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Officer pleads not guilty...Hundreds forced out by floods...S&P is back in the black

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 29, 2015 at 2:41 p.m.



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CHICAGO (AP) — A white Chicago police officer has entered a plea of not-guilty to a murder charge in last year's fatal shooting of a black teenager. His lawyer says Jason Van Dyke wants to tell his side of what happened so he's not seen as a "cold-blooded killer." Public outcry has been furious since a dashcam video was released last month showing the veteran officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The hundreds of residents of the Missouri town of West Alton have been told to leave, as the Mississippi River spills over the top of a levee. And in another eastern Missouri community, water has reached the roofs of several businesses. It's the result of heavy rains over the past several days, pushing rivers above flood stage in Missouri and Illinois. Parts of interstate highways in both states have been closed. The Missouri National Guard has been brought in to help provide security in evacuated areas, and direct traffic away from road closures.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as the U.S. hopes for Russia's support to begin a peace process in Syria, Washington is accusing Moscow of weakening hopes for a cease-fire by killing hundreds of civilians there. The U.S. isn't happy with how Russia has conducted airstrikes in Syria since September. Last week, Amnesty International cited Russian use of cluster munitions and unguided bombs. Negotiations between Syrian President Bashar Assad's representatives and an opposition delegation are expected to start next month.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities say the FBI has joined the investigation into a deadly plane crash in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. A spokeswoman isn't saying why -- but she says there's no reason to believe the crash was related to terrorism. The small plane belonging to the Civil Air Patrol clipped an office building before slamming into a commercial building today, killing at least one person on board. Fire officials say no one was hurt on the ground, but it's unclear if anyone else was in the plane.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have finished the day broadly higher. Investors were encouraged by a pickup in consumer confidence, and rising prices for energy. Today's gains put the S&P 500 back into positive territory for the year. The index rose 21 points today, while the Dow gained 192. The Nasdaq composite rose 66 points.

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The Associated Press

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