UNITED STATES-MIDEAST PEACE
WASHINGTON-- Secretary of State John Kerry will present Israel and the Palestinians the broad outlines of what a final Mideast peace agreement could look like when he travels to the region this week, the State Department says. By Deb Riechmann. AP Photo.
HONOLULU -- The White House says the United States would welcome "closer cooperation" with Russia on security preparations for the Winter Olympics following a pair of deadly attacks that sparked fears about the terrorism threat at the February Games. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama paused as he left the podium last January after his second inaugural address, taking one last glance across the crowd on the National Mall. "I want to take a look, one more time," Obama said quietly. "I'm not going to see this again." As he opened his second term with a confident call to action and an expansive liberal agenda, there were challenges ahead. He'd never heard of Edward Snowden, who would lay bare the U.S. government's massive surveillance program. Large-scale use of chemical weapons in Syria was only a threat. Obama's health care law, his signature achievement, seemed poised to become reality. Obama had campaigned on the hope that a second term would bring in a new spirit of compromise. Instead, great expectations disappeared in mistakes and failures. AP Photos.
About half of Americans expect 2014 to be a better year than 2013, according to the recent AP-Times Square New Year's Eve poll. Asked whether they thought the nation was heading the right way or the wrong way, AP-GfK polling this year found that few thought the United States had found the right path. Obama's approval ratings shifted notably this year, landing in negative territory on average for the first time in his presidency, and there was little love for Congress. One bright spot: More now say the economy is in good shape than have at any prior point in Obama's tenure, though the rating remains fairly anemic. A look at how the public rated the nation's performance in 2013. By Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta.
RETHINKING POT-THE EXPERIMENT BEGINS
DENVER -- As Colorado prepares to be the first U.S. state to allow recreational marijuana sales, starting Wednesday, retailers are investing their fortunes into an industry that faces an uncertain future. By Kristen Wyatt. AP Photos. AP Video.
GREAT RESET RETIREMENT
A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages. It will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reaching. Many people will be forced to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65. Living standards will fall and poverty rates will rise for the elderly in wealthy countries that built safety nets for seniors after World War II. In developing countries, people's rising expectations will be frustrated if governments can't afford retirement systems to replace the tradition of children caring for aging parents. The problems are emerging as the generation born after World War II moves into retirement. By Paul Wiseman, David McHugh and Elaine Kurtenbach. AP Photos/
CASSELTON, North Dakota -- Authorities urge residents to evacuate a small North Dakota town Monday night after a mile-long (1.6-kilometer) train carrying crude oil derails outside of town, shaking residents with a series of explosions that sent flames and black smoke skyward. By Dave Kolpack. AP Photos.
NEW YORK -- At least 70 journalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013, including 29 who died covering the civil war in Syria and 10 slain in Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. By David R. Caruso. AP Photos.
LAS VEGAS -- Six U.S. states are named to develop test sites for drones -- a critical next step for the burgeoning industry that could one day produce thousands of unmanned aircraft for use by businesses, farmers and researchers. By Michelle Rindels. AP Photos.
PHILADELPHIA -- A Roman Catholic official whose novel conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge sets his bail at $250,000. By Maryclaire Dale. AP Photos.
KEY WEST, Florida -- The first commercial passenger flight from Key West to Cuba in more than 50 years lands in Havana, capping several years of efforts to reunite the two islands, though regular air service still appeared a distant prospect . By Andy Newman and Christine Armario.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Ash from El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano has fallen on several parts of El Salvador, with some reaching the capital, San Salvador. AP Photos.
WASHINGTON -- When youngsters continually struggle to fall asleep at night, new research suggests maybe their body clock doesn't match their bedtime. That doesn't mean tots should be up at all hours. By Lauran Neergaard. AP Photo.
NEW YEAR'S EVE-NYC
NEW YORK -- When revelers pack Times Square Tuesday to ring in 2014, they will be greeted with some familiar practices: The annual ball drop, a hefty police presence and live musical performances. But for the first time in a decade, a New York City mayor won't be attending the countdown. Instead, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will lead the final 60-second countdown. By Colleen Long. Upcoming: AP Photos.
With: NEW YEAR'S VEGAS.
SILENT NEW YEAR'S EVE
NEW YORK -- Here comes 2014! Three! ... Two! ... Mum. While hundreds of thousands of revelers cheer, shout and yell in the new year in Times Square, hundreds of New Yorkers will gather not far away to pass the waning hours of 2013 without a word. They'll be quietly observing a 25-year tradition at Jivamukti Yoga, which opens its doors to people who like to spend New Year's Eve reflecting, meditating, crafting resolutions, maybe doing a headstand, all in "Auld Lang" silence. By Jennifer Peltz. AP Photos.
NEW YORK -- The stock market ends a quiet Monday mostly where it began as investors shut their books for what has been an extraordinary year on Wall Street. By Markets Writer Ken Sweet. AP Photo.
FALLING ELECTRICITY USE
NEW YORK -- The average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes has fallen to levels last seen more than a decade ago, back when the smartest device in people's pockets was a Palm pilot and anyone talking about a tablet was probably an archaeologist or a preacher. By Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight: a 23-minute hop across Florida's Tampa Bay. The Associated Press asks today's aviation leaders what they are predicting for the next 5, 25, and 100 years of flying. By Scott Mayerowitz. AP Photos.
MEXICO CITY -- Looking around a Mexico dotted by Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Krispy Kreme outlets, it's hard to remember the country before the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has dramatically expanded consumer choice and trade since it took effect 20 years ago Jan. 1. While it changed the country in some fundamentally ways, the treaty never met many of its sweeping promises to close Mexico's wage gap with the United States, boost job growth, fight poverty and protect the environment. Mexico's weak unions and competition from Asia and Central America kept wages down; the tightening of security along the U.S. border closed off Mexico's immigration "escape valve," and environmental provisions in the agreement proved less powerful than those protecting investors. By Mark Stevenson. AP Photos.
CARACAS, Venezuela -- For three weeks Venezuelan economists have complained that the central bank is delaying delivery of its inflation report to hide the government's poor record of containing prices. Its release on Friday only fueled those suspicions. By Joshua Goodman. AP Photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST
NEW YORK -- As I look back at the more than 100 tech products we reviewed in 2013, a handful of gadgets and services deserve a second look. It's become clear that one brand rarely stands out any more in whatever product category you look at. Competition is more intense than ever, which means consumers have more choices than ever. That's why coming up with a "best of" list for 2013 proved difficult. So instead of a comprehensive list, I'm highlighting five big trends. These are also areas where further innovations are likely in 2014, so stay tuned. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun. AP Photo.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
ATLANTA -- B.o.B has made his mark in pop music with the hits "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes," but it's been hard for the rapper to be taken seriously by some urban radio stations and nightclubs -- even in his hometown of Atlanta. By Jonathan Landrum Jr. AP Photos.
NEW YORK -- Broadway's highest grossing show in 2013 wasn't a new strutting musical or a bawdy one or even one with a big star. The crown goes to a regal but gray-maned performer -- "The Lion King," now in its 16th year. And another veteran turned heads when "Wicked" recorded Broadway's highest single-week gross ever. By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. AP Photo.