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  • A passer-by walks near an entrance to a Target retail store Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 in Watertown, Mass. Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Target Security Breach Affects Up To 40M Cards

    Target’s data-security nightmare threatens to drive off holiday shoppers during the company’s busiest time of year.
    The nation’s second-largest discounter acknowledged Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach […]

  • Obama Commutes Sentences For 8 Drug Convictions

    Obama Commutes Sentences For 8 Drug Convictions

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight people he said were serving unduly harsh drug sentences in the most expansive use yet of his power to free inmates.
    All eight were sentenced under old federal guidelines […]

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for the final votes on the bipartisan budget deal designed to keep Congress from lurching from one fiscal crisis to the next and ease the harshest effects of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Bipartisan Budget Agreement Clears Congress

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation Wednesday scaling back across-the-board cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system, adding a late dusting of bipartisanship to a year more likely to be remembered for […]

  • In this photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a soldier closes the gate at the now abandoned Camp X-Ray, which was used as the first detention facility for al-Qaida and Taliban militants who were captured after the Sept. 11 attacks at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.  Detainees were housed in open air pens until the completion of Camp Delta in April 2002. Many detainees at Guantanamo Bay may be closer to heading home under a bipartisan deal reached in Congress that gives President Barack Obama a rare victory in his fight to close the prison for terror suspects. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Defense Bill Gives Obama Guantanamo Victory

    WASHINGTON — Up to half the terror suspects held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay could be closer to heading home under a bipartisan deal reached in Congress that gives President Barack Obama a rare victory in his […]

  • Gateway Newsstand owner Young Soolee speaks to reporters at her store just off the lobby of the Alliance Center office building in the Buckhead community of Atlanta, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Her store sold one of the two winning tickets for the near-record $636 million Mega Millions drawing. (AP Photo/Johnny Clark)

    Lucky Lotto Tickets Sold In Atlanta, San Jose

    ATLANTA — Two lucky winning tickets were sold in Tuesday’s near-record $636 million Mega Millions drawing: one at a tiny newsstand in Atlanta, and the other more than 2,000 miles away in California.
    The lucky Georgia ticket was sold at a […]

  • Builders work on the roof of a new housing construction site in Alexandria, Virginia October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

    Robust Housing Data Point To Strengthening Economy

    WASHINGTON  – U.S. housing starts surged to their highest level in nearly six years in November, a sign of strength in the housing market that could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to start cutting back its bond purchases.
    The Commerce Department said […]

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, accompanied by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, urging their Senate colleagues to change the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for current and future military retirees. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Year-End Agreement: Budget Heads To Final Passage

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Year-end legislation to ease Congress’ chronic budget brinkmanship and soften across-the-board spending cuts moved to the cusp of final passage Tuesday, a rare display of Senate bipartisanship that masked strong Republican complaints about slicing into military retirement […]

  • FILE - In this  Friday, March 29, 2013, file photo, a homeless man pushes a shopping cart full of his belongings across an intersection in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn’t bad just for individuals, it’s hurting the U.S. economy says a majority of more than three dozen economists surveyed in December 2013 by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hon, File)

    AP Survey: U.S. Income Gap Is Holding Back Economy

    WASHINGTON — The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn’t bad just for individuals.
    It’s hurting the U.S. economy.
    So says a majority of more than three dozen economists surveyed last week by The Associated Press. Their concerns tap […]

  • A woman picks her Mega Millions lottery numbers at a shop in New York's Penn Station, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $586 million on Monday, still short of the $656 million U.S. record set in a March 2012 drawing.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Mega Millions Jackpot Soars To $636 Million

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $636 million for Tuesday night’s drawing, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
    The top prize had been estimated at $586 million, but lottery […]

  • Jeh Johnson testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the Homeland Security Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

    Senate Approves Johnson To Head U.S. Homeland Security

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Jeh Johnson, a national security expert who has served as the Pentagon’s top lawyer, as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    Johnson, who was the Defense Department’s general counsel during President Barack […]

