NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Freezing rain and sleet made for a sloppy Christmas morning trek in parts of the nation's midsection on Tuesday, while residents along the Gulf Coast braced for thunderstorms, high winds and tornadoes.
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI wished Christmas peace to the world Tuesday, decrying the slaughter of the "defenseless" in Syria, urging Israelis and Palestinians to find the courage to negotiate and encouraging China's new leaders to allow more religious freedom.
NORWALK, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a 55-year-old man was set on fire as he slept outside a donut shop in southern Los Angeles County.
NEW YORK (AP) - What a couple of mugs, sporting less-than-perfect physiques in the bargain.
WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) - Police In Webster, N.Y., say the man who lured firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of gunfire left a typewritten note saying he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people."
LOS ANGELES (AP) - After nearly 30 years of friendship and shared tastes in movies, music and comedy, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler have finally taken it to the next level: They did a film together.
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) - Volunteers at a Colorado Air Force base monitoring maps showing Santa Claus' progress are several hours into their goodwill mission and have answered more than 24,000 phone calls from children wanting to know everything from old Saint Nick's age, to how reindeer fly, to when they can expect their presents.
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) - State fish and game officials are vowing to learn from the shooting of two mountain lion cubs in Half Moon Bay - a decision that was criticized by wildlife advocates.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The wet weather that has saturated Northern California is giving a much-needed boost to reservoirs and creating ideal skiing conditions.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A storm pushed its way into Southern California on Monday, causing flooding in some areas, snarling holiday traffic in others and leading to the rescue of a man clinging for hours to a clump of bushes in the fast-moving Los Angeles River.
RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay Area city once considered among the most dangerous in the nation has seen its homicide rate plummet even as killings in other cities in the region have climbed.
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (AP) - A Wal-Mart in Southern California was evacuated Monday after shoppers say they saw a man dressed in camouflage enter the store with what appeared to be an assault rifle or shotgun, authorities said.
BAKER, Calif. (AP) - A giant thermometer built to attract motorists headed to and from Las Vegas has become an eyesore, and residents in this Southern California desert town are divided about whether to take the landmark down.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Taxpayers save thousands of dollars when California lawmakers use their personal cars for legislative business rather than state-leased vehicles, a Sacramento Bee review of public records has found.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Students at a Northern California middle school are looking at double the trouble if they misbehave.
NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Rivers' family is confirming that the comedian is on life support after going into cardiac arrest last week during a procedure at a doctor's office.
MOSCOW (AP) - Riding a wave of military gains by Russia-backed rebels, President Vladimir Putin has made it exceedingly clear that he wants a peace deal for Ukraine on his terms and will not be stopped by economic costs.
BEIRUT (AP) - An Internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group, which called it retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty-two teens escaped from a Nashville youth detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence late Monday, and nine of them were still on the run Tuesday, a spokesman said.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Al-Shabab's top leader was in one of two vehicles hit Monday night by a U.S. military strike, a member of the Somali Islamic extremist group said Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The FBI said Monday it was addressing allegations that online accounts of several celebrities, including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, had been hacked, leading to the posting of their nude photographs online.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea gave foreign media access on Monday to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and - watched by officials as they spoke - called for Washington to send a high-ranking representative to negotiate for their freedom.
PALMDALE (AP) - Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say a deputy has been injured in a rollover accident on the 14 Freeway near Palmdale.
ERIE, Colo. (AP) - All five people aboard a small plane that crashed near an airport north of Denver have died, a spokesman for the National Transportation Board said.
WASHINGTON (AP) - As states liberalize their marijuana laws, public officials and safety advocates worry that more drivers high on pot will lead to a big increase in traffic deaths. Researchers, though, are divided on the question.
MOSCOW (AP) - Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy - a shift that reflects Moscow's desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.
THERMAL (AP) - A Southern California high school has retired a controversial Arab mascot.
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) - Celebrity chef Todd English, who has opened restaurants around the country and written multiple cookbooks, was arrested Sunday on a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities said.
HAPPY CAMP (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service says cloudy skies and lower temperatures have slowed the spread of two forest wildfires that are threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California.