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News Wrap: Arab League Deadline Expires Without Syrian Response

November 25, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN: A deadline set by the Arab League for Syria expired today without agreement from the Syrian government. The 22-nation league wants Syria to admit an observer mission to monitor the now eight-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad’s government. Without it, economic sanctions could be implemented as early as tomorrow.

That came as more violence wracked cities across Syria. Activists said at least 11 people were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters. Separately, the Syrian military announced a military bus was ambushed on the road between Homs and Palmyra. A spokesman said 10 security personnel were killed, including six elite pilots.

The holiday shopping season officially began today on Black Friday, the day retailers hope to begin making a profit. Many of them actually opened late on Thanksgiving Day. In New York City, about 9,000 people flooded the Macy’s in Herald Square for its midnight opening. More than 150 million people nationwide are expected to shop this weekend, 10 percent more than last year.

But the bargain hunting wasn’t without incident. Los Angeles police are searching for a woman who pepper-sprayed rival shoppers overnight at this Wal-Mart.

WOMAN: They’re was just, like, a fight at games, and then people started screaming, and kids were on the floor, and then everybody just started inhaling it. She sprayed it in the air.

MAN: There was like about 20 people in the back that they have right now. But their faces are red. This one guy was coming up to my wife on — “Call an ambulance. Call an ambulance.” But it was just like — it was just hectic. It was like a little riot in there.

KWAME HOLMAN: Elsewhere, a Black Friday shopper in Northern California was shot when he resisted a pair of armed robbers outside a Wal-Mart in San Leandro. And in North Carolina, there was gunfire at a mall in Fayetteville, but no injuries were reported.

Europe’s debt woes weighed down Wall Street again today. In a shortened trading day, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 26 points to close above 11,231. The Nasdaq fell 18 points to close at 2,441. This was the worst Thanksgiving week on a percentage basis for the Dow since 1932. It lost nearly 5 percent. The Nasdaq fell more than 5 percent this week.

The author and journalist Tom Wicker has died. His wife said he died of a heart attack near his home in Vermont. Wicker covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for The New York Times, and later became that newspaper’s Washington bureau chief. Wicker also was a prolific author, writing 10 novels and 10 nonfiction books on myriad subjects. Tom Wicker was 85 years old.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.