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Pop star George Michael dies...Japan, US to sign pact to limit US base worker immunity... Russia plane crashes, killing 92


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LONDON (AP) — The manager for pop singer George Michael says heart failure caused his death Sunday. Michael shot to stardom in the teen duo WHAM!, with hits such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," and "Freedom." He also had a successful solo career and recorded duets with Aretha Franklin and Elton John among others. Michael was 53.

CHICAGO (AP) — It may be late Monday before some people can start digging out from a messy snowstorm in parts of the northern Plains and some Western states. The National Weather Service says up to 15 inches of snow could fall through Monday in most of North Dakota, western South Dakota and a small section of eastern Montana. A 240-mile stretch of Interstate 94 is shut down in North Dakota, from the Montana. And portions of U.S. Highways 2, 52 and 281 are closed because of snow, ice and "near zero visibility."

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and the U.S. have agreed in principle on details of the scope of American military base workers given immunity from Japanese prosecution under a bilateral agreement. The governments have been negotiating several points concerning U.S. civilian contractors at American bases subject to protection under the pact, known as the Status of Forces Agreement, since July. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says the two sides hope to sign the agreement "during President Barack Obama's term."

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — All 84 passengers and eight crew members on a Russian military plane are believed to have died when it crashed two minutes after taking off from Sochi, Russia. The passengers included dozens of singers in Russia's world-famous military choir. They were headed to Syria. Russia's Defense Ministry says more than 3,000 rescue workers on 32 ships are searching the crash site at sea and along the shore.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities in Mount Vernon, New York, haven't yet released the name of a man accused of opening fire in a packed nightclub early Christmas morning. The owner of the club and a second person were killed. Four others were wounded. Police say the suspected shooter, who lives in the Bronx, may have been tossed out of the club shortly before the shooting.

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