  • House Budget Committee chairman Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) and Senate Budget Committee chairman Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) (R) hold a news conference to introduce The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

    U.S. Senate Approval Of Two-Year Budget Deal Likely This Week

    WASHINGTON – Conservatives in the U.S. Senate are unlikely to stop passage of a two-year budget bill this week, with some Republicans expected to join Democrats in the Senate in voting for the measure.
    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and a […]


    U.S. Judge Rules Phone Surveillance Program Is Likely Unlawful

    WASHINGTON  – The U.S. government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful, a judge ruled on Monday, raising “serious doubts” about the value of the National Security Agency’s so-called metadata counterterrorism program.
    “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary […]

  • VIDEO: Tough Question for Fed: Time to Act?

    VIDEO: Tough Question for Fed: Time to Act?

    Federal Reserve officials face a delicate decision at their policy meeting this week, with stronger economic figures and a budget deal adding fuel to the debate over whether to pull back on their bond-buying program. Jon Hilsenrath reports. Photo: Getty […]

  • Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston kisses the Heisman Trophy while posing for photographers after winning the trophy, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in New York. Winston, 19, is the youngest winner of the trophy and the second straight player to win the prestigious award in his first year of college. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    More Famous Jameis: Winston Wins Heisman Trophy

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jameis Winston left voters no choice but to give him the Heisman Trophy. And like every other Florida State victory this season, it was a blowout.
    The quarterback they call Famous Jameis became the youngest Heisman winner […]

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and his friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran Tommy Vallely, right, walk along a street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnaqm to attend a service at the Notre Dame Cathedral, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Forty-four years after first setting foot in the country as a young naval officer, Kerry returned once more to Vietnam on Saturday, this time as America’s top diplomat offering security assurances and seeking to promote democratic and economic reform. (AP Photo/Brian Snyder, Pool)

    In New Role, Kerry Back In Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

    NAM CAN, Vietnam  — John Kerry returned Sunday to the winding waterways of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region where he once patrolled on a naval gunboat in the search for communist insurgents.
    But nearly 50 years later, Kerry was promoting sustainable aquaculture […]

  • VIDEO: Facebook Keeps Tabs On Your Deleted Posts

    VIDEO: Facebook Keeps Tabs On Your Deleted Posts

    Facebook is interested in “self censorship”: the posts you write and then delete.

  • FILE - This 1962 file photo shows Ian Lancaster Fleming, the best-selling British author and creator of a fiction character known as secret agent, James Bond. British doctors who carefully read Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit of alcohol per week. Their research was published in the light-hearted Christmas edition of the journal BMJ on Thursday Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/File)

    Shaken Not Stirred: Did 007 Have Alcoholic Tremor?

    LONDON — He may have a license to kill, but is he sober enough to shoot?
    British doctors who carefully read Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit […]

  • This undated handout photo provided by the family of Robert Levinson after they received it in April 2011, shows retired-FBI agent Robert Levinson. In March 2007, Levinson flew to Kish Island, an Iranian resort awash with tourists, smuggler and organized crime figures. Days later after a meeting with an admitted killer, he vanished. For years the U.S. has publicly described him as a private citizen who was traveling on private business. However, an Associated Press investigation reveals that Levinson was working for the CIA. (AP Photo/Levinson Family)

    Missing American In Iran Was On Unapproved Mission

    WASHINGTON  — An American who vanished nearly seven years ago in Iran was working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence-gathering mission that, when it came to light inside the government, produced one of the most serious scandals in the […]

  • Deal To Quell U.S. Budget Wars Sails Through House Vote

    Deal To Quell U.S. Budget Wars Sails Through House Vote

    WASHINGTON – A breakthrough budget deal that avoids a government shutdown in January and blunts automatic spending cuts easily won passage in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, setting the stage for nearly two years of fiscal peace in […]

