Schools teach refugee, migrant kids skills to succeed in US

Samuel Lavi, left, a Congolese native who is a teaching assistant and family engagement liaison, greets first grader Kediga Ahmed as she arrives at the Valencia Newcomer School attend class Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. Children from around the world are learning the English skills and American classroom customs they need to succeed at so-called newcomer schools. Valencia Newcomer School in Phoenix is among a handful of such public schools in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping some of the thousands of children who arrive in the country annually.

STATE

PHOENIX (AP) — International flags flutter from the ceilings of the outdoor hallways at Valencia Newcomer School, where more than 200 children from around the world are learning English skills and American classroom customs they need to succeed.

When the school year begins, the refugee and immigrant children often don’t know the rules. A kid might be fascinated with a light switch they excitedly turn off and on. Another is startled by a whistle or a helicopter buzzing overhead that recalls conflict back home.

NATION

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chinese-owned video app TikTok says it has unblocked a U.S. teenager and restored her viral video condemning China’s treatment of its Muslim minority.

A statement from Eric Han, an American who heads TikTok’s U.S. content-moderation team, says that the video was removed for 50 minutes Wednesday due to “a human moderation error.” Han says the site’s guidelines don’t preclude the video’s content.

TikTok is popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults but several U.S. senators have raised concerns about data collection and censorship on the site of content not in line with the Chinese government. The U.S. government has reportedly launched a national-security review of the site.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Family members of a woman who was killed when fire broke out on the 14th floor of a Minneapolis public housing high-rise say they’re making plans for her to be buried in Somalia.

Five people died and three were injured in the blaze early Wednesday at the Cedar High Apartments located in a heavily immigrant neighborhood. Authorities have identified four of the five victims who were killed.

The daughter of Nadifa Mohamud, who was overcome by smoke while trying to escape from the 24th floor, says it was her mother’s wish to be laid to rest in Somalia.

While the cause of the blaze was still under investigation, Fire Chief John Fruetel told reporters Wednesday that investigators believe the fire was an accident. No further details were available Thursday morning.

Wintry weather temporarily loosened its grip across much of the U.S. just in time for Thanksgiving, after tangling holiday travelers in wind, ice and snow and before more major storms descend Friday.

There were some exceptions to the respite, particularly involving California’s main north-south Highway 5, which was shut down early Thursday as heavy snow softly blanketed the region.

But high winds that had ripped a wooden sign from scaffolding on Chicago’s Willis Tower and nearly felled a Christmas Tree to close Cleveland’s Public Square Wednesday were calm enough by Thursday morning to allow the Macy’s Day Parade in New York to proceed, albeit with balloons flying at lower levels.

WORLD

PARIS (AP) — Dozens of French activists blocked an Amazon warehouse south of Paris in a Black Friday-inspired protest, amid increased opposition to the post-Thanksgiving sales phenomenon that has seen a group of French lawmakers push to ban it altogether.

Protesters from climate group Amis de la terre spread hay and old refrigerators and microwaves on the driveway leading to the warehouse in Bretigny-sur-Orge on Thursday. They held signs in front of the gates reading “Amazon: For the climate, for jobs, stop expansion, stop over-production!”

The activists were later dislodged by police.

More demonstrations are expected as Black Friday looms into view. French climate groups are planning “Block Friday” demonstrations Friday.

DURRES, Albania (AP) — Hopes were fading Thursday of finding anyone else alive beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings in Albania, two days after a deadly quake struck the country’s Adriatic coast killing at least 46 people and injuring more than 2,000.

By Thursday afternoon, search operations were winding down, and focused on one collapsed villa that housed an extended family in the port city of Durres, 33 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Tirana, police at the site said.

The bodies of five people had already been recovered from the house from which the sole survivor so far was a 17-year-old boy rescued from beneath the rubble. Rescuers continued searching for three more missing family members.

PRESTON, England (AP) — The man in control of police operations at the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium tragedy was cleared by a jury on Thursday of gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans in Britain’s worst sports disaster.

Gasps were heard from the public gallery after jurors at Preston Crown Court in northern England found David Duckenfield not guilty following a trial which lasted more than six weeks.

The prosecution in the case alleged Duckenfield, who is now 75, had a “personal responsibility” for what happened at the FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989, where 96 people — all Liverpool fans — were fatally injured in a crush inside the stadium.

Duckenfield denied 95 counts. There can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, because he died more than a year and a day after his injuries.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Unspoiled rivers in the Balkans are facing new dangers from small hydropower plants that have sprouted up across the region in recent years, environmental experts warned Thursday.

In a declaration issued after a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, they urged Balkan governments to halt any further construction of hydro dams.

“We want everybody to see that it is bad, and it is wrong and that we are devastating our natural beauties,” said Irma Popovic Dujmovic, from World Wide Fund for Nature Adria group, one of the organizers of the Sarajevo gathering.

Concerns have been raised that small plants are being built for profit without any regard for the local community and local eco-systems.