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BREAKING NEWS

Best 2014 Memorial Day Weekend Freebies and Deals

(NEW YORK) –  Whether you want to chill indoors this Memorial Day weekend or out and about, make sure to remember these weekend freebies and deals.

Food and Drink:

  • Jamba Juice offers a printable coupon for a “Buy One Get One Free” smoothie or juice through Monday.
  • In Florida only, Wendy’s is offering a free Frosty waffle cone on Monday from 12 – 8 p.m. at participating restaurants, a spokesman for the company confirmed.
  • Hooters will offer 10 free wings to all military, active duty, veterans and their spouses with the purchase of any drink on Memorial Day, May 26.

Gift Cards and Online Shopping:

  • Amazon is giving a free $10 Amazon credit for Android apps and games with select gift card purchases from $20, as noted by the community deals site SlickDeals.com.
  • Through August 8, Visa Signature Cardholders can get “Buy One Get One Free” Fandango movie tickets Fridays.

Hotels and Travel:

  • Affinia hotels in New York City and Washington, D.C., are offering a “Stay and Salute” package booked by June 6, 2014 for stays through July 4, 2014. The package includes up to 20 percent off the hotel’s best rate; $10 from each reservation donated to USO in support of our troops; and Fleet Week-themed Wine Hour with complimentary wine and signature Fleet Week Cocktail at select properties until May 27. Extra perks for military personnel include complimentary daily breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi and a dedicated Concierge to the Troops. Military ID card must be shown upon check-in.
  • Orbitz is letting users take 15 percent off hotel stays with promo code “GETHAPPY.” Book by Sunday June 1 and travel by November 15.
  • Use the coupon code “moremoney” to save $50 when you spend at least $300 by June 1 on Hotels.com.
  • For last-minute Memorial Day hotel stays, use promotional code “MEMORIAL50″ for $50 off $300 or more on a “Travelocity Rate” hotel stay by 11:59 PM PT on Monday, May 26. Travel must start by May 26. Use the code “MEMORIAL100″ for $100 off $1000 spent on a flight and hotel package.

Oldest American Turned 115 on Saturday

(DETROIT) — America’s oldest citizen, Jeralean Talley, turned 115 on Saturday.

Talley is considered a “supercentenarian” by the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks some of the oldest people in the world. She is officially believed to be the second oldest person in the world, after another woman in Japan.

Talley was born in 1899 and says she still is able to care for herself and get around on her own, as long as she has a walker. She lives with her 76-year-old daughter in the same house she has lived in since the 1960s. According to the Detroit Free Press, Talley has been active in her old age, even going fishing on her birthday Saturday, and only gave up bowling at the age of 104.

Pope Continues Middle East Trip, Invites Israeli, Palestinian Leaders to Pray at Vatican

(WEST BANK, Israel) — Pope Francis spent Sunday morning in the West Bank before continuing his Middle East trip in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

In remarks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Francis spoke about the good relations between the papacy and “the state of Palestine,” a distinction that the Israeli government disagrees with. According to the Vatican, the term was used because the United Nations granted Palestine “Non-Member Observer State” status in 2012. 

The U.S. does not recognize the term, but 70 United Nations member nations do. 

After a ride through Bethlehem, the pope stopped at the Israeli-constructed “Barrier Wall.”

Later in the day, in a surprise move, the pope invited Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres “to join [him] in a heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.” He added that he would “offer [his] home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

Obama Addresses Troops on Surprise Trip to Afghanistan

(BAGRAM, Afghanistan) — President Obama addressed troops in Afghanistan on Sunday, thanking them for their service and pledging to keep a “limited” American force there after 2014 during a surprise trip from the White House to Bagram Airfield overnight.

“I’m here on a single mission. That is to thank you for your extraordinary service. I thank you as your commander-in-chief because you inspire me,” Obama said. “Your willingness to step forward and serve in a time of war and say, ‘Send me,’ is the reason the United States stays strong and free.”

Stressing security and civil-society gains Afghanistan has made, Obama congratulated troops on the U.S. mission there – a mission that’s about to end, as Obama and the U.S. military have planned a drawdown of troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

“You are completing the mission. We said we were going to deny al Qaeda a safe haven,” Obama said. “You’ve helped prevent attacks and save American lives back home. Al Qaeda is on its heels in this part of the world, and that’s because of you.”

The trip came as Obama is weighing America’s involvement in Afghanistan after 2014 – and amid some strained relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who would not sign an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay in the country. It is expected that his successor as president will sign it, leaving open the possibility for the U.S. to keep some troops in Afghanistan to assist Afghan forces.

The president gave a brief description of America’s role in Afghanistan after 2014, assuming Afghanistan’s next president signs the agreement to let U.S. troops remain.

“With that bilateral security agreement, assuming it’s signed, we can plan for a limited security presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014,” Obama said. “We want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win.”

Pledging that Afghanistan will “never again, ever be used to launch an attack against our country,” Obama said that “even as our combat mission ends later this year … America’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan will endure.”

Before speaking to troops, President Obama met with his top two officials in the country, Gen. Joseph Dunford, who commands U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham.

Under cover of night and without making his plans public, the president departed in Air Force One about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, flying along with National Security advisor Susan Rice, senior White House advisor John Podesta, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes and country music singer Brad Paisley.

It was the president’s fourth trip to Afghanistan. He first went in May 2012, visiting the Presidential Palace and delivering a televised address.

Before Obama spoke on Sunday, Paisley performed for troops stationed at the base.

While in Afghanistan, Obama offered to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Bagram, but the Afghan president declined, the White House confirmed. Karzai rejected the offer after Obama attempted to set up a meeting, saying he would meet Obama at his palace but not an American military base, according to Karzai’s chief of staff.

“[W]e weren’t planning for a bilateral meeting with President Karzai or a trip to the palace, as this trip is focused on thanking our troops. We did offer him the opportunity to come to Bagram, but we’re not surprised that it didn’t work on short notice,” a White House official said. “The President will likely be speaking by phone with President Karzai in the days to come, and also looks forward to working with Afghanistan’s next President after the election is complete.”

Obama could soon reveal more about his plans for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Aboard the Air Force One flight to Bagram, the National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters that Americans can expect “additional clarity” about Obama’s thinking on Afghanistan in the coming days, noting the president’s scheduled commencement address at West Point on Wednesday and an upcoming NATO defense ministerial meeting on June 4.

“We’ve been looking for some period of time now, I’d say a few months, to come to Afghanistan precisely because we wanted to be able to thank the troops. … After the first round of the election went off well, we felt that there would be a good window to come on a troop-focused visit,” Rhodes said, calling the trip “an opportunity for the president to thank American troops and civilians for their service.”

Afghanistan will hold its runoff election June 14 to decide its new president.