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Source: Mugabe granted immunity; safety in Zimbabwe ensured

Former President Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and was assured that his safety in Zimbabwe would be protected, Reuters reported. The announcement was part of a deal that led to the 93-year-old’s resignation, sources told Reuters.

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Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since its independence from Great Britain in 1980, resigned Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, is set to be sworn in as president on Friday.

A government source said Mugabe told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe and had no plans to live in exile, Reuters reported.

“It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it,” said the source, who is not authorized to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement.

“For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country … although that will not stop him from traveling abroad when he wants to or has to,” the source told Reuters.

Poll: Americans wary about talking politics on Thanksgiving

It’s OK to talk turkey during today’s Thanksgiving dinner, but a new poll reveals that more than a third of all Americans do not want to discuss politics.

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According to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, only two out of 10 people said they were eager to talk politics. Four out of 10 do not feel strongly either way. 

Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to say they’re uneasy about political discussions at the table, 39 percent to 33 percent. And women are more likely than men to say they dread the thought of talking politics, 41 percent to 31 percent.

With a cascade of sexual misconduct scandals now echoing similar allegations against Trump during the campaign, tempers on the subject of Trump may not have cooled.

Those who do think there’s at least some possibility of politics coming up are somewhat more likely to feel optimistic about it than Americans as a whole. Among this group, 30 percent say they’d be eager to talk politics and 34 percent would dread it.

In the past, the Emily Post Institute Inc. received Thanksgiving etiquette questions that were typically about how to handle difficult relatives, author Daniel Post Senning said.

“Now, I am hearing questions like, ‘I don’t want to go,’ or ’I can’t imagine sitting at a table with someone who has this perspective and staying through the meal,’” he says. “My impression is that it’s still out there. ... The shock of that election is a little further in the rearview mirror, but I think people still have strong feelings about it.”

The AP-NORC poll of 1,070 adults was conducted Nov. 15-19. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later interviewed online or by phone.

Mississippi alderman charged with procuring prostitution

An alderman from a north Mississippi county was arrested and charged Wednesday with procuring prostitution, police said.

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Ronald Wayne Hale was booked into the DeSoto County jail with a $1,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office. He was released Wednesday afternoon. Hale had no comment as he left the jail.

Hale is the alderman of Ward 2 in Southaven. He is serving his second term as an alderman; his first time ran from 2009 to 2013.

Hale is also a Memphis firefighter.

The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department said it had no comment. Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite released a statement, calling the charges “very concerning,” but declined further comment.

Hale is scheduled to be in court on Nov. 27.

California woman thwarts abduction of her children

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man wanted in the attempted kidnapping of two children in California on Wednesday.

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Deputies said a mother was with her two children in a jogging stroller in Valencia around 11 a.m. Wednesday when the man suddenly approached her from behind, KCAL reported.

Investigators said the man grabbed the stroller’s handle and tried to pull it away, but the woman managed to regain control and ran away. She called 911 but the man was gone when officers arrived, KCAL reported.

“My energy goes out to this mother,” said Cindy Potts, also a mother of two young children.

Though she has no connection to the attempted kidnapping, it still leaves Potts rattled.

“The thought of someone taking away my most precious cargo, my life fulfillment, it’s an empty feeling and it’s a frightening feeling,” she told KCAL.

The man is described as a transient, police said.

Watch: North Korean guard makes dramatic defection

South Korea announced on Nov. 13 that an unnamed soldier defecting from the North was rescued and taken to a hospital after he was found shot in the shoulder and elbow in the border village of Panmunjom.

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A dramatic video of the 24-year-old, identified only by his last name, Oh, escaping North Korea, is fascinating to watch.

Officials in South Korea said that the escape took place after the North Korean guard abandoned his post and tried to escape. CNN reported that this was the third defection of a North Korean soldier this year and that there had only been four such defections in the past five years.

South Korean officials added that the soldier was in such a bad spot they needed to crawl to save him. Part of the video shows this.

“The defector was urgently transferred to a hospital in a helicopter of the United Nations Command, and there was no exchange of fire with our side,” a South Korean ministry official told Reuters. “Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl toward there to get him out.”

It’s not clear at this time how high-ranking the soldier was in Kim Jong-un’s army, but we do know he was in the military for eight years and was a vehicle driver.

The video shows multiple North Korean soldiers firing at Oh. He was shot at least five times.

The lead surgeon in South Korea said Oh is “not going to die” from these wounds, ABC News reported.

ABC News said it appeared North Korea violated the 1953 Armistice Agreement signed by the U.N., North Korea and China by firing guns across the military demarcation line and by physically crossing the line.

Floridians twerk for Trump during traffic jam he caused

It’s never the wrong time to get your twerk on, according to a few Floridians.

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President Donald Trump and his family traveled to his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach for the Thanksgiving holiday. As with any official trip made by the First Family, the Trumps traveled from Palm Beach International Airport to the property via a motorcade.

While motorcades are usually uneventful, and attention is usually focused on the person being escorted, one person caught the moment some locals decided to make the best of the traffic jam caused by the president.

