Pope Francis is being hailed around the world - and criticized by some in the U.S. - for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.
NEW YORK - Sir Paul McCartney is 72, and only the wrinkles give his years away.
BUTTE, Montana - At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities - many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found.
DENVER - Researchers say they've collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how tornados form.
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.
WASHINGTON - Bitterly admitting defeat, House Republicans on Tuesday abandoned their attempts to use the Homeland Security Department's spending bill to force concessions from President Barack Obama on immigration, and sent him legislation to fund the agency through the end of the budget year with no strings attached.
WASHINGTON - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday that an emerging agreement between Iran and the United States would all but guarantee that Tehran gets nuclear weapons and would be a very bad deal, drawing an extraordinarily blunt rebuttal from President Barack Obama.
SELMA, Ala. - When the nation's first black president steps onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge to honor the marchers beaten there 50 years ago, he'll be standing on a structure that's at once synonymous with the civil rights struggle and a tribute to a reputed Ku Klux Klan leader.
ATLANTA - Georgia prison officials were indecisive about whether to proceed with a cloudy lethal injection drug, at one point saying they weren't sure whether they checked "this week's or last week's" batch, according to court documents.
JACKSON, Ga. - Citing concerns about the drug to be used in a lethal injection, corrections officials in Georgia postponed the execution of the state's only female death row inmate for the second time in a week.
SAVANNAH - The mother of a handcuffed man killed by police said Monday she doesn't believe investigators' findings that her son was armed with a gun, and she suspects a cover-up to protect the officer who shot him five times.
ATLANTA - A senator said Monday that he has filed a new bill to legalize medicinal marijuana in Georgia that would avoid legal problems that could arise under the House version, which passed overwhelmingly last week.
WASHINGTON - Seeking to lower tensions, Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials cast their dispute over Iran as a family squabble on Monday, even as the Israeli leader claimed President Barack Obama did not - and could not - fully understand his nation's vital security concerns.
JACKSON, Ga. - Georgia postponed its first execution of a woman in 70 years late Monday, as officials cited problems with the lone drug that would be used for the lethal injection.
ATLANTA - Many of Gov. Nathan Deal's top aides and senior executive branch officials got raises for 2015 that will far exceed what most teachers and state workers can expect in coming year.
WASHINGTON - Two months into full Republican control of Congress, GOP leaders are struggling to demonstrate they really are in charge.
LOS ANGELES - In 1975, Leonard Nimoy published an autobiography with the defiant title, "I Am Not Spock." Two decades later, he bowed to fate with "I Am Spock," a revisionist sequel.
WASHINGTON - Internet activists declared victory over the nation's big cable companies Thursday, after the Federal Communications Commission voted to impose the toughest rules yet on broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to prevent them from creating paid fast lanes and slowing or blocking Web traffic.
SAVANNAH - A police officer who fatally shot a handcuffed man won't face criminal charges after a grand jury concluded Wednesday that the suspect was armed with a handgun police missed while patting him down.
ATLANTA - The Georgia House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to legalize cannabis oil for the treatment of nine major health problems, including sickle cell disease added at the last minute.