Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 28, 2014

Harold Maass
A boy waits outside a Toys R Us in New York City. (Getty/Andrew Burton)


OPEC rejects pressure to reduce production, sending oil prices plummeting

Oil prices dropped by 7 percent to $69 per barrel on Thursday, the lowest level since May 2010. The dive came after OPEC announced that it was leaving production levels unchanged, dashing expectations that the group of leading oil exporters would slash production to boost prices. Saudi Arabia pushed to keep production levels steady despite pressure from Russia, Nigeria, and Venezuela, which need higher prices to bolster their economies. [CNN]


More than 25 million hit stores before Black Friday

Millions of Americans hit the stores before Thanksgiving was over, not waiting until Black Friday to hunt for deals as the holiday shopping season began. Retailers offered deep discounts on TVs, mobile devices, computers, and other items. Online sales were up 14 percent on Thanksgiving, and 96 million people are expected to go shopping on Black Friday. Roughly 140 million are expected to shop in stores or online at some point over the Black Friday weekend. [The Chicago Tribune]


Ferguson tensions ease on Thanksgiving

Protests calmed in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Thursday, with no signs of the sporadic violence and looting that have prevailed in the three nights since a grand jury announced it would not charge white police officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. In New York City, at least seven protesters were arrested for incidents during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In Los Angeles, authorities released 90 protesters arrested Tuesday and Wednesday so they could go home for Thanksgiving dinner. [Reuters]


Storm leaves 344,000 New England customers without power

The first major winter storm of the year left 344,000 customers in northern New England without power on Thanksgiving, after disrupting holiday travel on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Record snowfall piled up across the region, snapping tree branches and downing power lines. Officials said it could take several days to restore all power. "This is not something you should try to wait out in your house," said Michael Todd, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Safety. [The Associated Press]


40 killed in Nigeria bus station bombing

A bomb blast demolished a bus station in northeast Nigeria on Thursday, killing 40 people. A witness said the explosion beside a busy crossroads set several buses on fire. "There were bodies everywhere on the ground," the witness, mechanic Abubakar Adamu, said. The bombing took place about 20 miles west of a town called Mubi, near the Cameroon border, that was seized by members of the Islamist group Boko Haram last month. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. [Reuters]


Gunmen targets public buildings in Austin

Police in Austin, Texas, shot and killed a man suspected of opening fire on three downtown public buildings — the Mexican consulate, the federal courthouse, and police headquarters — early Friday. Police said that the suspected attacker was killed near his car, and that a bomb squad was investigating suspicions that the vehicle had an improvised explosive device inside. Officers also are checking the man's residence for explosives. [USA Today]


Mexican president, under pressure, proposes sweeping policing reforms

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed broad policing reforms on Thursday after two months of criticism over the kidnapping and presumed murder of 43 student-teachers. Witnesses blamed local police for the abductions, and the mayor of Iguala, in Guerrero state, and his wife have been accused of masterminding the crime along with gang members. Pena Nieto proposed putting the 1,800 municipal police forces under state control, giving the federal government power to dissolve corrupt local governments, and establishing a national 911 system. [The New York Times]


Boys rescued two hours after being buried by snowplow

Two boys were rescued Thursday two hours after they were buried in a snow bank by a snowplow operator who did not see them as he cleared a parking lot in Newburgh, New York. The boys had been building a snow fort when the plow operator pushed snow over them. The boys, one 11 years old and the other 9, were taken to a hospital. Searchers, alerted by the boys' parents after they failed to go home, found the boys around 2 a.m. after seeing a half-buried shovel. [The Associated Press]


Bloodhound named Nathan wins Best in Show at National Dog Show

Nathan the bloodhound won Best in Show at the 2014 National Dog Show on Thursday. The playful, 4-year-old crowd favorite won the hound category, then outdid the winners of the other groups, including Freda the French bulldog and Bogey the samoyed, to take the top honor. "He just came out and shined today," owner-handler Heather Helmer said. "Kissing the judge, stretching and scratching — he always pulls those antics and he knows I think it's funny, that's why he does it." [NBC Sports]


Author P.D. James dies at 94

British crime novelist P.D. James died Thursday at her home in Oxford, England. She was 94. James began her literary career at 42, and became known for her cerebral murder mysteries featuring memorable characters such as Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh and private investigator Cordelia Gray. Her stories often included gruesome details. "Let those who want pleasant murders read Agatha Christie," James once said. "Murder isn't pleasant. It's an ugly thing and a cruel thing." [The Washington Post]