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AP Top News at 4:28 p.m. EST

Obama defends legal authority _ to pardon turkeys
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has issued an executive action that some of his Republican opponents may be hard-pressed to disagree with - sparing Thanksgiving turkeys from the dinner table. In the spirit of the holiday, Obama on Wednesday took "action fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me," to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey, a 49-pound bird named Cheese. He also spared an alternate turkey, a 47-pounder named Mac. Both came from Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio.


Protesters force lockdown of St. Louis City Hall
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Several people protesting the Ferguson grand jury decision stormed into City Hall in St. Louis on Wednesday, leading police to lock down the building and to call in more than a hundred additional officers. At least two people were arrested after the incident, in which the protesters shouted "Shame, shame" while rushing into the building.


Snow and rain delay Thanksgiving travelers
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) - A sloppy mix of rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday just as millions of Americans began the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways hazardous along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor. By early afternoon, more than 600 flights had been canceled, the bulk of them in the Northeast, during what is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Thousands of flight delays were also expected as the snow from the nor'easter piled up.


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Moment by moment lead to killing of Ferguson teen
The two friends' morning intersected by chance in the parking lot of the Canfield Green apartment complex. Dorian Johnson had been up since 7 a.m. on this overcast August Saturday and after getting dressed, he was ready for a smoke - on any other morning a carefree ritual for easing into his day's routine in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Heading out in search of a cigarillo to roll some marijuana, Johnson spotted 18-year-old Michael Brown on the walkway threading the cluster of three-story brick buildings. "Big Mike" had just finished helping a woman get her children into a car. Now the two men, who'd met just a few months earlier, fell into easy conversation.


Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81
WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a heart stent implanted on Wednesday, reviving talk about how long the 81-year-old liberal jurist will be staying on the court. Ginsburg was expected back at work on Monday, but her hospitalization - just three weeks after elections handed Republicans control of the Senate - raised anew the question whether President Barack Obama would be able to appoint a like-minded replacement.


Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving
WASHINGTON (AP) - There's no free lunch - or breakfast or dinner - for President Barack Obama on Thanksgiving Day. Or any other day for that matter. He has to dig into his pocket to pay for his holiday feast of turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, sweet and regular potatoes, and six different kinds of pie. It's a longstanding practice that a president pays for meals for himself, his family and personal guests.


Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli police are watching from above in their attempts to keep control in Jerusalem in the face of the city's worst wave of violence in nearly a decade. Police have been flying surveillance balloons over the city's eastern sector and Old City - the location of its most sensitive holy sites - to monitor protests and move in on them quickly. They say the puffy white balloons, which carry a rotating spherical camera pod, have greatly helped quell the unrest. But the eyes in the sky are unnerving Palestinians.


Turkey's great escape foils my Thanksgiving plans
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Two Sundays before Thanksgiving, my farming partner and I brought a live turkey in a burlap sack to our urban farm on the outskirts of Portland. The lanky brown-feathered bird quietly took her place in our chicken coop. The turkey was intended to become Thanksgiving dinner, but she had other plans.


Thanksgiving Eve: Very busy, but not busiest
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often called the nation's busiest travel day of the year, and it surely feels that way sometimes. But it's probably not entirely true. A U.S. Transportation Department study based on 2001 figures found that when cars are taken into account - along with planes, trains and buses - Thanksgiving Day itself is actually a heavier travel day.


US cities urged to keep price tags down for 2024
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The magic number for the U.S. cities hoping to host the 2024 Olympics is $5 billion. Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington have all submitted spending plans under that mark for their bids to host the Olympics. Keeping the price tag down is a key goal of any future Olympic bid.