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.
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.
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.