SURABAYA, Indonesia - The plane sought permission to climb above threatening clouds. Air traffic control couldn't say yes immediately - there was no room. Six other commercial airliners were crowding the surrounding airspace, forcing AirAsia Flight 8501 to remain at a lower altitude.
FRESNO, Calif. - Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California - the nation's leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts - fear an even greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama's executive action to block some 5 million people from deportation.
LAS VEGAS - It's easy to miss Bruce Rickerd during the "Mystere" show at Treasure Island especially when there's a man balancing upside-down on the foot of another, or a giant inflatable snail emerging from the massive moving stage or the gasp-inducing drops from acrobats above.
JAKARTA, Indonesia - An astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia turned worse Sunday when an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappeared over stormy Indonesian waters, with no word on its fate despite several hours of searching by air and sea.
McALESTER, Okla. - Oklahoma's last execution went so badly that the state tried to cancel it before it was over. With the inmate writhing while the lethal drugs seeped into his body, his executioners drew the viewing gallery curtains, concealing what the warden later described as "a bloody mess."
NEW YORK - The presents are unwrapped. The children's shrieks of delight are just a memory. Now it's time for another Yuletide tradition: cleaning up the needles that are falling off your Christmas tree.
WASHINGTON - Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Nearly half predict that 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was, while only 1 in 10 think it will be worse. There's room for improvement: Americans give the year gone by a resounding 'meh.'
PERELIYA, Sri Lanka - A packed train in Sri Lanka was swept off the tracks by waves as big as elephants. A boat patrolling off Thailand's shore was hurled more than a mile inland. Streets in Indonesia turned into roaring rivers that carried people to their deaths.
LOS ANGELES - "The Interview" was never supposed to be a paradigm-shifting film. But unusual doesn't even begin to describe the series of events that transpired over the past few weeks, culminating in the truly unprecedented move by a major studio to release a film in theaters and on digital platforms simultaneously.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said.
NEW YORK - Critics and early viewers agree that "The Interview" is less than a masterpiece. But thanks to threats from hackers that nearly derailed its release, it has become an event.
VATICAN CITY - A somber Pope Francis steeped his Christmas message to the world Thursday in sadness for those with little cause for joy - abused children, refugees, hostages and others suffering from violence in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine and elsewhere.
COLUMBIA, Miss. - Power companies struggled to restore electricity to thousands of people in Mississippi on Wednesday, a day after a powerful storm swept through the southeastern U.S. and killed at least four people.
NEW YORK - At least 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work, and 44 percent of them were targeted for murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank - It's Christmas season and the little town of Bethlehem is jammed with a big-city problem: Traffic snarling streets everywhere, including around the church marking the spot where tradition says Jesus was born. The city is considering a dramatic solution to the problem - digging a tunnel under Manger Square.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Snow swirled sideways in Kentucky and the typically bustling state capital of Frankfort came to a frozen halt Monday as a storm walloped parts of the South, which unlike the Northeast, had been mostly spared this winter.
CAIRO - Egypt bombed Islamic State militants in neighboring Libya on Monday and called on the United States and Europe to join an international military intervention in the chaotic North African state after extremists beheaded a group of Egyptian Christians.
ATLANTA - U.S. power companies struggling with the escalating costs of building nuclear plants are closely watching similar efforts in China, where officials are expecting delays.
CHICAGO - U.S. teens are getting sleepier: Many lack even seven hours of shut-eye each night and the problem has worsened over two decades, a study found.
LOS ANGELES - Audiences were more than curious to check out the big-screen adaptation of the racy phenomenon "Fifty Shades of Grey" this weekend. The erotic R-rated drama sizzled in its debut, earning an estimated $81.7 million from 3,646 theaters in its first three days, distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's judicial building office overlooks Montgomery's Dexter Avenue, a history-soaked thoroughfare topped by the Alabama Capitol where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy and where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. ended the 1965 march for voting rights.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - The slain gunman suspected in the deadly Copenhagen attacks was a 22-year-old with a history of violence and may have been inspired by Islamic terrorists - and possibly the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, Danish authorities said Sunday.
WASHINGTON - After a computer glitch got patched up, supporters of President Barack Obama's health care law were out in force Sunday trying to get uninsured people signed up by the official deadline for 2015 coverage.
ATLANTA - Georgia would become one of several states authorized to take over "chronically failing" schools if Republican Gov. Nathan Deal can hold members of his own party while attracting Democrats and placating some school officials frustrated by the proposal.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Gays and lesbians could get licenses to marry in more than half of Alabama's counties Friday after a federal judge affirmed her ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban.
ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate passed two measures Thursday aimed at cracking down on what legislators say is a growing problem involving sexual exploitation of children in the state that extends far from inner cities into upscale suburbs.
WASHINGTON - Vowing that Islamic State forces are "going to lose," President Barack Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to authorize military action against terrorists who are cutting a swath across the Middle East. Yet he ruled out large-scale U.S. ground combat operations reminiscent of Iraq and Afghanistan.
ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal wants lawmakers to create a state-run district to take over failing schools, overseen by an appointed superintendent with broad new powers over those institutions.
ATLANTA - Georgia health officials say they have identified 35 people - most of them children - as susceptible to getting measles from the infant who was hospitalized in Atlanta for the disease.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Police are trying to determine whether hate played any role in the killing of three Muslims, a crime they said was sparked by a neighbor's long-simmering anger over parking and noise inside their condominium complex.