MONROE, La. (AP) -- A storm system is sweeping across the central and southern U.S., bringing tornadoes and wind gusts that ripped roofs from barns and hurled trees into power lines.
Officials said at least two people were killed Saturday. A man died after his mobile home overturned in northern Mississippi and another man was killed when his car hit a tree that had fallen across a county road in southeastern Mississippi. Jasper County Coroner Randy Graham says a woman who was in the car was critically injured.
Tens of thousands of people had their power knocked out.
In Arkansas, at least five people were injured and two dozen homes were damaged after two apparent tornadoes touched down
COLORADO SCHOOL SHOOTING
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) -- A Colorado hospital says a suburban Denver high school student has died more than a week after being shot by a classmate who then killed himself.
Seventeen-year-old Claire Davis had been in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range at Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13. Friends and well-wishers had been posting prayers online and raising money to help pay for her medical care.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson says Davis appeared to be a random target.
Authorities say 18-year-old Karl Pierson was likely targeting a librarian who had disciplined him when he entered the school with a shotgun, a machete and three Molotov cocktails. Robinson says Pierson shot Davis before killing himself. The librarian escaped the school unharmed.
CHICAGO (AP) -- A storm with a 2,000-mile footprint is threatening to frustrate Christmas travelers from Texas to Canada with a little of everything from freezing rain, ice and snow to flooding, thunderstorms and at least one tornado in the South.
It's bad timing for the estimated 94.5 million Americans planning to travel by road or air during this holiday season,
Forecasters say unusually warm weather in the East and very cold air in the Midwest could produce a wide variety of nasty weather. Northern areas could see heavy snow, thunderstorms could hit the South and areas in between may get an icy mix.
Oklahoma, southern Missouri and northern Arkansas have already seen significant ice accumulations. Icy roads are blamed for two traffic deaths in Oklahoma.
Authorities say a suspected tornado injured three people and damaged three homes Saturday evening near Hughes, Ark., which is just 35 miles southwest of Memphis. And the National Weather Service says a second suspected tornado touched down near Dermott in far southeastern Arkansas, injuring two people and damaging about 20 homes.
Forecasters are warning of possible tornadoes from southern Louisiana to southern Indiana.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Democrats are bracing for tough Senate races in states they hoped to win easily just two months ago.
That's thanks to the fiasco following the launch of President Barack Obama's health care law.
There were weeks of problems with the enrollment website and much anxiety over policy cancellations for millions of people.
It's all hurt Democratic candidates Gary Peters in Michigan and Mark Udall in Colorado -- and Republicans now see a better shot at retaking the Senate.
The GOP needs to pick up six seats to do that. Winning Michigan or Colorado would be a huge boost.
Both Peters, a three-term congressman, and Udall, a first-term senator, voted for the 2010 law. They also echoed Obama's now disproven claim that people could keep the health insurance they had.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is urging Congress to resist new sanctions against Iran because current agreements have a good chance to rein in that country's nuclear ambitions.
Obama told reporters Friday that Iran has agreed to actions that will let other nations determine whether it is trying to weaponize nuclear materials. Iran says the materials are for peaceful uses only.
The president said he would support tougher sanctions later if Iran violates the agreement.
He said it's politically popular for some lawmakers to look tough against Iran. Obama urged Congress to hold off and give current diplomacy a chance to work.
Israel says the current agreements are too lenient with Iran.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Post is reporting that a covert CIA program has helped Colombia's government kill at least two dozen leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the rebel insurgency also known as FARC.
The Post says the National Security Agency has also provided "substantial eavesdropping help" to the Colombian government.
And the paper says the U.S. provided Colombia with GPS equipment that can be used to transform regular munitions into "smart bombs" that can accurately home in on specific targets, even if they are located in dense jungles.
The Post report is based on interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing
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."
Obama's group heading to Sochi includes openly gay athletes Brian Boitano, Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. He says the delegation "speaks for itself," and they are world-class athletes who happen to be gay.
The Sochi Games are the first since 2000 to which the U.S. is not sending a president, former president, first lady or vice president.
Obama says it would be tough for him to attend the games himself next year with all that's going on in Washington. But he predicted he will attend again after his presidency.
