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  • America celebrates Fourth with parades, hot dogs, cold beer

    The United States marks 239 years as an independent nation on Saturday as it celebrates the Fourth of July with parades, fireworks, naturalization ceremonies, eating contests and music. Here are …


  • Pope presides over Easter Vigil service amid martyr concerns

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is presiding over the symbolic and solemn Easter Vigil service amid mounting Vatican concern for modern-day Christian martyrs. Francis walked in the dark down an …


  • ‘Transformers’ tops ‘Tammy’ on weak July 4 weekend

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fourth of July went off like a dud at the box office, as the Michael Bay sequel “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and the Melisa McCarthy …


  • Kids give pope birthday cake 3 days early

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has received a candle-topped birthday cake three days early — a surprise from children at the Vatican. The pontiff turns 77 on Tuesday. The …


  • Pope leads Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter’s Square, which is packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans. Francis strode …


  • Pa.’s Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring

    PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — An end to winter’s bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog. Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included both record warm temperatures …


  • Maine same-sex couples marry in first hours of law

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Arriving in a limo, Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney had all the trappings of a traditional wedding: Rings, flowers, wedding vows, an entourage and a friend …


  • AP PHOTOS: Christmas in America’s front yards

    Whether it’s a ‘65 Chevy pickup festooned with stars and colored lights on “Candy Cane Lane” in Los Angeles or the row houses on 34th Street in Baltimore, festively transformed …


  • Funerals become a sad routine in Newtown

    NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A season that should be a time of joy has been marked by heart-wrenching loss in Newtown, as more victims from the massacre of 20 children …


  • Funerals become a routine in shattered Newtown

    NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — One by one by one by one, each with fresh heartbreak, hearses crisscrossed two New England towns on Wednesday, bearing three tiny victims of the Sandy …


  • Discounts abound as stores try to salvage season

    NEW YORK (AP) — When it comes to fat holiday discounts, better late than never. This holiday shopping season, many stores haven’t been offering the same blockbuster deals as they …


  • Questions of ‘Why’ and ‘How’ fill pews in CT town

    NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Six-year-old Jennifer Waters came to Mass on Sunday at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church with a lot of questions. “The little children, are they …


  • Man fires some 50 shots at Calif. mall parking lot

    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A man was arrested Saturday after firing about 50 shots in the parking lot of a Southern California shopping mall, prompting a lockdown of stores …


  • Holiday shoppers may see big discounts soon

    NEW YORK (AP) — If shoppers don’t show up in stores soon, more “70 percent off” sale signs will. After a promising start to the holiday shopping season over the …


  • Huge DNA code of the Christmas tree being revealed

    NEW YORK (AP) — To millions of people, the Christmas tree is a cheerful sight. To scientists who decipher the DNA codes of plants and animals, it’s a monster. We’re …


  • Police: Ore. mall shooter didn’t know 2 he killed

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire on shoppers at a Portland mall had no connection to the two people he fatally shot and wanted to kill as …


  • Gunman opens fire at Oregon mall; gunman, 2 dead

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A suburban Portland mall remains closed Wednesday a day after a gunman wearing camouflage and a mask opened fire on shoppers, killing two people and wounding …


  • Gunman opens fire at Oregon mall; Suspect, 2 dead

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mall Santa was waiting for the next child’s Christmas wish when shots rang out, causing the shopping mall to erupt into chaos. About to invite …


  • Gunman opens fire in Portland mall; 3 dead

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A masked gunman wearing camouflage opened fire Tuesday in a busy Portland mall, leaving the gunman and two others dead and forcing the mall’s Santa Claus …


  • Peppermint pigs a smashing tradition in NY

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — A holiday tradition in this upstate New York resort town has a peppermint twist: pig-shaped hard candies are sold with little metal hammers to smash …


  • Gay couples in Wash. start taking wedding vows

    SEATTLE (AP) — Keith Bacon and Corianton Hale wore dress shirts as they recited their vows at Seattle City Hall, as the city hosted more than 100 weddings on the …


  • Obamas attend annual holiday concert in Washington

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A holiday concert attended Sunday by President Barack Obama and his family included some non-traditional entertainment this year: a performance by South Korean rapper and Internet sensation …


  • Hanukkah festivities begin with candle lighting

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Jews around the world ushered in the eight-day Hanukkah festival Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression. In Israel, families …


  • Iowa girls’ families, community reel over bodies

    EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — The families of two young cousins missing for five months still were hoping the girls would come home, maybe even for Christmas, until the sad news …


  • Families, community reeling from discovered bodies

    EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — The families of two young cousins missing for five months still were hoping the girls would come home, maybe even for Christmas, until the sad news …


  • Gay Washington state couples get marriage licenses

    SEATTLE (AP) — Hundreds of same-sex couples across Washington state started picking up marriage licenses Thursday as a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage took effect. King County, the state’s largest, …


  • Gregoire signs Wash. gay marriage law

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and …


  • Gregoire sign Wash. gay marriage law

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and …


  • West Point chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex …


  • LA judge dismisses suit over park Nativity scenes

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles federal judge on Thursday dismissed a Christian group’s lawsuit to force suburban Santa Monica to reopen spaces in a city park to private …