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More than a year after prosecutors say Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed Laquan McDonald, 17, a first-degree murder charge has been filed against the officer.

McDonald was shot 16 times in October of 2014. Police say he had refused to follow officers' instructions as he walked down a street with a knife, and that he had punctured several cars' tires. An attorney for McDonald's family says he had his back to the officers when he was shot.

These days it seems like the holidays are running together — at least commercially speaking — when Halloween masks start popping up around Labor Day and Christmas trappings are for sale in the stores before Thanksgiving.

In the stores it feels sort of like Hallothankshanachristmasgivingween.

But the jumbling of holidays is not exclusive to contemporary times. Turns out that people all across America used to wear costumes on or near Thanksgiving, which effectively created a mash-up of Halloween and Turkey Day.

President Obama and French President François Hollande promised to increase cooperation and expand attacks against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

During a joint press conference with Hollande at the White House, Obama said that the United States and France "owe our freedom to each other."

After the Paris attacks, Obama said, "our hearts broke too."

"In that stadium, concert hall, restaurants and cafes we see our own," Obama said. "Today we stand with you."

Five people were injured last night as gunmen opened fire near the site of a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis.

According to a statement posted to the group's Facebook page, the men, whom they call "white supremacists," opened fire after they were asked to leave and were then escorted away from the encampment.

Mark Vancleave of the Minnesota Star Tribune tweeted this video of a protester recounting the event:

Americans Weigh In On Excitement

11 hours ago
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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



A Mother Hangs Her Hopes On A New High School

11 hours ago

Last year, when Jann Peña was in eighth grade at a public school and his little brother was in second grade at a charter school, the little brother got more homework.

That was just fine with Jann, an easygoing 14-year-old who passed his ample free time racing cars on his Xbox. But it was unacceptable to the boys' mother, Jovanka Anderson, a Dominican immigrant who wants to give her children a better life than she has.

Turkey says that after issuing 10 warnings in five minutes, two of its F-16s shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey claims violated its airspace.

Up, Up And Away: Balloon School For Parade Newbies

13 hours ago

The Thanksgiving Day holiday traditionally brings with it parades and balloons — really big balloons that scrape the skyline in cities like New York or Detroit. Someone has to keep those helium-filled balloons from floating away. Have no fear — there's special training for those tasked with keeping the balloons from floating away.

In a massive Detroit parking lot, a star is rising — it's a happy star, you can tell by the grin painted on it. It's a balloon, ready to be used by those practicing for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day parade.

In a West Bank settlement, Israelis are taking down a synagogue. The country's highest court ordered its removal because it was built without a permit on property owned by Palestinians.

It's a rare move, and the story of how this came to be reveals a heated debate around judicial activism, government money, and settlers' political power.

Two weeks ago, the Ayalet HaShahar synagogue in the Giv'at Ze'ev settlement was packed with young Israeli men.