CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Nothing shows the extent of Hugo Chavez's grip on power quite as clearly as his absence from his own inauguration Thursday.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The California Legislature's black caucus doesn't like parts of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum deal with the University of Southern California.
NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s CEO Mike Duke found out in 2005 that the retailer's Mexico unit was handing out bribes to local officials, according to emails obtained by lawmakers.
The evangelical pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration withdrew from the ceremony Thursday after remarks surfaced that he made two decades ago condemning the gay rights movement.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Authorities in Northern California made a snappy discovery during a routine probation check: An alligator-like reptile named "Mr. Teeth," who was apparently protecting a stash of marijuana.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon will begin taking steps to freeze civilian hiring, delay some contract awards and curtail some maintenance to prepare for drastic budget cuts if Congress can't reach an agreement on a final spending plan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) - At least gasoline should cost you less in 2013.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Britney Spears is out of "The X Factor" after a season in which the pop star failed to deliver a ratings boost for the singing contest, a person familiar with the show's plans said Thursday.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - In their quest for the next big drug discovery, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly teaming up with some of the nation's top universities, recruiting campus scientists as partners and offering schools multimillion-dollar deals to work on experimental drugs in development.
SOLEDAD, Calif. (AP) - California's Pinnacles National Monument, a 40 square-mile site that includes caves and towering volcanic rock formations popular with climbers, became the country's 59th national park on Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) - The captain of a commuter ferry that crashed into a New York City dock says the vessel suffered a mechanical failure.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed a sweeping overhaul of K-12 education financing that would provide more money for low-income schools and give districts more control over how they can spend state funds.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Pledging swift action to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden says he will deliver new proposals to President Barack Obama by next Tuesday.
TAFT, Calif. (AP) - A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into class in a rural California high school on Thursday and shot one student, fired at another but missed, and then was talked into surrendering by a teacher and another staff member, officials said.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Riding a wave of new tax revenue, California's spending plan for the coming fiscal year will rise by nearly $5 billion, a powerful indication that the state that came to symbolize fiscal mismanagement during the heart of the recession is emerging into brighter days.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The enrollments exceeded expectations and offered new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the midterm elections.
MIAMI (AP) - The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents.
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted intoxicating fiction from the fatalism, fantasy, cruelty and heroics of the world that set his mind churning as a child growing up on Colombia's Caribbean coast.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Call it the year of the baby: Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child later this year.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.
MERCED, Calif. (AP) - A Central Valley dentist accused of groping four female patients while they were sedated is facing three years in prison after pleading no contest to sexual battery charges.
GENEVA (AP) - High-level talks aimed at calming soaring tensions over the crisis in Ukraine went into overtime on Thursday with top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine attempting to forge a common position on how to de-escalate the situation.
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.
PARIS (AP) - David Cronenberg deconstructs Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones goes Western and reclusive New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard returns in 3-D in films competing at next month's Cannes Film Festival.
BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - SpaceX is shooting for another launch attempt Friday to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
NEW YORK (AP) - Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates applauded the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terrorism threats, but they said there were concerns about whether other problematic practices remained in place.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The title character of "Jessie" heads in an unprecedented direction for a Disney Channel series: toward the altar.
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Koo Bon-hee could see the exit. For half an hour, as the doomed ferry filled with water and listed severely on its side, the crew told passengers to wait for rescuers.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Advocates for the gray wolf in California will have to wait 90 days before learning if the animal will be listed as endangered, a state board decided Wednesday. Ranchers and state wildlife officials oppose granting the species legal protections.