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News Wrap: Thanksgiving day celebrations, 600 migrants make it to Greek shore

November 27, 2014 at 8:22 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Americans at home and abroad celebrated this Thanksgiving holiday. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade passed through the streets of Manhattan. Other cities across the country hosted their own festive processions.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces stationed in Afghanistan enjoyed a feast with turkey and all the trimmings, even as Taliban attacks rocked other parts of the capital city. The bulk of U.S. combat troops are preparing to leave the country by year’s end.

BRANDON GALINDO, U.S. Air Force: Any Thanksgiving that you are on God’s green earth is a good Thanksgiving to celebrate. I couldn’t have found any better people to celebrate it with here. Obviously, I would rather be with a little bit more good-looking of a person, but my wife can’t be here, unfortunately, and I couldn’t be home, so this is a good replacement. And I am not complaining at all.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But back in the Northeastern U.S., many were forced to celebrate this Thanksgiving in the dark. Hundreds of thousands of people were still without power after the first major snowstorm of the season.

Ferguson, Missouri, seemed to take a pause from protesting to observe Thanksgiving, but elsewhere around the country, there were vocal demonstrations about the grand jury’s decision earlier this week not to convict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace, no racist police.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Chants filled the air this morning as the protesters made their way towards New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Their goal, disrupt the event and bring attention to the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

But police pushed back, and, eventually, at least seven people were taken away in handcuffs. And, in Ferguson, Missouri, this morning, residents hoped a Thanksgiving Day calm would last.

WOMAN: A lot of people have seen a lot of the destruction and the rough parts of this week and the past few months. But there’s been a lot of people out here really centered on love and peace and community.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Streets were noticeably quieter last evening than in recent days, in part because of winter weather. Some honked car horns during a caravan protest, while others gathered for a vigil at a makeshift memorial for Michael Brown.

Meanwhile, scattered protests continued around the nation overnight. In Los Angeles, hundreds of demonstrators crisscrossed downtown streets, blocking traffic and disrupting many.

MAN: They’re being calm. I don’t know what point they’re proving or what they’re doing. I think it’s — it’s not — it’s — they’re more wasting anybody — their own time and our time.

JUDY WOODRUFF: After more than five hours, police declared the assembly unlawful.

MAN: They’re running in front of traffic, and the motorists out there have no idea what’s going on and it’s a very dangerous situation both for these demonstrators, as well as the motorists.

JUDY WOODRUFF: At least 145 protesters were taken into custody for refusing to disperse.

WOMAN: Apparently, I’m getting arrested just because I was walking down the street and voicing my frustration with our justice system.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But in, Oakland, California, demonstrations turned destructive once again; 35 people were arrested there overnight after vandalizing local businesses.

Later on in the program, we will have more about how teachers, parents and students are dealing with the difficult conversations raised by the events in Ferguson.

Six hundred migrants fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq made it to shore on the Greek island of Crete today. They’d been adrift on a crippled freighter in international waters, after it lost engine power on Tuesday. Many of the migrants said they were running away from the Islamic State militants. Greek officials said most on board the ship were in good health and will receive refugee status.

DR. PANOS EFSTATHIOU, Director, Greek National Health Center (through interpreter): They have been identified by police as being Syrians. They are refugees, and based on the regulations of the World Health Organization and the United Nations, they are not under arrest. They are free. They will be able to go where they want.

JUDY WOODRUFF: More than 99 percent of Syrians who reach Greece will eventually gain refugee status. This was one of the largest single crossings of its kind in recent years.

Britain gave more powers to Scotland today two months after voters narrowly defeated an effort to split from Britain and seek total independence. Today’s political deal gives Scotland the power to set income tax rates, influence welfare spending and decide how the Scottish Parliament is run.

Lord Smith of Kelvin led the effort to reach the compromise.

LORD SMITH OF KELVIN, The Smith Report: This gives the Parliament more tools to pursue its own vision, goals and objectives, whatever they might be at any particular time. The recommendations set out in the agreement will result in the biggest transfer of power to the Scottish Parliament since its establishment.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Politicians from Scotland’s pro-independence administration welcomed the new powers, but said they don’t go far enough.

JOHN SWINNEY, Deputy First Minister of Scotland: Many voices in civic Scotland demanded the devolution of the welfare system, the minimum wage and control over equalities to fulfill the promise of substantial new powers that were so pivotal in the outcome of the referendum. I regret that these powers have not been delivered.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The proposals will be introduced as legislation in the U.K. Parliament in January.

Comedian Bill Cosby gave an exclusive interview to a tabloid nine years ago refuting sex assault allegations in exchange for the newspaper withholding another accuser’s story. Court documents from Cosby’s 2005 deposition were unsealed yesterday in Philadelphia. He made the arrangement with The National Enquirer during an ongoing legal battle with a Canadian woman. He said he feared the public would believe her if another accusation came to light.

Cosby has refused to discuss allegations of sexual assault raised by more than a dozen women in recent weeks.

The cricket world mourned the loss of one its young players today. Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died after being hit on the head by a cricket ball during a match two days ago. He was wearing a helmet, but the ball struck an area behind his mind below the base of the hat. Doctors said his injury was a freakish accident. Hughes was 25 years old.

Bestselling British crime writer P.D. James died today at her home in Oxford, England. James was the author of 20 novels, including “The Children of Men,” “Death Comes to Pemberley,” and “The Murder Room.”  More than a dozen of her works featured one of her most beloved characters, Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh. Many of her bestsellers have also been adapted for film or television in Britain and the U.S. P.D. James was  94 years old.

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