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.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Mormon church has issued a sweeping declaration that opposes efforts to relax Utah's famously strict liquor laws.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The rover Opportunity may not be sleek like a brand new car, but it shows no signs of braking even after a decade on Mars.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Minutes before a gunman opened fire in a Los Angeles International Airport terminal last fall, killing a security screener and wounding three other people, the two armed officers assigned to the area left for breaks without informing a dispatcher as required.
GENEVA (AP) - Syria's government declared that its main priority was stopping terrorism - not ensuring peace - and the opposition hinted it was far from ready to negotiate directly with the government it wants to overthrow, casting sharp doubt Thursday on peace talks that have barely begun.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A sharply divided government task force that reviewed the National Security Agency's surveillance program for four months has urged President Barack Obama to shut down the agency's bulk collection of phone data and purge its massive inventory of millions of Americans' calling records, The Associated Press has learned.
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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