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Updated: Sat, 30 Nov 2013 01:18:46 EST


US air carriers advised to follow China's demand

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is advising U.S. air carriers abroad to comply with China's demand that it be told of any flights passing through its new maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea.

Last week China declared that all aircraft entering the zone must notify Chinese authorities beforehand, and warned that it would take unspecified defensive measures against those that don't comply.

Some neighboring countries and the U.S. have said they will not honor the new zone and that it unnecessarily raises tensions.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday that the U.S. remains deeply concerned about China's declared air identification zone. But Psaki says that it is advising U.S. air carriers abroad to comply with notification requirements issued by China.


NKorea says detained American tourist apologizes

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea state media say an elderly U.S. tourist detained for more than a month has apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for "hostile acts" against the state during a recent trip.

There was no direct word from 85-year old Merrill Newman and his alleged apology released Saturday couldn't be independently confirmed. Pyongyang has been accused of previously coercing statements from detainees.

Pyongyang says the war veteran allegedly attempted to meet with surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War and that he admitted killing civilians.

It wasn't clear what would happen to Newman now. But the statement alleges that Newman says if he goes back to the U.S. he will tell the truth about the country.


Police forcefully break up demonstration in Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Police in Ukraine's capital have forcefully broken up a large protest gathering in the central city, beating some demonstrators with truncheons.

Police moved in on the hundreds of demonstrators about 4:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) on Saturday, swinging clubs and using tear gas, according to a protest organizer, Sergei Milnichenko.

The demonstrators were the remains of a Friday protest that gathered some 10,000 people to call for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych in the wake of his refusal to sign a long-anticipated association agreement with the European Union.


'Numerous' casualties in Glasgow pub copter crash

LONDON (AP) — Scottish authorities say there are numerous casualties and people remain trapped inside a Glasgow pub after a police helicopter crashed into its roof.

Authorities early Saturday said search and rescue teams were on the scene at The Clutha pub in the city center.

Officials say a number of people have been rescued and taken to hospitals but that it is too soon to comment on the number of casualties. Scotland's leader, Alex Salmond, warned that fatalities are likely.

Asst. Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay says rescuers have made contact with some people still in the pub and are working hard to stabilize the building and "get people out."


Injuries reported in 'minor' NJ ferry accident

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a ferry boat hit a pier in Jersey City and four people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Ferry operator New York Waterway says several people fell during the accident Friday afternoon. The ferry was carrying 24 people from the World Financial Center in Manhattan.

The Jersey City Medical Center said that two passengers and two crew members were taken to the hospital. Three other passengers were evaluated at the scene.

New York Waterway spokesman Pat Smith says the boat is owned by Goldman Sachs, which is headquartered at the World Financial Center and has offices in Jersey City, but is for public use.

The city said in a statement that the ferry hit a pier. The pier is a few hundred yards from a ferry terminal.


UPDATE: Online sales strong

NEW YORK (AP) — According to preliminary data, Black Friday online sales rose 9 percent.

Store sales numbers won't be available until Saturday. But IBM Benchmark, which tracks e-commerce for 800 retailers, said online sales on Thanksgiving were up 19.7 percent from last year.

The shopping spree began early as retailers opened on Thanksgiving through Black Friday

This year may cement the transformation of the start of the holiday shopping season into a two-day affair.

Black Friday, the official start of the shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, originally was named that because it was when retailers turned a profit, or moved out of the red and into the black. Retailers opened early and offered deep discounts.

More recently, more store chains have been opening on Thanksgiving.

This year, more than a dozen major retailers stayed open for 24 hours or more on Thanksgiving Day through Black Friday, and crowds formed early and often over the two days.

That's led some to question how much further Black Friday will creep into Thanksgiving, which along with Christmas is one of only two days a year that most stores are closed.

The earlier openings have met with some resistance, including from workers' rights groups


Obama to unveil national security strategy in 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he'll release a new national security strategy next year.

The White House on Friday released a copy of a letter in which Obama informs Congress of his intent to release a new National Security Strategy in early 2014.

The document will update the strategy he outlined in 2010 as well as describe the administration's national security priorities for the remainder of his term.

In the 2010 strategy, Obama addressed how the U.S. would strengthen its position as a global leader, end the war in Iraq, disrupt, dismantle and defeat the al-Qaida terrorist network and achieve economic recovery both at home and abroad.


Health care website getting additional down time

WASHINGTON (AP) — Key parts of the government's beleaguered health insurance website will be down longer than usual this weekend as the site continues to undergo maintenance and repairs.

The Health and Human Services Department says the website HealthCare.gov will be down from 9 p.m. ET on Friday to 8 a.m. on Saturday, and again from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. ET on Sunday. The Sunday maintenance has been routine in recent weeks.

During those down times the online application and enrollment system will be unavailable.

The site designed to allow people seeking insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also called "Obamacare," has had a myriad of problems since its debut Oct. 1.


Palestinian negotiator: Peace deal still possible

JERUSALEM (AP) — The chief Palestinian negotiator in peace talks with Israel says the world needs to get tough with Israel over its continued settlement building to ensure the remaining five months of talks won't be wasted.

Saeb Erekat spoke Friday in Jerusalem to diplomats from more than three dozen countries.

U.S.-mediated talks on the terms of a Palestinian state began in late July and are to last until April. Since the start of talks, Israel has announced plans for thousands of settlement apartments on lands sought for that state.

Erekat says a deal can still be reached but that the talks "need to be protected against a government that is acting for the settlers, by the settlers, from the settlers."


First lady welcomes White House Christmas tree

WASHINGTON (AP) — Christmas has come to the White House.

Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and the family's two dogs have accepted an 18-and-a-half-foot Douglas fir as the official White House Christmas tree.

The tree was presented to the first lady by Christopher Botek, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa.

The tree was hauled up the driveway by horse-drawn wagon and is destined for the Blue Room. There it will stand tall as the main attraction of White House Christmas decorations.

An army of volunteer decorators and White House staffers will participate in a weekend marathon of tree trimming, wreath hanging and other holiday decorating to transform the building in time for a preview of the decorations that's set for Wednesday afternoon.

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