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AP Top News at 4:43 p.m. EST

INSIDE KOBANI: Devastation mixed with optimism
KOBANI, Syria (AP) - Blocks of low-rise buildings with hollow facades, shattered concrete, streets strewn with rubble and overturned, crumpled remains of cars and trucks. Such is the landscape in Kobani, where the sounds of rifle and mortar fire resonate all day long in fighting between Islamic State extremists and the Syrian town's Kurdish defenders. Kurdish fighters peek through sand-bagged positions, firing at suspected militant positions. Female fighters in trenches move quickly behind sheets strung up to block the view of snipers. Foreign jets circle overhead.


BLACK FRIDAY LIVE: Thinner crowds, protests, beer
NEW YORK (AP) - Black Friday shoppers are starting to look like procrastinators. The traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season didn't seem as frenzied as in past years after many die-hard shoppers swarmed stores the night before on Thanksgiving.


Ferguson protests move to retail stores
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Demonstrators sought to catch the attention of shoppers looking for good deals on Friday, going to major retailers around the St. Louis area to speak out about a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. Other Black Friday protests were planned at shopping centers around the nation, though attendance was seemingly sparse aside from in Chicago, where about 200 people gathered near the city's popular Magnificent Mile shopping district.


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Michael Brown's legacy continues to evolve
NEW YORK (AP) - For some Americans on opposite sides of a national debate, Michael Brown has become a symbol, epitomizing their polarized views on who bears the blame for the toll of young black men killed by police officers. Brown was a gentle giant, in one version. A defiant troublemaker, in another. Yet as more details of the 18-year-old's life and death emerge, his legacy in the eyes of many is more nuanced, reflecting the ups and downs and challenges faced by many young Americans.


Police: Blasts at mosque in Nigeria kill 35 people
KANO, Nigeria (AP) - Multiple explosions tore through the central mosque in Nigeria's second-largest city on Friday, killing 35 people, police said. 150 others also sustained various degrees of injuries in the blasts in the city Kano, State Deputy Police Commissioner Sanusi Lemu said.


French president cheered in Ebola-stricken Guinea
CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) - French President Francois Hollande brought a message of hope to Guinea on Friday, where thousands of residents lined the roads while clapping, drumming and dancing to catch a glimpse of the first Western leader to visit a country hard hit by Ebola. Guinean President Alpha Conde greeted his French counterpart at the airport and said that if Hollande could visit the country, then anybody could.


Austin police: Man fired 100-plus rounds downtown
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A gunman fired more than 100 rounds at downtown buildings in Austin and tried to set the Mexican Consulate ablaze early Friday before he died during a confrontation with police, authorities said. Some of the targeted buildings are near the popular Sixth Street entertainment district, where bars close at 2 a.m., about the same time the shootings began. Thousands of people are typically on the street at that time, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.


Pope urges more Muslim opposition to IS in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Pope Francis urged Muslim leaders to condemn the "barbaric violence" being committed in Islam's name against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as he arrived in neighboring Turkey Friday for a delicate visit aimed at improving interfaith ties. Francis sought to offer a balanced message as he met with Turkish political and religious officials at the start of his second trip to the Middle East this year. He reaffirmed that military force was justified to halt the Islamic State group's advance, and called for greater dialogue between Christians, Muslims and people of all faiths to end fundamentalism.


Ray Rice wins appeal; NFL suspension vacated
NEW YORK (AP) - Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL. An arbitrator ruled Friday that his suspension for punching his fiancee, now his wife, should be vacated immediately. The NFL said Rice, a free agent, is "eligible to play upon signing a new contract."


GOP govs starting to strut their stuff for 2016
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - A half-dozen potential Republican presidential contenders spent last week peacocking across the sprawling grounds of a pink-hued luxury resort, schmoozing with donors and sizing up the competition in the party's most fractured field in decades. They rarely criticized each other in public, but there were subtle jabs.