Nation/World | page 39


THURSDAY, DEC. 24, 2015

Mamadou Aliou Ba, , who dresses as Santa Claus, poses Dec. 17 for a photograph in front of a supermarket in Dakar, Senegal.

In Senegal, Christmas is celebrated by Muslims

DAKAR, Senegal – After his morning prayers at the mosque, 25-year-old Mamadou Aliou Ba puts on his Santa suit, the padded belly protruding from his thin, tall frame, and goes to work. He stands proudly, smiling from behind a snowy white mustache and beard that take over his face, waving to families walking by the supermarket in one of Dakar’s wealthier neighborhoods. Ba is one of many Pere Noels, or Father Christmases, seen in Senegal’s capital this festive season. He, like the majority of Senegalese, is Muslim and yet celebrates Christmas.

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Some military discharges mean no benefits after service ends

ST. LOUIS – No medical or mental health care. No college or work training. For many who leave the U.S. military with less-than-honorable discharges, including thousands who suffered injuries and anguish, standard veterans benefits are off limits. The discharge serves as a scarlet letter of dishonor, and the effects can be severe: Ex-military members with mental health problems or post-traumatic stress disorder can’t turn to Veterans Affairs; those who want to go to college aren’t eligible for the GI Bill; the jobless get no assistance for career training; the homeless are excluded from vouchers.

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In this Monday, Dec. 8, 1997, file photo, actor Robert Downey Jr. listens to Municipal Judge Lawrence Mira in a Malibu, Calif., courtroom before being sentenced to six months in jail for violating parole on a prior drug conviction. California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday pardoned Downey Jr. for a nearly 20-year-old felony drug conviction that sent the Oscar-nominated actor to jail for nearly a year.

People: California governor pardons Robert Downey Jr. in drug case

The governor of California pardoned Robert Downey Jr. on Thursday for a nearly 20-year-old felony drug conviction that led to the Oscar-nominated actor’s imprisonment for roughly a year. Downey was among 91 people granted pardons for criminal convictions after demonstrating they had rehabilitated themselves and been out of custody for at least 10 years, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office announced.

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 23, 2015

New Jersey girl calls 911 after touching Elf on the Shelf

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. – A New Jersey girl called 911 after she touched her Elf on the Shelf. Police say 7-year-old Isabelle LaPeruta of Old Bridge was worried because, according to the popular children’s book, the magic of Christmas goes away if the elf is touched.

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Grand jury indicts truck driver in Tracy Morgan crash

A New Jersey grand jury on Wednesday indicted the truck driver who crashed into a limo van carrying Tracy Morgan, killing one man and severely injuring the comedian. The grand jury charged Kevin Roper with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide and third-degree aggravated assault charges in the 2014 crash.

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US blocks UK Muslim family from boarding plane to Disneyland

LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron will look into claims that U.S. officials prevented a British Muslim family of 11 from flying to Disneyland for a planned holiday. The issue is sensitive because U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the U.S. due to concerns about extremist attacks.

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A U.S. service member salutes her fallen comrades during a Wednesday memorial ceremony at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, for six airmen who were killed Monday in a suicide attack.

What’s behind the Taliban onslaught in Afghanistan?

KABUL, Afghanistan – It’s starting to look like the bad old days in Afghanistan. After six Americans were killed in a suicide bombing this week, and with the U.S. and Britain deploying troops to help battle a Taliban onslaught in strategic Helmand province, Afghanistan looks as shaky as at any point since U.S.-led international forces withdrew into a smaller, supporting role 12 months ago.

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AP interview: Carson suggests campaign shake-up is coming

UPPERCO, Md. – Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Wednesday morning he is moving toward a major shake-up of his struggling campaign, with less than six weeks to go until early voting begins to select party nominees. Yet by Wednesday evening, he tried to steer away from that message, announcing that all is well in the Carson camp.

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A person carries his dry cleaning while walking in the rain Wednesday through midtown Atlanta. In parts of Georgia, including Atlanta, a flood watch was posted through Friday evening, the National Weather Service said.

4 killed as ‘dangerous’ storm system sweeps across South

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. – A storm system forecasters called “particularly dangerous” killed at least six people as it swept across the country Wednesday, and officials were searching for missing residents into the night. Tornadoes touched down in Indiana and Mississippi, where three were killed. The springlike storms packing strong winds killed two more in Tennessee.

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TUESDAY, DEC. 22, 2015

Things to watch in 2016: Steady economy is the new hot

WASHINGTON – After a year free from government shutdowns and other self-inflicted wounds, the U.S. economy in 2016 is expected to power forward at a steady, albeit unspectacular pace. Given all the global uncertainty, steady is the new strong. A six-year U.S. economic expansion, long by historical standards, rolls on.

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Support for legal abortion at highest level in 2 years

WASHINGTON – Support for legal abortion in the U.S. has edged up to its highest level in the past two years, with an Associated Press-GfK poll showing an apparent increase in support among Democrats and Republicans alike over the last year. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans – 58 percent – now think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 51 percent who said so at the beginning of the year, according to the AP-GfK survey. It was conducted after three people were killed last month in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

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Prosecutor says no indictment in Sandra Bland jail death

A grand jury decided that neither sheriff’s officials nor jailers committed a crime in the treatment of a black woman who died in a Texas county jail last summer, but has not yet determined whether the state trooper who arrested her should face charges, a prosecutor said.

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Blogs

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More education writing. This week covers imposter syndrome, (especially among high-achieving students of color) the five folk looking to run the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (what a ...




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