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Associated Press

Demonstrators outside the Kennesaw City Council meeting on December 1, 2014, demanding the Council reject a zoning request from a local Muslim congregation.  The Council rejected the request, but has scheduled a second vote for December 15, 2014.
Martha Dalton / WABE

In an abrupt reversal, Kennesaw's mayor says all four council members who voted to deny a mosque's permit to open in a strip mall have told him they now want to change their decision.

Mayor Mark Mathews tells The Marietta Daily Journal that the four council members who voted to deny a permit for the Suffa Dawat Center approached him privately to tell him they'd changed their minds.

Matthews conveyed what the four council members had told him during a Wednesday night council meeting.

Unclepockets / flickr.com/unclepockets

A former payroll director for the Grady Memorial Hospital Corp. has been convicted of stealing nearly half a million dollars from the hospital.

The U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta says 55-year-old Donald Thomas embezzled more than $480,000 by falsifying extra vacation and severance pay for terminated Grady employees and depositing the money in his bank account.

Ken Lund / flickr.com/kenlund

Federal prosecutors say three former corrections officials have been sentenced for beating an inmate and conspiring to cover it up.

Prosecutors say former Macon State Prison officers Ronald Lach and Delton Rushin and former Sgt. Christopher Hall were sentenced Thursday in the 2010 beating of an inmate and an attempted cover up.

Authorities have said officers beat an inmate in retaliation for prior misconduct and conspired to write false reports about it.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Atlanta
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press file

Eric Holder plans to meet with law enforcement and community leaders in Atlanta.

The president instructed Holder to set up regional meetings on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri. Today's event in Atlanta is the first one.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta's fire chief has been suspended after city officials say he violated policy by self-publishing a book that describes homosexuality as a "perversion."

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says in a statement Monday that Kelvin Cochran will be suspended for a month without pay and will be required to complete sensitivity training.

Reed says he was "deeply disturbed" after learning about the book on Friday and will not tolerate discrimination within his administration.

Evan Jang / WABE

Activists plan to rally in downtown Atlanta in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

Organizers say the "Community Speakout" is set for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Underground Atlanta, a shopping area in the heart of the city.

Thousands of people demonstrated late Monday in several U.S. cities to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer who killed Michael Brown, who is black, on Aug. 9.

Atlanta holiday traffic
AP Photo/David Goldman

State transportation officials say they're suspending construction-related lane closures during the upcoming holiday travel period.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says it'll suspend lane closures between 5 a.m. Wednesday and 10 p.m. Sunday on interstates, major state routes and roads near major shopping areas. The department says it'll give drivers the same reprieve during the Christmas and New Year's holiday travel periods as well.

Authorities say the Atlanta Streetcar has been involved in two crashes with vehicles while being tested before next month's expected launch.

Streetcar spokeswoman Sharon Gavin says a car and the streetcar collided Sunday near Centennial Olympic Park. She said the driver tried to pass the streetcar while it was turning during a test run. Last week, a driver was accused of hitting the streetcar on Ellis Street.

No series injuries were reported in either crash.

The streetcar's debut was recently delayed due to safety concerns.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves have dealt outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor-leaguer.

The deal was announced Monday and ends Heyward's tenure with his hometown team.

The 25-year-old outfielder never lived up to expectations after a brilliant rookie season, when he homered in his first at-bat and was voted to the All-Star Game. This past season, he hit .271 with 11 homers, 58 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He also won his second Golden Glove.

U.S. Senator-Elect David Perdue celebrated the news of his election at his victory party in Buckhead.
Michell Eloy / WABE

Businessman David Perdue has kept Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat in GOP hands, beating a challenge by Democrat Michelle Nunn on the strength of white voters in the reliably Republican state.

Democrats hoped Nunn, the centrist daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, would enable them to pick up a seat in an otherwise dismal midterm election.

Governor Nathan Deal's election night party at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta
Ryan Nabulsi / twinlensatl.com

Gov. Nathan Deal will serve a second term after overcoming a challenge from Democrat Jason Carter, a state senator from Atlanta and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

Unofficial returns on Tuesday showed Deal winning by a wide margin over Carter.

Deal, a former congressman, trumpeted the state's No. 1 rating by business publications and criminal justice reforms during the campaign. Republicans counted on the party's base to hold off Carter and to win Deal enough votes to prevent a runoff.

  Voters in Georgia deciding a close race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn appeared troubled by the economy and considered how their decision might affect control of the U.S. Senate, according to exit polling results. Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, was also facing a challenge from Democrat Jason Carter.

