Winner of $77 million Powerball loses out

Someone left $77 million on the table. A winning Powerball ticket expired on Monday after no one came forward to claim the jackpot. The ticket was sold June 29 at the Pilot Travel Center truck stop along Interstate 20 in Tallapoosa. Players have 180 days to claim their prize. The unclaimed money will be returned proportionately to each participating state.


Obama will seek debt-limit increase

President Obama will ask Congress this week for $1.2 trillion in additional borrowing authority, which would raise the federal debt limit to $16.4 trillion and avoid the need for further increases before the 2012 elections, administration officials said. This would be the final increase allowed under the budget agreement reached in August after the government came close to default. Congress will have 15 days to say no. But because the House is out of session until Jan. 17 and the Senate is gone until Jan. 23, it is probable that the debt ceiling will be increased without a whimper.


Deadly blaze caused by fireplace embers

A Christmas morning fire that killed five people in a mansion in Stamford was started by fireplace embers that had been discarded, officials said. Around 3 a.m., a friend staying in the home put the fireplace ashes in a bag and left it in or outside a mudroom attached to the rear of the house, said Stamford's fire marshal.


India, Pakistan move to renew arms pact

India and Pakistan tentatively agreed to renew an agreement that aims to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war. After two days of confidence-building talks in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad -- the first such talks in four years -- diplomats from both nations said they would recommend that their governments extend a pact that requires the countries to give notice of impending strategic weapon activity, such as ballistic missile tests.


Rules for foreigners to be overhauled

China is planning an overhaul of its regulations for foreign workers, making it easier for professionals while closing the door to the hundreds of thousands of low-wage farm, factory and domestic workers from poorer neighboring nations such as Vietnam and North Korea. Although illegal immigration isn't the lightning rod in China that it is in the United States, it is becoming a larger issue. China's prosperity and periodic labor shortages have drawn migrants from as far away as Africa.