Pa. pastor defrocked over gay wedding offered job
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who was defrocked after officiating his son's gay wedding has been invited by a California Methodist bishop to serve in her region.
Frank Schaefer says he is deciding whether to accept the offer from Bishop Minerva G. Carcano (car-CAHN'-yo) to join the California-Pacific Annual Conference. The region includes California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands.
Carcano does not have the authority to restore his credentials but he says he would have the same rights.
Schaefer on Friday appealed the decision of the church's regional Board of Ordained Ministry to defrock him.
A church jury suspended him for 30 days last month and told him to decide whether he would uphold the church's Book of Discipline or resign. Schaefer refused to surrender his credentials.
UNITED STATES-SOUTH SUDAN
HONOLULU (AP) -- President Barack Obama says any effort in South Sudan to seize power through military force will lead the U.S. and others to cut off support.
The White House says Obama, who's vacationing in Hawaii, spoke with his national security team Saturday about the situation in South Sudan.
Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, briefed Obama by phone after leading a meeting with aides in Washington.
Earlier Saturday, gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate Americans in a remote region that's become a battle ground between South Sudan's military and renegade troops.
The White House says four wounded troops are in stable condition.
The White House says Obama told advisers that the conflict can be peacefully resolved only through negotiations.
GIRL KILLED TRASH BIN
WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) -- Authorities say an Ohio man has been indicted by a grand jury in the rape and strangulation of a 9-year-old girl whose body was found in a trash bin at the trailer park where they were neighbors.
Officials in Wayne County say the grand jury returned an indictment on Friday against 24-year-old Jerrod Metsker in the death last Saturday of 9-year-old Reann Murphy. The grand jury charged him with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape.
Authorities say the death penalty would be available as punishment if Metsker is convicted of murder.
Authorities say Metsker was the last person seen with Reann at the trailer park in Smithville, southwest of Akron. He is being held on $1 million bond. An attorney for Metsker previously said he couldn't comment on the case.
DYING GIRL-CHRISTMAS CAROLS
WEST READING, Pa. (AP) -- Thousands of Christmas carolers are gathered to sing outside the home of a terminally ill Pennsylvania girl.
The singers are fulfilling one of 8-year-old Delaney Brown's wishes: a huge holiday sing-along outside her West Reading home. On her "Team Laney" Facebook page, a picture of Delaney giving two thumbs up was accompanied by the text, "I can hear you now!!! Love you!"
Delaney was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in May. Her family says earlier this week doctors gave her only days to live.
Supporters have been trying to fulfill a number of Delaney's wishes. She video chatted with singer Taylor Swift on Friday, her eighth birthday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The family of President Dwight D. Eisenhower says his son, 91-year-old John S.D. Eisenhower, has died.
The retired brigadier general and military historian had resided on Maryland's Eastern Shore in the community of Trappe, Md. No cause was given for his death Saturday.
John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower was born in Denver in 1922 to Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie. He was an assistant staff secretary in the White House during the last few years of his father's administration, and served as U.S. ambassador to Belgium during the Nixon administration.
Eisenhower was the author of numerous books about military history.
He is survived by his second wife, Joanne, son David and daughters Anne, Susan and Mary.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the bipartisan budget approved by Congress is a hopeful sign that Washington can end its cycle of crisis-driven decisions.
Obama in his weekly Saturday radio and Internet address praises the agreement for easing some across-the-board spending cuts that would have otherwise automatically hit programs from defense to education.
While praising a new spirit of cooperation, Obama still faults Congress for not extending jobless benefits that will expire this month for 1.3 million Americans.
In the Republican address, Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois criticizes the new health care law as unfair to young Americans. He says the law should be scrapped because it shifts costs to younger, healthier people to keep premiums from skyrocketing for others.
Schock spoke from Eureka College in Illinois, Ronald Reagan's alma mater.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she hasn't made up her mind about whether to run for president in 2016 but will "make that decision sometime next year."
Clinton says in an interview with Barbara Walters of ABC News that it's a "difficult decision" she does not want to rush into.
She says in the interview the focus should be on issues like unemployment, people "getting kicked off food stamps" and small business that cannot get access to credit.
Polls show Clinton as the leading Democratic contender to succeed President Barack Obama. The former first lady is writing a book about her State Department years that will be released next year.