Then-candidate Barack Obama speaks at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mason City, Iowa, in 2007. Religious messages were a more prominent part of Obama's first presidential campaign.
Credit Charlie Neibergall / AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wolfeboro, N.H. The candidate regularly attends church, but he rarely invokes religion on the campaign trail.
Religion used to be everywhere in the presidential elections. George W. Bush courted conservative believers in 2004. In 2008, Sarah Palin excited evangelicals and — unexpectedly — so did Barack Obama.
What a difference a few years make. In 2007, then-candidate Obama used evangelical language to describe his Christian conversion: He was a young, secular community organizer who occasionally visited the local Chicago church, when one day he walked to the front of the sanctuary and knelt before the cross.
Supporters of legalization of cannabis in Montevideo march toward the Legislative Palace in May as part of the 2012 Global Marijuana March.
Credit Miguel Rojo / AFP/Getty Images
Marijuana grower and activist Juan Vaz checks a marijuana plant in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, in August. Uruguay's government has sent a bill to Congress that would allow the state to grow and sell marijuana.
Increasing drug use and narcotrafficking has made some Latin American countries among the most violent places on Earth. But tiny, progressive Uruguay, where it's always been legal to use marijuana, is leading the way with an alternative drug policy.
The government of President Jose Mujica has proposed a law that would put the state in charge of producing and selling marijuana to registered users.
A new law has taken effect that's aimed at making it tougher for people to get a key ingredient needed to produce the illegal drug methamphetamine.
At the same time, the new law insures that allergy sufferers will still have access to the same substance, pseudoephedrine, which can mean the difference between clogged sinuses and being able to breathe.
The new law stops a process called "smurfing" where manufacturers of meth ask various people to buy pseudoephedrine in small amounts from different locations.
Alabama's Republican Party chairman is traveling across the state to announce that the party will send volunteers to battleground states because Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to carry Alabama by a wide margin.
Party Chairman Bill Armistead is calling the effort Alabama Battleground Patriots.
A party spokeswoman says Armistead plans stops Monday in Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and Dothan. He will be in Hoover on Tuesday.
The Republican nominee for president has carried Alabama in every election since 1980.
A new federal judge will soon take the bench in Alabama.
New Orleans native Madeline Haikala will start her new job Monday as a U.S. magistrate judge hearing cases in a district composed of 31 counties in the northern part of Alabama. The Birmingham News reports (http://bit.ly/QpmFyA ) that Haikala is the first new magistrate judge in 14 years.
Magistrate judges hear federal misdemeanor cases and conduct pre-trial proceedings.
The district attorney prosecuting cases in Monroe and Conecuh counties will soon retire.
Tommy Chapman will step down Monday from his post as district attorney for the 35th Judicial Circuit. Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Chapman's chief assistant, Steve Wadlington, to fill the remainder of Chapman's term.
Gov. Guy Hunt first appointed Chapman as the local district attorney in 1990. He was re-elected four times.
People fish at the downstream lock of he Claiborne Lock and Dam on the Alabama River Wednesday, June 29, 2011, near Claiborne, Alabama. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to restrict traffic through the locks to save money.
State officials are criticizing a plan that would limit lock usage on the Alabama and Chattahoochee rivers.
Citing budget cuts and low river traffic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said starting Oct. 7 it will allow commercial boats to transit the locks if boat operators make an appointment 72 hours in advance. The locks allow boats to bypass dams that obstruct river travel.
Recreational boats can use the locks only if the locks are being used for another purpose.