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Obama hails passage of spending bill...Demonstrators confront officer...Stocks fall

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WASHINGTON (AP) — He says he's not "wild about everything" in it -- but President Barack Obama is applauding Congress for passing a $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government and avert the possibility of a shutdown for the first nine months of next year. At a news conference, Obama said Congress is ending the year on a "high note" and noted the passage of transportation and education bills.

WASHINGTON (AP) — As authorities look for better ways to monitor the public communication of suspected terrorists, President Barack Obama says there are limits to what law enforcement can do. He told reporters today that no government will be able to "read every person's text or email or social media if it's not posted publicly." He also says he thinks the government has "struck the right balance" between surveillance and civil liberties as it tries to stop terrorists from planning attacks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president is opening his Christmas vacation on a somber note: meeting with families of the 14 people who were killed in the San Bernardino shooting. He'll be stopping in California later today, on his way to Hawaii for his annual holiday getaway. A spokesman says Obama felt it "important for him to spend some time with these Americans who are mourning." Obama's wife, Michelle, is joining him for the meetings.

CHICAGO (AP) — A small, angry group outside a Cook County courthouse has confronted the white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times. Several people shouted profanities and pounded on the black pickup truck before it pulled away with officer Jason Van Dyke inside. Van Dyke appeared in court today for the first time since a grand jury indicted him Wednesday. He faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The judge scheduled his arraignment for Dec. 29.

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been another bleak day on wall Street, where stocks have fallen after declines in Europe and Asia. Financial stocks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup showed the biggest declines. The Dow has been more than 250 points lower in afternoon trading. Losses today and yesterday have nearly wiped out the market's gains from a rally earlier in the week.

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