Father of pilot captured by IS pleads for release AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - The father of a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria pleaded for his son's release on Thursday, reminding militants that his son shared the same faith as the ultraconservative group. So far, there has been silence from the extremists about the fate of their captive, 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, since gunmen from the group dragged him away following his crash Wednesday morning.
Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry ATLANTA (AP) - Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of movie release. "The Interview" stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Its Christmas Day release was canceled by Sony after threats of violence by hackers linked to North Korea. But after an outcry, the release was reinstated in some independent theaters and now, through a few online video services.
More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson BERKELEY, Mo. (AP) - Demonstrators took to the streets for a second night after a white police officer in Berkeley, Missouri, killed a black 18-year-old who police said pointed a gun at him. Dozens of protesters held a vigil late Wednesday at the gas station in the St. Louis suburb where Antonio Martin was shot, and they briefly blocked traffic on Interstate 170 during a march before returning to the station. Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall told KMOV-TV that six to eight people were arrested.
Watch Top News Video
A glance at key police shootings in St. Louis area ST. LOUIS (AP) - The shooting death of 18-year-old Antonio Martin marks the third fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer in the St. Louis area since Michael Brown was killed in August. Here's a glance at the circumstances in each case:
Can GOP shatter 'Obama coalition' in 2016? ATLANTA (AP) - Republicans crowed in 2004 that freshly re-elected President George W. Bush had established a "permanent governing majority" for the GOP. Eight years later, Democrats were touting the enduring power of the "Obama coalition" to keep their party in the White House. But Democrats couldn't sustain that coalition for this year's midterm elections, leading to Republican gains in Congress, governorships and state legislatures nationwide.
Afghans hope for change after bloody year KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - When Graeme Smith arrived in Afghanistan in 2005, he drove across the country from Kabul south to the Talban's former capital Kandahar on a newly paved road that cut travelling time from a bone-rattling 14 hours to just six. Today, 13 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban's brutal regime, and after billions of aid dollars flowed into one of the world's poorest countries, making that same 460-kilometer (300-mile) trip would be like signing his own death warrant, said Smith, Afghanistan analyst with the International Crisis Group, an independent conflict resolution organization.
Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years WASHINGTON (AP) - For six years, Sam Kass cooked up policy as well as meals for President Barack Obama and his family. He was not only their personal chef but also senior adviser for nutrition policy, giving him a seat at the table where administration officials hashed out everything from updated food labels to new requirements for healthier school lunches. Kass, a newlywed, is leaving the White House at the end of the month, but don't ask him what the Obamas like or don't like to eat. "Top secret," he said.
2004 tsunami: Children in mud, lone mosque in Aceh Some 230,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. A dozen countries were hit, from Indonesia to India to Africa's east coast. Scores of Associated Press journalists covered the disaster, and as the 10th anniversary approached, the AP asked 10 of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the ninth of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26. ---
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Go West NEW YORK (AP) - If it's a white Christmas you're after, you'd better follow this familiar advice: Go West. Snow will be falling in the western U.S. on Thursday, with anywhere from 2 to 6 inches in the valleys up to a foot in higher elevations in northern California, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, according to the National Weather Service.
NORAD 'tracks' Santa's journey across globe COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Volunteers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command pretended to monitor Santa Claus as he made his storybook Christmas Eve flight, saying they used the heat signature from Rudolph's nose to "track" St. Nick over spots ranging from Australia to the Americas. Technology and social media became an important part of the U.S. and Canadian military tradition, and NORAD Tracks Santa attracted around 1.6 million Facebook "likes."