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    Shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate have topped $300,000 for the first time.Berkshire's Class A stock hit $300,100 Monday morning before retreating to slightly below the milestone.Buffett has never split Berkshire's A shares, which first topped $1,000 in 1983. He did, however, create more affordable Class B shares in 1996 that reached $200 a share at Monday's peak.As a result, Berkshire's Class A shares have long been the most expensive U.S. stock.When Buffett's investment partnership began buying Berkshire stock in 1962, the New England textile company's shares sold for $7 and $8 apiece.Buffett used revenue from the textile company to buy other companies such as National Indemnity insurance and See's Candy. Berkshire Hathaway today owns more than 90 companies and holds major stock investments.
  • A white former Connecticut university student accused of smearing body fluids on her black roommate's belongings has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal mischief and breach of peace.Prosecutors did not file additional charges Monday against 18-year-old Brianna Brochu, of Harwinton.Representatives of the state NAACP and other civil rights advocates protested again in front of the courthouse, asking the state to add a hate crimes charge.Police say the former University of Hartford student wrote on Instagram in October about rubbing used tampons on her roommate's backpack and putting her roommate's toothbrush 'where the sun doesn't shine.' Her roommate says she developed throat pain.Prosecutors say they're still investigating. The case has been continued until Jan. 29.Brochu left the courthouse without commenting. Her lawyer has said her actions were not racially motivated.
  • Thirteen states are suing Massachusetts over a voter-approved law that will ban the sale of eggs and other food products from farm animals that were confined in overly restrictive cages.The lawsuit was filed directly with the U.S. Supreme Court last week and follows another filed earlier in the month by more than a dozen states against California, which has a similar law.The 2016 ballot question in Massachusetts was backed by 77 percent of voters. It requires that by 2022 only cage-free eggs be sold in the state, regardless of where the eggs were produced.The 13 states, led by Indiana, claim the Massachusetts law violates the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause.Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey's office said it is reviewing the lawsuit.
  • The Latest on the crash of a Polish air force jet (all times local):8:30 p.m.A Polish official says that an air force jet that had earlier disappeared from radar screens has been found crashed but the pilot has survived.Deputy Defense minister Bartosz Kownacki says the pilot managed to eject on Monday and that parts of the MIG-29 fighter jet have been found near the town of Minsk Mazowiecki, which hosts an air base.The Polish air force uses mostly NATO hardware and U.S. F-16s but still operates some Russian equipment, including the MiG-29, which are being phased out.___8:00 p.m.Polish state television is reporting that authorities are searching for a missing Polish fighter jet that has disappeared in the central part of the country.TVP INFO says that the Russian-made MiG-29 fighter plane disappeared from the radar on Monday, adding that 10 teams of firefighters are searching for the air force jet near the town of Minsk Mazowiecki, which hosts an air base.The Polish Air Force uses mostly NATO hardware and U.S. F-16s but still operates some Russian equipment, including the MiG-29.
  • Wreckage from a Polish fighter jet that disappeared from radar Monday was found near a domestic air base, but the pilot of the Russian-made plane survived the crash, a defense official said.Deputy Defense Minister Bartosz Kownacki said the pilot was able to eject before the MIG-29 fighter went down near the central Polish town of Minsk Mazowiecki, which hosts an air base.The Defense Ministry said the accident took place on the jet's approach to the base.The ministry said the pilot was taken to a hospital, but his life was not in danger.Prosecutors and army police have opened an investigation into the cause of the crash, according to the ministry.Earlier, Polish state television news channel TVP INFP reported that 10 teams of firefighters were searching for a missing fighter jet that had disappeared from radar near the base.The Polish air force uses mostly NATO hardware and U.S. F-16s, but still operates some Russian equipment, including the MiG-29, which is being phased out.
  • A Trump judicial nominee whose inability to answer basic legal questions at his confirmation hearing brought him widespread ridicule has withdrawn, a White House official said Monday.Matthew Peterson, nominated by Trump to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, became an internet sensation after the video of his confirmation hearing — during which Peterson was unable to define basic legal terms — was posted online.In his resignation letter to the president, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Peterson said that while he was honored to have been nominated for the position, 'it has become clear to me over the past few days that my nomination has become a distraction — and that is not fair for you or your Administration.'I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television,' he went on to say. 'However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your Administration and the Senate.'The letter was dated Saturday, Dec. 16.During the confirmation hearing, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy pressed Peterson, a member of the Federal Election Commission who testified he had never tried a case, on his qualifications to the bench.Kennedy said in an interview Monday with WWL-TV in New Orleans that Trump called him Saturday and said he did not personally interview Petersen. Trump, according to Kennedy, said his staff chose the nominees.'He has told me, 'Kennedy, when some of my guys send someone who is not qualified, you do your job,'' Kennedy said in the interview.Kennedy said he had no idea that Petersen lacked the experience for the post.'Just because you've seen 'My Cousin Vinny' doesn't qualify you to be a federal judge,' Kennedy said, a reference to the 1992 movie in which an inexperienced lawyer tries — and wins — a big case. 'And he has no litigation experience. And my job on the judiciary committee is to catch him. I would strongly suggest he not give up his day job.
