WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers' rising uncertainty about the economy.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Christmas Day twister outbreak left behind damage from Louisiana to Alabama while holiday travelers in the nation's much colder midsection battled sometimes treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Northern California received more rain and snow on Christmas Day, as the third storm system in a handful of days moved through the region.
WASHINGTON (AP) - New taxes are coming Jan. 1 to help finance President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Most people may not notice. But they will pay attention if Congress decides to start taxing employer-sponsored health insurance, one option in play if lawmakers can ever agree on a budget deal to reduce federal deficits.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gary Ramey and his adult daughter traveled 2,500 miles to hunt California bears with hounds last month, eager to take part in what he calls a time-honored tradition.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Newtown celebrated Christmas amid piles of snow-covered teddy bears, long lines of stockings and heaps of flowers as volunteers manned a 24-hour candlelight vigil in memory of the 20 children and six educators gunned down at an elementary school just 11 days before the holiday.
BOSTON (AP) - Ben Affleck is taking his name off the list of possible candidates for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's seat, which would be open if the Democratic senator from Massachusetts is confirmed as secretary of state.
Those hoping to spend the holiday watching streaming video from Netflix can now get back in front of their TVs, tablets and PCs after a Christmas Eve outage.
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.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The diesel-burning locomotive, the workhorse of American railroads since World War II, will soon begin burning natural gas - a potentially historic shift that could cut fuel costs, reduce pollution and strengthen the advantage railroads hold over trucks in long-haul shipping.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - In a move that could give gay marriage its first foothold in the South, Virginia's attorney general said Thursday he concluded the state's ban on same-sex unions is unconstitutional and he will join the fight against it.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Police in Miami Beach say pop singer Justin Bieber has been charged with resisting arrest without violence in addition to drag racing and DUI. Police also say the singer told authorities he had consumed alcohol, smoked marijuana and taken prescription drugs.
MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) - Furiously divided from the start, representatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the rebellion against him threatened Wednesday to collapse a peace conference intended to lead them out of civil war.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A Mexican national was executed Wednesday night in Texas for killing a Houston police officer, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department to halt the punishment.
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