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    The Maccabeats, a New York a cappella group, channeled Lin-Manuel Miranda for their latest parody, a rewrite of songs from the Broadway hit 'Hamilton.' 

    The group released a video titled "Hasmonean: A Hamilton Hanukkah" on Youtube last week and it's since been viewed more than 200,000 times. 

    The song tells the story of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which begins on Dec. 24th this year. 

    The Maccabeats' musical director, Julian Horowitz, told NPR the medium they use is especially fitting for the Hanukkah song. 

    "One of the main themes of the holiday is publicizing the miracle," he says. "Which is why, of course, we light menorahs in our windows and you see them in all these public squares. So in some ways, the YouTube video is the modern-day menorah."

    Photo Credit: AP
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    Julian Horowitz, left, musical director of the singing group Julian Horowitz, left, musical director of the singing group "The Maccabeats" from Yeshiva University, and Uri Westrich, video director of the group's Youtube hit "Candlelight," hold an interview on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, in New York.

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    Three young children were killed after they became trapped on the upstairs floor of an apartment during a fire that broke out just minutes before Christmas Eve in northwest Indiana.

    The Gary Fire Department said the fire was reported just after 11:30 p.m. Friday at the Oak Knoll Apartments in the 4400 block of West 23rd Court.

    Three children, all under the age of six, were killed in the blaze. They were upstairs when the fire broke out.

    "It's terrible," said neighbor Diamond Childress. "I just can't get their screams out of my head."

    The Lake County Coroner identified the children as 5-year-old Jayden Mitchell and 4-year-old Alaya Pickens. A 2-year-old girl was also killed but her identity had not been released as of Saturday morning.

    The children’s mother and a man were both taken to area hospitals. Their conditions were not immediately known.

    The fire impacted just one unit in the complex and continued into Christmas Eve before being put out around 1:45 a.m., officials said. Firefighters said slick conditions made it more difficult to fight the blaze.

    "Christmas Eve, are you kidding me? Today is Dec. 24, that’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world," said neighbor Jamisha Powe. "I could never and don’t want to ever imagine going through that."

    The cause of the fire was not immediately known. 

    Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

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    President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday he will dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month.

    The revelation comes as the New York attorney general's office investigates the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump's campaign.

    Amy Spitalnick, press secretary for Schneiderman's office, said Saturday that the foundation "cannot legally dissolve" until the investigation is complete.

    Trump said in a statement that he has directed his counsel to take the necessary steps to implement the dissolution of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, saying that it operated "at essentially no cost for decades, with 100 percent of the money going to charity."

    "The foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children," he said in a statement.

    "I will be devoting so much time and energy to the presidency and solving the many problems facing our country and the world. I don't want to allow good work to be associated with a possible conflict of interest," he said.

    Trump said he will pursue philanthropic efforts in other ways, bu didn't elaborated on how he'd do so.

    A 2015 tax return posted on the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar shows the Donald J. Trump Foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of IRS regulations — not only during 2015, but in prior years.

    Those regulations prohibit self-dealing by the charity. That's broadly defined as using its money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies or substantial contributors to the foundation.

    The tax filing doesn't provide details on the violations. Whether Trump benefited from the foundation's spending has been the subject of an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

    In September, Schneiderman disclosed that his office has been investigating Trump's charity to determine whether it has abided by state laws governing nonprofits.

    Documents obtained by The Associated Press in September showed Schneiderman's scrutiny of The Donald J. Trump Foundation dated back to at least June, when his office formally questioned the donation made by the charity to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

    Trump's announcement to dissolve his own foundation came a day after the president-elect took to Twitter to declare it a "ridiculous shame" that his son Eric will have to stop soliciting funds for his charitable foundation, the Eric Trump Foundation, because of a conflict of interest.

    "My wonderful son, Eric, will no longer be allowed to raise money for children with cancer because of a possible conflict of interest with my presidency," Trump tweeted. "He loves these kids, has raised millions of dollars for them, and now must stop. Wrong answer!"

    Trump was in his South Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Saturday, his retreat for most holidays. He spent the week meeting advisers and interviewing candidates for a handful of Cabinet positions that remain unfilled.

