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Michelle Obama carries a bag of toys donated by White House staffers for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.
Michelle Obama carries a bag of toys donated by White House staffers for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.Read moreEVAN VUCCI / AP

Parade in Hawaii salutes WWII vets

HONOLULU - Hundreds of Japanese American veterans of World War II were honored Saturday with a parade in Honolulu - nearly 70 years after they volunteered to fight for their country even as the government branded them "enemy aliens."

About 200 veterans rode in convertibles, troop carriers, and trolleys past a cheering crowd of tourists, family and local residents. The event celebrates the Congressional Gold Medal the veterans received last month.

Thousands of Japanese Americans served in World War II even as the government viewed them with suspicion because their ancestors were from the country that bombed Pearl Harbor. Some on the mainland enlisted from internment camps, where the federal government had imprisoned 110,000 Japanese Americans.

The medal recognizes the 442d Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion, which together saw some of the most brutal fighting in the war as the soldiers pushed their way through Italy, France and Germany. The parade also honored members of the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion who were stationed on Oahu.

- AP

Senate confirms envoy to Russia

The Senate on Saturday confirmed Michael McFaul, President Obama's top adviser on Russia, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

The voice vote to elevate McFaul to the ambassador's post came on the last day the Senate was meeting this year after several months of delay.

McFaul is regarded as one of the nation's leading experts on U.S. relations with Russia, and has been involved in the Obama administration's efforts to restore shaky relations with the Moscow government.

McFaul, who taught at Stanford University, was a campaign adviser to Obama on Russia before moving to the National Security Council to become the president's chief Russia adviser.
- AP

NYPD thwarts new Occupy site

NEW YORK - Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested Saturday after they scaled a chain-link fence or crawled under it to get to an Episcopal church-owned lot they want to use for a new camp site.

Protesters used a wooden ladder to scale the fence or lifted it from below while others cheered them on. A man wearing a Santa suit stood on the ladder among others, as they ignored red "Private Property" signs.

As officers made arrests, protesters shouted obscenities and hollered: "Make them catch you!" The group was inside the lot for a short time before being led out by police in single file through a space in the fence. About 50 people were arrested, police said. - AP


All lanes of a vital Southern California freeway were reopened Saturday, three days after a shutdown was forced by a huge tanker truck fire that left an overpass badly damaged. Caltrans said in a statement that repairs were finished and that the 10-mile stretch of the Pomona Freeway linking Los Angeles to its eastern suburbs was open.