Americans Give Thanks with Feasting and Holiday Shopping
Americans are expected to mark the annual Thanksgiving holiday Thursday with family gatherings, meals and bargain shopping.
The celebration is traditionally held on the fourth Thursday in November and marks the beginning of a holiday season that culminates in New Year's celebrations in early January.
The day after Thanksgiving Day is a day for big sales on clothing, toys, and appliances, as people begin their holiday shopping in earnest.
So-called "Black Friday" sales begin Thursday on Thanksgiving Day, or even a few days before, and generally end the following Monday, known as Cyber Monday.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 68 million people in the U.S. say they expect to shop over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama took care of business, both frivolous and serious. He conducted the traditional "turkey pardon," assuring two specially-selected turkeys in a White House ceremony that they would not be made into Thanksgiving dinner.
The president also assured the nation that at a time of heightened security, there is no need to worry about terrorist threats as they go about their holiday travels and traditions.
Refusing Syrian Refugees Is Illegal, Obama Administration Warns States
The U.S. federal government is warning state officials they do not have the legal authority to refuse to accept refugees from Syria.
The notification came in a letter dated Wednesday from the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (OPR) to state resettlement agencies.
Program chief Robert Carey said that states may not deny OPR-funded benefits and services based on a refugee's country of origin or religious affiliation.
Any state that refuses to comply would be in violation of the law and "could be subject to enforcement action," Carey warned in the letter, originally published in the Houston Chronicle.
More than two dozen mostly Republican governors have vowed to block federal attempts to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, arguing they pose an unacceptable security risk.
Fears were heightened after the discovery that at least one of the militants in the recent deadly Paris attacks had slipped into Europe in the wave of Syrian refugees.