    Photo Credit: AP

    President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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    'Tis the season to be rowdy.

    Some holiday shoppers were ready to come to blows to find the perfect gift for their loved ones at the Newport Mall Friday evening.

    Last-minute Christmas shoppers watched a real-life boxing match that ended with security guards pulling the brawlers apart to contain the fight just after 7:30 p.m., reports. At least one part of the fight occurred beside a shopper holding a toddler.

    Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill told the newspaper Saturday afternoon that the fight involved a group of minors. Nobody was injured or arrested as a result of the incident.

    The mall seems to be a choice location for holiday madness. In March, an Easter bunny and several customers got into a multi-level fight at the shopping center when a child slipped out of the photo-op chair after her picture was taken.

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    Some D.C. firefighters saved Christmas for a family that lost all their gifts in a fire Tuesday.

    "We had just left out of the house at 5:30 and we got a phone call from our landlord telling us that our apartment was on fire," Maurice Dixon said.

    Engine 15 is less than a mile away from the Dixons' apartment in Anacostia, so firefighters quickly extinguished the accidental fire, but the apartment sustained significant damage.

    Just before the fire, they wrapped their grandchildren’s gifts and placed them under the Christmas tree.

    "Everything was lost, all the presents,” Maurice Dixon said. “The whole apartment is gone."

    Enter Deputy Chief Ed Pearson, whose duties include surveying fire scenes.

    "I noticed a lot of toys that were in the living room area," he said.

    So he made calls and sent emails, hitting up organizations like the Marine Corps, Toys for Tots, the firefighters union and the burn fund. They all answered the call, and within days, the grandchildren had a whole new set of gifts.

    "Now we feel like all hope is not lost, that we still can do that because of all the people that came out to help us," Cheryl Dixon said.

    "We’re just happy to be able to assist the family, in making sure they have a merry Christmas," Pearson said.

    But just as they were giving Christmas back to the Dixons this Christmas Eve, the firefighters were cut short. Engine 15 had another call.

    Photo Credit: Jay Alvey

    D.C. firefighters with a family who lost all their gifts in a fire Tuesday. (Photo: Jay Alvey / News4)D.C. firefighters with a family who lost all their gifts in a fire Tuesday. (Photo: Jay Alvey / News4)

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    President Barack Obama and the first lady shared a bittersweet goodbye — and a few laughs — in their final Christmas video message to the country released Saturday.

    "Celebrating the holidays in the White House over these past eight years has been a true privilege," Michelle Obama said in their most recent holiday message. "We've been able to welcome over half a million guests, our outstanding pastry chefs have baked 200,000 holiday cookies and Barack has treated the American people to countless dad jokes."

    The president added: "Although a few got a frosty reception."

    In the four-minute address, the first couple thanked the military families, touted Obamacare and other initiatives, and imparted the idea that in America, we "are our brother's keeper."

    Photo Credit:

    President Barack Obama and the first lady delivered their final Christmas message from the White House on Dec. 24, 2016.President Barack Obama and the first lady delivered their final Christmas message from the White House on Dec. 24, 2016.

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    Dikembe Mutombo may have an easy smile and famous gravelly laugh, but the NBA Hall of Famer does not mess around.

    "That African boy does not know how to play basketball," Mutombo recalls naysayers claiming when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets fourth overall in 1991, according to NBC News.

    The Georgetown graduate proved them wrong and went on to become an eight-time all-star and one of most celebrated defensive players in the sport's history.

    Mutombo retired in 2009, and traded in his jersey for expensive blue suits. His mission is now saving and improving lives, not blocking shots, and he's using his stature and fame to help some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable — including building a state-of-the-art hospital to help the poor and sick in his native Democratic Republic of Congo that Mutombo says people told him he was "crazy" for attempting.

    Photo Credit: AP, File

    Former President Bill Clinton, right, sits with former NBA basketball player Dikembe Mutombo during the first half of the NBA All-Star game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.Former President Bill Clinton, right, sits with former NBA basketball player Dikembe Mutombo during the first half of the NBA All-Star game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

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    Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn. The strongman's half-century rule was marked by the unsuccessful U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. After surviving a crippling trade embargo and dozens of assassination plots, Castro died in November at age 90, one of many notables who left the world stage in 2016.

