arrested in Uganda and accused by U.S. prosecutors of counterfeiting more than $2 million in fake dollars, some of which were to be mailed to the United States hidden in charity pamphlets, court papers showed.

Ford expands Takata driver-side air bag recall in U.S.

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co on Thursday expanded the recall of older-model Mustang cars that have driver-side Takata air bags with inflators, to include about 502,500 vehicles.

White supremacist charged in Kansas deaths found competent for trial

KANSAS CITY, Kan - A Kansas judge on Thursday found that a white supremacist accused in the murder of three people at Jewish facilities is competent to stand trial, after reviewing a psychological report requested by his defense lawyers.

White House does not dismiss idea of Castro visit

WASHINGTON - The White House does not dismiss the possibility of an eventual, precedent-shattering visit to Washington by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of President Barack Obama's plans to normalize relations with Havana.

Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case ruled competent to stand trial

WAUKESHA, Wisc. - A Wisconsin girl accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please a fictional Internet character named Slenderman has been ruled competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. to sue NYC over rights violations of teen Rikers inmates

NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue New York City over widespread violations of the civil rights of teenage inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex, it said on Thursday, raising the prospect of years of federal oversight of the troubled jail.

Black-market chemist pleads guilty in U.S. baseball doping scandal

MIAMI - A black-market chemist pleaded guilty on Thursday to concocting testosterone in the garage lab of his Florida home that was used to supply performance-enhancing drugs linked to the U.S. baseball doping scandal.

New Hampshire man charged with raping teen in 10-month kidnap ordeal

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A New Hampshire man repeatedly raped a teenage girl, binding her and using a "Taser-like" device to punish her over the 10-month period he held her in a shipping container, state prosecutors charged in court documents on Wednesday.

Execution drug providers to be anonymous under new Ohio measure

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to legislation allowing prison officials to keep confidential the names of pharmacies that prepare drugs used for lethal injections, in a step toward resuming executions in the state.

Montana homeowner found guilty in slaying of German exchange student

MISSOULA, Mont. - A jury on Wednesday found a Montana homeowner guilty of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of a German high school exchange student who entered his garage in a case that tested the state's version of a "castle doctrine" self-defense law.

U.S. charges three in Europe with trying to sell arms to Colombian rebels

NEW YORK - Three men were arrested in Europe this week on U.S. charges that they conspired to sell military-grade weapons for use against Americans in Colombia, federal prosecutors in New York said on Wednesday.

New York awards three licenses for upstate casinos

NEW YORK - New York state approved three casino developments worth $1.4 billion on Wednesday that promise to add more than 5,000 jobs to the sluggish upstate economy and generate around $300 million in tax revenues for state coffers.

Washington governor unveils carbon cap-and-trade plan

SAN FRANCISCO - Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday laid out a plan for a carbon cap-and-trade program aimed at fighting global warming and raising $1 billion a year for state schools and public transportation initiatives, but he will first need the support of a divided state legislature.

Experts tell U.S. court that Oklahoma had deeply flawed execution

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma inmate put to death in a flawed April execution may have died in agonizing pain due to a troubled lethal injection mix, a medical expert on Wednesday told a U.S. court that is hearing arguments on whether to halt executions in the state.

NY unlikely to face lawsuits over fracking ban, experts say

ALBANY, N.Y. - When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in New York on Wednesday, he predicted "a ton of lawsuits" against the state. But that is unlikely as the end of a drilling boom has left the industry in no mood for a fight, industry experts and lawyers said.

Texas plumber harassed after company truck seen in Syrian war photo

HOUSTON - A Houston-area plumbing company owner has been getting threatening phone calls after one of his former work trucks turned up in a photograph on a Twitter feed that appears to show a militant group fighting in Syria's civil war.

U.S. shippers cite wide gap in labor talks with West Coast dockworkers

LOS ANGELES - Negotiators for shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports remain far from a deal with union dockworkers after seven months of contract talks, the companies said on Wednesday, again blaming the union for waterfront cargo slowdowns.

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years

HAVANA/WASHINGTON - The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.

Sea boundary talks between U.S., Mexico, Cuba to take years: Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Joint talks among the United States, Cuba and Mexico to fix the maritime boundaries of the three countries in the Gulf of Mexico are likely to be complex and stretch beyond 2018, a senior Mexican official said on Wednesday.

Lava creeps within mile of Hawaii shopping center

PAHOA, Hawaii - A stream of molten lava from an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island crept to within a mile of the only grocery store and gas station in the village of Pahoa on Wednesday as it neared a highway link with the rest of the island.

Executions in United States at 20-year low: report

WASHINGTON - Amid growing concerns about how executions are carried out in the United States, the number of prison inmates being put to death fell to a 20-year low in 2014, the Death Penalty Information Center said in a report issued on Thursday.

Federal judge rebuffs NCAA concussion settlement

- A federal judge on Wednesday rebuffed a $75-million NCAA settlement that aimed to end a massive class-action lawsuit over head injuries suffered by student athletes, court records show.

FBI, Los Angeles police recover nine stolen paintings worth $10 million

LOS ANGELES - Federal agents and police in Los Angeles have recovered nine paintings worth millions of dollars that were stolen from the home of an elderly couple six years ago, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, and FBI spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

1 killed, about a dozen injured in southern California crash

- One person was killed and about a dozen injured when a driver plowed into a row of pedestrians before smashing into another car in a southern California beach city on Wednesday night, police said.

Texas woman convicted of killing child freed from prison on bond

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas woman convicted of killing her 4-year-old foster child by force-feeding him an overdose of salt has been released on bail after an appeals court said there were sufficient questions in her original prosecution to warrant a new trial.

Chicago area landlord gets life in prison for deadly arson fire

CHICAGO - A suburban Chicago landlord has been sentenced to life in prison for setting a fire that killed seven people, including four children, in a scheme to cash in on property insurance, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Pentagon upbeat Lockheed will deliver 36 F-35s in 2014 as planned

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp is on track to deliver all 36 F-35 fighter jets planned in 2014, the Pentagon's F-35 program manager told reporters on Wednesday.

Volunteer coach in Ohio rape case charged with violating probation

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - A volunteer football coach convicted of lying to authorities in connection with an Ohio rape case that drew national attention will appear in court on Wednesday charged with violating probation.

Sentencing reform clouds California's inmate firefighting corps

LOS ANGELES - Battling one of California's first major wildfires of the year, Kevin Black suddenly realized the only way to keep from being engulfed by flames roaring up a hillside toward his team was to finish the buffer line they were hacking through drought-parched brush.

Stephen Collins admits sexual contact with young girls: People magazine

NEW YORK - Actor Stephen Collins, who played the family pastor in the television series "7th Heaven," has admitted to having inappropriate sexual contact with three underage girls decades ago, People magazine reported on Wednesday.

Texas ex-justice of the peace sentenced to death for revenge murder

DALLAS - A Texas jury on Wednesday sentenced to death a former justice of the peace convicted of murdering a suburban Dallas prosecutor's wife in a revenge plot, with the judge saying he acted like some of the most notorious killers in recent U.S. history.

Jefferies banker Sage Kelly resigns amid divorce drama: source

- Jefferies Group LLC's banker Sage Kelly, whose messy divorce battle became tabloid fodder in October, resigned to spend time with family, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Bird flu found in wild birds in Washington state: USDA

- Two strains of avian influenza have been confirmed in wild birds in Washington state, near the U.S. border with Canada, but there is no immediate cause for public health concerns, U.S. agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

Texas TV station says employee shot multiple times on broadcaster property

AUSTIN, Texas - An employee at Waco, Texas broadcaster KCEN-TV was shot multiple times during a confrontation in the station's parking lot on Wednesday, and the suspect is still at large, the station said.

U.S. top court blocks Arizona from denying driver's licenses to immigrants

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the state of Arizona from enforcing a policy that denies driver's licenses to young immigrants granted legal status by President Barack Obama in 2012.

New York bans fracking after health report

- New York governor Andrew Cuomo's administration said on Wednesday it will ban hydraulic fracturing in the state after a long-awaited report concluded that the oil and gas production process poses health risks.

South Carolina judge tosses conviction of black teen executed in 1944

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A South Carolina judge on Wednesday vacated the conviction of a black teenager executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls, saying he had not received a fair trial.

Florida's Cuban Americans rejoice at U.S. policy overhaul

MIAMI - Some Cuban exiles rejoiced at the prospect of easier access to their relatives. Some swelled with guarded optimism over the prospect of thawing relations between the United States and the communist island. And some were simply "ecstatic."

Ohio police use pepper spray on crowd lined up for Air Jordans

TOLEDO, Ohio - Police used pepper spray on Wednesday to disperse an unruly crowd of about 300 people lined up at a Toledo, Ohio, mall for an opportunity to buy Air Jordan sneakers.

Two-thirds of Americans back higher military spending: poll

WASHINGTON - More than two thirds of U.S. voters back increased military spending given growing threats to America's security, and would be more likely to support candidates who agree, the Aerospace Industries Association trade group said Wednesday.

Obama makes Alaska's Bristol Bay area off limits for oil drilling

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday designated the fish-rich Bristol Bay area of Alaska "off limits" for oil and gas leasing, the White House said, drawing praise from environmental groups.

Man gets seven years for mailing bomb to hardline Arizona sheriff

PHOENIX - An Oklahoma man convicted of mailing an improvised bomb to hardline Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio from northern Arizona last year was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

How the NLRB may expand responsibility for labor violations

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is expected to rule soon on if, and how, companies can be held responsible for labor violations carried out by their contractors or franchisees - a move that could have far-reaching implications for businesses.

L.A. mayor plans to equip city's police officers with body cameras

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti on Tuesday announced a plan to equip 7,000 of the city's police officers on the streets with body cameras, an ambitious initiative that comes amid nationwide protests over police killings of unarmed black men.

Obama makes Alaska's Bristol Bay area off limits for oil drilling

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday designated the fish-rich Bristol Bay area of Alaska "off limits" for oil and gas leasing, the White House said, drawing praise from environmental groups.

California charity that targeted Ugandan warlord Kony to close

SAN DIEGO - Invisible Children, the San Diego-based charity that publicized the brutality of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony through an online video that went viral, plans to wind down its operations and close by the end of 2015.

Son of former Chicago hit man arrested on suspicion of killing Idaho man

SALMON, Idaho - The son of a slain Chicago hit man has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of an Idaho man who disappeared in 2000 and whose dismembered body was found in October, authorities said on Tuesday.

Early winter storms put dent in California drought

LOS ANGELES - A trifecta of early winter storms that swept California with heavy rain and snow in the past two weeks put a promising dent in a severe drought entering its fourth year, but the water shortage remains far from over, water officials said on Tuesday.

Ex-wife of Deion Sanders sentenced to week in Texas jail over custody

DALLAS - The former wife of Hall of Fame football player Deion Sanders was booked into jail on Tuesday after a Texas judge sentenced her to serve seven days for violating a custody agreement by not returning the couple's children on time, his attorney said.

Colorado inmate who suffered stroke awarded $11 million by jury

DENVER - A federal jury has awarded $11 million to a Colorado jail inmate who was left permanently disabled after he said he was denied treatment for 16 hours after suffering a stroke, court documents showed on Tuesday.

California university bans fraternity over anti-rape march harassment

LOS ANGELES - San Diego State University on Tuesday banned a fraternity whose members were accused of harassing people taking part in an anti-rape march, a move that comes amid a renewed debate over the handling of sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses.

Crews to resume pit-digging in Seattle's stalled tunnel project

SEATTLE - Washington state transportation officials said digging was expected to resume on Tuesday on a pit needed to salvage a $3.1 billion roadway overhaul in Seattle, deciding the excavation effort was not causing buildings and a rickety highway to sink.

American Airlines plane diverted to Tokyo after being hit by winter storm, several hurt

TOKYO - A U.S. bound-American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Tokyo on Wednesday after hitting severe turbulence created by a strong winter storm, with several people taken to hospital for minor injuries.

New York premiere of North Korea comedy canceled after threats

BOSTON - The New York premiere of "The Interview", a Sony Pictures comedy about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong-Un, has been canceled and a source said one theater chain had scrapped plans to show it, after threats from a hacking group.

Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last week that lifted the threat of a government shutdown.

Court-appointed panel to monitor Los Angeles county jails

- A court-appointed panel will begin to oversee the Los Angeles County jail system, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Tuesday, as part of a settlement to a 2012 class-action lawsuit that alleged sheriff's deputies beat inmates.

Senate confirms new chief of U.S. auto safety agency

WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Mark Rosekind to lead the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has come under criticism this year for not responding more quickly to evidence of potentially deadly vehicle defects.

Fourteen charged in deadly 2012 U.S. meningitis outbreak: prosecutors

- Fourteen people, including the owners of a Massachusetts pharmacy, have been arrested and charged in connection with a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Cuba releases American Alan Gross as U.S. prepares to overhaul Cuba policy

HAVANA/WASHINGTON - Cuba has released American aid worker Alan Gross after five years in prison in a reported prisoner exchange with Havana that the United States said on Wednesday heralds an overhaul of U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Tennessee police looking for Christmas tree thief

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Police in suburban Nashville are looking for a Scrooge who sawed off a live Christmas tree loaded with decorations in a suspected holiday season theft.

Friend of accused Boston bomber may plead guilty in gun, drug case

BOSTON - A high school friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with possessing a gun that prosecutors believe may have been used by the suspects in the 2013 attack may change his plea in the case to guilty, according to a court filing.

Texas Rangers investigate officer who killed suspect holding spoon

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Rangers are investigating an incident in Texarkana in which a police officer responding to a reported burglary fatally shot a suspect who was holding a spoon, officials said on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart must pay $188 million in workers' class action

- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc to pay $188 million to employees who had sued the retailer for failing to compensate them for rest breaks and all hours worked.

Vatican report on U.S. nuns is conciliatory, stresses teachings

VATICAN CITY - A keenly-awaited Vatican report prompted partly by concerns over a secular mentality among some Roman Catholic nuns in the United States praised them on Tuesday for their social and educational work but urged them to stick closely to Church teachings.

Gay veterans' group says to march in Boston St. Patrick's Day parade

BOSTON - The leader of a Boston group of gay U.S. military veterans said on Tuesday his organization had reached a deal to march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, which has long banned openly gay groups.

South Carolina sheriff to plead guilty in bribery case

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A man who was South Carolina's longest-serving sheriff will plead guilty to conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants as part of a deal reached in a federal bribery case against him, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

Family of Ohio man shot and killed in Walmart sue company, police

CLEVELAND - The family of an Ohio man shot and killed by police while holding a BB gun in a Walmart store filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against the police and the national retail chain.

China approves Syngenta's Viptera corn: reports

CHICAGO - Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials that the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn that has sparked lawsuits against seed maker Syngenta AG, according to reports from Agri-Pulse and Bloomberg.

N.Y. Times reporter ordered to answer questions in CIA leak case

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York Times reporter James Risen to appear in court to answer questions about his book detailing a failed CIA effort to undermine Iran's nuclear weapons program, in a case that has become a touchstone of press freedom.

U.S. torture report puts Romania's role under scrutiny

BUCHAREST/WARSAW - The lawyer for a man tortured by the CIA said Romania's authorities should acknowledge the role they played after a U.S. Senate report pointed to Romania as the site of the secret CIA jail where the man was interrogated.

Former oil executive in custody after escape from U.S. prison in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas - A former oil company executive convicted of operating an investment scam that defrauded about $7 million from hundreds of investors was captured on Tuesday after escaping from a low-security federal prison in central Texas.

Two potential witnesses sought in suspicious Los Angeles construction fire

LOS ANGELES - Arson investigators are asking for the public's help in locating two potential witnesses seen on video footage captured near the scene of a suspicious Los Angeles construction fire that gutted an entire city block last week, fire officials said on Tuesday.

Former Philadelphia sportscaster withdraws fraud guilty plea

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A former Philadelphia sportscaster will head to trial next month on fraud charges after telling a judge he was withdrawing his guilty plea after seeking divine guidance, according to a prosecutor.

U.S. appeals court denies prisoner's right to taxpayer-funded sex change

BOSTON - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday overturned an earlier court decision that a Massachusetts prisoner suffering from gender identity disorder was entitled to receive a taxpayer-funded sex change operation.

Suspect charged with fourth shooting death in Georgia

ATLANTA - A man accused in the shooting deaths of two sleeping homeless men in downtown Atlanta and a woman in a nearby suburb has been charged with a fourth murder, Georgia police said on Tuesday.

California controller warns of $72 billion unfunded retiree benefits

- California State Controller John Chiang warned on Tuesday of a growing $71.8 billion unfunded liability to cover the state's retiree health and dental benefits.

Filmmaker Polanski's lawyers seek sex crime case dismissal: U.S. newspapers

- Lawyers for filmmaker Roman Polanski are seeking to have a case involving a 1977 charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl dismissed, U.S. newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Suspect in six Pennsylvania killings is target of manhunt

LOWER SALFORD, Penn. - Pennsylvania police on Tuesday searched for an Iraq war veteran suspected of killing six family members, including his 14-year-old niece, in a shooting spree in communities near Philadelphia.

Georgia city reverses course, approves mosque in shopping center

ATLANTA - City officials in an Atlanta suburb voted on Monday night to allow Muslim residents to open a mosque in a local shopping center, reversing, under threat of a lawsuit, a decision made two weeks earlier.

Florida asks Supreme Court to block gay marriage

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the U.S. Supreme Court late on Monday to block same-sex marriage in the state next month while the state continues its legal defense of its constitutional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union.

Suspect in six Pennsylvania killings is target of manhunt

LOWER SALFORD, Penn. - An Iraq war veteran suspected of killing six family members, including his 14-year-old niece, in a shooting spree in communities near Philadelphia was being sought on Monday by Pennsylvania police.

Cincinnati trims parking fines for holiday food donations

- A holiday special for people with outstanding parking tickets launched on Monday in Cincinnati, which is reducing fines in exchange for canned food donations to a local food bank.

Pennsylvania man guilty in stabbing death of police dog

NEW YORK - A Pennsylvania man was found guilty on Monday in the killing of a German Shepherd police dog whose death inspired "Rocco's Law," strengthening penalties for such crimes, court officials said.

Virginia governor seeks to reinstate restrictions on handgun sales

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, on Monday called to reinstate restrictions on the purchase of handguns, in a move that opponents described as unlikely to succeed with a Republican-dominated legislature.

Two dead, nine-year-old driver critical after Mississippi car crash

- Two child passengers died when a car driven by a 9-year-old boy in rural Mississippi crashed while being pursued by police, authorities said on Monday.

Largest family detention center for immigrants opens in Texas

DILLEY, Texas - Saying our borders are "not open to illegal migration," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday opened in Dilley, Texas, what is billed as the largest U.S. family detention center to hold those caught entering the country illegally.

Rare white rhino dies at San Diego zoo, leaving only five on earth

- One of only six northern white rhinoceros left on earth died over the weekend at a San Diego zoo, bringing the species closer to extinction, zoo officials said on Monday.

Seattle police investigate threatening letter at Amazon headquarters

SEATTLE - Seattle police are searching for explosives at Amazon.com's headquarters after a threatening letter was found at one of the company's buildings just north of the city's downtown district, authorities said on Monday.

Tennessee lab says eight workers exposed to radiation, no health threat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Eight nuclear workers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory were exposed to radiation in August while working on a classified project, a spokesman for the facility said on Monday, adding the exposure was well below minimum thresholds.

Oregon protester, hit by vehicle, is cited by police

PORTLAND, Ore. - A 19-year-old Oregon man who was struck by a vehicle last week after joining a crowd of demonstrators to block traffic in protest against the killings of black men by police has been ticketed for his actions, Portland police said on Monday.

Protesters chain themselves to Oakland police station doors

OAKLAND, Calif. - Protesters chained themselves to the doors of the police headquarters in Oakland, California, on Monday, prompting several arrests, and one demonstrator scaled a flagpole to hang a "Black Lives Matter" banner in front of the building.

California policeman who threatened protesters on Twitter put on leave

- A San Jose police officer who tweeted threatening messages to demonstrators protesting the police killings of unarmed black men has been placed on administrative leave, a spokeswoman for the department said Monday.

Seattle police find no explosives after Amazon HQ threat

SEATTLE - Seattle police searched for explosives at Amazon.com's headquarters after a threatening letter was found at a company building just north of the city's downtown district, but found nothing, authorities said on Monday.

Protesters chain themselves to Oakland police station doors

OAKLAND, Calif. - Protesters chained themselves to the doors of police headquarters in Oakland, California, on Monday, prompting several arrests, and one demonstrator scaled a flagpole to hang a "Black Lives Matter" banner in front of the building.

Albuquerque policeman's gun goes off, accidentally hits bystander

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - An Albuquerque police officer accidentally shot an innocent bystander when his weapon discharged as he climbed through a window during a burglary investigation, authorities said on Monday.

Bill Cosby's wife defends him from sex assault claims

LOS ANGELES - Camille Cosby, the wife of comedian Bill Cosby, on Monday defended her husband from weeks-long accusations brought by more than a dozen women alleging that the groundbreaking entertainer sexually assaulted them decades ago.

Defense seeks mercy for Texan facing execution for revenge murder

DALLAS - Defense attorneys for a former Texas justice of peace convicted of capital murder in a revenge plot against two prosecutors rested their case on Monday in the penalty phase, having asked jurors to invoke Jesus' mercy and spare him from execution.

Jury to decide fate of former Miami-area mayor accused of mortgage fraud

MIAMI - A former south Florida mayor used her status in the Haitian community to lure individuals into a scheme to fraudulently obtain mortgages, prosecutors said on Monday during closing arguments in her fraud trial.

Construction work cuts power to State Department: utility

WASHINGTON - Nearby construction work cut power to the U.S. State Department on Monday, disrupting Internet and telephone services.

The greenest goodbye: Seattle group wants to compost the dead

SEATTLE - Ashes to ashes, dust to dust - and corpses to crops?

Wisconsin ice rink closed after gas leak sickens more than 80 people

MILWAUKEE - An ice rink in a central Wisconsin town was closed on Monday after at least 81 people at a weekend minor league hockey game were sickened by a gas leak thought to have been caused by faulty ice resurfacing machines, authorities said.

U.S. top court backs police in car brake-light confusion case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a police officer in North Carolina lawfully stopped a car with a faulty brake light - and then found a stash of cocaine in the vehicle - even though driving with one working light is not illegal in the state.

Puerto Rico to present power-authority overhaul ideas to creditors

NEW YORK/SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Restructuring experts will present different scenarios to overhaul Puerto Rico's troubled electric power authority (PREPA) to creditors on Monday, but will stop short of recommending job cuts, the president of PREPA's board said in a statement.

U.S. asks Vatican for help with Guantanamo inmates

VATICAN CITY - The United States, which is seeking ways to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp and to transfer inmates to third countries, asked the Vatican on Monday for help finding "humanitarian solutions" for inmates, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

Police capture last of three Alabama jail escapees

- The final of three inmates who broke out of an Alabama county jail after overpowering a guard in a weekend escape has been captured, authorities said on Monday.

UAW chief backs labor board decisions on email, organizing votes

DETROIT - The president of the United Auto Workers union on Monday called the National Labor Relations Board's recent decisions to allow employees to use company email to organize and unions to hold faster elections to represent workers "the right thing to do."

Boston Marathon bomber suspect to appear in court this week

BOSTON - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due to appear in court in Boston this week for the first time in more than a year, at a final hearing before his trial begins next month, one of his attorneys said on Monday.

Spelman College halts professorship bearing Bill Cosby's name

ATLANTA - A women’s college in Atlanta has suspended a visiting professor program named for comedian Bill Cosby and his wife amid allegations from more than a dozen women that the entertainer drugged and sexually assaulted them.

UAW chief backs labor board decisions on email, organizing votes

DETROIT - The president of the United Auto Workers union on Monday called the National Labor Relations Board's recent decisions to allow employees to use company email to organize and unions to hold faster elections to represent workers "the right thing to do."

Top court rejects Arizona appeal over abortion drug law

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked Arizona from enforcing a state law that restricts access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill."

U.S. seeks to use letters from bin Laden raid at terror trial

NEW YORK - U.S. prosecutors have asked a federal judge to allow them to use documents seized during the 2011 military raid that killed Osama bin Laden at the January trial of suspected al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby.

Rare white rhino dies at San Diego zoo, leaving only five on earth

- One of only six northern white rhinoceros left on earth died over the weekend at a San Diego zoo, bringing the species closer to extinction, zoo officials said on Monday.

Newtown victims' families sue maker of gun used in 2012 attack

BOSTON - The families of nine people killed in a 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school sued the maker of the gun used in the attack on Monday, saying the weapon should not have been sold because it had no reasonable civilian purpose.

NY judge weighs use of hypnotized witnesses in Etan Patz case

NEW YORK - A New York judge is weighing whether the testimony of witnesses who were hypnotized can be used as evidence against a man who has confessed to killing Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who vanished from a New York City street more than three decades ago.

Police identify, seek man sought in six Pennsylvania killings

LOWER SALFORD, Penn. - Pennsylvania authorities said on Facebook Monday they were hunting for Bradley William Stone, a suspect in the shooting deaths of six people and in the serious wounding of another.

Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks

LOS ANGELES - The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.

U.S. court dismisses Colombian human rights claims against Occidental

WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal appeals court on Monday threw out a human rights lawsuit brought against Occidental Petroleum Corp over allegations that it played a role in killings carried out by the Colombian military in 2004.

Los Angeles porn actors must wear condoms, appeals court rules

- A regional U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Monday that pornographic movie actors in Los Angeles must wear condoms during sex scenes, upholding a lower court decision that was challenged by the adult film industry.

Cosby praises wife, disparages media in newspaper interview

- Comedian Bill Cosby, besieged by a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, has praised his wife for supporting him and criticized the media for its coverage of a scandal that has already compromised his career.

Guantanamo 9/11 hearing to focus on FBI infiltration

WASHINGTON - FBI efforts to infiltrate defense teams will top the agenda when a U.S. military court hearing for suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks starts on Monday, the first such proceeding since a Senate report on CIA torture was released last week.

Connecticut town marks second anniversary of school massacre

NEWTOWN, Conn. - Residents of Newtown, Connecticut gathered at a somber prayer service on Sunday to remember the 20 young children and six educators killed by a gunman two years ago in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Ohio police union slams football star for protest of black boy's shooting

- A police union in Ohio criticized football player Andrew Hawkins for wearing a shirt protesting the fatal police shooting in November of a 12-year-old African-American boy who was carrying a pellet gun, the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reported.

Oregon police arrest second man believed involved in Portland school shooting

- Police in Oregon have arrested a teen believed to have been involved in a shooting outside an Oregon high school that wounded four people, including three teenagers, officials said on Sunday.

Pilot dies in crash of small plane in rural Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The pilot of a small plane died in a crash in rural Virginia west of Washington, D.C., on Sunday, police said.

Football player shot dead near Alabama campus

- An 18-year-old Auburn University football player was shot dead early on Sunday at an apartment complex near his campus in eastern Alabama, police said.

Texas lawmakers put new gun rights laws in their sights

SAN ANTONIO - Several proposed new gun laws await the new Texas legislature when it opens next month, including one to allow open carrying of handguns in public and another providing a sales tax holiday for firearms purchases.

Jeb Bush to release emails from time as Florida governor

TAMPA, Fla. - Jeb Bush says he plans to release 250,000 emails from his time as Florida governor, part of an e-book that he is writing as he mulls taking the plunge on a 2016 presidential bid.

For police reformers, California city shows a rough road

OAKLAND, Calif. - In 2000, police in Oakland, California became a symbol of the worst of American law enforcement after a band of rogue officers known as "The Riders" were accused of beating suspects, planting evidence and falsifying reports.

Two of three Alabama jail escapees is captured

- Two of three inmates who broke out of an Alabama county jail after overpowering a guard in a weekend escape have been caught, a county sheriff said on Sunday.

Cosby praises wife, disparages media in newspaper interview

- Comedian Bill Cosby, besieged by a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, has praised his wife for supporting him and criticized the media for its coverage of a scandal that has already compromised his career.

UK lawmakers will ask U.S. for secret parts of CIA report, to scrutinize UK spies

LONDON - A powerful British parliamentary committee will ask the United States to hand over blacked out parts of a report into the CIA, to try to establish whether British spies were complicit in torture or rendition, its chairman said on Sunday.

U.S. taxpayers help fund oil-train boom amid safety concerns

NEW YORK - For the past 18 months, Americans from Albany to Oregon have voiced growing alarm over the rising number of oil-laden freight trains coursing through their cities, a trend they fear is endangering public safety.

Families of Newtown, Connecticut, massacre victims plan lawsuits

NEWTOWN, Conn. - Parents of almost half the young children killed by a gunman at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, two years ago on Sunday have taken initial steps toward filing lawsuits tied to one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Ho, ho, holdup! Bank robbers get busy during holidays

WASHINGTON - End-of-year holidays mean a lot of things - Santa, carols, parties, cards and gifts. They also mean more bank robberies.

NYC police union launches campaign to keep mayor away from funerals

NEW YORK - New York's police union is showing its displeasure with Mayor Bill de Blasio and the head of the city council by starting a campaign to keep the two politicians away from funerals of fallen officers.

California cleans up after massive rains, new storm forecast for Monday

- Another storm system is forecast to hit California early on Monday, the National Weather Service said, days after heavy rains in the drought-stricken state caused mudslides and flash floods that damaged dozens of homes and left roads impassable.

Missouri prosecutor releases more evidence from Ferguson shooting

- A Missouri prosecutor on Saturday made public two dozen documents related to the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager killed by a white police officer, saying his office had inadvertently held them back.

SantaCon merrymakers hit midtown Manhattan for annual pub crawl

NEW YORK - Waves of revelers dressed in Santa Claus outfits invaded Midtown Manhattan on Saturday as part of New York's version of SantaCon, a massive pub crawl that organizers scaled back this year in part to prevent conflicts with a nearby protest march.

Delaware teen accused of murdering father with crossbow

- A teenage boy in Delaware, charged with murdering his father with a crossbow, was being held without bail Saturday in a juvenile detention facility, state police said.

Senate passes shutdown reprieve, funding fight drags on

WASHINGTON - The Senate passed a five-day extension of federal funding on Saturday, staving off a government shutdown and buying lawmakers more time to resolve a fight over a longer, $1.1 trillion spending bill led by Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz.

Marchers in Washington, New York, Boston protest police killings

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - Thousands marched in Washington, New York and Boston on Saturday to protest killings of unarmed black men by police officers.

Three prisoners, two accused of murder, escape from Alabama jail

- Two men jailed on capital murder charges and another for armed robbery escaped an Alabama jail early on Saturday after tackling and choking a guard, a county sheriff said.

North Carolina protesters call for fresh probe in teen's hanging

BLADENBORO, N.C. - Several hundred people marched through a small North Carolina town on Saturday to call for a fresh investigation into the August hanging death of a black teenager that was ruled a suicide by local authorities.

In U.S. spending bill, a tall tale for fishermen

WASHINGTON - The fine print of a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill before the United States Congress includes a passage considered a "high priority" by lawmakers that could resolve a burning issue among the country's 40 million anglers: does the federal government need to regulate fishing tackle?

Four killed after 18-wheeler hits halted Mississippi highway traffic

- Four people were killed early on Saturday after an 18-wheel truck smashed into a row of vehicles that had stopped on a Mississippi Interstate highway to avoid hitting debris spilled by an overturned pickup truck trailer, state police said.

$1.1 trillion spending bill clears hurdle in Senate

- The U.S. Senate voted to advance a $1.1 trillion government funding bill late on Saturday, clearing the way for a final vote on the massive spending package.

New Jersey college buys Atlantic City casino for dorm, branch campus

PHILADELPHIA - A New Jersey college said on Saturday it has completed its $18 million purchase of the shuttered Showboat Atlantic City casino resort from Caesars Entertainment Corp , a deal that would usher in a new dormitory and a branch campus.

Senate passes spending bill, ends government shutdown threat

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that lifts the threat of a government shutdown as Congress attempts to wrap up a two-year legislative session marked by bitter partisanship and few major accomplishments.

American denounces U.S. after illegally entering North Korea: CNN

SEOUL - A U.S. citizen who said he illegally entered North Korea held a press conference in Pyongyang on Sunday to deliver a 4,000-word statement denouncing U.S. domestic and foreign policy, CNN said.

SantaCon merrymakers hit midtown Manhattan for annual pub crawl

NEW YORK - Waves of revelers dressed in Santa Claus outfits invaded Midtown Manhattan on Saturday as part of New York's version of SantaCon, a massive pub crawl that organizers scaled back this year in part to prevent conflicts with a nearby protest march.

Marchers in Washington, New York, Boston protest police killings

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, New York and Boston on Saturday to protest killings of unarmed black men by police officers.

Police charge Atlanta suspect with killing two homeless men, hair stylist

ATLANTA - Police on Friday filed murder charges against a man accused of fatally shooting two sleeping homeless men in downtown Atlanta and a suburban hair stylist over the last two weeks.

Sony executive may face call from Sharpton to resign over emails about race

LOS ANGELES - Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton will meet next week with Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal and decide whether her emails about President Barack Obama's race warrant calling for her resignation.

Mississippi pastor trots out horse in wedding dress to protest gay marriage

- A Mississippi pastor brought a horse in a wedding dress to stand with him outside a federal courthouse on Friday in Jackson to protest a federal judge's ruling, currently on hold, to overturn the socially conservative state's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. opts not to force N.Y. Times reporter to reveal source

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to force a New York Times reporter to divulge the identity of a confidential source for a book that detailed a failed CIA effort to undermine Iran's nuclear weapons program, a person familiar with the decision said on Friday.

Houston baby found alive in Mexico after mother's body discovered in fridge

HOUSTON - An 11-month-old Houston boy was found alive in Mexico on Friday, four days after his mother's body was discovered stuffed in a refrigerator at the family's apartment, and the boy's father was detained for questioning, police said.

After racial tumult, NBA opens floor to social activism

LOS ANGELES - When a wave of the NBA's biggest stars donned "I can't breathe" shirts - the rallying cry of demonstrators against U.S. policing tactics in black communities - it highlighted the power and influence wielded by today's professional basketball stars.

New York man pleads guilty to fake anthrax, ricin attacks

SYRACUSE, N.Y - A New York man pleaded guilty to mailing more than 20 death-threat letters he claimed were laced with anthrax or ricin to schools and U.S. officials and lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, between 1997 and 2012, a U.S. attorney's office said on Friday.

St. Louis to discipline officer who wore Wilson patch at protest

- A St. Louis city police officer will be disciplined for wearing a patch bearing the name "Wilson" on his uniform on Friday in apparent support of the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the police department said.

New York lawyer charged in $5 million fraud outlined in suicide note

NEW YORK - A New York lawyer left a suicide note admitting that he had run a $5 million Ponzi scheme and called the investments "all an illusion," prosecutors said on Friday.

U.S. spending bill likely to pass Senate, may take a few days

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate looked set to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill but it might need a few days to overcome procedural hurdles before voting on legislation that averts a government shutdown and ends jitters over major budget standoffs until next fall.

New York protesters 'blow the whistle' at police stations

NEW YORK - Demonstrators staged mass "whistle-blowing" rallies outside police stations across New York City on Friday to start a second weekend of planned protests against the killing of an unarmed black man by a white patrolman.

Obama says NFL was 'winging it' in Rice domestic violence case

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Friday the NFL appeared to be "winging it" in dealing with former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice's domestic violence case but praised the league for later putting in place a new policy to handle such incidents.

Texas court rules prisons must disclose source of execution drugs

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas court has ordered the state's prison system to reveal the name of the supplier of drugs used in lethal injections, a lawyer for inmates on death row said on Friday, arguing the disclosure is needed for transparency.

Texas grand jury rules not to indict policeman in fatal dog shooting

DALLAS - A grand jury has declined to indict a former Fort Worth deputy police chief charged in the shooting death of a neighbor's dog that may have killed his family's pet cat, officials said on Friday.

Drone downer: Will new FAA rules ground recreational fliers?

NEW YORK - Americans shopping for toy remote-controlled airplanes or helicopters may find, sometime in the near future, that they come with unexpected accessories: A raft of new regulations.

New Jersey former water official gets prison for falsifying tests

- A former top executive at a New Jersey water utility has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to falsifying tests to hide elevated levels of dry-cleaning solvent in drinking water used by two towns, according to authorities.

Prosecutors rest case against Montana homeowner accused of shooting student

MISSOULA, Montana - Montana prosecutors rested their case on Friday in the trial of a Montana homeowner accused of murdering a teenage German exchange student who had entered the man's garage in April, possibly searching for alcohol to drink.

New York protesters to stage mass whistle-blowing at police stations

NEW YORK - The latest wave of protests in New York against the killing of an unarmed black man by a white patrolman began on Friday with a visual demonstration by artists in Times Square and a rally outside City Hall.

FBI probing death of black North Carolina teen hanged from swing

RALEIGH, N.C. - The FBI will investigate the hanging death of a black teenager in a small North Carolina town, the agency said on Friday, after his family questioned the finding by local authorities that it was a suicide.

Former Fox News reporter Dominic Di-Natale found dead in Colorado

DENVER - Fox News correspondent Dominic Di-Natale, whose international reporting took him from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan to covering protests in Ferguson, Missouri, has been found dead in Colorado, officials said on Friday.

Court lets Pennsylvania widow keep home sold over interest on $6.30 tax bill

PITTSBURGH - A widow whose western Pennsylvania home was sold by the county after she failed to pay interest accrued on $6.30 in late tax fees was overjoyed when a court ruled she can keep her home, her lawyer said on Friday.

Three teens shot outside Portland, Oregon, high school

PORTLAND, Ore. - Three teenagers were shot and wounded on Friday near a Portland, Oregon, alternative high school, police said, and officers were searching for a suspect who ran from the scene following the gunfire.

Maryland man admits to six 'bottle bomb' stunts at movie theaters

WASHINGTON - A Maryland man pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he caused panic in a movie theater with a "bottle bomb" attack, and he admitted to carrying out five similar stunts in the region, prosecutors said.

Exclusive: Iran hackers may target U.S. energy, defense firms, FBI warns

BOSTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned U.S. businesses to be on the alert for a sophisticated Iranian hacking operation whose targets include defense contractors, energy firms and educational institutions, according to a confidential agency document.

Patrons mourn clothing-optional status of New Orleans club after rape claim

NEW ORLEANS - Sitting by a heated pool at his favorite New Orleans hangout late on Tuesday, 29-year-old Tom Moore lamented that everyone in sight was wearing, at minimum, a bathing suit.

Patrons mourn clothing-optional status of New Orleans club after rape claim

NEW ORLEANS - Sitting by a heated pool at his favorite New Orleans hangout late on Tuesday, 29-year-old Tom Moore lamented that everyone in sight was wearing, at minimum, a bathing suit.

FBI probing hanging death of black North Carolina teen

RALEIGH, N.C. - The hanging death of a black teenager in a small North Carolina town will be probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency said on Friday, after his family questioned a finding by local authorities that it was suicide and his mother pleaded to know, "Was my son lynched?"

Three teens, man shot outside Portland, Oregon, high school

PORTLAND, Ore. - Three teenagers and a 20-year-old man were shot and wounded on Friday outside a Portland, Oregon, alternative high school when a gunman thought to have gang ties opened fire following a dispute, police said.

U.S. defense secretary nominee undergoes back surgery

WASHINGTON - Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as U.S. defense secretary, has undergone a long-planned surgical procedure on his back ahead of his confirmation process in the Senate, the White House said on Friday.

Two police officers, suspect shot and wounded near Atlanta

ATLANTA - Two police officers were shot and wounded near Atlanta on Friday morning while responding to a reported home invasion and exchanging gun fire with two suspects, local authorities said.

U.S. wont stand in way if Indian tribes want to grow, sell marijuana

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice has signaled it would not stand in the way of Native American tribes who may seek to legalize marijuana use or cultivation.

Chrysler expands Takata passenger-side air bag recall in U.S.

DETROIT - Chrysler Group is expanding its U.S. recall of older-model vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, adding a second inflator design to the recall and more affected regions.

Senate leader Reid hopes for budget approval Friday

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate looked set to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill in time for a Saturday night deadline, following a narrow House of Representatives vote that averted a government shutdown.

Last messages of ex-NFLer's alleged victim not admissible: Mass. judge

FALL RIVER, Mass. - The jury at the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez will not hear of the last text messages his alleged victim sent to his sister or details of another dual murder the defendant is charged with, a Massachusetts judge ruled Friday.

Oklahoma boy puts quarter in vending machine, gets Nazi ring

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma mother is asking why her 4-year-old son received a ring with a Nazi symbol this week from a surprise vending machine for children in a Tulsa store.

Former NFL All-Pro Sharper indicted on rape charges

- Former New Orleans Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper was indicted Friday on rape charges, the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office said.

Paul Revere's time capsule unearthed in Boston

BOSTON - A centuries-old time capsule buried by Paul Revere, an icon of the American Revolutionary War, was unearthed during repairs at the Massachusetts State House in Boston this week, Secretary of State William Galvin said on Friday.

Ex-officer at digital money exchange given five years in prison

NEW YORK - A former technology officer was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison for helping to operate Liberty Reserve, a former digital currency exchange that U.S. authorities say was used by drug traffickers and other criminals for money transfers.

Arkansas girl back home after taking taxi to visit Florida boy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An 11-year-old Arkansas girl is back home after taking thousands of dollars in cash from her grandmother, hailing a taxi cab and going on a trip to see a boy about 800 miles away by car in Jacksonville, Florida, according to police.

MIT study explains why stocks swoon when school vacation ends

BOSTON - Why do stock markets tend to fall after long school breaks? Because investors need to catch up on all the bad news they missed while lounging on the beach or hitting the ski slopes with their kids.

Cleveland boy's death in police shooting declared homicide

CLEVELAND - The death of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police in November has been formally ruled a homicide, according to a county autopsy report released on Friday that found he was struck once in the abdomen.

New Jersey court allows termination of Revel Casino's sale

CAMDEN, N.J. - A bankruptcy court judge approved an unopposed request to terminate the sale of the Revel casino in Atlantic City to Brookfield Asset Management at a hearing on Friday.

Major storm moves into southern California, prompts evacuations

SAN FRANCISCO - A major storm that pummeled northern California and the Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and high winds and killed two people moved south overnight, prompting evacuation orders in areas prone to floods and mud flows.

Judge puts limits on use of tear gas in Missouri racial protests

- A federal judge on Thursday ordered St. Louis area police to issue warnings and give crowds reasonable time disperse before firing tear gas, following complaints by activists over heavy-handed police tactics during ongoing race-related protests.

Detective testifies Montana homeowner deliberately shot student to death

MISSOULA, Mont. - A Montana homeowner who killed a German exchange student in his garage repositioned himself to aim a fatal shotgun blast at the teenager, even though he later claimed it was too dark to see, a detective testified on Thursday in the man's murder trial.

U.S. corporations winning fight over human rights lawsuits

WASHINGTON - A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2013 that made it all but impossible to sue foreign companies in U.S. courts for alleged roles in overseas human rights abuses is proving to be a boon for U.S. firms too, court documents show.

U.S. corporations winning fight over human rights lawsuits

WASHINGTON - A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2013 that made it all but impossible to sue foreign companies in U.S. courts for alleged roles in overseas human rights abuses is proving to be a boon for U.S. firms too, court documents show.

California father of missing children, slain wife arrested after standoff

SAN DIEGO - A Los Angeles-area man sought in the disappearance of his family was arrested on Thursday after a standoff on a freeway near San Diego during which police rescued his four sons, and authorities said a woman's body found in a car trunk was his wife.

Convicted money manager to stars avoids repeat trip to U.S. prison

NEW YORK - A former money manager to Hollywood stars who served prison time for operating a $10 million investment fraud avoided another trip to the slammer Thursday, even as a Manhattan federal judge said she was "deeply troubled" by his latest crime.

U.S. West Coast port backups delay apparel, bobbleheads, french fries

LOS ANGELES - Crippling cargo backups at U.S. West Coast ports dragged on into a third month amid industry reports on Thursday of prolonged shipment delays for goods ranging from yoga apparel and rice to NBA bobblehead collectibles and frozen french fries.

San Diego-area gang trafficked girls as young as 12, officials say

SAN DIEGO - Federal agents and police on Thursday arrested 14 suspected members of a San Diego-area gang charged in connection with an interstate prostitution ring that involved underage girls, officials said.

Man charged with murder after two women die in North Carolina fire

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. - A North Carolina man facing charges stemming from a car crash that killed two people was charged in a separate case on Thursday with murder in a suspected arson fire at a beach condominium that killed two women.

California father of missing family arrested after standoff

SAN DIEGO - A Los Angeles area father sought by police in the disappearance of his wife and four sons was arrested on Thursday after a tense standoff with police on a freeway overpass east of San Diego, and his sons were safely rescued, police said.

Food poisoning sickens dozens at Florida office party

ORLANDO, Fla. - Dozens of people attending an office holiday party in central Florida fell violently ill from apparent food poisoning, authorities said on Thursday.

Convicted money manager to stars avoids repeat trip to U.S. prison

NEW YORK - A former money manager to Hollywood stars who served prison time for operating a $10 million investment fraud avoided another trip to the slammer Thursday, even as a Manhattan federal judge said she was "deeply troubled" by his latest crime.

At least seven injured after Kansas rail car explosion

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Seven people were taken to local hospitals after an explosion inside a rail car repair building in rural Kansas on Thursday afternoon, according to a company spokesman.

Fire in parking garage of Dallas high-rise kills three workers

DALLAS, Texas - Three workers were killed when an electrical fire broke out in the parking garage of a Dallas skyscraper on Thursday, forcing about 2,800 people to evacuate, fire officials said.

Chicago cop to be disciplined for playing 'Alabama' song at protest

CHICAGO - Chicago police said on Thursday that the officer who blasted the song "Sweet Home Alabama" out of his squad car last weekend during a racial equality march will be disciplined.

Man pleads guilty to making threats to Newtown residents after school shootings

MILFORD, Conn. - A man pleaded guilty on Thursday to making more than 90 threatening phone calls to residents of Newtown, Connecticut, two days after a gunman shot to death 26 children and adults there in one of the worst school massacres in U.S. history.

Pentagon opts to upgrade current LCS ship design

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday approved the U.S. Navy's plan to meet its requirement for 52 small warships by upgrading the coastal warships designed by Lockheed Martin Corp and Australia's Austal, instead of starting from scratch with a more costly new design.

Man to plead guilty in Florida to smuggling Cuban baseball star to U.S.

MIAMI - A Florida man faces 10 years in prison after deciding to plead guilty to helping smuggle Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig out of Cuba, court documents filed this week indicated.

New York real estate scion acquitted of trespassing on family property

NEW YORK - Robert Durst, scion of one of New York's largest real estate empires, was found not guilty on Thursday of trespassing on property in midtown Manhattan owned by his estranged family.

U.S. congressional staffers stage walkout in latest police protests

WASHINGTON/OAKLAND, Calif. - Dozens of congressional staff staged a walkout on Thursday to protest decisions by grand juries not to charge white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

U.S. West Coast port backups delay apparel, bobbleheads, french fries

LOS ANGELES - Crippling cargo backups at U.S. West Coast ports stretched into a third month amid industry reports on Thursday of prolonged shipment delays for goods ranging from yoga apparel and rice to NBA bobblehead collectibles and frozen french fries.

Florida court rules against secret recordings for crime victims

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court decided to grant a new trial in a sexual abuse case after ruling that a state law prohibiting conversations from being secretly recorded makes no exception for crime victims gathering proof of an offense.

Arizona court tosses case against woman in 1989 son's killing

PHOENIX - A Phoenix woman who spent more than 22 years on death row on a conviction of conspiring to murder her 4-year-old son in 1989 had the case against her dismissed on Thursday by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

U.S. Coast Guard responding to oil spill in New Jersey: report

- The U.S. Coast Guard was responding to an oil spill in Sandy Hook Bay, Monmouth County in New Jersey on Thursday, news website nj.com reported.

Ride-sharing firms Über and Lyft gain approval in two Texas cities

SAN ANTONIO - Ride-sharing firms Über and Lyft made inroads into two of the largest cities in Texas this week by winning approval in Dallas and San Antonio, albeit with regulations in the Alamo City they found tough to swallow.

Award-winning Washington Post photographer dies of heart attack in Liberia

WASHINGTON - Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post photographer Michel du Cille died of an apparent heart attack on Thursday in Liberia where he was on assignment covering the Ebola outbreak, the newspaper said.

Major storm knocks out power, disrupts flights in California

SAN FRANCISCO - A major storm pummeled California and the Pacific northwest on Thursday with heavy rain and high winds, killing one man, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes, disrupting flights and prompting schools to close.

New York man pleads guilty in drug case tied to 'Electric Zoo' death

NEW YORK - An upstate New York man pleaded guilty on Thursday of conspiring to distribute the potent drug "molly" that was ultimately given to a 23-year-old man who died of an overdose at an electronic music festival last summer.

Deals reached over Detroit bankruptcy fees: court mediators

- Law firms and consultants reached agreements with Detroit over fees they charged the city for work on its historic bankruptcy, federal court mediators said on Thursday.

Bob Jones University made victims feel to blame for sex abuse: report

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A Christian university in South Carolina discouraged some students who reported being sexually assaulted as children or on campus from going to the police and made them feel they were responsible for the abuse, a report released on Thursday said.

Arizona asks U.S. top court to OK immigrant driver's licenses policy

WASHINGTON - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to allow the state to enforce a policy that denies driver's licenses to recently legalized young immigrants, in a case that affects about 20,000 state residents.

Final proposals submitted for Obama presidential library

WASHINGTON - The Barack Obama Foundation received final proposals on Thursday from four universities to host the U.S. president's future library, the foundation said.

Oil and gas tax declines hurt Alaska, North Dakota revenues

WASHINGTON - Declines in oil and gas severance taxes contributed to large drops in overall revenues for Alaska and North Dakota in the third quarter, a public policy research group reported on Thursday.

Google to donate $2 million to San Francisco homeless groups

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc, which has been criticized for exacerbating income inequality in San Francisco, on Thursday said it will donate $2 million to help the city’s large homeless population.

Pentagon opts to upgrade current LCS ship design

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday ordered the Navy to build a number of new small surface warships based on an upgraded design of existing coastal warships built by Lockheed Martin Corp and Australia's Austal, skipping a more costly new design.

'Birdman' lands seven Golden Globe nominations

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The surreal show business satire "Birdman," a darling of critics for its innovative storytelling, led the Golden Globe Awards film nominations on Thursday, with its seven nods making it a frontrunner early in the Hollywood awards season.

American nurse exposed to Ebola to be admitted to NIH center

NEW YORK - An American nurse who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone will be admitted to the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center in Maryland on Thursday, NIH announced.

Demonstrations aside, it's not 1960s Berkeley any more

BERKELEY, Calif. - Gray-haired activists still hand out leaflets on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, but the California university town that has seen violent protests over police killings of unarmed black men is a far cry from the leftist hotbed that was the face of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s.

Surf's up! Chile start-up turns fishing nets into skateboards

SANTIAGO - A Chile-based start-up venture that collects discarded fishing nets from the country's long coastline and turns them into skateboards for U.S. teenagers is garnering attention from investors as sales ramp up.

More looting, one arrest as Bay Area protests dwindle

OAKLAND, Calif. - Police in Oakland, California, said demonstrators broke windows and looted stores and that one person was arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer in the latest protest of police activity in the United States.

U.S. FCC raises schools' Internet subsidy amid net neutrality protests

WASHINGTON - U.S. communications regulators on Thursday held the year's last public meeting, where they voted to increase the largest U.S. education technology subsidy and protesters interrupted with calls for stricter regulations for Internet service providers.

California cities recovering from recession but unevenly, report says

- Cities in California as a whole are largely recovering from the recession but not all with the same vigor.

New York orders insurers to cover gender reassignment surgery

NEW YORK - Insurers can no longer deny coverage of gender reassignment surgery or other sex change treatment for transgender New Yorkers, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday.

Virginia town could lose city hall, police station amid default

RICHMOND, Va. - A small Virginia city could lose its city hall and police station after its dream to use a municipal golf course as an economic driver went bust.

Cleveland mayor disagrees with DOJ report on city's police

CLEVELAND - The mayor of Cleveland said on Thursday he did not agree with all of the U.S. Department of Justice's findings in a scathing report on the widespread use of excessive force by the city's police, saying it will take time to agree on how to reform the troubled department.

No replay in Oklahoma high school football playoff game, judge rules

OKLAHOMA CITY - A high school football playoff game taken into court after a disputed penalty erased a late-game touchdown will not be replayed, an Oklahoma district judge ruled on Thursday, saying athletic contests should not be decided by "robed referees."

Italy pursues alleged New York mobster for extortion

ROME - U.S. police, acting at the request of an Italian court, have arrested a New York City man authorities identify as a member of the Gambino mob family for extortion, Italian officials said on Thursday.

Chicago proposes chokehold ban in wake of U.S. protests

CHICAGO - Chicago city council members have proposed a ban on the use of chokeholds by police officers working within city limits in an expansive proposal coming in the wake of the chokehold death of an unarmed black man being arrested in New York.

New Jersey voters say U.S. not ready for president 'Jersey Guy' Christie: poll

- New Jersey voters say the rest of the United States is not ready for a "Jersey Guy" president and neither is the Garden State, where Governor Chris Christie's presidential appeal continues to slide, a poll released on Thursday showed.

Exclusive: Campaign contributions under scrutiny in California police probe

OAKLAND, Calif. - An investigator appointed by a U.S. federal judge is examining whether campaign contributions affected how the city of Oakland, California, chose its lawyers for police disciplinary cases, according to a source briefed on the probe.

Car crashes into New York fashion store, seven hurt

- A car crashed into a fashion store in a popular New York shopping precinct on Wednesday night, injuring seven people, authorities said.

Did torture really help U.S. find al Qaeda chief Hambali?

WASHINGTON - Hailed as a major success in the U.S. "war on terror," the capture of Indonesian cleric Hambali if often touted by the U.S. intelligence community as evidence that harsh interrogation produces results.

California braces for high winds, heavy surf ahead of storm

LOS ANGELES - A major winter storm moved across the Pacific Ocean into Northern California on Wednesday and was expected to pummel the state with torrential rainfall, high winds and dangerous heavy surf over the next few days, the National Weather Service said.

Tennessee attraction offers Zombie Santa and undead elves for charity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville-area haunted house is getting into the Christmas spirit this weekend, with Zombie Santa, his undead elves and one demonic reindeer going on the attack for fun and charity.

Police find body of woman in car of missing California family

- Police in southern California found the body of a woman on Wednesday inside the trunk of a car belonging to a family of six that has been missing for days, officials said.

Alabama woman found guilty in child sex ring: reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama woman was convicted on Wednesday for her role in what prosecutors say was an incestuous child sex abuse ring, according to local media reports.

Pot backers oppose U.S. bill banning legal marijuana in Washington

WASHINGTON - Marijuana advocates on Wednesday urged Congress not to use a spending bill to overturn a local referendum that overwhelmingly backed legalizing pot in the District of Columbia.

Arkansas poultry plant ammonia leak sends 18 workers to hospital

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An ammonia leak at a Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Rogers, Arkansas on Wednesday sent 18 employees to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment, officials said.

Missouri university branch freezes hiring, cites Ferguson unrest

- The University of Missouri-St. Louis has frozen hiring due to smaller-than-expected student enrollment that followed unrest in nearby Ferguson over the police shooting of an unarmed teenager, the school's chancellor said on Wednesday.

Oregon, needing funds for education, offers to sell forest

PORTLAND, Ore. - Want to buy a forest? Oregon is preparing to sell off 92,000 acres (37,200 hectares) of coastal woodlands, in a move to distance itself from environmentally questionable timber sales that have long provided revenue to the state's public schools.

Kentucky drops tax incentives for planned Noah's Ark theme park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky has pulled potential tax credits for a proposed Noah's Ark-based theme park, telling the developer on Wednesday that the plans had evolved from a tourist attraction into a ministry seeking to advance religion.

Chicago plans app so taxis can compete with Uber, ridesharing services

CHICAGO - Chicago opened a new front in the war on ridesharing services like Uber on Wednesday, approving a plan to sponsor an app for riders to hail local cabs.

Four dead after fire rages through Connecticut home

MILFORD, Conn. - The bodies of four people were found in a two-story duplex near the Connecticut River about 20 miles northeast of Hartford after fire engulfed the building on Wednesday, authorities said.

U.S. chokehold protesters 'die-in', issue demands in NY

BERKELEY, Calif./NEW YORK - Students at medical schools around the United States staged "die-ins" to protest the chokehold death by police of an unarmed black man, and New York activists demanded the city take action after a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved.

For CIA, fallout from Senate report looks far from over

WASHINGTON - As outcry grows over its now-defunct brutal interrogation program, America's spy agency appears caught in the crossfire of debate over its methods in the ongoing U.S. battle against Islamic militants and whether it has changed its ways.

California braces for high winds, heavy surf ahead of storm

LOS ANGELES - A major winter storm moved across the Pacific Ocean into Northern California on Wednesday and was expected to pummel the state with torrential rainfall, high winds and dangerous heavy surf over the next few days, the National Weather Service said.

Oklahoma judge grills district over bringing football dispute to court

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma district judge quizzed school district lawyers on Wednesday over why they asked the court to decide the outcome of a disputed high school football playoff game, saying he will soon decide if a judicial remedy is in order.

Holdout creditor in Stockton bankruptcy denied higher claim

- The judge in the bankruptcy case for the city of Stockton, California, denied a motion by a holdout creditor that would slightly increase the amount it would receive on its claim.

Judge in Colorado cinema massacre case won't delay trial again

DENVER - A judge overseeing the Colorado movie theater massacre case said on Wednesday he will not delay the trial of gunman James Holmes again, rejecting a request by the defense for more time to study the results of a second court-ordered sanity exam.

Judge in Colorado cinema massacre case won't delay trial again

DENVER - A judge overseeing the Colorado movie theater massacre case said on Wednesday he will not delay the trial of gunman James Holmes again, rejecting a request by the defense for more time to study the results of a second court-ordered sanity exam.

Federal agents start combing site of suspicious L.A. construction fire

LOS ANGELES - Investigators of a suspicious fire that destroyed an apartment complex under construction in downtown Los Angeles began walking the site on Wednesday looking for clues to origins of the blaze, two days after it reduced a city block to charred ruins.

Teamsters pull ballot at FedEx Freight facility in Pennsylvania

CHICAGO - The Teamsters withdrew a planned ballot at a Pennsylvania facility of FedEx Corp's trucking unit, in a further blow to efforts to unionize workers at FedEx Freight.

U.S. Navy laser weapon performing beyond expectations: official

WASHINGTON - A laser weapon deployed aboard the USS Ponce in the Gulf has performed beyond expectations in four months of operational testing, the chief of Navy research said on Wednesday, lifting hopes for a new U.S. defense against cheap anti-ship arms.

Los Angeles approves ads aimed at shaming men who hire underage prostitutes

LOS ANGELES - Men caught buying sex from underage prostitutes could soon find their faces plastered on billboards in Southern California under a proposed ordinance in the nation's most populous county.

Exclusive: Atlantic City, N.J. to slash bond deal, sell casino tax liens

- Atlantic City is expected to slash a bond sale by 71 percent to $40 million because the multitude of uncertainties facing the city have made it difficult to borrow, a city official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Four missing after fire rages through Connecticut home

MILFORD, Conn. - Four adults were missing and feared dead in Enfield, Connecticut, on Wednesday after an early morning house fire that spread rapidly through their home near the Connecticut River, fire officials said.

Comedian Bill Cosby sued for defamation by sexual assault accuser

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Bill Cosby was sued for defamation on Wednesday in Massachusetts by a sexual assault accuser who says he branded her a liar in public statements made through his representatives denying her allegations of abuse.

Three arrested for vandalizing Mary, Joseph statues in Chicago suburb

CHICAGO - Suburban Chicago police have arrested three male juveniles for taking the heads off statues of Mary and Joseph in the garden of a Catholic church during the weekend, officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. top court weighs Hong Kong woman's suit over strip-search

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday as it weighed whether a Hong Kong woman who was strip-searched while in immigration detention waited too long before suing the U.S. government for monetary damages over her treatment.

HealthCare.gov sign-ups grow in week three of 2015 enrollment: Government

- The U.S. government said on Wednesday that 618,548 individuals selected a 2015 health plan on HealthCare.Gov during the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, of which 48 percent were consumers who had not previously purchased this insurance.

Body of U.S. hostage killed in rescue attempt in Yemen arrives in U.S.

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT - The body of Luke Somers, an American held by an al Qaeda unit in Yemen who was killed on Saturday when U.S. special forces tried to rescue him, was flown to the United States on Wednesday, a U.S. defense official said.

Arrest made in San Diego rape, one of a string near college campus

- A San Diego State University student has been arrested in connection with a sexual assault near campus, marking the first arrest in a string of seemingly unrelated reported rapes that have triggered protests over the school's handling of sexual violence, authorities said on Wednesday.

U.S. closes Bagram prison, says it has no more detainees in Afghanistan

KABUL - The United States closed the Bagram detention facility on Dec. 10 and no longer has custody of any detainees in Afghanistan, the U.S. Defense Department said, closing a controversial chapter of Washington's long "war on terror".

Police body cameras carry risks without firm rules

WASHINGTON - Civil rights activists and some police chiefs are warning that the Obama administration's proposal to help local police departments buy 50,000 body cameras must come with firm rules on how to use the equipment.

Psychologist says Senate report on CIA interrogation makes false charges

WASHINGTON - One of the two psychologists who devised the CIA's harsh Bush-era interrogation program for foreign terrorism suspects said on Wednesday that a scathing Senate report on their methods "took things out of context" and made a number of false accusations.

Demonstrations aside, it's not 1960s Berkeley any more

BERKELEY, Calif. - Gray-haired activists still hand out leaflets on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, but the California university town that has seen violent protests over police killings of unarmed black men is a far cry from the leftist hotbed that was the face of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s.

Washington starts fiscal 2015 with rising tax collections

WASHINGTON - Total tax collections for Washington were 39.8 percent higher in October than the same month last year, according to a report released by the office of the District of Columbia's chief financial officer on Wednesday.

Dr. Phil's startup launches video visits with U.S. therapists

SAN FRANCISCO - Doctor On Demand is the latest Silicon Valley startup to bet that people will turn to mobile devices for confidential counseling.

U.S. court reverses fund managers' insider trading convictions

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court dealt federal prosecutors a blow in their crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street on Wednesday, overturning the convictions of two former hedge fund managers charged with making illegal trades in technology stocks.

