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In the Nation


Helping others is Obama yule message

President Obama encouraged Americans to embrace the spirit of Christmas by helping those in need, and offered a note of gratitude to U.S. troops serving at the expense of a holiday with family and friends.

In a recorded Christmas message released Wednesday, the president and Michelle Obama reflected on the lessons they said their family draws from the birth and life of Jesus. The president urged Americans to carry forward those lessons by volunteering at a soup kitchen, buying gifts for kids in need, or organizing food and clothing drives.

"For all of us as Americans, regardless of our faith, those are values that can drive us to be better parents and friends, better neighbors, and better citizens," he said.

Before Christmas Eve dinner with friends and relatives Tuesday, Obama called troops from each branch of the military to extend his gratitude, the White House said. - AP

Teacher shot; 4 held

Police have arrested four teenage boys in the shooting of a central California high school teacher who fought back during an attempted robbery at the school. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer identified the suspects as 17- and 16-year-old Norteno gang members. Police have said the teens had a handgun and a sawed-off shotgun when they wounded Edison High teacher Steven Guerrero. - AP


More tickets, please

Police in Melbourne, Fla., issued scratch-off lottery tickets instead of speeding fines to Christmas Day travelers. By Wednesday afternoon, police had handed out 30 lottery tickets along with warnings to drivers speeding or violating other laws. Sgt. Jamie Rocque said officers bought the lottery tickets with their own money to spread a bit of holiday cheer while ensuring public safety. Rocque said officers got "a lot of surprised looks." - AP