NAPA, Calif. - A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. Scores were injured as the temblor knocked out power to thousands, caused gas and water lines to rupture, sparked fires and buckled roads.
MIAMI - Tropical Storm Cristobal is moving erratically north-northeastward away from the Bahamas but is forecast to stay away from the U.S. East Coast.
KENYA - An estimated 100,000 elephants in Africa have been killed by poachers from 2010-12, according to a new peer reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The killings have increased as a result of the growing demand for ivory sold on the black-market in China and other Asian countries.
ATLANTA - At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has recovered and was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine - Former President George W. Bush took the ice bucket challenge then nominated former President Bill Clinton to do it next.
MONROVIA, Liberia - Hundreds of residents of a seaside slum in Liberia's capital clashed with security forces Wednesday to protest an armed blockade of the peninsula that is their neighborhood as part of the government's desperate efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
BAGHDAD - Boosted by two days of U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces on Monday wrested back control of the country's largest dam from Islamic militants, a military spokesman in Baghdad said, as fighting was reported to be underway for the rest of the strategic complex.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a business where patience is part of the process, Kentucky bourbon makers are making a big bet by stashing away their largest stockpiles in more than a generation.
MADRID - The World Health Organization declared it's ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa although the tiny supply of one experimental treatment has been depleted and it could be many months until more is available.
CAIRO - A temporary Israel-Hamas truce was holding for a second day Tuesday as marathon, indirect negotiations on a lasting cease-fire and a long-term solution for the battered Gaza Strip were set to resume in Cairo.
BAGHDAD - Iraq's new president on Monday snubbed the powerful incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and nominated the deputy parliament speaker to form the new government, raising fears of more infighting in the government as the country faces the threat of Sunni militants in the north.
MADRID - In a development that raises a host of ethical issues, Spain announced it had obtained a scarce U.S.-made experimental Ebola drug to treat a Spanish missionary priest infected with the killer virus.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Tony Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen Sunday, 12 hours after the three-time champion struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York.
LONDON - The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Gaza militants resumed rocket attacks on Israel on Friday, refusing to extend a three-day truce after Egyptian-brokered talks between Israel and Hamas on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.
ATLANTA - Finishing a nuclear power plant in Georgia may take almost a year longer than expected, a government monitor said Tuesday in testimony that raises the possibility of a delay costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing at least 141 people, mostly children, before Pakistani officials declared a military operation to clear the school over.
SAN FRANCISCO - Robin Williams' suicide seared into the world's collective mindset more than anything else this year, based on what people were searching for on Google.
WASHINGTON - Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government's annual drug use survey finds.
ATLANTA - Seventy-five years after the premiere of the movie "Gone with the Wind," research is shedding light on the racial tensions that existed at the time between the producer and city of Atlanta officials.
SAVANNAH - A $1.1 trillion spending bill approved by Congress includes a small amount of money to help begin deepening the Port of Savannah's shipping channel, and Georgia officials said they're confident more federal funding will follow once the $706 million project gets underway.
PENNSBURG, Pa. - A man suspected of going to three houses in the Philadelphia suburbs and fatally shooting six people, including his ex-wife and her teenage niece, was at large, and prosecutors said investigators didn't know where he was or how he was getting around.
SYDNEY - The deadly siege began in the most incongruous of ways, on a sunny Monday morning inside a cheerful cafe in the heart of Australia's largest city. It ended 16 hours later in a barrage of gunfire that left two hostages and the Iranian-born gunman dead, and a nation that has long prided itself on its peace rocked to its core.
AUBURN, Ala. - The girlfriend of a slain Auburn football player said he was arguing with a man at a party when a third man pulled a handgun and opened fire.
LOS ANGELES - After three weeks of box office dominance, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" ceded its reign to "Exodus: Gods and Kings." The biblical epic easily ruled the weekend with a $24.5 million debut, according to box office tracker Rentrak's Sunday estimates, while "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" dominated international charts with a staggering $117.6 million from 38 territories in advance of its North America release this week.
ATLANTA - Georgia's transportation needs and how to pay for them emerged this week as the issues that will dominate the 2015 legislation session. Lawmakers convene Jan. 12 at the state Capitol.
BRYANT, Ark. - An 11-year-old Arkansas girl paid a cabbie $1,300 to take her to meet a boy in Florida, but authorities caught up with the runaway in Georgia, and found her safe, after her parents reported her missing.
WASHINGTON - It's now up to the Senate to pass a huge $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running, but not before a battle between old school veterans and new breed freshmen such as tea partier Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren, a liberal with a national following.
SAN FRANCISCO - A powerful storm churned down the West Coast Thursday, bringing strong gales and much-needed rain and snow that caused widespread blackouts in Northern California and whiteouts in the Sierra Nevada.
WASHINGTON - Swapping crisis for compromise, the House narrowly approved $1.1 trillion in government-wide spending Thursday night after President Barack Obama and Republicans joined forces to override Democratic complaints that the bill would also ease bank regulations imposed after the economy's near-collapse in 2008.