New Mexico slaps federal energy agency with $54 million in fines

- (This December 6 story was corrected in second paragraph to fix location of Los Alamos laboratory)

Smoking out Texas is full-time job for first U.S. barbecue critic

BUFFALO GAP, Texas, - In Texas, with its long traditions when it comes to cooking meat, it seemed inevitable that an arbiter of barbecue like Daniel Vaughn would emerge. The question is why did it take so long?

NY real estate scion on trial for trespassing on family property

NEW YORK - Real estate heir Robert Durst appeared in a New York courtroom on Wednesday for his trial on charges of trespassing on property owned by his estranged family.

Investec causes outcry with 'I can't breathe' headline on research note

- A research note published by South African bank Investec with the headline "I can't breathe" caused an outcry on social media on Wednesday for its use of the dying words of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man killed in a police chokehold.

Boater rescued south of Hawaii after 12 days adrift

- The Navy rescued a boater who had been adrift for 12 days off the coast of Hawaii, the Coast Guard said on Wednesday.

Report of armed, suicidal person at Las Vegas hotel draws SWAT response

LAS VEGAS - Several rooms at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel And Casino were evacuated on Wednesday as SWAT teams responded to reports of a possibly armed and suicidal person in a room at the massive hotel, police said.

Detroit to exit historic bankruptcy later Wednesday

DETROIT - Detroit will officially exit the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy later on Wednesday, officials said, allowing Michigan's largest city to start a new chapter with a lighter debt load.

Pot backers oppose U.S. bill banning legal marijuana in Washington

WASHINGTON - Marijuana advocates on Wednesday urged Congress not to use a spending bill to overturn a local referendum that overwhelmingly backed legalizing pot in the District of Columbia.

Chicago proposes chokehold ban in wake of U.S. protests

CHICAGO - Chicago city council members have proposed a ban on the use of chokeholds by police officers working within city limits in an expansive proposal coming in the wake of the chokehold death of an unarmed black man being arrested in New York.

McDonald's says will debut slimmed-down U.S. menu next month

- McDonald's Corp in January will cut eight food products and reduce the number of so-called Extra Value Meals on its U.S. menus in a bid to speed up service and bolster sales, Mike Andres, the company's U.S. president, said on Wednesday.

Graffiti 'tagger' dies after being hit by police car

MIAMI - A graffiti artist who went by the nickname "Demz" died after being hit by a police car during a chase amid the height of Miami's annual Art Week, according to his mother.

Ex-CIA officials say torture report is one-sided, flawed

WASHINGTON - A group of former top-ranking CIA officials disputed a U.S. Senate committee's finding that the agency's interrogation techniques produced no valuable intelligence, saying such work had saved thousands of lives.

Obama to announce new grants to states for preschool

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Wednesday will announce more than $1 billion in public and private investments in preschool programs, a small step toward the kind of infusion the White House says is needed.

Two die in Dallas fire at senior apartment complex: reports

- Two people died and three were injured on Wednesday in an large, early morning fire at an assisted-living apartment complex for senior citizens in Dallas, Texas, local media reported.

Civilian oversight approved for Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

LOS ANGELES - A plan to create a civilian oversight panel for the troubled Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was approved on Tuesday, as county leaders moved to avert problems of the kind that triggered unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

U.S. couple formerly held in Qatar sues husband's ex-employer

LOS ANGELES - An American couple convicted and later cleared in the death of their adopted African-born daughter in Qatar has sued the husband's former employer, saying the engineering company essentially abandoned them after they were arrested.

U.S. test-tube births underreported by states, study finds

ATLANTA - The number of test-tube babies born each year in the United States is underreported by states, a new federal study found on Wednesday, complicating efforts by researchers to understand the risks associated with pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilizations.

Revel files motion to terminate deal with Brookfield Property

- Shuttered Revel Casino Hotel filed an emergency motion late on Tuesday, seeking approval to terminate its deal with Brookfield Property Partners LP and schedule a hearing to approve the sale to backup bidder Polo North Country Club Inc.

Missouri executes man convicted of killing former neighbor

ATLANTA/KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri early on Wednesday executed a man convicted of the 1998 killing of an elderly former neighbor, state officials said, the second inmate put to death in the United States within hours.

More NBA stars join protest over police violence, hundreds march in California

BERKELEY, Calif./NEW YORK - More NBA players joined ongoing nationwide protests against police violence on Tuesday night, as dozens of demonstrators again briefly blocked a California freeway.

U.S. needs longer-range, stealthy drones: think tank

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military should invest more in longer-range, stealthy weapons, and especially unmanned vehicles, to leverage current advantages and stay ahead of rapid advances by China, Russia and other potential foes, a Washington think tank said Tuesday.

College student suffered head trauma in Wisconsin dumbwaiter death

- A 21-year-old college student died of severe head trauma after being struck by the cab of a dumbwaiter at a bar and grill in western Wisconsin, an autopsy released on Tuesday found.

Florida professor resigns after offensive Facebook comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - (Editor's note: Language in paragraphs 3 and 4 may be offensive to some readers.)

U.S. sports handicapper charged with bilking millions from client

MILWAUKEE - A U.S. sports handicapper was arrested on Tuesday and charged with threatening a client in Wisconsin at gunpoint and bilking more than $25 million from him through an elaborate scheme involving use of his alter ego, federal prosecutors said.

Neighbors: Montana man accused of shooting student planned to lure burglar

MISSOULA, Mont. - A Montana man accused of killing a teenage German exchange student last April had been planning with his girlfriend to lure back a burglar who previously robbed them, his neighbors told a court on Tuesday.

More students at poor U.S. schools get free meals in federal initiative

- Over half of the nation's high-poverty schools are taking advantage of a new federal initiative intended to make it easier for U.S. children to eat nutritious cafeteria meals for free, federal officials said on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate confirms ambassadors to Afghanistan, India

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's nominees to be the next American ambassadors to India and Afghanistan on Tuesday, filling two of the country's most important diplomatic posts days before leaving Washington for the year.

Rafter fined for dumping trash in Grand Canyon river

- An Alaska man who led a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon has been fined nearly $2,500 for dumping trash in the Colorado River and illegally collecting firewood, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Woman who drove van into ocean in Florida to enter insanity plea: report

ORLANDO, Fla. - U.S. prosecutors will drop attempted murder charges against a South Carolina mother who drove her children into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Florida, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Man accused of shooting at helicopter during August Ferguson protests

- A Ferguson, Missouri, resident has been accused of firing a handgun at a police helicopter and threatening a witness during civil unrest that followed the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, police said on Tuesday.

Historic Seattle neighborhood inspected for damage after sinking

SEATTLE - Some 30 buildings in a historic Seattle neighborhood will be inspected for damage after officials determined they sit in a wider area that has sunk as much as 1.2 inches since October amid a $3.1 billion roadway overhaul, officials said on Tuesday.

California district attorneys sue Uber over safety issues

SAN FRANCISCO - Uber, the online car service embroiled in allegations that one of its drivers in India raped a passenger, is now facing a lawsuit over safety issues in its home state of California.

Central America ready to commit $5 bln to migration plan -Guatemala

VERACRUZ, Mexico - Three Central American nations that have sent a flood of migrants to the United States are ready to provide $5 billion between them to match a sum Washington says may be needed to help solve the problem, Guatemala's president said on Tuesday.

Report slams psychologists who devised Bush-era interrogation

WASHINGTON - The CIA paid $80 million to a company run by two former Air Force psychologists without experience in interrogation or counter-terrorism who recommended waterboarding, slaps to the face and mock burial for prisoners the U.S. suspected of being terrorists, according to a U.S. Senate report.

U.S. spending bill bans funds to legalize marijuana in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators to a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Tuesday undercut the U.S. capital city's referendum to legalize marijuana, prohibiting Washington, D.C., from using federal and local funds to implement the initiative.

U.S. spending bill adds $1.46 billion for military to buy 15 Boeing jets

WASHINGTON - A spending bill agreed by lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate provides $554.2 billion in funding for the U.S. military in fiscal 2015, including $1.46 billion for 15 EA-18G electronic attack jets built by Boeing Co.

Missouri bar slammed for six-shot 'Michael Brown' tequila special

- A Missouri bar sparked protests after it offered a drink special on the weekend named after black teenager Michael Brown, whose shooting by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in August has sparked months of demonstrations.

Oklahoma school district turns to court to rule on disputed football game

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma high school playoff football game that ended in acrimony is heading to a court, with politicians, a famed coach and citizens in the football-crazy state debating if a legal remedy is needed to resolve a dispute from the playing field.

New York woman recovering after mistletoe drone stunt draws blood

NEW YORK - A photographer taking pictures of a "mobile mistletoe" designed to encourage holiday kisses at a TGI Fridays restaurant in Brooklyn is recovering after being clipped on the nose by the drone.

Detroit set to exit bankruptcy on Wednesday

- Detroit's odyssey through the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy will end on Wednesday when the city's debt adjustment plan will take effect, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's office said on Tuesday.

Opponents of Illinois pension reform law fight fast-track appeal

CHICAGO - Public labor unions and others challenging a 2013 law aimed at easing Illinois' pension burden objected on Tuesday to a fast-tracking of the state's appeal of a lower court's ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Kerry urges flexibility in U.S. war powers against Islamic State

WASHINGTON - Any congressional authorization of U.S. military force against Islamic State should be flexible and not limit the fight to Iraq and Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Chicago police investigating rape allegation against Uber driver

CHICAGO - Chicago police said on Tuesday they are investigating an allegation that a driver for the online car service Uber raped a female customer.

Man charged with trying to take U.S. military documents to China

WASHINGTON - A former Connecticut resident and Chinese citizen who allegedly worked on the F135 engine was charged with trying to take sensitive documents about military technology to China, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday.

Female lawmakers in Montana told to check skirt lengths, necklines

- A new dress code for the Montana House of Representatives that bans jeans and warns women to watch skirt lengths and necklines has drawn the ire of female lawmakers, who say it suggests they cannot independently decide what attire is appropriate.

Mother killed in Maryland crash had huddled with children: police

WASHINGTON - The Maryland mother of three killed when a small jet crashed into her house in a Washington suburb on Monday, died huddled in a bathroom trying to shield her two youngest children from the smoke and fire caused by the crash, officials said on Tuesday.

Tennessee couple get 35 years in prison in girl's soda death

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An eastern Tennessee father and stepmother of a 5-year-old girl who died after being forced to drink large amounts of grape soda and water as a form of punishment have been sentenced to 35 years in prison, authorities said.

Police name officer who killed unarmed black man in Phoenix

PHOENIX - Phoenix police on Tuesday released the name of the 30-year-old white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a struggle last week, after protests by activists who demanded his identity be made public.

Big U.S. school districts plan switch to antibiotic-free chicken

CHICAGO - Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world's top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms.

Obama tells Latinos immigration policy shift won't hurt them later

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - President Barack Obama sought to reassure Latinos on Tuesday that signing up for deportation relief under his new immigration policy was safe and would not put them in jeopardy if his White House successor tried to overturn the action.

Statues of Mary, Joseph vandalized at church in Chicago suburb

CHICAGO - Police in a Chicago suburb were investigating on Tuesday an act of vandalism at a Catholic church in which the heads were removed from statues of Mary and Joseph in a convent garden.

Florida man convicted in crash that killed four-year-old girl

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida hit-and-run driver faces a potential lifetime prison sentence after being convicted of causing a crash that killed a 4-year-old girl at a daycare center near Orlando, a spokeswoman for prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Four Pennsylvania teens charged with negligence in death of friend

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Four western Pennsylvania teenagers face criminal prosecution for failing to help an ill friend who died, but they could have been protected by law if they had sought help, a prosecutor told local media on Tuesday.

Group gets $1 million to restore oldest structure on Washington's Mall

WASHINGTON - A group planning to restore and preserve the oldest existing structure on the National Mall in Washington will receive a $1 million grant to do the work, the group said on Tuesday.

Police arrest Alaska man who planned to rob a bank, but not immediately

- An Alaska man who was confronted over loitering by an employee of a Juneau bank was arrested after he indicated that he planned to rob the institution but was waiting for an acquaintance to arrive, police said on Tuesday.

Executions set in Georgia, Missouri for convicted murderers

ATLANTA/KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Georgia man due to be executed on Tuesday for the 1995 murder of a sheriff’s deputy is mentally disabled and received inadequate representation from a lawyer who drank heavily at the time of his trial, the death row inmate's current attorneys said.

Release of autopsy results in L.A. police shooting could come in next two weeks

- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday said he expects the results of an autopsy on an unarmed black man shot by police in August will be released by the end of December, probably in the next week or two.

White House rolls out new tire safety, efficiency program

WASHINGTON - The White House on Tuesday will roll out a new program aimed at getting U.S. consumers to buy tires that will enable cars to get better mileage and take better care of them to cut down on tire-related crashes.

Supreme Court rules no worker pay for security screening

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to employers over worker compensation, ruling that companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc warehousing contractor.

Dream on Me recalls playpens because of strangulation hazard

WASHINGTON - Baby products company Dream On Me is recalling about 10,000 Incredible playpens because their rails can collapse and become a strangulation hazard for children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.

Houston police search for missing baby of dead woman found in refrigerator

HOUSTON - Police are searching for a missing 11-month-old boy on Tuesday after his mother's corpse was found stuffed inside a refrigerator in their Houston apartment.

U.S. citizen indicted in Israel on weapons charges

JERUSALEM - A U.S. citizen has been indicted in Israel on weapons charges and told investigators he had been weighing the possibility of attacking Muslim holy sites, the Israeli domestic security service Shin Bet said on Tuesday.

Blaze kills Philadelphia's first female firefighter to die in line of duty

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia firefighter was killed battling an early morning blaze on Tuesday, becoming the city's first female firefighter to die in the line of duty, local media reported.

Nissan settles class-action lawsuit claiming faulty brakes

NEW YORK - Nissan North America has agreed to reimburse customers between $20 and $800 each to resolve a lawsuit alleging that defects in certain vehicles caused brakes to fail suddenly, according to court papers.

New York police shoot, kill man who stabbed student in synagogue

NEW YORK - New York police fatally shot a man armed with a knife on Tuesday after he stabbed a rabbinical student from Israel in a Brooklyn synagogue, and authorities quickly stepped up security at Jewish houses of worship around the city, police said.

Hallmark pulls holiday wrapping paper with swastika-like image

- Hallmark Cards Inc, the purveyor of products that it says "make the world a more caring place," was pulling gift wrap from U.S. stores after a complaint that the paper appears to display a swastika, a symbol associated with the persecution of Jews.

Nearly 40 years after conviction, third Cleveland man cleared of murder

- A Cleveland judge on Tuesday dropped all charges against the last of three men to be exonerated for a 1975 murder after the key witness in the case recanted his testimony.

Obamacare consultant apologizes for remarks on stupidity of voters

WASHINGTON - Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for remarks in which he referred to "the stupidity of the American voter" and told a congressional committee that President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law was not passed in a deceptive manner.

Ex-British Guantanamo inmate says CIA "torture" report won't help

LONDON - A former British inmate of Guantanamo Bay said CIA "torture" of terrorism suspects, detailed in a U.S. Senate report on Tuesday, had fueled violence and the rise of Islamic State and that cataloguing it wouldn't help.

U.S. couple formerly held in Qatar sues husband's ex-employer

LOS ANGELES - An American couple convicted and later cleared in the death of their adopted African-born daughter in Qatar has sued the husband's former employer, saying the engineering company essentially abandoned them after they were arrested.

British royal couple pays respects at New York's September 11 Memorial

NEW YORK - Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, paid a solemn visit on Tuesday to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, greeted by a small but resolute crowd of admirers who withstood driving rain and wind for a glimpse of the royal pair.

Search under way after Mississippi woman burned alive

COURTLAND, Miss. - Mississippi investigators searched on Tuesday for a "person of interest" in the death of a 19-year-old woman who police said was set on fire after being doused with a flammable liquid.

Oklahoma City high school drops the name 'Redskins' for its team

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board has voted unanimously to remove "Redskins" as the nickname for a high school after hearing pleas from students and teachers who found the term offensive, school officials said on Tuesday.

Former Uber driver charged in death of girl, six, in San Francisco

- A former driver with the online car service Uber has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of a 6-year-old girl who was struck in a San Francisco crosswalk on New Year's Eve, law enforcement said on Tuesday.

Some $500,000 in gems, jewelry taken in Minnesota rest stop heist

- Thieves apparently trailed a van from a jewelry trade show in Illinois for several hours, then smashed the back windows early on Monday at a rest stop in southern Minnesota and made off with about $500,000 of loose diamonds and jewelry, authorities said.

Damaged Seattle highway sank up to 1.2 inches since October

SEATTLE - Parts of a double-decker highway along Seattle's waterfront have sunk up to 1.2 inches since October, possibly due to workers pumping groundwater out of a pit they are digging to salvage a tunnel project, Washington state officials said on Monday.

U.S. Border Patrol looking to hire more women for Mexican border

SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Border Patrol is launching a recruitment effort to hire more women to work along the U.S. border with Mexico, in part because of a rise in the number of women being apprehended, a Border Patrol spokesman said Monday.

Texas pair arrested for suspected Black Friday murder

DALLAS - Two former employees of an American Eagle Outfitters store in Fort Worth, Texas, beat, strangled and set on fire an assistant store manager to steal thousands of dollars of Black Friday sales, according to police documents released on Monday.

NBA players in New York add voices to protests over police killings

NEW YORK/BERKELEY, Calif. - Shopkeepers boarded up windows in California and basketball stars in New York wore shirts invoking the last words of Eric Garner, a black man who died after a police chokehold, amid racially charged protests Monday over a grand jury's failure to indict the white officer involved.

Portland, Oregon, sues to stop Uber online car service

SEATTLE - Portland sued Uber on Monday to stop the fast-growing ride-hailing service from operating in the Oregon city until it follows local regulations.

Swiss contractor to pay $434 million for overcharging U.S. on food, water

WASHINGTON - Swiss firm Supreme Foodservice GmbH pleaded guilty on Monday to overcharging the United States for food and bottled water it provided to U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and will pay $434 million to resolve a series of related cases, according to court documents.

NYC council introduces bill saying 'neigh' to horse and buggy

NEW YORK - A bill to ban horse and buggy rides - a campaign promise of Mayor Bill de Blasio - was introduced at New York City Council on Monday as supporters and opponents rallied outside city hall.

State lawmakers launch gun control coalition

WASHINGTON - State lawmakers have launched a nationwide non-partisan coalition to combat gun violence, in part because the Congress has failed to reform gun laws, members of the group said on Monday.

Ex-bodyguard to Guinea-Bissau ex-navy chief gets five years in U.S. prison

NEW YORK - A onetime bodyguard to a former navy chief of Guinea-Bissau was sentenced on Monday to five years in a U.S. prison for engaging in a scheme to import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

Two Pennsylvania men get life in prison in murder of disabled woman

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two Pennsylvania men received life prison sentences on Monday after pleading guilty to charges they beat, stabbed and burned to death a mentally disabled woman one of them had befriended.

Gunman in 2012 mass shooting at Alabama bar gets 30 years

- An Alabama man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to opening fire in a Tuscaloosa bar during a night-long crime spree in 2012 in which he wounded 17 people, prosecutors said on Monday.

Phoenix man arrested for killing woman, dumping body in suitcase

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man has been arrested for killing a woman, stuffing her body into a large suitcase and leaving it beside a trash bin, court records showed on Monday.

Chicago police investigate video of cop car playing 'Alabama' song

CHICAGO - Chicago police said on Monday they are investigating an incident caught on video during a weekend protest that appears to show a Chicago police car blasting the song "Sweet Home Alabama."

NYC jail guard charged in connection with inmate's death

NEW YORK - A guard at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex was indicted on Monday for failing to keep watch the night a mentally ill, homeless Marine Corps veteran died in a cell with heat topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)

San Jose State University evacuates classrooms over report of gunman

- San Jose State University in California evacuated a classroom building and adjoining faculty offices on Monday after authorities received an unconfirmed report of a gunman on campus, a spokeswoman said.

White Florida deputy shoots black man who witnesses say had hands up

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida sheriff called for calm after a 28-year-old unarmed black man in a stolen car was shot and critically wounded early on Monday by a white officer, after witness reports that the man had his hands up and amid racially charged protests nationwide about police violence.

Clemson University fraternity suspended over gang-themed 'Cripmas' party

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A Clemson University fraternity has been suspended indefinitely by its national organization after some of its members threw a gangster-themed Christmas party over the weekend seen by many as racially insensitive.    The Saturday night off-campus party, dubbed "Clemson Cripmas," was thrown by the South Carolina school's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which school officials say has no black members.

San Jose State University evacuates classrooms over report of gunman

- San Jose State University in California evacuated a classroom building and adjoining faculty offices on Monday after a student reported overhearing a conversation about a gunman hiding in the building, a university spokeswoman said.

American Airlines' Envoy unit in tentative agreement with pilots

- American Airlines Group Inc subsidiary Envoy Air has reached a tentative agreement with its pilots, according to an internal letter from Sunday reviewed by Reuters.

NSA's surveillance a 'trade barrier' for EU companies: EU official

PARIS - The U.S. National Security Agency's mass surveillance is a trade barrier for European Internet companies trying to provide services in the United States, a top EU official said on Monday.

Three people, one bear killed in chain of car crashes in Florida

MIAMI - Three people died and eight were injured in a chain of car crashes that began when a woman driving an SUV hit and killed a black bear on a dark, remote road in the Florida Everglades region, a police spokesman said on Monday.

Large Los Angeles fire consumes building, shuts freeways

- A large blaze in downtown Los Angeles early on Monday consumed an apartment building that was under construction and shut down two major freeways, the Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol said.

Two more deaths eligible for General Motors compensation

WASHINGTON - Claims deemed eligible for compensation from a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co vehicles rose slightly in the last week, including two additional deaths attributed to the defective switch, according to an official report on Monday.

Mother of Cleveland boy killed by police says she wants charges

CLEVELAND - The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police last month broke her silence on Monday, saying the officers involved should be criminally convicted.

New York attorney general seeks to probe police killings of unarmed civilians

NEW YORK - New York's attorney general on Monday asked the governor to empower him to investigate all deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police in the state, following waves of protests nationwide over police killings.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects BP challenge to Gulf spill settlement

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected BP's challenge to its multibillion-dollar settlement agreement over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which the oil giant complained has allowed payouts to some businesses that are unable to trace their losses to the disaster.

Groups urge University of Virginia to restart fraternity activities

- National fraternity and sorority organizations have asked the University of Virginia to lift its suspension of Greek activities after Rolling Stone magazine backtracked on its story about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity.

Obama, Prince William chat amiably during White House visit

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama met with Britain's Prince William at the White House on Monday as part of the prince's short visit to the United States.

Art Basel Miami Beach grows as global attraction, cultural marketplace

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - From the untold millions in sales of contemporary art to luxury brand-sponsored parties and an invasion of street artists, Miami Art Week ended its 13th and largest annual fair on Sunday, cementing its reputation as one of south Florida's top tourist draws.

Pennsylvania man accused of killing police dog goes on trial

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Jury selection began on Monday for a Pennsylvania man accused of killing a police dog, a case that inspired the state's "Rocco's Law" that toughened penalties for such crimes.

Suspect confesses to Florida triple slayings: documents

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida man confessed to killing his wife, her friend and a pastor in a deadly spree witnessed by the clergyman's wife and the suspect's 4-year-old son, according to a police affidavit released on Monday.

New Yorker gets 33 months for threatening Hawaii congresswoman

WASHINGTON - A New York man was sentenced on Monday to 33 months in prison for threatening Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, federal prosecutors said.

Penalty phase starts for Texan who murdered prosecutor's wife

DALLAS - A Texas jury that convicted a former Texas justice of the peace of murdering a prosecutor's wife heard arguments on Monday in the penalty phase, where it could sentence him to death.

U.S. justices question Amtrak role in setting standards

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared divided as it weighed whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, has too much sway over setting regulations that private freight carriers must follow.

Judge in Colorado theater shooting case to rule on trial delay soon

CENTENNIAL, Colorado - A judge overseeing the case of a mass shooting at a Colorado theater in 2012 said Monday he would rule within a couple of days on a defense request to delay the trial again.

Executive jet crashes in Maryland kills three, three missing

- An executive jet crashed into a Maryland neighborhood on Monday, killing at least three people aboard and leaving three people missing on the ground, fire officials said.

Obama's Ebola czar Klain to exit White House by March 1

WASHINGTON - U.S. Ebola coordinator Ron Klain plans to return to his private sector job at the end of February, capping speculation that the seasoned political aide would play a broader White House role for the rest of President Barack Obama's tenure.

NYC jail guard faces trial over death of inmate who ate 'soap ball'

NEW YORK - A former guard at New York City's Rikers Island faces trial Monday on a federal charge that he deliberately ignored the medical needs of a mentally ill inmate who died after swallowing a corrosive disinfectant.

New Jersey house fire kills five, including infant: report

- An infant was among five people killed when a fire tore through three houses in New Jersey on Sunday, a newspaper reported, citing the county prosecutor's office.

U.S. Attorney General to expand profiling guidelines for federal agents

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will announce on Monday revisions to federal law enforcement guidelines that are designed to limit profiling and set an example for local police, according to a Justice Department official.

U.S. couple released by Qatar in child death celebrate their return

PASADENA, Calif. - An American couple convicted and later cleared in Qatar of wrongdoing in the death of their adopted African-born daughter celebrated their return to Los Angeles with a jubilant church service on Sunday morning.

People in animal costumes forced to evacuate Chicago hotel

- People dressed in assorted animal costumes were sent into the cold Chicago night early Sunday when a chlorine leak forced them and others to evacuate a large hotel that was hosting an annual convention called Midwest FurFest.

Carolers in New York tweak classics to protest police violence

NEW YORK - Amid a sea of holiday shoppers, about 30 protesters, among them professional opera singers, gathered on Sunday in midtown New York to sing Christmas carols modified with lyrics lamenting recent cases of police violence against African American males. 

'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree in Pennsylvania gets lone red bulb

READING, Pa. - A scraggly Christmas tree in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, was adorned on Sunday with a single red bulb, in a ceremony reminiscent of events in the animated holiday classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas." 

More 'chokehold death' protests begin on U.S. West Coast after clashes

OAKLAND, Calif./NEW YORK - U.S. West Coast cities were braced for trouble on Sunday, after a night of clashes in Berkeley, California, and Seattle, as fresh protests started against police violence over the death of a black man who was put in a chokehold by a police officer.

Carolers in New York tweak classics to protest police violence

NEW YORK - Amid a sea of holiday shoppers, about 30 protesters, among them professional opera singers, gathered on Sunday in midtown New York to sing Christmas carols modified with lyrics lamenting recent cases of police violence against African American males. 

Woman who stabbed U.S. teacher in UAE was 'lone terrorist': agency

DUBAI - A United Arab Emirates woman who killed an American teacher last week has been inspired by "terrorist ideology" acquired through the Internet but investigators have found no links to militant groups, the state news agency WAM reported on Sunday.

Survivors to commemorate 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack

HONOLULU - More than 50 World War Two veterans will gather in Honolulu on Sunday to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that left more than 2,000 Americans dead and thrust the United States into the war.

Venezuelan leader says racism in U.S. worse under Obama

CARACAS - Racism in the United States appears to have worsened during the administration of its first black leader, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday.

Florida authorities arrest suspect accused of triple homicide

- A suspect was arrested on Saturday in western Florida where he is accused of killing his wife and her friend before shooting dead a pastor at a church, police said.

New Mexico slaps federal energy agency with $54 million in fines

- New Mexico regulators on Saturday hit the U.S. government with more than $54 million in fines for violations at a nuclear waste facility where a fire broke out and radiation was released in two mishaps earlier this year.

Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama, who had medical tests on Saturday after complaining of a sore throat, is suffering from acid reflux, the president's physician said.

Republican challenger wins Louisiana Senate race

NEW ORLEANS - Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy handily won a Louisiana U.S. Senate runoff election on Saturday, capping big wins for his party in the Nov. 4 midterms at the expense of one of the chamber's last remaining southern Democrats.

Border, airport screening exempt from new U.S. profiling rules: Post

WASHINGTON - New federal restrictions on racial profiling will still allow some officials to use the controversial practice along the southwestern U.S. border and in screening of airline passengers, the Washington Post said.

U.S. holiday shopping discounts deepen, last longer

- Amarilis Sinchi visited Macy's at a New Jersey mall on Black Friday, but she waited until this week to purchase the red fleece pajamas she had her eye on.

Bad weather delays decoration of 'Charlie Brown' tree in Pennsylvania

- A ceremony to decorate a scraggly Christmas tree in Reading, Pennsylvania with a single red bulb, much like Charlie Brown's tree in the animated holiday classic, was postponed to Sunday from Saturday because of rain and cold temperatures, officials said.

Rare conjoined twins die at Georgia hospital a day after birth

- Conjoined twin boys sharing a heart, torso, arms and legs died in an Atlanta hospital on Friday, a day after being born, their parents said in a Facebook video.

Man charged in Amtrak stabbings held on $1 million bond

- A man accused of stabbing a conductor and three passengers on an Amtrak train in southwestern Michigan was charged with four counts of assault with intent to murder and is being held on a $1 million bond, officials said on Saturday.

Small blast in North Carolina hotel injures six police, one suspect

- An explosion in a North Carolina hotel room injured six police officers and one man who was arrested on drug and identity theft charges, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Barry, resilient ex-mayor of Washington, eulogized as 'freedom fighter'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thousands of mourners gathered in downtown Washington on Saturday to bid farewell to Marion Barry, known as the capital district’s "mayor for life" after serving four terms in office between 1979 and 1999 that were marred by scandal.

Obama, complaining of sore throat, diagnosed with acid reflux

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama, who had medical tests on Saturday after complaining of a sore throat, is suffering from acid reflux, the president's physician said.

Carbon monoxide poisoning kills two in New Jersey recording studio

- Two people died and another 12 were hospitalized on Saturday after carbon monoxide leaked into a recording studio in an industrial building in New Jersey, officials said.

New York protests against police violence attract other causes too

NEW YORK - One of the dozens of rallies and marches in New York this week to protest police violence against minorities was organized by members of Occupy Wall Street, the driving force behind worldwide protests over economic inequality in 2011 and 2012.

Three die, 10 sickened after using cocaine in North Carolina

- Three people died and 10 were sickened early on Saturday after using cocaine laced with a potent pain killer in North Carolina, police said.

Washington Post reporter in Tehran charged

WASHINGTON - A reporter for the Washington Post in Iran who has been detained for over four months was charged on Saturday, the newspaper reported, quoting a source familiar with the case.

More protests expected after funeral of Brooklyn man shot by police

NEW YORK - A fourth evening of demonstrations against police violence was expected in New York on Saturday after the funeral of a black man who was unarmed when he was shot dead by a police officer in a darkened stairwell of a Brooklyn apartment building.

Al-Qaeda militants killed Somers during U.S. rescue bid: Hagel

KABUL - Al Qaeda militants killed U.S. journalist Luke Somers and another hostage during a rescue operation in Yemen, U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday, saying the attempt to free the captives was justified.

Detroit may not exit bankruptcy until December 15

DETROIT - Detroit might not be ready to exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history until Dec. 15, a spokesman for the city's emergency manager said on Friday.

Missouri man charged with murder probed as hate crime

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man was charged with murder on Friday in the hit-and-run death of a 15-year-old boy who was leaving the Somali Center of Kansas City, in what the FBI is probing as a possible hate crime, prosecutors said.

Kerry urges caution over timing of releasing U.S. torture report

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday privately expressed concern about the timing of the release of a long-awaited Congressional report criticizing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods days before it was expected to be released.

Obama signs order keeping U.S. government offices closed December 26

WASHINGTON - U.S. federal government offices will be closed on Friday Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, the White House said on Friday.

Missouri march seeks justice for black teen killed by police

- Activists protesting police treatment of black Americans concluded a 120-mile (190-km) march from Ferguson, Missouri, to the Missouri governor's mansion on Friday, ending a "journey for justice" tied to the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Protests against police violence flare for third night in New York

NEW YORK - Protesters in New York and other cities rallied for a third night on Friday denouncing the use of deadly force by police against minorities, even as prosecutors said they would consider charges against an officer in the fatal shooting of a unarmed black man in November.

Denver police investigate driver who hit officers at Ferguson protest

DENVER - Denver police are investigating a motorist who plowed into officers during a demonstration by high school students protesting the killing of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri, badly injuring one of the officers, authorities said on Friday.

U.S. declines to upgrade protections for grizzly bears in Idaho, Montana

SALMON, Idaho - Federal wildlife managers on Friday declined to upgrade protections for a population of grizzly bears in the remote reaches of Idaho and northwest Montana that numbers fewer than 50, and which conservationists say are going extinct.

Several thousand cattle quarantined near Yellowstone

- Several thousand head of cattle have been quarantined in Montana after a cow near Yellowstone National Park tested positive for brucellosis, the livestock disease much feared by ranchers and also carried by elk and bison, state livestock officials said on Friday.

Four stabbed on Amtrak train in Michigan, suspect in custody

- Police took a suspect into custody in Michigan on Friday after four people were stabbed aboard an Amtrak passenger train in the town of Niles, police and Amtrak officials said.

Missouri march seeks justice for black teen killed by police

- Activists protesting police treatment of black Americans concluded a 120-mile (190-km) march from Ferguson, Missouri to the Missouri governor's mansion on Friday, ending a 'journey for justice' tied to the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Bill Cosby's Walk of Fame star vandalized with word 'rapist'

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Bill Cosby's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was vandalized on Friday with the word "rapist" written over it, after numerous women came forward in recent weeks alleging Cosby had sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back decades.

Lawyer for family of unarmed black man killed in Phoenix seeks probe

PHOENIX - An attorney for the family of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a Phoenix police officer called on Friday for an independent probe of the incident amid a national wave of protests over the policing of black communities.

No charges for Seattle officer who punched woman during arrest

SEATTLE - A Seattle police officer who punched an intoxicated 23-year-old woman in the head as he arrested her in June over allegations that she threatened a family member will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said on Friday.

Wisconsin Republicans plan to push right-to-work bill in January

- Wisconsin Republicans say they plan to start the new year by introducing a right-to-work measure that would prohibit private sector labor unions from requiring workers to pay dues.

Bomb threat prompts evacuation at New Jersey mall

NEW YORK - A telephone bomb threat triggered the evacuation of a major department store at a popular New Jersey mall on Friday, police said.

Two teens die as car hits Cincinnati building after police chase

- Police in a Cincinnati suburb on Friday were investigating an incident that began with a suspected vehicle break-in and ended in the death of two teenagers when the car driven by a third teen crashed into a building, causing it to collapse on top of them.

Kerry urges caution over timing of releasing U.S. torture report

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday privately expressed concern about the timing of the release of a long-awaited Congressional report criticizing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods days before it was expected to be released.

University of New Mexico investigated over sex assaults response

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday it is investigating multiple complaints regarding the University of New Mexico's handling of reported sexual assaults and sexual harassment of students there.

Girlfriend of Montana man accused of shooting teen recants statement

MISSOULA, Mont. - The live-in girlfriend of a Montana man accused of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of a German exchange student took the stand in his trial on Friday and recanted an earlier statement that she heard the victim beg for his life.

U.S. Navy probes alleged illegal video recording on submarine

- The U.S. Navy is investigating allegations of the illegal taping and distribution of videos aboard a submarine based in Georgia that was among the first to integrate women into its crew, military officials said.

Rolling Stone apologizes for University of Virginia rape story

- Rolling Stone magazine on Friday apologized for its November story about an alleged 2012 gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity.

U.S. justices to hear Confederate license plate free speech case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to weigh in on whether Texas officials should have approved a specialty license plate that displays the Confederate flag.

San Diego courthouse bomb scare caused by electronic sex toy

- A security scare at a federal courthouse in San Diego over a suspicious metal device, which drew the bomb squad, turned out to be a false alarm caused by a discarded electronic sex toy, fire officials said on Friday.

Little money for Ferguson, scene of rare U.S. suburban riots

- Sonya Roberts' liquor store in Ferguson, Missouri was vandalized during rioting in August and November, and with no government aid available, she is relying on Internet crowd-funding and a credit union loan to keep afloat.

Lawyers for Colorado cinema gunman seek another trial delay

DENVER - Lawyers for accused Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes, who argue he was insane when he killed a dozen moviegoers in 2012, have requested another delay in his murder trial set to begin next month, court documents showed on Friday.

Arms dealer Bout seeks new trial, hires Ashcroft law firm

NEW YORK - (Clarifies 10th paragraph of November 3 article to show Richard Chichakli had in a separate conspiracy case been a co-defendant of Bout and was convicted in that case)

Neighbors of Chicago's O'Hare airport amp up noise complaints

CHICAGO - Retired engineer Ed Phillips lives almost seven miles (11 km) east of O'Hare International Airport, but conversation at his home is often interrupted by the roar of low-flying jets landing at a new runway at one of the world's busiest airports.

Federal, state safety officials probe Wisconsin dumbwaiter death

- Federal and state investigations into worker safety have been launched into the death of a 21-year-old college student whose body was found in a dumbwaiter at a bar and grill in western Wisconsin, officials said on Friday.

Obama to meet with UK's Prince William at White House

WASHINGTON - Britain's Prince William will meet with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Monday, part of a visit to Washington to a conference on illegal trafficking of ivory and other wildlife, the White House said.

NY grand jury to weigh police shooting of unarmed black man in stairwell

NEW YORK - The district attorney in Brooklyn on Friday said he will convene a grand jury to consider charges against a New York police officer for the Nov. 20 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in the stairwell of a public housing project.

Nationals' Werth gets jail time for reckless driving

WASHINGTON - Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was found guilty of misdemeanor reckless driving on Friday and sentenced to 10 days in jail after his Porsche 911 was clocked in July at 105 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Capital Beltway in Virginia.

Family of 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police files suit

CLEVELAND - The family of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was fatally shot by police filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against the city and the police officers involved.

Man dies from injuries in Florida police shooting

ORLANDO, Fla. - A 32-year-old man shot by a Florida police officer who saw him sitting in a car with a gun has died, authorities said in a news release on Friday.

Senator McCain vows Jones Act will be repealed one day

WASHINGTON - Senator John McCain said a more than 90-year-old law that requires ships servicing coastal businesses to be built and mostly staffed by U.S. crews will be repealed sooner or later if lawmakers keep fighting the trade restriction.

Pennsylvania attorney general won't defend state's pro-NRA gun law

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said on Friday her office would not defend a new state law enabling the National Rifle Association to take court action against municipalities with restrictive gun regulations.

Sea level rise threatening Kennedy Space Center in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. - Rising seas and pounding waves driven by climate change are chipping away at the coast near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, threatening launch pads and future operations, scientists said on Friday.

Detroit may not exit bankruptcy until December 15

DETROIT - Detroit might not be ready to exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history until Dec. 15, a spokesman for the city's emergency manager said on Friday.

Rolling Stone cites 'discrepancies' in Virginia rape story

- Rolling Stone magazine on Friday apologized for its November article about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, saying that there were "discrepancies" about the accuser's account.

U.N. rights experts seek review of U.S. police practices

GENEVA - United Nations human rights experts on Friday called for a halt to racial profiling by U.S. law enforcement officers and a review of laws allowing police to use lethal force.

Maryland high school evacuated after bomb threat, package found

- A Maryland high school was evacuated on Friday when a suspicious device was discovered outside the building after a bomb threat, a Baltimore County Police Department spokesman said.

Suspect's car found as manhunt continues in Florida triple murder

TAMPA, Fla. - A manhunt intensified on Friday for a suspect accused of killing his wife and her friend before shooting dead a pastor at a Florida church, after police said they had found the SUV the man was last seen driving but were still searching for him.

Ex-wife of oil magnate Harold Hamm appeals $1 billion divorce ruling

- Sue Ann Arnall, the ex-wife of Continental Resources Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Harold Hamm, has appealed a divorce judgment that awarded her around $1 billion from the Hamm marital estate, her lawyers said on Friday.

China defends Confucius Institute after new doubts in U.S.

BEIJING - China defended its government-funded Confucius Institute programs on Friday after new questions were raised in the United States about their transparency and effect on academic freedom.

New Jersey panel finds no evidence governor involved in lane closures

- A New Jersey panel investigating lane closures to the George Washington Bridge last year, which sparked a political firestorm, said in an interim report it had found no evidence that Governor Chris Christie was involved, local media reported.

Boehner vows to avoid government shutdown with help from Democrats

WASHINGTON - Overriding objections from some conservative Republicans, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Thursday to plow ahead with a spending bill that averts a government shutdown while keeping some budget "leverage" over President Barack Obama's immigration order.

Kentucky healthcare worker fired over inflammatory Ferguson post

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky healthcare worker who called people protesting a fatal police shooting in Missouri "cockroaches" in a personal Facebook post has been fired, her employer said on Thursday.

Exclusive: U.S. House Republicans prepare 2015 immigration legislation

WASHINGTON - U.S. Republicans, outraged with President Barack Obama for easing deportations of millions of undocumented residents, plan legislation in 2015 strengthening the U.S.-Mexican border to discourage illegal immigration.

Manhunt under way for Florida man suspected in triple homicide

TAMPA, Fla. - A man was shot dead at a Florida church on Thursday and two women were found dead at a nearby home, and authorities were searching for the husband of one of the women as the suspect in the triple murder.

U.S. teacher, 98, convicted in spy case loses fight to clear name

NEW YORK - A 98-year-old retired New Jersey math teacher implicated in a Cold War atomic espionage case lost her bid on Thursday to throw out her conviction, which she called a McCarthy-era injustice.

Florida parents end feud over son's ashes: report

ORLANDO, Fla. - A divorced Florida couple have resolved a long-running court battle over the final resting place of their son's ashes, according to a local media report, but lawyers on Thursday declined to discuss terms of the settlement.

Judge will not void Beastie Boys verdict over Monster energy video

NEW YORK - A federal judge on Thursday refused to throw out Beastie Boys' $1.7 million jury verdict against Monster Beverage Corp over the energy drink company's use of the hip-hop group's music in a promotional video without permission.

L.A. police chief finds fault with shooting of unarmed man after chase

LOS ANGELES - Three Los Angeles police officers who killed an unarmed man after a car chase last year, in a shooting caught on live television, acted in violation of the department's use of force policy, the police chief said in a report released on Thursday.

Exclusive: Republicans prepare 2015 immigration legislation

WASHINGTON - U.S. Republicans, outraged with President Barack Obama for easing deportations of millions of undocumented residents, plan legislation in 2015 strengthening the U.S.-Mexican border to discourage illegal immigration.

U.S. judge moves closer to possible action against Arizona sheriff

PHOENIX - A U.S. judge moved a step closer to pursuing possible contempt charges against Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio on Thursday, accusing the Maricopa County sheriff of failing to follow court mandates in a 2007 racial-profiling case.

Washington state woman wins $90 million Powerball jackpot on first try

SEATTLE - A Washington state woman on Thursday claimed a $90 million Powerball lottery jackpot after buying a ticket for the first time, and said she would quit her job at plane maker Boeing Co and buy a new Subaru.

U.S. lawmaker wants Ferguson police force dissolved

WASHINGTON - The U.S. congressman for Ferguson, Missouri, said on Thursday he hopes the Justice Department disbands the city's police department after the recent shooting of Michael Brown, and turns law enforcement duties over to St. Louis County Police.

California man whose wrongful conviction inspired Asian-American movement dies

- A Korean-American man who was wrongfully convicted of a 1973 gang murder in San Francisco and whose case inspired Asian-Americans of all backgrounds to mobilize for his freedom has died at age 62, friends said on Thursday.

U.S. couple released by Qatar in child death return to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - An American couple convicted and later cleared of wrongdoing in the death of their adopted African-born daughter in Qatar returned to Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, a family spokesman said on Twitter.

Illinois asks high court for pension law hearing as soon as January

CHICAGO - Illinois' top attorney asked the state supreme court on Thursday to put constitutional challenges to a pension reform law on the fast track by scheduling oral arguments as soon as Jan. 22 and no later than March 10.

Manhunt under way for Florida man suspected in triple homicide

TAMPA, Fla. - A search was under way on Thursday for a man suspected in the fatal shooting of a pastor at a Florida church, as well as the murders of his wife and another woman at a nearby home, by authorities investigating a triple homicide on the state's Gulf Coast.

Starbucks debuts high-end Reserve roastery and cafe in Seattle

SEATTLE - Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz, who introduced Americans to espressos, Frappuccinos and pumpkin spice lattes, is not about to let a bunch of well-funded independent coffee sellers beat his global chain at the super premium game.

Nobel medal for DNA discovery brings more than $4.7 million at auction

NEW YORK - The Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to the U.S. scientist and co-discoverer of DNA, James Watson, sold at auction on Thursday for more than $4.7 million, smashing the world record price for any Nobel prize.

Marchers swarm New York, other cities for second night over chokehold death

NEW YORK - Protesters swarmed streets of Manhattan and other cities for a second night of mostly peaceful rallies to denounce a New York grand jury's decision to spare a white police officer from criminal prosecution in the choking death of an unarmed black man.

Phoenix police officer shoots dead unarmed black man during scuffle

- A Phoenix police officer shot to death an unarmed black man during a struggle and authorities said the officer believed the individual had a gun, in the latest fatal incident amid national turmoil over the policing of black communities.

Philadelphia treated to reruns of annual New Year's Day Mummers Parade

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade is so wildly popular in the city of Brotherly Love that a broadcaster has started showing hour after hour of reruns for folks who cannot wait for the live event on New Year's Day.

Drug control body concerned by pot legalization in some U.S. states

VIENNA - The head of a body monitoring compliance with international drug control conventions expressed concern on Thursday about the health and other implications of moves by several U.S. states to legalize marijuana.

Boehner vows to avoid government shutdown with help from Democrats

WASHINGTON - Overriding objections from some conservative Republicans, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Thursday to plow ahead with a spending bill that averts a government shutdown while keeping some budget "leverage" over President Barack Obama's immigration order.

Phoenix police officer shoots dead unarmed black man during scuffle

- A Phoenix police officer shot to death an unarmed black man during a struggle and authorities said the officer believed the individual had a gun, in the latest fatal incident amid national turmoil over the policing of black communities.

U.S. Transportation Command taking steps to defend against cyber attacks

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military command that transports troops and cargo is taking aggressive steps to defend its computer networks against destructive cyber attacks by other countries and criminals, its four-star commanding general said on Thursday.

Florida woman attacked by bear while walking dog

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida woman remains hospitalized in good condition after she was attacked by a bear while walking her dog in a suburban neighborhood newly built in bear country, authorities said on Thursday.

Washington state doctor charged with raping two female patients

SEATTLE - A Washington state doctor has been arrested on charges of raping two female patients who sought care for back pain, prompting more than a dozen other women to come forward accusing him of assault and inappropriate sexual conduct, police said on Thursday.

Men disguised as super heroes suspected in Oklahoma robbery

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma police took into custody two men on suspicion of putting on comic book super hero masks, beating a woman with a pistol and robbing her at a gas station on Thursday.

Jury finds Texan charged with killing prosecutors guilty of murder

ROCKWALL, Texas - A Texas jury found a former justice of the peace accused of shooting dead two Texas prosecutors guilty of capital murder on Thursday, after a prosecutor called him "a ruthless killing machine" who had carefully plotted his crimes.

Cleveland police use excessive force: U.S. Justice Department

WASHINGTON - The Cleveland Police Department systematically engages in excessive use of force against civilians, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department has found.

Hillary Clinton backs federal probes of Ferguson, Staten Island cases

BOSTON - Potential Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Thursday she was pleased the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating the recent deaths of unarmed black men in incidents with police.

Virginia board to amend rules that would close abortion clinics

RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia health panel remade by the Democratic governor voted on Thursday to revamp rules that threatened to shut down abortion clinics across the state

Judge in Colorado cinema rampage case rebuffs bid to throw out death penalty

DENVER - The judge presiding over the Colorado theater massacre case has rejected a new effort by attorneys for accused gunman James Holmes to have the state's death penalty law declared unconstitutional, court documents showed on Thursday.

Judge won't void Beastie Boys verdict over Monster Energy video

NEW YORK - A federal judge on Thursday refused to throw out Beastie Boys' $1.7 million jury verdict against Monster Beverage Corp over the energy drink company's use of the hip-hop group's music in a promotional video without permission.

Ex-South Carolina police chief indicted in 2011 shooting death of unarmed man

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A white former police chief in Eutawville, South Carolina, has been indicted on a murder charge in the 2011 shooting death of an unarmed black man he was trying to arrest, according to records released on Thursday.

U.S. states with warmer climate to drive homebuilder growth

- Homebuilders with a presence in the U.S. south and west are set to gain next year as more Americans swap the frozen north for warmer climes, drawn by some of the country's highest job growth rates.

Cleveland officer who killed boy left past job after 'dismal' review

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy playing with a pellet gun at a park last month left his previous job with a suburban police department after a string of problems, including immaturity and "dismal" handgun performance, personnel records showed.

San Jose begins clearing massive homeless encampment

SAN JOSE - San Jose on Thursday began dismantling a huge homeless encampment known locally as "The Jungle" that has persisted at the southern edge of the Silicon Valley city for more than a decade, at one point claiming some 200 inhabitants.

American teacher stabbed to death in restroom of Abu Dhabi mall

DUBAI - An American teacher was stabbed to death in a ladies' toilet at an Abu Dhabi shopping mall police said, in a slaying apparently carried out by an assailant dressed head-to-toe in a traditional black robe and gloves.

U.S. military sex assault reports up 8 percent: officials

WASHINGTON - Sexual assaults reported by U.S. military troops rose 8 percent in 2014 amid signs that victims are increasingly confident about reporting the attacks, defense officials said on Wednesday ahead of the formal release of the annual figures.

NECC trustee files compensation plan for 2012 meningitis outbreak victims

- The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of a Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people, filed a plan that would set aside at least $135 million to compensate victims and their families.

Cincinnati marks 35th anniversary of Who concert tragedy

- The city of Cincinnati remembered one of the more tragic events in its history on Wednesday, a fatal stampede before a rock concert by The Who, and announced plans to erect a memorial for the 11 people who lost their lives 35 years ago.

FSU quarterback tells rape hearing accuser 'is lying'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston told a student conduct hearing that a woman who accused him of raping her two years ago was "lying" about their encounter, according to media reports on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania con artist on trial for Texas oil scam

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - A convicted scam artist went on trial in Pennsylvania on Wednesday charged with bilking investors out of $323,000 in a Texas oil development ruse that federal prosecutors say he ran out of his condominium in the Poconos.

Alabama anti-discrimination bill to be named after Apple's Tim Cook

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, who made headlines in October when he publicly acknowledged being gay, is lending his name to legislation to bar discrimination against state employees on the basis of their sexual orientation in his native Alabama.

Opening statements to begin in Montana killing of German teen

MISSOULA, Mont. - Opening statements were due to begin on Thursday in the trial of a Montana man who has admitted to fatally shooting a German exchange student he believed to be a burglar, in a case hinging on what constitutes justifiable use of a gun in self-defense.

UAE police arrest woman on suspicion of killing U.S. teacher

ABU DHABI - United Arab Emirates (UAE) police have arrested a UAE woman suspected of killing of an American teacher found stabbed to death in a toilet at an Abu Dhabi shopping mall, police said on Thursday.

Obama's pick to head Pentagon not always on same page as president

WASHINGTON - Ashton Carter, a veteran Washington insider President Barack Obama is expected to name as his new defense secretary, built a reputation as a behind-the-scenes team player during many years in senior Pentagon posts.

Rain still falling in California after major storm breaks records

LOS ANGELES - A major Pacific storm that broke records across Southern California and delivered a small measure of relief to the drought-stricken state brought more rain on Wednesday but the danger of major mudslides in wildfire-scarred areas appeared to have passed, officials said.

Idaho authorities seek missing cows amid rise in cattle rustling

SALMON, Idaho - More than 130 cows and calves have been reported missing in Idaho this week in what may be tied to a resurgence in cattle rustling amid a sharp increase in beef prices, state livestock officials said on Wednesday.

Ruling would permit Florida same-sex marriages in early January

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Same-sex marriages could begin in Florida in early January after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Wednesday to further stay a lower court ruling that overturned the state's ban on gay weddings.

States sue Obama administration on immigration

AUSTIN, Texas - A coalition of 17 U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday saying it acted illegally by issuing an executive order to ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who are in the country without the proper documents.

More women detail sex abuse claims against Bill Cosby

LOS ANGELES - Three women on Wednesday came together and detailed allegations that comedian Bill Cosby sexually abused and groped them decades ago, a day after Cosby was sued by a woman who said he molested her when she was a teenager in 1974.

Florida parents in legal battle over dead son's ashes

ORLANDO, Fla. - Lawyers for a divorced Florida couple fought over the ashes of their dead son in court on Wednesday, after a ruling in May that the remains could not be split in half.

NY policeman not indicted in chokehold death; U.S. Justice sets probe

NEW YORK - A New York City grand jury decision not to charge a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man with a chokehold sparked outrage and protests on Wednesday, and the U.S. Justice Department said it would investigate the incident.

Six California teens charged in fatal beating of homeless man

EL CAJON, Calif. - Six teenagers accused of attacking two homeless men they encountered on a Southern California bike trail over the weekend and beating one of them to death pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to murder and assault charges during their first court hearing.

Human brains, reported missing, were destroyed: University of Texas

- Brains stored in jars of formaldehyde at the University of Texas in Austin and reported to be missing were actually destroyed in 2002, school officials said on Wednesday.

Enrollment in Obamacare plans for 2015 remains strong

- The second week of open enrollment in 2015 health insurance plans offered under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform almost matched the pace of the first week, federal health officials said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors rethink convict's sentence after judge cites Holder

NEW YORK - Prosecutors are reconsidering a 50-year sentence for a convicted robber and drug dealer, after a judge on Wednesday suggested they call Attorney General Eric Holder to ask him whether it was fair to "punish" a man for rejecting a plea deal and opting for a trial.

Two charged in Maryland for alleged Johns Hopkins frat rape

- Two Baltimore-area men have been charged with raping a teenage girl at an off-campus Johns Hopkins University fraternity, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

States sue Obama administration on immigration

AUSTIN, Texas - A coalition of 17 U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday saying it acted illegally by issuing an executive order to ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who are in the country without the proper documents.

U.S. couple leaves Qatar after convictions overturned in child death

LOS ANGELES - A U.S. couple who were convicted and later cleared of wrongdoing in the death of their adopted African-born daughter in Qatar left the Gulf Arab state on Wednesday after a travel ban was lifted, ending a nearly two-year ordeal, their supporters and a U.S. diplomat said.

Would-be California militant is schizophrenic, lawyer says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California man accused of trying to cross into Canada to eventually join the Islamic State militant group has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Connecticut protesters rally for education reform

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Thousands of protesters rallied in downtown New Haven on Wednesday, urging education reform to address a performance gap between the state's richest and poorest school districts.

Three women publicly detail sexual allegations against Bill Cosby

LOS ANGELES - Three women on Wednesday came together to speak publicly about their allegations that comedian Bill Cosby sexually abused and groped them decades ago, a day after Cosby was sued by a woman who said he molested her when she was a teenager in 1974.

Elderly Texas couple die side-by-side in likely murder-suicide -police

DALLAS - The bodies of a couple in their 90s were found with gunshot wounds to their heads in an apparent murder-suicide at a Fort Worth-area assisted living facility on Wednesday, police said.

Mentally ill Texas inmate gets last-minute execution stay

AUSTIN, Texas - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday issued a stay of execution for a mentally ill Texas death row inmate just hours before he was set to be put to death for the murders of two people in a case that garnered international attention.

Detroit public art project seeks arsonist who torched installation

DETROIT - An internationally acclaimed public art installation in Detroit released a video on Wednesday in an effort to find a suspect who may have suffered burns while torching the project's "Taxi House."

U.S. appeals court voids Florida welfare drug testing law

- A federal appeals court on Wednesday said a Florida law requiring applicants for welfare benefits to undergo mandatory drug testing is unconstitutional, a decision that could affect efforts to enforce similar laws in other states.

American possibly exposed to Ebola being transferred to Atlanta hospital

NEW YORK - A U.S. healthcare worker who had been in West Africa and may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is being transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, a hospital spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Firefighters lose bid to sue bankrupt San Bernardino in state court

RIVERSIDE, Calif - Firefighters in bankrupt San Bernardino cannot sue the city in a California state court over lost wages and benefits, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing the case ruled on Wednesday.

Texas school board member apologizes for Klan image in Facebook post

TEXARKANA, Texas - A member of an East Texas school board has apologized and intends to resign after posting on his Facebook page a picture of a person in Ku Klux Klan attire along with the caption "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."

Critical report raises safety concerns for major California bridge

- A little over a year after a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reopened far behind schedule and over budget, new concerns are being raised about the integrity of steel rods securing the world’s largest self-anchored suspension span.

Ruling would permit Florida same-sex marriages in early January

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Same-sex marriages could begin in Florida in early January after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Wednesday to further stay a lower court ruling that overturned the state's ban on gay weddings.

NY policeman not indicted in chokehold death; U.S. Justice sets probe

NEW YORK - A New York City grand jury decision not to charge a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man with a chokehold sparked outrage and protests on Wednesday, and the U.S. Justice Department said it would investigate the incident.

Obama sketches 2015 agenda of taxes, trade; meets McConnell

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Wednesday laid out a business-friendly legislative agenda for next year that hinges on whether he and the new Republican Congress can set aside long-simmering disputes and find common ground.

Gun reportedly fired at Texas Southern University, no injuries

AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Southern University police were searching for a person who reportedly fired a gun inside a dormitory at the college in Houston on Tuesday in an incident where no one was injured, the university said.

At least three dead in Tennessee crash between school buses: reports

- At least three people died and several were injured in a crash on Tuesday in Knoxville, Tennessee, involving two school buses, according to local media reports.

NY case highlights controversy of prior convictions in sentencing

NEW YORK - In 2012, Randy Washington, a Bronx man with a history of arrests, faced a choice between a plea deal with a 10-year prison sentence or going to trial on robbery, narcotics and related charges.

New York prepares for protests as grand jury mulls police choke-hold death

NEW YORK - New York officials were preparing for likely protests as a grand jury decides whether to charge police in the death of a black man subjected to a banned choke hold, but aimed to avoid the kind of violence that engulfed a St. Louis suburb last month.

Power restored after massive outage hits downtown Detroit

DETROIT - A massive outage on Tuesday cut power for as long as six hours to public buildings in Detroit ranging from city hall to a criminal courthouse, scores of public schools and more than three dozen buildings at Wayne State University, officials said.

Utah students back in class after boy arrested in gun scare

- A day after a 16-year-old boy brought a gun to a Utah high school with plans to shoot a girl and others, prompting his arrest and a campus-wide evacuation, students were allowed to return to class on Tuesday, police said.

'New Abolitionist' anti-slavery campaign launches in NY: TRFN

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A coalition of more than 120 leaders in business, government, media, the arts and human rights on Tuesday launched a campaign to end human slavery and trafficking in New York State.

Minnesota woman charged with stealing passport to go to Syria

WASHINGTON - A 20-year-old Minnesota woman was charged on Tuesday with stealing a friend's passport to travel to Syria, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Colorado mom sues, says fired after seeking to pump breast milk

DENVER - A Colorado mother claims in a federal lawsuit that she was fired from her hairstylist job after she sought to take periodic work breaks to pump breast milk but was rebuffed by an employer who called the idea "gross," court documents showed on Tuesday.

Oklahoma student charged with rape in case that sparked school protest

OKLAHOMA CITY - Police arrested a former Norman High School student on Tuesday on charges of raping a classmate, accusations that led to a mass walk-out in November at the suburban Oklahoma City school in support of the alleged victim.

Texan charged in killing prosecutor stockpiled weapons: FBI

DALLAS - Federal investigators told a Texas jury on Tuesday they uncovered a cache of weapons in a storage locker that belonged to a former justice of the peace accused of shooting dead two prosecutors last year.

Republican Boehner tries to avoid spending fight on immigration

WASHINGTON - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner urged fellow Republicans on Tuesday to pass a long-term government spending bill next week, hoping to avoid a government shutdown and pushing any budget fight over President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration into 2015.

University of Alabama at Birmingham to end football program, citing costs

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Alabama at Birmingham will shutter its football program at the end of the current season due to the increasing costs associated with it, the school said on Tuesday.

Three dead in Tennessee crash between school buses

- Three people died, including two young children, and almost two dozen were injured in a crash on Tuesday in Knoxville, Tennessee, involving two school buses, police said.

Two killed as helicopter crashes into unoccupied building in Utah

- Two men died when their helicopter crashed through the roof of an unoccupied building north of Salt Lake City on Tuesday, a fire official said.

Obama settles on Ashton Carter as Pentagon chief, sources say

WASHINGTON - Can a career Washington technocrat break into U.S. President Barack Obama's tight-knit inner circle and oversee the world's most powerful military?

Despite Obama promises, Ferguson protesters say more change needed

- A pledge by President Barack Obama to address race-related problems between police and minorities falls far short of what is needed, and nationwide demonstrations tied to the police shooting of Missouri teenager Michael Brown will continue to grow, several protest leaders said on Tuesday.

College student found dead in Wisconsin restaurant dumbwaiter

- A 21-year-old college student was found dead in a dumbwaiter at the bar and grill where she worked in a small western Wisconsin town, authorities said on Tuesday.

Suspected Texas robber killed after getaway car slams into Starbucks

HOUSTON - A man fleeing police pursuit after robbing a Houston video game store was killed on Tuesday when he slammed his Chevrolet Impala into a Starbucks coffee shop and flipped the car onto its roof, police said.

FBI seizes data from Los Angeles school district over iPad program

LOS ANGELES - FBI agents investigating the purchasing process for the Los Angeles school district's $1.3 billion effort to supply students with iPads have seized 20 boxes of documents, the district's superintendent said on Tuesday.

U.S. investigating Graco Children's Products over car seat recall

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Monday it was investigating whether Graco Children's Products acted quickly enough to report a defect in child car seats.

Texas murder suspect plotted revenge for a year, prosecutors say

ROCKWALL, Texas - A former Texas justice of the peace plotted revenge for a year before gunning down two suburban Dallas district attorneys who had prosecuted him and ruined his career, prosecutors said on Monday at the start of his capital murder trial.

Six teens arrested in beating death of California homeless man

SAN DIEGO - Six San Diego-area teenagers, including one under 18, have been arrested and charged with murder in the beating of two homeless men that left one of the transients dead and the other injured, county sheriff's deputies said on Monday.

Back from holidays, students walk out over Ferguson decision

- High school and college students, back from the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, ditched classes on Monday in several cities to protest against a decision not to indict a Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in August.

Congress deals blow to plan to shut Guantanamo prison

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's five-year-long effort to close the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba by omitting a plan to shut the facility from an annual defense authorization bill.

