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Most railroad workers weren't surprised that Congress intervened this week to block a railroad strike, but they were disappointed because they say the deals lawmakers imposed didn't do enough to address their quality of life concerns about demanding schedules and the lack of paid sick time. Railroad workers face difficult tradeoffs that sometimes force them to skip doctor's appointments or miss family events. The railroads acknowledge that more needs to be done to address workers' “work-life balance concerns," but managers believe these new contracts should help create more predictable schedules. And the five-year deals include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.

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Many people on the Big Island of Hawaii are bracing for major upheaval if lava from Mauna Loa volcano blocks the quickest route connecting two sides of the island. The molten rock could make the road impassable and force drivers to find alternate coastal routes in the north and south. That could add hours to commute times, doctor’s visits and freight truck deliveries. The lava is oozing slowly at a rate that could reach the road next week. But its path is unpredictable and could change course, or the flow could stop completely and spare the highway.

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A tiny Nevada toad at the center of a legal battle over a geothermal project has officially been declared an endangered species. U.S. wildlife officials had temporarily listed it on a rarely used emergency basis last spring. The Fish and Wildlife Service said in a formal rule published Friday that the Dixie Valley toad is at risk of extinction "primarily due to the approval and commencement of geothermal development” about 100 miles east of Reno. Other threats to the quarter-sized amphibian include groundwater pumping, agriculture, climate change, disease and predation from bullfrogs. The temporary listing in April marked only the second time in 20 years the agency had taken such emergency action.

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Police in Texas have announced an arrest in last month’s shooting death of the performer Takeoff. Houston police said Friday that 33-year-old Patrick Xavier Clark was charged with murder and has been arrested in connection with the rapper’s death. Born Kirsnick Khari Ball, Takeoff was the youngest member of Migos, the Grammy-nominated rap trio from suburban Atlanta that also featured his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset. Police have said the 28-year-old was fatally shot outside a bowling alley after a private party. Police said Friday that the shooting followed a dispute over a game of dice, but that Takeoff was not involved and was an innocent bystander.

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Worries about inflation weighed on Wall Street, leaving major indexes mixed after another bumpy day of trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% and the Nasdaq lost 0.2% after being down even more earlier in the day. The Dow ended slightly higher. A government report showing that wage growth accelerated last month spooked investors since it could mean the Federal Reserve will be less able to ease up on its fight against inflation. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for future Fed action, rose following the release of the report, which also showed that hiring was stronger than anticipated.

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Infowars host Alex Jones has filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas. Jones cites debts that include nearly $1.5 billion he has been ordered to pay to families who sued him over his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday in Houston. The filing listed $1 billion to $10 billion in liabilities owed to creditors and $1 million to $10 million in assets. Jones acknowledged the filing on his Infowars broadcast. He said the bankruptcy case will prove that he’s broke and asked viewers to shop on his website to help keep the show on the air.

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The U.S. flu season keeps getting worse. Health officials say 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released its latest flu update. It says 44 states reported high or very high flu activity last week. That may not bode well for the near future. It’s likely there was more spread of respiratory viruses during Thanksgiving gatherings and at crowded airports.

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An Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker behind “American Factory” whose films explored themes of race, class and gender, Julia Reicher has died at 76. Her family said through a representative that she died Thursday night in Ohio from cancer. Often called the “godmother of American independent documentaries,” Reichart told the stories of ordinary Americans, from autoworkers dealing with plant closures and foreign investors, to communists and female labor activists in the 1930s. In her 50 years of filmmaking, Reichert won two Primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated for four Oscars, winning one.

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: Arizona election equipment was certified before it was used in the midterms. An Arizona county did not ‘lose’ nearly 300,000 votes in the midterm election. A photo does not show a Balenciaga designer wearing a devil-like outfit. U.K. 2021 census data doesn't show that three of the country's largest cities have all become “minority white.” And a photo of beer disguised as Pepsi was taken at a border checkpoint in Saudi Arabia in 2015, not at the current World Cup in Qatar.

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An attorney for Harvey Weinstein at his Los Angeles sexual assault trial told jurors that the prosecution's case relies entirely on asking them to trust accusers who have proved they were untrustworthy. Lawyer Alan Jackson made the closing argument for the defense on Thursday. He told jurors to look past the emotional testimony of the four women Weinstein is charged with assaulting and look at the facts. Jackson says “tears do not make truth.” The 70-year-old former movie mogul Weinstein is charged with raping and sexually assaulting two women and committing sexual battery against two others. He has pleaded not guilty.

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The spectacle of incandescent lava spewing from Hawaii's Mauna Loa has drawn thousands of visitors and is turning into a tourism boon for a Big Island town near the world’s largest volcano. Some hotels in and around Hilo are becoming fully booked in what is normally a slower time of the year for business. Helicopter tours of Mauna Loa, which began erupting Sunday after being quiet for 38 years, are also in high demand by tourists and journalists. Hawaii's travel industry normally falls off this time of year between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

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Florida backup quarterback Jalen Kitna has been released from jail on $80,000 bond a day after he was arrested on five child pornography charges that police say included images images of a man having sex with a young girl. A judge set the bond and as conditions for Kitna’s release ordered him not to have any unsupervised contact with minors and not to have any internet access. Kitna sobbed into his hands when his parents, including former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, address the court during a 75-minute appearance. Jon and Jennifer Kitna said they would supervise their 19-year-old son back home in Burleson, Texas.

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HILO, Hawaii (AP) — The lava from the world's largest volcano is so hot and bright that the sky has turned orange. At night, throngs of people have been gathering to witness nature's spectacular light show in Hawaii.

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Footage of an upcoming documentary about Harry and Meghan shows the couple is once again prepared to address their rift with the royal family directly and in their own words. Netflix released roughly a minute of footage of “Harry & Meghan” as their relatives, the Prince and Princess of Wales, embark on a U.S. trip. The footage includes photos and brief interview snippets of Harry and Meghan, with one portion showing a picture of Meghan crying transitioning with a glass-breaking sound effect as an image of William and Kate appears. Netflix has not announced a release date for the six-part series.

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It’s December and pretty much every network and streaming service seemingly has a show aimed at spreading holiday cheer. For those looking to skip re-runs of Christmases past, there’s a bounty of fresh shows and specials targeted to traditionalists, romantics and family friendly entertainment.

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NEW YORK (AP) — A new production of “The Wiz” is heading out on a national tour next year before following the yellow brick road to Broadway, with its director hoping the show becomes a “touchstone for a new generation.”

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