National Headlines

  Biden weighs pick for agriculture chief from diverse slate

For Biden, the emerging choice between Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and several other potential candidates seems like another test of his vision for the Democratic Party.

At least 18 Chinese coal miners killed by lethal gas

  Is Georgia a swing state? Groups spend millions to find out

Judge: Trump administration must take new DACA applications

Judge: Trump administration must take new DACA applications

Biden officially secures enough electors to become president

DeVos suspends student federal loan payments through January

Continued Coverage

  Sen. Loeffler’s campaign team member killed in crash was from Bulloch Co.

  States submit vaccine orders as coronavirus death toll grows

Pentagon installs 2 Trump allies on defense advisory board

Colorado student, scientist named Time’s ‘Kid of the Year’

  Biden predicts ‘bleak future’ if Congress doesn’t act on aid

  Texas prep football player attacks referee, charged with assault

  COVID-19 relief: What’s on the table as Congress seeks deal

Pelosi told reporters that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are in sync on a plan to reach agreement on the massive omnibus spending bill and to add COVID-19 relief to it.

  Gripped by surging pandemic, US employers cut back on hiring

Friday’s report provided the latest evidence that the job market and economy are faltering in the face of a virus that has been shattering daily records for confirmed infections.

Wayward wallaroo rescued from river after chase in Illinois

Native to Australia, wallaroos are larger than wallabies and smaller than kangaroos. This bloke — named Wally — got away from his owner in LaSalle County.

  Alabama WWII Veteran beats COVID-19 in time for 104th birthday

A 103-year-old WWII Veteran left Madison Hospital today after battling COVID-19!

Police guide that calls BLM a terrorist group draws outrage

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

  Fugitive is killed, 2 US marshals shot in Bronx gunfight

  CVS, Walgreens get ready to give out coronavirus vaccines

  Public school enrollment decreases nationwide

  How COVID-19 vaccines will get from the factory to your local pharmacy

California attorney withdraws from Rittenhouse criminal case

Los Angeles civil lawyer John Pierce has been at the forefront of the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused in the shootings during protests in Kenosha this summer.

  Kamala Harris says husband will be ‘second gentleman’

Harris briefly discussed it Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be the first male spouse of a president or vice president.

California fire danger remains high even as winds ease

Firefighters are busy trying to contain a number of blazes south and east of Los Angeles.

  UK defends vaccine decision amid criticism it moved too fast

U.K. regulators went on the offensive Friday to beat back criticism that they rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying they rigorously analyzed data on safety and effectiveness in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of their review.

  Politicians eat own words after dining out, taking trips while advising public to stay home

Their actions aren’t living up to the rhetoric, creating a real political problem for some of the most vocal leaders in California’s fight to contain the coronavirus.

After being fined by US, Hyundai recalls more vehicles

Hyundai says it will recall about 130,000 vehicles in the U.S. because the engines could fail.

  Biden adjusting agenda to reflect narrow divide in Congress

President-elect Joe Biden is adjusting the scope of his agenda to meet the realities of governing under a divided Congress and the complications of legislating during a historic pandemic.

  Nearly 30 people freed from alleged human smuggling operation in Houston

Law enforcement was responding to a kidnapping call in southwest Houston when they saw a man running down the street looking for help.

Alison Lurie, prize-winning novelist, dead at 94

Alison Lurie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose satirical and cerebral tales of love and academia included the marital saga “The War Between the Tates” and the comedy of Americans abroad “Foreign Affairs,” died Thursday at age 94.

US intelligence director says China is top threat to America

John Ratcliffe said in an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that intelligence shows that Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically.

  Among first acts, Biden to call for 100 days of mask-wearing

President-elect Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president.

  Walmart will light up the sky with holiday drone light shows

The free and contactless experience will feature nearly 1,000 Intel drones.

Starbucks offering free coffee to health care workers and first responders for the entire month of December

Starting Tuesday through New Year’s Eve, any person who identifies as a frontline responder to the coronavirus pandemic will be served a tall brewed iced or hot coffee at no cost, the company said on its COVID-19 response page.

  Wind fans wildfire in California canyons, residents flee

The new blaze broke out as Southern California utilities cut the power to tens of thousands of customers to avoid the threat of wildfires during the notorious Santa Anas.

  States plan for vaccines as daily US virus deaths top 3,100

Across the U.S., the surge has swamped hospitals with patients and left nurses and other health care workers shorthanded and burned out.

  Wisconsin high court declines to hear Trump election lawsuit

Trump had asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered.

Southwest warns nearly 7,000 workers of possible furloughs

Southwest Airlines warned nearly 7,000 workers on Thursday that they could lose their jobs unless labor unions accept concessions to help the airline cope with a sharp drop in travel caused by the pandemic.

  Next for Biden: Getting the right health team as virus rages

Biden is expected to announce his choice for HHS secretary next week.

  California monolith pops up after finds in Utah, Romania

The mysterious metal monument has taken hikers by surprise and it has since started trending on social media.

Chinese spacecraft carrying lunar rocks lifts off from moon

The spacecraft touched down on the moon on Tuesday on a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since a Russian spacecraft did so in 1976.

Florida lawyer under investigation for attempting to register to vote in Georgia, encouraging others at Republican event

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is investigating after a Florida lawyer was caught on video saying he planned to move to Georgia, register to vote, and cast a ballot in the Senate runoffs.

