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Obama sends Kwanzaa greetings...Former Rangers pitcher shot dead...2 brothers killed in Christmas party shooting

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HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama is wishing a "happy and healthy new year" to those celebrating Kwanzaa. He says Kwanzaa is a joyous time to "reflect on the rich African-American culture." Obama says the principles enshrined in the holiday reflect Americans' most cherished values: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The White House released Obama's greetings today while the president and his family are vacationing in Hawaii.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police and family members say former Texas Rangers pitcher John Barfield has died in a shooting in Arkansas. He was 52. Little Rock police say Barfield was fatally shot Saturday after an altercation with an acquaintance in downtown Little Rock. The left-hander pitched three seasons for the Rangers beginning in 1989. Authorities say William Goodman of Pine Bluff is being held in the Pulaski County jail on preliminary charges of first-degree murder.

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago authorities say two brothers are dead and several other people are injured after a shooting at a family Christmas party. Police say people were gathered on a porch for a party last night when someone allegedly walked out of a nearby alley and opened fire. No one is in custody and a motive hasn't been released.

HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a Northern California man was stabbed to death inside a Target store on Christmas Eve after an altercation with two other men. Police in Hayward say two men in their 20s were arrested nearby on suspicion of homicide and are in jail awaiting formal charges.

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans say emotionally wrenching politics, foreign conflicts and shootings at home took a toll on them in 2016. But they're looking ahead to 2017 on an optimistic note, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the Times Square Alliance. Fifty-five percent said they believe things will be better for them in the coming year than in 2016. That's a 12-point improvement from last year's poll.

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