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In brief

Robbers’ SUV hits child care center Paramedics carry one of the children from the Stepping Stones Child Care Center in Indianapolis after a vehicle crashed into the building. Two robbery suspects fleeing police lost control of their SUV and hit the center, injuring four children and an employee in a shower of bricks and other debris, police said.

FRESNO, Calif. Bah, humbug for some

In some cities and towns across America, tight budgets due to the recession have become a cruel Grinch, forcing drastic cutbacks in the municipal holiday displays and celebrations that people have enjoyed for generations.

For example:

In Chicago, the $350,000, 56-foot blue spruce in Daley Plaza would be dwarfed by last year’s tree, which stood 90 feet tall and cost more than $1 million.

In Orlando, Fla., officials decided to leave 800 lamppost trees in storage so they could cut $250,000 in setup and electricity costs.

In New Berlin, Wis., the Chamber of Commerce had no money to stage the city’s annual Christmas parade.

MOGADISHU, Somalia Bomber kills at least 22

A suicide bomber disguised as a woman attacked a graduation ceremony in Somalia on Thursday, turning a rare reason to celebrate into carnage that killed at least 22 people — including medical students, doctors and three government ministers.

The blast was blamed on Islamic militants who have shown a rising ability to carry out sophisticated large-scale bombings against high-profile targets — and highlighted the inability of Somalia’s weak government to protect even the small section of the capital it controls.

The graduating medical students were only the second class to receive diplomas from the medical school. Before the December 2008 graduation, almost two decades had passed since anyone earned a medical degree in Somalia.

AMSTERDAM Dutch navy nabs pirates

The Dutch navy captured 13 Somali pirates and seized a haul of weapons off the coast of Oman after the pirates attacked a merchant ship, the Defense Department reported Thursday.

Armed pirates on speedboats tried to board the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged BBC Togo, but were repelled after firing on the vessel.

Separately Thursday, another group of Somali pirates freed cargo ship MV Charelle and 10 crew members who had been held hostage since June 12.

Pirates are still holding hundreds of crew and a dozen vessels hostage in Somalia.

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras Ex-president in limbo

Honduras’ congress slammed the door on restoring the nation’s ousted leader to power, ignoring intense international pressure to reverse Central America’s first coup in 20 years.

Manuel Zelaya faces arrest if he leaves the Brazilian Embassy. Seeking asylum would return him to the exile he faced when soldiers ejected him from the country in his pajamas.

He vows not to do that — for now.

His other option is trying to negotiate a deal with President-elect Porfirio Lobo, who won Sunday’s elections. Lobo appears to be in no hurry to deal with the sticky question of Zelaya’s future.

President Barack Obama’s administration said Thursday there was no choice but to accept the congressional decision.

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