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Thanksgiving 2017: Trump, other notable figures mark the holiday

President Donald Trump and other notable figures delivered messages of hope and gratitude for Thanksgiving.

Trump posted a video message to the nation on Twitter, and also delivered a personal holiday message live via teleconference to members of the military. Trump then visited the Coast Guard in Florida.

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Trump is spending his first Thanksgiving as president with family at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Arizona mother gives birth in SUV, drives herself to hospital with toddler in backseat

Mothers are known for being good at multitasking, but an Arizona woman took it to a whole new level.

When Shannon Geise, 31, woke up just after midnight on Nov. 7 to painful contractions and her water breaking, the mother of four told azcentral.com she thought she had time to make it to the hospital for the birth of her son.

The baby, already named Sebastian, had other ideas.

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Geise was going to call for a ride, but as the contractions became more severe, she placed her toddler daughter Olivia in the SUV and began the drive to the hospital. Her other children were staying with their father, azcentral.com reported. 

While Olivia watched the "Angry Birds" movie in the backseat, Geise quickly came to the conclusion that she was going to have to deliver the baby in the vehicle. She delivered Sebastian and called 911. The operator told her to wait for an ambulance but Geise said it would be quicker for her to drive there, as she was just minutes away. So holding on to her newborn son with one arm and driving slowly and carefully with the other hand, Geise made her way to the hospital.

Geise told azcentral.com that she and baby Sebastian are doing fine and are at home with family.

Pigs wandering I-95 in Florida after tractor-trailer crash

The Florida Highway Patrol was on the scene of a crash involving two tractor-trailers in St. Johns County early Thursday morning. 

FHP told ActionNewsJax the cause of the collision between the two tractor-trailers is still under investigation.

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According to FHP, when the tractor-trailers collided, one tractor-trailer that was carrying pigs overturned, causing the livestock to escape and wander along the road's edge.

The second tractor-trailer partially rolled over, FHP told ActionNewsJax.

There are no reported injuries, but FHP is asking motorists to use caution due to weather, lane closures and the possibilities of loose livestock. 

Source: Mugabe granted immunity; safety in Zimbabwe ensured

Former President Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and was assured that his safety in Zimbabwe would be protected, Reuters reported. The announcement was part of a deal that led to the 93-year-old’s resignation, sources told Reuters.

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Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since its independence from Great Britain in 1980, resigned Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, is set to be sworn in as president on Friday.

A government source said Mugabe told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe and had no plans to live in exile, Reuters reported.

“It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it,” said the source, who is not authorized to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement.

“For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country … although that will not stop him from traveling abroad when he wants to or has to,” the source told Reuters.

Mississippi alderman charged with procuring prostitution

An alderman from a north Mississippi county was arrested and charged Wednesday with procuring prostitution, police said.

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Ronald Wayne Hale was booked into the DeSoto County jail with a $1,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office. He was released Wednesday afternoon. Hale had no comment as he left the jail.

Hale is the alderman of Ward 2 in Southaven. He is serving his second term as an alderman; his first time ran from 2009 to 2013.

Hale is also a Memphis firefighter.

The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department said it had no comment. Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite released a statement, calling the charges “very concerning,” but declined further comment.

Hale is scheduled to be in court on Nov. 27.

California woman thwarts abduction of her children

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man wanted in the attempted kidnapping of two children in California on Wednesday.

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Deputies said a mother was with her two children in a jogging stroller in Valencia around 11 a.m. Wednesday when the man suddenly approached her from behind, KCAL reported.

Investigators said the man grabbed the stroller’s handle and tried to pull it away, but the woman managed to regain control and ran away. She called 911 but the man was gone when officers arrived, KCAL reported.

“My energy goes out to this mother,” said Cindy Potts, also a mother of two young children.

Though she has no connection to the attempted kidnapping, it still leaves Potts rattled.

“The thought of someone taking away my most precious cargo, my life fulfillment, it’s an empty feeling and it’s a frightening feeling,” she told KCAL.

The man is described as a transient, police said.

Watch: North Korean guard makes dramatic defection

South Korea announced on Nov. 13 that an unnamed soldier defecting from the North was rescued and taken to a hospital after he was found shot in the shoulder and elbow in the border village of Panmunjom.

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A dramatic video of the 24-year-old, identified only by his last name, Oh, escaping North Korea, is fascinating to watch.