A video lasting just over half a minute showed two people exit a car and start to twerk on the highway.

While twerking is certainly nothing new, HuffPost noted car twerking took South Florida by storm earlier in the year as young people flocked to Miami for Spring Break.

A young bikini-clad woman was recorded hanging out of a vehicle, leg draped along the roof and twerking up a storm while her friend sped down MacArthur Causeway.

Health care provider fires 50 employees who refused to get flu shots

A health care provider in Minnesota fired 50 employees because they refused to get flu shots, KBJR reported.

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Essentia Health had imposed a Monday deadline for employees to get flu shots or receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Since September, Essentia employees, volunteers, students and vendors had three choices: get a flu shot, show an approved religious or medical exemption, or leave the company, KBJR reported.

Essentia chief of patient quality and safety Dr. Rajesh Prabhu said the company wanted to increase patient safety and boost its 82 percent flu vaccination rate from 2016, which he said was not going to increase voluntarily.

“Purely voluntary or more education doesn't get you those high levels of immunization compliance and as you know other states, other health care organizations have done the same thing we have,” he told KBJR.

Prabhu said that as of Tuesday, 99.5 percent of employees have chosen the first two options, but 50 so far have been terminated with more left waiting to hear back on their exemptions.

Minnesota Nurses Association Duluth chairman Steve Strand said with so many employees in limbo, his union doesn't know how many members may have lost their jobs yet.

“We believe that they will be denying some of those, and then those individuals may end up terminated also,” Strand told KBJR.

But Strand said his association intends to fight any terminations for a policy they say is unnecessarily intrusive and may not even be effective. He cited Centers for Disease Control research showing this year's vaccine is expected to be 60 percent effective against the flu.

“The flu shot isn't a be-all end-all, it only has a certain efficacy,” Strand said.

Essentia said it stands by its mandatory policy.

"People may debate on how effective that is but based on what the level of evidence is and what our peers are doing, we thought this was the best way to protect our patients," Prabhu told KBJR.

'Vapor Wake' dogs to provide extra security at Macy's Thanksgiving parade

The 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will have an added layer of security to protect the 1 million spectators expected to attend: a team of 14 Labrador retrievers trained to detect explosives on moving targets in large crowds, Fox News reported.

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The dogs completed an 18-month Vapor Wake program that was developed at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. They are different than normal bomb-sniffing dogs, which can identify explosives in stationary objects, Fox News reported. The Vapor Wake dogs look for mobile threats and can detect the “thermal plumes left behind in a person's wake,” Paul Hammond, the president of Vapor Wake training program VWK9 LLC, told Rolling Stone.

The dogs are trained to avoid the distractions of large crowds and loud noises at large events, and can sense explosive particles Wired reported. 

“You will see our Vapor Wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan told WABC.

The NYPD used eight Vapor Wake dogs at the Thanksgiving Day parade last year, Fox News reported.

In addition to the dogs, officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors will walk among the crowds, and sharpshooters on rooftops will scan building windows and balconies for anything unusual, police said. 

The parade begins at 9 a.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC. 

Deputies: Florida man had pickup repainted to avoid hit-and-run death charge

A Florida man accused of hitting a pedestrian while driving a pickup truck allegedly attempted to have the vehicle repainted to avoid prosecution, authorities said.

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Henry Earl Riner, 71, of Seffner, was arrested Monday and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with death, tampering with physical evidence and driving while his license was permanently revoked, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Just before midnight Friday, Linda Kay Fisher, 46, was walking home on a dimly lit road after her shift as a waitress when she was hit and killed by a vehicle, police said. Her body was found in a ditch the next morning, the Times reported.

While authorities were searching for an orange-red truck that was involved in the crash, Riner allegedly was getting it repainted black, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

“A piece of the vehicle found at the scene was a unique color,” sheriff’s Cpl. Larry McKinnon told the Times. "It was like the color of a traffic cone.”

A tip to Crime Stoppers led deputies to Riner, the Times reported.

Deputies said they found a 1966 Chevrolet pickup truck that had recently been painted black. A photo of the truck before the paint job showed the vehicle had been an orange-red color, the Times reported. Damage to the vehicle was consistent with the collision that killed Fisher, deputies said.

Riner was released on $19,000 bail Tuesday afternoon.

Ohio dealer ordered to pay funeral expenses for drug user who overdosed

As part of his sentence, an Ohio drug dealer was ordered to cover the funeral expenses for a user who overdosed, WLWT reported.

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Michael Chandler, 29, of Cincinnati, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 200 months in prison for distributing fentanyl.

Chandler also was ordered to pay more than $9,000 to cover the costs of a user’s death that was a result of his distributing the drug, WLWT reported. The user, a juvenile, overdosed and died after ingesting fentanyl on April 20, 2016, investigators said.

Authorities said they were able to trace the fentanyl to Chandler. He was indicted on six drug distribution charges in June 2016 and pleaded guilty in May 2017, WLWT reported.

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