  • The shoulder-shrugging reply 'whatever' continues to annoy Americans more than other words or phrases, but 'fake news' is coming on strong.The annual Marist College poll of most annoying words and phrases found 'whatever' topping the list for the ninth straight year. It was the pick of one third of poll respondents, who were given five choices.The recent addition 'fake news' was slightly ahead of 'no offense, but' for second place, 23 percent to 20 percent. About one in 10 found 'literally' to be most grating, as did a similar number for 'you know what I mean.'The telephone survey of 1,074 adults conducted Nov. 6-9 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
  • As the most serious challenger during Vladimir Putin's 18 years in power, Alexei Navalny has endured arrests, show trials and facefuls of green antiseptic that damaged his vision.But in an interview Monday with The Associated Press, he said the biggest thing keeping him from becoming Russia's next president is a political system that punishes him for rallying support and conspires to keep his face off the airwaves.Putin's approval rating is astronomical and he is widely expected to win another term with ease, but the fact that he won't even say Navalny's name suggests the anti-corruption crusader has struck a nerve. Navalny's criminal record will probably keep him off the ballot — a sign, he says, of how much he frightens the political class.Navalny, in his first interview since the start of the presidential campaign, said he would win it 'if I am allowed to run and if I'm allowed to use major media.' And he said the Kremlin knows it.'It's the main reason they don't want me to run,' he said. 'They understand perfectly how ephemeral the support for them is.'That support certainly looks strong: The latest independent poll, conducted this month by the Levada Center, suggests 75 percent of Russians would vote for Putin. People in much of Russia back Putin as a matter of course, and Navalny supporters are routinely heckled, arrested and fined when they try to spread their message.But there are also signs that enthusiasm for Putin may be starting to wane. Another Levada poll, conducted in April, found that 51 percent of people are tired of waiting for Putin to bring 'positive change' — 10 percentage points higher than a year ago. Both polls surveyed 1,600 people across Russia and had margins of error of 2.5 percentage points.Navalny hopes to capitalize on that discontent.'Putin has nothing to say,' Navalny said. 'All he can promise is what he used to promise before, and you can check that these promises did not come true and cannot come true.'Navalny gets out his message on social media, using Twitter and Telegram and broadcasting a weekly program on YouTube. But television — the main source of information for most Russians — remains off limits because it's controlled by the government.Other opposition candidates are expected to run, notably socialite Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of Putin's mentor — but there is wide speculation that her candidacy is a Kremlin plot to split Navalny's support. The only other candidates who are critical of Putin have too little support for the Kremlin to view them as threats.Putin himself has announced his re-election bid but so far refrained from any campaigning events. Even so, his face is everywhere — at his annual news conference last week, carried live for nearly four hours on Russian television, he touted his accomplishments and even taunted Navalny — but stuck to his practice of not saying his name.Navalny was not a candidate during Russia's last presidential election in 2012, but he spearheaded massive anti-government protests that rattled Putin. Amid dwindling popularity, Putin seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and threw support behind separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, striking a chord with millions of Russians who felt like losers in the outcome of the Cold War. Now, people are tiring of the Ukrainian conflict and becoming more focused on their own economic woes, providing fertile ground for Navalny's message.Navalny published his full election platform last week, focusing on fighting corruption and funneling more money into education and health care. He calls for a windfall tax on oligarchs and huge cuts to Russia's bloated bureaucracy. Unlike Putin's focus on foreign policy, Navalny's platform is almost entirely domestic, which he credits for growing support in places like Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city, where he drew a large crowd in October.'Our government is in the grip of illusions. They deal with Syria and they're not interested in what's happening in Novosibirsk, and people there feel it,' Navalny told the AP. 'That translates into the fact that I'm receiving more support.'The blue-eyed Moscow lawyer first made his name in 2009 when he began publishing investigations into corruption at Russia's biggest state-owned companies. When the AP first interviewed Navalny in 2010, he was a lone wolf, but he has since acquired allies and supporters who have been made investigations into official corruption their full-time job.With the visibility came the backlash: The 41-year old Navalny has been convicted on two sets of unrelated charges, and his brother was sent to prison in what was largely viewed as political revenge. A conviction on one of the charges bars Navalny from running for public office without special dispensation — and the election official who will consider that request in the coming weeks has already said she sees no legal grounds for him to run.In his only formal election campaign, Navalny ran for Moscow mayor in 2013 and got nearly 30 percent of the vote.His presidential bid began a year ago, when he started to build a network of supporters across Russia. He currently counts over 190,000 volunteers, most of them young, from Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad to Vladivostok on the Pacific. His supporters have opened campaign offices in 83 cities and towns, including many where Putin is accustomed to winning by a landslide.On his most recent visit to Putin's heartland, 1,000 people braved temperatures of -15 Celsius (-5 Fahrenheit) to hear him speak in the industrial town of Novokuznetsk, where Putin got 77 percent of the vote in 2012.Many of those in the crowd sounded weary of the president but said they saw no alternative. Asked about Navalny, many said they had heard very little about him.While Navalny has captured the attention of a younger generation and the politically active via social media, he conceded he won't be able to reach the broader population as long as he is barred from state television.'We have won among the active political class despite the ban,' he said. 'The politically active class will turn the politically dormant one in our favor. It's going to happen in this election if I'm allowed to run.
