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PHOTOS: National Christmas Tree Lighting

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony took place at 5 p.m. on the Ellipse.

Some of the acts spent Friday morning rehearsing as set-up for the massive event continued. There was a great line-up this year, including Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monae, Mariah Carey, Train and Jane Lynch.

Friday morning we also spoke to officials who were preparing for the big event. Here from them in the video attached.

Some roads will be closed for the event. Check out the list of closures here: http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=284909


LIST: Roads closed for National Christmas Tree Lighting

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will take place Friday afternoon.

The ceremony, which will take place on the Ellipse at 4:30 p.m., is open to ticketed quests. Gates open at 3:00 p.m. and all ticket holders will enter from the west side at 17th Street.

The following streets will be closed for the ceremony beginning at 3:00 p.m.:

POLL: Is this Metro ad sexist?

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A woman riding the Metro Tuesday morning took a picture of an advertisement which some say is sexist.

Lucy Westcott says she took the picture at Metro Center near the escalators.

Do you think this ad is sexist? VOTE and SOUND off in our poll...

Vigil held for Alan Gross on 4th anniversary of imprisonment in Cuba

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- At a vigil outside the White House on Tuesday supporters demanded that a Montgomery County man being held in Cuba be released. 

Tuesday marks four years that Alan Gross has been held in a Cuban prison.

Gross was working in Cuba as part of a United States agency to increase internet access in the country's Jewish community.
The Cuban government arrested and sentenced Gross to 15 years in prison, accusing him of trying to undermine the regime by setting up unauthorized communications systems.

Tuesday Gross's wife read an open letter to President Obama.
You can watch her remarks in the video attached to this story.

The vigil was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington

Councilmembers move forward with non-US citizens voting rights bill

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Councilmember Tommy Wells and three other Councilmembers are moving forward with a bill which will provide voting rights to non-US citizens who are residents of the District, they said in a press release. 

The bill called the "Local Resident Voting Rights Act of 2013" will allow anyone who is a District resident over the age of 18 and who has been living here over 30 days or more, to be able to take part in local elections. 

There are currently around 53,975 residents in the District who were not born here and over 90% of that population is 18 years of age or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

PHOTOS: Live nativity scene on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- If you were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning, then you may have seen some people dressed as Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

A WUSA 9 photographer captured images of Faith and Action's Live Nativity on Capitol Hill. The annual event includes a real donkey, camel and other animals.

See other photos on the group's website here: http://www.faithandaction.org/web/?s=live+nativity

The group started its journey from its ministry center behind the Supreme Court before moving along Constitution Avenue to the East Lawn of the Capitol.

Faith and Action describes itself as "a unique missionary outreach to our nation's elected and appointed officials."

White House Christmas Tree arrives

The day after Thanksgiving, first lady Michelle Obama accepted one of Washington's annual holiday monuments, the official White House Christmas Tree.

"We're honored to have it," Mrs. Obama said Friday during a brief ceremony at the North Portico of the White House.

The 18-and-a-half foot Douglas Fir, grown in Pennsylvania, will stand in the Blue Room and be the centerpiece for the White House Christmas decorations.

The National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas Tree since 1966.