Officials in South Korea said that the escape took place after the North Korean guard abandoned his post and tried to escape. CNN reported that this was the third defection of a North Korean soldier this year and that there had only been four such defections in the past five years.

South Korean officials added that the soldier was in such a bad spot they needed to crawl to save him. Part of the video shows this.

“The defector was urgently transferred to a hospital in a helicopter of the United Nations Command, and there was no exchange of fire with our side,” a South Korean ministry official told Reuters. “Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl toward there to get him out.”

It’s not clear at this time how high-ranking the soldier was in Kim Jong-un’s army, but we do know he was in the military for eight years and was a vehicle driver.

The video shows multiple North Korean soldiers firing at Oh. He was shot at least five times.

The lead surgeon in South Korea said Oh is “not going to die” from these wounds, ABC News reported.

ABC News said it appeared North Korea violated the 1953 Armistice Agreement signed by the U.N., North Korea and China by firing guns across the military demarcation line and by physically crossing the line.

Floridians twerk for Trump during traffic jam he caused

It’s never the wrong time to get your twerk on, according to a few Floridians.

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President Donald Trump and his family traveled to his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach for the Thanksgiving holiday. As with any official trip made by the First Family, the Trumps traveled from Palm Beach International Airport to the property via a motorcade.

While motorcades are usually uneventful, and attention is usually focused on the person being escorted, one person caught the moment some locals decided to make the best of the traffic jam caused by the president.

A video lasting just over half a minute showed two people exit a car and start to twerk on the highway.

While twerking is certainly nothing new, HuffPost noted car twerking took South Florida by storm earlier in the year as young people flocked to Miami for Spring Break.

A young bikini-clad woman was recorded hanging out of a vehicle, leg draped along the roof and twerking up a storm while her friend sped down MacArthur Causeway.

Health care provider fires 50 employees who refused to get flu shots

A health care provider in Minnesota fired 50 employees because they refused to get flu shots, KBJR reported.

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Essentia Health had imposed a Monday deadline for employees to get flu shots or receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Since September, Essentia employees, volunteers, students and vendors had three choices: get a flu shot, show an approved religious or medical exemption, or leave the company, KBJR reported.

Essentia chief of patient quality and safety Dr. Rajesh Prabhu said the company wanted to increase patient safety and boost its 82 percent flu vaccination rate from 2016, which he said was not going to increase voluntarily.

“Purely voluntary or more education doesn't get you those high levels of immunization compliance and as you know other states, other health care organizations have done the same thing we have,” he told KBJR.

Prabhu said that as of Tuesday, 99.5 percent of employees have chosen the first two options, but 50 so far have been terminated with more left waiting to hear back on their exemptions.

Minnesota Nurses Association Duluth chairman Steve Strand said with so many employees in limbo, his union doesn't know how many members may have lost their jobs yet.

“We believe that they will be denying some of those, and then those individuals may end up terminated also,” Strand told KBJR.

But Strand said his association intends to fight any terminations for a policy they say is unnecessarily intrusive and may not even be effective. He cited Centers for Disease Control research showing this year's vaccine is expected to be 60 percent effective against the flu.

“The flu shot isn't a be-all end-all, it only has a certain efficacy,” Strand said.

Essentia said it stands by its mandatory policy.

"People may debate on how effective that is but based on what the level of evidence is and what our peers are doing, we thought this was the best way to protect our patients," Prabhu told KBJR.

'Vapor Wake' dogs to provide extra security at Macy's Thanksgiving parade

The 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will have an added layer of security to protect the 1 million spectators expected to attend: a team of 14 Labrador retrievers trained to detect explosives on moving targets in large crowds, Fox News reported.

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The dogs completed an 18-month Vapor Wake program that was developed at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. They are different than normal bomb-sniffing dogs, which can identify explosives in stationary objects, Fox News reported. The Vapor Wake dogs look for mobile threats and can detect the “thermal plumes left behind in a person's wake,” Paul Hammond, the president of Vapor Wake training program VWK9 LLC, told Rolling Stone.

The dogs are trained to avoid the distractions of large crowds and loud noises at large events, and can sense explosive particles Wired reported. 

“You will see our Vapor Wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan told WABC.

The NYPD used eight Vapor Wake dogs at the Thanksgiving Day parade last year, Fox News reported.

In addition to the dogs, officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors will walk among the crowds, and sharpshooters on rooftops will scan building windows and balconies for anything unusual, police said. 

The parade begins at 9 a.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC. 

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