Lawyers for Boston bomb suspect again seek trial out of state

BOSTON - Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Monday requested, for the second time, that his trial be moved out of state because of the risk that intense local media coverage will bias a jury against him.

Attorney general to issue new guidance on racial profiling

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday he would soon release new guidelines to limit racial profiling by federal law enforcement, a move long awaited by civil rights advocates.

U.S. officials asking Qatar to allow couple to leave country

LOS ANGELES - U.S. officials have been in contact with Qatar's government to ask them to allow a Los Angeles couple to return home after an appeals court threw out convictions linked to the death of their African-born adopted daughter, a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday.

Albuquerque policeman who shot woman fired over camera lapse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - An Albuquerque police officer who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman in April was fired from the police force on Monday for failing to follow an order to turn on his uniform camera during all citizen contacts, police said.

Obama vows to address 'simmering distrust' between police, minorities

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama made a forceful pledge on Monday to use his last two years in office to address the "simmering distrust" between police and minority communities as he requested $263 million for the federal response to the civil rights upheaval triggered in Ferguson, Missouri.

Police find more than 10 dead horses on Mississippi ranch

JACKSON, Miss. - Authorities found at least 10 dead horses on a Mississippi ranch after receiving a report that more than 170 of the animals, many of them malnourished, were on the property, officials said on Monday. 

Once-lost letter of Beat era, found in California, to be sold at auction

SAN FRANCISCO - An 18-page letter written by Beat-era icon Neal Cassady that transformed Jack Kerouac's writing style will be auctioned off this month as the highlight of a collection of work that could fetch about $500,000 (£317,863).

Bill Cosby bows out as Temple University trustee

PHILADELPHIA - Comedian Bill Cosby has resigned from the board of trustees of Temple University, his alma mater said in a statement on Monday, after the entertainer was hit with a wave of sexual assault accusations.

Chicago police to adopt body cameras, other post-Ferguson changes

CHICAGO - The head of the Chicago Police Department, the second biggest in the United States, said on Monday its officers will start wearing body cameras and it will make other changes after a fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, in August set off a national debate on race and policing.

LA Kings' Voynov pleads not guilty in domestic violence case

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov on Monday pleaded not guilty to felony domestic assault for allegedly attacking his wife in October, the Los Angeles County district attorney said.

Egyptian militants say killed American oil engineer

CAIRO - Egypt's deadliest militant group said on Monday it was behind the killing of an American petroleum engineer whose body was found in a car in a desert region almost four months ago.

Atlanta dog dies after protecting family from shooting: police

- An Atlanta family was saved by its dog when the German Shepherd jumped up and took gunfire directed at their car during a road rage incident between the occupants of two other vehicles, police said on Monday.

Four slain at three West Virginia locations, police seek suspect

- Four people were killed at three sites in northern West Virginia on Monday, and police are looking for a single suspect, a spokesman said.

Synagogue fires Washington rabbi charged with voyeurism

WASHINGTON - A Washington rabbi charged with secretly videotaping women during ritual baths has been fired by his synagogue, the synagogue's board said on Monday.

Obama considering Ashton Carter, others for next defense secretary

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is considering a variety of high-profile figures as his candidate to be the next U.S. defense secretary and replace the resigning Chuck Hagel, administration sources said on Monday.

Bill Cosby quits trustee post at Temple University

PHILADELPHIA - Comedian Bill Cosby has resigned from the board of trustees of Temple University, his alma mater said in a statement on Monday that comes as the entertainer faces accusations of sexual assault.

Jury selection to begin in Montana killing of German teen

- Jury selection is set to begin on Monday in the trial of a Montana man who shot and killed a 17-year-old German exchange student in an incident that has ignited international debate about U.S. gun laws.

Ferguson protesters lawyer up after scores of arrests

FERGUSON, MO. - The young man and woman waiting in the dark outside the St. Louis county jail were bundled up in scarves and hats to ward off a light freezing rain, but still they were shivering. Every time someone emerged from the jail they would scurry with the person to a nearby car, which had the engine running and the heat blasting.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects September 11 environmental appeal

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to revive a New York real estate developer’s lawsuit against the leaseholder of the destroyed World Trade Center and two airlines seeking environmental cleanup costs related to the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked airliner attacks.

Puerto Ricans relieved as mass transit runs but oil worries sparked

SAN JUAN - Mass transit users in San Juan expressed relief Monday morning that the transport was working, a day after an eleventh-hour deal was announced by the governor to halt an expected shutdown, but said a planned crude oil tax hike would hurt.

Trial starts for man accused of killing two Texas prosecutors

ROCKWALL, Texas - A former justice of the peace went on trial on Monday on charges of killing three people, including two Texas prosecutors, in suburban Dallas last year.

Congressional aide to resign after criticizing Obama children: report

WASHINGTON - A congressional aide who recently criticized President Barack Obama's teenage daughters on social media told NBC News on Monday that she would resign.

Cyber ring stole secrets for gaming U.S. stock market: FireEye

BOSTON - Security researchers say they have uncovered a cyber espionage ring focused on stealing corporate secrets for the purpose of gaming the stock market, in an operation that has compromised sensitive data about dozens of publicly held companies.

Wife of NFL's Rice says he never hit her before casino fight

- Janay Rice, the wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, insisted in an interview on NBC's "Today" program that her husband had never hit her prior to their fight in a New Jersey casino elevator in February.

University of Virginia head cancels press appearance amid rape probe

WASHINGTON - University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan canceled a Monday appearance at Washington's National Press Club amid uproar over allegations of rape at a university fraternity, the school said.

No fine for Rams players involved in Ferguson protest: NFL

- The National Football League said on Monday it would not discipline the St. Louis Rams players who staged a show of solidarity with people angry about the controversial shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Obama requests $263 million for federal response to Ferguson, Mo

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama asked Congress on Monday for $263 million for the federal response to the civil rights upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, and is setting up a task force to study how to improve modern-day policing.

U.S. top court wrestles over online threats prosecution

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared conflicted on Monday over whether to uphold the conviction of a Pennsylvania man found guilty of making threatening statements to his estranged wife, law enforcement officers and others on social media.

U.S. military warned of possible Islamic State attacks at home: report

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials have warned military personnel that Islamic State forces may be planning attacks against them in the United States, ABC News reported on Monday.

New York horse and buggy drivers fear imminent job loss

NEW YORK - Hundreds of New York horse and buggy drivers could be on the road to unemployment if a ban of the historic trade makes its way through the city council, a union representing carriage drivers said on Monday.

Obama requests $263 million for federal response to Ferguson

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress on Monday for $263 million for the federal response to the civil rights upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, and is setting up a task force to study how to improve modern-day policing.

U.S. Justice Department names new counterespionage chief

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice has named an experienced former federal prosecutor to oversee its counterespionage efforts, part of a broad restructuring of the national security prosecution team to deal with cyber attacks and the threat of sensitive technology ending up in the wrong hands.

Top Maryland prosecutor in apparent suicide, police say

WASHINGTON - One of Maryland's top prosecutors, who recently lost a re-election bid after 20 years in office, died Saturday morning of an apparent suicide, police said on Sunday.

FAA drone rules to address aircraft certification and operation

- U.S. aviation officials have seen hundreds of cases in which unmanned aircraft may have posed a danger to planes, and new rules on drones expected this year are designed to prevent collisions and other accidents, the top aviation official said on Sunday.

Bomb threat on American Air flight in New York proves false alarm

NEW YORK - An American Airlines airplane that was evacuated at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after a bomb threat has been searched and cleared for service, an official said on Sunday.

Puerto Rico braces for public transport shutdown

SAN JUAN - Puerto Rico's capital braced for a public transportation shutdown Monday, as lawmakers and administration officials held last-ditch talks to approve a crude oil tax hike that could keep San Juan's metropolitan area buses and commuter train running.

Florida man charged with killing his mother using gun, bow and arrow

- A Florida man was charged with murder on Sunday after police found his mother dead and with arrows sticking out of her head while she sat slumped over in a chair, police said.

Missouri officer in fatal shooting resigned without severance: mayor

FERGUSON, Mo. - The white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, got no severance deal when he resigned from the force, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.

Missing Ohio State football player found dead: police

- An Ohio State University football player who went missing earlier this week was found dead on Sunday, authorities said.

Puerto Rico faces public transport shutdown, talks down to wire

SAN JUAN - Puerto Rico could face a public transportation shutdown starting Monday, as talks go to the wire on approving a controversial crude oil tax hike proposed to shore up the island's finances.

Missouri officer in fatal shooting resigned without severance -mayor

FERGUSON, Mo. - The white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, got no severance deal when he resigned from the force, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.

Wife of Ray Rice says he was candid with NFL about assault

- The wife of former Baltimore Ravens’ football player Ray Rice said in an interview that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not truthful when he described Rice as ambiguous about striking her in an elevator early this year.

Puerto Rico to hike oil tax, avert public transit shutdown

SAN JUAN - Puerto Rico's legislature will agree to raise a tax on crude oil, the governor said in a televised speech on Sunday night, averting a shutdown of the island's public transit system and providing more clarity on the financial future of the U.S. commonwealth.

Missing Ohio State football player found dead: police

- An Ohio State University football player who went missing earlier this week was found dead on Sunday not far from his apartment, authorities said.

Online threats case to show if U.S. justices are down with rap

WASHINGTON - A case before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning threats that a Pennsylvania man made toward his estranged wife and others on Facebook could hinge on how the nine justices interpret the sometimes violent imagery in rap lyrics.

Woman shot at Chicago Nordstrom store dies: police

CHICAGO - A Nordstrom worker shot by her former boyfriend in a Chicago store died on Saturday, police sources said.

Hundreds search for missing Ohio State football player

- Hundreds of volunteers have joined the search for an Ohio State University football player who went missing earlier this week and was absent from the team's game on Saturday, where he was scheduled to be honored alongside other players.

Missouri police officer who killed black teen resigns: report

- The Missouri police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager has resigned from the force, nearly four months after the fatal shooting and about a week after a grand jury decided not to indict him, according to media reports citing the officer's lawyer.

New York man collecting food for needy killed as thief steals his car

- A Long Island, New York, man collecting food for a soup kitchen was killed when a car thief stole his car from outside a convenience store and ran him over, police said on Saturday.

Three people shot to death in Atlanta, two injured

ATLANTA - Three people were shot to death and two injured early Saturday morning at an Atlanta house, police said.Three men died of multiple gunshot wounds, Atlanta police spokesman Greg Lyon told Reuters. Two other people were injured and are in stable condition at a local hospital, Lyon said.Police have not released a possible motive.

Obama and daughters hit bookstore for Small Business Saturday

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and his teenaged daughters, Sasha and Malia, went to an independent book store in Washington to buy books as a way to promote Small Business Saturday, an event aimed at boosting small businesses.

Missouri governor seeks more money for Ferguson security

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Saturday called for more funding to maintain security in Ferguson after months of violent protests over the shooting of a black teenager by a white policeman depleted emergency appropriations.

Teen missing four years found alive, hidden behind wall near Atlanta

JONESBORO, Ga. - A 13-year-old boy who had been reported missing four years ago was discovered alive, hidden behind a fake wall of a home near Atlanta, Georgia, and reunited with his mother early on Saturday, police said.

Surgeon who died of Ebola eulogized at Maryland service

LANDOVER HILLS, Md. - Martin Salia, a surgeon from Sierra Leone who died in a Nebraska hospital earlier this month after contracting Ebola in his homeland, was remembered as a humanitarian and a hero at his funeral in Maryland on Saturday.

Washington state woman shoots man trying to enter home: TV station

- A woman shot a 22-year-old man trying to barge into her home early on Thanksgiving morning in a Seattle suburb, and he may have been drinking and gone to the home by mistake, a television station reported.

Exclusive: U.S. CEOs threaten to pull tacit Obamacare support over 'wellness' spat

NEW YORK - Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration's challenge to certain "workplace wellness" programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.S. Black Friday shopping marked by thinner crowds, protests

WEST HARTFORD, Conn./CHICAGO - Mall crowds were relatively thin on Black Friday in a sign of what has become the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping: the mad rush is happening the night of Thanksgiving and more consumers are picking up deals online.

Two shot, one killed in Chicago Nordstrom store: Chicago Tribune

- Two people were shot, and one of them killed, in a Chicago Nordstrom on Friday, sending Black Friday shoppers scattering from the store, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Arizona man who visited Sierra Leone hospitalized over Ebola concerns

- A Phoenix man who became ill after returning this week from Sierra Leone, one of the three West African nations hardest hit by an Ebola outbreak, was taken to a hospital on Friday to check if he was infected with the virus, officials said.

New York State blocks free medical services at event

NEW YORK - New York state health officials have stopped a nonprofit group from providing free medical care to thousands of patients lacking health insurance during a four-day dental conference that starts Friday. 

Lawsuit accuses Wells Fargo of biased lending in Chicago area

- Wells Fargo & Co was sued on Friday by Cook County, Illinois, which accused the largest U.S. mortgage lender of targeting black, Hispanic and female borrowers with predatory and discriminatory lending in the Chicago area.

Lawsuit accuses Wells Fargo of biased lending in Chicago area

- Wells Fargo & Co was sued on Friday by Cook County, Illinois, which accused the largest U.S. mortgage lender of targeting black, Hispanic and female borrowers with predatory and discriminatory lending in the Chicago area.

Arizona man hospitalized over Ebola concerns tests negative

- A Phoenix man who became ill after returning this week from Sierra Leone, one of the three West African nations hardest hit by an Ebola outbreak, on Friday was taken to a hospital where he tested negative for the virus, officials said.

St. Louis-area mall closes on Black Friday as Ferguson protests spread

FERGUSON, Mo. - Demonstrators shut down a shopping mall near Ferguson, Missouri, at the start of the holiday shopping season on Friday as protests over the killing of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer turned on some retailers around the country.

Shades of Ferguson: family of NY teen shot dead by cop wins lawsuit

NEW YORK - Relatives of a Hispanic teen shot dead by a white New York police officer are headed back to court in January after winning a lawsuit in a case that could set the stage for the family of slain teenager Michael Brown.

Christmas tree arrives at White House

WASHINGTON - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama received the annual Christmas tree delivery at the White House on Friday, heralding the start of the holiday season.

Man loses legs in Exxon Baton Rouge refinery incident: local media

HOUSTON - A contract worker lost his legs in an accident on Thursday at Exxon Mobil Corp's Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery, according to a report by WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge.

Judge orders Wal-Mart to let NYC church challenge gun sales

- A federal judge ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc to let shareholders vote on a proposal to force tighter oversight of its sale of high-capacity guns and other potentially offensive products.

U.N. torture watchdog urges U.S. to crack down on police brutality

GENEVA - The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used only in life-threatening situations.

Black Friday shopping crowds thin after Thanksgiving rush

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Mall crowds were relatively thin early on Black Friday in a sign of what has become the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping: the mad rush is happening the night of Thanksgiving and more consumers are picking up deals online.

Police kill man after suspected political attack in Texas capital

AUSTIN, Texas - Police in Austin shot and killed a man who opened fire on a U.S. federal courthouse, Mexican consulate and police headquarters in the Texas capital on Friday in an attack that appears to be politically motivated.

Calm comes to troubled Ferguson; protests dwindle across U.S.

FERGUSON, Mo. - Tensions eased in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson on Thursday after two nights of violence and looting sparked by racially charged anger over a grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Protesters target Black Friday sales in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. - Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri began targeting Black Friday sales at major retailers overnight in a new tactic to vent their anger at a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.

Shades of Ferguson: family of NY teen shot dead by cop wins lawsuit

NEW YORK - Relatives of a Hispanic teen shot dead by a white New York police officer are headed back to court in January after winning a lawsuit in a case that could set the stage for the family of slain teenager Michael Brown.

Ridesharing firm Uber suspends operations in Nevada

- Ridesharing company Uber suspended its operations in the U.S. state of Nevada late on Wednesday in a setback that it said would cost nearly 1,000 jobs.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg released from hospital

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member of the nine-justice court, was released from a Washington hospital on Thursday after undergoing a heart procedure, a court statement said.

Thankful to arrive on snowy U.S. holiday with power out, travel delays

NEW YORK - Millions of Americans were thankful just to arrive at their Thanksgiving feasts on Thursday after a snowstorm dumped up to 20 inches of snow on Eastern states, causing flight delays and power outages.

Boston Verizon FiOS subscribers lose access to local Fox channel

- Boston-area Verizon customers found themselves cut off from one kind of Thanksgiving bird on Thursday - football team the Eagles.

San Diego State fraternities halt parties after anti-rape march fracas

SAN DIEGO - Fraternities and sororities at San Diego State University have suspended all social activities until their members undergo sexual assault prevention training after disturbances erupted during an anti-rape march, a university official said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge puts Arizona's 'revenge porn' bill on hold

PHOENIX - A U.S. judge on Wednesday put on hold enforcement of Arizona's "revenge porn" law that made it a felony to post online nude images of others without their consent, after a rights group said the measure was too broad and state attorneys agreed it should be revisited.

FedEx Freight workers in Louisville vote against union membership

CHICAGO - Drivers at a Louisville facility of FedEx Corp's trucking unit voted on Wednesday against union representation, dealing a blow to a concerted effort by the Teamsters to unionize the Memphis-based company.

Fake doctor gets 23 years for sex assault on 9-year-old Colorado girl

- A Colorado man convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl while posing as an immigration facility doctor to gain access to her family's home was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Australian extradited to U.S. in Silk Road online drugs bazaar case

SYDNEY - Australia has extradited a man to the United States to face trial for alleged involvement in Silk Road, a website where people bought illegal drugs like heroin using digital currency bitcoin, a government official said on Thursday.

Hiker took cell phone photos of bear before fatal New Jersey mauling

- A hiker who was mauled to death by a black bear in September took photos of the lumbering animal just before the fatal attack in a heavily wooded area of northern New Jersey, police said Wednesday.

U.S. Ebola survivors say thankful for 'second chance'

WASHINGTON - Six of the nine Ebola patients treated in the United States in recent months met for the first time on Wednesday, saying their ordeals fighting the virus have not dampened their desire to help others and that they are grateful to be alive.

Police probe man's death in area near Ferguson protests

- St. Louis County police said on Wednesday they were investigating the death of a black man found shot and set on fire near an area where rioting erupted after a grand jury did not indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of a black teenager.

Illinois asks state's top court to revive pension overhaul

- Illinois, which is struggling to bolster a shaky public pension system weighed down by a $104.6 billion shortfall, has asked the state's highest court to reverse a lower court ruling that declared a planned overhaul unconstitutional.

Convicted Texas murderer featured in 'Bernie' film gets sentencing hearing

DALLAS - A former mortician serving a life sentence for murdering an elderly East Texas woman in a case that inspired the 2011 film "Bernie" will receive a new punishment hearing, a state appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

Connecticut to offer driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

MILFORD, Conn. - Connecticut said on Wednesday that it will provide special driver's licenses for illegal immigrants starting next week to help stop them from driving the state's roads unregistered and uninsured.

Last of three New Jersey siblings shot by mother dies of wounds

- An 11-year-old New Jersey boy, one of three siblings shot by their mother last week before she turned the gun on herself, has died of his wounds, becoming the fourth fatality in the shootings, state police said on Wednesday.

Police make arrest in $50,000 fur coat heist in Connecticut

MILFORD, Conn. - Police have arrested one of two men suspected of grabbing $50,000 worth of fur coats on Wednesday from a high-end clothing shop in Greenwich, Connecticut, and then speeding off in a getaway car to New York.

FBI arrests man in Texas suspected of being gang hit man

SAN ANTONIO - The FBI arrested a 36-year-old San Antonio man on Wednesday accused of being a mob hit man who is suspected in at least three murders and believed to have given the order to have a Texas police officer killed, the FBI said.

Mississippi football rivalry marred by threat to campus greenery

- An anonymous, hand-written note threatening damage to trees and shrubs on the University of Mississippi campus ahead of a major intra-state football game was turned over to federal investigators on Wednesday, the school said in a statement.

Miners ask court to lift ban on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

- The American mining industry is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a ban on new uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon in a legal battle with environmentalists over impacts on the premier U.S. park.

Arizona appeals panel rules no secret testimony in Arias murder case

PHOENIX - An Arizona appeals court tossed out a ruling on Wednesday by a judge presiding over the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias to allow a witness to testify out of the public eye.

East Coast storm hampers Thanksgiving travel

NEW YORK - A blast of rain and snow along the East Coast snarled traffic and disrupted flights for millions of Americans at the start of the long Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally the busiest time of the year for U.S. travel.

More than 400 arrested as Ferguson protests spread to other U.S. cities

FERGUSON, Mo. - National Guard troops and police aimed to head off a third night of violence on Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, as more than 400 people have been arrested in the St. Louis suburb and around the United States in civil unrest after a white policeman was cleared in the killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Texas man dies after crashing vehicle in parking lot stunt

DALLAS - A Texas man doing high-speed spins in his sports utility vehicle at a Dallas-area Wal-Mart parking lot died after his car crashed into a loading dock, trapping him inside, and caught fire, police said on Wednesday.

Mac and Cheese beak-to-beak in contest for Obama turkey pardon

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama is set to announce Wednesday afternoon whether Mac or Cheese will be America's top turkey, then both birds will travel to their new home: a farm in Virginia.

Cleveland to release video of police shooting of 12-year-old boy

CLEVELAND - Cleveland officials said they would release on Wednesday video of the fatal police shooting of a 12-year-old boy who had brandished a pellet gun.

Eastern U.S. storm threatens to foil Thanksgiving travel

NEW YORK - A storm expected to blast the East Coast with rain and snow through Thursday morning is threatening to snarl traffic for millions and impede air travel ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

U.S. FAA proposes requiring fix for Boeing 787 Dreamliner

NEW YORK - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration proposed requiring a fix for Boeing Co's 787-8 Dreamliner on Wednesday, a move prompted by "numerous reports of failures of proximity sensors" on the high-tech plane's wings.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg recovering after heart procedure

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Wednesday underwent a heart procedure at a Washington hospital after reporting discomfort following routine exercise, a court statement said.

U.S. government says 462,125 health plans selected on Healthcare.gov

- During the first week of open enrollment for 2015 in the individual health plans created by the national healthcare reform law, 462,125 people selected plans from the federal healthcare website Healthcare.gov, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.

U.S. issues travel warning for Djibouti over terror threat

NAIROBI - The United States has issued a warning to travelers citing "specific threats from terrorism" aimed at Western and local interests in the east African nation of Djibouti.

Police arrest 44 in second, calmer night of Ferguson protests

FERGUSON, Mo. - Forty-four people were arrested during a second, calmer night of demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in August, police said early on Wednesday.

Utah agrees to drop parts of disputed 2011 immigration law

- Utah has agreed to roll back key provisions of a 2011 state law allowing police to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being undocumented, a civil liberties group said on Tuesday.

Two FBI agents shot at house near Ferguson unrest: broadcaster

FERGUSON, Mo. - Two FBI officers were shot and wounded at a house in north St. Louis County early on Wednesday, though it was not immediately clear if the incident was linked to racially-charged unrest in and around nearby Ferguson, media reported.

Federal judge rules Mississippi gay marriage ban unconstitutional

- A U.S. district judge on Tuesday struck down Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

In blow to tax negotiators, Obama threatens veto

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama pledged on Tuesday to veto a deal still under negotiation in Congress that would make several expiring business tax breaks permanent.

U.S. judge rules Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A U.S. district judge ruled on Tuesday that an Arkansas constitutional amendment defining marriage as being only the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional, striking down a measure overwhelmingly approved by voters a decade ago.

Brown family attorneys blasts grand jury process

- Attorneys for the family of Michael Brown blasted the grand jury process that led to a decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed the black teenager in August.

Sharpton slams grand jury process in Ferguson, Missouri, shooting

- Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton said the grand jury system was misused in the case of Michael Brown, the black teenager shot and killed in August by a white police officer in a St. Louis suburb.

Only three in 10 Americans have HIV under control: government report

CHICAGO - Just 30 percent of Americans living with HIV have the virus in check, putting others at risk of infection, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

Supreme court to weigh challenge to Obama mercury air pollution rule

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to weigh a challenge by industry groups and some states to an Obama administration regulation intended to limit emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants.

New U.S. exhibit puts visitor in midst of World War Two

NEW ORLEANS - A national museum commemorating the American experience of World War Two will open a new exhibit next month aimed at bringing the sounds and sensations of the conflict to new generations.

Turkey and all the drippings: rain, snow may snarl U.S. holiday travel

NEW YORK - Treacherous weather predicted for the day before Thanksgiving prompted some of the 46.3 million Americans expected to travel this holiday weekend, the year's busiest, to bump their flight and driving plans up to Tuesday.

U.S. justices to consider police conduct in arrest of disabled woman

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider whether police officers were required under federal law to accommodate a violent woman's mental disability during an incident in San Francisco that led to her being shot multiple times.

Ex-NFL defensive back charged with domestic assault in Virginia

- Former Washington Redskins defensive back Fred Smoot has been charged with domestic assault following an altercation at a suburban Washington home, police said Tuesday.

Independent investigator named for alleged UVA frat gang rape

RICHMOND, Va. - An independent investigator will examine allegations of a 2012 gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house that was described in harrowing detail in Rolling Stone magazine, the state's attorney general said on Tuesday.

Two Minneapolis men charged with conspiring to support Islamic State

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged two Minnesota men with supporting Islamic State, the militant group that has captured swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq and carried out gruesome executions of civilians and foreigners.

FBI raids Puerto Rico sewer authority PRASA

NEW YORK/SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a surprise raid at Puerto Rico's Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) on Tuesday in a probe the head of the commonwealth agency said was focused on a single case and not the entire agency.

Vote tally too close, recount ordered on Oregon GMO labeling

- The final vote tally on an Oregon ballot measure that would require labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients was so close that state officials are doing a recount, a spokesman for the state said on Tuesday.

Explosion injures five Memphis utility workers, three critically

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An explosion injured five Memphis utility workers, three of them critically, on Tuesday while they were working on an underground gas line, fire officials said.

Oklahoma woman shot and killed by three-year-old son: police

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma woman was fatally shot in the head by her 3-year-old son who came across a handgun in their Tulsa home, police said on Tuesday.

Judge denies Boston bomb suspect request for triple murder evidence

BOSTON - A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for evidence in the ongoing investigation of a 2011 Massachusetts triple murder, saying the information wouldn't help their case.

U.S. judge rules Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A U.S. district judge ruled on Tuesday that an Arkansas constitutional amendment that defines legal marriage as being only the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional.

Honeymoon interrupted as disorderly Brit hauled off plane in Bermuda

HAMILTON, Bermuda - A British man headed to his honeymoon on a Cuba-bound flight instead found himself grounded in Bermuda after drunkenly threatening the flight crew, with his wife continuing on to Cuba without him, authorities in Bermuda said on Tuesday.

Florida police arrest students in alleged prostitution ring

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida prostitution ring allegedly run by high school students who tried to recruit classmates with the promise of $40 and liquor was broken up after a second teenager was arrested in the underage sex scheme, police said on Tuesday.

New Jersey pension system funding plummets under new rule

- New Jersey's retirement system for public employees is in worse shape than previously reported, thanks to recent accounting changes that are starting to be rolled out across the country.

Obama heckled over immigration policies in Chicago appearance

CHICAGO - President Barack Obama was interrupted several times by hecklers during a speech on his immigration policy on Tuesday, and their complaint was that his plan did not go far enough in protecting illegal immigrants from deportation.

More U.S. troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots

FERGUSON, Mo. - Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more National Guard troops on Tuesday to a St. Louis suburb rocked by rioting and looting after a grand jury declined to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Double arm transplant recipient thanks doctors in Boston

BOSTON - A 40-year-old quadruple amputee on Tuesday thanked the Boston surgeons who performed a rare dual arm transplant on him last month and described the experience of getting the new limbs as surreal.

For world's police, force of the law meets the law of force

- U.S. police are under pressure not only for the killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, for which a grand jury decided on Monday not to indict the police officer, but also for the military-style response to the sometimes violent protests that followed.

Police say 61 arrested in rioting around Ferguson, Missouri

FERGUSON, Mo. - Some 61 people were arrested during a night of unrest in the St. Louis suburbs following a grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teen, the St. Louis County Police Department said on Tuesday.

U.N. rights chief faults U.S. law enforcement after Ferguson grand jury

GENEVA - U.S. authorities should review how race-related issues affect law enforcement and justice to tackle a "deep and festering" mistrust in some sectors of the population, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement on Tuesday.

Celebrated California farm sows seeds for next generation

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. - Growing up among rows of purple haze carrots, delicate Mara des Bois strawberries and corn sweet enough to eat raw, Makoto Chino might have been one of the best-fed kids in America.

Why a small North Dakota town is taking on big rail

ENDERLIN, N.D. - After her shift at the TraXside Cafe in the southeast North Dakota hamlet of Enderlin, all Karla Souer wants to do is go home. Unfortunately for the 38-year-old waitress the commute, which should only last a minute or two, can take a half-an-hour. That's because, chances are, there's a Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd train blocking the tracks somewhere on her route.

Exclusive: U.S. to leave more troops in Afghanistan than first planned - sources

KABUL - The United States is preparing to increase the number of troops it keeps in Afghanistan in 2015 to fill a gap left in the NATO mission by other contributing nations, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

U.S. introduces menu calorie labeling to fight obesity

- The U.S. government will publish sweeping new rules on Tuesday requiring chain restaurants and large vending machine operators to disclose calorie counts on menus to make people more aware of the risks of obesity posed by fatty, sugary foods.

Obama on Ferguson: U.S. 'has more work to do' on race relations

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama issued an appeal on Monday for restraint by protesters and police after a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teen last August.

At least 12 buildings go up in flames in violence-torn Ferguson area

FERGUSON, Mo. - At least a dozen buildings were set on fire in Ferguson, Missouri, most of them destroyed, in a wave of civil unrest following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in August, police said on Tuesday.

Hagel, under pressure, resigns as U.S. defense secretary

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday, leaving under pressure as President Barack Obama faces critical national security challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and revising plans to exit Afghanistan.

Michael Brown family is 'profoundly disappointed,' urges peaceful protests

- The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in August, said on Monday they are "profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child" was not indicted.

Ferguson protests small but growing amid din of car horns, drum

FERGUSON, Mo. - Tensions mounted among hundreds of protesters waiting for Monday night's grand jury decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, as National Guard and police moved into position for possible mass arrests.

California man walks free after conviction overturned in 1978 murder

VENTURA, Calif. - A California man who spent more than 30 years in prison for a 1978 murder walked free on Monday after a judge overturned his conviction based on new DNA analysis and investigative reports that were withheld from his defense.

Internet access among services approved for Seattle homeless camps

SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council voted on Monday to approve a new city budget that includes money that could be used to provide Internet access at some of the city's dozens of homeless encampments.

Exclusive: Ex-broker must pay $2 million to former NBA player

- A former securities broker that regulators said took part in a multi-million dollar fraud against professional athletes must pay $2 million to former NBA player Sam Young, an arbitration panel ruled on Monday.

Missouri governor urges calm ahead of grand jury decision on shooting

CLAYTON, Mo./FERGUSON, Mo. - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon urged people in the St. Louis area to show respect and restraint following a grand jury's decision on whether to criminally charge a white police officer in the August fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Exclusive: Ex-Broker must pay $2 million to former NBA player

- A former securities broker whom regulators said took part in a multi-million dollar fraud must pay $2 million to a former NBA player, an arbitration panel ruled on Monday.

Man accused in deadly Missouri crime spree pleads not guilty

- A man accused of killing five people during a crime spree in a Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood pleaded not guilty on Monday to murder and other charges, a court official said.

Hundreds of University of California students walk out over proposed tuition hike

- Hundreds of University of California students walked out of classes on Monday to protest a planned 25 percent tuition increase they say will make the cost of education across the 10-campus system too expensive.

Obama awards Medal of Freedom to 18, including Streep, Wonder

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Monday presented the highest U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to 18 artists, politicians, writers, scholars and activists, including actress Meryl Streep and singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.

Texas couples ask U.S. court to allow same-sex marriage in state

SAN ANTONIO - Two same-sex couples filed a motion in federal court in San Antonio on Monday seeking enforcement of a judge's decision that would allow gay marriage in Texas.

U.S. Coast Guard to fly 193 wayward turtles from Boston to Florida

BOSTON - The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday it would transport 193 endangered sea turtles by plane from Massachusetts to Florida after they got trapped in frigid waters off Cape Cod.

Three Ohio teens sentenced for fake ALS bucket attack

CLEVELAND - Three Ohio teenagers who admitted to pouring a bucket containing urine, cigarette butts and spit over the head of an autistic boy were sentenced on Monday to at least 100 hours of community service, court records said.

New York City renters can sue landlords as group, court says

ALBANY, N.Y. - In a decision that will allow thousands of New Yorkers to sue their landlords, the state's top court on Monday ruled that tenants of three Manhattan apartment buildings who claim their rent was illegally raised can proceed with class action lawsuits.

NYC doctor known for radio ads settles Medicare fraud case

NEW YORK - Gilbert Lederman, a former director of radiation oncology at Staten Island University Hospital, agreed to pay $2.35 million to resolve claims that he defrauded Medicare by seeking reimbursement for an experimental cancer treatment he claimed to have pioneered in the United States.

Oregon police told to remove altered badge images backing Ferguson officer

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland's police chief ordered three officers on Monday to remove an image of the Oregon city's police badge from their Facebook pages that had been altered to show support for a policeman who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

California man's conviction in 1978 murder overturned on DNA evidence

VENTURA, Calif. - A California man who spent more than 30 years in prison for a 1978 murder was ordered released on Monday by a judge who overturned his conviction based on DNA analysis and investigative reports that were withheld from his defense.

Driver in fatal Northern California bus crash had earlier accident

- The driver of a tour bus that drifted off a California freeway near the Oregon border and slid down an embankment, killing one person and injuring about 30 others on Sunday, was involved in another crash hours before the fatal accident, police said on Monday.

Man sentenced in Texas overdose death of T. Boone Pickens' grandson

DALLAS - A former Texas Christian University student accused of killing the grandson of billionaire T. Boone Pickens by injecting him with heroin was sentenced to 10 years' probation on Monday as part of a plea deal.

University of Texas acquires archives of literary giant García Márquez

AUSTIN, Texas - A research library at the University of Texas has acquired the archives of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez, whose spellbinding stories of love and longing brought Latin America to life for millions of readers around the world.

Missouri prosecutor to make statement on shooting of teen: CNN

FERGUSON, Mo. - A St. Louis Country prosecutor is expected to make an announcement later on Monday on the grand jury that has been reviewing whether to charge a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in the August shooting of an unarmed black teen, CNN reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement source.

Detroit eyes bankruptcy exit in second week of December: attorney

DETROIT - Detroit is eying a date between Dec. 8 and 10 for its debt adjustment plan to take effect, allowing the city to exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy, an attorney said on Monday.

Oklahoma students protest bullying of suspected rape victims at school

NORMAN, Okla. - Hundreds of students at an Oklahoma high school walked out of classes on Monday to protest what they said was a failure by school administrators to take care of three girls who have accused a male classmate of sexually assaulting them.

Video of Cleveland police shooting released to family representatives

CLEVELAND - Cleveland officials said on Monday they have released a video recording of the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy by police to representatives of the boy's family, and will eventually release it to the public.

College student in custody after Texas military post lockdown

SAN ANTONIO - A male college student has been taken into custody for driving an unauthorized vehicle onto San Antonio's Fort Sam Houston on Sunday night, sparking a lockdown and a full security alert, officials said on Monday.

African-American prosecutor named to California Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO - California Governor Jerry Brown nominated a 38-year old U.S. Department of Justice attorney for the California Supreme Court on Monday, continuing his reshaping of the top court in the nation's most populous state.

U.S. housing finance regulator leaves loan limits mostly unchanged

WASHINGTON - The top U.S. housing finance regulator said on Monday it would leave unchanged next year the maximum loan size that government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can guarantee.

Florida State student paralyzed in library shooting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A 21-year-old Florida State University student is paralyzed from the waist down after being wounded in last week's library shooting, his sister said on Monday.

Teen in crash that killed five enroute to Disney World avoids citation

NEW ORLEANS - A careless driving citation against a Texas teenager at the wheel during a car accident that killed five members of his family as they traveled to Florida's Disney World will be dismissed, prosecutors said on Monday.

FBI says 27 U.S. law enforcement died during crimes in 2013; sharp drop

WASHINGTON - The FBI reported on Monday that 76 law enforcement officers in the United States died last year while on duty, including 27 during criminal acts, a sharp drop from 2012.

N.Y. court rejects hate crime conviction in transgender murder

ALBANY, N.Y. - New York's top court said prosecutors seeking to convict the killer of a transgender woman can press for a new trial after losing on Monday their appeal to reinstate his conviction and 25-year sentence for what they said was a hate crime.

Florida woman agrees to plea in 'warning shot' case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A north Florida woman facing a retrial on charges of aggravated assault after she said she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband agreed on Monday to plead guilty after her sentence was dramatically reduced.

Seattle councillors to vote on funding Internet access at homeless camps

SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council was expected to vote Monday on a measure that would fund Internet access at the city's homeless camps.

Alleged Sinaloa cartel logistics head to be sentenced in Chicago

CHICAGO - An alleged top member of the Sinaloa drug trafficking cartel will appear in court for sentencing on Monday in a case that has highlighted Chicago's role as a hub for distributing tons of cocaine throughout the United States from 1998 to 2008.

Two more deaths identified by GM ignition-switch program

NEW YORK - Two additional deaths have been attributed to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co vehicles, bringing the total to 35, according a report on Monday from the lawyer overseeing a program to compensate for deaths and accidents linked to the part.

Hagel resigns as defense secretary

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday, the first major change to President Barack Obama's Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago.

Confession of accused Etan Patz killer admissible as evidence: NY court

NEW YORK - The confession of a man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz, who vanished from a New York street more than three decades ago, can be used as evidence against him, a Manhattan court ruled on Monday.

New York's Cuomo warns snow-hit Buffalo of risk to roofs

BUFFALO, N.Y. - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned residents of Buffalo, New York, which is still digging out from as much as seven feet of snow, to beware of roof collapses as the weather warms.

University of Virginia student leaders urge fight against sex assault

- Student leaders at the University of Virginia urged the school community on Monday to join together to fight sexual violence after an article in Rolling Stone magazine that described an alleged gang rape on campus at a fraternity house.

Outerwall hikes prices for movie, video game rentals

- Outerwall Inc hiked prices for renting movies and video games at its Redbox kiosks to help fund improvements in its business as streaming sites reduce demand for DVDs.

Two U.S. soldiers killed in bomb attack in Afghan capital: sources

KABUL - Two U.S. soldiers were killed when their vehicle was hit by a bomb in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, officials and sources said.

Grand jury expected to resume Ferguson police shooting deliberations

FERGUSON, Mo. - A St. Louis-area grand jury was expected on Monday to resume deliberations over whether to bring charges against a white policeman who shot and killed a black teenager in a case that has triggered months of demonstrations and set the city on edge.

Cleveland boy with pellet gun dies after police shoot him

CLEVELAND - A 12-year-old boy who was shot by police after he brandished a pellet gun at a Cleveland recreation center died on Sunday from his injuries, officials said.

Crews rescue two women in Chicago apartment collapse

- Search-and-rescue crews pulled two women and a dog from the rubble of a collapsed Chicago apartment building on Sunday night and were searching for more victims, fire officials said.

U.S. Army base in Texas lifts lockdown after suspicious vehicle found

SAN ANTONIO - A brief lockdown at a U.S Army base in San Antonio was lifted after officials detained a man on Sunday in what a military spokesman described as a "high-security incident," while adding there was no threat.

Flooding could follow heavy snow in western New York

BUFFALO - Emergency workers filled thousands of sandbags on Sunday as the area around Buffalo, New York braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures began to melt up to seven feet (2 meters) of snow.

Anxious Ferguson waits for grand jury's decision

FERGUSON, Mo. - After a fourth straight night of low-level protests in Ferguson, Missouri, anxious residents still did not know on Sunday when a grand jury would return a decision on whether to charge a white policeman who shot an unarmed black teen to death this summer.

Flooding could follow heavy snow in western New York

BUFFALO - Emergency workers filled thousands of sandbags on Sunday as the area around Buffalo, New York braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures began to melt up to seven feet (2 meters) of snow.

Scandal-plagued former Washington mayor Marion Barry dies

WASHINGTON - Marion Barry, the scandal-plagued former mayor of Washington, D.C., who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine before making a surprising return to office, died early on Sunday aged 78.

New Jersey mother dies days after shooting her children, police say

- A New Jersey mother who shot and killed two of her children and critically wounded a third before turning the gun on herself died on Sunday, three days after the shootings, state police said.

Small quake shakes Dallas area, stirring fracking critics

- A light earthquake shook the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of North Texas on Saturday night, leaving no known damage or casualties but stirring concern about the potential of the area's oil and gas fracking industry to generate seismic activity.

Anxious Ferguson waits for grand jury's decision

FERGUSON, Mo. - After a fourth straight night of low-level protests in Ferguson, Missouri, anxious residents still did not know on Sunday when a grand jury would return a decision on whether to charge a white policeman who shot an unarmed black teen to death this summer.

New York lawmakers meet to address police shooting of unarmed man

- New York City elected officials were meeting on Sunday to discuss community concerns following the shooting death of an unarmed man in Brooklyn by a police officer who said his weapon discharged accidentally, officials said.

New York City baby shot as father cleaned illegal weapon, police say

- A nine-month-old baby was shot and severely wounded on Sunday by her father, who told New York City police his gun accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it.

More than 30 horses die in stable fire outside Chicago: reports

CHICAGO - As many as 32 horses died in a fire at a stable and boarding facility in a town outside Chicago, local media reported on Sunday.

Man hunting geese in New Jersey accidentally kills himself: police

- A man hunting geese with his father in New Jersey shot and killed himself in what police said Sunday appeared to be an accident.

Cleveland boy with pellet gun dies after police shoot him

CLEVELAND - A 12-year-old boy who was shot by police after he brandished a pellet gun at a Cleveland recreation center died on Sunday from his injuries, officials said.

Florida gunman aimed to kill as many officers as he could, police say

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida gunman who gunned down a sheriff’s deputy and wounded another this weekend before being killed in a wild exchange of fire with police wanted to take down as many law-enforcement officers as possible, authorities said on Sunday.

Obama's day off: Golf with baseball great Derek Jeter

NORTH LAS VEGAS Nev. - Of all the more than 200 rounds of golf Barack Obama has played as president, his outing on Saturday will probably prove to be a highlight: Teeing it up with New York Yankees great Derek Jeter.

Activist Sharpton calls for probe into police shooting of NYC man

- Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton on Saturday called for an investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed man by a New York police officer inside a dark stairwell at a Brooklyn housing project.

University of Virginia suspends fraternal organizations in assaults probe

- The University of Virginia is suspending all fraternal organizations until January after a magazine article described in detail an alleged sexual assault that occurred on the campus, the school said on Saturday.

Three-year-old boy shot by playmate in Washington state -police

SEATTLE - A 3-year-old boy in Washington state was shot in the mouth apparently by a 4-year-old playmate, law enforcement officials said.

Florida sheriff's deputy killed in 'ambush attack' during house fire

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A Florida sheriff's deputy was killed and a fellow officer was wounded Saturday in an ambush while responding to a house fire in Tallahassee, law enforcement officials said.

Bill Cosby says he does not have to 'answer to innuendos': report

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Bill Cosby spoke out against a wave of sexual assault allegations but told a Florida publication he does not have to "answer to innuendos."

Florida State players, fans show support for shooting victims

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida State University football players wore commemorative stickers on their helmets for their home game against Boston College on Saturday, a show of support for three people injured on campus this week by a gunman who was later killed by police.

Missouri town on edge awaiting grand jury decision on police shooting

FERGUSON Mo - An uneasy quiet settled over Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday evening after another day without a decision from a grand jury on whether to bring charges against a white police officer for fatally shooting a black teen.

Volunteer snow shovelers hit Buffalo streets as flooding fears rise

BUFFALO - As temperatures near Buffalo, New York, rose above freezing on Saturday, volunteers fanned out to help their neighbors clear the walls of snow that have paralyzed parts of the region this week, but the warming trend also raised the threat of flooding.

Bighorn sheep escapes Los Angeles Zoo, dies after car strikes it

LOS ANGELES - A bighorn sheep escaped from the Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park on Saturday and dashed around the hills in the park for hours before it ended up on a residential street where it was struck by a car and died, a zoo spokeswoman said.

Volunteer snow shovelers hit Buffalo streets as flooding fears rise

BUFFALO - As temperatures near Buffalo, New York, rose above freezing on Saturday, volunteers fanned out to help their neighbors clear the walls of snow that have paralyzed parts of the region this week, but the warming trend also raised the threat of flooding.

Four dead in murder-suicide on South Dakota reservation, police say

SEATTLE - A South Dakota man shot and killed three people and critically wounded a fourth person before taking his own life at a residence on a Native American reservation, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Mother's death leads NFL player to fight domestic abuse

- Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay remembers arriving at the hospital as a confused 7-year-old trying to understand why members of his family were sobbing uncontrollably.

Louisiana AG disagrees with ruling that would free 'Angola Three' inmate

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana's attorney general disagreed on Friday with a federal court ruling overturning the conviction of the last of the prisoners known as the "Angola Three," who has spent 42 years in solitary confinement.

Seattle police body cameras plan revived by deal with anonymous programmer

SEATTLE - A Seattle police plan to outfit officers with body cameras was back on for early December after the agency struck an unusual deal with an anonymous programmer whose massive public-records requests threatened to cripple the program, police said on Friday.

FBI arrests two would-be Ferguson bomb suspects: law enforcement source

FERGUSON Mo. - Two men suspected of buying explosives they planned to detonate during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, once a grand jury decides the Michael Brown case, were arrested on Friday and charged with federal firearms offenses, a law enforcement official told Reuters.

Officials prepare for Ferguson grand jury decision, urge calm

FERGUSON Mo. - Police and protest organizers laid the groundwork on Friday for steps to avert street violence once a St. Louis-area grand jury decides whether to indict the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.

Four killed, child injured in shooting at Cleveland home

- Two men and two women were killed, and a 10-year-old girl was injured in a shooting inside a Cleveland, Ohio home on Friday, officials said.

New Jersey home shooting appears to be murder-suicide gone awry

PHILADELPHIA - A day after a shooting in New Jersey that left two children dead and their mother and brother in critical condition, police said on Friday it appeared to be a murder-suicide attempt gone awry.

Connecticut man pleads not guilty in son's death in hot car

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man pleaded not guilty on Friday to a charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of his 15-month-old son, who died on a hot summer day after the father left him in the back seat of his car and went into work.

Review set for University of Virginia policy after campus rape report

- An independent counsel will review the University of Virginia's sexual violence policies after a Rolling Stone story on an alleged gang rape at a fraternity, state Attorney General Mark Herring said on Friday.

Obama seeks support for immigration plan, blasts Boehner

LAS VEGAS - President Barack Obama defended his decision to bypass Congress and overhaul U.S. immigration policy on his own on Friday, saying he was forced to act because House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner would not let legislation come to a vote.

Woman says New Orleans police closed rape case as consensual sex

NEW ORLEANS - The lawyer for a woman who says her rape was dismissed by New Orleans police as consensual sex wants the case to be among the hundreds of mishandled sex crime and child abuse cases reopened by the department, she told a press conference on Friday.

Indiana man beheaded in Syria remembered in Muslim prayer service

FISHERS Ind. - Muslims in Indiana held a funeral service on Friday for Abdul- Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants in Syria after being held captive for a year.

Judge in Colorado cinema rampage case allows second sanity exam at trial

DENVER - A judge overseeing the Colorado theater massacre case rejected a defense motion on Friday to have a second sanity examination administered to accused gunman James Holmes barred from his upcoming murder trial, court records show.

Lawyer for bin Laden son-in-law gets 1-1/2 years prison in tax case

NEW YORK - A prominent New York defense lawyer who recently represented the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden was sentenced on Friday to 1-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to tax offenses.

Activists seek clemency for terminally ill Texas death row inmate

AUSTIN Texas - Activists delivered a petition to Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday with more than 100,000 signatures seeking the release of a death row inmate they say is terminally ill and only has weeks to live.

Transvaginal mesh trial losses put pressure on Boston Scientific

NEW YORK - Boston Scientific Corp’s back-to-back losses in the first two federal trials over its transvaginal mesh devices could drive up the cost of resolving thousands of similar lawsuits, according to legal experts.

Newtown massacre shooter indulged dark obsessions online, report says

MILFORD Conn. - By the time Adam Lanza massacred 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school two years ago, he was living in nearly complete isolation, communicating with no one except an online network of people obsessed with mass murder, a report released on Friday said.

San Francisco window washer in hospital after 11-story fall onto car

- A San Francisco window washer fell 11 stories from a high-rise building on Friday, landing atop a moving car on the street below, and was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

American University rejects divesting its fossil-fuel assets

- Trustees at American University voted on Friday to keep the fossil fuel-related investments held in the school's $550 million endowment fund.

Woman who led New Mexico police on chase indicted second time

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A woman who last year led New Mexico police on a car chase in which shots were fired by officers at her minivan with five children inside has been indicted on multiple charges for a second time, her lawyer said on Friday.

Texas teen arrested in porn sting posed as elementary school student

DALLAS - A 17-year-old Texan arrested in a pornography sting this week allegedly posed as a 12-year-old elementary school student in the Fort Worth area and tried to prey on children for illicit purposes, police said on Friday.

U.S. threatens to cut food stamp funding to Maine in photo ID row

BRUNSWICK Maine - The federal government has threatened to cut funding for Maine’s food stamp program, saying the state may be violating recipients' civil rights by requiring welfare cards to bear their photograph.

Man charged with murder of Indiana teenage girl

- A prosecutor charged a man with murder on Friday in the death of a teenage girl whose bound and partially burned body was found in an Indianapolis homeowner's backyard in August.

Any new U.S. Internet rules must withstand lawsuits: FCC chief

WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators expect Internet service providers to sue the government over any changes in the way they are regulated and must reevaluate any proposals to make sure they stand up in court, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a meeting on Friday.

Former Oregon beauty pageant winner arrested in drug bust

PORTLAND Ore. - A former Oregon beauty pageant winner is facing drug charges after she was arrested in a drug bust at a Salem hotel where police found cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and records of drug sales, authorities said on Friday. 

Mudslide strikes home in California area that saw wildfire this year

LOS ANGELES - A mudslide slammed into a house in a Southern California suburb on Friday where wildfires had left hilly terrain barren of trees and brush, prompting authorities to warn residents that more such landslides were likely in the near future.

NYC pays ex-fast-food worker $437,000 to settle Big Mac glass case

NEW YORK - A former McDonald's worker accused and later cleared of putting glass shards in a police officer's hamburger will be paid a $437,000 settlement by the city of New York, authorities said on Friday.

House leader: Obama 'sabotages' bipartisan immigration policy

WASHINGTON - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration had sabotaged chances for bipartisan legislation and vowed to lead a fight to block the order.

Los Angeles school district settles teacher sex abuse suits for $139 million

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles school district has agreed to pay $139 million to families of students subject to sexual abuse by an elementary school teacher, who infamously took bondage-style photos of some pupils, school officials said on Friday.

Florida polo magnate gets 16 years for deadly drunken driving crash

MIAMI Fla. - A Florida polo club founder was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Friday after a jury for a second time found him guilty of killing a recent college graduate in a collision while driving drunk late one night in Palm Beach County.

Judge rejects Illinois pension reform law

CHICAGO - A judge ruled on Friday that an Illinois law aimed at easing the state's huge unfunded pension liability is unconstitutional, handing a victory to labor unions and state retirees who challenged the law.

Longest U.S. suspension bridge celebrated New York-style

NEW YORK - New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was celebrated on Friday as an engineering marvel on the 50th anniversary of its opening, but a proposed toll increase for the longest suspension bridge in the United States put a damper on the birthday party.

Cleared of murder, Ohio man released from prison after 39 years

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he did not commit was freed on Friday after becoming the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated.

NYC officer's gun may have discharged accidentally in man's death: commissioner

NEW YORK - A New York City police officer shot and killed an unarmed man in a dimly lit stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project in what may have been an "accidental discharge" of his weapon, Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Friday.

Pentagon reforms personnel bill payment system to curb predatory sales

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon, in a bid to curb predatory sales targeting U.S. military personnel, has decided to bar troops from automatically deducting funds from their salaries to pay for consumer goods such as cars or computers, a defense official said on Friday.

Florida State reopens library where three shot, gunman killed

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida State University reopened its main library on Friday, the day after a gunman injured three people when he opened fire in the lobby of the building where hundreds of students were studying for final exams.

Four people injured in accident at Chicago Macy's

CHICAGO - Four people were injured after an aerosol can got hot and ruptured at the Macy's store in downtown Chicago on Friday morning, according to fire officials.

Conservatives, states set to launch legal blitz against Obama over immigration

NEW YORK - The morning after President Barack Obama announced his sweeping action to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, conservative groups and states were already pulling together legal strategies to dismantle the plan.

Walmart workers announce Black Friday protest locations

- A pressure group pushing for higher wages at Walmart stores said employees would stage protests at 1,600 U.S. stores on Black Friday, including 60 in Washington, D.C.

New York officer shot dead unarmed man in Brooklyn: New York Times

NEW YORK - A New York City police officer on routine patrol shot and killed an unarmed man in the dimly lit stairwell of a public housing project in Brooklyn, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Texas school board to vote on textbooks criticized for religious bent

AUSTIN Texas - The Texas State Board of Education, whose decisions can have national ramifications, on Friday plans to vote on whether to approve textbooks criticized for exaggerating the influence biblical figures had in forming the U.S. system of government.

Florida approves silencers for game hunting

ORLANDO Fla. - Florida wildlife officials lifted a 57-year-old ban on game hunters using silencers on their rifles and pistols after brief discussion at a public meeting on Friday.

Holder urges police restraint ahead of grand jury decision in Ferguson

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday urged police to use restraint amid potential protests that could follow the upcoming grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri case involving a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August.

House Republicans sue over Obama's healthcare law

WASHINGTON - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday filed a long-anticipated lawsuit challenging the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law over employer-based coverage and payments to insurers, according to court documents.

Thanksgiving grease cooks up plumbing disasters

WASHINGTON - Thanksgiving is a royal pain in the U.S. drain.

NSA chief warns Chinese cyber attacks could shut U.S. infrastructure

WASHINGTON - China and "probably one or two" other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday.

Bill advances to restore death by firing squad in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY Utah - Utah would restore the practice of killing condemned inmates by firing squad under a bill advancing in the state legislature, amid growing nationwide concerns about botched executions using the more common method of lethal injection.

Gunman shot dead after wounding three at Florida State University

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Brandishing a semi-automatic handgun and carrying extra ammunition in his pockets, a Florida State University graduate opened fire early on Thursday at the school's main library, wounding two students and an employee as hundreds were studying for exams.

One dead in explosion at Fieldwood platform in Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON - An explosion at oil and gas operator Fieldwood Energy's Echo Platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday killed one person and injured at least one, but no pollution was reported, a U.S. safety agency and the company said.

Colorado hunting guide gets two years in prison for illegal wild cat hunts

DENVER - A Colorado hunting guide and outfitter who pleaded guilty to maiming bob cats and cougars to help clients more easily kill the animals was sentenced on Thursday to 27 months in prison, authorities said.

AT&T to pay California $52 million in hazardous waste disposal settlement

LOS ANGELES - AT&T Inc will pay $52 million in civil penalties and environmental compliance as part of a settlement with California over illegal dumping of hazardous waste but won't be required to clean up the resulting contamination, state officials said on Thursday.

Washington state man convicted of molestation freed after accuser recants

SEATTLE - A Washington state man convicted of child molestation nearly two decades ago was freed from prison on Thursday after a judge ordered a new trial because his accuser recanted her story, court officials said.

Woman with gun arrested outside White House after Obama's immigration speech

- A woman demonstrating outside the White House on Thursday night was arrested for carrying a gun, the Secret Service said, shortly after President Barack Obama began a speech unveiling sweeping reforms to the U.S. immigration system.

More arrests as protesters await Ferguson grand jury decision

FERGUSON Mo. - Riot police arrested at least two demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, for a second night running as tensions simmer ahead of a grand jury decision in the case of a white officer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager in August.

Residents in western New York call snow worst in memory

- Fresh snow fell on Thursday in snowbound western New York, where longtime residents described the blast of winter weather as the worst in memory.

Anchorage city lawmakers to take up ordinance banning legal weed

JUNEAU - Anchorage lawmakers next month will consider banning the commercial sale of marijuana in Alaska's largest city, which if passed would deal an early blow to a voter-approved law that would establish a statewide seed-to-sale cannabis industry.

Two teenagers shot near Miami area high school

MIAMI - Two youths were shot near a Miami-area high school on Thursday afternoon, according to Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Virginia governor urges policy review after report of campus rape

- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Thursday urged a review of policies at the University of Virginia after a Rolling Stone magazine report about an alleged 2012 gang rape at a fraternity.

Accused Aryan Brotherhood prison gang members indicted in Mississippi

- Fourteen alleged members of a white-supremacist prison gang have been indicted on federal racketeering charges in Mississippi, prosecutors said on Thursday, a week after similar charges against 11 alleged participants in an Oklahoma gang were unsealed.

New York patient tests negative for Ebola, Missouri patient awaits results

NEW YORK - A traveler who returned from Mali tested negative for Ebola at a New York City hospital on Thursday, and a patient who recently came back from West Africa awaited test results at a Missouri hospital, health officials said.

Judge overturns capital sentence of Wyoming's only death row inmate

- A federal judge on Thursday vacated the death sentence of Wyoming's only inmate awaiting capital punishment, in a ruling that faulted the murder convict's trial lawyers for not adequately presenting to jurors evidence of his mental impairment and troubled life.

Obama says U.S. immigration system 'broken, and everybody knows it'

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Thursday announced steps to address the "broken" U.S. immigration system, but urged Republican lawmakers to pass broader reforms to deal with millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country.

More charges for California man in drive-by shootings that killed four

LOS ANGELES - A man linked to a spate of seemingly random drive-by shootings in the Los Angeles area over the summer that killed four people was charged on Thursday with several additional counts of murder stemming from the attacks, prosecutors said.

Ohio House approves bill to shield execution drug suppliers

CLEVELAND - Ohio lawmakers advanced a measure on Thursday that would shield the names of pharmacies that supply drugs used in lethal injections for 20 years and allow the state to resume executing condemned inmates in 2015.

Appeals court order keeps Mississippi's sole abortion clinic open

JACKSON Miss. - Mississippi's sole abortion clinic will remain open after a federal appeals court refused on Thursday to reconsider its decision to block a state law that would have closed it.

University of California regents approve tuition increase amid protests

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The governing board of the University of California voted on Thursday to increase tuition by more than 25 percent over the next five years, setting the stage for a rancorous fight with state lawmakers who control funding for the 10-campus system.

Girl questioned over Yik Yak threat that closed California school

LOS ANGELES - Police in Southern California have questioned a girl in connection with at least one threatening post made on social media application Yik Yak that led to a two-day closure of a high school in an affluent oceanside community, officials said.

Obama to offer immigration relief to about 4.7 million: source

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is slated to announce on Thursday that he will offer relief from the threat of deportation to about 4.4 million undocumented people who are parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, according to a source briefed by the administration.

California firefighter arrested in love triangle murder

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California firefighter and his alleged mistress have been arrested in the murder of the woman's husband, who was shot to death at a rail yard in August, police say.

Washington state school gunman's texts warned of violence, suicide

SEATTLE - The gunman in a Washington state high school cafeteria shooting last month that left five dead sent ominous text messages before the attack that detailed how to divvy up his property and what he wanted to wear in his funeral casket, court documents showed on Thursday.

Accused Colombian drug kingpin admits to U.S. cocaine scheme

NEW YORK - For the second time in two months, a Colombian accused of being a drug kingpin and pursued for years by U.S. authorities pleaded guilty to federal charges in a New York courtroom on Thursday.

U.S. seeks ways to stop Americans from becoming 'foreign fighters'

- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has set up a task force to identify ways to prevent Americans from traveling abroad to become "foreign fighters," a problem that the government has said is one of the nation's top security concerns.

Texas State University building briefly evacuated over gun report

AUSTIN Texas - A university admissions building at Texas State University was briefly evacuated on Thursday after a student reported seeing an individual with a gun on campus, the university said.

'Unauthorized' immigrant from Mexico to be sworn in as lawyer in Florida

TAMPA Fla. - A Mexican national who studied law in the United States while an undocumented immigrant is set on Thursday be admitted to the Florida state bar, in the culmination of a politically charged case.

Pittsburgh 911 dispatchers allege discrimination, harassment

PITTSBURGH - Three minority women are suing a Pittsburgh 911 dispatch center where they worked, alleging that sexual harassment and race-based discrimination threatened their job performance and put callers at risk, their attorney said on Thursday.

Massey ex-CEO pleads not guilty in fatal West Virginia mine blast

BECKLEY W.Va. - A former chief executive of Massey Energy Co pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he violated federal mine safety laws before a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia, the worst U.S. mine disaster in four decades.

San Francisco to submit bid for 2024 Olympics

- A group of San Francisco Bay Area business, sports and civic leaders will bid to host the 2024 Olympics and is putting together a proposal for the United States Olympic Committee, officials said on Thursday.

Workers who died at Dupont Texas plant lacked respirators: lawyer

HOUSTON - Four workers killed at a DuPont and Co’s chemical plant in Texas on Saturday did not have access to safety equipment like respirators when there was a deadly release of a hazardous chemical, an attorney for one victim’s family said on Thursday.

Seattle police may scrap body camera plan over costly record requests

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department might cancel plans to outfit officers with body cameras because the ensuing public record requests for the videos might become too costly for the city, according to a report published Thursday.

Three charged with suspected $1.5 million oil theft from Texas fields

AUSTIN Texas - Three people have been indicted for stealing shale oil over three years worth an estimated $1.5 million by driving it off in trucks that were supposed to be disposing waste water, according to court documents obtained on Thursday.

Two California children die in fire as mother at hospital with labor pains

LOS ANGELES - Two children died and their father was badly burned on Thursday in a fire that tore through their Southern California duplex after their pregnant mother went to a hospital with labor pains, a fire official said.

Teamsters pull ballot petition for FedEx Freight Virginia facility

CHICAGO - The Teamsters union on Thursday withdrew a petition asking for a secret ballot election for drivers at a Richmond, Virginia, facility of FedEx Corp's trucking unit.

