Americans prepare to mark Thanksgiving with family, celebrations; Sandy overshadows for some
NEW YORK — Airports, train stations and highways were expected to remain busy as people made their way home to reconnect with family and friends for Thanksgiving — although some reunions might be bittersweet because of the damage and displacement caused by Superstorm Sandy.
For some, the once-sacrosanct harvest feast now starts the holiday shopping season — and store openings keep getting earlier. Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving day itself at many national stores and some shoppers eagerly race from their dinner tables to line up for bargains, delaying their second helpings until they’ve purchased the latest toys or electronic devices.
The popular Macy’s thanksgiving Day Parade, attended by more than 3 million people and watched by 50 million on television, was scheduled to kick off in New York City.
This year, the giant balloons were to welcome Elf on a Shelf and Papa Smurf. A new version of Hello Kitty was to be included while Buzz Lightyear, Sailor Mickey Mouse and the Pillsbury Doughboy remained in the lineup. Real life stars were to include Carly Rae Jepsen and Rachel Crow of “The X Factor.”
Other cities planned to have showy marching bands, cartoon character balloons, and musical extravaganzas, as well. Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit were among the big cities hosting parades.
Trouble not over for Jesse Jackson Jr. after resignation with looming investigation and health
CHICAGO — Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Congress might end his once-promising political career but it doesn’t mark the end of troubles for the civil rights icon’s son.
The nine-term Chicago congressman submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday. The letter confirms publicly for the first time that he’s under a federal probe and cooperating with investigators. Jackson also admits that his health issues have kept him from returning to work as he wants.
Jackson’s attorneys say it could be months before there’s a resolution to the investigation.
Meanwhile members of the House Ethics Committee could decide to release a final report on what they found in their probe of Jackson’s ties to ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Analysis: With Mideast cease-fire, US pins hopes on Egypt’s new Islamist government
WASHINGTON — In frantic diplomacy, the Obama administration helped seal a cease-fire that puts heavy responsibility on Egypt’s young Islamist government to ensure the end of Hamas rockets from the Gaza Strip. If Egypt delivers, the United States will have rediscovered the stalwart regional partner it has lacked since the autocratic Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in a popular revolt last year. If it fails, stability across the region will suffer.
Much depends on whether the agreement brokered by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi proves durable and halts not only a week of open warfare that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis, but definitively ends rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza that grew increasingly frequent in recent months.
Standing beside Morsi’s foreign minister in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham said the deal would improve conditions for Gaza’s 1.5 million people while offering greater security for the Jewish state — but the fierceness of the recent encounter meant no one was declaring it a success yet.
And U.S. officials familiar with Clinton’s last-minute diplomatic shuttling warned against making any judgments until the cease-fire proves to hold.
The U.S. is counting on Morsi to shepherd the peace. The former Muslim Brotherhood leader emerged from his first major international crisis with enhanced prestige and now has a track record as someone who can mediate between the two sworn enemies, something the United States cannot do because it considers Hamas a terrorist organization and doesn’t allow contacts between its members and American officials.
Thunder snap Clippers’ 6-game winning streak, 117-111 in overtime clash of division leaders
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kendrick Perkins challenged his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates before a showdown of division leaders with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
The Thunder had lost their first two games this season against other top teams in the Western Conference, and Perkins wanted that trend to stop immediately.
It wasn’t easy, but Oklahoma City got the job done.
Kevin Durant scored 35 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and Oklahoma City’s All-Star tandem scored all of the Thunder’s points in overtime in a 117-111 victory over the Clippers.
“It felt good to finally get one of those wins, and we can move on now,” Durant said.