    The year also saw the deaths of pop music giants: David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals, and Prince, considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times.

    Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world's longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability.

    Others in the world of public affairs included: former United National Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.

    In sports, the year saw the passing of Muhammad Ali, whose fast fists and outspoken personality brought him fans around the world. Other sports figures included golfer Arnold Palmer, Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe, basketball players Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Nate Thurmond; and Olympians Vera Caslavska and Tommy Kono.

    Artists and entertainers who died included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White and Phife Dawg; and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Alan Rickman, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.

    Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. 

    Pierre Boulez, 90. Former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic, one of the leading figures in modern classical music. Jan. 5.

    Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his charitable work in Chicago as for his singing. Jan. 8.

    David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.

    Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the "Harry Potter" saga and other films. Jan. 14.

    Glenn Frey, 67. Rock 'n' roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history's most successful songwriting teams with such hits as "Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane." Jan. 18.

    Abe Vigoda, 94. Actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather." Jan. 26.

    Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.

    Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court. Feb. 13.

    Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country's landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.

    Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child's-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, "To Kill a Mockingbird," became an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.

    Nancy Reagan, 94. Backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer's disease. March 6.

    Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.

    Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.

    Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show." March 24.

    Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker," then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.

    Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws and underdogs. April 6.

    Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star at Syracuse. April 20.

    Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry." April 21.

    Tommy Kono, 85. He took up weightlifting in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans and went on to win two Olympic gold medals for the United States. May 1.

    Morley Safer, 84. Veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans' view of the war. May 19.

    Rosalie Chris Lerman, 90. Survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp who was a passionate advocate of Holocaust remembrance. May 19.

    Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.

    Gordie Howe, 88. Known as "Mr. Hockey," the Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL's quintessential star. June 10.

    Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new "Star Trek" films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway.

    Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who lifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.

    Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic "Night" launched his career as one of the world's foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.

    Clown Dimitri, 80. Beloved Swiss clown and mime who studied under Marcel Marceau. July 19.

    Rev. Tim LaHaye, 90. Co-author of the "Left Behind" series, a literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores. July 25.

    John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative political commentator and host of a television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of politics. Aug. 16.

    Sonia Rykiel, 86. French designer whose relaxed sweaters in berry-colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits. Aug. 25.

    Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in "The Producers." Aug. 28.

    Vera Caslavska, 74. Seven-time Olympic gymnastics gold medalist who stood up against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Aug. 30.

    Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Sept. 5.

    Rose Mofford, 94. Arizona's first female governor and a shepherd for the state during a period of political turbulence. Sept. 15.

    Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. Sept. 25.

    Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.

    King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88. World's longest reigning monarch, he was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval. Oct. 13.

    Junko Tabei, 77. The first woman to climb Mount Everest. Oct. 20.

    Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.

    Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the center of several political storms during the Clinton administration. Nov. 7.

    Leonard Cohen, 82. Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like "Hallelujah," ''Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire." Nov. 7.

    Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS' "NewsHour" and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.

    Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America's most beloved television moms in "The Brady Bunch." Nov. 24.

    Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and challenged U.S. power during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.

    Jayaram Jayalalithaa, 68. South Indian actress who turned to politics and became the highest elected official in the state of Tamil Nadu. Dec. 4.

    John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.

    Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom "Growing Pains." Dec. 13.

    Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.

    Photo Credit: AP/Getty Images, File

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  • 12/25/16--16:20: In Memoriam: George Michael

  • Take a look back at the people we've lost in 2016, including politicians, artists and other public figures.

    Photo Credit: AP

    British singer George Michael died at age 53 in December 2016. He rose to stardom as one half of the boy band Wham!, then had a long and, at times, controversial career.British singer George Michael died at age 53 in December 2016. He rose to stardom as one half of the boy band Wham!, then had a long and, at times, controversial career.

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    Brooklyn rapper Troy Ave was shot in East Flatbush Sunday afternoon, resulting in a bullet to the skull and shoulder, his attorney said.

