Happy Birthday Wishes to:
James Arens, William Gustafsson, Jeanne Konrady, Henry Lumsden Jr., Bob Vogel
Today, a blend of clouds & sun, high 13. Tonight, mostly cloudy, low 6. Thursday, mainly cloudy, chance for light snow, 1-2” possible, high 22.
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The upper house of Russia's parliament has passed a bill calling for fines of up to $30,000 for anyone scalping tickets to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The bill, passed Wednesday by the Federation Council, now needs to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. For low-level scalping by individuals, the fine would be five to 10 times the ticket's face value, but penalties will be heavier for scalping done as a business. Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov told a news conference that "we as Olympic organizers have an obligation under our contract with the International Olympic Committee to prevent speculative price hikes for hotels and Olympic tickets." Zhukov says there will be price limits for rooms in each hotel category.
LeBron James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 21, and the Miami Heat survived a frantic finish to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in an NBA Finals rematch on Tuesday. Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 20 for the Heat, who matched the franchise's best 25-game start at 19-6. Chris Bosh added 16 for Miami, which has beaten the Thunder five straight times going back to last June's title series. Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 for Oklahoma City, but both Thunder stars missed potentially game-tying 3-point attempts in the final seconds. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin each added 15 for the Thunder, who have dropped two straight for the first time this season. The Heat went 19 for 19 from the foul line, the second-best effort in franchise history. They were 30 for 30 at Boston on March 24, 1993.
Boston 93 Brooklyn 76
L-A Lakers 100 New York 94
Miami 103 Oklahoma City 97
Houston 120 Chicago 97
L-A Clippers 112 Denver 100
1960: Gordie Howe becomes 1st NHLer to score 1,000 points
More than 100 airline passengers have already left Omaha after their plane made an uneventful emergency landing on Christmas Day. Southwest Airlines spokesman Paul Flaningan says a fuel valve problem prompted the crew of Flight 2879 to declare an emergency. The Boeing 737 was diverted to Omaha's Eppley Airfield and landed around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Flaningan says the plane landed without incident. It was carrying 109 passengers and five crew members from Denver to Kansas City International Airport. He says the passengers boarded another plane and arrived in Kansas City, Mo., about two hours later than their original schedule.
Nebraska employers will see their unemployment costs drop for a second year in a row. The state has paid out less in unemployment benefits this year because fewer people are out of work. Nebraska's unemployment rate was 3.7 percent at the end of November, down from 4.3 percent a year ago. As a result, the state's unemployment trust fund has grown. The average rate that employers pay for unemployment insurance is expected to fall 32 percent in 2013. This year, employers saw a 25 percent decrease from the rates they paid in 2011. Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang says the trust fund is in much better shape this year.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline donned holiday-themed costumes from a Dr. Seuss book on Christmas Eve day, as they urged Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman to reject the project. Members of the group Bold Nebraska dressed as the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who outside the governor's residence on Monday to protest the proposed transnational pipeline. Group members are urging Heineman to deny a state permit for the project. A group member dressed as the Grinch left a pair of flip flops outside the governor's residence, as well as a photo of a Nebraska farm family that opposes the project. The pipeline would transport oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. Heineman expects a recommendation from Nebraska's environmental-quality agency by early January.
As Congress grapples with the fiscal cliff, a new Farm Bill needs to be addressed. If no new farm bill is passed and the current farm bill is not extended, farm programs will revert to 1949 law. Wisconsin Third District Congressman Ron Kind says failure to pass a farm bill is a dereliction of duty by Congress. Kind says reverting to 1949 farm law would be especially hard on the dairy industry. The 1949 farm program includes much higher milk support prices, and would more than double the price of milk in the grocery store. That in turn would reduce consumption, devastating the dairy industry.
A high school band from northeast Nebraska is scheduled to leave Thursday on a trip to the Chik-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. The 52 band members from Allen Consolidated Schools and 11 adult sponsors will travel on a bus and three vans to competitions and performances connected to Sunday's game. Band director Richard Lacy said band members and community raised the $42,000 needed for the trip. The band will march in the Chik-fil-A Bowl Parade, be involved in the pregame and halftime performances and visit a number of Atlanta tourist attractions. The Allen school has 52 of its 66 students participating in band.
Deep-sea diving: A sport in which one can become too immersed in his work.
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