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Winter weather plagues central US...Islamic State still holds parts of Ramadi...Basketball's clown prince is dead



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UNDATED (AP) — Much of the nation's midsection is dealing with rain, ice and snow. Oklahoma emergency officials say more than 50 people have been injured and about 175,000 are without power after a powerful winter storm blanketed much of the state with ice and brought flooding to eastern parts of the state. In Missouri, residents in and around the small St. Louis-area town of West Alton are evacuating as the Mississippi River nears a potential record crest. An unusual amount of late-fall rain had the river already high before torrential downpours that began Saturday. Some parts of eastern Missouri have received 6 inches of rain or more over the past three days. Heavy rain is falling again today.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Military officials in Iraq say government troops -- with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes -- have driven Islamic State militants out of the center of Ramadi. And the Iraqi troops are now in control of the main government complex there. The city fell to the militants in May, marking a major setback for Iraqi forces. One Iraqi military official says parts of Ramadi remain under the control of the Islamic State group.

VIENNA (AP) — A senior Russian diplomat says Iran has met a key requirement of a nuclear deal with six world powers by completing the transfer of most of its enriched uranium to Russia. Under the deal, Iran must ship out all but about 700 pounds of the close to nine tons of low-enriched uranium it has stockpiled. Low-enriched uranium is suited to power generation but can be further enriched to arm nuclear warheads. Its removal is a key obligation taken on by Iran.

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans have been spending more than they did last year during the holidays -- with more of that shopping taking place online. That's according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse report. It finds that overall spending rose 7.9 percent from a year ago. Even though the shift to online shopping continues, shopping at physical stores still accounts for most holiday spending.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — You won't find him in the NBA record books, but Meadowlark Lemon was a basketball star who was known as much for his half-court hook shots and his behind-the-back passes as he was for his slapstick comedy. The longtime star of the Harlem Globetrotters has died at the age of 83. He became the most popular player on the barnstorming team, playing during the team's heyday from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s.

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The Associated Press

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