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Minimum wage rising, NBA takes on the NRA & other big news

It’s Thursday, and it’s Christmas Eve, so if you’re celebrating, get ready for a day of eggnog and wrapping paper. But before you do that, check out the day’s news headlines.

1. Planes, trains and malls

Black Lives Matters protesters held protests in Minneapolis yesterday despite a restraining order preventing them from gathering. The protesters, marching to draw attention to the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, on Nov. 15, convened on the Mall of America on Wednesday. About 200 police officers, many in riot gear, turned them away from the Mall of America, hoping to prevent a repeat of a protest a year ago. The protesters then took the light rail to the airport, where they prevented access to one of two terminals at the airport, causing delays and traffic jams. — The New York Times

2. More money, honey

Fourteen states are raising the minimum wage at the beginning of 2016. The raises range from 5 cents an hour more in South Dakota to $1 more in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Washington, D.C., and three other states will be raising their minimum wages later in 2016. Raising the minimum wage has had broad political support by both conservative and liberal voters. The states’ new pay scales range from $8 an hour in Arkansas to $10 in Massachusetts and Connecticut; New York is raising its wage for fast-food workers to $10.50 in NYC and $9.75 upstate. Now if only housing prices would drop a bit. — The Huffington Post

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3. Doing the right thing

The NBA is taking on the NRA with a new public service announcement set to air on Christmas Day. Director Spike Lee has assembled some of basketball’s biggest stars, from the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony to the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah, as well as the father of Alison Parker, the young reporter killed on-air last summer in Virginia, to appear in the spot speaking out against gun violence. The move is unusual as the professional sports leagues generally don’t take a stand on political issues for fear of alienating potential customers. Perhaps this will be the first of many public stands by celebrities. — Slate

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4. Go home

Homeland Security is planning a series of raids that will capture and deport families who have arrived in the U.S. in the past two years. The raids will begin in early January. More than 100,000 families, with both adults and children, have fled violence and drought in Central America since early last year, though media coverage has tended to highlight the flood of unaccompanied children who arrived during the same time. Advocates, who’ve not been briefed on the plan, expressed concern for the welfare of the families, whom they described as refugees seeking asylum. — The Washington Post

5. Cold comfort

Sixteen of the families of the Sandy Hook gun massacre will share $1.5 million from the estate of the shooter’s mother, who was also killed during the rampage. There were eight separate lawsuits filed against the estate of Nancy Lanza, alleging that Lanza was negligent in leaving her Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which shooter Adam Lanza used in the massacre, unsecured in her home. Another wrongful death suit has been filed against the maker of the Bushmaster rifle. — CNN

6. Please, sir

The Idaho lunch lady who was fired for giving a hungry child a free lunch has been rehired. Dalene Bowden, the cafeteria worker at Irving Middle School in Pocatello, was placed on leave even after she offered to repay the $1.70 for the child’s lunch. The school district, which said it was unable to comment on the case, nonetheless implied that it was not only this gesture that led to Bowden’s firing. But the ensuing media firestorm, including a petition that gathered nearly 74,000 signatures, persuaded them that canning Bowden probably was not the best “optics” in the world. Now if we could only put the focus back on addressing child hunger. — NBC News

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