Govt accuses Facebook of discriminating against US workers

The action followed a two-year investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

  California governor: Most of state nears stay-home order

California's governor announced the new plans amid an unprecedented surge of new coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous state amid fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed within weeks.

  Vaccine rollout could ease crisis, but who gets it first?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine to the right people could change the course of the pandemic in the United States. But who are the right people?

  Trump aide banned from Justice after trying to get case info

The official serving as President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive case information she could relay to the White House.

  In seismic shift, Warner Bros. to stream all 2021 films

In the most seismic shift by a Hollywood studio yet during the pandemic, Warner Bros. Pictures on Thursday announced that all of its 2021 film slate will stream on HBO Max at the same time they play in theaters.

  Optimism growing for COVID relief bill as pressure builds

Capitol Hill’s top leaders have spoken about COVID-19 relief for the first time in month.

No fans to be allowed at Rose Bowl for CFP semifinal game

The Rose Bowl is hosting one of the playoff semifinals; the other is at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

  Biden eyes defeated candidates for key administration roles

President-elect Joe Biden is eyeing several Democrats who lost congressional reelection races last month for key positions in his administration. They include outgoing Reps. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Donna Shalala of Florida and Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.

Census Bureau says data irregularities being fixed quickly

The timeline remains in flux for turning in the apportionment numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets in future elections.

  Phishing ploy targets COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort

The precision targeting and careful efforts to leave no tracks bore “the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft.”

Court: Rittenhouse bound over for trial in protest shootings

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, is charged with homicide and attempted homicide for the Aug. 25 fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz during a night of unrest two days after the police shooting in Kenosha of Jacob Blake.

OPEC, Russia agree to nudge up oil production from January

OPEC and a group of allied countries including Russia agreed Thursday to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day from January and will meet monthly after that to decide whether to further adjust output.

Police: 4 die after explosion at UK wastewater plant

Four people died following an explosion in a silo that holds treated biosolids at a wastewater treatment plant near the southwest England city of Bristol, police said Thursday.

  Ex-presidents would get vaccine publicly to boost confidence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will prioritize healthcare workers and people living in long-term healthcare facilities to receive a vaccine once approved.

  Georgia GOP seeks mail-in ballot changes after Biden’s win

Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail.

  NORAD’s Santa tracker website is operational for Christmas

NORAD Tracks Santa has a Santa tracker countdown clock, games, music and other holiday fun.

  Trump honors football coach Holtz as ‘one of the greatest’

President Donald Trump on Thursday called Lou Holtz “one of the greatest coaches in American history” as he honored the college football Hall of Famer and political ally with the nation’s highest civilian honor.

4 lost children rescued from under Okla. dam

The children -- ages 5, 6, 7, and 9 -- were reported missing Tuesday afternoon when they walked away from their grandmother’s house.

Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund lawsuit

The Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging the committee made more than $1 million in improper payments to the president’s Washington, D.C., hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.

  Facebook to remove COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation

Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.

  Ho, ho — Whoa! Virus keeping most Santas at a distance

Santas this year are wearing masks and face shields, sitting behind glass or visiting with children online.

  Biden is facing high hopes, tough choices on border wall

Biden faces immediate pressure when he enters the White House in January to fulfill a pledge to stop border wall construction. But he also will confront tough choices left behind by President Donald Trump as well as skepticism about his own record on border walls.

Elon Musk predicts he’ll put people on Mars by 2026

Elon Musk predicts SpaceX will have humans on Mars by 2026.

Alaska mayor: Evacuations underway, 6 people missing after landslides

Search and rescue crews are in the area and commercial fishermen are using their personal boats to assist.

  School closings threaten gains of students with disabilities

Some schools have prioritized high-needs students in reopening plans, bringing small numbers of them back to campuses that otherwise are sticking with distance learning. But those options have only fueled further anguish when they have been reversed because of the virus.

  US jobless claims remain high at 712,000 as virus escalates

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a still-high 712,000, the latest sign that the U.S. economy and job market remain under stress from the intensified viral outbreak.

NASA: Mystery object is 54-year-old rocket, not asteroid

The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles.

Search persists for parents of 628 kids separated at border

The joint filing by attorneys for the Justice Department and families offers the latest snapshot of efforts to reunite families under a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings that resulted in thousands of separations when parents were criminally prosecuted.

California boy, 11, fatally shoots self during online class

Deputies were called to the 11-year-old boy's home, where they found him with a self-inflicted head wound. He died at a hospital.

  Boy, 5, killed in train crash as Calif. family waited to see Christmas display

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

  Artist spreads holiday cheer with garage mural of Santa, the Grinch

The artist says he hopes to make the neighborhood kids smile and give them a sense of self.

  In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims

President Donald Trump has delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden.

Midday fireball, boom thrill gazers from Ontario to Virginia

The American Meteor Society, based in Geneseo, received 78 reports of the fireball seen in Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Obama admits not awarding Dolly Parton the Medal of Freedom was a ‘screw up’

The former president said that he assumed that Parton had already received the honor and that she deserves one.

  Saturn, Jupiter will align for ‘Christmas Star’ this month

The heavenly meeting of the two biggest worlds in our solar system is an extremely close one.

  Nurses wanted: Swamped hospitals scramble for pandemic help

The CDC director said the coming months are "going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

Rafer Johnson, 1960 Olympic decathlon champion, dies at 86

He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. No cause of death was announced.