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Thanksgiving travelers emerge across US; child is 6th to die after parade crash; NASA's asteroid defense
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Thanksgiving travelers emerge across US; child is 6th to die after parade crash; NASA's asteroid defense

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Today is Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Let's get caught up.

Here are today's top stories, celebrity birthdays and a look back at this date in history:

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THANKSGIVING WEATHER OUTLOOK

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TOP STORIES

Holiday Travel Denver

Motorists sit in heavy traffic southbound on Interstate 25 at Franklin Street as the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Denver. 

On the road again: Travelers emerge in time for Thanksgiving

DALLAS (AP) — Determined to reclaim Thanksgiving traditions that were put on pause last year by the pandemic, millions of Americans will be loading up their cars or piling onto planes to gather again with friends and family.

The number of air travelers this week is expected to approach or even exceed pre-pandemic levels, and auto club AAA predicts that 48.3 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday period, an increase of nearly 4 million over last year despite sharply higher gasoline prices.

Many feel emboldened by the fact that nearly 200 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. But it also means brushing aside concerns about a resurgent virus at a time when the U.S. is now averaging nearly 100,000 new infections a day and hospitals in Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado and Arizona are seeing alarming increases in patients.

Keep scrolling for links to full versions of these top stories and more.

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Christmas Parade SUV

Darrell Brooks, center, is escorted out of the courtroom after making his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. 

Child is 6th death in Waukesha parade crash; suspect charged

An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He rocked back and forth in his seat and cried throughout his court hearing on Tuesday, his attorney’s arm on his back, as the charges against him were detailed. His bail was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 14.

“The nature of this offense is shocking," said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.

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Asteroid Defense Test

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft onboard, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, Pacific time (Nov. 24 Eastern time) from Space Launch Complex 4E, at Vandenberg Space Force Base in Calif. 

NASA launches spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA launched a spacecraft Tuesday night on a mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth.

The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a $330 million project with echoes of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon.”

If all goes well, in September 2022 it will slam head-on into Dimorphos, an asteroid 525 feet (160 meters) across, at 15,000 mph (24,139 kph).

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Click on the links below for full version of today's top stories. Keep scrolling for a look back at this day in history and today's celebrity birthdays:

This morning's top headlines: Wednesday, Nov. 24

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An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators.

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Three men were convicted of murder Wednesday in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision when the white strangers chased him, trapped him on a quiet street and blasted him with a shotgun.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and climate activists generally supported President Joe Biden's decision to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from America's strategic reserve, even as the move appeared to contradict his long-term vision of combating climate change.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will require essential, nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers, government and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22, the administration planned to announce.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A jury ordered 17 white nationalist leaders and organizations to pay more than $26 million in damages Tuesday over the violence that erupted during the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY

APTOPIX Washington Daily Life

Off from school due to the Thanksgiving holiday this week, Felix Naranch, 7, right, and his brother Asa Naranch, 3, play with their father Stu Naranch in a pile of fall leaves that they raked together in a park, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Washington. 

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TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1963, Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and more events that happen…

In 1960, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors sets an NBA record with 55 rebounds in a 132-129 loss to the Boston Celtics. See more s…

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