3 million line up to watch New York Thanksgiving Day parade

Posted Nov. 24, 2011, at 9:14 p.m.

NEW YORK — Balloons, bands and dignitaries trooped through midtown Manhattan Thursday morning for the 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

With clear skies and 40-degree temperatures, an estimated 3 million people lined the parade route.

Balloons drifting along the two-mile route Thursday morning included Buzz Lightyear, Clumsy Smurf, Ronald McDonald, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Aflac Duck Balloonicle.

An “ooh” came over the crowd when the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon passed West 65th Street and Central Park West. Perhaps the loudest cheers came for Mickey Mouse.

Nearby, parents held up their children while standing on construction scaffolding for a peek at the passing parade.

The Conway family of Albany, N.Y., hoping to avoid a repeat of last year when members could barely see the parade, brought ladders and a wooden plank.

The family balanced the plank on the ladders and stood tall, towering over fellow parade goers.

Kentucky teen gets 50 years in death of 9-year-old sister

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Todd County, Ky., teen who admitted brutally beating his 9-year-old sister to death has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Garrett Dye, 18, has been in custody since he was arrested in the case Feb. 6. Circuit Judge Tyler Gill sentenced Dye Wednesday.

Dye’s case has drawn widespread attention because of a judge’s finding that state caseworkers ignored or failed to property investigate repeated claims that the victim, Amy Dye, had been abused before her death.

School officials had reported concerns about Amy being abused more than a half-dozen times, state records show.

New Libyan government sworn in

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s transitional leaders swore on a Quran to uphold the ideals of the revolution that toppled Moammar Gadhafi as they took their oaths of office Thursday, another key step in the country’s hoped-for march toward democracy.

The lineup of relative unknowns, almost all of them older men, will confront daunting challenges, like establishing control over the fractured nation after the ousting of Gadhafi’s 42-year regime, along with building up state institutions practically from scratch.

Prime Minister Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib took his vow before the transitional council’s leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil. He then placed his hand on an ornately decorated Quran and swore to “remain loyal to the goals” of the revolution.

El-Keib said he and his ministers were “upbeat” and optimistic about leading Libya toward elections, scheduled to take place by next June.

Snowless Scandinavians wonder ‘where’s winter?’

STOCKHOLM — For some reason, Scandinavia is not its frigid self, with unusually warm weather delaying the onset of winter in northern latitudes normally decked in white.

The lack of snow has been bad news for winter sports — World Cup ski races have been dropped, or held on artificial snow, and mountain ski resorts are unable to open.

There are even reports of bird song and blooming gardens in some places typically entering the winter freeze at this time of year.

Weather experts say this fall is on track to become one of the warmest on record in the northern part of Scandinavia, where the start of winter has been delayed by more than a month in certain locations.

In the Finnish town of Sodankyla, 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, snow cover started Nov. 17, the latest date in 100 years, said Pauli Jokinen, spokesman at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Earlier this month, World Cup Alpine skiing races were moved from Levi, Finland, to Austria because of the lack of snow.

According to Sweden’s meteorological office SMHI, the average temperature measured for November so far is 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

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