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act. Playing catch-up with a long way to go, President Barack Obama's new health insurance markets last month picked up the dismal pace of signups, the administration reported Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Health Care Sign-Ups Pick Up But May Not Close Gap

    WASHINGTON — With time running short, the nation’s health care rolls still aren’t filling up fast enough.
    New sign-up numbers Wednesday showed progress for President Barack Obama’s health care law, but not enough to guarantee that Americans who want and need […]

  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Negotiators reached the modest budget agreement to restore about $65 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, with votes expected in both houses by week's end. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    House Republicans Signal Support For Budget Deal

    WASHINGTON  — House Republicans signaled support Wednesday for a budget deal worked out a day earlier, a plan narrowly drawn but promoted as a way to stabilize Congress’ erratic fiscal efforts, avert another government shutdown and mute some of the […]

  • FILE - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 file photo. Sebelius said in a blog post early Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013 that she is asking the department's inspector general to investigate the contracting process, management, performance and payment issues that may have contributed to the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

    Health Care Signups Pick Up Pace In November

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Playing catch-up with a long way to go, President Barack Obama’s new health insurance markets last month picked up the dismal pace of signups, the administration reported Wednesday.
    Enrollment statistics from the Health and Human Services Department showed […]

  • Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Modest Budget Pact

    Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Modest Budget Pact

    WASHINGTON  — 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 […]

  • FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, General Motors Senior Vice President Mary Barra is seen during presentation of the North American Car & Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Barra was named GM CEO on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, making her the first woman to lead a U.S. car company. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

    GM Executive To Be 1st Woman To Head Major Car Co.

    DETROIT — 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
    Now she will take on an even bigger job. On Tuesday, the board tapped […]

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets Cuban President Raul Castro before giving his speech at the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank soccer stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

    Obama-Castro Handshake – A Sign Of Mandela-Like Reconciliation?

    HAVANA  – For sure it’s just what Nelson Mandela would have wanted, but does it amount to more than that?
    The historic handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro at a memorial for Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg […]

  • President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in the Johannesburg, South Africa township of Soweto, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. World leaders, celebrities, and citizens from all walks of life gathered on Tuesday to pay respects during a memorial service for the former South African president and anti-apartheid icon. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    Obama Thrills Crowd As He Honors Mandela

    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 […]

  • FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2010, file photo, Angela Spaccia, center, a former assistant city manager of the Southern California city of Bell, walks free, on bail three days after she was arrested in a corruption probe, as she leaves the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF), in Lynwood, Calif. Spaccia was convicted Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, of corruption in the case that drove the blue-collar city of Bell to the brink of bankruptcy. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

    Guilty Verdict In California City Corruption Trial

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former official in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell was convicted of corruption Monday in a case that drove the city to the brink of bankruptcy.
    Jurors found former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia guilty of […]

  • Andre Birotte, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, at podium, and Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, right, take questions on the five criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation’s largest jail system, during a news conference in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. The FBI has been investigating allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county’s jails since at least 2011. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    18 LA Sheriff’s Deputies Face Federal Charges

    LOS ANGELES  — Federal officials say 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies saw themselves as being “above the law,” engaging in corruption and civil rights abuses that included beating inmates and visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to […]

  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One to travel to South Africa for a memorial service in honor of Nelson Mandela on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    President Obama And First Lady, Heads To South Africa For Mandela Memorial

    WASHINGTON  — President Barack Obama headed to South Africa on Monday to attend a national memorial service for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
    Obama and his wife, Michelle, boarded Air Force One under cold, rainy skies Monday morning for the long flight. […]

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd L) talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (3rd L) next to British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L). Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (3rd R), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (R) after a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

    Iran, Six Powers Meet On Steps To Carry Out Nuclear Deal

    VIENNA  – Iran and six world powers began expert-level talks on Monday to work out nitty gritty details in implementing a landmark accord for Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions.
    The preliminary accord is […]

