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Rapid Reads: 6 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Turkey pardon vote is on, Chicago protesters take to the streets over police shooting & more

It's almost Thanksgiving, but while you're traveling home to mom's or slogging through that last day at work, why not catch up on some news? Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. #BlackLivesMatter

Yesterday, a white police officer was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black teen. Officials also released highly disturbing video footage of the incident that shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in only 15 seconds. McDonald was on the ground after the first shot, but the officer kept shooting. The officer claims the shooting was in self-defense because McDonald had a small knife. Last night, hundreds of peaceful protesters took to the streets of Chicago, wanting answers as to why the officer was never fired — he was only placed on desk duty — and why the investigation took a year to complete. — NBC Chicago

More: 9 Signs white privilege is absolutely real

2. Chaos in Syria

The situation in Syria is escalating after the Turkish military shot down a Russian war plane. Turkey, who is supposed to be a Russian ally, says they shot down the plane because it entered restricted airspace. Russia says they were never in Turkish airspace, and Putin called the incident "a stab in the back." The ultimate goal for Turkey, Russia and the U.S. should be getting rid of Assad and ending the Syrian civil war, but right now the whole situation is just mass chaos. Turkey has called an emergency meeting with NATO, so hopefully everyone can sit down, talk it out and get their acts together. — The New York Times

3. Senseless violence

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey was shot in the head last night while sitting in a car with his family. Their vehicle was stopped when someone pulled up and began shooting. Bailey was hit twice in the head and was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. His cousin, who was driving the car, was hit several times and is in critical condition. The shooter got away, and police are still investigating. — NFL.com

More: Should parents have guns in their homes? (VIDEO)

4. Not a good sign

A 15-year-old boy has died of Ebola in Liberia. His father and brother also tested positive for the illness, and these are the first cases since Liberia was declared Ebola-free in September, following an epidemic that claimed 4,800 lives. Since the start of the Ebola outbreak in 2013, 11,314 people have died in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The new cases raise fears that another outbreak could be about to begin. Officials have placed 153 people in quarantine and are closely monitoring all suspected illnesses. — Los Angeles Times

5. Je suis Paris

The Paris Saint-Germain soccer team just announced plans to part with their jersey sponsor, Fly Emirates, in favor of donning brand-new jerseys that say "Je suis Paris," or "I am Paris," for two games next week. The team members weren't the ones playing in Paris during the attacks, but they are Paris' biggest soccer team, and their move to show support is a huge gesture. Go team! — USA Today

More: 15 Powerful cartoon tributes following the Paris attacks

6. Gobble, gobble

President Barack Obama will pardon a turkey tomorrow, in keeping with our national tradition, but first he needs you to tell him which one to save. The National Turkey Federation has released a poll where you can vote to save either Honest or Abe, two turkeys that were named by California school kids, and both weigh in at a spectacular 42 pounds. Like always, both turkeys will live and go on to live at a farm in Virginia. This is just for show — you know, like American Idol for turkeys. Go vote already! — USA Today

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