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News Wrap: Obama visits activists on hunger strike against immigration policy

November 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
In our news wrap Friday, President Obama visited people on the National Mall who are fasting to protest Congressional inaction on immigration. The activists have been on a hunger strike for 18 days. Also, China enforced its newly declared air defense zone by sending fighter planes to investigate U.S. and Japanese flights.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A shopping frenzy descended across the country today, as post-Thanksgiving shoppers lined up for holiday savings. In some places, the mad dash for deals turned violent, with several shootings and fights breaking out. We will have more on Black Friday right after this news summary.

Investors on Wall Street kept a close eye on Black Friday shopping. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 11 points to close at 16,086. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to close above 4,059. For the week, the Dow gained more than 0.5 percent; the Nasdaq rose 2 percent.

President Obama and the first lady visited people who are fasting to protest congressional inaction on immigration legislation. They stopped by the tent on the National Mall where the activists have been on a hunger strike for the past 18 days. The president told them he appreciated their efforts. House Speaker John Boehner has so far refused to schedule votes on an immigration measure the Senate passed this summer.

China moved for the first time today to enforce its newly declared air defense zone. It scrambled two of its fighter jets to investigate flights by a dozen American and Japanese surveillance planes. The new defense zone includes airspace above a group of uninhabited islands claimed by Japan in the East China Sea. China has demanded that all aircraft flying into the area notify the Chinese they are coming or face military action.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Ukrainian capital today. They massed in Kiev after President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a landmark trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Demonstrators waved Ukrainian and E.U. flags while calling for the president’s resignation. Some also formed a human chain in support of European integration.

OREST PODDOLYAK, protester (through interpreter): We want to tell the whole world that Ukrainians are a European nation, because we proclaim, and I think a lot of people here support me, that European values, a European standard of living, education, medicine, and corresponding European standards are suitable for us.

HARI SREENIVASAN: E.U. leaders flatly blamed Russia for the deal’s disintegration. Russia had worked to derail it by threatening Ukraine with giant gas bills and trade sanctions.

Protests also raged for a sixth day in Thailand. Some 1,200 anti-government demonstrators swarmed Thai army headquarters in Bangkok, appealing for help in overthrowing their prime minister. A separate group also marched on the U.S. Embassy. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has proposed a dialogue with members of the opposition. But they have rejected the offer.

NATO officials in Afghanistan have launched an investigation into a drone strike that killed a child and wounded two women. They say yesterday’s airstrike targeted an insurgent in Helmand Province. The commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan called President Hamid Karzai to apologize for the civilian deaths. But Karzai warned, if such attacks continue, he will not sign a security deal with the U.S. to allow troops to stay in the country beyond 2014.

A new report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees found Syrian refugee children are often the breadwinners for their families. Since the civil war began more than three years ago, at least half the refugees who have fled Syria are children, 1.1 million. Many work long hours of manual labor in Lebanon and Jordan, where they are cheap labor. The 65-page U.N. report called for quick action to get refugee children back into school.