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Democrats face hot-potato politics of sexual predation, too
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats have been quick to support the "me too" chorus of women - and some men - who have stepped up to allege sexual misconduct and name names. But now "me too" stains the Democrats, too, putting them in an awkward place as they calibrate how forcefully to respond. Allegations against Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan are part of the newest chapter in the hot-potato politics of sexual predation for the party, which has its own fraught history on the subject. The latest revelations have prompted a hard look back at the way Democrats and their allies once circled the wagons around President Bill Clinton, dismissing allegations that extended to serious assault as mere dalliances or the tales of "looney" women.


Retailers look to woo shoppers from rivals as Amazon grows
NEW YORK (AP) - Toys and TVs at J.C. Penney, Barbies at Best Buy, kitchen appliances like wine refrigerators at B.J.'s. As the holiday shopping season officially kicks off Thursday, shoppers may find some surprises at their favorite stores. Even as retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy, they're looking beyond economic data and mapping out ways to pick up sales from other retailers as Amazon expands its reach. That can mean opening earlier than rivals on the holidays or even jumping into new product categories. The fight for market share comes as analysts at Bain say Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season's sales growth.


Zimbabwe's incoming leader returns home to cheers
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Poised to become Zimbabwe's next president, a former confidant of ousted leader Robert Mugabe on Wednesday promised "a new, unfolding democracy" and reached out to the world, saying international help is needed to rebuild the shattered economy. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled Zimbabwe upon being fired from his job as vice president on Nov. 6, made a triumphant return to the country a day after 93-year-old Mugabe resigned. His departure after 37 years in power followed a week of intense pressure - from the military that staged a government takeover, from members of parliament who started impeachment proceedings and from citizens who protested in the streets.


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Unrepentant Mladic sentenced to life for Bosnia atrocities
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - An unrepentant Ratko Mladic, the bullish Bosnian Serb general whose forces rained shells and snipers' bullets on Sarajevo and carried out the worst massacre in Europe since World War II, was convicted Wednesday of genocide and other crimes and sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Defiant to the last, Mladic was ejected from a courtroom at the United Nations' Yugoslav war crimes tribunal after yelling at judges: "Everything you said is pure lies. Shame on you!" He was dispatched to a neighboring room to watch on a TV screen as Presiding Judge Alphons Orie pronounced him guilty of 10 counts that also included war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Balloons, Broadway stars and security at Macy's parade
NEW YORK (AP) - New faces and old favorites will fly, float and march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as police go all-out to secure it in a year marked by attacks on outdoor gathering spots. One of the nation's biggest outdoor holiday events, the parade makes its way through 2 miles of Manhattan with marching bands, performers from Broadway hits, elaborate floats and signature giant balloons. Olaf from the Disney movie "Frozen" and Chase from the TV cartoon "Paw Patrol" will be among the new balloons Thursday, along with a new version of the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame.


Report: Rep. Joe Barton threatened ex-lover with police
DALLAS (AP) - U.S. Rep. Joe Barton told a woman that he would complain to U.S. Capitol Police if sexually explicit photographs of him and other material from their relationship were to be exposed publicly, according to a published report. The Washington Post reported the threat Wednesday after Barton, a North Texas Republican, apologized for a nude photo of him that circulated on social media. The photo of Barton appeared on an anonymous Twitter account. It was not immediately known who posted the photo or when it was taken. Barton issued a statement saying that while separated from his second wife, prior to their divorce in 2015, he had sexual relationships "with other mature adult women." The 68-year-old Republican said each relationship was consensual and has since ended.


George Avakian, jazz producer and scholar, dies at 98
NEW YORK (AP) - George Avakian, a Russian-born jazz scholar and architect of the American music industry who produced essential recordings by Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and other stars has died at age 98. Avakian's daughter, Anahid Avakian Gregg, confirmed that her father died Wednesday morning at his home in Manhattan. No further details were immediate available. Avakian, an executive at Columbia Records and Warner Bros. among other labels, helped popularize such consumer standards as liner notes, the long-playing album and the live album. Few could claim as many milestones as Avakian, who started out as an Ivy League prodigy rediscovering old jazz recordings and became a monumental industry figure and founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, presenters of the Grammys.


Colombia rebels trade combat for cameras with new TV network
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - In a tiny bathroom, Marilu Ramirez prepares for her segment in a production studio by brushing her long black hair and covering her lashes in another coat of mascara, small luxuries in a life no longer being spent behind bars. Sentenced to 27 years in jail for her role in a car bombing at a military school, Ramirez was released as part of Colombia's peace agreement with leftist rebels and is now the host of an online debate show. The live program is produced by Nueva Colombia Noticias, a new network started by former guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that aims to offer an alternative to what some see as a media landscape crowded with biased, traditional outlets.


Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A former sports doctor accused of molesting at least 125 girls and young women while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison. Larry Nassar, 54, admitted to digitally penetrating seven girls, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic, between 1998 and 2015. "For all those involved ... I'm so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control," he said in a courtroom packed with tearful accusers and others.


Ships, aircraft search Philippine Sea for 3 missing in crash
TOKYO (AP) - U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft were searching in the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors missing since a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed a day earlier. Eight people were rescued about 40 minutes after the crash of the C-2 "Greyhound" transport aircraft Wednesday afternoon, the Navy said. They were taken aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and were in good condition. The C-2A twin-propeller plane came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement.