NEW: China sends warplanes into air defense zone
BEIJING (AP) — The state news agency is reporting that China has sent warplanes into its newly declared maritime air defense zone.
The flights Thursday came after South Korean and Japanese flights through the zone added to the international defiance of rules Beijing says it has imposed in the East China Sea.
China's air force spokesman Shen Jinke says several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft were sent on normal air patrols in the zone Thursday. He was quoted by the state news agency Xinhua.
Shen described the flights as "a defensive measure and in line with international common practices." He said China's air force would remain on high alert and will take measures to protect the country's airspace.
Balloons, spirits soar at NYC Thanksgiving parade
NEW YORK (AP) — It's a cold and windy Thanksgiving in the East, but that's not stopped some cherished traditions from continuing.
Gusty winds limited use of balloons during the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, but in New York City, handlers kept a tight leash on Snoopy, SpongeBob, the Pillsbury Doughboy and 13 others as they flew through the canyons of Manhattan.
The cheering throngs in New York were bundled against a 30-degree chill, but the sun was shining. Some in the crowd lifted small children onto their shoulders.
Elsewhere in the country, Thanksgiving traditions were largely unaffected by the weather. Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland served as grand marshal of Detroit's Thanksgiving Day parade. Revelers braved snow showers and slick roads to attend the festivities.
And after the parades, there are feasts. In New York City, volunteers from Citymeals-on-Wheels have been helping elderly residents of neighborhoods affected by Superstorm Sandy to a restaurant feast. The organization funded more than 20,000 Thanksgiving meals, including 13,000 delivered in advance to homebound elderly.
UPDATE: Obamas spend quiet Thanksgiving at White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has been spending a portion of his Thanksgiving Day calling members of the military to thank them for their service.
The White House says Obama called 10 service members: two from the Army, two from the Marine Corps, two from the Navy, two from the Air Force and two from the Coast Guard.
In a holiday edition of his weekend radio and Internet address, Obama gives thanks for members of the military, their families, and the sacrifices they make. He also expresses gratitude for the freedoms the military defends, including speech, religion and the right to choose America's leaders.
Otherwise, the president and his family are celebrating quietly at the White House. The guest list for the private affair wasn't made public, so it wasn't clear who would be joining the president, first lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia.
The menu was quintessential Thanksgiving, with turkey, honey-baked ham, cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner rolls. For dessert, the family had a choice of huckleberry pie, pecan pie, chocolate cream pie, sweet potato pie, banana cream pie or coconut cream pie.
Some Ohio derailment evacuees could be out longer
WILLARD, Ohio (AP) — Some families evacuated in northern Ohio after a derailment and chemical spill could be out of their homes until late Friday.
The warning was issued Thursday by the city of Willard, located about 65 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Residents in a limited area were allowed home Thursday morning, and the city expects most residents to be allowed back home later in the day.
An area of more than 425 homes was evacuated after a train derailment late Tuesday damaged a railcar that leaked flammable liquid.
No injuries were reported.
The CSX railroad offered evacuated residents a free Thanksgiving dinner to be served Thursday afternoon at Willard High School.
CALIF PRISON REFORM-JAIL VIOLENCE
AP Exclusive: Calif jail violence rises on reforms
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — County jails have seen a marked increase in violence since they began housing thousands of offenders who previously would have gone to state prisons.
Assault records requested by The Associated Press show that many of the 10 counties that account for 70 percent of California's total jail population have experienced a surge in the number of inmate fights and attacks on jail employees.
The spike corresponds to a law championed by Gov. Jerry Brown in which lower-level offenders are sentenced to county jails instead of state prisons. Brown sought realignment of the state's penal system in response to federal court orders.
The increase significantly outpaces the overall growth in the jail population. The combined population grew 14 percent while inmate-on-inmate assaults rose 32 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults rose 27 percent.
COLORADO FIRE-3 DEAD
Handyman sought in house fire where 3 found dead
RYE, Colo. (AP) — Colorado authorities are searching for a handyman who lived at a home where three people were found dead Wednesday after a fire.
