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Intense, deadly weather...Texas standoff ends...Airlines holiday scramble

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HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Storms more like those that strike in the spring have caused deaths, damage and power outages in parts of the Midwest and South. At least three people have been killed in Mississippi, including a boy who was in a car that was picked up and tossed. Two deaths are reported in Tennessee. In Arkansas, a woman was killed by a tree blown over onto a house. A toddler was also trapped but survived.

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Police in the West Texas town of Odessa say a suspect who wounded two police officers is in custody after barricading himself for nine hours. The wounded officers are listed in fair condition. Police say the officers had been attempting to serve a warrant at an apartment complex.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan isn't commenting on a reported ransom demand for a Japanese freelance journalist who has been missing since summer in Syria. The France-based nonprofit group Reporters Without Borders says it has learned that those holding journalist Jumpei Yasuda have started a countdown for a ransom payment, and are threatening to kill him or sell him to another militant group.

DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights to handle the holiday crush. One step is adding redeyes to avoid delays. Flights are extremely full over the holiday period, with most travelers unable to make changes in their schedule. Airlines expect about 38 million passengers over a 17-day period spanning Christmas and New Year's, an increase of about 3 percent over last year.

MONTVILLE, N.J. (AP) — "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice (JOO'-dys) was freed from a federal prison in Connecticut Wednesday after serving nearly a year for bankruptcy fraud. She returned home to spend Christmas with her family. A lawyer says Giudice will remain on home confinement until Feb. 5.

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