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    Los Angeles authorities have given a little girl a license to own a unicorn — if she can find one. Animal Care and Control Department officials said this week that they granted the unusual permit to Madeline, whose last name was redacted. It comes with conditions, however. Madeline is asked to follow strict guidelines such as providing the mythical beast ample exposure to sunlight, moonbeams and rainbows. Its horn must also be polished monthly with a soft cloth. The girl wrote the department in November asking for approval to keep a unicorn in her backyard. In responding, the agency also mailed her a plush white unicorn doll with pink ears, purple hooves and a silver horn.

      Police in Portland, Oregon, say officers arrested four people during a raid at a store that was openly and illegally selling psychedelic mushrooms. The Portland Police Bureau says a search warrant was served early Thursday at the Shroom House in the Northwest District neighborhood. Police say investigators seized about 22 pounds of suspected mushrooms and over $13,000 in cash. Police say Steven Tachie, Jr. and Jeramiahs Geronimo were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of 10 counts each of money laundering and 10 counts each of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance near a school. It wasn't immediately known if they have lawyers to comment on the allegations.

        American basketball star Brittney Griner is heading home, freed from Russian prison in exchange for the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Thursday's dramatic action was the culmination of an eight-month saga of high diplomacy and dashed hopes. But the U.S. failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, jailed in Russia for nearly four years on espionage charges that his family and the U.S. government say are baseless. The swap comes at a time of heightened tensions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And it has brought unprecedented attention to the number of what the U.S. considers wrongful detainees.

        An oil spill in a creek in northeastern Kansas has shut down a major pipeline from Canada through the Plains and to the Texas Gulf Coast. The spill briefly caused oil prices to rise Thursday. Canadian-based TC Energy said it shut down its Keystone system Wednesday night following a drop in pipeline pressure. It said oil spilled into a creek in Washington County, Kansas, about 150 miles (241 kilometers)  northwest of Kansas City. The company estimated the spill at about 14,000 barrels but did not say what caused it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said no wells providing drinking water were affected and the oil didn't move into larger waterways.

          The House has given final approval to protections for same-sex marriages. The vote Thursday sends the legislation to President Joe Biden, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition of such unions. The law requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages, a relief for hundreds of thousands of couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing the marriages. The bipartisan legislation would also protect interracial unions by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin." Biden says he'll promptly sign the measure into law.

            Authorities say two firefighters have died to a house fire in rural eastern Pennsylvania, where a man’s body was found outside. State police identified the New Tripoli Fire Company members who lost their lives Wednesday as 36-year-old Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Paris, and 59-year-old Marvin Gruber. Paris worked as a professional firefighter in Frederick County, Maryland. He joined that county’s fire department as a recruit in February, and had just graduated from the fire academy in September. Deputy Coroner Michael Bowman said the body found outside belonged to a resident of the home. He was identified as 35-year-old Christopher Kammerdiener. Officials did not release further details on the investigation of his death.

            A recount of an Anchorage-area state Senate race reaffirmed Republican Cathy Giessel as the winner, while a recount of an Anchorage House race reaffirmed Republican Rep. Tom McKay as the winner. The Senate recount was conducted by the state Division of Elections Wednesday at the request of Democrat Roselynn Cacy, who was the first of the three candidates in the Senate District E race to be eliminated in the Nov. 8 ranked vote contest. Democrat Denny Wells requested the recount in the House race; that recount was held Thursday.

            Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is The Associated Press college football player of the year. The sophomore Heisman Trophy favorite is the school’s first winner of the award since 2005 with his stellar debut season for the Trojans. Williams received 32 of the 46 first-place votes and 117 total points from AP Top 25 poll voters. TCU quarterback Max Duggan came in second with six first-place votes and 64 points. Williams has passed for 4,075 yards with an FBS-leading 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season.

            Two lawyers and a former U.S. attorney have been chosen to conduct an external review of the shooting that killed three University of Virginia students and wounded two others. State Attorney General Jason Miyares announced the appointments on Thursday. William Burck and Crystal Nix-Hines will lead the probe. They co-chair the Crisis Law and Strategy Group for the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm. Zachary Terwilliger will serve as special counsel. He is a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Police have said that a former member of the school’s football team opened fire on a charter bus as he and other students returned to campus after seeing a play in Washington. Authorities have not released a motive.

