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NEWS BRIEFS


Ferguson protests move to Target, Wal-Mart stores

MANCHESTER, Mo. (AP) — Dozens of people have interrupted holiday shopping at major retail stores around the St. Louis area to speak out about a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. The protests began Thanksgiving night and continued early Friday. Protesters spent a few minutes at each store, shouting inside. Officer in at least one store ordered them to leave. There was no immediate word of any arrests.


A glance at Ferguson: Then, now and the future

ST. LOUIS (AP) — During a quiet holiday night in Ferguson, a small group of protesters demonstrated inside St. Louis-area retail stores, speaking out about a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. The protests, which appeared to be peaceful, continued Friday morning at the start of what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.


Immigrants' chances tied to their state's polices

PHOENIX (AP) — If Christian Avila lived a few hundred miles to the west, he would have a driver's license, qualify for in-state college tuition and a host of other opportunities available to young people granted legal status by President Barack Obama two years ago. But Avila lives in Phoenix, and the 24-year-old immigrant who was brought here from Mexico by his parents at age 9 still has to navigate the sprawling city in fear as he drives to school or work.


Rebels push forward in southern Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels backed by the United States are making their biggest gains yet south of the capital Damascus, capturing a string of towns from government forces and aiming to carve out a swath of territory leading to the doorstep of President Bashar Assad's seat of power The advances appear to be a rare visible success story from efforts by the U.S. and its allies to train and arm moderate rebel fighters.


Oil plunge a panacea for crude-reliant Asia

A renewed plunge in oil prices is a worrying sign of weakness in the global economy that could shake governments dependent on oil revenues. It is also a panacea as pump prices fall, giving individuals more disposable income and lowering costs for many businesses. Partly because of the shale oil boom in the U.S., the world is awash in oil but demand from major economies is weak so prices are falling.


Pope wades into Mideast turmoil with Turkish visit

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Pope Francis is visiting Turkey at a sensitive moment for the Muslim nation, as it cares for 1.6 million refugees and weighs how to deal with the Islamic State group as its fighters grab chunks of Syria and Iraq across Turkey's southern border. Francis is expected to use his opening speeches Friday to denounce the violence being committed in God's name by the extremists, and to express solidarity with the Christians and other religious minorities who have been targeted by the onslaught, massacred or forced to leave their homes.


Russian doctor rebellion causes headache for Putin

MOSCOW (AP) — Dr. Semyon Galperin spent a decade in medical research in Russia and as much time in the United States, working at top hospitals and research companies. Despite his expertise, Galperin was recently given a stark ultimatum from the Moscow hospital where he works: Leave or stay on as a lowly hospital attendant. Galperin's job is being eliminated as part of a sweeping reform in which at least 28 Moscow hospitals are to be closed and up to 10,000 medical staff fired, an overhaul that officials say is needed to modernize a decrepit Soviet-era health system. On Sunday, thousands of doctors and their patients are set to march against the reform as part of the first mass social protest in Russia in nearly a decade — a threat to President Vladimir Putin who faced down a wave of political protests launched in 2011 and is now struggling with a faltering economy.


Energy revolution spells doom for German village

ATTERWASCH, Germany (AP) — Five days a week, a giant machine eats its way through soil at the Jaenschwalde open-cast mine in eastern Germany, exposing the brown coal buried beneath. Lignite, as this form of compressed peat is known, is becoming an increasingly important part of Germany's effort to phase out nuclear energy. It's also the reason why Atterwasch, a village that survived the Thirty Years' War, a Soviet onslaught at the end of World War II and four hard decades of communist rule is slated to be razed.


Southern Democrats urge a return to party basics

ATLANTA (AP) — Southern Democrats are joining others in the party who say that a return to advocating to lift people out of economic hardship and emphasizing spending on education and public works will re-energize black voters and attract whites as well. "It's time to draw a line in the sand and not surrender our brand," Rickey Cole, the party chairman in Mississippi, said. He believes candidates have distanced themselves from the past half-century of Democratic principles.


Sherman's big night leads Seattle past 49ers again

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — At midfield, Richard Sherman cradled a game ball in his right hand and took a chomp out of a turkey leg with his left. Seattle's do-everything, unguarded cornerback certainly earned his postgame feast after a two-interception night that kept the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks right in the NFC West race with a 19-3 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.










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