- Gay couples wed in Utah after judge overturns ban
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.The decision set off an immediate frenzy as the clerk in the state's most populous county began issuing marriage licenses to dozens of gay couples while state officials took steps to appeal the ruling and halt the process.
- Obama hints at changing phone records collection
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama suggested Friday that he may be ready to make some changes in the bulk collection of Americans' phone records to allay the public's concern about privacy.Obama said he has not yet made any decisions about the National Security Agency's collection programs. But among the dozens of recommendations he's considering, he hinted that he may strip the NSA of its ability to store data in its own facilities and instead shift that storage to the private phone companies.
- Obama puts a rosy spin on rough presidential year
WASHINGTON (AP) — Putting a rosy spin on a difficult year, President Barack Obama acknowledged frustrating "ups and downs" on Friday but exulted that the improving economy is creating new jobs and claimed crucial progress for his troubled health care overhaul. He predicted 2014 would be "a breakthrough year for America."In his annual year-end news conference, Obama refused to dwell on his tumbling approval ratings, the disastrous rollout of his signature health care law or the pile of unfinished domestic priorities he leaves behind as he heads for a Christmas holiday in Hawaii. Asked whether this had been the worst year of his presidency so far, he laughed and said, "That's not how I think about it."
- Canadian court strikes down anti-prostitution laws
TORONTO (AP) — Canada's highest court struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws Friday, a victory for sex workers who had argued that a ban on brothels and other measures made their profession more dangerous. The ruling drew criticism from the conservative government and religious leaders.The court, ruling in a case brought by three women in the sex trade, struck down all three of Canada's prostitution-related laws: bans on keeping a brothel, making a living from prostitution, and street soliciting. The ruling won't take effect immediately, however, because the court gave Parliament a year to respond with new legislation, and said the existing laws would remain in place until then.
- Obama says 1 million signed up for health care
WASHINGTON (AP) — His health care plan facing a dicey transition, President Barack Obama said Friday that insurance sign-ups are surging now that the government's website is working better for consumers. But it was too soon to say the rollout has turned the corner.More than 1 million people have enrolled since Oct. 1, Obama said at his end-of-the-year press conference. That's more than two-and-a-half times the number on Nov. 30, when major fixes to the website were completed. At that point, only 365,000 had signed up through new federal and state markets offering subsidized private insurance.
- 35 bowl games, 35 reasons to watch
Starting Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M., and ending Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., 35 bowl games will be played.You should watch all of them. Here's why.
- Packers rule out Rodgers for Steelers game
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Packers have ruled out Aaron Rodgers for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.It will be Green Bay's seventh straight game without Rodgers since the franchise quarterback fractured his left collarbone during the first series of a 27-20 loss to the Bears on Nov. 4.
- Obama: Sochi group shows US doesn't discriminate
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the delegation he's sending to Russia for the Winter Olympics shows the United States doesn't make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation.Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning "gay propaganda."
- Vikings RB Peterson practices, expects to play
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Adrian Peterson shouldn't have any reason to get "hot" at Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier this week.Peterson returned to practice for Minnesota on Friday and is expected to play in Sunday's game at Cincinnati as long as he doesn't have any setbacks with his sprained right foot. The league's second-leading rusher, Peterson is listed as questionable for the Vikings (4-9-1).
- Youkilis agrees to $4M, 1-year deal with Rakuten
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Youkilis is leaving the major leagues after an injury plagued season and heading to Japan.The three-time All-Star has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League.