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Hurricane Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm, at least five dead in NC

Hurricane Florence is now a tropical storm. At about 4:50 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said Florence was producing tropical storm force wind gusts on the Carolina coast but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding through the night.

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Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Missouri has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, adding to an already confusing mix of contradictory decisions that is sure to propel the issue to the Supreme Court.

European and U.S. officials have arrested 17 people in a crackdown on underground online markets, including the Silk Road 2.0, that sell drugs and weapons, Europe's police agency said today in a statement.

Beijing and Tokyo have jointly acknowledged their competing claims over the sovereignty of an uninhabited island chain, effectively setting aside a contentious dispute and paving the way to renew high-level contacts two years after China unilaterally froze relations.

A trade group representing more than 1,400 for-profit colleges has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over regulations aimed at curbing industry abuses.

The group seeks to stop a federal regulation, known as the "gainful employment rule," that was formally put into place last week by the U.S. Department of Education. The rule restricts access to federal student-aid dollars for institutions deemed to have too many students who struggle to pay back their student loans.

Ukraine says Russia has sent 32 tanks and 16 howitzer artillery systems across its border, threatening an already fragile ceasefire that was agreed to back in September.

Reuters reports:

We're celebrating our 35th birthday this week with family. Here's to our hosts at member stations around the country. Thanks for making us look — and sound — so good.

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In the current Ebola crisis, much of the focus has been on Liberia and Sierra Leone. But the virus also continues to spread in Guinea, where the first case in the current outbreak was identified in March.

The October jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the economy continued to add jobs at a healthy clip.

Here are the two big numbers:

The economy added 214,000 jobs; less than the 248,000 produced in September, but just about the 200,000 needed to keep pushing down the unemployment rate.

Check your kitchen cabinets — there's a good chance a CorningWare casserole dish is inside.

If there isn't, you probably know someone who has one. CorningWare, the popular white cookware often decorated with blue cornflowers, has been a fixture at family gatherings and potluck dinners for decades.

S. Donald Stookey, credited with creating a synthetic ceramic glass in the 1950s that led to CorningWare, died Tuesday at age 99.

The Army is dropping the use of the term "negro" in an official document that listed it as an acceptable way to refer to African Americans.

CNN first pointed out the document on Thursday and just hours later the Army responded by revising the document.

The Associated Press reports:

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