Good morning, and merry Christmas Eve. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
Christmas chaos: Killer storms rake South, threaten millions
Severe storms slammed the South two days before Christmas, killing at least four people, flipping cars, knocking out power to thousands and damaging several homes and businesses. More threats loom Wednesday: Tornado watches remain in effect for parts of Georgia and the Florida panhandle, flash flooding is feared along the Gulf Coast, and thunderstorms are possible from Florida to Michigan. Read more in WEATHER.
Cop fatally shoots teen near Ferguson, Missouri
A teenager was fatally shot by police late Tuesday at a gas station in town neighboring Ferguson, Missouri, police said, sparking angry clashes at the scene. St. Louis County Police confirmed in a statement that an officer from the city of Berkeley "fired several shots" after a male allegedly pulled a handgun and pointed it at him. Read more in U.S. NEWS.
'The Interview' is a hot ticket ahead of Christmas opening
Sony says “The Interview” is set to open in over 300 theaters Thursday, down from an original release planned in 3,000. Atlanta's Plaza Theater and 17 theaters that are part of the Alamo Drafthouse chain in Texas are among those that plan to show it. Alamo reports that it "completely sold out" nearly half of all their showtimes across the 17 locations. Read more in U.S. NEWS.
One of the movie's stars rejoiced:
Bush 41 hospitalized after suffering shortness of breath
Former President George H.W. Bush remains in a Houston hospital after experiencing a shortness of breath Tuesday. Bush, 90, was taken by ambulance to Houston Methodist Hospital as a "precaution.” He "will be held for observation, again as a precaution,” a spokesman told the Associated Press. Read more in U.S. NEWS.
Global markets, American dollar sizzle off U.S. economy
The strongest growth for U.S. economy in over a decade spurred global markets on Wednesday, as stocks continued their strong run and the American dollar hovered at an 8½ -year high. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 benchmarks closed at record highs Tuesday. Read more in BUSINESS.
Gay groups decry new FDA blood donation rules
Gay rights groups rejected a decision by the FDA to ease the blanket ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, saying the agency's requirement that this group of donors abstain from sex for a year before giving was "offensive" and imposed a "de facto lifetime ban." Read more in U.S. NEWS.