CANNON BALL/FORT YATES, N.D. - U.S. veterans, thousands of whom last week helped stop a contested oil pipeline running through North Dakota, could become important partners of activists on the environment, the economy, race and other issues that divide Americans. Several academics said the effort to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others opposed to the pipeline project was likely the biggest gathering of its kind of former military personnel since the early 1970s when U.S. veterans marched against the Vietnam War.
John Glenn, who became one of the 20th century's greatest explorers as the first American to orbit Earth and later as the world's oldest astronaut, in addition to a long career as a U.S. senator, died on Thursday, Dec. 8, at age of 95. Glenn was the last surviving member of the original seven "Right Stuff" Mercury astronauts. "John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio's ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve," Ohio Governor John Kasich said in a statement.
NEW YORK - Almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted, according to the largest survey taken of transgender people in the United States. The survey of 27,715 respondents reached an estimated 2 percent of the adult transgender population in 2015, seeking to fill a gap in data about a severely understudied group whose experiences and challenges from medicine to law to economics and family relations are poorly understood.
NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate a third retired general for a top job in his new administration with the choice of a battle-hardened Marine commander to lead the agency set up after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to protect the U.S. homeland. Trump is expected to name former Marine General John Kelly, 66, as head of the Department of Homeland Security, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
VATICAN CITY - Media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement, Pope Francis said in an interview published on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Francis told the Belgian Catholic weekly "Tertio" that spreading disinformation was "probably the greatest damage that the media can do" and using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin.
LOS ANGELES/HONOLULU - It has been 75 years, but U.S. Navy veteran James Leavelle can still recall watching with horror as Japanese warplanes rained bombs down on his fellow sailors in the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War Two. Bullets bounced off the steel deck of his own ship, the USS Whitney, anchored just outside Honolulu harbor, but a worse fate befell those aboard the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS Utah and others that capsized in an attack that killed 2,400 people.
CLEVELAND - Ohio lawmakers approved a bill that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks after conception, clearing the way for one of the most stringent abortion restrictions in the United States if it becomes law. The Republican-led state House of Representatives and Senate passed the so-called "heartbeat" measure late on Tuesday, Dec. 6, sending it to be signed into law by Republican Governor John Kasich. Kasich, an abortion opponent, has in the past questioned whether such legislation would be constitutional.
WASHINGTON - Time Magazine has named U.S. President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year, citing the upheaval in American politics brought about by the election campaign and victory of the New York businessman. "It's hard to measure the scale of his disruption," Time said in its announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 7, noting Trump's eclectic career as real estate magnate and reality television star before winning the highest office in the land.
WASHINGTON - A man charged with firing an assault rifle in a packed Washington pizzeria on Sunday, Dec. 4, told police he had read online that children were being held as sex slaves there and he wanted to rescue them, police said on Monday. The Comet Ping Pong restaurant for weeks had been the subject of fake news stories claiming falsely that it was the hub of a child sex ring organized by 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
ATLANTA — A Georgia man was sentenced on Monday, Dec. 5, to life in prison plus 32 years for intentionally leaving his toddler son to die inside a sweltering sport utility vehicle on a summer day. A jury of six men and six women convicted Justin Ross Harris, 35, last month on all eight counts in the June 2014 death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.