Feds investigating drones spotted flying near JFK runways

NEW YORK - Three commercial pilots reported seeing drones, some flying as high as 3,000 feet, near their landing approaches at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and federal authorities on Thursday were investigating.

New Jersey loses jobs in October as it prepares for bond sale

- New Jersey's economy showed more cracks on Thursday as the U.S. state with the second-lowest credit rating in the country reported 4,500 jobs lost in October and an upward tick in its unemployment rate.

Traveler from Mali tested for possible Ebola at New York hospital

NEW YORK - A traveler from Mali was undergoing a test for possible Ebola on Thursday at Bellevue Hospital, health officials in New York City said.

Five family members killed driving from Texas to Disney World

DALLAS - Five members of a Texas family on their way to a vacation in Disney World were killed in a single-car crash when their vehicle driven by their teenage son overturned on a highway in Louisiana, police said on Thursday.

Judge to hear arguments over Illinois pension reform law

CHICAGO - Illinois faces an uphill battle on Thursday to defend the constitutionality of a law aimed at easing the state's huge unfunded pension liability.

Obama seeks to build Congress support for immigration changes

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Republican leader warned President Barack Obama on Thursday that he will have a fight on his hands if he goes ahead with a sweeping program to ease the threat of deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants.

NSA chief warns Chinese cyber attacks could shut U.S. infrastructure

WASHINGTON - China and "probably one or two" other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday.

Exclusive: U.S. to allow people from nations hit by Ebola to stay temporarily

WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security will grant temporary protected status to people from the three West African countries most affected by Ebola who are currently residing in the United States, department officials said on Thursday.

Snow to keep falling in paralyzed western New York another day

NEW YORK - Snow-bound residents of western New York awoke to as much as another foot of accumulation on Thursday with possibly another 30 inches expected, meteorologists said.

Supreme Court allows gay marriage to proceed in South Carolina

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request to block gay marriage from proceeding in South Carolina, clearing the way for it to become the 35th U.S. state where gay marriage is legal.

Four people shot, two fatally, in New Jersey home: state police

- Two children were killed and two other people were wounded in a shooting in a home in southern New Jersey, the state police said.

Immigrants face major hurdles in signing up to new Obama plan

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - President Barack Obama's televised address to the nation on Thursday may prove the easiest part of his controversial plan to relax U.S. immigration policy. Implementing it will be difficult and many people may never benefit, warn immigration lawyers.

Colorado man accused of wife's murder marked spot with X on map

DENVER - A Colorado man accused of killing his wife by pushing her off a cliff had a map with an "X" marking the spot where she fell to her death, unsealed court records show.

Arizona sues General Motors, says it hid safety defects

- Arizona State filed a lawsuit against General Motors Co , claiming the carmaker put the public at risk by concealing safety defects to avoid the cost of recalls.

Missing New Mexico couple found dead after crash

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A New Mexico couple who took off from a small air strip west of Albuquerque last week before going missing were found dead on Wednesday, officials said.

U.S. states get more, spend more on Medicaid under Obamacare: report

WASHINGTON - One part of the Affordable Care Act is going according to plan, with U.S. states receiving and spending more money on the Medicaid health insurance program, a report released by the National Association of State Budget Officers on Thursday showed.

Two jailed in Puerto Rico over killing of military family

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico - Two men were jailed in Puerto Rico on Wednesday on charges of killing a retired U.S. Army sergeant and three members of his family, as well as attempting to kill the victims' 13-year-old son by beating him and throwing him off a bridge.

Minivan crash tests: Toyota good; Chrysler, Dodge, Nissan poor

DETROIT - In a front overlap crash safety tests of four minivans sold in the United States, only the latest model of the Toyota Motor Corp Sienna scored well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said on Thursday.

Obama's immigration move expected to leave out millions of childless adults

WASHINGTON - Most Friday nights, in the Denver suburb of Arvada, Ramon Madera invites his sister Angelica and her three children over to his home for dinner and games. It's a tradition that became all the more important after the children's father was deported back to Mexico about five years ago.

Two people shot on Florida State University campus: hospital

- Two people were shot at the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, an official at the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital said on Thursday.

Thanksgiving meal costs barely rise as price of turkey slips

WASHINGTON - A small decline in turkey prices helped hold the increase in the cost of preparing a Thanksgiving meal for 10 to less than 1 percent this year, the country's largest farm group said on Thursday.

Seattle city council member arrested in wage-hike protest

SEATTLE - A Seattle City Council member was among four people arrested late on Wednesday outside Alaska Airlines offices in the suburb of SeaTac during a protest over what organizers say was the carrier's opposition to a voter-backed $15 minimum wage.

Washington state museum pulls firearms from WWII exhibit over new gun law

SEATTLE - A museum in Washington state plans to remove about a dozen borrowed firearms from a World War Two exhibit and return them to their owners to comply with a new gun law that requires background checks for all gun transfers, the institution said on Wednesday.

California sees reserves growing more than $4 billion over two years

- California's state budget will accumulate more than $4 billion of reserves in the next two years, the budget watchdog estimated on Wednesday, a sign of significant progress for the debt-ridden state.

Suspects accused in Florida of billing Medicare for overseas patients

MIAMI - Several employees of a south Florida company were arrested on Wednesday and accused of billing more than $25 million to Medicare and Medicaid on behalf of U.S. citizens living in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Naked outdoor protest over SeaWorld float in NY's Thanksgiving parade

NEW YORK - Animal rights advocates outraged that a SeaWorld float is included in next week's lineup for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade unveiled plans on Wednesday for a naked protest outside the landmark store.

Florida set to end ban on silencers for game hunters

ORLANDO Fla. - Florida wildlife officials appear poised to lift on Thursday a 57-year-old ban prohibiting game hunters from using silencers, to mute the shots fired from their rifles and pistols, despite the concerns of national gun control advocates.

U.S. farmers set to get huge government payouts despite bumper harvest

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO - U.S. farmers are about to reap a bumper harvest not just in corn and soybeans but also in new subsidies that could soar to $10 billion, blowing a hole in the government's promise that its new five-year farm bill would save taxpayers money.

Ohio man exonerated after 39 years in prison, to be released Friday

CLEVELAND - A Cleveland judge dropped all charges on Wednesday against a man who has spent 39 years in prison for murder, making him the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated, an attorney for the Ohio Innocence Project said. 

Washington state to sue federal government over nuclear site vapors

SEATTLE - Washington state's attorney general said on Wednesday he intends to sue the U.S. government for not adequately protecting workers involved in the decades-long cleanup of a decommissioned nuclear site, saying dozens have been sickened by toxic vapors.

Part of lawsuit settled in Allman movie filming death in Georgia

ATLANTA - The parents of a camera assistant killed on the rural Georgia set of "Midnight Rider," a film about rock singer Gregg Allman, has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against the film's production company and director, the parents' lawyer said on Wednesday.

Plan advances to increase University of California tuition

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The University of California would raise tuition by more than 25 percent over five years under a plan passed on Wednesday by a committee of the system's governing board, a move strongly opposed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

U.S. judge strikes down Montana's gay marriage ban

- A federal judge struck down Montana's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional on Wednesday, handing gay rights advocates the latest in a wave of legal victories as the nation awaits a potential definitive ruling on the matter by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In rarity, U.S. judge takes witness stand in corruption appeal

NEW YORK - A U.S. judge took the witness stand on Wednesday to defend her handling of the corruption case of former New York City councilman Larry Seabrook, who says he deserves a new trial after his brother and aide were allegedly excluded from watching jury selection.

Suspects accused in Florida of billing Medicare for overseas patients

MIAMI - Several employees of a south Florida company were arrested on Wednesday and accused of billing more than $25 million to Medicare and Medicaid on behalf of U.S. citizens living in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Obama to act unilaterally on immigration, irking Republicans

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will outline a plan on Thursday to relax U.S. immigration policy for as many as 5 million people, bypassing Congress and angering Republicans.

U.S. GAO sees drop in successful contract protests

WASHINGTON - The number of successful U.S. contract protests fell sharply in fiscal 2014 to 13 percent, the lowest rate seen in over a decade, but government agencies are taking other corrective actions at a higher rate, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said on Wednesday.

Obama to offer deportation relief to 250,000 farm workers: union

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's immigration reforms would lift the threat of deportation for at least 250,000 undocumented people who work on farms, Arturo Rodriguez, the president of the United Farm Workers union said on Wednesday after meeting with Obama.

JetBlue to charge for checked bags in new airfare class

- JetBlue Airways Corp announced new checked baggage fees on Wednesday and plans to stuff more seats into its aircraft, prompting praise from Wall Street, but a chorus of criticism from consumers.

Virginia woman waives hearing on Islamic State charges

- A Virginia woman on Wednesday waived a preliminary hearing on terrorism charges over allegedly lying to U.S. investigators about using social media to promote and recruit for the militant Islamic State group.

Backyard pesticides show up increasingly in California watersheds: report

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Levels of a type of pesticide commonly used in backyard gardens and on farms have increased in urban and rural watersheds in California, the state said in a report released Wednesday.

New York man arraigned on subway murder charge

NEW YORK - A suspect charged with murder for allegedly pushing a man to his death in front of a New York subway train was arraigned on Wednesday and ordered returned to custody.

Ice to close upper Mississippi from November 20, earliest on record

CHICAGO - The shipping season on the upper Mississippi River will end on Thursday as ice surrounding locks and dams near Minnesota's Twin Cities forced the earliest winter closure on records that date back to 1969, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

California man convicted in 1978 murder may go free based on DNA

LOS ANGELES - A man convicted of murder in the 1978 shooting death of a Southern California man should be freed after 36 years behind bars, based on DNA analysis and investigative reports withheld from his trial attorney, a prosecutor said on Wednesday after a judge overturned the conviction.

Massachusetts town stubs out plan to ban tobacco sales

- A Massachusetts town on Wednesday stubbed out a proposal that apparently would have made it the first in the United States to ban tobacco sales, a newspaper reported.

Ferguson braces for finding on shooting of unarmed black teen

FERGUSON Mo. - Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, prepared on Wednesday for a grand jury report expected soon on the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman, an event that laid bare long-simmering racial tensions in the St. Louis suburb.

Texas DuPont workers died from accidental asphyxiation: coroner

HOUSTON - Four workers who died on Saturday at a DuPont and Co plant in Texas were accidentally asphyxiated by chemicals, the coroner's office said on Wednesday, another finding that suggests the victims were not wearing full safety equipment.

JetBlue to charge for checked bags in new airfare fare class

- JetBlue Airways announced Wednesday that it will charge certain customers for their first checked bag, yielding to pressure from analysts who criticized the airline for not adding fees in step with other carriers.

Marketers of sugary drinks still target U.S. children: report

NEW YORK - U.S. children and teens are seeing fewer TV commercials for sugary drinks, but they remain a prime target for marketers through product placement, social media and other means, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Five dead after Western NY gets year's worth of snow in four days

NEW YORK - An autumn blizzard dumped a year's worth of snow in three days on Western New York state, where five people died and residents, some stranded overnight in cars, braced for another pummeling expected later on Wednesday.

Texas woman sues family after her dogs kill neighbor's pet beagle

HOUSTON - The owner of three pit bulls and a pit-bull mix is seeking up to $1 million in damages after her dogs entered the Houston-area property of her neighbor and fatally attacked her neighbor's 10-year-old beagle.

You'll shoot your eye out: Watchdog lists '10 worst' holiday toys

BOSTON - A plastic battle hammer for 3-year-olds, a glow-in-the-dark bow and arrow set, and a pencil that doubles as a slingshot are on the short list of the most dangerous children's toys this holiday season.

Obama to announce immigration action in Thursday night speech: sources

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce details of his executive action on immigration in a Thursday night speech ahead of travel to Las Vegas on Friday, sources close to the administration said.

Netflix postpones Bill Cosby's stand-up comedy special

- Online movie streaming giant Netflix is postponing the launch of embattled comedian Bill Cosby's stand-up comedy special "Bill Cosby 77," the company said on Tuesday, amid accusations that he sexually assaulted women.

Suspect charged with murder for pushing man in front of New York subway

- A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder for allegedly pushing a man to his death in front of a New York City subway train, police said, adding that the same man was wanted for an earlier pushing incident.

New York health officials test person's remains for Ebola

- New York City health officials said they will test the remains of a person who died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday for Ebola as the person had recently come to the United States from West Africa.

Could Obama cut deal on Keystone pipeline? Don't rule it out

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama might be open to using the Keystone pipeline as leverage with Republicans if they cooperate on other aspects of his long-stalled domestic agenda, such as investing in infrastructure, closing tax loopholes or reducing carbon emissions.

Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge ahead of grand jury report

FERGUSON Mo. - A St. Louis suburb that faced weeks of sometimes violent protests following August's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman remained on edge on Wednesday as it waited to learn if the officer would face charges.

Montana Catholic diocese seeks to pay abuse victims $16.4 million

- A Montana Roman Catholic diocese has asked a judge to approve a bankruptcy reorganization plan that includes a $16.4 million settlement for hundreds of adults claiming childhood sexual abuse by clergy and lay workers, attorneys said on Tuesday.

Police investigating alleged rape by two Tennessee football players

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Tennessee police said they are investigating allegations that two University of Tennessee football players raped a 19-year-old woman at an off-campus apartment complex in Knoxville over the weekend.

Canadians snap up U.S. commercial real estate at record pace

MONTREAL - Canadian investment in U.S. commercial real estate is on track to hit record levels this year, once Canada's second-largest pension fund closes a $2.25 billion deal to buy a landmark Manhattan property, according to data from property research firms.

Identity thieves used college student accounts to defraud IRS: prosecutors

MIAMI - U.S. law-enforcement officials on Tuesday arrested 17 people accused of trying to collect almost $2 million in bogus tax refunds using college student accounts, the latest identity scam to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

Milwaukee man accused of raping 101-year-old woman

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man broke into the home of a 101-year-old woman and raped her in her bed during an attempted burglary, according to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday.

Nevada has highest proportion of illegal immigrants in U.S.: study

- Nevada has the highest proportion of illegal immigrants of any U.S. state at 7.6 percent of its population while the number of illegal immigrants nationwide is leveling off at about 11.2 million, according to a study released on Tuesday.

U.S. judge overseeing San Bernardino bankruptcy sets deadline for city plan

- More than two years after San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy, a judge on Tuesday set a deadline for the California city to propose a plan to manage its Chapter 9 protection.

Appeals court lets gay marriage go ahead in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C - The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Tuesday to stay a district court ruling from last week that struck down South Carolina's gay marriage ban, meaning same-sex weddings could happen there as soon as Thursday.

Powerful Texas school board hears testimony on contentious textbooks

AUSTIN Texas - The Texas Board of Education, a group whose decisions can set the tone for school districts nationwide, heard testimony on Tuesday on a new set of school history and social studies textbooks that critics say advance Christian ideology.

Police launch porn probe over Oregon teen sex videos

PORTLAND Ore. - Police in Oregon are investigating reports that high school students videotaped peers engaging in sexual activity and distributed the footage via social media in a case that could lead to child pornography charges, authorities said on Tuesday.

All 50 U.S. states feeling freezing temperatures

NEW YORK - Temperatures in all 50 U.S. states dipped to freezing or below on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold blast of weather moved across the country, while heavy snow prompted a state of emergency in western New York.

University of California wants tuition hike or more funding

SACRAMENTO Calif. - University of California president Janet Napolitano would back off a proposed tuition hike if the state increases funding by $100 million next year, a spokeswoman said, the latest in a very public battle over higher education in the most populous U.S. state.

San Diego jury awards woman $186 million in bias case against AutoZone

SAN DIEGO - A federal jury in California awarded nearly $186 million to a San Diego area woman who sued AutoZone Inc. saying she was demoted and fired after being told pregnant women can't do the job of managing a store, her attorney said on Tuesday.

Same-sex marriage now allowed in most populous Kansas county

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The Kansas Supreme Court said on Tuesday the state's most populous county could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and left it to the federal courts to determine whether a Kansas ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Supreme Court rejects stay for Missouri execution

- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a stay of execution for a Kansas City man convicted of killing a gas station attendant in front of the man's stepdaughter 20 years ago.

Pennsylvania man sentenced to death in dismemberment case

STROUDSBURG Pa. - A jury on Tuesday sentenced a Pennsylvania man to death for the first-degree murder of a homeless woman whose body parts were found stuffed in garbage bags strewn along two highways.

Keystone XL pipeline bill dies in Senate

WASHINGTON - A bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline failed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, sparing President Barack Obama from an expected veto of legislation that several fellow Democrats supported.

Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case still believes in him: lawyer

WAUKESHA Wis. - A lawyer for a Wisconsin girl accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please Slenderman said on Tuesday his client still believes in the fictional Internet character and is unfit to stand trial.

Indiana releases details on unidentified serial murder victim

CHICAGO - She was in her 30s or 40s, likely Hispanic, 5-feet 6-inches tall and has healed fractures in her nose. That is all authorities know about the woman believed to be a serial killer victim, whose skeletal remains were found a month ago in Gary, Indiana.

Pennsylvania justices hear case of Catholic official in abuse case

HARRISBURG Pa. - Pennsylvania's top court on Tuesday heard arguments in the case of Monsignor William Lynn, weighing whether the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal should be returned to prison.

New Mexico man shoots himself after being evicted

- A New Mexico man shot himself in the chest after being evicted from his home by police, authorities said on Tuesday.

Identity thieves used college student accounts to defraud IRS: prosecutors

MIAMI - U.S. law-enforcement officials on Tuesday arrested 17 people accused of trying to collect almost $2 million in bogus tax refunds using college student accounts, the latest identity scam to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

FBI tracking 150 Americans who traveled to Syria, perhaps to fight

BOSTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigations is tracking close to 150 Americans it believes traveled to Syria in recent months, potentially to join armed groups, FBI Director James Comey said on Tuesday.

Police in Puerto Rico investigate murder of military family

SAN JUAN - Police in Puerto Rico are investigating the execution-style murders of a retired U.S. Army officer and three members of his family during a Monday night attack on their gated suburban community home, officials said.

Texas aims to extend border protection surge with Mexico through August

AUSTIN Texas - Texas plans to spend nearly $90 million to extend through August 2015 a show of force along its border with Mexico that includes the deployment of up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops, officials said on Tuesday.

Washington, D.C., approves landmark civil asset forfeiture law

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday that makes it harder for police to seize assets from people who are not ultimately charged with crimes, a bill that backers say is a model for the rest of the country.

Marijuana poisoning incidents spike in Washington state

SEATTLE - Marijuana exposure incidents, or 'pot poisonings,' have spiked in Washington state, especially among teenagers, in a trend experts said on Tuesday appears to be linked to the state's largely unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Undocumented immigrant seeks sanctuary in Philadelphia church

PHILADELPHIA - An undocumented immigrant who has "always lived in fear" of deportation said on Tuesday she moved into a Philadelphia church as part of a national civil disobedience action aimed at pressing President Obama on immigration reform.

Owner of closed California sushi spot pleads guilty to selling whale meat

LOS ANGELES - The owner of a shuttered Los Angeles-area sushi restaurant has pleaded guilty to allowing meat from the endangered sei whale to be served at the upscale establishment, in a case that outraged animal rights activists, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.

University of California wants tuition hike or $100 million funding increase

SACRAMENTO Calif. - University of California president Janet Napolitano would back off a proposed tuition hike if the state increases funding by $100 million next year, a spokeswoman said, the latest in a very public battle over higher education in the most populous U.S. state.

Guantanamo judge rules female guards cannot touch al Qaeda suspect

FORT MEADE Md. - A U.S. military judge ruled on Tuesday that female guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison should continue to be barred from touching an Iraqi man accused of being an al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.

Lawyers in Colorado theater massacre case argue over grim images

CENTENNIAL Colo. - Lawyers in the Colorado movie theater massacre case argued on Tuesday over whether jurors should see disturbing crime scene video and hundreds of gruesome photos of the July 2012 rampage.

Pennsylvania approves casino amid local gaming industry concerns

PENNSYLVANIA - Pennsylvania regulators on Tuesday approved a new casino license in Philadelphia, where a rival has voiced concerns about a saturated local gaming market an hour from the troubled gambling destination, Atlantic City.

All 50 U.S. states feeling freezing temperatures

NEW YORK - Temperatures in all 50 U.S. states dipped to freezing or below on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold blast of weather moved across the country, meteorologists said.

Cleveland settles police chase shooting for $3 million

CLEVELAND - Cleveland will pay $3 million to resolve claims brought by the families of a man and woman shot dead after a high-speed police chase in 2012 that involved dozens of officers and nearly 140 rounds fired, a local probate judge ruled on Tuesday.

Texas woman gets 21-month sentence for threatening to kill Obama

HOUSTON - A Houston woman who goes by the name Teddy Bear Paradise was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in prison for threatening to assassinate President Barack Obama, prosecutors said.

Death of Virginia college student ruled a homicide

RICHMOND Va. - The death of Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore whose remains were found in October, has been ruled a homicide by the state's medical examiner, police said on Tuesday.

Search on for missing New Mexico plane with two on board

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Officials searched by ground and air in New Mexico on Tuesday for a single-engine plane with two passengers that went missing after taking off from a small airstrip west of Albuquerque on Friday, authorities said.

Pennsylvania death row inmate gets stay of execution

NEW YORK - A Pennsylvania man sentenced to death for murdering four people was granted a stay of execution on Tuesday so he could join lawsuits challenging the state's execution methods, according to authorities.

Appeals court lets gay marriage go ahead in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C - The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Tuesday to stay a district court ruling from last week that struck down South Carolina's gay marriage ban, meaning same-sex weddings could happen there as soon as Thursday.

Mother says Vatican criticism of daughter's Oregon assisted suicide hurtful

- The mother of a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer who took advantage of Oregon's assisted suicide law to end her life said on Tuesday that the Vatican deeply wounded her by unfairly calling into question her daughter's decision.

NFL suspends Vikings' Peterson over 'abusive discipline' of son

WASHINGTON - Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season by the NFL on Tuesday for committing an "incident of abusive discipline" on his 4-year-old son.

U.S. aviation safety board says FAA can enforce rules on drones

SEATTLE - The U.S. aviation safety board on Tuesday ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has the authority to apply to unmanned aircraft its long-standing rules against reckless or careless use of manned aircraft.

U.S. patent office tightens rules for examiners working from home

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has tightened supervision of patent examiners who work full-time from home, an official said on Tuesday, but critics in Congress questioned whether the office was not going far enough to curb abuse.

U.S. hits Georgia-based debt collector with fraud charges

NEW YORK - Federal authorities announced fraud charges against a Georgia-based debt collection company and seven of its employees on Tuesday, saying they used threats of jail and other hardball tactics to convince more than 6,000 people to cough up money the company said they owed.

As Missouri awaits decision on police shooting, National Guard called in

FERGUSON Mo. - Troops from the Missouri National Guard were due to deploy on Tuesday around Ferguson, Missouri, as the city awaits a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen in August.

Historic black Florida town slated for luxury shopping development

ORLANDO Fla. - The oldest black town in America, Eatonville in central Florida, where a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line, is set to vote Tuesday night on a plan to transform the community into a luxury shopping destination for the ultra-rich.

Blase Cupich to be installed as new Chicago archbishop

CHICAGO - Bishop Blase Cupich, Pope Francis' first major appointment in the hierarchy of the U.S. Catholic Church, will be installed as the new archbishop in Chicago on Tuesday.

Ferguson, Missouri corrections officer accused of sex with inmate, rape

- A corrections officer with the embattled city of Ferguson, Missouri, faces felony charges of having sex with an inmate and allowing her escape, and a civil lawsuit that alleges rape, court records show.

Accused Mexican drug boss Beltran Leyva appears in U.S. court

WASHINGTON - Accused Mexican drug lord Alfredo Beltran Leyva made an initial appearance in a U.S. court on Monday to face charges of shipping cocaine and methamphetamines to the United States, the Justice Department said.

Defense says Guantanamo detainee is soldier, exempt from war crimes

FORT MEADE Md. - A U.S. military lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee described as an al-Qaeda commander said on Monday he may be classified as a soldier under international war rules - and therefore exempt from prosecution - so charges against him should be dropped.

Slowdown at U.S. port of Tacoma threatens Christmas tree shipments to Asia

SEATTLE - A slowdown at a busy Washington state port amid a labor dispute could mean that thousands of Christmas trees grown in the Pacific Northwest will not be shipped in time to meet holiday demand in Asia, industry officials said on Monday.

Mass murderer Charles Manson gets marriage license, state says

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Mass murderer Charles Manson has been granted a marriage license, and would be allowed to wed in prison, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said on Monday.

Boy Scouts find human remains while hiking in Arizona

- A Boy Scout troop from Utah discovered a skull and other human skeletal remains while hiking in Arizona and the local sheriff's office is investigating, authorities said on Monday.

Truck driver's negligence blamed for Washington bridge collapse

SEATTLE - A Washington state bridge collapse that sent two cars tumbling into a frigid river last year was primarily the result of negligence on the part of a commercial truck driver who should have known his rig was too tall to clear the span, the state patrol said on Monday.

Pilot in Pennsylvania admits cargo was pot, not hot water tanks

PITTSBURGH - A pilot who initially claimed his small plane's cargo was hot water tanks has admitted it was actually 252 pounds of marijuana, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania said on Monday.

U.S. court rejects Maine's effort to trim Medicaid rolls

BRUNSWICK Maine - A federal appeals court on Monday rejected Maine's effort to trim some young people from its Medicaid rolls, saying the move would violate the Affordable Care Act.

Man killed when car plows into care home in Arizona

PHOENIX - An Arizona man who may have been trying to commit suicide slammed his car into a group care home, killing one of the residents inside, and will be booked on suspicion of murder, police said on Monday.

Minnesotan who lived on yacht and collected welfare pleads guilty

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota man who collected food stamps and other public assistance while living on a yacht with his wife pleaded guilty on Monday to two felony charges, prosecutors said.

California Chinook salmon fall run slowed amid warm weather, drought

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The annual fall migration of Chinook salmon has been delayed by warmer water temperatures and slow-flowing streams in parts of California as the state's three-year drought drags on, hatchery officials said Monday.

Hagel seeks to reassure U.S. troops about safety of Ebola mission

FORT CAMPBELL Ky. - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sought on Monday to reassure soldiers training for the fight against Ebola in Liberia that their mission was a legitimate use of the military and the Pentagon was taking every step to ensure their safety.

California Governor appoints lawmaker to university board in time for key vote

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California Governor Jerry Brown has appointed a top lawmaker to the board overseeing the massive University of California system, days before the panel is scheduled to vote on a tuition hike opposed by Brown.

U.S. Senator Begich concedes defeat in Alaska senate race

- U.S. Senator Mark Begich on Monday conceded defeat to his Republican challenger in a closely watched race that was part of midterm elections that gave Republicans control of the Senate and strengthened their grip on the House of Representatives.

Exclusive: NRG betting big on rooftop solar in California

- U.S. power company NRG Energy Inc aims to grab a bigger piece of the residential solar industry by expanding its business in California, the nation's biggest solar market, and offering a new financing option to its customers.

Minnesota's Bill Frenzel, former U.S. congressman, dies at 86

- Bill Frenzel, who served 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, has died aged 86, the organization said in a statement on Monday.

Washington mayor nixed plea deal over 2010 campaign: report

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray rejected a plea deal from federal prosecutors in connection with their probe of his 2010 election campaign, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

U.S. Senate heads for vote on Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON - Backers of the Keystone XL oil pipeline hope a vote in the U.S. Senate late on Tuesday will send a bill to the desk of President Barack Obama.

Missouri governor declares state of emergency ahead of ruling on Ferguson shooting

FERGUSON Mo. - Missouri's governor declared a state of emergency on Monday and authorized the state's National Guard to support police in case of violence after a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.

White House reviewing policy toward U.S. hostages held by militants

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. policy governing efforts to free Americans being held by militant groups overseas, the White House said on Monday.

Small plane crashes into Chicago house

- A single-engine plane crashed into a house on the south side of Chicago early on Tuesday, police said.

Parents of slain American aid worker to speak

- The parents of an American aid worker beheaded by Islamic State militants after his abduction in Syria said they would make a brief public statement at their Indianapolis church on Monday.

Leading Senate Democrats urge Obama to act on immigration

WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic leaders on Monday urged President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to make changes to the country's immigration system and outlined major revisions they would like to see included.

Skull-fetching retriever helps solve Texas escaped prisoner case

AUSTIN Texas - The case of a convicted sexual predator who was one of the most wanted men in America after escaping from a federal detention facility in Texas has been solved with the help of a 15-year-old Labrador retriever who discovered the man's skull.

St. Louis protesters stage peaceful 'die-in'

ST. LOUIS - (This November 16, 2014 story was refiled to correct the location in the headline and second paragraph)

Maine teen broke into homes naked, looking for car keys: police

BRUNSWICK Maine - A naked Maine teenager who broke into two homes over the weekend while his parents' house was engulfed in flames is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to face attempted burglary charges, according to police.

Hours passed before retrieving bodies at Texas chemical plant: DuPont

HOUSTON - Medical personnel had to wait hours to retrieve four dead bodies from a unit of a DuPont and Co plant in LaPorte, Texas after a leak on Saturday made it unsafe to enter, the company said on Monday.

Dogs found to have killed woman on Wyoming Indian reservation

- A woman found dead from an animal attack on a Wyoming Indian reservation last week, prompting authorities to warn that dangerous wildlife might be on the prowl, appears to have been the victim of a dog mauling, officials said on Monday.

St. Louis awaits grand jury's decision on shooting of unarmed black teen

FERGUSON Mo. - Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, faced another day on Monday of waiting for a grand jury to decide if it will bring criminal charges against a white policeman who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in August, sparking weeks of sometimes violent protests.

Tornado damages Florida prison, injures two

TAMPA Fla. - A tornado touched down at a prison in Florida's panhandle region early on Monday, injuring two correctional officers as it destroyed more than two dozen cars in a parking lot, a local sheriff said.

Sierra Leone doctor dies of Ebola at Nebraska hospital

- A surgeon from Sierra Leone has died of Ebola at the Nebraska hospital where he was being treated after arriving from West Africa over the weekend, the hospital said on Monday.

State Department's unclassified email system hacked

WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department's unclassified email systems were the victim of a cyberattack in recent weeks, around the same time as White House systems were breached, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

French man charged after Brooklyn Bridge climb: New York police

NEW YORK - A French man faces criminal charges in New York following his arrest for climbing a beam on the Brooklyn Bridge, police said on Monday.

White House turns climate change spotlight to U.S. cities, towns

WASHINGTON - After announcing a major deal with China to curb emissions and a $3 billion pledge into a fund to help poor countries fight climate change last week, the Obama administration will turn its focus to American towns and cities to help them adapt to the impacts of global warming.

Protesters stage peaceful 'die-in' in downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS - A crowd of a couple hundred demonstrators, angry about the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, took to the streets of St. Louis on Sunday, briefly blocking a major intersection in protest.

Pope says will visit United States next year

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis announced on Monday he would visit the United States next year, his first trip there as leader of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

U.S. military scrambles to keep its edge despite budget woes

SIMI VALLEY Calif. - Short of funds, and awash in global challenges, the U.S. military-industrial complex is betting on robotics and other new technologies to stay ahead of rapid advances in weapons development by China, Russia and other potential foes.

U.S. heightens Ebola screening for travelers from Mali

WASHINGTON - The United States is adding Mali to the list of countries whose travelers get special Ebola screening after a number of cases in the West African nation, the government said on Sunday.

GM ignition-switch compensation claims deadline extended to Jan. 31

- The deadline to file claims under General Motors Co's faulty ignition-switch compensation program has been extended by one month to Jan. 31, 2015, the program's administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, announced on Sunday.

Ford: Mustang driver injured by air bag fragment in North Carolina crash

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co said on Sunday night it was cooperating with U.S. safety regulators investigating a report the driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang was injured in August by a metal fragment from the car’s air bag.

U.S. hostage Peter Kassig is killed by Islamic State

BEIRUT - Islamic State militants have beheaded another American hostage, Peter Kassig, issuing a video claiming the killing on Sunday and warning the United States they would kill other U.S. citizens "on your streets."

Florida residents alarmed over monkey business

ORLANDO Fla. - Unhappy at the idea of sharing their rural county with 3,200 macaque monkeys destined for research labs, a group of Florida residents have gone to court to try to stop the building of a breeding facility for the primates.

Bill Cosby will not discuss sex assault allegations: lawyer

- Comedian Bill Cosby will not comment on "discredited" accusations of sexual assault that have resurfaced in recent weeks against him, his lawyer said on Sunday.

Republicans weigh government shutdown to stop Obama on immigration

WASHINGTON - One Republican leader on Sunday held open the possibility that his party could move to shut down the government in an attempt to stop President Barack Obama from taking executive action on immigration policy.

Federal investigators to begin probe of DuPont plant deaths

HOUSTON - Investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) were headed on Sunday to a DuPont and Co plant in LaPorte, Texas, to begin a probe of a chemical leak that killed four workers.

Obama defends healthcare law after adviser criticism

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday defended the transparency of his signature healthcare law, after one of the White House's advisers on the reform said the law passed, in part, because of the "stupidity" of American voters.

Protesters stage peaceful 'die-in' in downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS - A crowd of a couple hundred demonstrators, angry about the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, took to the streets of St. Louis on Sunday, briefly blocking a major intersection in protest.

Man dies after being pushed in front of New York subway

- A man died early Sunday after being pushed in front of a New York subway train by a male suspect who fled the scene, police said.

172 fall ill on Carnival's Crown Princess cruise from California

- A cruise ship with 172 passengers and crew members suffering from a gastrointestinal ailment caused by norovirus was met by public health officials when it docked in California on Sunday, authorities and Carnival Corp said.

U.S. heightens Ebola screening for travelers from Mali

WASHINGTON - The United States will begin enhanced Ebola screening on Monday for travelers whose trips started in the African nation of Mali, the government said on Sunday.

U.S. hostage Peter Kassig is killed by Islamic State

BEIRUT - Islamic State militants have beheaded another American hostage, Peter Kassig, issuing a video claiming the killing on Sunday and warning the United States they would kill other U.S. citizens "on your streets."

Federal agencies to begin probe of DuPont Texas plant deaths

HOUSTON - Investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) were headed on Sunday to a DuPont and Co plant in LaPorte, Texas, to begin a probe of a chemical leak that killed four workers.

'I Love Ferguson' signs, T-shirts lift morale in protest-hit town

FERGUSON Mo. - The streets of Ferguson, Missouri, bear two hallmarks of the months of sometimes violent protests that followed the August police shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

The $1 billion divorce: Why Harold Hamm's ex-wife didn't win more

- Just how much of Harold Hamm's fortune was amassed through his skill and hard work?

U.S. military readiness for war, competitive edge worsening: officials

SIMI VALLEY Calif. - The U.S. military's ability to stay ahead of technology advances by other countries and respond to multiple crises around the world is already in jeopardy and will get worse unless mandatory budget cuts are reversed, top U.S. officials warned on Saturday.

Workers die after chemical leak at DuPont plant near Houston

- Four workers died and a fifth was hospitalized Saturday after a chemical leak at a DuPont facility near Houston, the company said.

U.S. Ebola victim Thomas Duncan remembered at memorial in Texas

DALLAS - Family and friends remembered Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States to die from Ebola, at a memorial service in Dallas on Saturday.

U.S. official sees action on immigration before year-end

SIMI VALLEY Calif. - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a series of executive actions on immigration issues before the end of the year, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said on Saturday, a move that could anger Republican lawmakers.

Army veteran dies of injuries after hotel assault in N. Carolina

- An Army veteran injured and burned during an assault in a North Carolina hotel room a week ago died of his injuries on Saturday, authorities said.

Ferguson protesters decry report officer Wilson may return to work

FERGUSON Mo. - Activists protesting the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri expressed anger on Saturday after the city's police chief said the officer could return to work if a grand jury does not charge him criminally.

A world away from Ferguson protests in quiet St. Louis suburb

FLORISSANT Mo. - In this quiet city just north of Ferguson, Missouri, the neat streets of small homes and shops show no signs of the racial tension that has gripped the adjacent St. Louis suburb since the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teen.

Obamacare's 2.0 health insurance enrollment period begins

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's plan to extend private health coverage to the uninsured entered a new uncertain phase on Saturday as U.S. government-backed online insurance marketplaces opened their 2015 plans to millions of potential enrollees.

Georgia police arrest father, daughter accused of starving infant

- Police in Georgia have arrested a man and his young adult daughter after they allegedly starved to death his 15-month-old infant child and left three other children and a young adult woman emaciated in a hotel room, authorities said on Friday.

Muni bond champion James Lebenthal dies: family

NEW YORK - James Lebenthal, the U.S. municipal bond market's biggest champion and most eloquent spokesman, died following a heart attack at age 86, his daughter said on Friday.

First Muslim prayers at National Cathedral interrupted by protester

WASHINGTON - The first Muslim prayer service ever hosted at the National Cathedral, a landmark Christian church in the U.S. capital, was briefly interrupted on Friday by a lone anti-Islamic protester but the religious gathering continued with a theme of tolerance.

Judge in Colorado cinema massacre case rejects defense bid to remove himself

DENVER - A judge overseeing the Colorado theater massacre case on Friday rejected a bid by lawyers defending accused gunman James Holmes to remove himself from presiding over the forthcoming murder trial, court documents show.

Deal to spur better 911 call locating for U.S. cellphone users

WASHINGTON - Emergency responders will be able to better locate callers who dial 911 on their cellphones from indoors as the U.S. wireless industry improves caller-location for the majority of such calls over the next six years.

L.A. school district claimed girl consented to sex with teacher

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Unified School District has come under fire from legal experts for asserting in court that a 14-year-old girl had consented to sex with her teacher and for introducing her sexual history in response to a lawsuit brought by the student.

Atlantic City Taj Mahal casino set to close within four weeks

- The planned closure of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City will occur within four weeks, as it joins four other gambling establishments that have shut their doors this year in the faltering New Jersey resort city, according to court papers filed on Friday.

Parents of slain Missouri teen return home after U.N. testimony

ST. LOUIS - The parents of the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, said on Friday they hoped their meeting with a United Nations committee would help to improve the tone of race relations in the United States.

Colorado police officer charged with murder, held on $1 million bond

DENVER - A Colorado police officer is being held on a $1 million bond after he was arrested on Friday and charged with murder in the shooting death of a man last month, authorities said.

Pennsylvania police spent $11 million on ambush suspect manhunt: report

- Pennsylvania State Police spent roughly $11 million on the weeks-long manhunt in the Pocono Mountains to capture a survivalist charged with shooting two state troopers and murdering one, local media reported on Friday.

'Don't think, just play': MIT engineers football success

- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's reputation of academic superiority is well chronicled. But the private research university is now excelling in a sector of society once deemed unthinkable for a bastion of brainpower: football.

Pennsylvania man convicted of murder, state seeks death penalty

STROUDSBURG Pa. - A jury on Friday convicted a Pennsylvania man of first-degree murder in the dismemberment of a woman whose body parts were found stuffed in garbage bags strewn along two highways, and prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty next week.

West Virginia University student found at fraternity dies

- A West Virginia University student found without a pulse at a fraternity house that had lost its charter died on Friday, the school said, a day after it suspended activities by fraternities and sororities.

Ohio man receives wife's ashes that were lost in mail

CLEVELAND - An Ohio widower received the cremated remains of his wife on Friday, a week after the ashes were lost by the U.S. Postal Service while in transit to their home in Columbus.

Obama's immigration plan offers some relief, risk for tech sector

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration is expected to include some modest changes to make it easier for technology companies to retain high-skilled workers frustrated by long and unpredictable waits for green cards.

Idaho teacher apologizes for killing, skinning rabbit in class

- An Idaho high school teacher under fire for killing and skinning a rabbit in front of his students to demonstrate how animals are processed for food has apologized to children disturbed by the incident, a school official said on Friday.

Florida equals state record with 19 panthers killed on roads

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida panther killed by a car this week became the 19th road fatality this year for the endangered big cat species - matching the most on record in the state - although officials said the toll reflects an uptick in the predator's population.

Noted muni bond investor James Lebenthal dies: family

NEW YORK - James Lebenthal, the U.S. municipal bond market's biggest champion, has died following a heart attack at age 86, his daughter said on Friday.

Same-sex couples plan mass wedding in Kansas on Monday

WICHITA Kan. - More than a dozen same-sex couples plan to be married in a mass wedding ceremony outside a courthouse in Wichita on Monday now that such marriages are legal in Kansas, a minister said on Friday.

Man who tried to help at Tennessee traffic wreck dies after fall

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A Good Samaritan who stopped to help at the scene of a car crash on Friday died after stepping over a bridge railing and plummeting into a river far below, Nashville police said.

Ohio inmates spent months making ladder used in prison escape

CLEVELAND - An inmate convicted of killing three teenagers in an Ohio high school shooting spent months with two other prisoners fashioning a 13-1/2-foot long ladder they used in a prison escape in September, a state prison report released on Friday said.

California newspaper asks reporters to help with deliveries

SACRAMENTO Calif. - One of California's largest newspapers has asked reporters and other employees to help deliver papers on Sundays, according to a memo obtained by Reuters, the latest sign of the toll that financial woes are taking on print journalism.

Thousands of high school students skip Colorado state tests

DENVER - Thousands of Denver-area high school students skipped state-mandated science and social studies tests this week and some staged street protests in the latest dispute to hit Colorado education since a flare-up over history curricula.

Farmers would pay more for water from proposed California tunnel

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California farmers would pay more to irrigate their crops under a proposal to build tunnels under the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta to funnel water to the state's agricultural breadbasket, officials said on Friday.

Jane Byrne, Chicago's first female mayor, dies

CHICAGO - Jane Byrne, Chicago's first and so-far only female mayor, died at age 81 on Friday, according to city officials.

U.S. seeks to ease influx of Central American child migrants

WASHINGTON - Washington will allow some children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status from their home countries, Vice President Joe Biden announced on Friday, in a bid to stem an exodus of undocumented migrants to the U.S. border through Mexico.

Parents of Sandy Hook massacre victims say they get scant help from state

NEWTOWN Connecticut - Parents of two children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut said on Friday that state officials had failed to provide them adequate mental health care in the wake of one of America's worst mass shootings.

Awaiting Ferguson grand jury, activists drill protest tactics

ST. LOUIS - In a former union hall in downtown St. Louis, about 100 activists formed a rough circle and, at the instruction of organizer Michael McPhearson, crossed the room wading through a crowd of people going the opposite way.

Strippers win $10.9 million judgment for unpaid wages from New York club

NEW YORK - Exotic dancers at a midtown Manhattan strip club were awarded nearly $10.9 million by a U.S. judge who found they were employees unfairly classified by the club as independent contractors.

Reforms bring 'Fair Food' label to Florida-grown tomatoes

TAMPA Fla. - A new "Fair Food" label to help shoppers identify tomatoes grown under ethical working conditions is expected to debut as soon as this weekend at Whole Foods Market, a result of efforts to ensure Florida farmworkers' rights to water, shade and fair wages.

Man found engulfed in flames outside Arizona fast-food restaurant

PHOENIX - A man was in critical condition in an Arizona hospital on Friday with burns to about 90 percent of his body after being found engulfed in flames outside a Phoenix fast-food restaurant, authorities said.

Lawmaker wants NASCAR's Busch suspended over abuse allegations

WASHINGTON - A California lawmaker on Friday called for NASCAR to suspend driver Kurt Busch from the season's final race over "horrifying" domestic abuse allegations made by his former girlfriend.

Portland prosecutors drop pot cases after Oregon legalization vote

PORTLAND Ore. - Oregon's biggest county will no longer prosecute most marijuana cases after state voters voted this month to legalize the drug even as other prosecutors across the state take a more cautious approach, authorities said on Friday.

Jailed American in Cuba loses appeal in case vs. U.S. government

- A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday rejected a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by an American contractor imprisoned in Cuba who says he was not warned about the risks of working on the communist-controlled island.

Former N.Y. lawmaker faces sex harassment suits

ALBANY N.Y. - Six women who worked for a former New York state lawmaker are suing him and the state for millions of dollars, claiming they were victims of pervasive sexual harassment, the latest in a spate of such claims against legislators.

Gay marriage supporters ask U.S. Supreme Court to take new cases

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage advocates on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule once and for all on the question of whether states can ban same-sex nuptials.

Prince William and wife Kate to visit U.S. Dec. 7-9

LONDON - Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, who is pregnant with their second child, will make a quick visit to the United States next month which will include a visit to the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City, Kensington Palace said on Friday.

Police arrest Los Angeles Walmart workers during protests

- Police have arrested 23 people outside a Los Angeles-area Walmart protesting what they say are the company's low wages and its retaliation against employees who pushed for better working conditions, organizers and a police spokesman said on Friday.

Suspect in Virginia kidnapping pleads not guilty to 2005 rape

FAIRFAX Va. - The man charged with abducting a University of Virginia student who later turned up dead pleaded not guilty on Friday in a separate rape case.

St. Louis-area schools will get notice of grand jury's finding: letter

FERGUSON Mo. - A suburban St. Louis school district told parents that it expects to receive at least three hours' notice from prosecutors when a grand jury decides whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri.

U.S. Postmaster General Donahoe to retire; Megan Brennan to succeed

WASHINGTON - United States Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, who has led the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service for four years, will retire in February, paving the way for the service's first female postmaster general.

Walmart workers plan Black Friday protests over wages

CHICAGO - A group of Walmart employees pushing for higher wages said on Friday they were planning protests at 1,600 Walmart stores nationwide on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States.

Author Michael Lewis prevails in 'Big Short' libel appeal

NEW YORK - The author Michael Lewis did not libel a money manager in his 2010 best-seller "The Big Short," a divided federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

U.S. court rejects religious objection to Obamacare contraception deal

WASHINGTON - In a win for the Obama administration on insurance coverage for contraception under Obamacare, a U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled that Catholic non-profit groups' religious rights were not violated by a compromise already achieved on the volatile issue.

Reviews of U.S. nuclear forces call for changes

WASHINGTON - Internal and external reviews of the U.S. nuclear arsenal show that significant changes are needed to ensure the security and effectiveness of the force, a Defense Department report said on Friday.

Prosecutors say vampire-fanged Utah trucker had more victims

- A Utah truck driver who wore vampire-fang dentures and is charged with sexually abusing and beating two women who he held captive in his vehicle as he traveled the country had four more victims, federal prosecutors have said.

West Virginia University halts fraternity, sorority events over medical emergency

- West Virginia University has suspended all activities by campus fraternities and sororities hours after a student was found at a fraternity house without a pulse, police and school officials said on Thursday.

Two hurt as man pulls knife at Connecticut Navy base

- Two U.S. Navy civilian police officers were injured on Thursday outside a submarine base in Connecticut after a belligerent man pulled a knife near an entrance, military officials said.

Fugitive ex-policeman targeted Los Angeles police chief's father

- A former Los Angeles police officer who eluded authorities for days after a grudge-driven killing spree last year had targeted the city police chief's father, police said on Thursday.

Fired California Bar official files whistle-blower suit against group

- The fired executive director of the State Bar of California filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the organization on Thursday the same day that his termination was announced, according to a court document.

Obama says will take action on immigration by year-end

YANGON - U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at a news conference in Myanmar, said on Friday he would take action to reform U.S. immigration policy before the end of the year.

Father of boys found in squalid Denver home pleads guilty to abuse

DENVER - A father of four malnourished boys found living amid cat feces in a squalid Denver home and unable to speak except by grunts pleaded guilty on Thursday to felony child abuse, prosecutors said.

Two people injured in shooting at Chicago-area shopping mall

CHICAGO - A man and a woman were shot and wounded on Thursday afternoon in a shooting at a popular shopping mall just outside the Chicago city limits, police said.

Famous Las Vegas gambler gets probation in card-marking case

SAN DIEGO - A Las Vegas gambler who once famously turned $50 into $40 million and then lost it all has been sentenced to three years' probation for a card-marking scheme that got him arrested at a California casino, a San Diego prosecutor said on Thursday.

Miami jury begins deliberations in Boston Scientific mesh trial

MIAMI - A federal jury in Miami began Thursday to weigh whether Boston Scientific Corp is liable to four women who say they were injured by the company’s transvaginal mesh devices in one of the first federal trials in thousands of suits over the devices.

Massey ex-CEO indicted for conduct linked to 2010 W.V. mine blast

- Donald Blankenship, a former chief executive of Massey Energy Co, was indicted on Thursday on charges that he violated federal mine safety laws prior to the April 2010 explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which killed 29 people.

Violent New York drug gang busted in shooting that paralyzed girl

NEW YORK - Dozens of accused members and associates of a violent gang that pistol-whipped and used hammers to attack rivals of their drug operation were indicted for crimes including a shooting that paralyzed a girl in Brooklyn, authorities said on Thursday.

Kansas counties issue same-sex marriage license after court ruling

KANSAS CITY Kan. - Kansas counties began issuing marriage licenses on Thursday to same-sex couples a day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to delay a federal judge's order that lifted the state's ban.

Buddhists can't sue over shuttered NYC temple, court says

- A New York appeals court has refused to wade into a dispute between a Buddhist master and more than 500 congregants he expelled before shuttering their Manhattan temple.

New York mansion featured in 'The Godfather' put up for sale

NEW YORK - A New York City mansion that featured in the 1972 American movie classic "The Godfather" is up for grabs for fans of the blockbuster or just anyone willing to pay the $2.89 million price tag.

No charges to be filed against family of Oregon high school shooter

PORTLAND Ore. - Prosecutors have decided not to press charges against the father and older brother of an Oregon teenager who killed a classmate and wounded a teacher at his high school in June with a rifle taken from home, authorities said on Thursday.

Exclusive: Ex-wife of US oil baron to appeal $1 billion divorce award

- Sue Ann Hamm, the ex-wife of Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm who was awarded cash and assets worth more than $1 billion in the couple's divorce this week, plans to appeal the judgment on grounds that it grossly undervalues the marital wealth she is entitled to.

Conservation groups ask Obama administration to protect Yellowstone bison

- Two conservation groups asked the Obama administration on Thursday to provide Endangered Species Act protections for about 4,900 bison at Yellowstone National Park, where managers intend to cull the herd by 900 this winter.

Ohio woman's ashes lost in transit, U.S. Postal Service says

CLEVELAND - An Ohio woman's cremated remains have been lost in transit to her husband of 61 years, and a six-day search by the U.S. Postal Service has failed to find them, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Controversial Idaho wolf hunt approved, angering conservationists

SALMON Idaho - U.S. land managers approved a recreation permit on Thursday allowing a controversial hunting contest open to children to take place on public lands in Idaho, where contestants will seek to kill the most wolves and other wildlife for cash and prizes.

U.S. charges 12 family members with defrauding banks of $20 million

NEW YORK N.Y. - A dozen members of a Brooklyn family were among 15 people charged in New York federal court Thursday with being part of a conspiracy to inflate their incomes to obtain $20 million in real estate loans and understate it to the government for welfare benefits.

Halliburton worker killed in Colorado fracking accident

DENVER - An accident at a fracking site in Colorado killed one Halliburton Co worker and seriously injured two on Thursday as they tried to thaw a high-pressure water line that had frozen in record-breaking cold conditions, the company said.

Two New York men are paid $9 million in wrongful conviction case

NEW YORK - Two men who spent 16 years in prison for a New York City double murder they did not commit accepted a $9 million settlement on Thursday for their wrongful convictions.

College football player in Oregon charged with murder

- A Willamette University football player from California has been charged with murder after a 66-year-old man was found dead near an intersection in Salem, Oregon, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Sniper shot Pennsylvania troopers to 'wake people up': police

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - A survivalist charged with shooting two Pennsylvania state troopers, one of them fatally, who then eluded a 48-day manhunt by hiding in the woods told police after his capture that he ambushed the men because he "wanted to make a change" in government and "wake people up."

Prosecutors say vampire-fanged Utah trucker had more victims

- A Utah truck driver who wore vampire-fang dentures and is charged with sexually abusing and beating two women who he held captive in his vehicle as he traveled the country had four more victims, federal prosecutors have said.

U.S. internal review cites Secret Service failures in White House intrusion

WASHINGTON - An intruder was able to scale the White House fence and enter the executive mansion in September because of major Secret Service failures including an agent who was distracted by a personal cellphone call, according to an internal review released on Thursday.

New Jersey state Assembly approves assisted suicide bill

- The New Jersey state Assembly on Thursday passed a measure that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, modeled after the Oregon law that allowed a 29-year-old woman suffering from brain cancer to end her life.

Florida man executed for killing stepdaughter in 1992

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A man convicted of fatally shooting his sleeping wife, then raping and murdering her 10-year-old daughter, was executed by lethal injection Thursday evening at Florida State Prison after spending almost half his life on death row, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Boston Scientific ordered to pay $26.7 million over mesh devices

MIAMI/NEW YORK - Boston Scientific Corp was ordered Thursday to pay four women a total of $26.7 million after it was found liable for selling faulty transvaginal mesh devices, following one of the first federal trials resulting from thousands of lawsuits over the devices.

Obama plan to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation: NY Times

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama plans to announce an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy through executive action that would shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Florida to execute man who killed wife and stepdaughter in 1992

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A man convicted of fatally shooting his sleeping wife, then raping and murdering her 10-year-old daughter, was scheduled to die by injection Thursday evening at Florida State Prison after spending almost half his life on death row.

McCain, other US lawmakers, vow to save A-10 'Warthog' aircraft

WASHINGTON - An influential group of U.S. lawmakers, including John McCain, in line to become the head of the Senate's powerful Armed Services Committee, on Thursday pledged to thwart the Pentagon's plans to retire the U.S. fleet of A-10 "Warthog" aircraft.

Letter from North Dakota: The Oil Party Rocks On

WILLISTON N.D. - Falling oil prices have spooked Wall Street and even parts of Texas. But in North Dakota's booming oil patch, the crude-fueled party carries on.

U.S. Capitol workers, others to strike for higher pay, union

WASHINGTON - Some U.S. Capitol workers on Thursday will join for the first time a strike by other federal contract workers to press President Barack Obama to boost pay and spur unionization, a spokesman for strike organizers said.

Attorneys for slain black Missouri teen to speak on Thursday

FERGUSON Mo. - Lawyers for the unarmed black teen shot dead by a Missouri police officer on Thursday planned to discuss a private autopsy the teen's family commissioned, as the pathologist who performed it testifies before a grand jury.

Senate Republicans select McConnell for majority leader

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans on Thursday unanimously chose current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as their majority leader for the next congressional session, according to a senior Republican aide.

Plains farmland values mostly steady, loan demand up: KC Fed

CHICAGO - Farmland values in the central U.S. Plains held mostly steady in the July-September quarter compared to a year ago, with land prices and loan demand generally tracking commodity price trends, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said on Thursday.

Family of slain Missouri teenager plea for peaceful protests

CLAYTON Mo. - The family of the unarmed black teen shot dead by a Missouri police officer in August pleaded on Thursday for peaceful protests and a measured police response after a grand jury decides whether or not to indict the white officer involved in the shooting.

Coast Guard calls off ocean search for California guardsman

- The U.S. Coast Guard has called off a search for an off-duty member of the California Air National Guard who was swept into the ocean while he was fishing near Monterey, officials said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial deny pornography deleted

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors on Wednesday denied claims by lawyers for convicted murderer Jodi Arias, who accused the state of deleting thousands of pornographic files from the victim's computer.

New Jersey college buys Atlantic City's closed Showboat casino

PHILADELPHIA - A college in southern New Jersey has announced plans to buy the shuttered Showboat Atlantic City casino resort from Caesars Entertainment Corp and turn the property into a branch campus.

Connecticut father arraigned on homicide charge in son's hot car death

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man was arraigned on Wednesday on a charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of his 15-month-old son who was left alone in a car for hours on a hot July afternoon while his father was at work.

New Jersey college buys Atlantic City's closed Showboat casino

PHILADELPHIA - A college in southern New Jersey has announced plans to buy the shuttered Showboat Atlantic City casino resort from Caesars Entertainment Corp and turn the property into a branch campus.

Prosecutors in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial deny pornography deleted

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors on Wednesday denied claims by lawyers for convicted murderer Jodi Arias, who accused the state of deleting thousands of pornographic files from the victim's computer.

U.S. nurses hold strikes, protests over Ebola measures

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of nurses across the United States staged protest rallies and strikes on Wednesday over what they say is insufficient protection for health workers dealing with patients possibly stricken with the deadly Ebola virus.

Colorado man's wife, dead in fall from cliff, insured for millions

DENVER - A Colorado man accused of killing his wife by pushing her off a cliff two years ago stood to reap millions of dollars from life insurance benefits, prosecutors said on Wednesday, as homicide investigators delved separately into the 1995 death of his first spouse.

FedEx workers at New Jersey facility vote against unionization

CHICAGO - Workers at a Newark, New Jersey, FedEx Freight facility voted against joining a union on Wednesday, in a blow to a concerted drive by the Teamsters to unionize FedEx Corp.

Window washers rescued after dangling at NYC's World Trade Center

NEW YORK - Two window washers trapped on a broken platform outside the 69th floor of New York's One World Trade Center scrambled to safety through a hole cut in the glass on Wednesday after dangling for two hours alongside the city's tallest skyscraper.

New York ex-cop acquitted on cannibalism plot gets supervised release

NEW YORK - Four months after the reversal of his conviction for plotting to kidnap and cannibalize women, a former New York City policeman on Wednesday walked out of a federal courthouse, sentenced to time already served and supervised release for a lesser offense.

Exclusive: Controversial U.S. energy loan program has wiped out losses

- The controversial government program that funded failed solar company Solyndra, and became a lighting rod in the 2012 presidential election, is officially in the black.

New Orleans detectives faulted for ignoring sex crimes

- Hundreds of sex crime complaints to the New Orleans Police Department over a three-year period went virtually uninvestigated, city watchdog and police officials said on Wednesday.

Arkansas Governor to pardon son's drug conviction: report

- Outgoing Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said on Wednesday that he will pardon his son for a felony drug conviction, local media reported.

California man pleads not guilty to killing family of four

VICTORVILLE Calif. - An ex-convict pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to four counts of murder in the slayings of a couple and their two young sons whose skeletal remains were found buried last year in the California desert.

911 tapes of Washington state school shooting rampage released

- Authorities on Wednesday released emergency-911 calls of the shooting rampage at a Washington state high school last month, providing details on the scene of carnage and confusion.

Manhattan DA announces $35 mln funding for rape kit backlog

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. pledged on Wednesday $35 million in funding to help eliminate the backlog of untested evidence in sexual assault cases, or "rape kits", in cities across the United States.

Couple weds in Texas hospital at bedside of premature son

AUSTIN Texas - A Texas couple walked down the aisle of a Fort Worth hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to wed to the whir of medical devices and in front of the guest of honor, their premature baby boy wearing a one-piece tuxedo.

Utah man charged with snatching 5-year-old girl from bedroom

- A man accused of abducting a sleeping 5-year-old Utah girl from her bed before being quickly apprehended was charged on Wednesday with felony charges of child kidnapping and burglary, authorities said.

Earthquake hits southern Kansas, shakes buildings in Oklahoma

- A magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit southern Kansas on Wednesday, with reports the temblor was felt in large parts of the state and neighboring Oklahoma to the south.

Washington rabbi charged with voyeurism still being investigated

WASHINGTON - Prosecutors and defense lawyers told a judge on Wednesday that a prominent Washington rabbi accused of secretly filming women taking ritual baths is still being investigated and there may be more victims, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said on Wednesday.

Five Massachusetts schools receive hoax bomb threats

BOSTON - Five schools in Massachusetts received near-simulataneous bomb threats on Wednesday, the most logged by state police this year.

Gunnison sage grouse given federal protection in Colorado, Utah

DENVER - U.S. wildlife authorities listed the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened on Wednesday, disappointing environmental activists who wanted the species given greater protection, and politicians who did not want the federal government involved.

New York ex-cop acquitted on cannibalism plot gets supervised release

NEW YORK - Four months after a judge overturned his conviction for plotting to kidnap and cannibalize women, a former New York City policeman walked out of a federal courthouse on Wednesday on one-year supervised release for a conviction on a lesser charge.

HealthCare.gov may work better, but challenges loom for Obamacare customers

WASHINGTON - The technology glitches may be a thing of the past. But people shopping online for health insurance plans under U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare law may encounter a new set of problems early next year, one of them being unexpected new costs.

U.S. weather agency reports cyber attacks on four websites

WASHINGTON - The U.S. agency that operates the National Weather Service said on Wednesday four of its websites were hacked in recent weeks, becoming the latest federal agency to fall victim to a cyber attack.

Maryland county schools strip religious holidays from calendar

WASHINGTON - Maryland's biggest school district has stripped references to religious holidays from next year's calendar, removing Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah from the lineup of days off.

Window washers rescued after dangling at NYC's World Trade Center

NEW YORK - New York City firefighters rescued two window washers on Wednesday who had been trapped for two hours on broken scaffolding dangling outside the 69th floor of New York's tallest skyscraper, local officials said.

Maryland man dies from storage shed blast injuries

- A Maryland man has died from injuries suffered in a storage shed explosion last week that damaged nearby houses, a fire official said on Wednesday.

Judge overturns same-sex marriage ban in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - A U.S. judge on Wednesday ordered South Carolina officials to stop enforcing a ban on same-sex marriage, ruling the state is bound by a regional federal appeals court decision that struck down Virginia's ban.

Obamacare enrollment group has less money, bigger outreach goal

WASHINGTON - Enroll America, the U.S. government's private-sector flagship for reaching Americans who lack health insurance, has raised less money than last year to promote enrollment in Obamacare health plans but still expects to reach more consumers.

U.S. justices weigh racially charged Alabama redistricting plan

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared unsure how to resolve a challenge to a state legislature redistricting plan in Alabama that packed black voters into certain districts in a way that critics say diminishes their influence at the polls.

Family of Dallas Ebola victim reaches settlement with hospital

DALLAS - The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the United States, said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement with the hospital that had treated him and admitted to making mistakes in addressing his care.

Lawyers for Boston bomb suspect want triple murder evidence

BOSTON - Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev argued on Wednesday that his trial should not start until prosecutors hand over all evidence they have about a 2011 triple murder that may have involved Tsarnaev's older brother Tamerlan.

U.S. nurses to protest, strike over Ebola measures

SAN FRANCISCO - Nurses across the United States will stage protest rallies and strikes on Wednesday over what they say is insufficient protection for health workers dealing with patients possibly stricken with the deadly Ebola virus.

Chicago expected to pass law to stem redevelopment of cheap hotels

CHICAGO - The Chicago City Council is expected to pass an ordinance on Wednesday that will make it tougher to redevelop single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels, which advocates say will protect residents from homelessness.

