MAD ISLAND, Texas (AP) - Armed with flashlights, recordings of bird calls, a small notebook and a stash of candy bars, scientist Rich Kostecke embarked on an annual 24-hour Christmastime count of birds along the Texas Gulf Coast. Yellow rail. Barn owl. Bittern. Crested Cara-Cara. Kostecke rattled off the names and scribbled them in his notebook.
CHICAGO (AP) - If the wireless Internet connection during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A $371 million overhaul of California's government payroll system is in chaos and in danger of collapsing, the state controller's office warned in a letter demanding fixes from the contractor.
For years, voices have cried in the urban wilderness: We need to talk about gun control.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Officials at grocery chain Raley's say union workers have ratified a new labor contract.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA are poised to move forward with their legal fight over New Jersey's plans to allow sports gambling.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Peter Leone was busy making deli sandwiches and working the register at his Newtown General Store when he got a phone call from Alaska. It was a woman who wanted to give him her credit card number.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - To play a mother torn from her husband and sons by the 2004 tsunami, Naomi Watts sure wasn't going Method.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday put the brakes on a first-of-its-kind California law that bans therapy aimed at turning gay minors straight.
MIAMI (AP) - The nation's largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for the placement of an armed police officer in every school, but parents and educators questioned how safe such a move would keep kids, whether it would be economically feasible and how it would alter student life. Their reactions ranged from supportive to disgusted.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Prison officials tossed convicted killer Todd Ashker into California's notorious Security Housing Unit 25 years ago after "validating" him as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang.
YREKA, Calif. (AP) - A section of Interstate 5 in far Northern California that was closed because of snow is open again - but only to drivers with snow chains on their tires.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has scaled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain with Republicans. Instead, he's calling for a limited measure sufficient to prevent the government from careening off the "fiscal cliff" in January by extending tax cuts for most taxpayers and forestalling a painful set of agency budget cuts.
NEW YORK (AP) - Well aware that the television audience may be particularly sensitive, the Showtime network aired a disclaimer warning audiences of violent content in the season finales of its dramas "Homeland" and "Dexter" last weekend. It was two days after a gunman killed 26 people in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Just turned 50, Tom Cruise is eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Just split from third wife Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise is the object of told-you-so cynics who simply knew that romance wouldn't last. Just finished with his stab at something really different as a heavy-metal rock god in "Rock of Ages," Tom Cruise is coming off one of the lowest-grossing movies in his career.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police say an officer has been wounded while responding to a domestic dispute at a home in the Hollywood Hills.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A storm system headed toward drought-stricken California is promising up to two feet of snow in the northern Sierra.
CHICAGO (AP) - An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at the underground station of one of the nation's busiest airports early Monday, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) - Voices of people crying for help in the wreckage of a deadly Washington state mudslide have stopped, and hopes of finding any more survivors waned as searchers pulled more bodies from the tangled debris field and crews worked through the night into Monday.
If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend told the athlete she was sometimes scared of him and complained about what she described as his short temper and jealousy in the weeks before he killed her, according to phone messages revealed at the Olympian's murder trial on Monday.
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) - Searchers found five more bodies Sunday in the tangled sludge of a massive landslide in rural Washington state, bringing the death toll to at least eight from the wall of debris that swept through a small riverside neighborhood.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A new analysis of satellite data indicates the missing Malaysia Airlines plane crashed into a remote corner of the Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The man suspected of a crime spree last week that left a Northern California sheriff's deputy dead had been jailed in Oregon two weeks earlier but was released for lack of evidence and manpower in the local district attorney's office.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. rose 5 cents, to $3.56, during the past two weeks.
WASHINGTON (AP) - California's drought has sparked a new push by federal lawmakers to create or expand a handful of reservoirs around the state, ramping up a political battle that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once referred to as a "holy war in some ways."
PERTH, Australia (AP) - France provided new satellite data Sunday showing possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, as searchers combing a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean tried without success to locate a wooden pallet that could yield clues to one of the world's most baffling aviation mysteries.
SIMI VALLEY (AP) - Authorities say a Simi Valley councilman has been arrested for investigation of driving under the influence.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A planned strike by thousands of University of California hospital workers was averted after contract talks yielded a deal, officials said Sunday.
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say 18 people are unaccounted for after a massive mudslide in Washington state killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of flooding.