    The rapper, whose real name is Roland Collins, was inside a car at a red light near East 91st Street and Linden Boulevard at around 4:20 p.m., police said. He then noticed a suspect walk up to the vehicle from behind in the rear-view mirror before gunshots were fired. The shooter, who was wearing a black hoodie, fled on foot. 

    His girlfriend was in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting, but was unharmed, according to his attorney John Stella.

    "My heart goes out for his family. I know this is something they all worry about," Stella said. "It is unfortunate that this is something in the back of his mind...always the possibility of being targeted."

    He told NBC 4 New York that the Crown Heights rapper will be discharged from the hospital Monday.

    Collins attempted to drive himself to the hospital but only got about 4 to 6 blocks before he pulled into a one-way street and exited the car. A good samaritan drove him the remainder of the way to Brookdale Hospital, where he is being treated.

    The 34-year-old suffered two gunshot wounds: one to the shoulder and a graze to the head. One of the bullets lodged into his back, resulting in a spinal cord injury.

    Doctors were trying to figure out whether to remove it Sunday night, but opted to leave them in since neither caused lasting damage.

    Collins was driving through his old neighborhood to have Christmas dinner at his mother's house, his attorney said. 

    This is the second incident this year where Collins has run into trouble with guns. He was charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon for his involvement in a May 26 shooting at Irving Plaza that killed his bodyguard and wounded three others.

    Collins was shot in the leg. He faces felony charges in connection to the melee.

    His lawyer says he has had no threats or encounters since the Irving Plaza incident, especially since he has a restrictive curfew.

    The motive for the shooting is unknown.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Seven people were shot, two of them fatally, in a mass shooting during a Christmas party in Chicago Sunday.

    According to police, the shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. near 86th Street and Maryland in the city’s East Chatham neighborhood.

    According to authorities the victims were on a porch in the area when a man wearing a grey hoodie walked out of an alley and opened fire.

    An 18-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a 21-year-old man shot in the back was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he later died, police said.

    A 35-year-old man who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

    A fourth person, whose age was not immediately known, was taken to John. H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition along with a 27-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman who were both shot in their legs and listed in stable condition.

    A 39-year-old man also took himself to Roseland Hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot. He was last listed in good condition, according to officials.

    No one was in custody for the shooting as of Monday morning. Area South Detectives are investigating.

    "This is a business area, hopefully the cameras that are east of here can give police an image of the perpetrator that came through that alley," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

    The shooting was one of several in the city in what has been a violent holiday weekend. As of early Monday morning, 41 people were shot, 11 fatally, making the Christmas weekend more violent than last year. 

    Photo Credit: Captured News

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    Like his boss, Vice President Joe Biden says he'll stay in Washington, D.C. -- at least part-time -- after he leaves office Jan. 20.

    The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Biden and his wife plan to stay in the city, and that Dr. Jill Biden plans to continue teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College.

    That means both the former vice president and the former president are staying in the city that has been their home for eight years. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama plan to stay so their daughter, Sasha, can complete high school.

    The Obamas have rented a home in D.C.'s upscale Kalorama neighborhood, home to ambassadors, congressmen and media figures. According to CNN, the 8,200-square-foot home has nine bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms.

    There's no word on where the Bidens might live in D.C.

    Vice President Joe Biden tweeted this holiday photo of him and his wife, Jill. The couple plan to live in D.C. at least part-time after he leaves office.Vice President Joe Biden tweeted this holiday photo of him and his wife, Jill. The couple plan to live in D.C. at least part-time after he leaves office.

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    A llama brought in for a photo shoot may just be the zaniest expense request of 2016, according to a survey of more than 430 business travelers, NBC News reports.

    A $28,000 bottle-service tab, a blow-up doll and personalized bobblehead figurines also made the list of oddest expenses that the travelers or a colleague tried to push through, per the survey by travel and expense management firm Certify.

    Workers trying to expense something offbeat or expensive, or pass off personal expenses as something related to work, can be incurring a risk, experts say.

    "You might think of it as a joke, but it could come back to haunt you in the office," said Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success."