  • A mother and three children, ages 11, 7 and 3, died early Monday in a fast-moving New York City house fire that also left the children's father and two teenagers in critical condition.Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that while the cause was still under investigation by fire marshals, 'we know that unattended candles, overloaded outlets and power strips, and many of the holiday traditions we all hold dear are so often the cause.'Friends and neighbors said the family was known to light menorah candles in celebration of Hanukkah.'So often, tragedy strikes at this time of year, and the holidays make it that much more difficult because our communities should be celebrating, not mourning,' Nigro said in a statement, urging people to be safe.'This is a terrible tragedy, not just for this community, but for our city,' Nigro said. 'This time of year, when these things strike, it just tears your heart out for the family,' Nigro said. 'Our city grieves with this family today.'The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood and Nigro said it 'got a good start before a neighbor noticed and called us.'Firefighters arrived within 2½ minutes but Nigro said the flames were already 'consuming' all three floors of the building. He said that firefighters were met with flames at the front door, but 'pushed in very aggressively' because they knew people were inside.Aliza Azan, 39, was found dead on the second floor of the single-family home, near the children who perished: 11-year-old Moshe; 7-year-old Yitzah and 3-year-old Henrietta.In all, nine people were in the house — the couple, their six children and a cousin.'As a parent, it's impossible for me to imagine what this family is going through right now,' said Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio. 'During the holiday season, we all need to be cautious with decorations, electric lights, candles, space heaters and other items.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's national security strategy (all times local):2:30 p.m.President Donald Trump says a new era of competition is underway and that the U.S. will follow his 2016 campaign doctrine of 'America First.'He said Monday that 'America is in the game, and America is going to win.'Trump's strategy focuses on protecting the homeland, including building a wall on the U.S. Southern border and taking other steps on immigration. He also called for promoting American prosperity, demonstrating peace through strength and advancing American influence.He said the U.S. will cooperate with other countries 'in a manner that always protects our national interests.'Trump also said that the United States 'will stand up for ourselves and our country like we have never stood up before.' He called for competing 'with every instrument of our national power.'___1:34 p.m.President Donald Trump says his new national security strategy puts 'America First.'In a forward accompanying the strategy — unveiled Monday — Trump says the United States faces 'an extraordinarily dangerous world.' He says he is prioritizing American citizens and that 'America is leading again on the world stage.'The strategy envisions nations in constant competition, reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change, and affirms that the United States will unilaterally defend its sovereignty, even if that means risking existing agreements with other countries.Trump says in his opening comments that when he took office, threats included 'rogue regimes,' ''radical Islamist terror groups' and 'terrorists' in the Middle East. He adds that 'porous borders and unenforced immigration laws' left Americans vulnerable at home and that trade practices weakened the economy.__5 a.m.President Donald Trump is poised to outline a national security strategy that envisions nations in a perpetual state of competition and de-emphasizes the multinational agreements that have dominated the United States' foreign policy since the Cold War.The Republican president will detail his plans Monday. They could sharply alter the United States' relationships with the rest of the world.The plan is to focus on four main themes: protecting the homeland and way of life, promoting American prosperity, demonstrating peace through strength and advancing American influence in an ever-competitive world.Trump's doctrine holds that nation states are in perpetual competition and that the U.S. must fight on all fronts to protect and defend its sovereignty from friend and foe alike.