White supremacist charged in Kansas murders set for court hearing

KANSAS CITY Kan. - A white supremacist accused of killing three people at two Jewish facilities in Kansas in April is set to appear in court on Wednesday for a hearing to determine whether he should stand trial on capital murder charges.

Judge to review competency of Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin judge on Wednesday is scheduled to review the mental competency of a girl accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please Slenderman, a fictional Internet character.

Visanow raises $16 million from General Catalyst on immigration bet

SAN FRANCISCO - As President Barack Obama's vow to act on immigration brings the contentious issue back to the public eye, one company is betting that U.S. visa services will remain a lucrative business no matter what the political outcome.

Missouri governor vows to stop any violence after Ferguson decision

WELDON SPRINGS Mo. - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said on Tuesday the National Guard would be on standby to respond to any violence after a grand jury decides whether or not to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson.

U.S. states' pot legalization not in line with international law: U.N. agency

VIENNA - Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions, the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said on Wednesday, adding he would discuss the issue in Washington next week.

Pentagon No. 2 urges end to U.S. defense cut 'madness'

WASHINGTON - U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work appealed on Wednesday for lawmakers to "end this madness" of across-the-board Pentagon spending cuts, saying they threaten U.S. military readiness and technological dominance at a time of complex global challenges.

Judge allows Detroit to start bankruptcy exit plan immediately

DETROIT - The federal judge who approved Detroit's plan for exiting the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy gave the city on Wednesday the go-ahead for putting the plan in motion.

Brown family calls for non-violence, has faith in jury: lawyer

GENEVA - The family of the slain Missouri teenager Michael Brown said on Wednesday that they had faith in the pending decision of a grand jury and called for supporters to refrain from violence.

Connecticut man charged in death of boy left in hot car: report

- A Connecticut man was charged on Tuesday in connection with the death of his 15-month-old son, who died in the summer after he was left in a hot car for hours, media reported.

California teen arrested in shooting death of U.S. Army veteran

- A southern California teen was arrested on Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a U.S. Army veteran who had recently returned home from Afghanistan, police said.

U.S. airlines sue Port of Seattle over airport workers wage hikes

- U.S. airlines are suing the Port of Seattle to block planned pay increases for airport workers, in the latest legal battle over efforts to better compensate workers in a state with the highest minimum wage in the country.

Federal jury awards $3 million in San Diego County jail death

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego federal jury awarded $3 million to the parents of a 21-year-old man who died in a San Diego County jail from an asthma attack, finding that the way the jail dealt with the man's heroin withdrawal violated his civil rights, a lawyer for the man's family said on Tuesday.

California woman charged with fraud over coffee spill injury claim

LOS ANGELES - A California woman has been charged with fraud for falsely saying she was badly scalded by McDonald's coffee and using photos copied off the Internet to make it appear she suffered second-degree burns on her hand, officials said.

Hole in Florida swallows car, forces evacuations of homes

TAMPA Fla. - Residents in a central Florida community watched anxiously on Tuesday after two holes opened in the ground, including one that swallowed a car, forcing six families to evacuate their homes.

Exclusive: As cities struggle, Scranton in Pennsylvania to triple a local tax

NEW YORK - The former steel and coal town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, will triple a local tax next year as it and some other U.S. cities struggle to recover from the financial crisis, the city's business administrator told Reuters on Tuesday.

California nurses strike ahead of larger protest over Ebola measures

- Nearly 20,000 nurses went on strike in California on Tuesday over patient care issues that include what their union views as insufficient protection for nurses who may care for patients stricken with the deadly Ebola virus, in a prelude to broader national protests expected on Wednesday.

Colorado man trapped for three days between department store walls

DENVER - A Colorado man was pulled to safety on Tuesday after rescuers cut through the wall of a department store where he had been trapped for three days after plunging from the building's roof, authorities said.

Ceremonies, concerts mark Veterans Day in U.S. capital

ARLINGTON Va. - The U.S. capital marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery where Vice President Joe Biden said the 23 million U.S. veterans were the backbone of the nation.

Shipping lines, union blame each other for West Coast port backups

LOS ANGELES - Tension over prolonged labor talks between maritime shippers and the union representing 20,000 West Coast dockworkers has erupted in public as the two sides blamed each other for escalating cargo congestion at the two busiest U.S. container ports.

New York doctor now free of Ebola discharged from hospital

NEW YORK - A New York doctor who has recovered from Ebola left the hospital on Tuesday and urged support for U.S. health workers treating patients in West Africa so they do not face "stigma and threats" when they return home.

Father of Los Angeles Lakers player shot to death in Philadelphia

- The father of a player for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers was shot to death in Philadelphia over the weekend, the team said in a statement on Tuesday.

U.S. civil rights champion John Doar dies

WASHINGTON - John Doar, who played a pivotal role in the fight for civil rights as a U.S. Justice Department official in the 1960s and later served as a special counsel in Congress' investigation of the Watergate scandal, has died at age 92.

Five people killed in New Orleans house fire

NEW ORLEANS - Five people, including three children, died in a fire early on Tuesday in a New Orleans home with no working smoke detectors, fire officials said.

Special Report: For these oil and gas bets, the odds favor the house

NEW YORK - Atlas Energy LP has a deal for investors eager to get in on the U.S. energy boom: Contribute at least $25,000 in a partnership that will drill for oil and gas in Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania and then share any revenue from the wells’ output.

Cold sweeping south, northern Great Lakes hit by early heavy snow

CHICAGO - Drivers faced a second day of unseasonably heavy snow and some businesses and schools shut down in the northern Great Lakes region on Tuesday, while a cold front was expected to push cold air south as far as Texas on Wednesday.

Wisconsin veteran buried, 47 years after going missing in action

- A Vietnam War veteran from Wisconsin was laid to rest on Tuesday in a Veterans Day ceremony, 47 years after he was severely wounded in a battle near the Cambodian border and died of his wounds shortly after being captured.

Students file suit over sexual abuse by teacher at Michigan school

- Five boys who allege they were sexually harassed or assaulted by a teacher at a Michigan school filed suit against the school district on Tuesday, charging that the district failed to provide a safe environment, a lawyer for the students said.

Defense pleased N.J. teens in football scandal to be tried as juveniles

- Lawyers for New Jersey high school football players charged in a hazing scandal that led to the remainder of the season being canceled praised on Tuesday a prosecutor's decision to charge their clients as juveniles.

Ceremonies, concerts mark Veterans Day in U.S. capital

ARLINGTON Va. - The U.S. capital marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery where Vice President Joe Biden said the 23 million U.S. veterans were the backbone of the nation.

New York doctor now free of Ebola discharged from hospital

NEW YORK - A New York doctor who has recovered from Ebola left the hospital on Tuesday and urged support for U.S. health workers treating patients in West Africa so they do not face "stigma and threats" when they return home.

Boy survives long fall down California oceanside cliff

- A 4-year-old boy on a family hike on California's scenic northern coast fell 230 feet (70 meters) down an oceanside cliff but managed to survive and was conscious when rescuers reached him on the rocky shore below, a fire official said on Tuesday.

Chicago gains its second three-star Michelin restaurant

- Chicago cemented its reputation as a top dining destination on Tuesday with Michelin's award of its highest three-star ranking to Grace restaurant, making it the city's second eatery to earn the distinction.

Apparent suicide may be Florida amputee sought in parents' murder

ORLANDO Fla. - Detectives are investigating the possible suicide of a man in Tennessee who may be a missing quadruple Florida amputee sought in connection with his parents’ murder, Florida police said on Tuesday.

Massachusetts school deploys 'shooter detection system'

METHUEN Massachusetts - A Massachusetts school has introduced a security system designed to alert authorities and administrators when shots are fired in the building, the first of its kind in the United States, according to the manufacturer.

Hole in Florida swallows car, forces evacuations of homes

TAMPA Fla. - Residents in a central Florida community watched anxiously on Tuesday after two holes opened in the ground, including one that swallowed a car, forcing six families to evacuate their homes.

Missouri governor vows to stop any violence after Ferguson decision

WELDON SPRINGS Mo. - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said on Tuesday the National Guard would be on standby to respond to any violence after a grand jury decides whether or not to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson.

Mormon church admits founder Joseph Smith had about 40 wives

- The Mormon church has admitted that founder Joseph Smith married about 40 women including a 14-year-old and others who were already the wives of his followers, having maintained for nearly 200 years that he was monogamous.

Portland schools urged to scrap transfers to boost racial diversity

PORTLAND Ore. - A citizen's group in Portland, Oregon, said on Monday the city should drop policies allowing students to transfer public schools, saying it is making the schools less racially diverse and poorer.

New York City police to stop arresting for low-level marijuana possession

NEW YORK - New York City police will begin issuing a summons rather than making a misdemeanor arrest for most people caught carrying small amounts of marijuana, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Monday.

Ferguson, Missouri, braces for grand jury decision, new protests

- Tensions were building in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday as the community girded for a decision by a grand jury over whether to indict the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in August.

Briton serving life for Florida murders makes bid for freedom

MIAMI - A British man, who has served 27 years in jail for a grisly double-homicide in Florida, was given a last chance on Monday to convince a U.S. judge that the murders were carried out by Colombian drug traffickers.

Lava flow from volcano incinerates home on Hawaii's Big Island

KAILUA-KONA Hawaii - A slow-moving lava flow from an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island incinerated a house on Monday, marking the first home devoured by a stream of molten rock that has crept toward the village of Pahoa for weeks, civil defense officials said.

Slain U.S. civil rights workers among Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

WASHINGTON - Three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi in 1964 will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining actress Meryl Streep and singer Stevie Wonder among the 19 recipients of America's highest civilian honor this year, the White House said on Monday.

Colorado high school sued over ban on student prayer group

DENVER - A conservative group that successfully pushed an Arizona school district to tamp down its sexual education curriculum has now filed suit in Colorado, accusing a high school of unlawfully blocking student efforts to gather together for prayer.

U.S. families of the missing in action fight time and bureaucracy

CHAMBERSBURG Pa. - In April 1943, when Ronald Norford was 10, his older brother Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy and shipped out on a submarine patrolling the waters off Japan as World War Two was reaching full boil.

Nevada poachers face trial charged as 'serial wildlife killers'

- Three men convicted of state hunting violations in Nevada now face trial on federal charges stemming from a poaching ring that saw untold numbers of deer, antelope, birds and other wildlife killed illegally across Nevada, game officials said on Monday.

Nevada poachers face trial charged as 'serial wildlife killers'

- Three men convicted of state hunting violations in Nevada now face trial on federal charges stemming from a poaching ring that saw untold numbers of deer, antelope, birds and other wildlife killed illegally across Nevada, game officials said on Monday.

Investigation continues into plane crash that killed popular pastor, eight others

NASSAU Bahamas - The investigation continues into the plane crash that killed Myles Munroe, an influential and popular religious leader, and eight others in the Bahamas on Sunday.

Colorado man convicted of poisoning, dismembering mother

DENVER - A 26-year-old Colorado man who professed to be insane when he poisoned his mother to death and drove around with her dismembered remains in his car was found guilty on Monday of first-degree murder, prosecutors said.

Ferguson, Missouri, braces for grand jury decision, new protests

- Tensions were building in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday as the community girded for a looming decision by a grand jury over whether to indict the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in August.

Man found dead at U.C. Berkeley frat house after party

- The death of a 20-year-old man at a fraternity house near the University of California, Berkeley, following a party over the weekend was being investigated as suspicious, police said on Monday.

Actor found on fire atop a New York-bound train, later dies

NEW YORK - A fledging actor and model was found on fire on top of a stalled commuter train in Connecticut and later died from his severe burn injuries, a transit spokesman said on Monday.

U.S. spy chief's trip to N. Korea was delayed by plane malfunction

WASHINGTON - A secret trip by U.S. spy chief James Clapper to North Korea to retrieve two jailed Americans last weekend was delayed by a day after Clapper's plane developed a mechanical problem, U.S. government sources said on Monday.

School districts in Pennsylvania sue state over education funding

PHILADELPHIA - Six Pennsylvania school districts and a group of parents sued the state on Monday, charging that funding for education discriminates against children based on the wealth of their school districts.

Winter storm hits U.S. Plains, upper Midwest; cold to follow

CHICAGO - The first big winter storm of the season dropped up to 8 inches of snow in South Dakota by Monday afternoon and was heading for the upper Great Lakes region but is not seen as a significant threat to crops or livestock, forecasters said.

Judge to set start date soon for Detroit bankruptcy exit measures

- The judge who confirmed Detroit's plan to exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history could set a date later this week for the cost- and debt-cutting measures to take effect.

Anti-abortion group to move into shuttered Texas clinic

SAN ANTONIO - A anti-abortion group is planning to move its national headquarters into an abortion clinic in Texas that was forced to close due to new restrictions placed on the procedures in the state.

U.S. justice temporarily blocks gay marriage in Kansas

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Supreme justice on Monday temporarily blocked gay marriage in Kansas a day before it was due to go into effect.

Gunman in custody after taking hostages in Oklahoma

- An armed man was taken into custody after holding at least two people hostage for several hours in an office building in Norman, Oklahoma, on Monday, police said, adding there were no reported injuries.

New York doctor infected with Ebola to be released from hospital

NEW YORK - A New York doctor who was diagnosed with Ebola after working with patients in West Africa will be released on Tuesday from a hospital where he has been treated for the disease, the hospital said.

Florida 'race war' planner sentenced to six months

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida man accused of training members of a white supremacist group for a "race war" at a heavily fortified compound near Orlando and Walt Disney World was sentenced on Monday to six months in jail, according to court records.

Clinic that treated Joan Rivers cited for multiple failings

NEW YORK - The New York outpatient clinic where the late Joan Rivers suffered cardiac arrest did not follow all the standard protocols during the throat procedures it conducted on the comedian, according to a government agency report released on Monday.

New York City police to stop arresting for low-level marijuana possession

NEW YORK - New York City police will begin issuing a summons rather than making a misdemeanor arrest for most people caught carrying small amounts of marijuana, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Monday.

Wyoming firefighter dies in freak hunting accident

- A Wyoming firefighter died after a freak hunting accident in which he was shot in both legs by a single round from a powerful rifle that discharged when it accidentally struck the ground, authorities said Monday.

Norovirus blamed for illness outbreak at upscale California hotel

- California health authorities have determined that the highly contagious Norovirus was responsible for sickening 60 people who attended an NAACP conference last month at an upscale Bay Area hotel, sending about a dozen to the hospital, officials said on Monday. 

Anadarko's $5.15 billion cleanup deal approved by U.S. court

NEW YORK - Anadarko Petroleum Corp's agreement to pay $5.15 billion to clean up nuclear fuel and other pollution received approval from a federal judge on Monday, the final hurdle for the settlement touted by the U.S. Department of Justice as the largest-ever environmental cleanup recovery.

New video shows fight to beat blaze that killed 19 firefighters

PHOENIX - Newly released video chronicling the battle against an Arizona blaze that killed 19 elite firefighters in June 2013 has detailed the moments the bodies were discovered already dead after a massive wall of flames swept over them.

Palestine activist convicted of immigration fraud in Detroit

DETROIT - A Palestinian activist was found guilty on Monday of immigration fraud for failing to reveal to U.S. authorities that she had been convicted and served time in Israel for a 1969 supermarket bombing that killed two people.

'Breaking Bad'-inspired Washington, D.C., student sentenced for ricin

WASHINGTON - A "Breaking Bad"-inspired Georgetown University student who made the deadly chemical ricin in his dormitory room was sentenced on Monday to a year in jail.

Continental CEO Harold Hamm ordered to pay $995 million in divorce

- An Oklahoma County judge has ordered oil magnate and Continental Resources Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm to pay nearly $1 billion in a divorce judgment, according to a court filing made public on Monday.

Violent U.S. crime drops again to 1970s level, FBI says

WASHINGTON - U.S. violent crime including murders fell 4.4 percent in 2013, continuing a long-term downturn and marking the lowest number of violent crimes since the late 1970s, the FBI said on Monday.

Early snow falls on northern U.S., cold sweeping south

- An Arctic blast began to dump heavy snows in parts of the northern Rockies and Plains and the Great Lakes regions on Monday as temperatures are expected to plummet throughout the United States, according to meteorologists.

Dozen members of church group missing on hike near Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Authorities were searching on Monday for about a dozen members of a church group who went missing over the weekend while hiking in mountains north of Los Angeles, a county sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Milwaukee man sentenced for stealing $5 million Stradivarius violin

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday for stealing a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert musician after a performance, court records showed.

U.S. families of the missing in action fight time and bureaucracy

CHAMBERSBURG Pa. - In April 1943, when Ronald Norford was 10, his older brother Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy and shipped out on a submarine patrolling the waters off Japan as World War Two was reaching full boil.

U.S. releases low 2015 Obamacare enrollment forecast

WASHINGTON - The U.S. administration on Monday dramatically cut expectations for 2015 Obamacare enrollment, saying between 9 million and 9.9 million people will enroll in private health plans, compared with a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast of 13 million.

Pennsylvania inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal sues over state speech law

PHILADELPHIA - Mumia Abu-Jamal, serving life in prison for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer, and supporters filed a federal lawsuit on Monday challenging a state law enacted after a college graduation speech the activist inmate gave last month.

U.S. Postal Service reports data breach affecting employees, call center

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service reported a data breach on Monday that may have compromised personal information about its 500,000 employees as well as data on customers who contacted its call center from January through mid-August.

Obama pressures FCC for strong net neutrality rules

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday pressured the federal communications regulator to toughen its planned Internet traffic rules, saying higher-fee "fast lanes" should be banned and Internet providers should be overseen more like public utilities are.

U.S. veterans sue banks, claim they should pay for Iraq attacks

NEW YORK - Wounded U.S. veterans and family members of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq sued five European banks on Monday, seeking to hold them responsible for shootings and roadside bombings because they allegedly processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks.

Two Americans freed by North Korea return to U.S. soil

TACOMA Washington - Two Americans freed from secretive North Korea stepped off a plane into the welcoming arms of family on Saturday after the surprise involvement of the top-ranking U.S. intelligence official who traveled to Pyongyang to bring them home.

Food costs eating into consumers' saving at the pump as holidays near

- Martha Franco says she hadn't really noticed the sharp drop in gasoline prices, even though the mother of three is always shuttling the kids around in her SUV. She has been paying closer attention to the soaring cost of meat instead.

Food costs eating into consumers' saving at the pump as holidays near

- Martha Franco says she hadn't really noticed the sharp drop in gasoline prices, even though the mother of three is always shuttling the kids around in her SUV. She has been paying closer attention to the soaring cost of meat instead.

U.S. transgenders welcome an easier path to altering birth papers

NEW YORK - Naz Seenauth's driver's license says he is male. His birth certificate says he is female. The mismatch, he says, is deeply frustrating.

Rare hearing for Briton in Florida, serving life for double murder

MIAMI - A rare legal hearing in the case of a British man, who has served 27 years in jail for a grisly double-homicide, begins Monday, with defense lawyers hoping to convince a Florida judge the murders were carried out by Colombian drug traffickers.

Coldest air of the season set to blast 42 U.S. states: forecasters

- The coldest air of the season is set to reach into some 42 states this week as an Arctic blast drops temperatures from the Canadian border down to the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said.

Long-awaited transit hub opening in lower Manhattan

- New York raised the curtain on its new $1.4 billion transit station in lower Manhattan on Sunday, a long-awaited connection between the World Trade Center site and the rest of the city more than 13 years after terrorist attacks ravaged the area.

Former long-time U.S. congressman Phil Crane dies at 84

- Phil Crane, 84, who served 35 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing parts of the Chicago area, has died, his family said in an obituary it released on Sunday.

Plane crash kills nine, including church leader, on Grand Bahama

NASSAU Bahamas - A private jet struck a construction crane on approach to Grand Bahama International Airport on Sunday and crashed, killing all nine people aboard, including the leader of the Bahamas Faith Ministries, police and civil aviation officials said.

Veteran of Afghan conflict dies in Los Angeles shooting

- A U.S. Army veteran who returned safely home to Los Angeles from Afghanistan several months ago was shot dead early Sunday after leaving a party hosted by his girlfriend, police said.

Family donates 5-year-old victim's heart, police vow justice

- The family of a 5-year-old Wisconsin girl killed in a shooting last week donated her heart to another child, police said.

American Airlines attendants reject contract by 16 votes

NEW YORK - American Airlines Group Inc flight attendants narrowly rejected a joint labor contract on Sunday, in a defeat following the merger of American and the former US Airways last year that brought together a combined workforce of some 24,500 U.S.-based stewards.

U.S. officials hope new HealthCare.gov avoids last year's problems

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials planned to unveil an improved healthcare insurance website on Sunday they hope will allow the second enrollment period under President Barack Obama's health reform plan to avoid the technical meltdown that plagued its launch last year.

Fire kills one, injures 11 at Chicago apartment complex

- One person died and 11 more were injured, including five children, in a Chicago apartment complex fire early Sunday, according to fire officials and local media.

Obama defends plan to act on immigration: CBS interview

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama defended his plan to use executive powers to implement some immigration reforms, saying in an interview broadcast on Sunday he had waited long enough for Congress to act.

Off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent arrested in California shooting

SAN DIEGO - An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested on Saturday in connection with the shooting death of a 27-year-old man at a Southern California home, police said.

Judge voids Arizona human smuggling law, finding it infringes on U.S. government

- A federal judge has struck down a 2005 Arizona criminal statute against human smuggling in a ruling that found it infringed on the U.S. government's power to enforce immigration law.

Two Americans freed by North Korea on their way home

WASHINGTON - North Korea freed two Americans from prison and they were returning to the United States on Saturday after the surprise involvement of the top-ranking U.S. intelligence official in their release.

Philadelphia-area transit workers avert strike by approving contract

- Philadelphia-area transit workers have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a two-year contract with the local transportation agency, averting a strike that threatened to cripple bus and rail lines and that their union warned would be long and contentious.

Nurse who fought Maine Ebola quarantine moving out of state: report

- A nurse who treated Ebola patients in West Africa and publicly fought quarantine orders in New Jersey and Maine after returning to the United States last month has decided to move away from her home state, a newspaper in Maine reported.

Chef, 90, faces jail, fines for feeding the homeless

MIAMI - For decades, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott has hauled pans filled with roast chicken and cheese-covered potatoes onto a south Florida beach park to feed hundreds of homeless people.

Power shift in U.S. Senate brings sterner tone to foreign policy debate

WASHINGTON - The Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate will bring a tough new tone to the debate over Washington's foreign policy, with lawmakers expected use their new clout and power over the budget to promote a more interventionist foreign policy.

Obama's attorney general pick is change of style, not substance

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday picked Brooklyn federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to be the next U.S. attorney general, signaling a change in style but a continuation of the law enforcement priorities the administration has pursued.

Actor Andy Dick arrested on felony theft charge in Los Angeles

- Actor and comedian Andy Dick was arrested in Hollywood on a charge of felony theft and released from jail early Saturday on $25,000 bail, according to police and jail records.

Boston-area man steals phone of woman killed by train: police

- A Boston-area man was arrested for stealing a woman's cell phone moments after witnessing a commuter train striking and killing her, authorities said on Saturday.

Two Americans freed by North Korea, returning home: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON - North Korea freed two American citizens from prison and they were returning to the United States on Saturday after the surprise involvement of the top-ranking U.S. intelligence official in their release.

Blast inside Maryland storage shed injures one, damages homes

- An explosion inside a Maryland storage shed early Saturday left one person hospitalized and damaged nearly a dozen nearby homes, fire officials said.

Minneapolis mayor denies making gang sign with community organizer

- Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges denied on Friday a report by a local television station that she flashed a gang sign with a community organizer in a photograph taken during a recent get-out-the-vote event.

Utah man accused of trying to snatch sleeping girl, 5, from bedroom

SALT LAKE CITY - Police with search dogs on Friday arrested a Utah man accused of trying to abduct a sleeping 5-year-old girl from her bed in the dead of night in a kidnapping foiled only because the child's stepfather awakened to the sound of the front door opening.

Alaska TV reporter turned pot activist aims to open Anchorage cannabis club

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New UAW president vows to be more open to members, public

DETROIT - As the United Auto Workers faces what many observers say will be the most difficult contract talks with U.S. automakers in decades in 2015, its new president said more open communication with union members and the public will help at the bargaining table.

Gay marriage advocates target U.S. Supreme Court after loss

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage supporters in four states where bans on same-sex nuptials were upheld by a federal appeals court said on Friday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue, and officials in two of the states vowed to do the same.

Nine rookie Port Authority cops fired after wild New Jersey graduation bash

NEW YORK - Nine rookie officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police department are being fired and three supervisors disciplined after a rowdy graduation party at a New Jersey bar, authorities said on Friday.

Gay marriage advocates target U.S. Supreme Court after loss

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage supporters in four states where bans on same-sex nuptials were upheld by a federal appeals court said on Friday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue, and officials in two of the states vowed to do the same.

Exclusive: FAA approves move by Atlanta-area airport opposed by Delta

NEW YORK - A decision by the U.S. aviation regulator has moved forward plans by a small Georgia airport to begin commercial airline service, despite strong opposition by Delta Air Lines and the city of Atlanta, the local county authority said on Friday.

Man charged with killing California couple, young sons

VICTORVILLE Calif. - An ex-convict was charged on Friday with four counts of murder in the slayings of a couple and their two young sons whose skeletal remains were found buried last year in the California desert, police and prosecutors said.

California man arrested with live calf in the back of his car

LOS ANGELES - Police in a Southern California city found an unusual stolen item this week in the back of a compact car with tinted windows - a live, three-day-old calf, an animal welfare official said on Friday.

Kentucky lawmaker accused of bribery may ask for trial delay

- A Kentucky state lawmaker who pleaded not guilty to a bribery charge this week is considering asking for a postponement of his January trial date, his lawyer said on Friday.

Dallas marks Ebola end with relief, 'selfies' with President Bush

DALLAS - A relieved Dallas got the U.S. government's all-clear on Friday from Ebola, and former President George W. Bush marked the event by visiting the hospital that was at the center of fighting the virus and the origin of an American scare over the disease.

U.S. judge affirms conservative voice with same-sex marriage vote

- In 2011, Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals surprised and disappointed many fellow conservatives by voting to uphold President Obama's healthcare overhaul.

Mother of boys found in squalid Denver home jailed for 90 days

DENVER - The mother of four small boys found inside a squalid Denver home malnourished and unable to speak except by grunts was sentenced on Friday to 90 days in jail and five years of probation, prosecutors said.

Obama to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has approved sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly doubling the number of U.S. forces on the ground helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the militant group Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Pittsburgh researcher found guilty in wife's cyanide poisoning death

PITTSBURGH - A jury found a University of Pittsburgh neurological surgery professor guilty of first degree murder on Friday for the cyanide poisoning death of his physician wife, in what prosecutors described as a crime of jealousy.

Boy shot in Washington state school rampage dies, death toll is five: hospital

- A boy shot during a rampage at a Washington state high school last month has died from his wounds, a spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center said on Friday, bringing the death toll to five.

California man sentenced to 37 years for raping women he met on dating sites

- A California man described by prosecutors as a dangerous internet predator was sentenced on Friday to 37 years to life in prison for raping two women he met on dating websites including ChristianMingle.com, an attorney for one of the victims said.

Nevada earthquake swarm increases chance of larger quake

- An earthquake swarm that began in a secluded northwest Nevada region this summer has grown more intense in recent days, increasing the chance of a large quake occurring, geology officials said.

California man's body found hanging in tree three weeks later

LOS ANGELES - A cable repairman looking to relieve himself by the side of the road in Northern California discovered the decomposing body of a man who had been hanging from a tree for about three weeks, authorities said on Friday.

Driver who looped Manhattan in 24 minutes convicted of recklessness

NEW YORK - A man who zoomed a sports car around Manhattan in 24 minutes, reaching speeds of about 100 miles per hour (160 kph), was found guilty on Thursday of reckless endangerment and reckless driving, prosecutors said.

U.S. lawmakers want criminal probe of Takata as air bag concerns grow

WASHINGTON - Two Democratic lawmakers on Friday called for the U.S. Justice Department to examine whether air bag-maker Takata broke the law, as authorities study the dangers of the safety device that is now part of a sweeping recall.

No decision yet on nominee for U.S. attorney general: White House

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has not made a decision on a nominee to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, a White House spokesman said on Friday.

U.S. CDC boosts national stockpile of Ebola protective gear

- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is increasing its national stockpile of protective gear for U.S. hospitals handling Ebola patients after a "sudden increase" in demand, the agency said on Friday.

Russian charged in Afghan attack pleads not guilty in U.S. court

RICHMOND Va. - A former Russian army officer pleaded not guilty on Friday to terrorism charges for a 2009 attack on U.S. and Afghan forces, and a U.S. District Court judge set trial for April 2015.

Bering Sea storm to blast Aleutians, trigger cold across U.S.

JUNEAU Alaska - The remnants of Tropical Storm Nuri will blast the Aleutian Islands with strong winds and high seas this weekend and later push cold air through Canada into the lower 48 U.S. states, a National Weather Service meteorologist said on Friday.

U.S. Army apologizes, will drop term 'Negro' from policy document

- The U.S. Army has issued an apology and will no longer use the term "Negro" in a document on policies and procedures as an acceptable alternative to African American.

Obama expected to nominate Loretta Lynch for attorney general: CNN

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is expected to pick Brooklyn prosecutor Loretta Lynch for his next attorney general, CNN reported on Friday, a move that would give the top U.S. law enforcement role to a low-key prosecutor with deep experience in both civil rights and corporate fraud cases.

Obama says sees room to work with Congress on manufacturing, exports

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday he plans to talk with congressional leaders over lunch about how to build on momentum in the economy, discussing ideas to boost manufacturing and exports, and invest in early childhood education.

American mailed more cyanide after UK suicide attempt failed: police

PORTLAND Maine - A Maine resident with a history of mental illness mailed a second, heavier dose of cyanide to a British suicide victim after the initial shipment failed to kill him, British police said on Friday.

Ohio man killed in pin-setting machine at bowling alley

- An Ohio man was trapped and killed at a bowling alley near Cincinnati when his clothing got caught in a pin-setting machine that he was repairing and he was pulled into the mechanism, police said on Friday.

Man charged with killing California couple, young sons

LOS ANGELES - A lone suspect has been arrested and charged with four counts of murder in the slaying of a couple and their two young sons whose skeletal remains were found buried last year in the California desert, police and prosecutors said on Friday.

New York City cuts speed limit to 25 mph to curb pedestrian deaths

NEW YORK - The default speed limit on the streets of New York City dropped to 25 mph from 30 mph on Friday, the centerpiece of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to reduce pedestrian deaths in the country's largest city and one of its most crowded.

Trial set for Arizona mom charged with leaving children in hot car

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors will go to trial to press felony child abuse charges against a woman who drew national attention when she left her two young sons in a hot car while attending a job interview, a county attorney's spokesman said on Friday.

Judge rules Missouri ban on gay marriage violates Constitution

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A federal judge ruled on Friday that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution in a decision that would extend the right of gay couples to marry across the Midwestern state.

Wisconsin man stabs himself at 'Ax Murder House' in Iowa

- A Wisconsin man stabbed himself early Friday during a paranormal investigation at a southwestern Iowa house where two adults and six children were killed with an ax in 1912, authorities said.

U.S. judge delays sentencing for Tsarnaev friends over Supreme Court case

BOSTON - A U.S. judge has delayed sentencing hearings for two friends of Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, citing a pending Supreme Court case that could affect what is considered "tangible evidence."

Dramatic turnover continues on Delaware Supreme Court

- Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely will retire early next year, becoming the fourth justice in 15 months to retire from a court that plays a major role in shaping corporate law.

Judge confirms Detroit plan to exit historic bankruptcy

DETROIT - A U.S. judge on Friday confirmed Detroit's plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Georgia sues feds in escalating water wars in U.S. Southeast

ATLANTA - Atlanta's growing thirst for water prompted Georgia officials on Friday to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a request to tap more deeply into a lake critical to Alabama, the latest salvo in U.S. Southeast water wars also extending to Florida.

New York man who killed wife and toddlers gets 45 years in prison

NEW YORK - A New York man who stabbed his wife and two toddlers to death with a kitchen knife was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment on Friday, prosecutors said.

Obama to send more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 more U.S. troops for Iraq, roughly doubling the number already there to advise and retrain Iraqi forces battling Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Suspected Connecticut wedding crasher surrenders on theft charge

WESTPORT Conn. - A Connecticut man has surrendered to police on suspicion he posed as a wedding guest at an exclusive Westport hotel and stole cash and checks given to the newlyweds at the reception.

U.S. Pakistan expert loses security clearance in federal probe: report

WASHINGTON - A State Department expert on Pakistan was stripped of her security clearance and is part of a federal counterintelligence investigation, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

FBI reveals agent posed as reporter, AP says credibility harmed

- The FBI has revealed that one of its agents impersonated an Associated Press reporter in 2007 in order to trap a suspect in a Seattle bomb threat case, prompting a rebuke from the news agency, which said the sting undermined press freedom and independence.

Trial of Pittsburgh researcher accused of poisoning wife goes to jury

PITTSBURGH - The jury in the trial of a University of Pittsburgh medical researcher accused of the 2013 murder of his neurologist wife began deliberating on Thursday after prosecutors told them that Robert Ferrante fed cyanide to Autumn Klein out of jealousy, while his defense denied poison was even the cause of her death.

Three charged in U.S. presidential helicopter fraud case

CHARLESTON S.C. - A federal grand jury has indicted three men in a fraud scheme involving the helicopters used to transport the U.S. president and vice president, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

For-profit colleges sue U.S. Education Department over crackdown

WASHINGTON - A group representing for-profit colleges on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration's new gainful employment rules that aim to protect students from lackluster degrees and huge debt loads.

Philadelphia abduction suspect accused of violent rape in Virginia

- A 37-year-old man accused of abducting a woman from a Philadelphia sidewalk this week in a dramatic act caught on surveillance video faces attempted murder and rape charges for a separate incident in Virginia, police said on Thursday.

Former Illinois congressman Evans dies at 63

- Former Illinois congressman Lane Evans, a champion for U.S. veterans who had suffered with Parkinson's disease for years, died late on Wednesday in East Moline, Illinois, his guardian said. He was 63.

New Orleans political consultant victim of possible fire bombing

NEW ORLEANS - A fire that badly damaged the home of a New Orleans political consultant on Thursday appears to have been set deliberately, authorities said, raising concerns it may have been a politically motivated attack.

Georgia city settles lawsuit over stun-gun death

ATLANTA - A Georgia city has settled a wrongful death suit filed by the family of a man who died in April after two police officers used Tasers on him more than a dozen times, their attorney said on Thursday.

Bankrupt San Bernardino, Calif., warns it may contract out services, raise debt

RIVERSIDE Calif. - Bankrupt San Bernadino, California, might have to contract out essential services and place a revenue bond on the ballot in 2015 elections after a measure failed this week that would have lowered base pay for police and firefighters, said a lawyer for the city on Thursday.

Former baseball pitcher Halsey's fatal fall apparently an accident

AUSTIN Texas - The death of former Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Halsey, who fell off a cliff near his central Texas home last week, appears to have been an accident, police said on Thursday.

Who shot bin Laden? Former U.S. Navy SEALS make rival claims

WASHINGTON - Members of the U.S. Navy Seal commando team that killed Osama bin Laden at his Pakistan hideout in May, 2011 are making conflicting claims as to who actually shot the al Qaeda leader.

In defeat for unions, Indiana's top court upholds right-to-work law

- The Indiana Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the state's right-to-work law, which bars employers from requiring workers to join unions or pay union dues as a condition of employment, in a victory for business groups.

Appeals court upholds gay marriage bans, reversing trend

- A federal appeals court on Thursday bucked a recent trend of pro-gay marriage decisions by upholding state bans or restrictions in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, pressuring the Supreme Court to take up the issue.

Former Mississippi prisons chief pleads not guilty to bribery

JACKSON Miss. - Mississippi's former prisons chief pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal charges that he accepted cash and mortgage payments in exchange for awarding prison contracts to companies tied to a local businessman.

U.S. Aegis system zaps cruise, ballistic missile targets in test

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Aegis missile defense system on Thursday destroyed two cruise missile targets and one ballistic missile target nearly simultaneously in a test conducted by a U.S. Navy destroyer off the coast of Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

Planned Hollywood high-rise would sit atop earthquake fault, state says

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A potentially violent earthquake fault system runs beneath the planned site of a massive high-rise development project in Hollywood and along the edge of a new apartment building, California's top geologist said Thursday.

Remains of missing Frenchman identified in Alaska

JUNEAU Alaska - A 35-year-old French national has been identified as the man whose remains were discovered in September on a remote Alaskan island 70 miles north of Kodiak, state troopers said Thursday.

U.S. Air Force recovers pilot's body after crash in Gulf of Mexico

MIAMI - The United State Air Force said it had recovered the body of an F-16 fighter jet pilot who was killed when his aircraft crashed in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday during a routine training mission.

Detroit's dash through bankruptcy awaits court nod

- Detroit's nearly 16-month odyssey through bankruptcy reaches the finish line on Friday, when a federal judge will issue his ruling on whether the city's plan for shedding debt and investing in its future is both feasible and fair.

Detroit breaks new ground in bankruptcy settlements

DETROIT - Detroit's plan for exiting the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history broke new ground by using land as a bargaining chip with creditors and could serve as a model for other distressed municipalities.

Idaho Army National Guard helicopter crashes, killing two pilots

- An Idaho Army National Guard helicopter crashed in a field just south of the Boise Airport on Thursday evening, killing both pilots, a military official said.

Undercover New York City investigator sneaks contraband into Rikers Island jail

- An undercover investigator posing as a New York City corrections officer was able to sneak $22,000 worth of contraband into the troubled Rikers Island jail complex, officials said on Thursday.

Who shot bin Laden? Former Navy SEALS make rival claims

WASHINGTON - Members of the U.S. Navy Seal commando team that killed Osama bin Laden at his Pakistan hideout in May, 2011 are making conflicting claims as to who actually shot the al Qaeda leader.

U.S. space industry girds for more oversight after accidents

WASHINGTON - Executives in the fledgling commercial U.S. space industry are bracing for increased scrutiny and oversight after two accidents last week, including one that killed a pilot, but say they view the mishaps as temporary setbacks that will not halt launches.

U.S. jobs data to show economy's resilience

WASHINGTON, Reuters - U.S. employers likely hired new workers at a fairly brisk clip last month, underscoring the economy's resilience in the face of slowing global demand.

U.S. nurse, now free of Ebola, defends her work and travels

WASHINGTON - One of the U.S. nurses who helped treat a Liberian man with Ebola in Texas last month defended her controversial decision to fly after treating the patient, saying she had not been barred from traveling and felt normal during her trip.

Chicago Archdiocese will release files on 36 abusive priests

CHICAGO - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said it will release on Thursday internal files of 36 priests who church officials found had sexually abused children.

Remains of missing Hollywood executive identified

- California authorities have positively identified the remains of a Hollywood studio executive who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 2012, officials said on Wednesday.

Oregon police capture man suspected of murder, posting pictures online

- Police in Oregon have arrested a man accused of brutally murdering his girlfriend then posting gruesome pictures of the scene onto the internet, authorities said.

California schools chief re-elected in race that became referendum on education reform

LOS ANGELES - California's union-backed schools superintendent has won re-election, defeating a challenger who called for tying teacher pay to student performance and a reshaping of tenure rules in an expensive race that emerged as a referendum on education reform.

Developer withdraws bid on 6,300 Detroit-area blighted properties

DETROIT - A developer has pulled out of a deal to acquire more than 6,300 Detroit-area properties in a county tax foreclosure auction a week after being declared the winning bidder, a county official said on Wednesday.

In rare case, NYC cops charged with assault over teen's arrest

NEW YORK - Two New York police officers have been charged with assaulting a teenaged boy during his arrest in Brooklyn, prosecutors said on Wednesday, an unusual case in a city where prosecutions of police for excessive are rare.

Obama, Republicans sound conciliatory note but battles loom

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and his powerful U.S. Senate adversary struck a conciliatory tone on Wednesday, but Obama's plans to proceed with new immigration rules foreshadowed a bumpy start to his relationship with a Republican-controlled Congress.

California schools chief re-elected in race that became referendum on education reform

LOS ANGELES - California's union-backed schools superintendent has won re-election, defeating a challenger who called for tying teacher pay to student performance and a reshaping of tenure rules in an expensive race that emerged as a referendum on education reform.

Washington state voters approve measure to expand gun background checks

SEATTLE - Legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers in Washington state passed overwhelmingly, election results showed on Wednesday, making the state the first in the country to close the so-called gun-show loophole through popular vote.

Missouri ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, court rules

- Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a St. Louis circuit judge ruled on Wednesday, adding momentum to efforts in states across the country to legalize gay nuptials.

Despite election defeat, foreign policy is not 'game over' for Obama

WASHINGTON - From marauding jihadists in Iraq to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and beheadings of Americans in Syria, a world in crisis has fanned perceptions of an overwhelmed U.S. president and contributed to a Republican sweep of U.S. midterm elections.

Mississippi prisons chief resigns abruptly amid federal suit

JACKSON Miss. - Mississippi's long-serving prisons chief resigned abruptly on Wednesday amid a federal case in which prosecutors have moved to seize his assets.

Bad weather, safety agency blamed for fatal Alaska crash

- Federal investigators said on Wednesday pilot error and a lack of safety measures at Alaska's public safety agency were to blame for the crash of a rescue helicopter that killed all three people on board last year.

Kidnapped Philadelphia woman found safe in Maryland

- A woman who was abducted from a Philadelphia street in an assault caught on surveillance video was found safe in Maryland on Wednesday, three days after the incident, police said.

Archer Daniels Midland names Juan Luciano CEO

- U.S. agribusiness company Archer Daniels Midland Co named Juan Luciano as chief executive, effective Jan. 1. Luciano succeeds Patricia Woertz, who will remain as ADM's chairman and is expected to retire in May.

Washington, D.C., voters OK legal pot, but congressional hurdles remain

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia voters have overwhelmingly approved legalizing marijuana, but pot smokers in the U.S. capital still need congressional approval before they can legally light up.

Financier, 70, facing 20 years prison, to not withdraw guilty plea

NEW YORK - Stephen Walsh, a former minority owner of the New York Islanders professional hockey team, has decided not to withdraw his guilty plea to swindling investors in a $554 million fraud, even after a federal judge said he deserved the maximum 20 years in prison.

New York socialite guilty of manslaughter in death of autistic son

NEW YORK - A wealthy New York socialite accused of killing her 8-year-old autistic son in a posh Manhattan hotel room was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter on Wednesday, said prosecutors, who had sought a second-degree murder conviction.

Defense for U.S. warship bombing suspect focuses on Obama torture statement

FORT MEADE Md. - President Barack Obama's acknowledgment that the CIA tortured suspects after the 9/11 attacks arose in a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday of the prime suspect in the 2000 bombing of a U.S. warship.

U.S. justices leaning toward letting fisherman off the hook

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed a desire on Wednesday to reel in the federal government for prosecuting a Florida fisherman under a white-collar crime law for disposing of undersized red grouper fish while he was under investigation.

Amazon tries out taxi deliveries in California cities, WSJ reports

SAN FRANCISCO - Amazon.com Inc is testing deliveries via taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the Internet retailer explores alternative modes of delivery to speed up shipments while restraining cost.

Trial opens for man accused in Pennsylvania woman's death, dismemberment

STROUDSBURG Pa. - A former electrical contractor at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in eastern Pennsylvania went on trial Wednesday on charges he beat, strangled and dismembered a woman whose body parts were stuffed into garbage bags and strewn along two interstate highways.

Push to end 'autopilot' raises for police, firefighters nixed in bankrupt San Bernardino

LOS ANGELES - Voters in bankrupt San Bernardino, California, overwhelmingly rejected an attempt on Tuesday to scrap a rule that sets police and firefighter wages based on salaries in wealthier cities.

Californians support reducing sentences for nonviolent criminals

- California voters passed a measure on Tuesday that will reduce the sentences of nonviolent offenders, potentially releasing 10,000 felons from state prisons.

Washington consultant pleads guilty in corruption scheme

WASHINGTON - A political consultant who worked on President Barack Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and advised Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fattah pleaded guilty on Wednesday to participating in a scheme to provide illegal campaign contributions.

Oregon mom accused of throwing autistic son off bridge held on $1 million bail

PORTLAND Ore. - An Oregon mother accused of killing her 6-year-old autistic son by throwing him from a bridge is being held on $1 million bail, a Lincoln County District Court clerk said on Wednesday.

Indiana high schooler pleads not guilty to killing 73-year-old man

- A not guilty plea was entered on Wednesday on behalf of a suburban Indianapolis high school student charged with murdering a 73-year-old man found dead in a park, prosecutors said.

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez reportedly admits to doping

MIAMI - New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with federal agents probing a Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of baseball's doping scandal, the Miami Herald reported on Wednesday.

New York City police commissioner names second in command

NEW YORK - New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday named a black attorney who was running the department's training programs to the position of First Deputy Police Commissioner, the second highest-ranking job of the largest U.S. police force.

Florida man sentenced to 40 years for role in foiled bomb plot

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Wednesday after being convicted of taking part in a foiled bomb plot that targeted a popular Tampa bar and a hotel-casino.

No charges for man who toted gun at Arizona airport

PHOENIX - No criminal charges will be filed against a medical researcher who was arrested in July for openly carrying a loaded assault rifle in a Phoenix airport and terrifying a woman and her 17-year-old daughter, a prosecutors' spokesman said on Wednesday.

Obama to seek authority from Congress for Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he would seek fresh authorization from Congress in the next few weeks for the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State militants, taking a new approach to congressional backing for the fight.

Missouri ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, court rules

- Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a St. Louis circuit judge ruled on Wednesday.

Maryland teen was too drunk to carry out school attack plan: police

WASHINGTON - The 16-year-old Maryland boy who police allege planned a school shooting was too intoxicated to carry off the attack, according to charging documents released on Wednesday.

Texas town passes ban on fracking in its birthplace

DALLAS - Voters approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the North Texas town of Denton on Tuesday, making it the first city in the Lone Star State to outlaw the oil and gas extraction technique behind the U.S. energy boom.

Voters OK legal marijuana in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C

PORTLAND Ore. - Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, in key victories that could fuel the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.

Alaska backs measure to legalize recreational marijuana, opponents say

JUNEAU - Alaska voters on Tuesday narrowly sanctioned the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes, hours after Oregon approved a similar measure, opponents said.

Voters give nod to legal marijuana in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C.

PORTLAND Ore. - Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, in key victories that could fuel the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.

Law clearing way for Massachusetts casinos survives repeal vote

BOSTON - Massachusetts voters on Tuesday upheld a 2011 law that paved the way for legal casino gambling in the state, voting down a referendum that would have overturned the measure and stopped two planned casinos in their tracks.

Measure to legalize marijuana possession in U.S. capital passes: unofficial results

- A measure to legalize recreational marijuana possession in Washington, D.C. passed on Tuesday with nearly 65 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting, unofficial election results showed.

Father charged with kidnapping son returned to U.S. from tiny Niue

- A father accused of kidnapping his son and taking him on a sailboat from Washington state to a tiny South Pacific island country has been returned to the United States, a law enforcement official said on Tuesday.

Californians favor emergency funds ballot measure: media

SAN FRANCISCO - California voters were on track to approve a ballot measure on Tuesday that was designed to strengthen how the state shores up emergency funds, local media reported.

Sixth person dies following Maine fire at site of Halloween party

- A sixth person has died following a house fire that broke out in Portland, Maine, over the weekend just hours after a Halloween party, officials said on Tuesday, making it the deadliest blaze in 40 years.

California man charged with vehicular manslaughter in Halloween hit-and-run

LOS ANGELES - A man who prosecutors say struck and killed three 13-year-old California girls as they were trick-or-treating on Halloween and then fled in his damaged sport utility vehicle was charged on Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.

Mother charged with throwing autistic son, 6, from Oregon bridge

PORTLAND Ore. - An Oregon woman who prosecutors say threw her 6-year-old autistic son from a bridge in the coastal town of Newport and then called police to confess to the crime was charged on Tuesday with aggravated murder and manslaughter.

Minnesota Vikings' Peterson reaches plea deal to avoid jail

AUSTIN Texas - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson reached a plea deal on Tuesday to charges of abusing his 4-year-old son that would see the former NFL most valuable player avoid any jail time.

Vatican official condemns Maynard assisted suicide case in U.S.

VATICAN CITY - A Vatican bioethics official on Tuesday condemned the death by assisted suicide of American Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old who ended her life over the weekend, as an undignified "absurdity."

U.S. man held in immigration detention for more than three years

NEW YORK - Davino Watson languished in a detention center in Buffalo, New York, for 3-1/2 years awaiting deportation on orders from immigration authorities. The only problem: Watson is an American citizen.

Republicans close in on control of Senate in U.S. midterm elections

WASHINGTON - Republicans scored big victories on Tuesday and edged closer to taking control of the U.S. Senate in midterms elections that could tip the balance of power away from President Barack Obama for his remaining two years in office.

Exclusive: Bankrupt San Bernardino repaying millions in arrears to Calpers - source

LOS ANGELES - Bankrupt San Bernardino has begun repaying millions in arrears to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) in a deal that has ended an acrimonious relationship between the California city and its biggest creditor.

Arizona judge orders delay in sentencing retrial of murderer Arias

PHOENIX - An Arizona judge on Tuesday delayed witness testimony in the penalty phase retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias after an appeals court ordered the proceedings be opened to the public, court officials said.

Kansas ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional: judge

KANSAS CITY Kan. - A Kansas ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution and must be overturned, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

California man charged with vehicular manslaughter in Halloween hit-and-run

LOS ANGELES - A man who prosecutors say struck and killed three 13-year-old California girls as they were trick-or-treating on Halloween and then fled in his damaged sport utility vehicle was charged on Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.

New York woman accused of plotting death of daughter's ex-boyfriend

NEW YORK - A New York woman is facing charges of trying to hire a hit man to kill her daughter's ex-boyfriend and feed his body to alligators, according to police and jail officials.

Barn fire kills 20,000 young chickens near Lebanon, Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG Pa. - An intense fire destroyed a Pennsylvania poultry barn on Tuesday, killing 20,000 young chickens less than two years after another barn blaze at the same farm incinerated 40,000 hatchlings.

U.S. justices sympathetic to whistleblower over air marshal leak

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared to be leaning toward ruling that a former air marshal can seek whistleblower protections for disclosing sensitive information to the news media about the absence of security officers on certain flights.

Russian charged in Afghan attack makes U.S. court appearance

WASHINGTON - A former Russian army officer facing terrorism charges for a 2009 attack on U.S. and Afghan forces made an initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday, the Justice Department said.

Minnesota Vikings' Peterson reaches plea deal to avoid jail: media reports

AUSTIN Texas - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has reached a plea deal to charges of abusing his 4-year-old son that would see him avoid any jail time, media reports said on Tuesday.

WHO recommends naloxone to prevent 20,000 overdose deaths in U.S.

GENEVA - More than 20,000 deaths might be prevented every year in the United States alone if naloxone, used to counter drug overdoses, was more widely available, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Ahead of tough election, White House blames dismay with Washington

WASHINGTON - With many races still tight but polls showing a general trend in favor of Republicans, the White House on Monday blamed voter dissatisfaction with Washington for what could be an Election Day rout for President Barack Obama's Democrats.

U.S. sues Southwest Airlines to recover maintenance fine

- The U.S. government is suing Southwest Airlines Co to recover a fine levied on the carrier following an earlier investigation that showed the company did not comply with regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners.

Ford calls back more than 202,000 vehicles in five North American recalls

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it was calling back 202,241 vehicles in five North American recalls covering several issues, including an incorrect repair in a previous recall.

U.S. faults Ringling Bros for May collapse that injured eight

BOSTON - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is responsible for May incident in which a chandelier-like apparatus carrying eight acrobats fell to the ground during a show in Rhode Island, U.S. regulators said in findings released on Tuesday that seek to fine the circus' owner.

Boy's body found after mother reports throwing him off Oregon bridge

- Authorities recovered the body of a 6-year-old boy floating in an Oregon marina on Monday night just hours after his mother told police she threw him from a nearby bridge, police said.

Legal marijuana gets major test in Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. ballots

- Voters in the U.S. capital and two West Coast states will decide on Tuesday during national midterm elections whether to legalize marijuana in a test for broader cannabis legalization efforts across the United States.

Kansas Republican senator and governor face tough election battles

KANSAS CITY Kan. - Kansas is known as a reliably Republican state but the electoral fate of two longtime party leaders, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and Governor Sam Brownback, is in serious doubt in Tuesday's election.

Connecticut man charged with trying to eat his DWI results

NEW YORK - A Connecticut man accused of snatching his DWI test results and attempting to eat them was charged with obstruction and criminal tampering, police said.

Indiana high schooler charged with murder of 73-year-old man

- A suburban Indianapolis high school student was arrested on Tuesday for the murder of a 73-year-old man found dead in a park over the weekend, police said.

Maryland teen charged as adult in alleged school attack plan

- A 16-year-old Maryland boy who police allege planned to kill people at his school in the Baltimore suburbs with a gun and bombs has been charged as an adult, authorities said.

U.S. appeals court grills opponents of NSA phone data collection

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday grilled opponents of the U.S. government program that collects millions of Americans' phone records, casting doubt on whether it would uphold a lower court ruling that found the program was likely unlawful.

Vatican official condemns Maynard assisted suicide case in U.S.

VATICAN CITY - A Vatican bioethics official on Tuesday condemned the death by assisted suicide of American Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old who ended her life over the weekend, as an undignified "absurdity".

Oklahoma Supreme Court halts certain abortion restrictions

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the implementation of new abortion restrictions in the state that supporters said are aimed at protecting women's health and critics said are really measures designed to shutter clinics.

U.S. governors seeking re-election face dissatisfied voters

NEW YORK - More than 30 U.S. governors' races will be decided on Tuesday, with more than a dozen considered too close to call and a large number of incumbents struggling to defend their economic policies as they seek to remain in office.

Utah police justified in death of man wielding sword, prosecutor says

- A Utah prosecutor on Monday said police were justified in shooting and killing a 22-year-old black man accused by officers of lunging at them with a sword the man's family described as decorative.

Republicans expect gains, but many races close on election day

WASHINGTON - Republicans are poised to make major gains and possibly recapture control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday in midterm elections that could serve as a public referendum on President Barack Obama's job performance.

Bus driver injured in blast outside Washington state schools

SEATTLE - A small bomb exploded in a parking lot on the campus of two Washington state elementary schools on Monday, injuring a bus driver, law enforcement and school officials said.

HomeAway sues San Francisco over short-term rental law

- Vacation rentals website HomeAway Inc sued San Francisco on Monday seeking an injunction to stop the city from enforcing new rules passed last month that the firm says are discriminatory and hand control of the market to local competitor Airbnb.

Chicago-area teen tried to take siblings to join Islamic State

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Monday ordered pre-trial detention for a Chicago-area 19-year-old accused of trying to fly with his two younger siblings to the Middle East to join the militant group Islamic State.

New York mayor adds one hour to school day at struggling public schools

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a $150 million plan on Monday to boost the achievements of some of the lowest- performing schools in the largest U.S. public school system.

Court rejects Obama housing bias rule as 'wishful thinking'

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Monday threw out a housing regulation issued by President Barack Obama's administration that said racial bias claims can be based on seemingly neutral practices that may have a discriminatory effect.

Ahead of tough election, White House blames dismay with Washington

WASHINGTON - With many races still tight but polls showing a general trend in favor of Republicans, the White House on Monday blamed voter dissatisfaction with Washington for what could be an Election Day rout for President Barack Obama's Democrats.

Suspected driver arrested in fatal Halloween hit-and-run in California

LOS ANGELES - Police have arrested a driver suspected of killing three 13-year-old girls in a hit-and-run incident at a Southern California crosswalk as they were trick-or-treating on Halloween, officials said on Monday.

Condolences pour in for family of Brittany Maynard after suicide

PORTLAND Ore. - Notes of support and condolences poured in for right-to-die campaigner Brittany Maynard on Monday, as news spread that the terminally ill 29-year-old had ended her life over the weekend.

San Antonio mayor's car hit in drive-by shooting, mayor not a target: police

SAN ANTONIO - Two people were injured and the mayor of San Antonio's car was damaged when it was caught in crossfire in a drive-by shooting on Monday involving rival gangs, police said.

Lockheed F-35 fighter jet lands on U.S. aircraft carrier: spokesman

WASHINGTON - The first of two Lockheed Martin Corp F-35C fighter jets landed successfully on the USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego on Monday, marking the new warplane's first landing on an aircraft carrier using its tailhook system, the Pentagon said.

Bus driver injured in blast outside Washington state schools

SEATTLE - A small chemical bomb exploded in a parking lot on the campus of two Washington state elementary schools on Monday, injuring a bus driver, law enforcement and school officials said.

Judge in Colorado cinema massacre case allows sanity exam video at trial

DENVER - A judge overseeing the Colorado theater massacre case will let jurors in the upcoming murder trial of James Holmes see a video of the accused gunman's sanity examination, court documents showed on Monday.

Dutch killer van der Sloot stabbed in prison, lawyer says

LIMA - The lawyer of convicted killer Joran van der Sloot said on Monday that the Dutch citizen had been stabbed repeatedly in a Peruvian prison in recent days, but penitentiary authorities said he likely hurt himself.

San Antonio mayor's car hit in drive-by shooting, mayor not a target -police

SAN ANTONIO - Two people were injured and a car belonging to the mayor of San Antonio was damaged when it was caught in crossfire in a drive-by shooting on Monday involving rival gangs, police said.

Nurse, Maine settle Ebola quarantine suit

BRUNSWICK Maine/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - Maine has reached a settlement with a nurse who was briefly quarantined in her home after treating victims of Ebola in West Africa, allowing her to travel freely in public but requiring her to monitor her health closely and report any symptoms.

One wounded in shooting outside Delaware college residence hall

- One person was wounded on Monday in a shooting outside an off-campus residence hall at Delaware State University in Dover on Monday and the shooter was at large after fleeing the scene, a city spokeswoman said.

Obama declares Hawaiian lava flow to be major disaster

- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday declared a slow-moving lava flow from the Pu'u O'o vent of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to be a major disaster, the White House said.

St. Louis police deny no-fly zone during protests aimed at media

CLAYTON Mo. - St. Louis County police defended on Monday a no-fly zone imposed over the suburb of Ferguson during August street protests, saying it was for safety reasons, after an Associated Press report said the prohibition was to keep news helicopters away.

Maryland boy plotted school attack with gun, bombs: police

- Maryland police have arrested a 16-year-old boy they allege planned to bring a gun and bombs to his school to kill people, authorities said on Monday.

Suspected Pennsylvania sniper's sister questions arrest details

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - The sister of the survivalist who eluded a 48-day manhunt in the mountains of Pennsylvania until his capture last week said on Monday she did not believe the police version of how he ended up with wounds and red marks on his face.

Chicago suburban police shoot and kill man who draws gun at hospital

CHICAGO - Chicago suburban police shot and killed a car accident victim who drew a gun at a hospital and then refused commands to drop it, police said on Monday.

Florida ballot amendment seeks to fund land conservation

MIAMI - Florida environmentalists are hoping voters will approve a ballot amendment on Tuesday to fund the purchase and conservation of land critical to protecting the state's water supply.

Biden predicts U.S. Democrats will keep Senate: CNN

WASHINGTON - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden predicted Democrats would retain control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's congressional elections but said that whatever happens, Republicans would have to work harder to make sure things get done in Washington.

U.S. top court does not act yet on Obamacare subsidies challenge

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took no action on a closely watched case that challenges a key part of the Obamacare healthcare law and could limit the availability of federal health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.

Can American Indian reformers slow an oil boom?

NEW TOWN N.D. - A change in leadership at an American Indian reservation in North Dakota wouldn't normally get a whole lot of attention. But come Tuesday, the oil industry will be watching this dusty area of the state as two reformers vie to become tribal chairman, an office with outsized power over the course of the state's booming oil industry.

Texas teen arrested for killing man with car in liquor dispute

AUSTIN Texas - A 16-year-old Texan has been arrested on suspicion of killing a man with a car after he refused to buy the youth alcohol, police in Abilene said on Monday.

Fashion world bids farewell to designer Oscar de la Renta

NEW YORK - The fashion world mourned the loss of one of its greatest designers on Monday at the private funeral of Oscar de la Renta, who died last month at 82 of cancer.

Rare early season storm brings record-setting snowfall to Maine

BRUNSWICK Maine - A rare early season snowstorm brought 50-miles-per-hour (80-kph) winds and record-breaking snowfall to parts of Maine overnight, leaving more than 140,000 homes and businesses without power on Monday.

U.S. Supreme Court divided on Jerusalem passport case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared closely divided as it weighed the constitutionality of a law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.

Decades after NY molesting conviction, Friedman fights to clear name

NEW YORK - Jesse Friedman, whose conviction as a teenage child molester was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film "Capturing the Friedmans," is not giving up his decades-long campaign to clear his name.

U.S. top court leaves intact New York City pregnancy center rule

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact part of a controversial New York City law that forces crisis pregnancy centers to inform clients whether they have a licensed medical provider on staff.

Dutch killer van der Sloot stabbed in prison, lawyer claims

LIMA - The lawyer of convicted killer Joran van der Sloot said on Monday that the Dutch citizen had been stabbed repeatedly in a Peruvian prison in recent days, but local penitentiary authorities deny the attacks took place.

Arms dealer Bout seeks new trial, hires Ashcroft law firm

NEW YORK - Convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout believes he has evidence to justify a new U.S. trial and has hired the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to help him pursue his case.

No-fly zone during Missouri protests aimed at media: report

- Local authorities requested a no-fly zone over the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson during street protests to keep news helicopters away, according to an Associated Press report, which cited audio recordings of federal aviation workers.

Ebola nurse, Maine settle quarantine suit

BRUNSWICK Maine/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The state of Maine and a nurse who had treated victims of the Ebola virus in West Africa reached a settlement deal on Monday, allowing her to travel freely in public but requiring her to monitor her health closely and report any symptoms.

U.S. enhances security screening for travelers from Europe, Asia

WASHINGTON - Concerned about foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq, Washington imposed extra security measures on Monday for travelers from countries, mostly in Europe and Asia, whose citizens do not need a visa to get into the United States.

First tenants move into One World Trade Center, tallest U.S. building

NEW YORK - Thirteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the first tenants moved their belongings into the newly built One World Trade Center with enthusiasm tinged by emotional remembrance.

North Carolina monitoring person who returned from Liberia for Ebola

- Officials in North Carolina were monitoring and testing a patient who arrived in the United States last week from Liberia for Ebola, health authorities said on Sunday.

