LOS ANGELES (AP) - Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in six and a half years, driven by strong demand for newly built homes and growing optimism that the housing recovery will strengthen next year.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Five of the biggest U.S. banks have cut struggling homeowners' mortgage balances by $6.3 billion, part of a total $26.1 billion in home loan relief provided under a landmark settlement over foreclosure abuses.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip and killed a senior militant with a missile strike on a media center Monday, driving up the Palestinian death toll to 100, as Israel broadened its targets in the 6-day-old offensive meant to quell Hamas rocket fire on Israel.
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two-time Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg expressed a sense of humility Monday as he delivered the keynote address during ceremonies to mark the 149th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's education agenda for next four years may look less like real reform and more like tying up loose ends, experts say, with practical budget issues and an age-old power struggle between Congress and the administration getting in the way.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A 2-year-old boy has survived a car crash on a Los Angeles freeway that left a woman dead and the vehicle badly mangled.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The sun has set on the "Twilight" franchise with one last blockbuster opening for the supernatural romance.
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) - State and federal officials are conducting parallel investigations into allegations of wrongdoing by some nurses at a Soledad prison, The Monterey County Herald (http://bit.ly/ZTY9N0 ) reports.
TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) - About 3,000 acres of scenic backcountry in the Sierra Nevada north of Truckee will be permanently protected under a deal announced by two conservation groups.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The bowler hat and cane that accented Charlie Chaplin's costume in "Little Tramp" has sold for $62,500 at an auction in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Americans cranked up their use of credit cards in the third quarter, racking up more debt than a year ago, while also being less diligent about making payments on time, an analysis of consumer-credit data shows.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ryan Seacrest and Stevie Wonder paid homage to Dick Clark on stage, while Usher and will.i.am shared their praise for the TV icon and music lover off camera.
DETROIT (AP) - Twinkie lovers, relax.
GOMA, Congo (AP) - A rebel group believed to be backed by Rwanda advanced to within two miles (three kilometers) of Goma, a crucial provincial capital in eastern Congo, marking the first time that rebels have come this close since 2008.
In 15 years of teaching, University of Pennsylvania classicist Peter Struck has guided perhaps a few hundred students annually in his classes on Greek and Roman mythology through the works of Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus and others - "the oldest strands of our cultural DNA."
WASHINGTON (AP) - Shedding gridlock, key members of Congress reached a modest budget agreement Tuesday to restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon and eliminate the threat of another partial government shutdown early next year.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - An avalanche that was caught on video dragged a backcountry skier into a Utah ravine and buried her in snow, but the woman survived because she deployed a special air bag and other skiers were able to quickly dig her out, witnesses said Tuesday.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Two adults and four children who were stranded in sub-zero temperatures in a Nevada mountain range for nearly 48 hours were found alive and well on Tuesday by search crews, authorities said.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Kaiser Permanente has warned 49,000 patients that a computer flash drive containing some of their private details has gone missing from the Anaheim Medical Center.
DETROIT (AP) - Mary Barra has spent the past three years as General Motors' product chief, making cars that drive better, last longer and look good in showrooms.
MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - Where does Santa Claus learn to chortle "Ho, ho, ho!" and listen to the wishes of children all over the world?
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing between the leaders of two Cold War foes.
BANGKOK (AP) - The head of Thailand's protest movement on Tuesday extended his extraordinary claims to holding power over government activities, issuing orders to officials over whom he has no legal or actual authority.
GENEVA (AP) - Armed conflicts killed at least 95,000 people and wounded hundreds of thousands more last year but few of them led to any punishment for war crimes because the laws are unclear, a Swiss-based think tank said Tuesday.
MOORPARK (AP) - Crews are dealing with an onslaught of Santa Ana Winds as they work to keep flames from a wildfire away from homes in Ventura County.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A power outage caused by a vehicle accident has caused traffic problems outside Los Angeles International Airport, but the airport itself continues to operate.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday promised that some demonstrators arrested in the massive protests sweeping the capital will be released, part of a bid to defuse a political stand-off that is threatening his leadership.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - U.S. President Barack Obama exhorted the world Tuesday to embrace Nelson Mandela's universal message of peace and justice, electrifying tens of thousands of rain-lashed spectators and prompting a standing ovation by scores of heads of state in a South African stadium.
LONDON (AP) - American and British intelligence operations have been spying on gamers across the world, media outlets reported, saying that the world's most powerful espionage agencies sent undercover agents into virtual universes to monitor activity in online fantasy games such as "World of Warcraft."