WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest winter storm to hit the U.S. East Coast grounds more than 6,500 flights, while hundreds of thousands in the ice-encrusted South remain without power. At least 20 deaths, most of them in traffic accidents, are blamed on the storm as it made its way across the South and up the coast. By Jessica Gresko. AP Photos.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is dropping its insistence that Afghanistan sign a crucial security pact within weeks, suggesting it could be willing to wait and see whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai's successor might be easier to work with in deciding how many U.S. and international troops remain in Afghanistan when combat concludes at the end of the year. By Julie Pace. AP Photos.


WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. research institute said Thursday North Korea has accelerated excavation at a site used for underground nuclear test explosions, though a test doesn't appear imminent. By Matthew Pennington. AP Photos.


MENLO PARK, California (AP) — You don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. By Martha Mendoza. AP Photos.


CARACAS, Venezuela — Members of Venezuela's opposition say they are bracing for a crackdown after authorities tried to search the offices of a political party and blamed a hard-line leader for inciting violence that led to three deaths during anti-government street protests. By Joshua Goodman. SENT at 770 words. AP Photos.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — A ruling temporarily prohibiting a compounding pharmacy from selling execution drugs to Missouri could have implications across the U.S., a legal expert says. By Jim Salter.


MEXICO CITY — Leftist lawmakers propose legalizing the sale of marijuana within Mexico City, seeking to join Uruguay and the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado in permitting recreational use of pot. By Adriana Gomez Licon. SENT at 565 words. AP Photos.


NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) — A federal judge rules that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned. By Brock Vergakis.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of immigrants facing deportation from the U.S. are now winning their cases before an immigration judge, their highest success rate in more than 20 years, according to a new analysis of court data. By Alicia A. Caldwell.


EDGEWATER, New Jersey (AP) — A traffic jam on a major bridge deliberately orchestrated by members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's staff appears not to lead to anyone's death or seriously compromise their medical care, according to a comprehensive review by The Associated Press of five hours of emergency dispatch audio, interviews and dozens of pages of call logs. By Jack Gillum and Katie Zezima.



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is becoming more secretive about its acquisitions as the Internet company hunts for promising innovations and engineering talent to help shape the future of technology.


TORONTO (AP) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne said Thursday he's more than halfway to getting what he's seeking from the Canadian and Ontario governments for a proposed multibillion upgrade to its Canadian plants. By Rob Gillies.


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Believe it, or not? That's the question of the day in Argentina, where the credibility of a new consumer price index unveiled is key to containing inflation and attracting investment from a world that has lost confidence in the government's numbers. By Almudena Calatrava. SENT at 840 words. AP Photos.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has cleared the way for thousands of workers to be compensated for medical treatment for exposure to crude oil or chemical dispersants during the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. By Kevin McGill.



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ralph Waite, who played the kind patriarch of a tight-knit rural Southern family on the TV series "The Waltons," has died at 85, his manager says. By Lynn Elber. AP Photos.


NEW YORK (AP) — Drake lashes out at Rolling Stone after the magazine replaces him on the cover with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and quotes the rapper criticizing some of Kanye West's lyrics. In a series of tweets, the Grammy-winning vents his frustrations and says he is "done doing interviews with magazines." By Mesfin Fekadu. AP Photos.


NEW YORK (AP) — Nicki Minaj has apologized for using a famous photo of Malcolm X with a rifle in his hands and juxtaposing it with a racial slur for her new song. AP Photos.