Boston Scientific faces first federal transvaginal mesh trials

- Boston Scientific Corp on Monday was set to face its first federal trials in two courts over claims from women who say they were injured by the company’s transvaginal mesh devices.

U.S. student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears

WASHINGTON - Young Americans with big college debts are often portrayed as struggling to pay their bills. The reality is somewhat different - those owing super-sized student loans tend to be higher paid.

Maryland man charged with threatening to kill Obama in email

WASHINGTON - A 42-year-old Maryland man accused of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama in an explicit email strewn with racist remarks was in custody on Sunday, the United States Secret Service said.

Decades after New York molesting conviction, Friedman fights to clear name

NEW YORK - Jesse Friedman, whose conviction as a teenage child molester was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film "Capturing the Friedmans," is not giving up his decades-long campaign to clear his name.

Buses carrying Washington Redskins in pregame crash

- Two buses carrying the National Football League's Washington Redskins crashed on Sunday morning on a highway exit ramp in Minneapolis on the way to play against the Minnesota Vikings, according to state police.

Obama makes final campaign push, hoping to avert electoral rout

BRIDGEPORT Conn. - President Barack Obama made a final push on Sunday to help struggling Democrats before this week's midterm elections, making campaign stops in Connecticut and Pennsylvania to try to avert a "shellacking" at the polls like the one in 2010.

Tom Sneddon, prosecutor of Michael Jackson, dies in California

- Tom Sneddon, a California district attorney who pursued child molestation charges against singer Michael Jackson, has died, a former colleague said on Sunday.

Police make arrests in California hit-and-run that killed three girls

- Police in Southern California said on Sunday they had made multiple arrests in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed three 13-year-old girls while they were trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Obama makes final campaign push, hoping to avert electoral rout

BRIDGEPORT Conn. - President Barack Obama made a final push on Sunday to help struggling Democrats before this week's midterm elections, making campaign stops in Connecticut and Pennsylvania to try to avert a "shellacking" at the polls like the one in 2010.

Obama swaps planes on trip after Air Force One flap problem

PHILADELPHIA - President Barack Obama and his entourage were switching to a different plane for his return trip to Washington on Sunday because of a minor flap issue with the aircraft, dubbed Air Force One, that flew them earlier in the day, a spokesman said.

Virgin Galactic spacecraft appears to have broken apart in flight: NTSB

MOJAVE Calif. - The head of the federal agency examining last week's fatal crash of a Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship during a test flight in California's Mojave Desert said on Sunday the vehicle appears to have broken apart in flight.

Oregon woman, advocate for terminally ill patients, ends her life

- A 29-year-old woman suffering from brain cancer who became an advocate for terminally ill patients who want to end their own lives has died using Oregon's doctor-assisted suicide law, an advocacy group said Sunday.

Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks between Chicago skyscrapers

CHICAGO - Daredevil Nik Wallenda broke two world records on Sunday with two high-wire walks between Chicago skyscrapers without a net or harness, doing the second walk blindfolded.

To salvage his presidency, Obama faces pressure to reboot - but will he?

WASHINGTON - A reshuffling of President Barack Obama’s staff looks all but certain after Tuesday's congressional elections, which are likely to bring humbling losses to his Democratic party and could add to pressure on him to reboot his presidency.

U.S. foreign policy concerns loom large in Jerusalem passport case

WASHINGTON - The United States is facing an unconventional challenge as it seeks to project credibility as a neutral peacemaker between the Israelis and Palestinians: a case before the Supreme Court involving a 12-year-old boy.

Man shot after taking New York Police sergeant's gun: police

NEW YORK - A 25-year-old man suspected of jumping into an unmarked New York City police car, stealing a sergeant's gun and exchanging gunfire with officers was taken into custody early on Sunday, police said.

Kenyans Kipsang, Keitany win tight NYC Marathon races

NEW YORK - Wilson Kipsang won a lucrative duel to the finish to join compatriot Mary Keitany in a Kenyan sweep of exciting men's and women's races at a cold, windy New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Blaze from firework display closes ride at Florida Disney park

- A fire caused by debris from a firework display at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in Florida forced a ride to close for about an hour on Saturday, injuring no one, a spokeswoman for the park said.

Utah National Guard disciplines four servicemen over bikini-model video

- The Utah National Guard is forcing an officer into early retirement for his involvement in a video featuring bikini-clad models riding in a tank, and three other service members face lesser discipline, a guard spokesman said on Saturday.

Obama stumps in Michigan, where his popularity is still strong

DETROIT - President Barack Obama made his lone campaign appearance with a Democrat running for Senate on Saturday in Michigan, urging voters to remember how his administration helped rescue the auto industry when he first took office in 2009.

Police seek driver in California hit and run that killed 3 trick-or-treaters

LOS ANGELES - Detectives continued their search on Saturday for the driver of an SUV who struck and killed three teenage girls trick-or-treating on Halloween in Southern California, and investigators were unsure who was behind the wheel of the vehicle, a police spokesman said.

Branson determined to find cause of Virgin spaceship crash, pilots identified

MOJAVE Calif./CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson on Saturday vowed to find out what caused his space tourism company's passenger spaceship to crash during a test flight, killing one pilot and injuring the other, but expressed a desire to press on with the dream of commercial space flight.

Police seek driver in California hit and run that killed 3 trick-or-treaters

LOS ANGELES - Detectives continued their search on Saturday for the as yet unidentified driver of an SUV who struck and killed three 13-year-old girls trick-or-treating on Halloween in Southern California.

Mexico questions police over killing of three U.S. siblings

MEXICO CITY - Mexico has questioned local police over the disappearance and killing of three U.S. siblings in the troubled northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the state attorney general said on Saturday.

Four injured in shootings outside Washington, D.C. concert

- Four people are recovering from gunshot wounds on Saturday after a Halloween shooting outside a Fleetwood Mac concert in downtown Washington, according to police.

Motorists cash in when armored car drops money bag in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Maryland police said on Saturday they were appealing to motorists to return any money they may have picked up after a bag of cash fell out of an armored car and burst open in the fast lane of a highway.

Four dead, 1 rescued from capsized boat in Northern California

- Four people died and one person was rescued by helicopter after their boat capsized on Saturday in a Northern California bay known to have rough waters, officials said.

Fire in Maine at site of Halloween party kills five

- Five people were killed and one was critically burned on Saturday after an early morning fire at a residence in Portland, Maine, that had been the scene of a Halloween party the night before, authorities said.

Ebola costs encourage budget flexibility among U.S. Republicans

WASHINGTON - Worries about Ebola are chipping away at some congressional Republicans' support for maintaining across-the-board spending caps on U.S. government agencies and the military.

Jehovah's Witnesses to pay $13.5 million in California sex abuse ruling

SAN DIEGO Calif. - A Californian judge has ordered the Jehovah's Witnesses to pay $13.5 million to a man who was sexually abused in the 1980s by a church leader, attorney for the victim said on Friday.

Test flight of Virgin Galactic spaceship ends in fatal crash in California

MOJAVE Calif. - A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight on Friday near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other, officials said.

New York's top uniformed police chief resigns ahead of promotion

NEW YORK - The highest-ranking uniformed officer in New York City's police department unexpectedly announced his resignation on Friday, days before he was due to be promoted to become the force's second in command.

Jefferies CEO, chairman take drug tests

- Jefferies Group LLC said on Friday Chief Executive Rich Handler, Chairman Brian Friedman and executives at its healthcare division were tested negative for drug usage, after one of its investment banking head was accused of drug abuse.

Suspect in Virginia student murder arraigned in separate assault case

FAIRFAX Va. - The man charged with abducting Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student whose body was discovered earlier this month on a farm after a five-week search, was arraigned on Friday on three murder and sexual assault charges in a separate case.

New Hampshire murderer pleads guilty in escape plot

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a college student pleaded guilty on Friday to an additional charge of plotting to escape from jail prior to his trial.

Man convicted of manslaughter in Florida marching band hazing

ORLANDO Fla. - The ringleader of a beating ritual that led to the death of a Florida college marching band member was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing, the first case to go to trial in an incident that drew national attention to hazing abuses.

Federal charges appear unlikely in Ferguson police shooting: Washington Post

WASHINGTON - U.S. Justice Department officials probably will not bring civil rights charges against a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager set off rioting in August, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

New Hampshire ban on 'ballot selfies' challenged by lawsuit

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire law that bans the sharing of images of marked election ballots over social media compromises the right of free political speech in the state, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday challenging the prohibition on "ballot selfies."

Feminist Mormon says appeal against excommunication denied

- A feminist U.S. Mormon who was excommunicated after advocating for the ordination of women said on Friday her appeal against the ejection from her faith was denied by a panel of male Church leaders.

Seattle Pacific University lifts campus lockdown after gun threat

SEATTLE - Seattle Pacific University said on Friday its campus was on lockdown after a student received a threat of someone coming to the school with a gun, but lifted the order about an hour later and police arrested a woman who threatened a shooting rampage.

Navajo high court finds election officials in contempt

PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation's highest court on Friday held the tribe's election board in contempt for refusing to follow its orders that a Nov. 4 vote to pick the tribe's top official be postponed and that a candidate be removed from the ballot.

Mexico judge orders release of former Marine jailed on weapons offenses

- A Mexico judge has ordered the release of a former U.S. Marine jailed for months on weapons offenses, U.S. media reported on Friday.

Judge rejects isolation for U.S. nurse who treated Ebola patients

FORT KENT Maine - A Maine judge ruled on Friday that a U.S. nurse who treated victims of Ebola in West Africa does not need to be confined to her home, declaring Ebola fears in the United States "not entirely rational."

Former U.S. Marine freed after spending months in Mexican jail

MEXICO CITY - A former U.S. Marine, who had been held in Mexican jail for months after arriving at the border from California with guns in his vehicle, was freed on psychological grounds on Friday, a Mexican court said.

Hawaii pair took photos, prodded fiery lava with golf clubs: police

PAHOA Hawaii - Two Hawaii residents have been charged with trespassing after police found the man and woman snapping pictures within five feet of a slow-moving river of molten lava that is threatening a nearby village, police said.

Third victim in Washington state school shooting rampage dies

SEATTLE - A girl shot during a rampage at a Washington state high school last week that left two other girls dead along with the gunman has died from her wounds, Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett said on Friday.

Three trick-or-treating teenage girls killed in California hit and run

- Three teenage girls were killed while trick-or-treating in southern California on Friday evening when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver, authorities said.

Wife of Arkansas murder suspect faces murder charge in realtor's death

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - The wife of a man charged a month ago with the kidnapping and murder of a suburban Little Rock, Arkansas, realtor was ordered held without bond by a district judge on Friday, less than a day after her arrest in the case.

Appeals court clears way for N.Y. police stop-and-frisk reforms

NEW YORK - New York City can finally begin to implement court-ordered reforms to its controversial stop-and-frisk police tactic, after a U.S. appeals court on Friday rejected a last-ditch challenge brought by several police unions.

NYC to pay $2.25 million over Rikers Island inmate's death

NEW YORK - New York City will pay $2.25 million to resolve a wrongful death claim by the family of a mentally ill, homeless Marine Corps veteran who died at the Rikers Island jail complex eight days after his arrest, the city's comptroller announced on Friday.

Three U.S. soldiers in Texas plead guilty to smuggling immigrants

SAN ANTONIO - Three U.S. soldiers stationed at the Fort Hood Army post in central Texas pleaded guilty on Friday to smuggling immigrants into the United States, officials said.

Court spurns Virginia mom's conviction for taking children to school late

RICHMOND Va. - Virginia's compulsory school-attendance law is too vague to be used to prosecute a divorced mother for bringing her children to school late, the state's highest court ruled on Friday, overturning her convictions in a lower court.

Bodies of three young U.S. citizens identified in northern Mexico

MEXICO CITY - The bodies of three people, tied-up and with gunshot wounds to the head, have been identified as siblings from Texas reported missing earlier this month, a northeastern Mexico state prosecutor said on Friday.

Three Illinois siblings killed in crash before Halloween parade

CHICAGO - Three siblings on their way to a Halloween parade were killed and their mother and brother seriously injured when their vehicle was hit by a freight train in southern Illinois, police said on Friday.

Investigation continues into deadly Kansas airport plane crash

WICHITA Kan. - The bodies of four people killed when a small twin-engine turboprop airplane crashed into a building at Wichita's airport remained in the smoldering ruins on Friday as federal officials investigated the crash, officials said.

California mayor at center of immigration debate charged with DUI

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California mayor who made headlines leading a local backlash against a flood of Central American immigrants across the U.S. border, has been charged with felony drunk driving in connection with an accident that injured four teenage girls.

American detained in North Korea said he wanted to help Christians

- The American detained by North Korea knew he risked jail by leaving a Bible behind at a club and was not abused during his nearly half year detention in the state often criticized for suppressing religious freedom, he told NBC News on Friday.

Justice Department issues use of force reforms for Albuquerque Police

WASHINGTON - Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico will undergo reform and be monitored for use of excessive force under an agreement to be announced Friday between the city and the U.S. Justice Department.

Judge issues order enforcing Ebola isolation of defiant Maine nurse

WASHINGTON - The confrontation between the state of Maine and a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone heated up on Friday when a judge issued a temporary order enforcing a quarantine after she defied state officials and took a bike ride.

Washington policeman injured in struggle with ax-wielding attacker

- A Washington police officer was injured early Friday in a struggle with an ax-wielding attacker who remains at large, police in the nation's capital said.

U.S. envoy to U.N. defends Ebola guidelines; praises airlines

NEW YORK - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on Friday defended federal guidelines for monitoring health workers returning from three Ebola-stricken West African countries and praised the airlines still flying there.

Parachutist rescued from Missouri radio tower

- A man's plan to leap from a Missouri radio tower south of St. Louis went awry when his parachute got stuck on a supporting wire, leaving him suspended 155 feet above the ground, a fire official said on Friday.

U.S. rocket explosion investigation suspects main engine failure

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - As Orbital Sciences picks up the pieces, literally and figuratively, after its high-profile rocket launch explosion, accident investigators are looking closely at a potential first-stage engine problem.

Police led to Alabama drug suspect by his dog

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - Police in Alabama found a suspected drug dealer who was hiding in tall grass near his home after the man's dog, tail wagging enthusiastically, led officers to him, police said on Thursday.

District of Columbia panels weigh legalizing marijuana sales

WASHINGTON - Washington lawmakers took a step toward legalizing the sale of marijuana in the U.S. capital on Thursday, holding a hearing on rules and taxes ahead of a referendum next week.

Pennsylvania boy who disappeared with father on sailboat found in South Pacific

SEATTLE - A 9-year-old boy reported missing after he disappeared with his father aboard a sailboat in Washington state has been located on an island in the South Pacific and will be reunited with his mother, the FBI said on Thursday.

Oklahoma teen arrested for threatening shooting spree at school

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma teenager has been arrested on suspicion of making online threats to go on a shooting spree at his high school, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.

Relatives suspect poison in deaths of Utah family

- The relatives of a Utah family who were found dead last month in a locked bedroom at their home suspect they died from poison and say details from court documents published this week begin to confirm their suspicions, local media said on Thursday.

Electricity project linking Quebec and New York clears hurdle

OTTAWA - A major electricity transmission project linking the Canadian province of Quebec with New York City has cleared a significant hurdle, opening the door to construction within a year, the executive behind the proposal said on Thursday.

Californians will pay more for water, must still conserve: officials

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Californians face higher water prices and permanent conservation measures amid drought, global warming and population growth in a state that has long struggled to satisfy urban and agricultural needs, the administration of Governor Jerry Brown said Thursday.

New Jersey man whose son, 4, fatally shot neighbor, pleads guilty

- A New Jersey father whose 4-year-old son shot and killed a 6-year-old neighbor pleaded guilty on Thursday to endangering the welfare of children by keeping unsecured firearms, authorities said.

Pennsylvania manhunt ends with capture of police ambush suspect

TANNERSVILLE Pa. - The survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania state trooper and seriously wounding a second officer in a sniper attack in September was taken into custody after a seven-week manhunt, police said on Thursday.

Four dead, five injured after plane crashes at Kansas airport

WICHITA Kan. - Four people were killed, including the pilot, and five injured when a small airplane crashed into a building at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday, setting off an explosion and huge ball of fire, officials said.

Stockton, California, workers relieved as judge ruling secures pensions

SACRAMENTO - Stockton, California, employees breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday as a judge ruled the city could exit bankruptcy, leaving benefits administered by public pension giant Calpers untouched.

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava

PAHOA Hawaii - National Guard troops arrived in a Hawaii town threatened by a slow-moving river of molten lava on Thursday, and were greeted with cheers by residents of the Big Island community where they are to provide security as the volcanic flow advances.

San Francisco to raise minimum wage to $11.05 per hour

- San Francisco will raise the city's minimum wage to $11.05 per hour from the start of next year, up from $10.74 currently, the mayor's office said on Thursday.

Suspect identified in eight graffiti vandalism cases in National Parks

LOS ANGELES - Federal officials have publicly identified a woman suspected of graffiti vandalism in at least eight national parks across the West, including Yosemite and Death Valley in California, and credit social media for helping pinpoint the alleged culprit.

Lack of mechanics threatens U.S. Air Force target date for F-35

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force may miss its target of August 2016 to start using the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet in combat if Congress blocks the service's plan to retire its A-10 tank-killer aircraft, a top U.S. general said Thursday.

Four dead, five injured after plane crashes at Kansas airport

WICHITA Kan. - Four people were killed, including the pilot, and five injured when a small airplane crashed into a building at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita on Thursday, setting off an explosion and huge fireball, officials said.

Prosecutor seeks death penalty in Pennsylvania police ambush

- Prosecutors will seek the death sentence for Eric Frein, the suspect in the September murder of a Pennsylvania state trooper, the district attorney of Pike County said on Thursday.

Nurse defies Ebola quarantine with bike ride; negotiations fail

CAPE ELIZABETH Maine - A nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone but has tested negative for the virus went for a bike ride on Thursday, defying Maine's order that she be quarantined in her home and setting up a legal collision with Governor Paul LePage.

Washington state court says accused rapists cannot bear burden of proving consent

SEATTLE - The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the burden of proving consent cannot fall on a defendant accused of rape, in a split decision that reversed two earlier rulings and prompted fears that dangerous offenders could avoid conviction.

Accused Colorado cinema gunman's lawyers want second sanity exam barred

DENVER - Defense lawyers in the Colorado theater massacre case want a second court-ordered sanity examination undergone by accused gunman James Holmes barred from his upcoming murder trial, court documents on Thursday showed.

U.S. Congress to revisit Islamic State war debate after election

WASHINGTON - When lawmakers return to Washington after Tuesday’s congressional elections they will resume a debate they began with some reluctance last month on the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

Suspect in Pennsylvania police ambush captured after seven-week manhunt

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - The survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania state trooper in a sniper attack in September could face the death penalty, prosecutors said, after a seven-week manhunt in the Pocono Mountains ended with his arrest on Thursday.

Motorbike stuntman who taunted police on viral video arrested

SAN FRANCISCO - A motorcycle stuntman who filmed himself taunting a police officer while other bikers performed tricks on a freeway in California has been arrested, police said on Thursday.

Maine nurse defies state Ebola quarantine, leaves home

- A nurse in Maine vowing not to be bullied by politicians and threatening to sue the state over an Ebola quarantine she calls unscientifically sound, defied the order and left her home for a bike ride on Thursday, according to television images.

Judge to rule on whether Stockton, California can exit bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge in Sacramento is set to decide on Thursday if the California city of Stockton can exit bankruptcy. If not, the city may need to cut its pension obligations, a controversial issue that has captured the attention of the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.

School projects onboard exploded Virginia rocket destroyed

SAN FRANCISCO - Over a dozen school projects were onboard the U.S. supply rocket that exploded shortly after liftoff from a Virginia launch pad, but a group of California students will have another shot at getting their project - containing live worms - into space.

U.S. governor races could determine swing states' fiscal health

NEW YORK - U.S. voters' readiness to face tough issues such as pension reform rather than simply kick the can further down the road will be put to the test next week as two-thirds of state governor posts go up for election.

NY recovers $18 million using warrants for Facebook accounts

- New York prosecutors have secured more than $18 million in a series of fraud cases using warrants to access hundreds of Facebook accounts, a move the social medial firm says was unconstitutional and is still fighting.

American Indian casino in California to stay shut until dispute settled: Judge

LOS ANGELES - A Native American casino in California must remain closed for the foreseeable future because of the threat of violence from a tribal faction that sought to take over the establishment weeks ago, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

Probe of Virginia rocket blast begins; space station supplied

WALLOPS Va./CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - Authorities on Wednesday started investigating what caused an unmanned U.S. supply rocket to explode in a fireball moments after liftoff from a Virginia launch pad, destroying cargo and equipment bound for the International Space Station.

Private jet plane crashes near military base in California

- A small jet plane owned by a private company crashed on its approach to landing at a military base in Southern California on Wednesday, killing the pilot, a fire official said.

Five members of Utah family likely died of poisoning: reports

- Police believe two parents and three children found dead inside their Utah home weeks ago likely died of poisoning, local media reported on Wednesday.

U.S. education department gets tougher on for-profit colleges

- The U.S. Department of Education will introduce stricter regulations next year in its latest attempt to improve the job prospects of those graduating from for-profit colleges and universities.

Hawaii lava crosses residential property, threatens more homes

PAHOA Hawaii - A slow-moving river of molten lava from an erupting volcano crept over residential and farm property on Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday after incinerating an outbuilding as it threatened dozens of homes at the edge of a former plantation town.

New York state to set up upstate fuel reserve in November

NEW YORK - A strategic fuel reserve at six locations in upstate New York is expected to be operational in November to ensure gasoline and diesel fuel are available to emergency responders in the event of an emergency such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

Florida's craft beer growler ban battle spills into federal court

ORLANDO Fla. - Florida's ban on selling craft beer in reusable 64-ounce jugs known as growlers is harming brewers and their drink-loving customers, a lawyer who is suing the state said on Wednesday, asking a federal judge to overturn the unusual restriction.

Detroit developer bids on 6,300 foreclosed properties in auction

DETROIT - A Detroit real estate developer whose group won a bundle of more than 6,300 properties in a county tax foreclosure auction said on Wednesday he intended to help get low-income residents into fixed up homes and turn vacant lots into community developments.

FBI sent fake techs to seek evidence in Vegas gambling case: Lawyers

- Lawyers for eight gamblers charged with running an illegal sports book are challenging key evidence in the case, saying it was obtained by FBI agents who posed as Internet technicians to gain access to their Las Vegas hotel rooms without a warrant.

Moroccan living in Connecticut sentenced to two years in drone plot case

NEW HAVEN Conn. - A Moroccan national, accused of plotting to attack Harvard University and a federal building with bombs attached to a drone, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday by a federal judge in Connecticut.

Miami cop nabbed on charges he protected drug deals while in uniform

MIAMI - A Miami police officer was arrested on Wednesday on drug trafficking charges for allegedly, while in uniform, providing armed protection for two separate cocaine sales, police said.

Saying she will not be bullied, nurse fights Maine Ebola quarantine

WASHINGTON - Saying she will not be bullied by politicians, a Maine nurse is giving the state an ultimatum: Lift her Ebola quarantine by Thursday or she will disregard the restrictions and go to court.

Ex-controller charged with embezzling from Connecticut hedge fund

- The former controller of Contrarian Capital Management LLC was arrested on Wednesday and charged with embezzling millions of dollars from the Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund firm, federal prosecutors said.

Purdue University shooter found dead in Indiana prison

- A former Purdue University student who admitted killing a fellow student on campus in January has been found dead in prison of an apparent suicide, a state prison official said on Wednesday.

Halloween season rides a shriek-filled draw for theme parks

ORLANDO Fla. - Chainsaw-wielding ghouls draw screaming crowds so large to Universal Orlando's "Halloween Horror Nights" that traffic snarls around the Florida theme park on fall evenings, just another nightmare in the industry's soaring thrill season.

Chicago high school evacuated, nine taken to hospital after gas leak

CHICAGO - A Chicago high school was evacuated on Wednesday due to a natural gas leak and nine students were taken to local hospitals as a precautionary measure, all in good condition, police said.

Man who vanished from Denver NFL game said he 'had his fill of football'

DENVER - A man who vanished during a National Football League game in Denver last week only to be found safe days later told police afterward that he had had his "fill of football" and had wanted to go somewhere warmer, authorities said on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine charged in Chicago with 'cracking cards' bank fraud scheme

CHICAGO - Twenty-nine people in the Chicago area face state or federal charges for involvement with a bank fraud scheme known as "cracking cards," which found participants through rap music and social media, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

U.S. investigator of Colombia scandal quits over prostitution case: NYT

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official who ran an investigation of a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents in Colombia in 2012 resigned after he was suspected of visiting a prostitute in Florida, the New York Times reported.

New York man beheads his mother, steps in front of train: police

NEW YORK - A man decapitated his mother, dumped her head and body on the ground outside their Long Island apartment and walked into the path of a moving commuter train, police said on Wednesday.

Texas veterinarian indicted for mistreating dog he was to put down

AUSTIN Texas - A Texas veterinarian accused of keeping alive a dog he had promised to euthanize and using it as a source for blood transfusions was charged on Wednesday with animal cruelty.

Catholic Church to close, merge a dozen schools in Chicago

CHICAGO - The Catholic Church will close or merge a dozen of its 240 Chicago-area schools due to falling attendance in some areas of the country's largest parochial school system, the Archdiocese of Chicago said on Wednesday.

Serial rape suspect arrested after river crash in New York

NEW YORK - A man accused of kidnapping and raping women across several states has been arrested in upstate New York after driving his truck into a river during a police chase, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

Quarantine-like monitoring approved for U.S. troops on Ebola mission

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday approved a strict, 21-day quarantine-like monitoring period for all U.S. troops returning from the Ebola relief mission in West Africa, the Pentagon said.

Maine, nurse who tested negative for Ebola clash over quarantine

WASHINGTON - Maine's governor said on Wednesday that he would seek legal authority to enforce a 21-day quarantine on a Maine nurse who has tested negative for Ebola after treating patients in West Africa and initially was isolated in a tent in New Jersey.

Suspected Indiana serial killer pleads not guilty to two murders

CROWN POINT Ind. - Suspected Indiana serial killer Darren Vann pleaded not guilty at a court hearing on Wednesday to the murders of two women.

Suspect in North Carolina courthouse shooting released

- A man arrested on suspicion of shooting and wounding two people in front of the Nash County courthouse in North Carolina has been released from custody, authorities said on Wednesday.

Ford recalls 204,448 Ford and Lincoln crossovers for fire hazard

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co said it will conduct a regional recall of 204,448 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover vehicles to correct an issue that could cause a fire.

Chrysler recalling 381,876 Ram trucks for fire hazard

DETROIT - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Chrysler Group said on Wednesday it is recalling 381,876 Ram trucks mostly in the United States to correct a potential fire hazard.

New York woman beheaded by man who then jumped in front of train: report

NEW YORK - A man in his 30s beheaded a woman in her 60s on New York's Long Island and then jumped in front of a moving commuter train in an apparent murder-suicide, media reported on Wednesday.

U.S. nurse fights Maine quarantine over Ebola fears

Kaci Hickox, a U.S. nurse who has tested negative for Ebola after returning from West Africa, on Wednesday said she would challenge Maine's restrictions and did not plan to follow guidelines to quarantine herself until Nov. 10.

As debate rages, GMO labeling votes loom in Oregon, Colorado

- With less than a week before voters in two U.S. states weigh measures to require labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients, labeling supporters were hoping for victory but planning for defeat.

Coast Guard reports suspected migrant vessel sinking off Florida

MIAMI - A U.S. Coast Guard aircraft spotted a sinking boat carrying up to 33 suspected migrants on Wednesday, two days after federal and state officials pulled 11 Cuban migrants from the waters off the coast of Miami.

Hawaii lava flow hits property, threatens dozens more

PAHOA Hawaii - A slow-moving river of molten lava from an erupting volcano flowed through a residential property on Hawaii's Big Island, threatening dozens more homes and businesses, authorities said.

Arizona jail inmate shot, killed in botched escape bid

PHOENIX - An Arizona jail inmate who managed to slip out of restraints and flee during a routine trip to a Phoenix hospital on Tuesday was shot and killed in the foiled pre-dawn escape bid, authorities said.

Why U.S. green groups are talking about abortion this election

DENVER - Green billionaire Tom Steyer vowed to make the November congressional elections about climate change. Now he's talking about abortion and the economy to get his candidates across the finish line.

Costly U.S. nuclear arms revamp, tight cash call for tough choices

KINGS BAY Ga. - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel grabbed a ladder extending through the sleek black hull of the USS Tennessee at a Navy submarine base here and disappeared down the hatch for a close look at one of the Pentagon's most daunting budget issues.

Arizona sheriff ordered to undergo training to stop racial profiling

PHOENIX - A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered a controversial Arizona sheriff to undergo the same training as his deputies to prevent racial profiling and unlawful detention in the wake of the lawman's recent comments.

Man who disappeared from NFL game in Denver found safe

DENVER - A man who went missing during a National Football League game in Denver last week has been found safe in a southern Colorado city, police said on Tuesday.

U.S Supreme Court temporarily halts execution of convicted Missouri killer: court

- The U.S Supreme Court late on Tuesday temporarily halted the execution of a convicted Missouri killer while the court decides whether or not to hear his appeal.

Nearly 40,000 oppose Idaho wolf-hunting contest

SALMON Idaho - A controversial hunting contest in Idaho that rewards killing the most wolves and other animals on public lands has generated nearly 40,000 comments by those opposed to an event that requires a federal permit, U.S. land managers said on Tuesday.

Cyber breaches put 18.5 million Californians' data at risk in 2013: report

LOS ANGELES - Cyber intrusions and other data breaches put the personal records of 18.5 million Californians, nearly half the state's population, at risk in 2013, a seven-fold increase over the year before, the state attorney general reported on Tuesday.

Washington city council approves ridesharing rules

WASHINGTON - Washington's city council approved a bill on Tuesday regulating app-based ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft in the U.S. capital, a council spokesman said.

Arizona jail inmate shot and wounded in botched escape bid

PHOENIX - An Arizona jail inmate who managed to slip out of restraints and flee during a routine trip to a Phoenix hospital on Tuesday was in critical condition after being shot and wounded in the foiled pre-dawn escape bid, authorities said.

New Mexico sheriff's deputy accused of killing fellow officer

- A New Mexico sheriff's deputy is accused of shooting a fellow officer to death at a Las Cruces hotel during an alcohol-fueled argument early on Tuesday morning and was expected to face charges in the case, police said.

Columbia University to pay $9 million to end U.S. lawsuit over AIDS grants

NEW YORK - Columbia University has agreed to pay more than $9 million to resolve a lawsuit by the U.S. government accusing it of submitting false claims in connection with grants the Ivy League school obtained to fund AIDS- and HIV-related work.

U.S. boosts security at government buildings citing terrorist threat

WASHINGTON - The United States is increasing security at government buildings in Washington and other cities because of continuing terrorist threats and last week's attack on the Canadian parliament, the Homeland Security Department said on Tuesday.

Cyber breaches put 18.5 million Californians' data at risk in 2013: report

LOS ANGELES - Cyber intrusions and other data breaches put the personal records of 18.5 million Californians, nearly half the state's population, at risk in 2013, a seven-fold increase over the year before, the state attorney general reported on Tuesday.

U.S. files civil charges against NY drug treatment nonprofit following arrests

NEW YORK - The U.S. government on Tuesday filed civil charges against a chain of substance abuse treatment centers in New York City over an alleged Medicaid kickback scheme, a week after the New York attorney general's office indicted the father and son who ran the centers.

Suspicious cyber activity at White House detected, addressed

WASHINGTON - Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed on Tuesday.

Exclusive: DOT looks at Delta's actions on Atlanta-area airport

NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Tuesday it is looking into a complaint that Delta Airlines Inc used "unfair and deceptive practices" to block development of a second major airport near Atlanta.

Orbital Sciences' unmanned rocket explodes on liftoff in Virginia: NASA

- An unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad in Virginia on Tuesday, marking the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, but officials said no one was hurt.

Couple in Sacramento shooting spree charged with murder, carjacking

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A Utah couple accused of a bloody northern California shooting spree that killed two sheriff's deputies, wounded a third and left a motorist fighting for his life were charged on Tuesday with murder, attempted murder and carjacking.

Fire contained at Kansas plant: local media

- A large fire was contained after it broke out on a cooling tower at a plant in Harper County, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon, local television station KWCH reported on its website.

Molten lava from Hawaii volcano crosses onto residential property

KAILUA-KONA Hawaii - A menacing river of molten lava that bubbled over a road and overran a cemetery on its path toward a village on Hawaii's Big Island crossed onto a residential property on Tuesday and threatened to consume its first home, officials said.

Obama defends U.S. Ebola guidelines, backs American volunteers in Africa

ATLANTA/WASHINGTON - As the second of two nurses infected while treating an Ebola patient left an Atlanta hospital, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said policies adopted in the United States should not discourage Americans willing to fight West Africa's outbreak.

First trial in college band-hazing death begins in Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - Tradition is no excuse for the 2011 fatal hazing of a Florida college marching band member, prosecutors told a jury on Tuesday, as testimony began in a case that triggered a national conversation about abusive rituals.

Executions in Texas and Missouri come as U.S. capital punishment drop

AUSTIN Texas - Texas executed a convicted murderer on Tuesday and Missouri plans to put a man to death early Wednesday for killing a mother and children at a time when the number of executions in the United States is on pace to be the lowest in two decades.

Suspicious cyber activity at White House detected, addressed

WASHINGTON - Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed on Tuesday.

Unmanned supply rocket for space station explodes on liftoff in U.S.

- An unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad in Virginia on Tuesday, marking the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

Maryland nanny who stole $431,542 from bosses sentenced to prison

- A Maryland nanny who stole $431,542 from her employers to gamble and buy a house in Africa has been sentenced to three years in prison, a prosecutor said.

Fatal train crash in New York caused by engineer with sleep disorder: NTSB

NEW YORK - A fatal New York City train derailment last year was likely caused by the engineer at the controls who fell asleep due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday.

Kerry says to make Keystone pipeline decision 'sooner rather than later'

OTTAWA - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday during a visit to Canada that he would like to make a decision soon on TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline but needs to wait for due diligence.

New York law firm wins case over $44 million in fees charged to developer's widow

ALBANY N.Y - Rejecting claims that a Manhattan real estate mogul's widow fell under her lawyers' "Svengali-like influence," New York's top court has ruled that her estate must pay the law firm $44 million in fees for a few months' work.

Couple in Sacramento shooting spree to be charged with murder

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The couple accused of a bloody Northern California shooting spree that killed two sheriff's deputies, wounded a third and left a motorist fighting for his life will be charged Tuesday with murder, attempted murder and carjacking, authorities said.

Georgia banker who faked own death gets 30 years prison for fraud

- A former Georgia bank director who faked his own death and disappeared for 1-1/2 years while under suspicion for losing millions of dollars of investor and client money was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 years in prison.

Massachusetts town's plan to ban tobacco sales riles store owners

LOWELL Mass. - Store owners in a Massachusetts town proposing to bar the sale of all tobacco products objected to the proposal on Tuesday, a day after local officials announced the planned ban.

U.S. Coast Guard searches off Miami for two missing Cuban migrants

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - The U.S. Coast Guard searched on Tuesday for two missing Cuban rafters after the 11 others on their homemade vessel were plucked safely on Monday from the waters off Miami.

All smiles, nurse infected by first U.S. Ebola patient is released

ATLANTA - The second of two American nurses who became infected with Ebola while treating a Liberian man who died of the disease in Texas was released from an Atlanta hospital on Tuesday having been declared free of the virus.

Lava flow on Hawaii's Big Island crosses onto residential property

- A stream of lava from the Kilauea volcano crossed onto a residential property on Hawaii's Big Island where it was threatening to destroy its first house since the flow began on June 27, Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said on Tuesday.

Jury reaches verdict in trial of friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber

BOSTON - The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of a college friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber, who is charged with lying to authorities in a terrorism investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

Friend of accused Boston bomber found guilty of lying to authorities

BOSTON - A U.S. jury on Tuesday found a college friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber guilty of lying to authorities in a terrorism investigation.

Dozens hurt when Amtrak train collides with truck in Indiana

CHICAGO - Two dozen people suffered minor injuries when a Chicago-bound Amtrak passenger train collided with a semi-tractor trailer at a crossing in northern Indiana on Tuesday morning, officials said.

Woman's marriage to half-uncle legal, N.Y. top court rules

ALBANY N.Y. - Nearly a century after the same court annulled a marriage between an uncle and his half-niece, New York's top court said on Tuesday that a woman's union with her half-uncle was lawful.

Gunman sought after two shot outside North Carolina courthouse

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - Police searched for a gunman after two men were shot on Tuesday outside a courthouse in Nash County, North Carolina, authorities and local media said.

Texas nurse to leave Emory University Hospital free of Ebola virus

- A Texas nurse who contracted Ebola in the United States will be released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday after being found free of the virus, the hospital said.

Two inmates to be put to death in Texas, Missouri, as overall U.S. executions drop

AUSTIN Texas - Two U.S. inmates convicted of murder as teenagers are scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday and early Wednesday at a time when the number of executions in the United States is on pace to be the lowest in two decades.

Grandfather kills daughter, granddaughter and self in Seattle

- A grandfather shot dead his daughter, granddaughter and then turned the gun on himself on Monday in a Seattle home, authorities said.

Lava flow from Hawaii volcano just 70 yards from nearest residence

KAILUA-KONA Hawaii - Lava flow from the Kilauea volcano that has been creeping toward inhabited areas of Hawaii's Big Island for months is now just 70 yards (meters) from the nearest residential property, authorities said on Monday.

U.S. isolates troops, Australia slaps visa ban on Ebola-hit West Africa states

WASHINGTON/SYDNEY - The U.S. military has started isolating soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission in West Africa and Australia became the first rich nation to impose a visa ban on the affected countries amid global anxiety about the spread of the virus.

Prosecutors to seek child-abuse charges against Arizona mother

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors are seeking child abuse charges against a woman who drew national attention when she left her two young sons in a hot car while she was at a job interview, after she failed to endow court-mandated trust funds for the children.

Father of man who killed sons arrested in Washington state for child pornography

- The father of a man who killed himself and his two young sons in a fiery explosion in 2012 was arrested in Washington state on Monday on a child pornography charge, authorities said.

California man convicted of murders of Chinese USC graduate students

- A Los Angeles man was convicted on Monday for shooting dead two University of Southern California graduate students from China during a botched robbery attempt in 2012, prosecutors said.

Judge delays trial in Colorado cinema massacre case

DENVER - The judge presiding over the Colorado cinema massacre case on Monday delayed the murder trial of accused gunman James Holmes by six weeks to January, but denied a request by defense lawyers for a lengthier postponement.

San Francisco mayor signs ordinance regulating tourism sublets

SAN FRANCISCO - San Franciscans who temporarily rent their homes out must now prove that they live in them most of the year and begin to pay hotel taxes, under an ordinance signed Monday by Mayor Ed Lee.

Mentally challenged Michigan man, 19, found locked in cage

- Two people have been charged with unlawful imprisonment after a 19-year-old mentally challenged Michigan man was found locked in a cage in a rural Michigan home, authorities said on Monday.

CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Federal health officials on Monday revamped guidelines for doctors and nurses returning home to the United States from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, stopping well short of controversial mandatory quarantines being imposed by some U.S. states.

Florida hazing trial begins in college marching band death

ORLANDO Fla. - Three years after the beating death of a Florida college band member brought national attention to its hazing rituals, the alleged ringleader of the abuse went on trial on Monday for manslaughter.

U.S. pastor who led son's same-sex marriage can keep ordination: council

- A U.S. pastor who was defrocked after officiating his son's same-sex wedding ceremony, and later reinstated, can keep his ordination, a Methodist judicial council has ruled.

Coast Guard rescues eight Cuban migrants off Miami, 5 missing

MIAMI - The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday said it was searching for up to five Cubans migrants after pulling eight others from the waters off Miami.

Seattle student arrested for bringing explosive device to school: police

SEATTLE - A Seattle high school that shares a building with a children's museum in a popular tourist area was evacuated and a 16-year-old student arrested on Monday after he was discovered on campus with an explosive device, Seattle police said.

Detroit had to file bankruptcy, use land, to fix woes: attorney

DETROIT - Detroit could only deal with its fiscal woes, including a big public pension burden, by filing for bankruptcy and tapping into the city's one abundant asset, land, to reach settlements with key creditors, an attorney said on Monday.

Labor group suing Wisconsin Governor Walker to raise minimum wage

- A labor group in Wisconsin on Monday said it is suing Gov. Scott Walker to force him to raise the state's minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Accused White House intruder dragged from court after ruled incompetent

WASHINGTON - A man charged with jumping the White House fence last week was dragged screaming from a courtroom on Monday after a federal judge declared him incompetent to stand trial.

Lava flow from Hawaii volcano just 100 yards from nearest residence

HONOLULU - Lava flow from the Kilauea volcano that has been creeping toward inhabited areas of Hawaii's Big Island for months is now just 100 yards (meters) from the nearest residential property, authorities said on Monday.

Houston man shot in face trying to grab gun from three-year-old

HOUSTON - A Houston-area man was in critical condition after being shot in the face when he tried to take a loaded pistol away from a 3-year-old boy, police said on Monday.

Pennsylvania justice named in email pornography probe retires

- A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice embroiled in an email pornography scandal and accused of other workplace misconduct retired on Monday, days after he was suspended from his job, court officials said.

Woman sentenced to 25 years in kidnapping of Wisconsin baby

- A woman who faked a pregnancy, kidnapped her infant nephew from his Wisconsin home, and left him alone in frigid temperatures last winter was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in federal prison, according to court records.

Colorado man vanishes during NFL game in Denver

DENVER - Police are searching for a 53-year-old man who vanished from his seat during halftime of a National Football League game in Denver he was attending last week with his son and some friends, officials said on Monday.

One in six female MIT students a victim of sexual assault -survey

BOSTON - One in six female undergraduates at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who responded to a survey has been sexually assaulted, but fewer than 5 percent reported a sex crime, MIT said.

Washington state high school gunman invited victims to cafeteria: sheriff's office

SEATTLE - The gunman in a Washington state high school shooting rampage had arranged for the victims to meet at the cafeteria at lunch, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said on Monday.

Sacramento shooter's motives, background a mystery, authorities say

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A man accused of killing two sheriff's deputies in a bloody shooting spree through two northern California counties is a figure of some mystery, with several aliases and a history of deportation and drug crime, authorities said on Monday.

Washington state school shooter invited victims to cafeteria: officials

SEATTLE - The student in a Washington state high school shooting rampage who fatally fired at two 14-year-old girls and wounded three more classmates before taking his own life had arranged for the group to meet at the cafeteria at lunch, officials said on Monday.

U.S. CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Federal health officials on Monday revamped guidelines for doctors and nurses returning home to the United States from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, stopping well short of controversial mandatory quarantines being imposed by some U.S. states.

U.S. Marine to go on trial for killing Filipino, but charge unclear

MANILA - The Philippines will put a U.S. Marine on trial for killing a transgender Filipino outside a former U.S. Navy base but prosecutors have yet to decide whether to charge him with murder or the lesser crime of homicide.

White House questions Ebola quarantines; nurse plans lawsuit

NEW YORK - The White House has told states that have imposed mandatory quarantines for some travelers from Ebola-hit West Africa that the policy could impede the fight against the disease, while the first health worker isolated under the rules planned to sue.

Washington state rampage baffles Native American community

MARYSVILLE Wash. - Members of a tight-knit Native American community in Washington state were struggling on Sunday to comprehend how a life-long friendship among cousins ended with one of them gunning down the other two, along with three friends, in a high school cafeteria.

Eight firefighters injured in 'death trap' blaze at Los Angeles storage facility

- Eight firefighters were injured battling a massive fire at a Los Angeles storage facility filled with combustibles like furniture, artwork, and vinyl records but with no sprinkler system, city and fire officials said on Sunday.

Eight firefighters injured in Los Angeles storage 'death trap'

- Eight firefighters were injured battling a massive fire at a Los Angeles storage facility filled with combustibles like furniture, artwork, and vinyl records but with no sprinkler system, city and fire officials said on Sunday.

New York wants to encourage health workers to go Ebola zone: Cuomo

NEW YORK - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday the state wanted to encourage health workers to go to West Africa to treat Ebola patients, responding to concerns that new state rules on mandatory quarantines would keep doctors and nurses away from the stricken region.

Nurse slams New Jersey order to quarantine her over Ebola concerns

WASHINGTON - A nurse held in quarantine under new Ebola rules imposed by three U.S. states sharply criticized the order that put her in isolation in New Jersey on Sunday, saying she was healthy and that politicians shouldn't meddle in medical decision-making.

Waiting on Jeb: Will another Bush run for the White House in 2016?

WASHINGTON - Republican Jeb Bush's flirtation with a possible run for the White House in 2016 has been so low key that some in his party aren't convinced he's prepared to take on the challenge.

White House seeking to reverse New York, New Jersey's Ebola quarantine orders: NYT

WASHINGTON - The White House is pressuring the governors of New York and New Jersey to reverse their orders imposing a quarantine on all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contacts with Ebola patients, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

Nurse slams New Jersey order to quarantine her over Ebola concerns

WASHINGTON - A nurse held in quarantine under new Ebola rules imposed by three U.S. states sharply criticized the order that put her in isolation in New Jersey on Sunday, saying she was healthy and that politicians shouldn't meddle in medical decision-making.

Florida to monitor health of travelers from Ebola-hit countries

- Florida will require 21-day health monitoring of people returning to the state from Ebola-affected countries in Africa, Governor Rick Scott said, even though the state has no airports authorized to receive travelers from the three nations.

Washington state rampage baffles Native American community

MARYSVILLE Wash. - Members of a tight-knit Native American community in Washington state were struggling on Sunday to comprehend how a life-long friendship among cousins ended with one of them gunning down the other two, along with three friends, in a high school cafeteria.

U.S. diplomat travels to West Africa as Ebola quarantine moves take hold

NEW YORK - As the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations embarked on a trip to West Africa, new rules in three U.S. states mandating quarantine for health workers returning from the Ebola-stricken region drew criticism, even as some U.S. lawmakers called for a travel ban on the three worst-hit countries.

Neighbors in custody following murder of Indiana boy, 13: police

CHICAGO - A 13-year-old Gary, Indiana boy was shot multiple times and killed, and a man and woman from his neighborhood are in custody, police said on Saturday.

Dalai Lama visits Alabama church at center of civil rights movement

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, visited one of America’s sacred sanctuaries on Saturday, touring the church where four African-American girls were killed in a 1963 bombing that galvanized the civil rights movement.

Washington state teen shooter's family living in 'nightmare'

MARYSVILLE Wash. - Relatives of a Washington state teen accused of a high school shooting rampage said on Saturday that they were living in a "nightmare" and struggling to understand why the boy targeted his two cousins and several friends before killing himself.

Suspect in two California deputy deaths charged with murder, carjacking

- A Utah man was charged with carrying out a crime spree in Sacramento that killed two California sheriff's deputies and wounded a third, law enforcement officials said on Saturday.

U.S. nurse quarantined over Ebola calls treatment 'frenzy of disorganization'

NEW YORK - Illinois joined New York and New Jersey in imposing mandatory quarantines for people arriving with a risk of having contracted Ebola in West Africa, but the first person isolated under the new rules, a nurse returning from Sierra Leone, called her treatment a "frenzy of disorganization."

U.S. recognizes gay marriages in six more states

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Saturday the U.S. government will recognize same-sex marriages in six more states, bringing to 32 the number of states where couples in gay unions qualify for federal benefits.

Illinois orders mandatory Ebola quarantine for high-risk travelers

- Illinois has ordered mandatory 21-day quarantines for all "high-risk" people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients while in Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone, the three West African nations most affected by the outbreak.

U.S. car safety regulators face review over safety lapses

WASHINGTON - The Transportation Department will conduct an internal review of U.S. auto safety regulators in response to a series of safety lapses, including this week's reports of defective air bags, a senior administration official said on Saturday.

Governor Cuomo did not tell NYC about new Ebola airport rules: mayor

NEW YORK - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not inform New York City officials before announcing mandatory quarantines for some people arriving at airports around the city from Ebola-affected countries, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday.

Montana bride who shoved husband off cliff appeals murder conviction

- A Montana bride who admitted pushing her new husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park is appealing her murder conviction on grounds prosecutors distorted facts, acted vindictively toward her and engaged in misconduct, such as publicly labeling her a sociopath.

Atlantic City Trump casino workers picket, target investor Icahn

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - Hundreds of unionized workers lashed out at Carl Icahn on Friday, picketing the Trump Taj Mahal Casino where the billionaire activist seeks to terminate health-care and pension plans.

Therapists missed Newtown gunman's rage as a teenager: report

HARTFORD Conn. - The extent of Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza's growing rage, isolation and delusions when he was a teenager were apparently overlooked by his mother, psychiatrists and counselors, according to a report expected to be issued next month.

St. Louis officer shot teen in back of legs: family autopsy

- A white off-duty St. Louis police officer shot a black teenager six times in the back of the legs and once in the side of the head in what was likely a fatal wound, a doctor who performed a private autopsy for the teen's family said on Friday.

Ferguson shooting probe to be complete in coming months: Attorney general

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday that he expects the Justice Department's investigation into the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, to be complete by the time he leaves office.

Maker of U.S. highway guardrails stops shipments over safety concerns

- Railcar maker Trinity Industries Inc said on Friday that it would stop shipping a highway guardrail system, after the U.S. government demanded earlier in the week that the company conduct more crash tests of the product.

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting

MARYSVILLE Wash. - A student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others when he opened fire in the cafeteria of his Washington state high school on Friday, apparently after a fight with fellow students, authorities said.

Two deputies killed, two others hurt in California shooting spree

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Two California sheriff's deputies were killed and two others were wounded in a shooting spree that started in a motel parking lot in Sacramento on Friday, authorities said.

Two U.S. states to quarantine health workers returning from Ebola zones

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - New York and New Jersey will automatically quarantine medical workers returning from Ebola-hit West African countries and the U.S. government is considering the same step after a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came back infected, officials said on Friday.

Court allows Oklahoma to delay executions due to lack of drugs

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma court accepted a motion from the state on Friday to delay three planned executions so prison authorities can obtain a fresh batch of lethal injection drugs and implement new protocols drawn up after a troubled execution this year.

Alabama attorneys complain of harassment after $460,000 settlement

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - Lawyers for a man who received a $460,000 settlement after suing the city of Birmingham for police brutality said on Friday they had received harassing emails and phone calls after it was disclosed they would pocket all but $1,000 of the settlement.

Heathcare worker at Newark airport to be quarantined on Ebola fears

NEW YORK - A healthcare worker who had been treating patients in West Africa was detained at Newark Liberty International Airport and will be quarantined, in line with a new policy aimed at reducing risk from the Ebola virus, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday.

Pennsylvania man faces possible life in prison for child porn

NEW YORK - A Pennsylvania man faces life in prison for child pornography he left on a computer tablet he sold at a Christmas flea market, according to authorities.

No distress calls before Maryland airplane-helicopter collision

WASHINGTON - A small airplane and helicopter made no distress calls before they collided near a Maryland airport killing all three aboard the helicopter and injuring the two men on the plane, federal investigators said on Friday.

Deputy killed, three others hurt in California shooting spree

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A California sheriff's deputy was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting spree that started in a motel parking lot in Sacramento on Friday, authorities said.

Trove of Flight 93 personal items destroyed in 9/11 memorial fire

- A fire near the western Pennsylvania memorial for a hijacked United flight that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, destroyed photographs, ID cards and other personal mementos of the victims recovered from the site, officials said on Friday.

Kansas court upholds conviction in abortion doctor's murder

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld a man's conviction in the 2009 slaying of a late-term abortion doctor but sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

Obama gives big hug to U.S. nurse who survived Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama gave a big hug on Friday to Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived a bout with Ebola.

U.S. considering quarantine for returning Ebola health workers: CDC

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering quarantining healthcare workers returning to the United States from the Ebola hot zone of West Africa, after a New York doctor who treated Ebola patients there tested positive for the virus.

Virginia police identify remains as those of missing college student

- A medical examiner has identified human remains as those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, police said on Friday.

Stolen vehicle plows into Ohio bar, injures 13

CLEVELAND - Thirteen people were injured late Thursday after a high-speed police chase ended with a stolen truck crashing through the front of a bar in a western suburb of Cleveland, police said.

Stolen vehicle plows into Ohio bar, injures 13

CLEVELAND - Thirteen people were injured late Thursday after a high-speed police chase ended with a stolen truck crashing through the front of a bar in a western suburb of Cleveland, police said.

Man in custody in toppling of Ten Commandments at Oklahoma capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY - A man was taken into custody on Friday on suspicion of knocking over a Ten Commandments monument with a car on the grounds of the Oklahoma statehouse and then fleeing the scene, law enforcement officials said on Friday.

Plenary Walsh team to rebuild hundreds of Pennsylvania bridges

NEW YORK - Pennsylvania, with more bad bridges than any other U.S. state, said on Friday it selected Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners' $899 million proposal to replace 558 structurally deficient bridges.

Texas man charged with raping two children, infecting them with HIV

AUSTIN Texas - A Houston man has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 14 and 2, and infecting them with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, police said on Friday.

Student opens fire at Washington state high school: report

SEATTLE - A student opened fire at a high school in Washington state on Friday, wounding an unknown number of victims before killing himself with a gun, the Seattle Times reported.

As Ebola hits, New Yorkers maintain wary calm

NEW YORK - News of New York's first case of Ebola was met with worry and even anger on Friday, but for this city of eight million residents, seasoned by everything from terror attacks to superstorms, there was no sign of panic.

U.S. House panel to meet with safety regulators about Takata air bags next week

WASHINGTON/DETROIT - The U.S. House committee looking into the defective air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp will hold an initial briefing with U.S. safety regulators next week to learn the details of the regional recalls affecting 10 automakers, a committee aide said on Friday.

With U.S. Ebola fear running high, African immigrants face ostracism

(Note: Please be advised that the second paragraph contains language that may be offensive to some readers.)

U.S. nurse who had Ebola is virus free: health officials

WASHINGTON - A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola is now free of the virus, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

Police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses: Amnesty report

- Police in Ferguson, Missouri, committed human rights abuses as they sought to quell mostly peaceful protests that erupted after an officer killed an unarmed black teenager, an international human rights organization said in a report released on Friday.

Three dead after airplane and helicopter collide in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Three people were killed and two taken to a hospital after a small airplane and a helicopter collided in mid-air on Thursday near a local airport in Frederick, Maryland, authorities said.

Utah Supreme Court clears way for adoption by partners of same-sex spouses

- The Utah Supreme Court on Thursday lifted an order that had blocked spouses in same-sex marriages from adopting their partners' children, state officials said.

New York doctor tests positive for Ebola: official

NEW YORK - A New York City doctor who worked recently with Ebola patients in West Africa and returned to New York City tested positive for the illness on Thursday, officials said.

New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

NEW YORK - A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group of New York City police officers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said.

Tennessee judge reprimanded for aiding release in assault case

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A Tennessee judicial conduct board has reprimanded a judge who intervened to gain a prominent developer accused of assaulting a girlfriend an early release from a cooling-off period in jail, the state courts office said on Thursday.

U.S. National Park graffiti vandal spotted through social media

SEATTLE - The National Park Service said on Thursday it was investigating a New York artist as a suspect for graffiti vandalism in parks across the Western United States after she posted at least one picture of herself defacing a protected park on social media.

NYC taxi fleet owners win right to appeal 'Taxi of Tomorrow' plan

NEW YORK - New York City's program to create a nearly uniform taxi fleet with cabs from Nissan Motor Co will face a renewed challenge, after fleet operators opposing the "Taxi of Tomorrow" plan won permission to take their case to the state's highest court.

Romanian princess, husband sentenced for Oregon cockfighting ring

PORTLAND Ore. - A princess fifth in line for the Romanian throne and her husband who admitted running a cockfighting ring in rural Oregon have both sentenced to probation and ordered to forfeit $200,000 from the sale of the property, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Trial date in Virginia killings set for former political candidate

WASHINGTON - A Virginia judge on Thursday set a 2015 trial date for an eccentric former political candidate charged in three killings in the Washington area.

Oklahoma judge allows law on abortion pills to take effect

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law governing the use of an abortion-inducing drug to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk.

Michigan girl, 15, charged with conspiring to kill her family

- A 15-year old Michigan girl was arraigned on Thursday on charges that she stabbed her younger brother and plotted to kill the rest of her family in their home while her boyfriend texted her instructions from outside, prosecutors said.

Former Louisiana mayor arrested on child porn possession charges

NEW ORLEANS - The former mayor of a small Louisiana city was arrested on Thursday and charged with 40 counts of possessing child pornography, prosecutors said.

Californians favor $7.5 billion water bond to fight drought: poll

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Most Californians favor a ballot initiative authorizing spending $7.5 billion on projects to shore up the drought-parched state's water supply, including a new reservoir and underground storage projects, a poll shows.

U.S. weighs passport, border changes in wake of Ottawa attack

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials are debating whether to tighten controls on the border with Canada and make it easier to revoke the passports of suspected militants, steps that could gain traction following two attacks in Canada this week.

Navajo high court delays election for leader, orders new ballots

PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation's highest court on Thursday ordered that a November vote to pick the Native American tribe's top official be postponed and ballots reprinted after a finalist was disqualified for refusing to prove his fluency in the Navajo language.

University of Oregon urged to scale back fraternities, sororities

PORTLAND Ore. - A task force formed in response to sexual violence at the University of Oregon is urging the school's leaders to suspend plans to expand the number of sororities and fraternities, citing their outsized involvement in these assaults.

Trial starts for Pittsburgh professor accused of poisoning wife

PITTSBURGH - The trial of a Pittsburgh professor charged with poisoning his physician wife began on Thursday with a prosecutor saying the suspect had been one phone call away from "the perfect murder."

Pennsylvania high school's football season canceled over hazing

PHILADELPHIA - A school district in suburban Philadelphia canceled a high school football team's season and suspended its coaching staff after investigating reports of hazing.

New York tests doctor who was in West Africa for Ebola

NEW YORK - A physician with Doctors without Borders who returned from West Africa recently and developed potential symptoms was being tested for Ebola at a New York City hospital, health officials said on Thursday, setting off fresh fears about the spread of the virus.

Northrop must face whistleblower anti-missile lawsuit: U.S. judge

- A Chicago federal judge on Thursday rejected Northrop Grumman Corp's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee who accused the defense contractor of defrauding the U.S. government in performing a contract to develop a missile defense system for commercial aircraft.

Three dead after airplane and helicopter collide in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Three people were killed and two taken to a hospital after a small airplane and a helicopter collided in mid-air on Thursday near a local airport in Frederick, Maryland, authorities said.

California clinic doctor suspected of taking nude photos of patients

SAN DIEGO - A doctor who volunteered at a San Diego-area health clinic for the poor and uninsured is suspected of taking more than 1,300 sexually explicit photographs of female patients with his mobile phone, according to court documents filed by state medical board investigators.

New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

NEW YORK - A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group of New York City police officers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said.

Magnitude 5.1 earthquake quake hits Alaska near Fairbanks

JUNEAU - A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska near Fairbanks on Thursday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, and there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

Lockdown lifted for Chicago suburban high school

CHICAGO - A Chicago suburban high school that was on lockdown for about two hours on Thursday resumed normal activities after police found that an unattended package did not pose any threat.

Six bodies identified after decades in Oklahoma lake

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma authorities have formally identified six people whose bodies were found in a western Oklahoma lake in 2013, bringing a resolution to missing persons mysteries that spanned decades, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner said Thursday.

Pennsylvania sniper hunt takes toll on lookalike, other locals

MOUNTAINHOME Pa. - Pocono Mountain residents are upset now that a six-week-old manhunt for an accused cop killer has forced the cancellation of school, hunting season and even Halloween parades, but few have suffered as much disruption to their lives as James Tully.

Exclusive: California getting more Bakken crude by barge than rail

SAN FRANCISCO - Shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to California by barge have quietly overtaken those by train for the first time, showing how the state's isolated refiners are using any means necessary to tap into the nation's shale oil boom.

California community suffers as wells dry up in drought

East Porterville Calif. - In one of the towns hardest hit by California's drought, the only way some residents can get water to flush the toilet is to drive to the fire station, hand-pump water into barrels and take it back home.

Olympian Jim Thorpe's remains should not be moved: U.S. court

- Jim Thorpe's remains will stay in the Pennsylvania hamlet named for the legendary Native American athlete and Olympics champion, after a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected an effort by two sons to move them to tribal lands in his native Oklahoma.

Six in quarantine in Connecticut as U.S. steps up Ebola checks

Connecticut placed six West Africans who recently arrived in the United States under quarantine for possible Ebola exposure, a move that comes as the United States starts new restrictions on those coming from the countries hardest hit by the deadly virus.

Maryland man charged after jumping White House fence, dogs cleared for duty

WASHINGTON - A man arrested after jumping the White House fence on Wednesday night has been charged with three felony counts and four misdemeanors, the U.S. Secret Service said on Thursday.

Prosecutors accept proposed trial delay for Colorado cinema gunman

DENVER - Prosecutors in the Colorado theater massacre case do not oppose a defense request to delay the murder trial of accused gunman James Holmes until early next year, court papers showed on Thursday.

Justice Dept. 'exasperated' by local probe of Missouri teen shooting

- U.S. Justice Department officials on Thursday criticized local authorities' investigation of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, saying the case had been handled in a "selective" and "inappropriate" manner.

California prisons to end racial lockdown policy

- The California prison system has agreed to settle a long-running civil rights lawsuit by ending race-based lockdowns of inmates, court records show.

Autopsy of slain Missouri teen shows close-range gunshot

- The official autopsy on an unarmed black teenager whose killing by a white police officer in August set off protests in Ferguson, Missouri, suggests he sustained a gunshot wound to the hand from close range, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Exclusive: U.S. plans to plug coal royalty loophole padding export profits

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is drafting rules designed to close an accounting loophole that in recent years has helped coal companies boost export profits and likely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, people familiar with the plan said.

Reporter quits Chicago newspaper, says governor candidate influenced paper

CHICAGO - A veteran Illinois political reporter quit his job at the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and accused the newspaper of bowing to pressure from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner by removing him from the campaign beat.

Florida men held three years in Mexico on drug charges return to U.S.

MIAMI - Two Florida boaters jailed in Mexico for three years after being arrested with $950,000 in cash returned to the United States on Wednesday, landing in Miami after they were exonerated of money-laundering and drug-trafficking charges, according to their lawyer.

Alabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - An Alabama man who sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase will get $1,000 in a settlement with the city of Birmingham, while his attorneys will take in $459,000, officials said Wednesday.

Man arrested after jumping White House fence, causing lockdown

WASHINGTON - A man jumped the White House fence on Wednesday and was attacked by Secret Service dogs before being arrested, a Secret Service spokesman said.

Congressman should have been 'more sensitive' in suicide remarks: spokesman

JUNEAU - A U.S. congressman should have taken a more "sensitive approach" when talking about teen suicide to a group of Alaska high school students he was addressing after a classmate recently took his own life, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Suspended South Carolina speaker to plead guilty to ethics charges: report

CHARLESTON S.C. - Suspended South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Bobby Harrell is expected to plead guilty to criminal ethics charges related to misuse of campaign money and misconduct in office, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Oklahoma judge allows law banning abortion pills to take effect

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law that bans abortion-inducing drugs to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk.

Distracted truck driver blamed for Maryland train wreck, explosion

WASHINGTON - A trash truck driver talking on a hands-free mobile device caused a 2013 Maryland train collision that led to a 15-car derailment and explosion, U.S. investigators said on Wednesday.

Four men plead not guilty to murder in 2013 carjacking at N.J. mall

NEWARK N.J. - Four men accused of slaying a lawyer in front of his wife during a 2013 carjacking at an upscale New Jersey mall pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to murder and illegal weapons possession.

Search near abandoned car fails to turn up missing ex-Harlem Globetrotter

- Police in Northern California have called off a search through remote terrain for former Harlem Globetrotters player Rico Omarr Harris, whose car was found in the area nearly two weeks ago, authorities said on Wednesday.

Suspected serial killer charged in another murder in Indiana

CROWN POINT Ind. - Suspected serial killer Darren Vann, who was arrested on Saturday and charged in the murder of a young woman whose body was found in a motel in Indiana, was charged on Wednesday in the murder of another woman, prosecutors said.

Father, son who ran NY drug treatment centers face fraud charges

NEW YORK - A father and son who ran New York City substance abuse clinics were accused on Wednesday of stealing tax money meant to treat addicts and using it to fund a lavish lifestyle that included luxury cars.

U.S. pastor defrocked over son's same-sex wedding faces Methodist council

MEMPHIS Tenn. - A U.S. pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding ceremony, and later reinstated, made an appeal to hang onto his ordination before a Methodist judicial council on Wednesday.

Navajo court removes presidential candidate over language dispute

PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a tribal presidential hopeful to remain on the Nov. 4 ballot after he was disqualified for refusing to prove his fluency in the Navajo language, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin challenges contract to Raytheon

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp on Wednesday said it had filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) challenging the Air Force's decision to pick Raytheon Co to develop a new long-range radar.

Probe: Athletes took fake classes at University of North Carolina

RALEIGH N.C. - More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Critics of Dow herbicide ingredient sue U.S. EPA over approval

- A coalition of U.S. farmer and environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to overturn regulatory approval granted last week for a herbicide developed by Dow AgroSciences.

Family of Dallas nurse Vinson says she no longer showing Ebola

- The family of Amber Vinson, one of two Dallas nurses infected with Ebola, said on Wednesday that tests by medical officials were no longer able to detect the virus in her body.

Man pleads guilty to killing Montana teacher in cocaine frenzy

- A Colorado man accused of killing a Montana teacher during a cocaine-fueled frenzy pleaded guilty to murder on Wednesday as part of a deal in which prosecutors will dismiss a kidnapping charge in the case, court documents showed.

Washington state soldier pleads not guilty to murdering wife

SEATTLE - A U.S. soldier accused of shooting his wife to death as she sat working on a computer inside their home in Washington state pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of first-degree murder.

Six migrants detained for trying to sneak into U.S. in fuel tank

SAN ANTONIO - Six immigrants from Mexico and Central America have been taken into custody on suspicion of trying to sneak into the United States by squeezing into an auxiliary fuel tank that was mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.

Two dead in murder-suicide at Houston hospital: police say

HOUSTON - Two health workers died on Wednesday in an apparent murder-suicide at the out-patient pharmacy of a major Houston hospital, police said.

UAW eyes bargaining rights at VW Tennessee plant within a year

DETROIT - The United Auto Workers hopes to be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers at a Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee within a year, the union's President Dennis Williams said on Wednesday.

Man jumps White House fence, causes lockdown

WASHINGTON - A man jumped the White House fence on Wednesday and was attacked by Secret Service dogs, a Secret Service spokesman said.

Detroit can survive after bankruptcy but large risks loom: expert

DETROIT - Detroit's relatively fast move through municipal bankruptcy has resulted in costly creditor settlements and too little emphasis on fixing the city's broken operations, a restructuring expert testified in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday.

U.S. jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in 2007 Baghdad killings

WASHINGTON - In a sweeping victory for the U.S. government, a federal jury on Wednesday found four former Blackwater guards guilty on nearly every count they faced in connection with the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqis at a Baghdad traffic circle.

U.S. Secret Service blasted for sending agents to employee's house

WASHINGTON - Government investigators faulted the Secret Service on Wednesday for pulling agents from their posts near the White House and sending them to the home of an agency employee involved in a private dispute in 2011.

California venture firm does not have to release documents in discrimination suit

SAN FRANCISCO - California’s privacy laws have saved a high-profile venture capital firm from having to release potentially embarrassing information about a former partner in a discrimination lawsuit by a former female partner.

Jury deliberates for second day over accused Boston bomber friend

BOSTON - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday over whether a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was too high on marijuana to have intentionally lied to investigators about his role in the aftermath of the 2013 attack.

Suspected serial killer silent at Indiana court hearing

CROWN POINT Ind. - Suspected serial killer Darren Vann was silent on Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in Lake County, Indiana, and the judge ordered him to appear again next week to be informed of his rights.

Fowle back at Ohio home 'in good health' after detention in North Korea

- American Jeffrey Fowle returned to his home in southern Ohio on Wednesday, with his lawyer saying he was in good health after a nearly half-year detention in reclusive North Korea.

Boyfriend leads police to pregnant Ohio woman's remains

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man who confessed to killing his pregnant girlfriend and burning down their Columbus apartment led authorities to her body early Wednesday, Ohio police said.

Researchers find German U-boat, ship it sank off U.S. coast

WASHINGTON - The wreck of a World War Two German U-boat and a freighter it sank 72 years ago have been discovered off the North Carolina coast by U.S. researchers, officials said.

Autopsy of slain Missouri teen shows close-range gunshot: report

- A newly disclosed autopsy of the unarmed black teenager whose killing by a white police officer set off months of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, suggests he suffered a gunshot to the hand from close range, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

NYC subway breaks record with more than 6 million daily rides

NEW YORK - More people rode the New York City subway than ever in September, with the number of trips exceeding a record-breaking 6 million on five separate days over the month, transit officials said on Wednesday.

Ebola gives U.S. 'preppers' another reason to prepare for worst

- With the closest known U.S. cases of Ebola diagnosed about 160 miles away in Dallas, Cary Griffin is taking no chances.

U.S. Ebola 'czar' starts work, drugmakers launch vaccine drive

WASHINGTON - The new U.S. Ebola "czar" starts work on Wednesday as the Obama administration ramps up its response to the potential spread of the virus, and drugmakers started a project to accelerate development of a vaccine and produce millions of doses.

Wisconsin judge orders competency hearing for girl in 'Slenderman' case

MILWAUKEE - A judge on Wednesday ordered a competency hearing for one of two Wisconsin pre-teen girls accused of stabbing a friend in an attempt to please the fictional Internet character "Slenderman."

Mega harvest leaves U.S. farmers battling bugs in storage bins

CHICAGO - With record harvests depressing prices, U.S. farmers are holding tight to their corn and soybeans and binging on chemicals that protect stored grain from critters or even leaving corn standing in fields over winter to avoid storage charges.

Kerry welcomes North Korea's release of American, restates terms for resuming talks

BERLIN/SEOUL - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the release of one of three Americans held in North Korea and said Washington is willing to resume talks with Pyongyang if it takes steps towards de-nuclearization.

Big utilities pushing into booming home solar market

- For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance.

U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws

BOSTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating about two dozen cases of suspected cybersecurity flaws in medical devices and hospital equipment that officials fear could be exploited by hackers, a senior official at the agency told Reuters.

U.S. authorities arrest head of Mexican drug gang Gulf Cartel

- The head of the notorious Mexican cocaine-trafficking gang, the Gulf Cartel, was taken into custody in southern Texas, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

New Jersey school board suspends five coaches in hazing scandal

SAYREVILLE N.J. - New Jersey school officials voted on Tuesday to suspend five high school coaches in a locker-room hazing scandal that has led to criminal sex abuse charges against teen football players.

Famed Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt dead at 88

- Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texas oilman once considered the world's richest man before his fortunes were undone by Muammar Gaddafi and his own epic overreaching in the silver market, died on Tuesday at age 88.

Three Denver girls reportedly en route to Turkey detained, sent home

WASHINGTON - Three teenage girls from Denver who had been missing since last week and were reported to be traveling to Turkey were picked up in Germany and sent back home, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Florida teenager arrested for child molestation and pornography

ORLANDO Fla. - A 16-year-old Florida boy remained in jail on Tuesday on a $802,500 bond following his arrest on more than 100 charges related to molesting a child and creating pornography, according to authorities.

NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information

- A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee in Ohio has been charged with stealing sensitive information from a federal database for the nation's dams and lying about the breach to federal agents, prosecutors said.

North Korea unexpectedly frees American Jeffrey Fowle

WASHINGTON - North Korea has freed Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans detained by the country, and he is being flown home to his family in Ohio, the White House said on Tuesday.

Faulty airbags warning expanded to 6.1. million U.S. cars: NHTSA

WASHINGTON - The U.S. highway safety regulator, NHTSA, expanded its warning on Tuesday about faulty airbags made by Japanese auto-part maker Takata to 6.1 million vehicles in the United States.

Three Denver girls reportedly en route to Turkey detained, sent home

WASHINGTON - Three teenage girls from Denver who had been missing since last week and were reported to be traveling to Turkey were picked up in Germany and sent back home, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Indiana police search vacant houses after arrest of suspected killer

CHICAGO - Indiana police used a dog trained to hunt for cadavers to search more than 120 vacant structures in the city of Gary on Tuesday, following the discovery of the bodies of six women who may have been victims of a serial killer.

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93

WASHINGTON - Ben Bradlee, the hard-driving editor who reigned over the Washington Post newsroom with the style of a well-dressed swashbuckler and the profane vocabulary of dockworker as the newspaper helped topple President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal, died on Tuesday at age 93.

U.S. to funnel travelers from Ebola-hit region through five airports

NEW YORK - The United States ratcheted up its safeguards against Ebola on Tuesday, requiring travelers from three countries at the center of an epidemic in West Africa to fly into one of five major airports conducting enhanced screening for the virus.

Northrop protests U.S. Air Force radar award to Raytheon

WASHINGTON - Northrop Grumman Corp on Tuesday said it had filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office against the U.S. Air Force's decision to pick Raytheon Co to develop a next-generation, long-range radar system.

Campaign consultant pleads guilty to embezzling $1.8 million in Texas race

AUSTIN Texas - A political consultant hired for the failed 2012 campaign of Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for a U.S. Senate seat pleaded guilty on Tuesday to siphoning off about $1.8 million in campaign funds for his personal use, prosecutors said.

Girl who died at Ohio haunted house attraction had heart condition: official

- A teenage girl who died after collapsing at a haunted house attraction in Ohio had a pre-existing heart condition, an official said on Tuesday.

New Jersey school officials to tackle hazing scandal, suspensions

- New Jersey school officials on Tuesday were set to address the suspension of five high school coaches in a locker room hazing scandal that has led to criminal sex abuse charges, according to local media.

U.S. seeks more Trinity guardrail tests after jury verdict

- The U.S. government on Tuesday asked Trinity Industries Inc to conduct additional crash testing of a highway guardrail system that had been the subject of a fraud verdict by a federal jury a day earlier.

More than 20 children attacked by bees at Texas school

AUSTIN Texas - A swarm of bees attacked two dozen children at a school near Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday after a student appeared to rattle a nest during a gym-class soccer game, a school spokeswoman said,

Chicago corrections officer charged in pot smuggling attempt

CHICAGO - A corrections officer in Chicago's Cook County Jail was arrested on Tuesday and faces a federal criminal charge for allegedly trying to smuggle two sandwiches packed with marijuana into the jail last year, federal authorities said.

Exclusive: Ex-spy chief's private firm ends deal with U.S. official

WASHINGTON - Former National Security Agency director Keith Alexander has ended a deal with a senior U.S. intelligence official allowing the official to work part-time for his firm, an arrangement current and former officials said risked a conflict of interest.

Court orders mental health evaluation for White House fence jumper

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday ordered a 30 day mental health evaluation for Omar Gonzalez, the Iraq war veteran charged with jumping the fence of the White House and entering the presidential mansion with a knife last month.

New York state to settle landmark suit over public defenders

ALBANY N.Y. - New York state has agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming its public defense system is underfunded and violates poor people's rights to counsel a day before the case was set to go to trial.

Indiana police search vacant houses after arrest of suspected killer

CHICAGO - Indiana police used a dog trained to hunt for cadavers to search more than 90 vacant houses in the city of Gary on Tuesday, following the discovery of the bodies of six women who may have been victims of a serial killer.

Memphis boy wounded when gun he brought to school goes off

- A Tennessee teenager was wounded in the leg on Tuesday when he dropped his backpack and a handgun he was showing off to middle school classmates in Memphis went off, officials said.

Special Report: U.S. visa program for crime victims is hit-or-miss prospect

- It was the week of Chinese New Year, and Jian Zhen Huang was climbing her sister’s doorstep in Brooklyn with cups and other supplies for the celebration inside. Suddenly, a young man grabbed her, punched her in the face several times, knocked her down to the pavement and stole her phone.

Study shows U.S. forced-labor victims unclear where to seek help

- A study of human labor trafficking in the United States released today shows that many of the victims arrived in the country legally, and some had college degrees. Even so, the study by researchers at the non-profit Urban Institute and Boston's Northeastern University concluded, victims seldom understood their rights or where to seek help.

Schools closed after second sighting of Pennsylvania sniper

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - A Pennsylvania school district closed on Tuesday after another possible sighting of Eric Frein, the sniper accused of killing one state trooper and wounding another, near a post office close to the fugitive's former high school, officials said.

Indiana police charge suspect who may have killed for decades

HAMMOND Ind. - A convicted sex offender suspected of murdering at least seven women and leaving the bodies in abandoned houses in northwest Indiana may be a serial killer who has killed others in the state as far back as 20 years ago, local police said on Monday.

Ebola among top U.S. worries but well behind economy, jobs: poll

- A new poll on Tuesday showed Ebola has moved into the top 10 issues of concern to Americans but ranks behind the economy, dissatisfaction with government and other worries.

Judge wants settlements, loan, fees in Detroit's closing arguments

DETROIT - The federal judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case wants the city to explain its settlements with creditors and its exit financing in closing arguments next week, he said on Tuesday.

Dish drops Turner channels as contract renewal talks fail

- Dish Network has stopped carrying Turner Broadcasting's channels, including CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, as the companies failed to renew their distribution deal.

Jury selection begins for Pa. professor accused of poisoning wife

PITTSBURGH - Jury selection began on Tuesday in the case of a University of Pittsburgh professor charged with killing his physician wife last year by poisoning her with cyanide.

California climber dies in fall at Zion National Park in Utah

- A climber from California died at Zion National Park in Utah after falling backward and tumbling 80 feet (24 metres) down a sleep slope, Park Service officials said on Tuesday.

Newborn killer whale, first born since 2012, presumed dead in Washington

SEATTLE - The first calf born in two years to an endangered killer whale population off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has been declared missing and presumed dead just weeks after its birth, experts said on Tuesday.

Americans losing billions by taking less vacation time: survey

WASHINGTON - Americans took the least amount of vacation time in almost four decades last year, forfeiting billions of dollars in compensation without scoring points with their bosses, according to an industry group analysis released on Tuesday.

White House confirms U.S. citizen released from North Korea

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Tuesday that detained American tourist Jeffrey Fowle had been released from North Korea and was on his way home to be with his family.

Fate of Boston bomb buddy hinges on marijuana defense

BOSTON - Attorneys clashed in court on Tuesday over whether a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was too high on marijuana to have deliberately lied to investigators about his role in the aftermath of the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Missouri governor forms commission to look at Ferguson unrest

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said Tuesday he was setting up a special commission to examine the social and economic conditions in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson that have fed ongoing race-related protests following the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in August.

U.S. to funnel travelers from Ebola-hit region through five airports

NEW YORK - Travelers to the United States from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea must fly into one of five airports that have enhanced screening in place for the virus, the U.S. government said on Tuesday.

Arizona jury to consider death penalty for murderer Jodi Arias

PHOENIX - An Arizona jury will be sworn in on Tuesday to decide whether 34-year-old convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for the 2008 slaying of Travis Alexander, court officials said.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspends one of its own in porn scandal

HARRISBURG Pa. - The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court late on Monday suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, in connection with an email porn scandal and other allegations of misconduct.

Missouri State Senator arrested by Ferguson police

- A Missouri state senator was arrested on Monday night outside the police department of the embroiled city of Ferguson, authorities said, in another night of protests following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August.

U.S. national security prosecutors shift focus from spies to cyber

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is restructuring its national security prosecution team to deal with cyber attacks and the threat of sensitive technology ending up in the wrong hands, as American business and government agencies face more intrusions.

California mayor resigns after drunk driving arrest

- A southern California mayor who was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving in an accident that injured four teenagers announced his resignation on Monday.

GAO upholds FCi protest against security contract to USIS unit

- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday upheld portions of a protest filed by vetting firm FCi Federal Inc against a $190 million contract awarded to a unit of U.S. Investigative Services LLC (USIS) earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security.

Thirteen high school volleyball players hurt in Missouri bus crash

- Thirteen high school girls on a Missouri volleyball team were injured on Monday when their bus collided with a car on the way to a tournament, the school said.

California man charged with capital murder of Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - A 28-year-old man was charged on Monday with murdering a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found last week alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, Los Angeles prosecutors said.

U.S. Congress examining deal between NSA official, ex-agency chief

WASHINGTON - A Senate committee and an outspoken U.S. Congressman are seeking further information about a deal under which a top National Security Agency official is being permitted to work part-time for a private company run by the spy agency's former director.

NFL, others file lawsuit to block New Jersey sports betting

- The National Football League and other sports leagues filed a lawsuit on Monday in an attempt to block New Jersey from offering legalized wagering on sporting events.

Oregon man said missing after answering Craigslist ad; police probing

- Oregon authorities are looking into the disappearance of a 19-year-old Portland man, police said on Monday, and an advocacy group said he went missing after he responded to a Craigslist job ad posted by a couple seeking a caregiver.

Plan to overhaul New York airports takes step forward

NEW YORK - A long-awaited overhaul of New York's LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports moved a step closer to reality on Monday when the state and federal governments touted a sweeping plan to make over two of the busiest U.S. travel hubs.

U.S. airlines raise fares by $2 on average

- Major U.S. airlines have raised domestic one-way fares by $2 on average since Thursday, marking the first industry wide increase in half a year.

Idaho pastors opposed to gay marriage sue city over law

SALMON Idaho - Two pastors in Idaho, who fear they could be penalized for refusing to perform newly legal gay marriages at their private wedding chapel, have filed a lawsuit, saying an Idaho anti-discrimination law violates their right to free speech and religious liberty.

Woman in outrigger canoe attacked by shark off California coast

LOS ANGELES - A woman who was attacked by a 6-foot (1.8-meter) shark in her outrigger canoe off the California coast over the weekend managed to escape unharmed and paddle safely back to shore, the local harbor patrol said on Monday.

Seattle police officers' challenge to use-of-force policy dismissed

SEATTLE - A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by Seattle police officers challenging new rules restricting the department's use of force, which they claimed could endanger both them and civilians.

U.S. issues new protocols for treating Ebola patients

DALLAS - The United States issued stringent new protocols on Monday for health workers treating Ebola victims, directing medical teams to wear protective gear that leaves no skin or hair exposed when caring for patients infected with the virus.

California man charged with murder of Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - A 28-year-old man was charged on Monday with murdering a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found last week alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, authorities said.

Obama praises Supreme Court stance on gay marriage: magazine

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said the U.S. Supreme Court's recent move to uphold lower-court rulings allowing gay marriage in several states may be its most significant decision during his time in office, he told the New Yorker magazine in comments published on Monday.

Blood sample tests negative for Pennsylvania police ambush suspect

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - Blood drops found by a homeowner in northeastern Pennsylvania, where police have spent five weeks searching for a sniper who killed a state trooper and wounded another, have tested negative for the main suspect in the case, police said on Monday.

New York man hired to assist suicide sentenced to 12 years

NEW YORK - A New York man convicted of helping a debt-ridden motivational speaker commit suicide to make the death look like a robbery was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday, prosecutors said.

Colorado health officials recommend banning most pot confections

DENVER - Pot-infused brownies, candies and other confections that are “naturally attractive to children” should be banned, according to recommendations on Monday by Colorado health officials to a task force charged with drafting rules on marijuana edibles.

Wyoming attorney general says gay marriages can begin on Tuesday

- Gay marriages can begin in Wyoming on Tuesday after the state files a formal notice that it will not appeal a judge's order overturning a ban on same-sex matrimony, the state's attorney general said on Monday.

U.N. officials tour Detroit to assess impact of water shutoffs

DETROIT - Two United Nations human rights officials on Monday began touring Detroit to assess the impact of widespread water disconnections on residents in an effort by city officials to shore up some $90 million in overdue bills.

California woman gets stuck in chimney trying to sneak into home

LOS ANGELES - A California woman who tried to sneak into a house through the chimney got stuck and had to be rescued by firefighters, who used dish soap to help extricate the soot-covered intruder, authorities said on Monday.

Daughter of Larry Flynt in critical condition after car crash

CLEVELAND - The adult daughter of Hustler Magazine founder and free-speech activist Larry Flynt was in critical condition in a Ohio hospital on Monday after a car accident last week left her pinned beneath a vehicle, police said.

Supreme Court agrees to decide gun ownership case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether a Florida man convicted on drug charges and forced to give up his firearms under federal law could sell the guns or transfer ownership to his wife or a friend.

Missing plane, pilot remains, found in central Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - A man walking in deep woods in central Florida late Sunday found the wreckage of a small plane that disappeared shortly after takeoff April 5, as well as the remains of what is believed to be the pilot, authorities said.

Saudi inmate to stay at Guantanamo, another cleared for transfer

WASHINGTON - A Saudi inmate with links to al Qaeda will remain at the Guantanamo Bay prison and a second Saudi man has been cleared for transfer home, a U.S. national security panel said on Monday.

Virginia police in missing student case search near where remains found

RICHMOND Va. - Authorities searched for clues on Monday across a wide area near where human remains, possibly those of a missing University of Virginia student, were found over the weekend.

Indiana police say more victims possible after seven bodies found

HAMMOND Ind. - Police in northwestern Indiana said on Monday they could be dealing with a serial killer with victims going back as far as 20 years after a man suspected in one woman's murder led them to six more bodies over the weekend.

U.S. top court declines Duane Reade executives' appeals

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear two former senior Duane Reade Inc[OKHLPD.UL] executives' appeals of their 2010 securities fraud convictions for inflating earnings at the New York drugstore chain.

Supreme Court to decide police access to hotel guest registries

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether hotel operators have grounds to challenge a Los Angeles city ordinance that allows police to view guest registries, a power that local officials say helps them investigate crimes including prostitution.

Ebola fear ends for dozens on U.S. watch lists

DALLAS - Weeks of worry about Ebola infection ended for dozens of people who came off watch lists in the United States on Monday, but scores were still being monitored after potential exposure to the virus, Texas health officials said.

Benghazi attack suspect Khatallah pleads not guilty to 17 new charges

WASHINGTON - Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militant accused of participating in the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya pleaded not guilty on Monday to 17 new charges related to the attack, including some that carry the death penalty.

Judge to rule on Detroit bankruptcy plan in early November

DETROIT - A U.S. judge said on Monday he would rule during the week of Nov. 3 on Detroit's plan to adjust its debts and exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber due in court Monday

BOSTON - Federal prosecutors and attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber are scheduled to meet in court on Monday to discuss defense requests to throw out evidence and other plans for his trial due to start in January.Prosecutors contend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, killed three people and injured more than 260 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.They also say he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, k

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early

UPPER MARLBORO Md. - President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, though the event was marred somewhat by early departures of crowd members and a yelling heckler.

Two arrested in death of Saudi student in California: report

- Two people have been arrested in the death of a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

U.S. Ebola czar seeks to reverse government mistakes, step up response

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON - U.S. Ebola czar Ron Klain faces a hefty to-do list when he begins his new role: soothe Americans' jitters about the virus, fix federal coordination with states, and restore a sense of control over the crisis that the White House had lost.

U.S. Marines tap female executives for advice on growing women in ranks

WASHINGTON - Last spring, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos did not even know who Sheryl Sandberg was.

Hurricane Ana stays well south of Hawaii

- Hurricane Ana stayed on a slow course south of Hawaii on Sunday, well off shore but spinning off threats of heavy rains, strong winds and high surf to the Pacific archipelago, the National Weather Service said.

Ebola victim's Texas fiance expresses gratitude, sorrow

- The fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died of Ebola in Dallas earlier this month, said on Sunday she was grateful to be leaving quarantine without any signs of the disease that killed the man she was to marry, but saddened by the toll the virus has taken.

Man arrested in Indiana killing leads police to three more bodies

- A man arrested in connection with the strangulation death of a woman at an Indiana motel directed police to locations where the bodies of three other women were found, authorities said on Sunday.

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early

UPPER MARLBORO Md. - President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.

Toddler beaten and choked to death for soiling pants: police

- A man accused in the death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter was being held in a New York City hospital on Sunday after police found him in an apartment with self-inflicted stab wounds, authorities said.

'Water cops' seek sprinkler scofflaws in drought-parched California

SACRAMENTO Calif. - It was still dark on Kokomo Drive in Sacramento's Natomas district as Paul Brown edged his city-issued Honda Civic past a row of beige stucco houses with tiny front lawns, looking for water wasters.

Five coaches suspended at NJ school in hazing scandal: report

- A New Jersey high school embroiled in a hazing case that has led to sexual abuse charges has suspended five football coaches, local media reported on Sunday.

Dozens hurt in riots near New Hampshire pumpkin festival

- More than two dozen people were treated at a New Hampshire hospital for injuries resulting from rioting that erupted near the site of an annual pumpkin festival in Keene, a hospital official said on Sunday.

U.S. hospitals gird for Ebola panic as flu season looms

NEW YORK - A young woman complaining of abdominal pain and nausea who had traveled to Africa arrived at a Long Island hospital fearful that she had contracted Ebola. She did not have the virus, but the pregnancy test was positive.

Texas lab worker tests negative for Ebola after cruise in isolation

GALVESTON Texas - A Dallas hospital lab worker who spent much of a cruise holiday in isolation after possible exposure to Ebola, has tested negative for the disease, Carnival Cruise Lines said on Sunday.

Dallas officials urge calm in city on edge over Ebola

DALLAS - Texas officials are still working to contain the public's fear of Ebola even as dozens of people who may have had contact with a Liberian man who died from the virus are soon expected to be released from a 21-day monitoring period.

New York toddler beaten to death, mother's boyfriend in custody

NEW YORK - A 20-year-old New York City man was in police custody on Sunday in connection with the fatal beating of his girlfriend's toddler daughter at a city homeless shelter, police said.

Americans 'can't give in to hysteria or fear' over Ebola: Obama

WASHINGTON - With three cases of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and more than 100 people being monitored in case they are infected, President Barack Obama said Saturday that Americans "can't give in to hysteria or fear" about the spread of the virus.

Human remains found in search for missing Virginia student

RICHMOND Va. - Searchers looking for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham found human remains at an abandoned property in a rural area on Saturday, five weeks after she was last seen in the university town of Charlottesville, police said.

Sick woman at Dallas train station not on Ebola watchlist: official

- A Dallas bus and train station was closed on Saturday after a report that a woman fell ill at the facility, but the transit authority denied an earlier report that the woman had been on a watchlist for possible exposure to Ebola.

Pennsylvania ambush suspect spotted carrying gun, police say

MOUNTAINHOME Pa. - The survivalist charged with murdering a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another was spotted near his old high school carrying a rifle and with mud smeared on his face, police said on Saturday, five weeks after a manhunt for the suspect began.

Prosecutors rule out sons of NJ hospital CEO as suspects in arson death

- Prosecutors say they have ruled out as arson suspects the four sons of a New Jersey hospital chief executive found dead in a house fire last month, but the investigation is still underway.

Human remains found in search for missing Virginia student

RICHMOND Va. - Human remains were found at an abandoned property on Saturday in the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, but the remains have not been identified, police said.

Hurricane Ana, brushing past Hawaii, to bring strong rain, surf

- A hurricane churning past Hawaii will bring heavy rain, strong winds and severe surf conditions to the Pacific archipelago through the weekend but will not make a direct hit on the islands, the National Weather Service predicted on Saturday.

Missouri officer says he feared for life before shooting unarmed teen: report

- A white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Missouri in August told investigators he was in fear for his life after the young man grabbed at his gun, which was discharged twice in his patrol car, the New York Times reported.

U.S. bans Hungarians from entry over corruption charges

BUDAPEST - The United States has banned several Hungarian citizens from entry and alleged that they were engaged in or benefiting from corruption, prompting the Hungarian government to call for a show of evidence.

Supreme Court denies request to block Texas voter ID law

- The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday denied a request to block a Texas law requiring voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they cast a ballot.

More young mourners showing love, remembrance with 'RIP' shirts

CHICAGO - At the crowded funeral of 13-year-old Demureye' Macon, who was shot on a Chicago street, older mourners wore sober suits and dresses in beige and black.

Obama says Ebola travel ban could make things worse

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to avoid hysteria over Ebola, and played down the idea of travel bans from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa, explaining that restrictions could make things worse.

No sign that leprosy at Ohio prison has spread: officials

CLEVELAND - There are no signs that leprosy diagnosed in an Ohio inmate had spread to other prisoners or staff, and there is little risk that it has, prison officials said on Friday.

Trump Atlantic City casino gets court OK to break labor deal

- The bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal casino received court approval on Friday to break its labor agreement, a key condition for a rescue deal with billionaire Carl Icahn, and the union promptly announced a plan to picket the Atlantic City, New Jersey hotel.

Cross-dressing Washington state teen boys barred from high school event

SEATTLE - Two male students have been barred from a Washington state high school's spirit event for dressing like women, sparking a cross-dressing protest that has seen more than a dozen students show up for class posing as the opposite sex, officials and local media said on Friday.

New Jersey revives sports betting after court struck it down

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday revived the state's attempt to allow sports betting, signing legislation that seeks an end run around court decisions blocking legalized wagering on sporting events.

Verizon Wireless outage hits parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan

WASHINGTON - Verizon Wireless customers in New York City experienced a wireless service outage on Friday that affected at least three boroughs, according to website downdetector.com and social media comments.

Black bear consumes body of California man who died of heart attack

- A man who suffered a heart attack and died outside his rural Northern California home had his corpse dragged away and eaten by a black bear that was sheltering nearby, medical officials said on Friday.

Ex-Los Angeles schools chief says resignation came in polarized atmosphere

LOS ANGELES - Former Los Angeles public schools Superintendent John Deasy said on Friday, a day after resigning from his post, that his testimony in a landmark case on tenure rules for teachers created a polarizing atmosphere over his leadership.

Connecticut man in plea deal for carrying assault weapon on campus

MILFORD Conn. - A former University of New Haven student pleaded guilty on Friday to charges stemming from an incident that triggered fears of another Connecticut school massacre in the style of the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings.

San Diego college students get antibiotics after one dies of meningitis

SAN DIEGO - Free antibiotics have been given out to more than 400 San Diego State University students potentially exposed to bacterial meningitis from a campus sorority member who died of the disease early on Friday, campus and public health officials said.

Five report sexual assaults at University of California Berkeley fraternity

- Five people have reported that they were given a date-rape drug and sexually assaulted at an off-campus fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley, school police said on Friday.

Kentucky police say boy remains in hospital after sexual assault

- A Kentucky teenager remains hospitalized but his condition is improving after he was sodomized by a group of male acquaintances at a party, an attack that was captured on cell phone video, police said on Friday.

Courts knock down gay marriage bans in Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming

PHOENIX - Barriers to gay marriage fell in Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming on Friday following a series of federal court actions in the latest in a series of legal victories for supporters of same-sex matrimony in America.

Skimpy weapons video involving servicemen investigated in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Images of gun-toting women wearing camouflage bikinis and riding in a tank at a Utah target range have prompted an investigation into whether National Guard and state police gear and uniforms were improperly used in the photo shoot, officials said Friday.

California police identify remains of missing Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - Police said on Friday they had identified the remains of a man found alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city as those of a college student from Saudi Arabia who went missing in September.

California fraud defendant charged with plotting to kill witnesses

SAN FRANCISCO - A California man awaiting trial for insurance fraud and other charges was indicted for plotting with other inmates to kill nine witnesses set to testify against him, prosecutors said on Friday.

Obama names Ebola 'czar,' bolsters Texas response

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as Ebola "czar" on Friday and named officials to bolster the response to the disease in Texas, the center of U.S. Ebola cases, as the death toll in three West African nations topped 4,500.

GMO labeling foes spend big on campaigns in Oregon, Colorado

- Opponents of GMO food labeling proposals on the ballot next month in Oregon and Colorado have contributed roughly $20 million for campaigning against the proposed laws, nearly triple the money raised by supporters of the initiatives, campaign finance reports show.

Two fez-wearing Detroit drug dealers get life in prison

- Two Detroit drug dealers, who were known for wearing fezzes in court and who sparked a national manhunt when they fled the area last spring, were sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

New York City jail violence rises despite more spending: report

NEW YORK - Violence has increased in New York City's jail system over the past seven years even as the city has spent more money to deal with a steadily declining inmate population, the city's comptroller said in an analysis released on Friday.

Supreme Court allows gay marriage in Alaska

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday allowed gay marriage in Alaska to go into effect, increasing the number of U.S. states that permit gay marriage to 31.

Florida man kills two children, himself after arguing with wife: police

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida father shot his three children, killing two, before fatally shooting himself early on Friday following a fight with his wife, law-enforcement officials said.

Obama names former adviser to coordinate U.S. Ebola response

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has asked former White House adviser Ron Klain to coordinate U.S. efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, an administration official said on Friday, after criticism the government's response to the virus has been slow and inadequate.

Florida man sentenced to life in loud music murder

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 90 years, by a Florida judge on Friday for killing an unarmed black teenager in an argument over loud rap music.

Federal judge strikes down Arizona's ban on gay marriage

PHOENIX - A federal judge has struck down Arizona's ban on gay marriage, declaring it unconstitutional in a move that marks the latest in a series of victories for supporters of same-sex marriage in America, court papers showed on Friday.

NJ man sentenced to 45 years for holding family in 'den of horrors'

- A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for imprisoning and sexually abusing his daughter and stepdaughter in a home that one victim described as "hell," authorities said.

Fourth U.S. traffic death linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT/ORLANDO - A fourth traffic death in a Honda Motor Co car has been linked to a defective air bag made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp, according to a county medical examiner in Florida.

Lawyers of friend of accused Boston bomber continue stoned defense

BOSTON - Attorneys for a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators are due back in court on Friday to continue their defense that the 21-year-old man was too high on marijuana to remember his actions.

Treat or nasty trick? Denver police warn of pot-tainted candy

DENVER - The two almost identical gummy bears sitting side by side, coated in sugar and tinged with the same red hue, may end up in a trick-or-treat bag, but only one is plain candy. The other is loaded with marijuana.

Texas health worker isolated on cruise ship, deemed low risk for Ebola

- A Texas health worker who may have had contact with specimens from the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has been isolated on a cruise ship, but is showing no symptoms of the disease, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Texas health worker isolated on cruise ship over possible Ebola contact

- A Texas health worker who may have had contact with specimens from the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has been isolated on a cruise ship despite showing no symptoms of the disease, the Department of State said on Friday.

Biden's son discharged from U.S. Navy reserve after drug test: sources

WASHINGTON - The son of Vice President Joe Biden was discharged from the U.S. Navy reserve earlier this year after testing positive for cocaine, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Amazon expands grocery delivery service to Brooklyn

SAN FRANCISCO - Amazon.com Inc is expanding its online grocery delivery program to Brooklyn's well-heeled Park Slope neighborhood on Friday, giving the No. 1 U.S. online retailer a foothold in one of the wealthiest and densest markets in the United States.

Hurricane Gonzalo regains strength on way to Bermuda

HAMILTON Bermuda - One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to menace Bermuda regained strength as it swirled toward the Atlantic island on Thursday, forecasters said, sending residents scrambling to prepare for the second major storm in a week.

At least 113 staffers at U.S. Fed earn more than Yellen

WASHINGTON - The top 113 earners among staff at the Federal Reserve's Washington headquarters make an average of $246,506 per year, excluding bonuses and other benefits - more than Fed Chair Janet Yellen and nearly double the normal top government rate.

Third traffic death in U.S. linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT - A fatal accident near Los Angeles last year of a 2002 Acura sedan involved a Takata Corp air bag, the third death in the United States linked to a defective safety component made by the Japanese supplier, according to local officials and the automaker.

Pennsylvania legislature passes bill to limit inmate public statements

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday sent to Governor Tom Corbett a bill that allows crime victims to sue to prevent inmates from making public statements that cause “mental anguish.”

Poll shows Florida medical marijuana drive falling short

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A new poll shows a Florida ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana falling short of the votes needed to pass, with even supporters acknowledging on Thursday that they were struggling in the face of well-funded conservative opposition.

Crystal meth-making chemistry teacher lives Portland's own 'Breaking Bad'

PORTLAND Ore. - A Portland, Oregon, chemistry teacher has been arrested and charged with making methamphetamine in a case drawing comparisons on social media on Thursday to television's gritty drug saga "Breaking Bad."

Obama approves reservists for Ebola fight, government under fire

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama authorized calling up military reservists for the U.S. fight against Ebola in West Africa on Thursday, as lawmakers criticized his administration's efforts to contain the disease at home.

Accused White House fence jumper faces more charges

WASHINGTON - An Iraq war veteran accused of running inside the White House armed with a knife faces more charges under a federal grand jury indictment returned on Thursday.

Florida high court says police need warrants to track cellphones

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police must get warrants to track criminal suspects by monitoring their cellphone location signals.

Obama approves reservists for Ebola fight, government under fire

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama authorized calling up military reservists for the U.S. fight against Ebola in West Africa on Thursday, as lawmakers criticized his administration's efforts to contain the disease at home.

U.S. court dismisses $200 million suit in West Virginia fatal police shooting

- A U.S. federal court has dismissed a $200 million civil lawsuit filed by the family of a man being treated for schizophrenia who was shot 23 times by police in West Virginia, drawing criticism from the local chapter of a national civil rights group.

Man threatening to jump off New York building shuts down street

NEW YORK - New York City police on Thursday afternoon were attempting to stop a man from jumping off of a building towering above a busy stretch of Times Square.

New York judge finds Donald Trump liable for unlicensed school

NEW YORK - Donald Trump is personally liable for operating a for-profit investment school without the required license, a New York judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General against the real estate entrepreneur.

California executive gets prison for selling 'knock-off' Navy warship batteries

- The former owner of a Los Angeles-area battery distributor has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for selling over $2.7 million in "knock-off" emergency batteries used on numerous U.S. Navy vessels, officials said on Thursday.

Third traffic death in U.S. linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT - A fatal accident near Los Angeles last year of a 2002 Acura sedan involved a Takata Corp air bag, the third death in the United States linked to a defective safety component made by the Japanese supplier, according to local officials and the automaker.

Alaska asks U.S. top court to block gay marriage

WASHINGTON - Officials in Alaska on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block gay marriage in the state.

Americans say avoiding international air travel over Ebola outbreak: Reuters/Ipsos poll

LOS ANGELES - Nearly half of Americans are so concerned about the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa and infected two U.S. nurses who treated a Liberian Ebola victim in Texas that they are avoiding international air travel, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.

U.S. transportation security chief to retire: Homeland Security

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration will retire after four and a half years leading the 60,000-employee agency, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.

U.S. FBI director warns that new phone encryption could thwart probes

WASHINGTON - U.S. FBI Director James Comey on Thursday made his strongest comments yet about encryption features built into new cell phones by Google Inc and Apple Inc, warning they could hurt law enforcement efforts to crack homicide and child exploitation cases.

Most New York rentals on Airbnb illegal, attorney general says

NEW YORK - Nearly three-quarters of the New York City listings of private homes for rent on Airbnb, a popular online marketplace, violate state zoning and sublet laws, the state's attorney general said on Thursday.

Community college in Los Angeles evacuated over threat

LOS ANGELES - A community college in Los Angeles was evacuated on Thursday and students were told to avoid the campus due to a threat made on social media that someone would show up with a gun, a message on the college's Facebook page said.

New York metal shop owner gets prison for copying Jasper Johns art

NEW YORK - A New York metal shop owner was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on Thursday for trying to pass off a sculpture he made as a Jasper Johns creation, as well as other inauthentic artwork.

Seven in Ohio confirm contact with nurse Ebola patient, in quarantine

CLEVELAND - Seven people who had confirmed contact with the second Texas nurse diagnosed with Ebola during her visit to Ohio over the weekend are in voluntary quarantine and have not shown symptoms of the virus, county public health officials said on Thursday.

Tennessee man in jail after beheading threats, ISIS membership claim

NASHVILLE - A Tennessee man was in custody on Thursday and facing criminal charges after claiming to be a member of ISIS and threatening to behead his neighbors and burn down their homes, police said.

White House declines comment on stock market but notes economic weakness abroad

WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday declined comment on a recent dip by the U.S. stock market but noted that a variety of countries abroad have experienced economic weakness abroad.

Exclusive: U.S. farmers seen cutting fertilizer use as crop prices slide

- U.S. farmers are cutting back on spreading fertilizer this autumn in response to a drop in crop prices to multi-year lows and a delayed harvest, dealers say, warning of a pullback that will be felt from grain markets to Canadian potash mines.

More than 30 hurt, 5 critically, in Arkansas train crash: officials

LITTLE ROCK - More than 30 people were hurt, five of them critically, when a freight train and a passenger train collided in northwest Arkansas on Thursday, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said.

Man arrested after shooting police targets in three Washington state cities

SEATTLE - A man suspected of firing on police stations and squad cars in a shooting spree across three Washington state cities north of Seattle was arrested after a gunfight with police and hospitalized with injuries, county law enforcement authorities said on Thursday.

Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy resigns

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles schools superintendent John Deasy, embroiled in controversy over the district's $1.3 billion iPad rollout and other issues, tendered his resignation on Thursday, Deasy and school board officials said in a joint statement.

Ohio 19-year-old gets death penalty in killing of teen

- A judge in Ohio on Thursday handed down the death penalty to Austin Myers for his role in the killing of an 18-year-old man, making the 19-year-old convict the youngest person on the state's death row.

Detroit, FGIC deal resolves pension debt, includes development

DETROIT - A settlement between Detroit and its last major hold-out creditor, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co, resolves all issues involving the city's outstanding pension debt, an attorney for the city said on Thursday.

Hurricane Gonzalo regains strength on way to Bermuda

- Hurricane Gonzalo regained strength on Thursday, again reaching Category 4, as it swirled towards Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Defense continues in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - Attorneys for a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators are due back in court on Thursday to continue their defense of the 21-year-old man.

Second Texas nurse with Ebola receiving care at Atlanta hospital

DALLAS - The second nurse to contract Ebola in the United States was being treated at an Atlanta hospital Thursday, as news she had traveled by plane while symptomatic heightened concern over the spread of the virus and sparked reactions in Washington and on Wall Street.

Extreme measures: U.S. hospitals take on Ebola, but at what risk?

CHICAGO - The infection of two U.S. healthcare workers who cared for a dying Ebola patient in Dallas is challenging assumptions about how to protect Western medical workers who perform advanced, life-saving procedures that may increase their risk of exposure.

Los Angeles school district head expected to step down: LA Times

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles schools superintendent is expected to resign after reaching a departure agreement with the school board, the Los Angeles Times reported, after problems dogged the rollout of a landmark program to provide iPads to students.

U.S. Senator's son among four charged in Arizona dog deaths

PHOENIX - The owners of a suburban Phoenix dog-boarding kennel and two caretakers, one of them the son of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, were indicted on animal cruelty charges on Wednesday after the deaths of 21 dogs at the facility in June, county prosecutors said.

Health officials probing death of Arizona boy for possible enterovirus

PHOENIX - Health officials are investigating whether a potent virus that has infected hundreds of children nationwide killed a six-year-old boy in Arizona, officials said on Wednesday, adding that it would take more than a week to get an answer.

Second sanity exam of accused Colorado cinema gunman completed

DENVER - The sealed results of a second sanity examination of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes, which could determine if the long-delayed trial will begin this year, were submitted on Wednesday, a court document shows.

White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response

WASHINGTON - Rising public anxiety about the Ebola virus has forced the White House to shift into crisis mode and cancel two days of planned political events as President Barack Obama strives to show he has control over stopping the spread of the deadly disease.

U.S. appeals court strikes down Arizona bail law for immigrants

- A federal appeals court struck down an Arizona law on Wednesday that denied bail to some immigrants who are in the United States illegally and charged with serious felonies, saying it violated constitutional due process protections.

New York makes yogurt official state snack

NEW YORK - Yogurt became New York's official state snack on Wednesday, joining the likes of popcorn and salty boiled peanuts among popular foods honored by U.S. states.

'Praying for justice': Detroit residents speak up in historic bankruptcy

DETROIT - Ordinary Detroit residents sounded off with passion and anger on Wednesday as they gave a federal judge their views on the city's plan to exit its historic municipal bankruptcy.

Hawaii man accused of attempted sex assault aboard jetliner

- A Hawaii man has been charged with attempting to sexually assault a woman in the lavatory of a Japan Airlines jet before he was subdued by crew and fellow passengers who pulled the door from its hinges to reach him, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Libyan al Qaeda suspect seeks to toss statements in U.S. case

NEW YORK - Suspected al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby told a U.S. judge on Wednesday that statements he made to U.S. interrogators should not be allowed at trial because he felt he had no choice but to talk.

Minnesota ex-nurse gets jail term for assisting suicide

MINNEAPOLIS - A former nurse in Minnesota was ordered on Wednesday to serve about six months in jail for assisting in a British man's suicide and trying to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman who died after jumping into a river.

California air tanker that crashed went down after striking tree

LOS ANGELES - A California firefighting plane that crashed while battling a wildlands blaze near Yosemite National park this month is believed to have gone down after its wing struck a tree and broke off, the results of an investigation showed on Wednesday.

Colombian drug boss pleads guilty to U.S. conspiracy charge

- A Colombian drug lord known as "Papa Grande," deported from Venezuela in 2010 to face U.S. charges, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to traffic cocaine into the United States.

Oklahoma teenager killed family over money, authorities say

OKLAHOMA CITY - A teenager has told investigators he killed his parents and his 17-year-old sister in their southern Oklahoma home in a dispute over money and in hopes he would get the family inheritance, authorities said on Wednesday.

Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down state's voter ID law

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a state law requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot, saying the measure ran counter to the state's constitution.

Top U.S. Marine says F-35s July due date still 'doable'

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Marine Corps said on Wednesday it is sticking to a July 2015 target to declare an initial squadron of 10 new Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets ready for combat use, but said it would not be devastated if the date slipped to August.

Golf course sued over property damage from California wildfire

SAN DIEGO - About a dozen Southern California residents whose property or possessions were destroyed in a wildfire earlier this year have sued a neighboring golf course they blame for triggering the blaze through the neglect of fire hazards at the resort.

Prominent Washington rabbi pleads not guilty to voyeurism charge

WASHINGTON - A prominent Washington rabbi who police allege installed a video camera in a ritual bathing area pleaded not guilty to a voyeurism charge on Wednesday, according to court documents.

Student athlete accused of rape in Washington quits team

SEATTLE - A Washington state high school student, who had caused outrage when he was charged with rape but allowed to continue playing football, has quit the team, school officials said on Wednesday.

Grand Ole Opry star's killer paroled after 41 years in prison

NASHVILLE - John Brown, one of the two men convicted in the murders of Grand Ole Opry and "Hee Haw" star David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife, will be released from prison after serving 41 years, officials said on Wednesday.

California man dies, mother in critical condition after mauling by pit bulls

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A California man has died and his mother is in critical condition after they were mauled by pit bulls, authorities said on Wednesday.

California atheist jailed over objections to faith-based recovery gets $2 million settlement

LOS ANGELES - A California atheist convicted of drug possession who was found in violation of his parole and sent back to prison after he objected to a treatment program centered on belief in a higher power has won a nearly $2 million legal settlement, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Chicago guns and bullets to be melted down, made into jewelry

CHICAGO - Guns and bullets seized from Chicago-area crimes will be melted down and turned into jewelry by a company that pledges to give part of the profit to at-risk children, company and government officials said on Wednesday.

Florida governors debate marred by trivial live TV squabble over fan

MIAMI - Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist don't agree on much, not even a podium cooling fan that delayed the start of the second televised debates between the two candidates on Wednesday evening.

Court orders American Indian casino in California to stay closed after standoff

LOS ANGELES - A federal court on Wednesday ordered an American Indian casino in California to remain closed over public safety concerns tied to an armed standoff that occurred last week between two tribal factions at the establishment, officials said.

U.S. health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever

DALLAS - A second Texas nurse who has contracted Ebola told a U.S. health official she had a slight fever and was allowed to board a plane from Ohio to Texas, a federal source said on Wednesday, intensifying concerns about the U.S. response to the deadly virus.

Appeals court temporarily blocks gay marriage in Alaska

- A federal appeals court on Wednesday put gay marriage temporarily on hold in Alaska so the state can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over a judge's decision overturning its ban on same-sex matrimony.

Pot business conference draws hundreds, hoping U.S. will legalize

NEW YORK - Marijuana is illegal under federal law in the United States, but more than 300 attendees paid $500 each to attend the Cannabis Business Expo at a high-end hotel in Manhattan's Times Square, hoping to profit if it becomes legal by the end of the decade.

Man shot by police after attacking passengers on Connecticut bus

NORWALK Conn. - A man wielding a box cutter who attacked passengers on a tour bus headed to a Connecticut casino has died after being shot by a state trooper, officials said on Wednesday.

Time Warner to launch HBO as streaming broadband service

NEW YORK - Time Warner Inc's HBO will launch a standalone online streaming service next year to make hit shows such as "Game of Thrones" available to people who do not subscribe to cable television.

Indian citizen to be executed for Pennsylvania murders

PHILADELPHIA - An Indian national convicted of killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother in a kidnapping for ransom gone awry has been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania.

NYC prosecutor asks judge to quash decades-old murder convictions

NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor will ask a judge on Wednesday to vacate 28-year-old murder convictions against two men, saying the convictions were based solely on confessions his office believes were false.

Severe storm rattles Washington amid brief tornado warning

WASHINGTON - A tornado warning briefly rattled the U.S. capital on Wednesday as a severe storm swept through the Washington area.

Lawmaker in shootout with robber near Pennsylvania Capitol

HARRISBURG Pa. - A Pennsylvania legislator exchanged gunfire with a would-be robber who tried to mug him and another lawmaker near the statehouse, and four teenagers were arrested on Wednesday and charged with attempted homicide and other offenses.

California school district settles transgender discrimination complaint

- A southern California school district settled a claim with the federal government that alleged the district discriminated against a transgender student, officials said on Tuesday.

California man indicted for fatal stabbing of parents, sons, dog

- A California man was indicted for fatally stabbing his parents, his two young sons and the family's dog, authorities said on Tuesday, in killings the man said were his "destiny".

FBI agent to testify in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - An agent with the FBI is due to take the witness stand on Wednesday in the trial of a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

New apps for U.S. renters may keep lax landlords in line

NEW YORK - When Tom Hunter and his two roommates were left without heat for more than a month by a negligent landlord in New York, they began toying with an idea: an app that could help renters keep landlords in check.

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.

Second Texas healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola

DALLAS - A second Texas healthcare worker who treated the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services said on Wednesday.

American killed by camel at Mexico beach resort

MEXICO CITY - A 60-year-old American was killed by a camel which escaped from its pen and attacked him at a wildlife center he owned in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum, local emergency services said on Tuesday.

Anti-abortion display OK'd for Independence Mall in Philadelphia

HARRISBURG Pa - An anti-abortion group has secured a permit to erect a video screen near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a popular destination for young schoolchildren, to show images of aborted fetuses this week, the U.S. National Park Service said on Tuesday.

U.S. national shot dead in Saudi capital Riyadh

RIYADH - A gunman killed a U.S. national and wounded another in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday, officials said, heightening Western concerns over security in the world's top oil exporter as regional unrest rises.

Trial begins for Detroit-area businessman accused in wife's murder

DETROIT - A suburban Detroit businessman accused of hiring his handyman to kill his wife tried to point blame away from himself after her body was discovered, telling police she may have gone to a bad neighborhood to buy drugs, prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday.

Ohio inmate charged with rapes days before scheduled release

CLEVELAND - An Ohio inmate due for release in days has been charged with raping five women in the mid 1990s based on tests performed on a backlog of thousands of rape evidence kits submitted by law enforcement, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania mother jailed in abuse case allowed home with children

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania woman sentenced to jail for mistreating her adopted children will be allowed to go home six days a week to care for her biological children when she starts her sentence this month.

Two park rangers stabbed on Boston Common

- Two Boston city park rangers were stabbed on Tuesday on the Boston Common, and one suffered life-threatening injuries, a police spokesman said.

Five Ohio teenagers charged in fake ALS bucket attack

CLEVELAND - Five Ohio teenagers were charged on Tuesday with dumping a bucket containing urine, tobacco and spit over the head of a boy with autism who thought he was participating in the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge," a county prosecutor said.

Probe of Bergdahl capture by Taliban complete, under Army review

WASHINGTON - An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the capture of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl by Taliban militants in Afghanistan has been completed, but it is unclear when the military will finish its report, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Idaho governor says he will not appeal gay marriage ruling

- Idaho's Republican governor said on Tuesday he would not challenge a federal appeals court ruling that made gay marriage legal in the state, removing any remaining uncertainty over the future for same-sex couples.

Prominent Washington rabbi arrested for voyeurism

WASHINGTON - A prominent Washington rabbi whose congregation includes leading political figures was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of voyeurism, police said.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law that abortion rights groups said would have forced all but a handful of clinics to shut down in the state of 26 million people.

Police say tests show teen shot by St. Louis officer had gun residue on hands

St. Louis - A black teenager fatally shot last week in St. Louis by an off-duty police officer had gunshot residue on his hands, jeans and T-shirt, according to crime lab results released on Tuesday after four days of protests in the city against police violence.

Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law that abortion rights groups said would have forced all but a handful of clinics to shut down in the state of 26 million people.

Family of homeless preacher awarded $4.6 million in Denver jail death

DENVER - The family of a homeless street preacher who died in a Denver county jail was awarded $4.6 million on Tuesday by a federal jury who found five sheriff's deputies used excessive force to subdue the U.S. Army veteran.

U.S. sets up rapid-response Ebola team; Dallas nurse improves

DALLAS - The United States is establishing a rapid-response team to help hospitals "within hours" whenever there is a case of Ebola, the top doctor leading the fight against the deadly virus said on Tuesday.

Feminist blogger Sarkeesian cancels Utah speech after threat

- A Canadian-American feminist, media critic and blogger has canceled a speech she was due to give at Utah State University after an email threat was sent to the school, the university said late on Tuesday.

Kansas City diocese to settle sex abuse claims for $9.95 million

- The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has agreed to pay $9.95 million to settle all outstanding sexual abuse claims against its priests in a bid to close a long-running scandal.

Gonzalo becomes major hurricane over open Atlantic waters

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico - Hurricane Gonzalo strengthened to become a major Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday as it moved away from the northern Caribbean and headed toward Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Massachusetts college evacuated after bomb threat

- A Massachusetts college was evacuated on Tuesday night following an emailed bomb threat, the school said.

Exclusive: U.S. pork group counters antibiotics report with online campaign

CHICAGO - A leading U.S. pork association will use an online marketing campaign to counter a critical television documentary on antibiotics use in livestock, pointing consumers to industry-funded websites that defend the practice, according to an association email.

Oklahoma newspaper publisher, wife, daughter found dead in family home

OKLAHOMA CITY - The publisher of a newspaper in a small Oklahoma city, his wife and their 17-year-old daughter were found dead inside their home on Monday and the local prosecutor is treating their deaths as homicides, according to police and newspapers.

Dallas Cowboys running back Randle arrested for shoplifting

HOUSTON - Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested and charged with shoplifting from a department store, police in the Dallas suburb of Frisco said on Tuesday.

$1 million bail set for Massachusetts woman found living with dead babies

UXBRIDGE Mass. - A Massachusetts judge on Tuesday ordered a 31-year-old woman found living last month with the bodies of three dead infants in a rodent-infested house held on $1 million cash bail.The woman, Erika Murray, was arrested last month and charged with fetal death concealment, witness intimidation and animal cruelty after state officials removed four living children, ranging in age from 3 months to 13 years, from the house where they had been living in Blackstone, Massachusett

Supreme Court leaves California foie gras ban intact

WASHINGTON - In a victory for animal rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed California to continue to ban foie gras, a delicacy produced from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn.

Hazmat crews at scene of crude spill in Louisiana: report

- A crude oil spill at Mooringsport village in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, led to the evacuation of at least one family, according to a report on KSLA television website.

Family that lived with Texas Ebola victim showing no symptoms: mayor

WASHINGTON - The family who shared an apartment with a Liberian man who died of Ebola in Texas is showing no signs of illness, while the dog of a nurse who contracted the deadly virus is healthy and being cared for, Dallas's mayor said on Tuesday.

Judge rules AriZona iced tea co-founder, son owed $1 billion for buyout

NEW YORK - A New York state judge ruled on Tuesday the privately held producer of AriZona iced tea should pay about $1 billion to buy out the half of the beverage maker owned by the co-founder and his son.

Roughly half-dozen seriously injured after Indiana tour bus crash

- Roughly a half-dozen people were seriously injured after a double-decker tour bus heading from Atlanta to Chicago crashed outside of Indianapolis early on Tuesday morning, state police said.

Trial of accused Boston bomber's friend turns to text messages

BOSTON - Text messages between the accused Boston Marathon bomber and some of his college friends will be the focus when the criminal trial of a man charged with lying to investigators resumes on Tuesday.

Former Charlotte, N.C., mayor faces sentencing for corruption

CHARLOTTE N.C. - Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is due to be sentenced on Tuesday after admitting to using his public positions in North Carolina's largest city for personal financial gain, including taking at least $50,000 in bribes.

Gunman opens fire at Nevada state office building, wounding one

- One man was shot and wounded on Monday when a gunman opened fire in a state office building in Las Vegas and a 73-year-old man was taken into custody as a suspect, police said.

Chicago software executive shot in July by employee dies: official

- The chief executive of a Chicago software company who was shot and gravely wounded in July by a disgruntled employee died on Monday, a medical examiner's spokesman said.

Minnesota archdiocese settle lawsuit on abuse of minors

MINNEAPOLIS - A lawsuit that forced Roman Catholic officials in Minnesota to release decades of files on clergy accused of child sex abuse has been settled along with agreements on new child protection protocols, church officials and a victim's attorney said Monday.

U.S. needs to rethink Ebola infection controls, says CDC chief

DALLAS - Medical experts need to rethink how highly infectious diseases are handled in the United States, a U.S. health official said on Monday, after a Dallas nurse contracted Ebola despite wearing protective gear while caring for a dying Liberian patient.

Alaska gay couples apply for marriage licenses after judge drops ban

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaska officials began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples on Monday, even as the state sought to appeal a weekend ruling by a federal judge that struck down the state ban's on same-sex nuptials.

Police arrest at least 50 protesting shootings of blacks in St. Louis area

FERGUSON Mo. - More than 50 people were arrested in a series of peaceful rolling protests in the St. Louis area on Monday, staged to draw attention to police violence more than two months after a white officer killed an unarmed black teenager in a local suburb.

Florida asks for state Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage

MIAMI - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi requested on Monday that the state Supreme Court be allowed to decide whether same-sex couples can marry within its jurisdiction.

Hurricane Gonzalo gains strength, nears British Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico - Hurricane Gonzalo picked up power as it churned through the northern Caribbean late on Monday headed for the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Two killed as storms move across southern United States

BIRMINGHAM Al - Two people were killed and at least four were injured on Monday as a strong storm swept across several southern U.S. states, officials said.

California bus driver quarantined after Ebola scare

- A Los Angeles bus driver was quarantined for several hours on Monday after a passenger wearing a surgical mask claimed he had Ebola, a county transportation official said.

American Airlines Boeing makes emergency landing after wall panels come loose

SAN FRANCISCO - An American Airlines Inc plane made an emergency landing in San Francisco on Monday after a number of interior wall panels came loose mid-flight, an airline spokesman said.

Americans face post-foreclosure hell as wages garnished, assets seized

NEW YORK - Many thousands of Americans who lost their homes in the housing bust, but have since begun to rebuild their finances, are suddenly facing a new foreclosure nightmare: debt collectors are chasing them down for the money they still owe by freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their wages and seizing their assets.

FAA Chicago-area air traffic site back in full operations

- Full operation was restored on Monday at a Chicago-area air traffic control site that was shut down in September by a fire allegedly set by a field technician, forcing extensive flight delays and cancellations, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Three believed dead in small plane crash in Chicago suburb

- All three people believed to be aboard a small plane died when it crashed into the only vacant lot on a block of residential homes in a Chicago suburb, authorities said on Monday.

Toddler critically injured in New Hampshire bouncy house accident

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire toddler was hospitalized in critical condition after a gust of wind lifted a bouncy house he was playing in with his brother, authorities said.

U.S. Army says it faces huge equipment, training risks with budget cuts

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army warned on Monday that mandatory budget cuts due to resume in fiscal 2016 would be devastating to a service that is already facing huge risks as it tries to keep forces ready for battle, replace aging equipment and respond to crises around the world.

Alaska gay couples seek marriage licenses after judge dumps ban

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaska officials began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples on Monday, a day after a federal judge ruled the state ban's on such nuptials was unconstitutional in the latest victory for U.S. supporters of same-sex matrimony.

