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Associated Press
An Amish buggy turns onto U.S. Highway 2 in Fosston, Minn. as a winter storm begins on Wednesday, Nov. 24. The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a batch of winter weather advisories, watches and warnings for North Dakota and South Dakota through Thursday morning and a storm is expected to drop 6 to 8 inches of snow in northern Minnesota by Wednesday night.  (AP Photo/Grand Forks Herald, Eric Hylden)

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A planned boycott of airport security scanners was a bust, but holiday travelers in the western U.S. had to contend with a chaotic mix of snow, sleet and ice. The powerful storm system closed roads and delayed flights from Anchorage to Salt Lake City, and promised to bring messy wintery weather to much of the Dakotas on Thanksgiving Day. Freezing rain glazed roads across the Midwest, and at least three traffic deaths in Iowa were blamed on the weather.

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's defense minister resigned Thursday amid intense criticism two days after a North Korean artillery attack killed four people on a small island near the Koreas' disputed frontier. The move came as President Lee Myung-bak vowed to send more troops to the front-line South Korean island and as residents tried to salvage belongings from the blackened wreckage of their homes. Pyongyang warned of additional attacks if provoked.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister appealed to the country's warring political factions for unity after formally accepting on Thursday a request by the president to form the next government, part of a deal to end an eight-month deadlock over who would lead the country the next four years. The long-awaited request from President Jalal Talabani sets in motion a 30-day timeline to accomplish the daunting task of finding a team that includes all of Iraq's rival factions and will oversee the country during the departure of American troops.

NEW YORK (AP) — A high-kicking Kung Fu Panda and a diary-toting Wimpy Kid are joining the giant balloon lineup for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the parade route as the annual extravaganza began on a chilly, overcast Thursday. Millions more were expected to watch the live broadcast on NBC.

NEW YORK (AP) — After two Christmas seasons of pushing socks, pajamas and other basics as gifts, retailers are betting that Americans are ready to give a little more this year. The flashy sweater is replacing the basic winter coat, jewelry is starting to sparkle again, and the gift card for gasoline is being trumped by the gift card at the mall. Black Friday displays are being loaded with fancier laptops, bigger TVs and deluxe gym sets, though stores acknowledge shoppers will buy only if it's a good deal.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An American man returns on Thursday to the United States where he could face prosecution for drowning his wife during their 2003 honeymoon on the Great Barrier Reef, a crime for which he has served 18 months in an Australian prison. Gabe Watson, 33, was deported on a commercial flight Thursday from the southern Australian city of Melbourne to Los Angeles accompanied by two Immigration Department staff and three Queensland state police officers, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The World Health Organization on Thursday welcomed a statement by Pope Benedict XVI that condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. "The Pope's statement is in line with evidence that condoms are highly effective in preventing infection with the HIV virus," said Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, based in Manila.

NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Joel is recovering from double hip-replacement surgery. Joel spokeswoman Claire Mercuri told People magazine Wednesday that the 61-year-old pop star had both hips replaced last week to correct a congenital condition.

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said before the Maui Invitational he had no idea how good his team would be, joking that he was still trying to figure out his players' names. The grizzled coach has always been known as a sandbagger, though, and that one turned out to be a whopper.

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