Here are some preliminary findings from exit polling conducted for The Associated Press:

David Goldman / AP

The Homeland Security Department is requiring that anyone coming to the United States from one of three West African countries reporting an Ebola outbreak must enter the country through one of five airports screening passengers for the deadly disease.

John Phelan / Wikimedia

DeKalb County schools officials say no new students from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa may enroll without proper medical documentation and the superintendent's approval.

Officials said in a statement Thursday that the district has notified all principals and administrators of the policy, which includes new students from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and other areas.

Dan Raby / WABE

  The Georgia Lottery Corp. says it earned record revenue for state education initiatives in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015.

Officials say the lottery earned more than $227 million dollars for state education initiatives, surpassing last year's total by more than $3.2 million.

Lottery officials say the first quarter of the agency's fiscal year spanned July 1 to Sept. 30.

Officials say the lottery has raised a total of $15.7 billion for Georgia education programs since the lottery's inception in 1993.

Emory University Hospital

Fears of the Ebola virus deepened Wednesday with word that a second Dallas nurse caught the disease from a patient and flew across the Midwest aboard an airliner the day before she was diagnosed. President Barack Obama canceled a campaign trip to address the outbreak.

It's not clear how the nurse contracted the virus, though the second case among health workers pointed to lapses beyond how one individual may have donned and removed protective garb.

Evan Jang / WABE

Mitt Romney raised money in Georgia on Wednesday to help U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue as the former Dollar General CEO seeks to help Republicans keep a key seat in a nationally watched race.

The private fundraiser was followed by a lunchtime stop at The Varsity restaurant in downtown Atlanta to campaign with Attorney General Sam Olens, an early supporter of Romney during the 2012 presidential race. Olens is up for re-election this year.

Authorities have identified a man struck and killed by a transit train in downtown Atlanta as 55-year-old Mahendra Kumar Ghelabhai Patel.

Officials described Patel as a homeless man who was born in India and a U.S. citizen at the time of his death.

MARTA officials say they don't know why he was on the track when a train pulled into the Georgia State University station shortly before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority spokesman Lyle Harris has said Patel was in an unauthorized area when the collision occurred.

Kent D. Johnson / The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Prosecutors say 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators cheated, lied and stole as part of a widespread but cleverly disguised conspiracy that affected thousands of students.

  In opening statements, prosecutor Fani Willis told jurors in Fulton County Superior Court that they would hear from current and former APS students, teachers, parents and administrators in the coming weeks. The trial is expected to last months. Opening statements for the defendants' attorneys will begin Monday afternoon.

Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year.

The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

Atlanta's WSB-TV reported it obtained a letter from Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. which cites Ferry telling the ownership group that Deng "has a little African in him" and was "a two-faced liar and cheat."

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

Americans Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday for developing new methods to study trends in asset markets.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three had laid the foundation of the current understanding of asset prices.

While it's hard to predict whether stock or bond prices will go up or down in the short term, it's possible to foresee movements over periods of three years or longer, the academy said.

The president of Southern Co., the parent company of Georgia Power, says the utility is no longer seeking to raise the construction budget for the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Augusta.

CEO Thomas Fanning told analysts Wednesday the Atlanta-based company reached a preliminary deal with Georgia officials.

Under the plan, the company would only seek right now to collect the $209 million that it spent building the two new reactors at Plant Vogtle from July to December.

From Ray Henry (@rhenryAP) with the Associated Press:

Gov. Nathan Deal said this week that it would be a “good solution” if Southern Co. absorbed more of the extra costs incurred while building new reactors at Plant Vogtle.

Nelson City Council
City of Nelson, GA

NELSON, Ga. (AP) — A group that supports gun control is suing a north Georgia town that passed a law requiring gun ownership.

The Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the town of Nelson.

The group claims the law is unconstitutional. It contends the Second Amendment doesn't require anyone to have a gun.

City leaders passed an ordinance April 1 requiring every head of household to have a gun and ammunition, but there are many exceptions.

Georgia's longest-serving Republican congressman says his campaign for the U.S. Senate will focus on "common sense" ideas and not "laugh lines for Jay Leno."

That's the closest U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah came Thursday to taking jabs at fellow GOP Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta, who are now his opponents in the 2014 race to succeed retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Launching his campaign in Savannah, Kingston never mentioned his rivals by name.

Paul Robert Lloyd via Flickr

The Georgia Ports Authority has joined a South Carolina state agency in agreeing to a settlement that would end pending lawsuits over the proposed $652 million deepening of the waterway to the Port of Savannah.

The deal would require extra environmental studies and mitigation by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Georgia port officials would have to spend more than $25 million extra on conservation efforts.Georgia's ports board voted to approve the settlement Wednesday, hours after the Savannah River Maritime Commission in South Carolina agreed to it.

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