Kroger Co. settles chicken labeling lawsuit, changes packaging

CHICAGO - The Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, said on Monday it will remove the "humanely raised" claims from a store brand of chicken to settle a federal lawsuit claiming the retailer deceived consumers because the animals were raised under standard commercial farming conditions.

Sex abuse case may spell end of football at New Jersey high school

- The superintendent of a New Jersey school district that canceled this year's high school football season amid a hazing case that led to sexual assault charges said on Monday he is considering suspending the program in future years as well. 

Oklahoma attorney general asks for delay in three executions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's attorney general has filed a request to delay three upcoming executions in Oklahoma due to a lack of drugs and to provide more time to implement new lethal injection protocols, according to court documents obtained on Monday.

Suspects aid New Orleans police with photos of selves shot with stolen phone

NEW ORLEANS - A pair of armed-robbery suspects in New Orleans have given police seeking their capture on Monday a helpful clue: pictures of themselves taken with one of their victim's cell phones and uploaded to her storage account.

Parents of Virginia student missing a month plead again for help

- The parents of a University of Virginia student who has been missing for one month on Monday pleaded again for help in finding their daughter.

Californians fork over $533 million more in taxes than expected

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's recovering economy has generated tax revenues that are more than a half-billion dollars above estimates in the past three months, but the state still needs to take care not to overspend, Controller John Chiang said Monday.

Oregon couple to plead not guilty to sex with 16-year-old babysitter

- An Oregon couple is expected to plead not guilty on Monday to charges they repeatedly sexually abused a 16-year-old babysitter after plying her with alcohol and marijuana, then used a cell phone to film the acts, a county prosecutor said.

U.S. needs to rethink Ebola infection controls, says CDC chief

DALLAS - Medical experts need to rethink how highly infectious diseases are handled in the United States, a U.S. health official said on Monday, after a Dallas nurse contracted Ebola despite wearing protective gear while caring for a dying Liberian patient.

CDC sees low Ebola risk in passengers pulled from Dubai flight

BOSTON - Emergency crews in protective gear removed five passengers with flu-like symptoms from a commercial airliner that arrived at Boston's Logan Airport from Dubai on Monday, but U.S. health authorities said the possibility of Ebola was "exceedingly low."

Marchers confront riot police over Missouri shootings, more protests planned

ST. LOUIS Mo. - More than 1,000 protesters shouted slogans at riot police in St Louis in the early hours of Monday near the climax of four days of street rallies and sit-ins over the police shootings of two black 18-year-olds.

Alaska ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional

JUNEAU Alaska - A U.S. federal judge on Sunday ruled that the state of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Gonzalo to strengthen but unlikely to hit U.S. mainland: NHC

- Tropical storm Gonzalo is expected to strengthen while it moves through the Leeward Islands tonight and early Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Sunday.

St. Louis area police arrest at least 17 during weekend of protests

FERGUSON Mo. - Hundreds of civil rights activists and protesters applauded speakers, preachers and poets on Sunday in a an arena in St. Louis, Missouri, capping a weekend of protests against police violence that included 17 arrests earlier in the day.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo forms in Atlantic, heads for Puerto Rico

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed on Sunday in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the Caribbean Islands and was forecast to become a hurricane by the time it reaches Puerto Rico on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

CDC head criticized for blaming 'protocol breach' as nurse gets Ebola

CHICAGO - Some healthcare experts are bristling at the assertion by a top U.S. health official that a “protocol breach” caused a Dallas nurse to be infected with Ebola while caring for a dying patient, saying the case instead shows how far the nation’s hospitals are from adequately training staff to deal with the deadly virus.

Fay downgraded after brushing Bermuda with high winds, rain

HAMILTON Bermuda - Tropical Storm Fay lost strength after briefly reaching a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic on Sunday, sweeping past Bermuda with strong winds, felling trees and knocking out power to thousands in the British territory.

Boston hospital monitoring patient for possible Ebola case

- A man in Massachusetts who recently returned from Liberia is being evaluated at a Boston hospital for a potential case of Ebola after complaining of a headache and muscle aches, health officials said on Sunday.

Alaska ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional

JUNEAU Alaska - A U.S. federal judge on Sunday ruled that the state of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Boston hospital monitoring patient for possible Ebola case

- A man in Massachusetts who recently returned from Liberia is being evaluated at a Boston hospital for a potential case of Ebola after complaining of a headache and muscle aches, health officials said on Sunday.

Conjoined twin Texas babies to take first step to separation surgery

HOUSTON - Conjoined 6-month-old twin girls will begin to undergo tissue expansion this month to stretch skin that will be used to cover patches of their bodies when they are separated in a surgery planned for December.

Obama calls for action to ensure U.S. medical system can handle Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama wants federal authorities to take additional steps to ensure the American medical system is prepared to follow correct protocols in dealing with Ebola following news of an apparent breach in Dallas, the White House said in a statement Sunday.

Seventh New Jersey high school student surrenders in sex abuse case

- A seventh New Jersey high school student has turned himself into authorities to face charges of sex abuse stemming from a hazing scandal that led to the cancellation of the remainder of the school's football season, authorities said Sunday.

One killed, two hurt when train hits them on California trestle

- One woman was killed and two other people were badly hurt when they were struck by a train while taking photographs of the sunset from a California railroad trestle, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said on Sunday.

Wyoming man accused of stealing train in work dispute

- A Wyoming rail worker could face felony charges for protesting working conditions by stealing a train and taking it on a 13-mile joy ride before crashing it into another locomotive, local media and law enforcement said Sunday.

California police field reports of creepy clowns

- Reports of creepy clowns carrying knives and other weapons have been scaring people in the California city of Bakersfield for the past week, police said on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Fay brushes Bermuda with high winds and rain

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Fay swept past Bermuda drenching the British territory in the Atlantic with winds gusting to hurricane force, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola

- A Texas health worker who provided care for the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the deadly virus in a preliminary examination, a state health official said on Sunday.

Obama hangs tough on migrant detention despite slowing influx

WASHINGTON - The surge in child migration from Central America is receding but the United States is aggressively pushing ahead with plans to expand detentions, a little-publicized part of a broader campaign to deter illegal migrants.

Texas worker tests positive for Ebola, U.S. airports start screening

SAN ANTONIO Texas - A health worker in Texas at the hospital where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died last week has tested positive for the deadly virus in a preliminary test, the state's health department said on Sunday.

More than 20 injured in Halloween hayride accident in rural Maine

- More than 20 people were injured including some seriously on Saturday when a truck towing a Halloween hayride went off the road, flipping the trailer and sending people tumbling to the ground, authorities and media reports said.

Secretive U.S. robotic mini-shuttle to end 22-month mission on Tuesday

CAPE CANAVERAL Florida - The U.S. military plans to land its secretive X-37B robotic space plane in California on Tuesday, ending a classified 22-month mission, officials said.

Louisiana infant survives days trapped beneath father's dead body

- A 10-month-old Louisiana baby survived for three days trapped under the decomposing body of her dead father after he suffered cardiac arrest, authorities said on Saturday.

Arrest in fire that devastated Northern California town: report

- Authorities on Saturday arrested a man for suspected arson in connection with a fire that destroyed much of a small California city in September, local media reported.

U.S. military faces new kind of threat with Ebola

- At Fort Campbell in Kentucky, spouses of U.S. soldiers headed to Liberia seem to be lingering just a bit longer than usual after pre-deployment briefings, hungry for information about Ebola.

Zombie attraction turns fatal at corn maze on Idaho-Washington border

- A teenager playing a zombie at a Halloween-themed corn maze was killed after falling under the event's "Zombie Slayer Paintball Bus," authorities said on Saturday, as the northwestern Idaho attraction's patrons thought it was just part of the act.

Family names new lawyer in $75 million New York chokehold lawsuit

NEW YORK - The family of a black New Yorker who died after a local police officer put the 43-year old man in a chokehold announced on Saturday it chose a new attorney for its planned $75 million wrongful death lawsuit, a spokesman for a civil rights organization said.

Toddler first in Michigan to die from enterovirus strain

NEW YORK - A 21-month-old girl is the first in the state of Michigan and second in the U.S. to die this year from a strain of the enterovirus that has infected more than 500 people across the nation, health officials said on Saturday.

Judge closes California casino in dispute between American Indian factions

SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. judge has ordered the closure of an American Indian casino in central California following an armed standoff between one tribal faction that was running the gambling establishment and other members of the tribe who stormed the business.

Thousands march in St. Louis to protest police violence

FERGUSON Mo - The mother of an unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, walked with hundreds of protesters on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb, part of a weekend of protests against police violence.

New Jersey officials order 'symptom-less' NBC News crew into Ebola quarantine

- New Jersey health officials have ordered into mandatory quarantine an NBC News crew that worked with an American cameraman who contracted Ebola in Liberia, though the group has no symptoms, its health department said on Saturday.

Man sought for smoke-bombing trendy Greenwich Village restaurant

NEW YORK - New York police are searching for a man seen hurling a smoke bomb at diners seated outdoors at a trendy Italian restaurant frequented by celebrities in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Cities, states scramble after Dallas's Ebola missteps expose planning gaps

NEW YORK - The missteps in Dallas's handling of the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States have revealed an uncomfortable reality: state and city plans for handling the deadly virus are based on generic recommendations for everything from measles to floods, to hurricanes and dirty bombs.

Unit at Colorado's Fort Carson locked down after property goes missing

- A unit at Fort Carson in Colorado entered the third day of a lockdown after a piece of government property was taken without permission, an army representative said on Friday.

Kansas Supreme Court temporarily blocks gay marriages

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The legal battle over gay rights in Kansas reached the state's highest court and the federal courts on Friday hours after two women were married outside a county courthouse.

U.S. begins enhanced Ebola screening program at New York's JFK airport

NEW YORK - Stepped up efforts by the U.S. to halt the spread of the Ebola virus will start at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, where teams armed with thermal guns and questionnaires will screen travelers from West African countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

Seven New Jersey students charged over sexual assaults: New York Times

- Seven New Jersey high school students have been charged following a string of sexual assaults in a hazing controversy that prompted officials to cancel the remainder of the school's football season, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Virginia tells agencies to clear way for adoptions by gay couples

RICHMOND Va. - Virginia same-sex couples can now legally adopt children and also become foster parents, the Virginia Department of Social Services said in a bulletin on Friday to its local offices across the state.

Kansas attorney general seeks to block gay marriages

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The Kansas attorney general on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to block same-sex marriage licenses, filing the petition hours after two women were married outside a county courthouse.

Senator Walsh of Montana stripped of degree for plagiarism

- The U.S. Army War College has revoked the master's degree of U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana, the result of a plagiarism scandal that prompted him in August to abandon his election bid, both Walsh and the college said on Friday.

Alaska parents find son alive after police notify wrong family

- An Alaska couple, who had been told by police that their 29-year-old son had been killed in a car crash, were overcome with joy just hours later when they discovered him alive and well at his home in Anchorage, officials and media said on Friday.

Co-founder of indicted money exchange extradited to U.S.

NEW YORK - Spanish authorities have extradited to the United States a co-founder of the digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve to face charges that his creation was an unlawful money-laundering operation, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

Haitian man faces U.S. charges over reclining airline seat squabble

BOSTON - A Haitian man who authorities say got into a heated dispute on a flight bound from Miami to Paris over a reclining seat has been charged with assaulting a flight attendant, U.S. prosecutors in Boston said on Friday.

One hiker found dead, another injured in Colorado peaks

DENVER - Rescuers in Colorado found one hiker dead and another injured on Friday following a two-day search for the missing men in the mountains above the resort town of Aspen, authorities said.

Toronto-Dominion Bank executive charged for role in $1 billion scheme

MIAMI - A former Toronto-Dominion Bank executive was charged in south Florida federal court with six counts wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a $1 billion Florida Ponzi scheme on Friday, according to court documents.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests after new shooting

CLAYTON Mo. - Hundreds of protesters marched through the rain on Friday afternoon to the St. Louis County courthouse, kicking off a weekend of demonstrations against police violence after eight people were arrested in protests overnight.

Las Vegas sounds false alarm as global Ebola fears spread

- A commercial plane was briefly quarantined on a Las Vegas airport tarmac on Friday, sending airline shares down as worldwide fears increased that Ebola could spread outside West Africa, where it has killed more than 4,000 people.

California woman freed after 17 years, declared innocent of murder

LOS ANGELES - A 59-year-old California woman who spent 17 years in prison for murder was ordered freed on Friday by a judge who said she was wrongly convicted on the basis of testimony by a woman known to be a habitual liar, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

Supreme Court lifts hold on gay marriage in Idaho

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex matrimony to proceed in Idaho on Friday by lifting a temporary hold imposed earlier in the week, capping a week of victories for supporters of gay marriage in America.

Actress Misty Upham reported missing in Washington state: police

SEATTLE/LOS ANGELES - Actress Misty Upham, who played a housekeeper in the movie adaption of "August: Osage County," has been missing in Washington state for six days, police said on Friday.

California woman freed after 17 years, declared innocent of murder

LOS ANGELES - A 59-year-old California woman who spent 17 years in prison for murder was ordered freed on Friday by a judge who said she was wrongly convicted on the basis of testimony by a woman known to be a habitual liar, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests after new shooting

CLAYTON Mo. - Hundreds of protesters marched through the rain on Friday afternoon to the St. Louis County courthouse, kicking off a weekend of demonstrations against police violence after eight people were arrested in protests overnight.

Boy mauled by jaguars at Arkansas zoo in critical condition

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - A 3-year-old boy who was mauled by jaguars after falling into their exhibit at a zoo in Arkansas on Friday is in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Prayer service held in Indiana for American held by Islamic State

PLAINFIELD Ind. - Family and friends of Abdul-Rahman Kassig held a prayer service on Friday for the U.S. humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants, expressing hope he will survive his ordeal and lauding his willingness to help others even in the face of danger.

Teen gunman in 2013 Colorado school shooting was bent on revenge

DENVER - An 18-year-old Colorado high school student, who shot to death a classmate last year before committing suicide, had planned the attack for months and had written in a journal that he would soon "shoot up my school," authorities said on Friday.

Idaho and North Carolina are latest states to allow gay marriage

WASHINGTON - County clerks in Idaho and North Carolina began issuing their states' first marriage licenses to gay couples on Friday after court actions that capped a week of victories for supporters of same-sex matrimony in America.

Family seeks medical consensus for California girl declared brain dead

- A lawyer for the family of a California girl declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy wants to broker a conference between several physicians who insist she exhibits signs of life and a court-appointed doctor who rejects their findings.

HIV-positive Alabama pastor confesses to sex with parishioners: reports

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A veteran Alabama pastor who confessed to having sex with parishioners on church grounds while HIV-positive has defied attempts to remove him from his post, media reported on Friday.

Mistrial declared in Detroit cop's trial over shooting of child

DETROIT - A judge on Friday declared a second mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a sleeping girl during a police raid in 2010.

Homeland Security chief appoints Secret Service review panel

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday named four people to conduct an independent review of the Secret Service after a series of security breaches including a fence jumper who got into the White House last month.

Comment triggers Ebola scare on flight from Philadelphia: reports

- An incident on board a U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia caused an Ebola scare this week, leading officials to investigate the plane when it landed in the Dominican Republic, the airline said on Friday.

New York man shot 15 minutes after release from prison

NEW YORK - After spending 15 years in prison, a New York man was shot and wounded within minutes of being released, state police said on Friday.

Berkshire-owned Dairy Queen says customer data hacked in 46 states

- Ice cream and fast-food restaurant chain Dairy Queen has confirmed a security breach that may have compromised the payment card information of customers at several hundred locations across 46 U.S. states.

New York businessman gets 34-month prison term for 'Rebecca' Broadway scam

NEW YORK - A former New York businessman was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Friday after admitting to defrauding the producers of Broadway production "Rebecca - The Musical" through an elaborate scheme involving nonexistent foreign investors.

Michigan truck driver files coercion charge against UAW union

DETROIT - A truck driver in Michigan filed a charge of coercion against the United Auto Workers union for keeping her from exercising her right to quit the union and stop paying dues, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.

U.S. reaches $30 million settlement with vice president of Equatorial Guinea

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in California announced a $30 million settlement on Friday between the United States and a vice president of Equatorial Guinea that requires him to forfeit his U.S. assets, including a collection of six life-sized statues of late singer Michael Jackson.

U.S. senator lifts objections to $750 million Ebola funding shift

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Defense Department won permission to shift $750 million in war funds to fight Ebola in West Africa as a Republican senator on Friday lifted his remaining objections to the transfer.

HIV-positive Alabama pastor confesses to sex with parishioners: reports

- A veteran Alabama pastor who confessed to having sex with parishioners on church grounds while HIV-positive has defied attempts to remove him from his post, media reported on Friday.

Obama to declare Los Angeles-area mountains national monument

- President Barack Obama will declare a swath of the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles as a national monument on Friday, the White House said, following an 11-year effort that got caught up in partisan politics.

Fears grow in United States over Ebola's spread outside West Africa

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

Alaskan gay marriage ban to be debated in federal court

JUNEAU Alaska - A federal judge will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging Alaska's 16-year-old constitutional ban on gay marriage on Friday, following a week of court rulings backing same-sex unions in seven other states.

California golf coach sentenced to 27 years for murder plot, abuse

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco-area boys' golf coach was sentenced to over 27 years in prison on Thursday on charges of molesting three of his underage students and then plotting to kill his accusers from jail, prosecutors said.

No charges over Palin family drunken Alaska birthday brawl: police

JUNEAU - Anchorage prosecutors declined to file criminal charges over a bloody, booze-fueled brawl involving the family of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a birthday party, police said on Thursday as they released a report describing the melee.

Indiana doctor, new wife die in post-wedding murder-suicide

- An Indiana doctor and his wife died hours after their wedding in a murder-suicide that authorities said on Thursday appeared to be the result of some kind of a dispute at their reception.

Four people in Virginia shot to death in apparent murder-suicide

- Three adults and a young child were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at a home in Richmond, Virginia, police said on Thursday.

Divorce trial of Continental CEO ends, with billions at stake

- Thursday marked the end of the epic nine-week divorce trial of Oklahoma’s richest man, oil magnate and Continental Resources Chief Executive Harold Hamm. With billions of dollars of company wealth at stake, the unusually secretive trial could end with the largest divorce judgment in history.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests over Michael Brown killing

- The St. Louis area on Thursday was bracing for more racial unrest over the August killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, and another police killing of a black teenager on Wednesday was expected to add fuel to the fire.

Nevada issues first marriage licenses to gay couples; some states push back

CARSON CITY/LAS VEGAS - Nevada began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Thursday after a district judge removed the final hurdle to same-sex matrimony in the state, hours after a conservative group withdrew a last-ditch effort to block the change.

California man charged in transgender activist's choking murder

LOS ANGELES - A man accused of killing a Southern California transgender activist and dumping her body behind a fast-food restaurant was charged with murder on Thursday, but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to prove the case was a hate crime.

Oklahoma unveils renovated execution chamber after botched execution

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma prison officials on Thursday unveiled a renovated execution chamber inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, aimed at addressing issues that arose during the state's last execution.

Corpse exhumed in Alabama as FBI seeks link to long-missing murder suspect

- The unidentified body of a man dead for 33 years was exhumed on Thursday in Alabama in hopes of linking it to an FBI Top 10 most wanted fugitive suspected in the 1976 bludgeoning deaths of his wife, mother and three sons, federal authorities said.

U.S. Air Force probed for scrapping costly planes bought for Afghans

WASHINGTON - A U.S. government watchdog agency is asking the Air Force to explain why it decided to destroy 16 aircraft initially bought for the Afgan air force and turn them into $32,000 of scrap metal instead of finding other ways to salvage nearly $500 million in U.S. funds spent on the program.

NYC lawyer accused of rape removes himself from chokehold lawsuit

NEW YORK - A high-profile lawyer accused of raping a woman in his New York City apartment last week has said he will no longer handle a planned wrongful-death lawsuit against the city by the family of Eric Garner, who died after police put him in chokehold during his arrest.

Detroit talks with holdout creditor move to New York as clock ticks

DETROIT - Mediation for the last, and potentially one of the biggest, settlements in Detroit's historic bankruptcy case has moved to New York City, a Detroit spokesman said on Thursday, amid a newspaper report that a potential deal with Financial Guaranty Insurance Co [FGIC.UL] is still days away.

South Carolina court bars judges from issuing gay marriage licenses

CHARLESTON S.C. - The South Carolina Supreme Court ordered state judges on Thursday not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a federal court rules on whether the state can continue enforcing its ban on such marriages.

U.S. House Republicans release $750 million in Ebola funds to Pentagon

WASHINGTON - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday agreed to release $700 million more to fight Ebola from the Defense Department's request to shift $1 billion in war funds, bringing the total so far to $750 million.

Two adults, two boys killed at New York home

GUILDERLAND N.Y. - Two adults and two children of Chinese descent have been killed in a central New York house, police said on Thursday.

Wildfire burns five homes near Sacramento, threatens 1,000 more

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A wildfire northeast of Sacramento has burned 420 acres (170 hectares) and destroyed five homes, California fire officials said on Thursday.

Pakistani woman acclaimed by Islamists allowed to end U.S. appeal

NEW YORK - A Pakistani neuroscientist whom Islamist militants have tried to free in proposed prisoner swaps with the United States was allowed on Thursday to withdraw what could be the last appeal of her conviction on U.S. charges of attempted murder.

Miami Beach cheers success of flood pumps against 'King Tide'

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - Miami Beach residents breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday as newly installed pumps kept streets dry during the seaside city’s highest tides of the year.

White House dismisses report about Colombia prostitution scandal

WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday dismissed a report implicating a White House advance team member in a 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia and denied allegations the team member's involvement had been covered up.

Ex-Premier of Cayman Islands acquitted of corruption charges

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands - The former premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush, was found not guilty on charges of corruption by a local jury on Thursday, a court official confirmed.

U.S. Republican Senator still undecided on Ebola funding increase

WASHINGTON - U.S. Republican Senator James Inhofe has not yet agreed to release additional Defense Department funds for a military mission to fight Ebola in West Africa, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, citing concerns over protecting military staff and the mission's long-term future.

Crews battle fog to search for missing Seattle hiker and her dogs

SEATTLE - Rescue workers battling fog were searching on Thursday for a 21-year-old hiker reported missing earlier this week in the Cascade Range near Seattle, the King County sheriff's office said.

Supreme court makes deep imprint this week, despite no judgments

WASHINGTON - Without issuing a single ruling, the Supreme Court this week paved the way for gay marriage in several U.S. states and let tough new voting laws go ahead in two other states, showing how the court can wield power even when not formally deciding cases.

Woman accused in N.Y. Amish kidnapping was also victim, lawyer says

SYRACUSE N.Y. - A lawyer for Nicole Vaisey, an upstate New York woman accused with her partner of kidnapping two Amish girls and sexually exploiting six children in all, said on Thursday he considered his client to be one of the victims of her co-defendant.

Hearing delayed for Chicago-area teen charged in plan to join ISIS

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Thursday postponed a detention hearing for a Chicago-area teen who allegedly tried to fly to the Middle East to join the militant group Islamic State while she decides whether or not to close part of the proceedings to the media.

Fears grow in United States over Ebola's spread outside West Africa

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

Connecticut man wrongly jailed for 21 years named to parole board

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man who spent 21 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder said on Thursday he would not be lenient on inmates in his new role as a member of the state's parole board.

Reuters seeks to open billionaire oilman's Oklahoma divorce trial

- Global news organization Reuters has asked an Oklahoma court to open courtroom proceedings to the public and unseal trial transcripts of the two-month-long divorce trial of billionaire oilman Harold Hamm and his wife, Sue Ann Hamm.

World Trade Center contractor backs out of guilty plea, again

NEW YORK - A construction company owner, charged with defrauding a government program while his firm did nearly $1 billion in work at the World Trade Center, appeared in court on Thursday for the second time this week to plead guilty, only to change his mind.

Three U.S. soldiers in Texas charged with smuggling immigrants

SAN ANTONIO - Three soldiers at the Fort Hood Army post in central Texas were arrested on Thursday on charges of smuggling immigrants into the United States while dressed in their military uniforms.

Four anti-Islamic State Kurds arrested entering U.S. from Mexico

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Homeland Security chief on Thursday presented evidence countering statements from conservative lawmakers that members of the Islamic State, which is the target of a U.S.-led air campaign in Iraq and Syria, had been caught entering America.

Years after shooting, ex-U.S. Marine gets $10 fine in 'unprecedented' case

NEW YORK - For two years, a U.S. judge railed against what she called the "unprecedented" civilian prosecution of a former Marine corporal for lying to military investigators about an accidental shooting in Iraq.

St. Louis policeman shoots, kills black suspect, triggering protests

ST LOUIS Mo - A white off-duty St. Louis city policeman shot and killed a black teenager who fired on him on Wednesday, police said, triggering protests just miles from the flashpoint suburb of Ferguson.

Prayer vigil held at Indiana campus for American held by Islamic State

INDIANAPOLIS - More than 200 people, many wearing white as a sign of peace, gathered on an Indiana university campus on Wednesday to pray for an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants.

Sham investment advisor falsely claims Winklevoss ties: prosecutors

NEW YORK - An investment advisor to CEOs was arraigned on Wednesday and charged with scheming to defraud, in part by falsely claiming business relationships with Tyler Winklevoss and others associated with the founding of Facebook, prosecutors said.

Man arrested in murder of Southern California transgender activist

LOS ANGELES - A 38-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of a transgender and immigrant rights activist who was found slain behind a Southern California fast food restaurant in June, police said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge to decide state secrets procedure in Iran case

NEW YORK - The U.S. government on Wednesday asked a federal judge in Manhattan to dismiss a private civil lawsuit against an Iran sanctions group on national security grounds without any public explanation for the reason.

Autistic boy's hazing by soccer teammates probed in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG Pa. - Police and school officials on Wednesday were investigating an alleged hazing incident in which two members of a high school soccer team are accused of tying an autistic teammate to a goal post with duct tape for more than 20 minutes.

Texas deputies find $2 million in marijuana plants in house near Houston

- Sheriff's deputies who were checking a report that the electricity of a Houston-area home had been tampered with found nearly $2 million worth of marijuana plants in the house, authorities said on Wednesday.

Florida investigating new female prison inmate death

TALLAHASSEE Fla - Florida is investigating the death of a female inmate, the latest in a series of prisoner deaths that have raised questions about state prison safety, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

New Mexico police probe claims girls videotaped in locker-room

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - New Mexico state police are investigating allegations that members of a high school football team secretly videotaped the girls' volleyball team as they changed in an adjacent locker room, authorities said on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania police say sniper's journal shows 'true evil exists'

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Pennsylvania police have found a journal describing in chilling detail the ambush that killed a state trooper and wounded another nearly four weeks ago at a barracks in the Poconos Mountains, officials said on Wednesday.

Officials erred in reporting voter spike in Missouri suburb where teen was shot

- A reported spike in voter registration numbers in Ferguson, Missouri, since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer was the result of an error by election officers, state officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge blocks Pennsylvania's execution of immigration lawyer

- A federal judge has issued a stay of execution for an immigration lawyer convicted of killing five people in racially motivated attacks outside of Pittsburgh in 2000, a spokesman for Pennsylvania's governor said on Wednesday.

Kentucky warns Noah's Ark theme park over hiring practices

LOUISVILLE Ky. - The developer of a Noah's Ark-based theme park in Kentucky said on Wednesday he would fight for his religious rights after state officials warned he could lose millions in potential tax credits if he hires only people who believe in the biblical flood.

Atlantic City casino workers block streets to protest cuts

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - Atlantic City arrested 24 people who blocked streets in the New Jersey city on Wednesday as hundreds of casino workers demonstrated against plans by the Trump Taj Mahal to cut pension and health benefits.

Texans convicted of massive mail theft sentenced to prison

- Two Texans were sentenced to federal prison on Wednesday on their convictions on charges that they stole more than 50,000 pieces of mail and removed checks, credits cards and other items they then turned into cash and merchandise, prosecutors said.

Family of slain LA airport security screener sues city, police

LOS ANGELES - The family of a federal security screener who was fatally shot when a gunman opened fire in a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport last year has sued the city and its police department, alleging that security failures led to his death.

Illinois pension reform law challenges to be argued next month

CHICAGO - Challenges to Illinois' pension reform law remained on track for a ruling by yearend after a judge on Wednesday ordered both sides back in court next month to argue their cases.

U.S. justice grants Idaho's request to block gay marriage

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy put gay marriage on hold in Idaho on Wednesday to the disappointment of couples planning to wed, just a day after a regional federal appeals court struck down bans on same-sex nuptials there and in Nevada.

Remains found in Idaho believed to be man missing since 2000

SALMON Idaho - A dismembered body found in an isolated cabin near Idaho City appears to be an Idaho man who vanished 14 years ago while in the company of the son of a Chicago hit man, authorities said on Wednesday.

Bomb threat forces Miami-bound plane to land in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - A passenger's bomb threat aboard a United Airlines-SkyWest plane bound for Miami on Wednesday forced the airliner to land in New Orleans, authorities said.

NY school evacuated after 'odorless gas' makes students vomit

NEW YORK - A school in New York City's suburbs was evacuated on Wednesday after an unknown gas caused students and teachers to vomit in the dining room, according to the local mayor's office.

Report on response to Colorado cinema massacre is broadly positive

DENVER - A report on the emergency response to the 2012 Colorado cinema massacre that was released on Wednesday cited a need for better communication, but in general praised the actions taken during the chaotic scene.

Lawyer for accused Pennsylvania stabber decries lack of treatment options

PITTSBURGH - The lawyer for a teenager accused of stabbing 21 people at his Pennsylvania high school said it was "pathetic" that no mental health facilities in the state would admit him, forcing him to remain in juvenile detention despite court recommendations.

Obamacare website likely ready for record-breaking traffic: official

WASHINGTON - Obama administration officials on Wednesday said an improved HealthCare.gov website should be able to break its own record for online traffic next month, when consumers begin using the site to enroll in private health insurance for 2015.

San Francisco ordinance would tax residents who sublet to tourists

- San Franciscans who rent out their homes to tourists when they are out of town would have to prove that they live there most of the year and pay hotel taxes on the money they make under an ordinance that moved forward on Monday.

California state air tankers grounded after deadly crash

LOS ANGELES - California's 22 firefighting airplanes were kept out of the skies for evaluation on Wednesday, a day after an air tanker crashed in flames while helping quell a wildfire in Yosemite National Park, killing the pilot, officials said.

Governor sees riches for Virginia from U.S. shale gas

- Impressed by the riches created by shale gas in some U.S. Northeast states, Virginia is working to build a manufacturing hub and create thousands of jobs from the cheap fuel that will soon flow into the state, Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Wednesday.

Force-fed Guantanamo inmate abusive, U.S. government says

WASHINGTON - A Syrian inmate on a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay prison who is seeking more humane force-feeding has a history of assaulting guards and staff, U.S. government lawyers said on Wednesday.

California juvenile camp therapist pleads not guilty to molesting teen

- A former California juvenile detention camp therapist has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy whom she was treating, the Los Angeles County prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Workers to block Atlantic City streets in Trump protest

- Casino workers plan to block traffic near a major entrance to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Wednesday to protest attempts to terminate health benefits for union members at the Trump Taj Mahal casino, according to union officials.

Plans to move Washington's popular Spy Museum collapse

WASHINGTON - Plans to move the International Spy Museum, one of Washington's most popular tourist draws, into a historic library have fallen through, organizers said.

U.S. top court weighs worker pay for security checks

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday over whether companies must pay workers for time spent undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc contractor.

U.S. to screen travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries: CNN

WASHINGTON - Travelers arriving in the United Stated from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will face mandatory screening measures for the deadly virus as soon as this weekend, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Three get life in prison over sports shoe murder in Georgia

ATLANTA - Three suburban Atlanta residents have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a 14-year-old before taking his collection of high-end sports shoes, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

First person diagnosed with Ebola in U.S. dies in Texas hospital

DALLAS - A Liberian man who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died in a Texas hospital on Wednesday, his case having put health authorities on alert for the deadly virus spreading outside of West Africa.

Dead bear cub in NYC's Central Park likely struck by vehicle

NEW YORK - A bear cub found dead in the bushes of New York City's Central Park this week was likely struck and killed by a vehicle, state wildlife officials said on Wednesday.

Firefighter killed in Connecticut house blaze

BRIDGEPORT Conn. - A firefighter was killed while putting out a fire overnight at a house in Hartford, Connecticut, officials said on Wednesday, the first firefighter in the state's capital to be killed on the job in 40 years.

Fayetteville: A Military Town's Second Thoughts

FAYETTEVILLE, NC, Oct 8 - After 13 years of war, life outside the gates of the United States' largest military base has settled into a familiar ebb and flow.

Veteran Alaska radio host shot dead, foster son arrested

- A longtime Anchorage public radio host was found shot dead in his home and his teenage foster son was suspected of killing him out of anger after being punished for synthetic drug use, Anchorage police said on Wednesday.

South Carolina judge to issue marriage license to same-sex couple

CHARLESTON S.C. - A judge in Charleston, South Carolina, said on Wednesday he would issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple even though the state's ban on gay unions remains in place after actions by the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for them elsewhere.

U.S. medical workers get crash course on treating Ebola on frontlines

ANNISTON Ala. - Dr. Kwan Kew Lai's family and colleagues in Boston fear for the safety of the infectious disease physician when she travels to Liberia later this month to treat Ebola patients.

Son of slain California mayor says mother was 'defending herself'

- The son of a slain Los Angeles-area mayor told police that his mother was acting in self defense when she shot his father, according to 911 tape released on Tuesday.

Mother, boyfriend face murder charge after son's alcohol-related death

- A Vermont mother and her boyfriend were arrested and face murder charges for filling her disabled, 13-year-old son's IV bag with alcohol, police said.

Vikings star Peterson to appear in court on child abuse charge

HOUSTON - Suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is expected to plead not guilty on Wednesday in a Texas court to a felony charge that he injured his son while disciplining him with a thin tree branch in May.

Friend of accused Boston bomber due to testify on Wednesday

BOSTON - A man convicted of obstructing justice for removing fireworks from the accused Boston Marathon bomber's dorm room days after the deadly blasts is due in court on Wednesday to testify against a friend who prosecutors say joined him in that visit.

U.S. justice temporarily blocks Idaho gay marriage ruling

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that struck down Idaho's gay marriage ban.

Rising seas seen causing routine floods in U.S. cities: study

- As sea levels rise, tidal flooding along the U.S. coast is likely to become so common that parts of many communities, including the nation’s capital, could become unusable within three decades, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

California school voucher backer to head U.S. education reform group

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The education reform group Students First has named as its president a longtime supporter of school vouchers and loosening tenure protections for public school teachers, the group said on Tuesday.

Wyoming resort town struggles to lessen threat of slow-moving landslide

- Efforts by an upscale Wyoming town to stabilize a hillside whose slow collapse is threatening homes and businesses has been hampered by lack of access to private property where the landslide destroyed a house, a city manager said on Tuesday.

U.S. court to hear appeal over keeping U.S. demands for telecom records secret

SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. appeals court is set to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation can force Internet and telecommunications firms to turn over customer records without revealing the government's demands.

Baltimore officials outline plans to reduce police brutality

- Baltimore officials outlined plans on Tuesday to reduce police brutality that is the target of a federal investigation and the cause of millions of dollars in lawsuits.

New York court to weigh legal rights of chimps

ALBANY N.Y. - A New York appeals court will consider this week whether chimpanzees are entitled to "legal personhood" in what experts say is the first case of its kind.

Colorado's top court clears way for gay marriage in the state

DENVER - Colorado's attorney general told county clerks in the state to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday after the Colorado Supreme Court lifted stays it had imposed in two related cases and cleared the way for same-sex nuptials.

U.S. justices scratch chins over prison beard lengths

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court justices, hearing an important religious rights case on Tuesday, expressed doubt over whether the state of Arkansas can justify preventing a Muslim inmate from having a beard.

New Jersey high school's football season axed amid bullying investigation

NEW YORK - New Jersey prosecutors are investigating allegations of widespread bullying and harassment within a local high school's football teams, prompting the school district to cancel the remainder of the season, officials said on Tuesday.

Three siblings dead in murder-suicide in New Orleans: police

NEW ORLEANS - A 55-year-old man shot dead his older brother and sister before turning the gun on himself early on Tuesday in a New Orleans residence, police said.

Brookfield gets court OK to buy Atlantic City's Revel casino

- An affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management got court approval to buy Atlantic City, New Jersey's shuttered Revel Casino Hotel for $110 million in cash on Tuesday after a judge rejected complaints the auction for the bankrupt complex was tainted.

Boy survives six-story fall in trash chute at Hawaii condo building

- An 8-year-old boy has survived a six-story fall down a trash chute at a Honolulu high-rise building, and he escaped the chute with help from a bystander who pulled him out using a hose, officials said on Tuesday.

Guantanamo force feedings aimed at discouraging other prisoners -witness

WASHINGTON - Officials at Guantanamo Bay prison are using force feedings of a Syrian detainee to discourage other inmates from joining a hunger strike, a witness at a federal trial over his treatment said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania grandfather charged in starving of seven-year-old boy

PITTSBURGH - The grandfather of a boy who Pennsylvania authorities say was starved nearly to death, appeared in court on Tuesday to face 14 charges including aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted first-degree murder.Dennis Beighley, his wife Deana Beighley and step-daughter Mary Rader, have been charged with participating in torturing and nearly killing Rader's 7-year-old son in Greenville, Pennsylvania.The boy was starved, beaten and his family only allowed him to bathe

Dallas Ebola patient on ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis

DALLAS - The Ebola patient fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital is on a ventilator and a kidney dialysis machine to help stabilize his health, the hospital said on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Missouri police plan for possible riots if Brown cop not charged

FERGUSON MISSOURI - Missouri authorities are drawing up contingency plans and seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators, fearing that fresh riots could erupt if a grand jury does not indict a white officer for killing a black teen.

Jury convicts man of murder in Auburn, Alabama pool party shooting

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - An Alabama jury on Tuesday convicted a 24-year-old man of capital murder in the deaths of two former Auburn University football players and another man, all shot at a pool party in 2012, a court official said.

Wal-Mart raises healthcare costs, cuts benefits for some part-timers

- Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the biggest U.S. private sector employer, said on Tuesday that its 1.3 million workers would have to pay more for healthcare and it would end benefits for some part-time staff in a move that could prompt other companies to follow suit.

Choke hold complaints against N.Y.C. police on the rise: report

NEW YORK - Complaints against the New York Police Department about the use of illegal choke holds are increasing, and the incidents are not always properly investigated or subject to discipline, an agency that handles police complaints said on Tuesday.

Gay marriage bans fall in Idaho, Nevada after high court decision

SAN FRANCISCO - Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

Attempted fire-bombing of Missouri federal office brings new charges

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Kansas City man on three new charges for his alleged attempt last month to fire-bomb the local office of Missouri U.S. Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver, prosecutors said.

Gay marriage bans fall in Idaho, Nevada after high court decision

SAN FRANCISCO - Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

Dallas Ebola patient on ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis

DALLAS - The Ebola patient fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital is on a ventilator and a kidney dialysis machine to help stabilize his health, the hospital said on Tuesday.

Jury questionnaire in Colorado cinema massacre case finalized

DENVER - Prospective jurors in the upcoming murder trial of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes will be asked to respond in writing to at least 75 questions, a court document made public on Tuesday showed.

Twitter engineer, LGBT activist pleads guilty to domestic violence

LOS ANGELES - A senior Twitter engineer hailed as one of the most important gay or transgender people in the tech industry was sentenced on Tuesday to three years probation after pleading guilty to domestic violence charges, San Francisco prosecutors said.

FBI asks public to help identify militant in Islamic State video

WASHINGTON - The FBI is asking the public to help identify a masked man who speaks in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State militants released last month aimed at Western audiences.

Air tanker crashes fighting Yosemite National Park wildfire

LOS ANGELES - An air tanker being used to fight a wildfire burning in Yosemite National Park crashed on Tuesday, and there was no immediate word on the pilot, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Ebola lawsuits would face high hurdles in Texas

NEW YORK - Potential suits against the Dallas, Texas hospital that sent home a patient later diagnosed with Ebola face long odds in the face of state medical malpractice laws.

Hobby Lobby executive's Bible museum: priceless artifacts, scholarly doubts

WASHINGTON - Hobby Lobby's Steve Green hopes his planned $800 million Museum of the Bible in Washington and its priceless collection can satisfy both scholars and casual visitors.

Accused Boston bomber's friend did not say pot clouded memory: agent

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators in the days after the deadly blasts last year did not say he had been too intoxicated on marijuana to remember his actions, an official who interviewed him testified on Tuesday.

U.S. working on new screenings for Ebola but no travel ban

WASHINGTON/DALLAS - President Barack Obama said on Monday that the government would develop expanded screening of airline passengers for Ebola, both in the West African countries hit by the disease and the United States.

California oyster farm settles with U.S. government, agrees to close

SAN FRANCISCO - A California oyster farm has settled its years-long lawsuit against the federal government and agreed to cease operations by the end of the year, the company said on Monday, ending a high-profile case that split the environmental community.

Southern California tutor arrested over cheating scandal

- A private Los Angeles-area tutor was arrested and charged on Monday for illegally changing grades for three high school students, police said.

Delaware mother charged after daughter brings heroin to daycare

- A Delaware mother was arrested on Monday after her four-year-old daughter unknowingly brought roughly 250 packets of heroin to her daycare, and passed them out to classmates thinking they were candy, police said.

National monument status questioned for L.A. area mountains

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A seemingly innocuous effort to declare part of a mountain range near Los Angeles a national monument has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans, who see it as a Democratic land grab that bypasses Congress and abuses power.

Georgia deputies cleared after stun grenade injured toddler

ATLANTA - A grand jury in Georgia on Monday declined to indict sheriff's deputies who during a drug raid in May set off a stun grenade that severely injured a 19-month-old boy, prosecutors said Monday.

Women get 20-day jail term for theft of mask and hat from Washington governor's office

SEATTLE - Two women who broke into Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office and stole items including an animal-fur mask and ceremonial state police hat were sentenced on Monday to 20 days in jail, a county prosecutor said.

Mississippi family gunfight leaves two dead, two wounded

- Two family members killed each other and wounded two relatives in a gunfight following a domestic altercation in rural northeast Mississippi last week, a law enforcement official said on Monday.

Workers begin removing Trump name from Atlantic City casino

- Workers began removing the large letters spelling out the Trump name from the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City on Monday after real-estate mogul Donald Trump sued to end a licensing deal that allowed the casino owners to use his name.

Seattle lawmakers vote to change name of Columbus Day holiday

SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council unanimously voted on Monday to redesignate the federal Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous Peoples' Day to reflect that Native Americans were living on the continent before Christopher Columbus' 15th Century arrival.

Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five more states

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprising move that will allow gay men and women to get married in five additional states, with more likely to follow quickly.

Jewish fraternity house in Atlanta vandalized with swastikas

ATLANTA - Swastikas were spray painted on a Jewish fraternity house at Emory University in Atlanta hours after the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, school officials said on Monday.

Suspected gunman wrote letter about Pennsylvania ambush: CNN

- The survivalist accused of gunning down two Pennsylvania State Police troopers left a handwritten letter detailing the ambush and his escape, CNN reported on Monday.

Detroit not 'where we need to be,' but can rebuild after bankruptcy: mayor

DETROIT - Detroit may take years before fully functioning as a city, its mayor said on Monday as he gave a tepid blessing to the plan for ending the city's historic bankruptcy.

Billionaire's estate tax 'windfall' a boon to Pennsylvania coffers

HARRISBURG Pa. - A whopping $100 million tax payment to Pennsylvania by the estate of a conservative billionaire is a welcome addition to the state's strained finances, state officials said on Monday.

Casino magnate gambles another $1.5 million on Florida marijuana vote

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has put up another $1.5 million for opponents of a constitutional amendment that would let doctors prescribe marijuana for medical reasons in Florida.

Lawyers seek end to force-feeding practices for Guantanamo prisoner

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for a Syrian prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay prison urged a U.S. judge on Monday to halt harmful force-feeding practices used on their client during a hunger strike.

Black bear cub found dead in New York City's Central Park

NEW YORK - The body of a black bear cub was found in the bushes of New York City's Central Park on Monday and police have launched a criminal investigation into the death, park officials said.

Defendant can withdraw U.S. terror plea due to warrantless surveillance: judge

NEW YORK - An Albanian man who pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge can withdraw his plea after the U.S. government disclosed it monitored his communications without a warrant, a federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled, likely setting up a rare constitutional challenge to the controversial practice.

Obama says U.S. working on new ways to screen passengers for Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Monday his administration was working on additional protocols for screening airplane passengers to identify people who might have Ebola and would step up efforts to make medical professionals aware of what to do if they encounter a case.

Jail time ordered for Florida clinic owner in baseball doping scandal

MIAMI - A federal judge on Monday revoked the bail of the former anti-aging clinic owner at the center of a Major League Baseball doping scandal after he twice tested positive for cocaine.

Claims for compensation from GM for faulty switch rise 30 percent

WASHINGTON - The number of claims of injury and death linked to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co cars rose 30 percent last week to 1,130, according to a report on Monday from the lawyer overseeing a program set up to compensate accident victims.

Teen driver in fiery California crash that killed five lacked license

- A 16-year-old boy behind the wheel in a fiery Los Angeles-area car crash that killed five teenage passengers over the weekend did not have a driver's license, the California Highway Patrol said on Monday.

U.S. wealthy give less income to charity, mid-earners give more: report

- Wealthy Americans contributed less of their incomes to charity while low and middle-income residents gave more in the years surrounding the Great Recession, according to a newly released report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Philadelphia teachers to pay for health benefits as contract axed

- The state panel that oversees Philadelphia's cash-strapped public schools abruptly canceled a contract with teachers on Monday, despite nearly two years of labor negotiations, saying teachers would have to begin paying for healthcare benefits.

Child in Seattle suburb under boil water order sickened by E. coli

SEATTLE - A child living in a wealthy Seattle suburb under orders to boil its tap water after tests showed the presence of E. coli has become infected with the bacteria, authorities said on Monday.

Boeing to build some 777X parts in St. Louis: sources

WASHINGTON - Boeing Co plans to start building some parts of its 777X commercial airliner at the company's huge defense business facility in St. Louis, a move that will add hundreds of jobs in several years, according to sources familiar with the decision.

NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars apologize for Ebola prank by mascot

- The National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars apologized on Monday after their mascot used the Ebola epidemic to taunt fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Trump name to come down from Atlantic City casino, family says

- Lights spelling out the Trump name are due to be removed from the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City after real-estate mogul Donald Trump sued to end a licensing deal with the casino owners to use his name, his family said on Monday.

Chicago-area man charged in attempt to join Islamic State in Syria

CHICAGO - A Chicago-area man was charged on Monday with attempting to support a foreign terrorist organization after he was arrested on Saturday at O'Hare International Airport allegedly on his way to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State.

Hot air balloon drifts into ocean in California, surfers come to rescue

LOS ANGELES - A hot air balloon carrying a man who had just proposed to his girlfriend drifted into the ocean off the Southern California coast, where daring surfers grabbed a rope to pull the aircraft to shore, an official said on Monday.

Attorneys back in court to narrow jury pool in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial

PHOENIX - Attorneys returned to an Arizona court on Monday to narrow an already whittled-down pool for selecting jurors who will determine whether convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for killing her ex-boyfriend at his Phoenix-area home in 2008.

No signs of foul play seen in Pennsylvania 9/11 memorial fire

- Investigators have found no signs of foul play or arson in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania which destroyed a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, authorities said on Sunday.

Police investigate high-profile NYC lawyer after rape complaint

NEW YORK - Police are investigating an allegation that a New York City lawyer who has been involved in a string of high-profile civil-rights lawsuits against police raped a woman at his Manhattan apartment last week, police said on Monday.

Nebraska hospital prepares for arrival of Ebola patient

- A Nebraska hospital is preparing for the expected arrival of an Ebola patient who contracted the disease in Liberia, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Supreme Court declines to review Massachusetts man's al Qaeda support conviction

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a Massachusetts man's appeal of his 2011 conviction on charges of supporting the Islamic militant group al Qaeda.

Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five states

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprise move that will allow gay men and women to marry in five states where same-sex weddings were previously forbidden.

Parents of dead Missouri teenager renew call for special prosecutor

- The parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead in August by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday asked Missouri's governor to reconsider his decision not to appoint a special prosecutor in the case, according to the family's attorney.

Opening statements due in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - A college friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, charged with lying about a visit to his dorm room three days after the deadly blasts, is set to go on trial on Monday and faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.

Two injured as freight train derails in north Louisiana

- The conductor of a Union Pacific freight train and an engineer on board were injured on Sunday when it crashed into a tractor-trailer that was stuck on tracks in northern Louisiana, a spokesman for Union Pacific said.

No signs of foul play seen in Pennsylvania 9/11 memorial fire

- Investigators have found no signs of foul play or arson in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania which destroyed a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, authorities said on Sunday.

Two NFL players arrested for trespass in separate incidents

- Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Minneapolis arrested two professional football players on trespassing and other charges, authorities and local media reported Sunday.

Ebola patient in Dallas struggling to survive, says CDC head

DALLAS/NEW YORK - The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was fighting for his life at a Dallas hospital on Sunday and appeared to be receiving none of the experimental medicines for the virus, a top U.S. health official said.

Two dead as ultralight helicopter crashes in Colorado

DENVER - Both people aboard an ultralight helicopter-like aircraft were killed when it crashed into a river in western Colorado, authorities said on Sunday.

Two NFL players arrested for trespass in separate incidents

- Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Minneapolis arrested two professional football players on trespassing and other charges, authorities and local media reported Sunday.

Parents of American held by Islamic State release photos, letter

- The parents of an U.S. aid worker held hostage by Islamic State militants on Sunday released photographs of their son and parts of a letter he wrote them from captivity in which he says he is scared to die but at peace with his belief.

Texas ground beef recalled due to possible metal pieces

- Texas groceries had likely removed by Sunday morning all ground beef from store shelves that was subject to a recall due to possible contamination from tiny pieces of metal, an executive at the company which recalled the product said.

At Dallas church service, prayers of Ebola patient and families

DALLAS - It was like any other Sunday morning worship service at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, where Louise Troh, the quarantined girlfriend of the first patient in the United States diagnosed with Ebola, is a member of the congregation.

Chicago pedicabs run into rough headwinds from City Hall

CHICAGO - T.C. O'Rourke has encountered plenty of nasty weather in his years as a Chicago pedicab operator - rain, snow and steamy summer heat.

New Jersey boy's death is 1st linked directly to enterovirus: CNN

- A New Jersey boy who went to bed last month in seemingly good health and died in his sleep is the first fatality linked directly to a strain of enterovirus that has infected more than 500 people, CNN reported, citing a local medical official.

Nebraska hospital prepares for arrival of Ebola patient

- A Nebraska hospital is preparing for the expected arrival of an Ebola patient who contracted the disease in Liberia, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Cuban migrants drank own blood, urine, adrift at sea for 23 days

MIAMI - A group of Cuban migrants drank their own urine and blood after the engine of their homemade boat failed, leaving them adrift in the Caribbean for three weeks without food or water, according to survivors who reached the United States this week.

Ebola patient in Dallas 'fighting for his life' says CDC head

DALLAS - The first person to develop Ebola in the United States was struggling to survive at a Dallas hospital on Sunday after his condition worsened to critical, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said.

Albuquerque officials cancel school dance after mass shooting threat

ALBUQUERQUE New Mexico - An Albuquerque high school on Saturday canceled its homecoming dance after threats were posted online threatening a mass shooting.

Flag that flew over U.S. Capitol on 9/11 destroyed in memorial fire

- The flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, was destroyed in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania, authorities said Saturday.

Sister of suspected Pennsylvania sniper thinks he has fled area

CANADENSIS Pa. - The sister of the survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another three weeks ago said on Saturday she thought her brother had fled the area, and she urged him to surrender to authorities.

Ebola ruled out for ill passenger escorted off plane in Newark

- U.S. disease-control agents in biohazard suits removed a sick passenger and his daughter from a United Airlines jet that landed on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey, but federal health officials later said they had ruled out Ebola as a concern.

African immigrants worry about backlash from U.S. Ebola case

DALLAS - In Dallas and other cities home to large populations of African immigrants, worries are abounding among many that their standing in the United States has been tainted by one Liberian man infected with Ebola being treated in Texas.

Ebola patient in Dallas turns critical, no new U.S. cases

DALLAS - The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States took a turn for the worse on Saturday, slipping from serious to critical condition in a Dallas hospital, as health officials reported tracking scores of possible cases around the country that proved to be false alarms.

Washington hospital rules out Ebola for patient back from Nigeria

- Howard University Hospital said on Saturday that a medical team has determined that a patient feared afflicted with Ebola does not have the disease.

U.S. CDC: Many inquiries about possible Ebola cases, no new infections

- U.S. health officials have fielded inquiries about as many as 100 potential cases of Ebola since the first patient with the deadly virus was detected in the country, but no new infections have been identified, a senior health official said on Saturday.

Hot, dry weather in California stokes wildfire fears

LOS ANGELES - The fall season has brought a wave of hot, dry weather to California, with parts of the state baking this weekend in triple-digit temperatures and officials expressing concern the summer-like heat could spark a massive wildfire.

Dallas hospital: U.S. Ebola patient now in critical condition

- The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now in critical condition, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said on Saturday.

Medical copter crashes in north Texas, killing patient

- A medical helicopter transporting a patient to a north Texas hospital crashed early Saturday near downtown Wichita Falls, killing the passenger and injuring all three crew members, authorities said.

U.S. officials say Ebola unlikely in sick Newark passengers: report

- Federal health officials do not believe two sick passengers removed from a United Airlines flight that landed on Saturday at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey are infected with the Ebola virus, according to a local media report.

Parents of American held by Islamic State appeal for his release

- The parents of an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants appealed for his release on Saturday, speaking in a statement and a video message that highlighted his aid work and mentioned his conversion to Islam.

Parents of missing Virginia student plead for help in finding her

- The parents of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham released a tearful video on Saturday, pleading for help in finding their daughter who vanished three weeks ago.

Boston's storied horse track, and a way of life, enter final stretch

BOSTON - Since high school, Lorita Lindemann has lived to the rhythm of horse racing - rising before dawn to tend her thoroughbred charges, cheering as they thunder down the track and working into the night to prepare them to compete again.

Colorado school board decision to review curriculum draws fire

DENVER - A Colorado school board's vote to review advanced placement curriculum in the state's second-largest district drew more criticism on Friday, despite removing wording from a proposal that triggered student walkouts and teacher sick-outs.

FBI assisting search for Saudi college student missing from California

LOS ANGELES - The FBI has joined the search for a college student from Saudi Arabia who went missing from his Southern California home last month and has not been seen since, a spokeswoman for the agency said on Friday.

Los Angeles County jail system edges closer to court oversight

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is edging closer to court oversight of its jail system after the U.S. Department of Justice found mentally ill inmates were mishandled in vermin-infested facilities where suicides are too common.

New Mexico police shooting ruled unjustified, charges weighed

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A special prosecutor may soon be appointed to determine whether to press criminal charges against two New Mexico police officers after a grand jury ruled that a 2013 shooting of a motorist in Santa Fe was unjustified, the District Attorney said on Friday.

Hundreds of Harvard students receive email shooting threats: police

CAMBRIDGE Mass. - Hundreds of students and staff at Harvard University received emails on Friday from a sender who threatened to come to the Ivy League school "tomorrow" and shoot them, according to campus police.

California surfer injured in shark attack, beaches closed

LOS ANGELES - A shark attack that left a surfer injured on the central California coast late on Thursday has prompted the closure of three public beaches in the area controlled by Vandenberg Air Force Base, the military installation said on Friday.

U.S. defends Ebola response, about 50 under observation

DALLAS/WASHINGTON - U.S. officials on Friday broadly defended the response to the country's first case of Ebola, although one acknowledged that while the government was confident of containing the virus, it had been "rocky" in Dallas where the patient is in serious condition.

U.S. parents confront fear of Ebola in classroom

DALLAS - A visibly nervous Qeuna Dawson on Friday walked her two boys to the Jack Lowe Elementary School in Dallas, where a student was removed after coming into contact with the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

Fire destroys three buildings at Pennsylvania memorial for 9/11 victims

- A major fire destroyed three buildings on Friday at the Flight 93 National Memorial's headquarters complex in Pennsylvania, near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of a hijacked airliner, but no one was reported injured.

Former NFL kicker found to be legally drunk when killed in crash

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Former Tennessee Titans place kicker Rob Bironas’ blood-alcohol level was nearly triple the legal limit on the night he died in a single-car crash near his Nashville home last month, toxicology test results released on Friday showed.

California coroner releases report on fugitive ex-policeman

- A former Los Angeles police officer who eluded authorities for days following a grudge-driven killing spree fatally shot himself in the basement of a burning cabin, a coroner report released on Friday said.

Eleventh child in Colorado treated for virus-related paralysis symptoms

DENVER - The number of children treated in Colorado for limb weakness or paralysis-like symptoms after coming down with a respiratory virus has risen to 11, a hospital official said on Friday.

Secret Service in disarray, fueling questions over Obama's safety

WASHINGTON - When Secret Service officer Timothy McCarthy took a bullet to protect Ronald Reagan in a 1981 assassination attempt and agent Jerry Parr shoved the president into a limousine, their quick reflexes projected a Hollywood-style image of invincibility around the agency.

New data emerges on rape kit backlogs in four U.S. cities

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Thousands of rape kits remain untested in four major U.S. cities, according to new data on rape kit backlogs released on Friday by the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Pennsylvania police find supplies left in woods by ambush suspect

- A survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another three weeks ago is living on cans of tuna fish and noodles while eluding an intensive manhunt in the deep woods of the Pocono Mountains, officials said on Friday.

Suspected South Carolina child murderer earlier accused of domestic violence

CHARLESTON S.C. - A South Carolina man charged with murdering his five children last month before driving their bodies across several states and dumping them in Alabama was accused more than two years ago of domestic violence, police records show.

Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages from other areas: judge

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Missouri must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who have wed legally in other places, a state court judge ruled on Friday in the latest case to address gay rights in the United States.

Fire burning at Pennsylvania memorial for 9/11 victims: official

- Fire broke out on Friday at the Flight 93 National Memorial's headquarters complex in Pennsylvania, the National Park Service said, causing no reported injuries but extensive damage near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of a hijacked airliner.

Report details four seconds of horror in deadly crash at Florida daycare

ORLANDO Fla. - The driver of a car that crashed through a Florida daycare center and killed a 4-year-old girl in April mistakenly accelerated instead of braking after he was rear-ended, according a report on the crash released this week.

New investigation in Florida woman's 2010 fatal shooting

TAMPA Fla. - Florida authorities opened a new investigation into the 2010 death of a woman whose shooting was ruled a suicide, her family's attorneys said on Friday, after questions were raised about the local police department's handling of the case.

Justice Department to probe North Carolina inmate's dehydration death

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into what happened to a mentally ill inmate in North Carolina who was found dead from dehydration after a prison transfer in March, grand jury subpoena records show.

Pennsylvania jail guard accused of spying on naked inmates

PITTSBURGH - A western Pennsylvania jail guard is accused of using the facility's video surveillance system to spy on naked female inmates and will appear in court on invasion of privacy charges, authorities said on Friday.

Milwaukee man pleads guilty in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man accused of stealing a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert musician pleaded guilty on Friday to felony robbery, circuit court records show.

Scrutiny of Florida child welfare office after family killing

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida agency under scrutiny since a recent murder-suicide killed a family of eight defended one of its managers on Friday, noting that he was cleared of accusations of inappropriate workplace behavior shortly before the deaths.

Alaska top court rules Native American girl can stay with adoptive family

- Alaska's Supreme Court has ruled a Native American girl should stay with her adoptive non-Native family instead of tribal relatives, angering a tiny coastal community and dealing another blow to a 36-year-old law governing out-of-tribe adoptions.

Ex-N.Y. lawmaker ordered to prison for marriage fraud

NEW YORK - A former New York state lawmaker was sentenced on Friday to a year and a day in prison for entering into a sham marriage to gain U.S. citizenship and for lying about her assets when filing for bankruptcy.

Damages slashed to $34.6 million in Boston Scientific mesh trial

- A jury award of $73.4 million to a woman who said she was injured by a Boston Scientific Corp transvaginal mesh device has been cut to $34.6 million, thanks to a Texas law that caps how much companies must pay in punitive damages.

Judge raises questions about bankrupt Detroit's future

DETROIT - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes asked pointed questions on Friday about how Detroit will fare after it exits its historic bankruptcy, expressing concerns about a commission intended to oversee city finances and a settlement with Syncora Guarantee Inc.

Detroit judge throws out manslaughter charge against cop

DETROIT - A judge on Friday tossed out an involuntary manslaughter charge against a Detroit police officer who shot and killed a 7-year-old girl during a 2010 police raid.

California man whose pit bulls killed woman gets 15 years to life

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California man whose four pit bulls fatally mauled a woman near her home was sentenced on Friday to 15 years to life in prison on his conviction for second-degree murder, a court clerk said.

Gay marriage aside, business cases dominate U.S. high court docket

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage may be the most anticipated issue heading for the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices also must tackle a host of business cases as they convene for their new term, including a patent battle involving Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Miami Beach in race to control flood ahead of annual King Tide

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - Construction crews are wading into chest high pools of muck in a race against time to install pumps Miami Beach officials hope will help control an annual super-high tide threatening to flood south Florida's popular seaside city next week.

Two California men indicted for killing, raping four women

- Two southern California men were indicted on Thursday for the rape and murder of four women, the Orange County District Attorney's office said, in crimes that came to light when the body of one of the victims was found at a recycling center.

Missouri police make arrests as protests persist over black teen killing

- Police in Ferguson, Missouri arrested several people, an official said on Friday, following another night of protests over the police shooting of a black teenager in August.

Colorado school board approves review of history curriculum

DENVER - A Colorado school board whose proposed changes to a history curriculum spawned student walk-outs and teacher sick-outs voted on Thursday to move ahead with a modified version of the controversial measure.

Texas immigrant detention center rife with abuse, groups say

SAN ANTONIO - A large detention center holding hundreds of Central American women and children near San Antonio should be shut down amid accusations that guards have sexually abused and harassed detainees, human rights groups said on Thursday.

U.S. appeals court lets Texas enforce abortion clinic rules

NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Texas could begin enforcing restrictions on abortion clinics that critics of the new rules say will force all but seven of the facilities in the state to shut down.

Obama tells angry Hispanics he won't give up on immigration reform

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama sought to rally frustrated Latinos on Thursday with a firm promise to keep fighting for immigration reform and a renewed pledge to take executive action this year to reduce depo