Pueblo County sheriff's office spokeswoman Lisa Shorter says 59-year-old Harry Mapp had been living at the home in rural Rye until last week.
At least three adults were found dead in the burning home, and the blaze has been labeled suspicious. Shorter said investigators haven't ruled out another victim inside the home.
Arson investigators with the sheriff's department and Colorado Bureau of Investigations planned to search the home Thursday to determine the cause and origin of the fire and to remove the bodies.
Shorter said Mapp drove a blue Chrysler Town and Country minivan with Texas license plates.
Bahamas detains 56 Haitian migrants at sea
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — The Bahamas military has detained 56 Haitian migrants on a boat near where another migrant vessel capsized earlier this week.
A statement from the Royal Bahamas Defense Forces says the migrants were captured near Ragged Island. They were detained Wednesday as authorities were searching for survivors or bodies from Monday's capsizing near Harvey Cays.
The military says about 30 migrants drowned when their boat struck ground and capsized in an area dotted with tiny islands, reefs, rocks and expanses of shallow water. Authorities have not been able to recover all the bodies.
The military says 111 survivors of the capsizing and the 56 found near Ragged Island will be held in New Providence and repatriated. The Bahamas has detained more than 1,500 migrants this year, 90 percent from Haiti.
Earthquake strikes town in Iran near nuclear plant
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — There's been no word of any injuries of damage, but an earthquake has struck a town in southern Iran near a nuclear power plant.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.6. Iran sits on a series of faults and experiences minor quakes once a day on average.
Meanwhile, the U.N. nuclear agency has accepted an invitation from Tehran to visit a heavy water plant. The invitation comes less than a week after a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.
Series of bombings across Iraq kill 29
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq is enduring another wave of deadly attacks today. Officials say at least 29 people have been killed and dozens more wounded.
The deadliest attack took place in the city of Hillah when three separate car bombings struck two outdoor markets and a line of shops all within five minutes of each other, killing nine people and wounding 21. Hillah is about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
The attacks bring the total death toll so far this month to 438, according to an Associated Press count.
Colombia peace talks renew with focus on drugs
HAVANA (AP) — Colombian guerrillas and government negotiators have resumed peace talks in Havana with discussions turning to the country's entrenched drug trade.
It's the third of the talks' six-item agenda. This month, the two sides reached a partial agreement on the rebels' political participation after a peace deal is struck. And earlier this year, an accord on agrarian issues was announced.
Ivan Marquez is the nom de guerre of a high-ranking member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Marquez says punitive measures should not fall primarily on the weak links in the narco-chain — drug consumers and farmers who grow coca leaf, the base ingredient for cocaine.
He spoke Thursday in Havana, where the talks started last year.
Injured Vonn says she has returned to snow
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) — Lindsey Vonn says on her Facebook page that she has returned to the snow for the first time since her training crash last week.
The reigning Olympic downhill champion posted Thursday that she is "happy to be on the mountain doing what I love — skiing!!" She also attached a picture of herself on a slope in Vail.
Vonn had a training mishap in Copper Mountain last week and partially tore a reconstructed ligament in her right knee. She's skipping the races this weekend in Beaver Creek to give her knee more time to rest.
The 29-year-old Vonn hasn't ruled out a return to competition in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Dec. 6.
She hasn't raced since tearing ligaments in her right knee during a high-speed accident at the world championships in February.
REINVENTED PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
'Darker' take on Phantom classic opens US tour
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The curtain has gone up on a reimagined production of "The Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running show on Broadway.
The show opened its U.S. tour Wednesday in Providence with a new set, choreography and scenic design. The new version will be the first U.S. tour of "Phantom" in three years.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh said the aim was not to completely overhaul the original but rather recast some of its best moments in a different way. Mark Campbell, who plays the Phantom, calls the new version edgier and darker.
The show, with music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, has been seen by over 130 million people in 30 countries and grossed over $5.6 billion worldwide.
Twelve other cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, have been announced.