            Sri Lanka’s Parliament has approved a budget that includes reforms aimed at improving the country’s finances as it attempts to recover from its worst economic crisis. The $15-billion budget includes a $117-million relief package for those affected by the crisis. It provides for a restructuring of state-owned enterprises, reduced subsidies for electricity, and tax increases to boost state revenue. That's based on proposals by the International Monetary Fund under a preliminary $2.9-billion bailout plan. Unsustainable government debt, a balance of payments crisis and the pandemic led to a severe shortage of essentials such as fuel, medicine and food. Soaring prices have caused severe hardships for most Sri Lankans.

            Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has asked a judge to sanction St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, accusing her of concealing evidence in her effort to vacate the conviction for a man who has spent nearly 30 years in prison for murder. Lamar Johnson was convicted in 1994 of killing 25-year-old Marcus Boyd in an alleged drug dispute. Johnson has long claimed innocence. Gardner, a Democrat, filed a motion in August asking a St. Louis judge to vacate the conviction, a move that would free Johnson from prison. The judge has not yet ruled in the case. Schmitt's office accuses Gardner of concealing gunshot residue testing that “tends to provide that Johnson is guilty.”

            Native species such as swift foxes and black-footed ferrets were wiped out from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation by poisoning campaigns, disease and the loss of prairie where nomadic tribes once roamed. Now students from the tribal college are helping reintroduce the small predators to the northern Montana reservation with guidance from elders and outside wildlife groups. As extinctions of animals and plants accelerate, tribes with little money are trying to re-establish imperiled species and restore their habitat. The work parallels growing calls to “rewild” degraded natural systems. Plague periodically wipes out Fort Belknap's ferrets, and half its foxes may have died or fled. But tribal members say they’re committed to rebuilding species with deep cultural significance.

            North Carolina drag performers and LGBTQ community members fear for their safety after an attack on the electrical grid in Moore County left tens of thousands without power for several days. Authorities have said two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent Saturday evening. The attack cut power to a drag show happening simultaneously in Southern Pines that had been the target of protests. While police have not drawn a connection between the drag event and the outages, the incident intensified concerns in the local LGBTQ community.


            The one-for-one swap involving Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout was not the one that U.S. officials had hoped to negotiate or were initially willing to accept. For months they been demanding the release of both Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. The final agreement came together in just the past few days. The administration grudgingly accepted that though Russia would not budge on Whelan, it was finally prepared to relent on Griner. That created imperfect but ultimately workable options for a U.S. government under pressure to make a deal.

            Kosovo police say armed men fired guns from a vehicle, injuring one officer. A statement Friday said a police officer was “slightly wounded” and a police car was damaged. The injured officer was taken at the hospital and police are investigating the case. Police have increased their presence to help with rising tensions in northern areas dominated by the ethnic Serb minority. The area includes four ethnic Serb-dominated communes in the north where a snap election will be held Dec. 18. Earlier this week, some election centers were damaged and shooting was heard in those communes, raising fears of the long-simmering tensions between Serbia and its former province, Kosovo. It's not clear if voting will be held as normal.

            The remains of a soldier from New Hampshire who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp have been laid to rest, several months after they were identified. Twenty-three-year-old U.S. Army Sgt. Alfred Sidney, of Littleton, New Hampshire, was reported missing in action in May 1951 after his unit was attacked near Hangye, South Korea. It wasn't known until 1953 that he had died at a POW camp. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says unidentified remains were disinterred years later from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Sidney’s remains were identified in August through dental and anthropological analysis, mitochondrial DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.

            New Mexico officials are outlining new conditions for a proposed permit for the U.S. government to continue disposing of nuclear waste in the state's southeast corner. As a hedge against becoming the nation’s permanent dumping ground, New Mexico wants to raise the bar with its proposal by demanding federal officials produce a full accounting of waste still needing to be cleaned up. It also intends to put Congress on notice that the permit would be revoked if it expands the type of waste that can be brought to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

            At his initial court appearance in Lima, Peru on Thursday, Pedro Castillo gave only yes or no answers, looking on downcast as his attorney argued that he had been arbitrarily detained. The man who had served as Peruvian president refused to give any statement of his own. In just three tumultuous hours, Castillo went from decreeing the dissolution of his country’s Congress to being replaced by his vice president and put under arrest. On Wednesday, he was removed from office and arrested on a charge of rebellion after dissolving the Congress before a scheduled impeachment vote.

            Scientists have discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland. Today, it’s a barren Arctic desert. But back then it was a lush landscape of trees and vegetation with an array of animals, even the now extinct mastodon. The study published Wednesday looks at environmental DNA — bits of genetic material that organisms leave in their surroundings. By studying these tiny pieces, scientists found an unusual mix of species, with reindeer and geese perhaps living alongside mastodons.

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