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A llama looks out of its pen at the Royal Bath And West Show on May 30, 2012, in Shepton Mallet, England.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)A llama looks out of its pen at the Royal Bath And West Show on May 30, 2012, in Shepton Mallet, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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    While the U.S. remains the world's dominant military and economic power, China now is the world's second-biggest economy and has the largest military. And Beijing is beginning to flex its muscles.

    After hundreds of years of looking inward, China is ascerting itself regionally, building aircraft carriers, asserting its dominance over most of the disputed South China Sea and sending troops abroad.

    President Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader in decades, is sending Washington a strong message, which is that China has changed and old assumptions about global power and American dominance don't hold anymore.

    As a result of an assertive Beijing, President-Elect Donald Trump will have to decide whether to continue irritating Beijing by sailing aircraft carriers in waters China claims. Beijing's willingness or unwillingness to restrain North Korea's nuclear ambitions may provoke some sort of reaction from Washington.

    Trump has not wasted time in rattling Beijing's cage — that may hint at things to come.

    Photo Credit: File--AP

    In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of the second Understanding China Conference, in Beijing, China.In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of the second Understanding China Conference, in Beijing, China.

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    A law that would have made millions of workers eligible for overtime was blocked by a federal judge in November, but the law still may have resulted in higher wages for the workers it was intended to help, NBC News reported.

    The law would have required companies to pay overtime to salaried/exempt workers who work more than 40 hours per week but made under $47,476 per year. Under current law, employers do not have to pay overtime to salaried/exempt workers if they make more than $23,661.

    A federal judge issued a preliminary injuntion, saying the Department of Labor's rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress, in late November, just one week before it was supposed to take effect on Dec. 1.

    But according to a study by compensation information and research company PayScale, many employers gave employees raises, boosting them about the $47,476 threshhold, or reclassified employees as hourly working, making them eligible for overtime.  

    Photo Credit: AP

    File PhotoFile Photo

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    Travel conditions remained hazardous as a winter storm swept across much of the northern Great Plains Monday, with blowing and drifting snow forcing the closure of an airport and creating near-zero visibility on some roads. NBC's Chris Pollone reports.

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    President Barack Obama expressed confidence that his progressive vision for the country still has broad appeal despite the stunning defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election this November in a candid sit-down for his former adviser David Axelrod's podcast "The Axe Files."

    Although he complimented Clinton, saying she "performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances," he also suggested that had he been able to campaign for a third term he believes he would have "mobilized a majority of the American people" to rally behind the Democratic party.

    "I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one," Obama told Axelrod in an interview published on Monday.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19:  U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House on June 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke about the deteriorating situation as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants move toward Baghdad after taking control over northern Iraqi cities.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House on June 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke about the deteriorating situation as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants move toward Baghdad after taking control over northern Iraqi cities. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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    Snow and ice created treacherous travel for much of the country Monday, as millions of Americans embarked on the journey back home from their holiday weekend, NBC News reported. 

    Gusty winds on Monday blew snow and created near-zero visibility across the northern Great Plains, where heavy snow fell at a rate of up to one inch per hour on Christmas Day. Officials issued no-travel warnings for much of North Dakota.

    The storm will gradually weaken over the Plains before marching on to the Northeast, where freezing rain advisories were issued for central Pennsylvania, central New York, and much of New England. Morning ice in the Northeast turned to rain by Monday afternoon and was forecast to end early Tuesday.

    Photo Credit: NBC News

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    It's the thought that counts. But sometimes, the gift just doesn't cut it. So when looking through your Christmas and Hanukkah haul, you just may decide there are some gifts that you'll treasure, but a few that you wish you can give back.

    Can you? The TODAY team has compiled eight tips to Holiday gift returns, to ensure that you get the most back when you return those unwanted gifts. So remember: Save the receipt. Keep original packaging. Be friendly to the store staff. And know which retailers (Nordstrom, Costco) are the most leniant.

    Check out the full list on  

    Photo Credit: AP

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    This day after Christmas finds many of us planning yet another mad dash to stores and shopping malls, but for a far different reason that earlier in the month. This rush has to do with returns of gifts that are either damaged, not working, don't fit, or those you simply don't want.

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