  • FILE - In this undated file photo made available by Google, hundreds of fans funnel hot air from the computer servers into a cooling unit to be recirculated at a Google data center in Mayes County, Okla. The green lights are the server status LEDs reflecting from the front of the servers. Eight major technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 to President Barack Obama arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)

    Tech Giants Call For Controls On Gov’t Snooping

    LONDON (AP) — Major technology companies, stung by poor publicity for having helped the U.S. government access personal data, on Monday issued an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for tighter controls on surveillance.
    As part of a global campaign […]

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth, center, sits with other Pearl Harbor survivors before the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor Ceremony Marks Bombing Anniversary

    PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii  — About 2,500 gathered at Pearl Harbor on Saturday to remember those killed in the 1941 Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.
    The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute […]

  • U.S. tourist Merrill Newman arrives at Beijing airport Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 after being released by North Korea. North Korea deported Newman who was detained for more than a month, apparently ending the saga of his return to the North six decades after he advised South Korean guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang. North Korea made the decision because the 85-year-old Newman had apologized for his alleged crimes during the Korean War and because of his age and medical condition, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

    U.S. Vet Merrill Newman, 85, Free From North Korea

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Merrill Newman was tired and looking forward to reuniting with his family, but he was all smiles Saturday after arriving at the San Francisco airport after being detained for several weeks in North Korea.
    The 85-year-old U.S. […]

  • FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - From left, President Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush, former president William J. Clinton former President George H.W. Bush and former president Jimmy Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    Obama, Bush, Clinton To Travel To South Africa

    WASHINGTON (AP) — At least three American presidents will travel to South Africa to attend memorial services for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.
    The White House said Friday that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle […]

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Gipson, of Atlanta, right, has his resume looked over by Ralph Brown, a management and program analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a job fair for veterans at the VFW Post 2681,Marietta, Ga. The U.S. job market is proving sturdier than many had thought.  Solid job growth in November cut the U.S. unemployment rate to 7 percent, a five-year low. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

    Consistent Hiring Points To Stronger Economy Ahead

    WASHINGTON  — The job market is showing signs of the consistent gains the nation has awaited in the 4 1/2 years since the Great Recession.
    Employers added 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year […]

  • FILE - In this  Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Jimmetta Smith, of Lithonia, Ga., right, the wife of a U.S. Marine veteran, holds her resume while talking with Rhonda Knight, a senior recruiter for Delta airlines, at a job fair for veterans and family members at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga.  The Labor Department issues the November jobs report on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.  (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

    U.S. Unemployment Falls To 7 Pct. On 203K Jobs Added

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate.
    It also fueled […]

  • This undated photo provided by Omaima ElFaitori shows Ronald Thomas Smith II. Smith, an American chemistry teacher, was shot to death as he was jogging in Benghazi on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Omaima ElFaitori)

    Students In Libya Say Slain Teacher Inspired Them

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — An American chemistry teacher shot to death while jogging in Benghazi was looking forward to his first Christmas in the United States with his wife and toddler son.
    Ronald Thomas Smith II shared his excitement with his […]

  • A tug boat passes in front of a freighter at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California November 12, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

    Third-quarter Growth Revised Up To 3.6 Percent, Jobless Claims Fall

    WASHINGTON  – The U.S. economy grew faster than initially estimated in the third quarter as businesses aggressively accumulated stock, but underlying domestic demand remained sluggish and buoyed the case for the Federal Reserve to keep up its stimulus for now.
    Gross domestic […]

  • The Swarovski star shines atop the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after it was lit during a ceremony, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in New York. Some 45,000 energy efficient LED lights adorn the 76-foot tree. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

    Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up

    NEW YORK  — With a flick of the switch, a 76-foot Norway Spruce officially became the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after it was illuminated for the first time this holiday season in a ceremony that’s been held since 1933.
    Mayor Michael […]


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