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George Michael dead...Russia's military searching for crashed plane...Israel is fuming over Obama's action at the UN

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LONDON (AP) — George Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies, has died. That's according to his publicist. He was 53. Michael, with startling good looks and an easy stage manner, formed the boy band WHAM! with his school friend Andrew Ridgeley in the early 1980's. Helped by MTV, the cheerful duo easily crossed the Atlantic to become popular in the United State.s

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian rescue and recovery units expect to work all night searching the Black Sea off Sochi for victims and plane debris following the crash of a Russian Tu-154 right after a pre-dawn takeoff Sunday. Members of a world-famous Russian army choir were among the 92 people aboard the plane. The Alexandrov Ensemble was to have played a New Year's concert at a Russian base in Syria.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Betrayed, frustrated and angry. That's how one Israeli Cabinet member is describing the government's mood after a U.S. abstention cleared the way for the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel is pressing forward with promises of retaliation and damage control.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A former Fort Bragg soldier who killed four women and raped others more than 25 years ago is again headed for execution. The Fayetteville Observer reports Ronald Gray last week lost a battle to keep in place a federal court's order issued eight years ago blocking his execution. The former Army cook's death sentence would be the first for the U.S. military since 1961. Gray is being held at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) — Police have arrested a man they say opened fire on a packed suburban New York City nightclub, killing two people and wounding four others. Authorities say the suspect may have been ejected from the Mansion nightclub in Mount Vernon shortly before the 4:26 a.m. shooting on Christmas Day.

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