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.
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration is building a legal case against companies that sell pure powdered caffeine, which can be fatal even in small doses.
NEW YORK - Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car.
CAIRNS, Australia - A judge on Monday rejected a plea by lawyers for an Australia woman charged with killing eight children to have the next hearing held in a mental health court.
NEW YORK - The gunman who fatally ambushed two New York City police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, police said Sunday.
That I was one of the relative few to see "The Interview" is not a boast I take any pleasure in.
Georgia would have the fourth-highest number of people affected if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the current implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a study has found.
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.
SAVANNAH - Dodie Sanders and her student volunteers never came back empty handed whenever she led them to the beach to clean up trash, sometimes filling as many as five waste bags with plastic bottles, wrappers and other garbage.
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - Police say they have identified the gunman who took his own life after killing four people and injuring two in a quiet neighborhood near Atlanta.
GAINESVILLE - Nicholas Bennett is a crowd favorite at North Hall High School. Being lifted on Trojans teammates' shoulders after he drained his 1,000th halfcourt shot at halftime of Saturday's game against Gainesville was proof of it.
WASHINGTON - A resurgent job market in January signaled that the U.S. economy is finally regaining the kind of strength typical of a healthy recovery - with hiring accelerating, wages rising and people who had given up their job hunts starting to look again.
Health care is a treasure trove for criminals looking to steal reams of personal information, as the hacking of a database maintained by the second-largest U.S. health insurer proves.
YAOUNDE, Cameroon - Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters took revenge Thursday on villagers in Cameroon, shooting and burning scores to death and razing mosques and churches after warning Nigeria's neighbors not to join the battle against the Islamic insurgent group.
AMMAN, Jordan - Dozens of Jordanian fighter jets bombed Islamic State training centers and weapons storage sites Thursday, intensifying attacks after the militants burned to death a captured Jordanian pilot.
WASHINGTON - Guys, if you want to get the girl, try bringing flowers - to her mother.
CAMBRIDGE, England - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday parents should have some choice on whether to vaccinate their children, a position he's taken before but one that drew a new level of attention amid a U.S. measles outbreak and his recent moves toward running for president.
LAGRANGE, Ga. - A Georgia man charged in the deaths of his wife, three of her family members and a friend was arrested at a bus station in Tupelo, Mississippi, authorities said Monday.
SAVANNAH - More than two years after the federal government approved deepening the waterway used by cargo ships to reach the Port of Savannah, President Barack Obama on Monday began pushing for $42 million to start helping Georgia pay for the $706 million project.