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Thursday, Dec 14, 2017
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AP Top News at 11:49 p.m. EST

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday: 1. AL FRANKEN TO QUIT SENATE The embattled Minnesota lawmaker bows to demands to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, the second Democrat to fall in a week. 2. CONGRESS PASSES STOPGAP SPENDING BILL The votes in the House and Senate prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill. 3. UNREST FOLLOWS JERUSALEM DECLARATION Thousands of Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces in east Jerusalem and the West Bank hours after Trump announced that the U.S.FALLBROOK, Calif. (AP) — A brush fire driven by gusty winds that have plagued Southern California all week exploded rapidly Thursday north of San Diego, destroying dozens of mobile homes in a retirement community and killing race horses at an elite training facility. The fire exceeded 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) in a matter of hours and tore through the tightly packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook, known for its avocado orchards and horse ranches. Three people were burned trying to escape the flames, said Capt. Nick Schuler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister rushed gay marriage into law on Friday by gaining a final signature on a bill hours after it was overwhelming endorsed by Parliament and as the nation started planning weddings that can take place in a month. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull traveled to Government House where Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed the bill into law on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, Australia's constitutional head of state. Cosgrove's signature makes gay marriage legal in Australia from Saturday, when same-sex couples who wed overseas will be recognized as married under Australian law. Couples who intend to marry must give a calendar-month notice, making gay weddings legal on Jan.The historian carried secrets too heavy for one man to bear. He packed his bag with his most treasured possessions before going to bed: the 1 terabyte hard drive with his evidence against the Islamic State group, an orange notebook half-filled with notes on Ottoman history, and, a keepsake, the first book from Amazon delivered to Mosul. He passed the night in despair, imagining all the ways he could die, and the moment he would leave his mother and his city. He had spent nearly his entire life in this home, with his five brothers and five sisters. He woke his mother in her bedroom on the ground floor.HONOLULU (AP) — Survivors gathered Thursday at the site of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to remember fellow servicemen killed in the early morning raid 76 years ago, paying homage to the thousands who died with a solemn ceremony marking the surprise bombing raid that plunged the U.S. into World War II. About 20 survivors attended the event at a grassy spot overlooking the harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. They were joined by about 2,000 Navy sailors, officials and members of the public. Gilbert Meyer, who lived through the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing, said he returned to pay his respects to his shipmates from the USS Utah — and say a prayer for them.WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday defended his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his purchase of a custom soundproof communications booth for his office, saying both were justified. Pruitt made his first appearance before a House oversight subcommittee responsible for environmental issues since his confirmation to lead EPA in February. While his fellow Republicans largely used their time to praise Pruitt's leadership, Democrats pressed Pruitt on his proposed rollbacks of environmental regulations, his past statements denying carbon emissions are primarily to blame for climate change and his spending while in office. The former Oklahoma attorney general is under scrutiny after expense reports showed he often leaves Washington on Thursdays and Fridays for appearances in westward states before spending the weekend at his home in Tulsa and then returning to EPA headquarters on Mondays.JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, demonstrators in the Gaza Strip burned U.S. flags and pictures of President Donald Trump, and a top Palestinian official said Vice President Mike Pence would not be welcome in the West Bank, in a show of rage Thursday over the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Israeli forces were bracing for the possibility of even stronger violence on Friday, when tens of thousands of Palestinians attend weekly prayers at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque, the city's most sacred Islamic site. In Gaza, the supreme leader of the Hamas militant group called on Palestinians to launch a new uprising against Israel.ATLANTA (AP) — Deion Jones made a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining and the Atlanta Falcons held on for a crucial 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, setting up a three-way race for the NFC South title. Matt Ryan shook off three interceptions to guide the Falcons to Matt Bryant's 52-yard field goal with 3:49 to go, snapping a 17-all tie. The Saints (9-4) were in position to pull out the victory, driving to the Atlanta 11 after Drew Brees converted on fourth-and-1 with a quarterback sneak. On second down, Brees attempted to hit tight end Josh Hill in the back of the end zone.

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