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December 6, 2021

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AP Top News at 12:20 a.m. EST

Updated Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 | 9:20 p.m.

Families struggle with how to hold 2nd pandemic Thanksgiving

(AP) — Back in the spring, Pauline Criel and her cousins talked about reuniting for Thanksgiving at her home near Detroit after many painful months of seclusion because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus had a different plan. Michigan is now the nation's hot spot. Hospitals there are teeming with patients, and schools are scaling back in-person learning. A resurgent virus has pushed new infections in the U.S. to 95,000 daily, hospitals in Minnesota, Colorado and Arizona are also under pressure, and health officials are pleading with unvaccinated people not to travel. Criel's big family feast was put on hold.

Their own words may have doomed men who killed Ahmaud Arbery

The video of Ahmaud Arbery's shotgun death was a shocking piece of evidence that suddenly brought the Black man's killing into the national consciousness. But the murder convictions of the three white men who chased him may have been secured as much by their own words to investigators the day of the shooting. Greg McMichael, who was in the bed of a pickup truck when his son killed Arbery, told police the Black man "was trapped like a rat" and he told Arbery: "Stop, or I’ll blow your f---ing head off!” Statements like that allowed prosecutors to give context to the short video that didn't show the entire shooting and had little of the five minutes that the men chased Arbery.

Ahmaud Arbery's mom: Thankful for justice and son's legacy

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Ahmaud Arbery's mother woke up Thursday with a new, very important blessing on Thanksgiving Day. But there will still be an empty chair at the family's celebrations. It is a reminder that while she feels justice was served when the three white men who helped shoot her son were convicted Wednesday for cornering and killing him as he ran through a coastal Georgia neighborhood, she will never be made whole again because her son is gone. “This is the second Thanksgiving we’ve had without Ahmaud. But at the same time I’m thankful. This is the first Thanksgiving we are saying we got justice for Ahmaud,” Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.

South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country's most populous province, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday. The coronavirus evolves as it spreads and many new variants, including those with worrying mutations, often just die out. Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time. South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing.

Russia: Death toll in Siberian coal mine blast raised to 52

MOSCOW (AP) — A devastating explosion in a Siberian coal mine Thursday left 52 miners and rescuers dead about 250 meters (820 feet) underground, Russian officials said. Hours after a methane gas explosion and fire filled the mine with toxic fumes, rescuers found 14 bodies but then were forced to halt the search for 38 others because of a buildup of methane and carbon monoxide gas from the fire. Another 239 people were rescued. The state Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies cited emergency officials as saying that there was no chance of finding any more survivors in the Listvyazhnaya mine, in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia.

France calls for European aid after 27 migrant deaths at sea

CALAIS, France (AP) — Helicopters buzzed above the waves and vessels were already scouring the cold waters when French maritime rescue volunteer Charles Devos added his boat to the frantic search for a flimsy migrant craft that foundered in the English Channel, killing at least 27. What Devos found was gruesome. But not, he later sorrowfully acknowledged, wholly unexpected. With migrants often setting off by the hundreds in flotillas of unseaworthy and overloaded vessels into the busy shipping lane crisscrossed by hulking freighters, and frequently beset by treacherous weather, waves and currents, Devos had long feared that tragedy would ensue.

Biden wishes Americans happy, closer-to-normal Thanksgiving

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday wished Americans a happy and closer-to-normal Thanksgiving, the second celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks welcoming the resumption of holiday traditions by millions of U.S. families — including his own. “As we give thanks for what we have, we also keep in our hearts those who have been lost and those who have lost so much,” the president said in a videotaped greeting recorded with first lady Jill Biden at the White House before their trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the holiday. On the island, the Bidens visited the Coast Guard station at Brant Point to meet with personnel there and virtually with U.S.

Solomon Islands leader blames foreign powers for unrest

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday blamed foreign interference over his government’s decision to switch alliances from Taiwan to Beijing for anti-government protests, arson and looting that have ravaged the capital Honiara in recent days. But critics also blamed the unrest on complaints of a lack of government services and accountability, corruption and Chinese businesses giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals. Honiara’s Chinatown and its downtown precinct have been focuses of rioters, looters and protesters who have demanded Sogavare, who has intermittently been prime minister since 2000, to resign. The National Parliament building, a police station and businesses have been set alight during two tumultuous days in which police failed to control the mob.

Former Brazil Olympic boss sentenced to jail for corruption

SAO PAULO (AP) — Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, was sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in jail for allegedly buying votes for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics. The ruling by Judge Marcelo Bretas became public Thursday. Nuzman, who also headed the Rio 2016 organizing committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion. The 79-year-old executive won't be jailed until all his appeals are heard. He and his lawyer did not comment on the decision. Bretas also sentenced to jail former Rio Gov.

Raiders beat Cowboys 36-33 in OT on field goal after penalty

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders got the third-down help they needed from Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown. Daniel Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal in overtime after Brown's fourth pass-interference penalty kept the drive alive, and the Raiders ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Cowboys 36-33 on Thursday. Carlson's career-best fifth field goal came after Brown was called for interference on Zay Jones on third-and-18. All four of Brown's interference penalties came on third-down incompletions. “The penalties obviously helped,” said Carr, whose 373 yards passing included a 56-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson for the first points.