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Stores close ahead of protest...More Israeli and Palestinian deaths...Sandusky to get $211,000

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It's two days before Christmas, but several stores at Minnesota's Mall of America have closed today. They shut down ahead of a scheduled protest organized by Black Lives Matter. The stores, including a Starbucks and a Barnes and Noble bookstore, are near the mall's rotunda, a central gathering point. Organizers of the protest are trying to get authorities to release video of a black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police last month.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say two Palestinian assailants have been shot and killed today after stabbing Jewish pedestrians outside Jerusalem's Old City. One Israeli later died from his wounds. Another man, who was apparently wounded by police as they shot at the Palestinian assailants, also died later. Since mid-September, near-daily Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks have killed 20 Israelis and an American student. At least 120 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in the same period, including 82 said by Israel to be attackers.

BAGHDAD (AP) — As Iraqi troops continue with their effort to dislodge Islamic State militants from a major city west of Baghdad, a wave of attacks across the country has killed at least 15 civilians. The attacks bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has targeted Iraqi troops and civilians, especially Shiites. In and around Baghdad today, five bombs went off in commercial areas, leaving eight people dead.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A truck driver is now facing charges including first-degree aggravated manslaughter in connection with last year's crash that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan. Another man riding in the limo van carrying Morgan was killed when the truck crashed into it on the New Jersey Turnpike. A grand jury today indicted Kevin Roper, who was driving the Wal-Mart truck. The National Transportation Safety Board found that Roper hadn't slept for 28 hours before the crash -- a finding that his lawyer disputes.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's state government pension system is about to send Jerry Sandusky a $211,000 check. It covers payments going back to when it stopped his retirement benefits after he was sentenced for child molestation. The 71-year-old former Penn State assistant coach is serving a lengthy prison term after being convicted in 2012 of sexual abuse of 10 boys. A court ruled last month that the pension system was wrong to classify Sandusky as a university employee at the time of the abuse crimes, which were the basis of the forfeiture of his pension.

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