The Latest: Merkel calls for calm ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - The latest on the war in Syria, including Russian warplane shot down by Turkey. All times local: 11:55 a.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the downing of a Russian warplane "has further aggravated the situation in Syria." Merkel told lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday that "we have to do everything now to avoid a further escalation." Merkel says she had spoken to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a telephone call Tuesday. She adds that only a long-term political solution will end the conflict in Syria. She says "there is no other way that will bring us closer to a lasting solution --- 11:20 a.m.
Under Iraqi town, IS militants built network of tunnels IRBIL, Iraq (AP) - Under the Iraqi town of Sinjar, Islamic State group militants built a network of tunnels, complete with sleeping quarters, wired with electricity and fortified with sandbags. There, they had boxes of U.S.-made ammunition, medicines and copies of the Quran stashed on shelves. The Associated Press obtained extensive video footage of the tunnels, which were uncovered by Kurdish forces that took the city in northwestern Iraq earlier this month after more than a year of IS rule. "We found between 30 and 40 tunnels inside Sinjar," said Shamo Eado, a commander from Sinjar from the Iraqi Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga.
The Latest: France increases security for climate conference BRUSSELS (AP) - The latest on the attacks in Paris and security alert in Brussels: 10:20 a.m. France is deploying additional police and troops to guard about 140 world leaders expected in the Paris region for critical talks on fighting global warming. The country remains on high alert for possible terrorist attacks after Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in a rock concert massacre, shootings at Paris cafes and suicide bombings at the national stadium Nov. 13. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday that France will impose tight road traffic restrictions for the climate conference and maintain controls on its borders, which are normally open to other European countries.
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Chicago awaits more protests over police shooting CHICAGO (AP) - The white officer who shot a black Chicago teen 16 times has been charged with murder and jailed. The graphic video of the slaying has been made public. And in the hours after the footage was released, protesters seemed to honor pleas for restraint. The question now is whether those efforts will be enough to address the simmering resentment that authorities took more than a year to share the footage and charge the officer who emptied an entire magazine into the teen even after he had crumpled to the ground. City officials and community leaders had long braced for the release of the dash-cam video showing the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Militant attacks abroad a diplomatic quandary for China's Xi BEIJING (AP) - The killings of Chinese citizens by Islamic militants in Syria and Mali place President Xi Jinping in a quandary: How can Beijing respond effectively without betraying its strict stance against intervention? The dilemma underscores the tension between China's desire to be seen as a leading global power and its desire to maintain its own independent foreign policy while shunning the U.S.-led Western liberal democratic political agenda. How Xi will square that ideological circle and what concrete actions he'll take in response could mark an inflection point in Chinese diplomacy. More likely, analysts say, he'll stick to China's long-established neutrality while possibly taking limited behind-the-scenes measures to help in the global campaign against Islamic extremists.
Rubio finesses abortion stance criticized by Democrats WASHINGTON (AP) - When Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio staked out a hard-line position on abortion in the first GOP debate, Hillary Rodham Clinton took notice. The Democratic front-runner quickly blasted Rubio's assertion that he did not support abortion exceptions for victims of rape and incest as "offensive and troubling." At Clinton's Brooklyn campaign headquarters, aides saw echoes of the controversial abortion comments by other GOP candidates that hurt Republicans with women voters during the 2012 election. Since then, Rubio has been finessing his statements. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rubio said he unequivocally backs abortion exceptions when the life of the mother is in danger.
Calm at Minneapolis protest site a night after shooting MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A night after a shooting near a Minneapolis protest that left five people injured, hundreds of demonstrators at the same site quietly milled around, sharing coffee, pizza and doughnuts, and stacking up firewood. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison was among those gathered Tuesday night outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct, which has seen ongoing protests since a city officer fatally shot Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Ellison said the mood was good, given the attack a day earlier, but said he still had safety concerns. "The Jamar Clark family has urged us to start thinking about an exit strategy, and I think that would be wise." Ellison's office early Tuesday issued a statement on behalf of the Clark family after the shootings, calling for an end to the protests for safety's sake, a request that organizers quickly rejected.
Boston Marathon bombing survivors brace for movies on attack BOSTON (AP) - Less than three years after bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others at the Boston Marathon, two movies, a play and an HBO documentary are in the works, causing decidedly mixed feelings among some of those most touched by the tragedy. News that Boston native Mark Wahlberg planned to star in "Patriots Day" surfaced earlier this year during the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the attack. Recently, Wahlberg and CBS Films - the producers of "Patriots Day" - purchased the rights to "Boston Strong," a book by former Boston Herald reporter Dave Wedge and author Casey Sherman from 20th Century Fox.
He jumped into Normandy, ran spies in Moscow, retired at 90 WASHINGTON (AP) - Hugh Montgomery never wrote a memoir. That just wasn't done among his generation of spies. But his exploits as a World War II combat veteran, CIA cold warrior and Washington power player could have filled a dozen books and made him a revered figure among the insiders who know his story. Montgomery jumped into Normandy on D-Day with the 82nd Airborne. He went behind enemy lines for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA's daring and nimble forerunner, where he was among the first Americans to enter the Buchenwald concentration camp. After returning to Harvard to earn his PhD and teach, he joined the newly formed CIA, where he led spying operations against the Soviets in Rome, Paris, Vienna, Athens and Moscow.
Cheap gas fueling expanded Thanksgiving travel day LOS ANGELES (AP) - An expanded version of America's annual Thanksgiving travel saga has begun with gas prices low and terrorism fears high. An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 300,000 people over last year, and the most travelers since 2007. Among the reasons given for the increase: an improving economy and the cheapest gasoline for this time of year since 2008. On Tuesday, some travelers were gearing up for an early exit.