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BC-AP News Digest 5:30 am

December 28, 2018

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org .

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TOP STORIES

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GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — It’s looking increasingly as if the partial government shutdown will be handed off to a divided government to solve, with agreement eluding Washington in the waning days of the Republican monopoly on power. Now nearly a week old, the impasse is idling hundreds of thousands of federal workers and starting to pinch citizens who count on varied public services. By Juliet Linderman and Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 990 words, photos, video. WITH: GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-COURTS — The partial government shutdown prompts the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers. SENT: 130 words.

FINANCIAL MARKETS — U.S. stocks stage a strong late-afternoon rally, closing with gains after erasing a 600-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow ends up 258 points, or 1.1 percent, adding to the previous day’s gain of 1,086 points. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 550 words, photos.

WAR ROBOTS — The Army is looking for a few good robots. These robots won’t fight, at least not yet. But they will be designed to help the men and women who do. The companies making them are waging a different kind of battle. At stake is a contract worth almost half a billion dollars for 3,000 backpack-sized robots that can defuse bombs and scout enemy positions. Competition for the award has spilled over into Congress and federal court. By Matt O’Brien. SENT: 1,220 words, photos.

GUATEMALA-CHILD DEATH-BORDER — The stepsister of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody says the boy’s father took his son to the border after hearing rumors that parents and their children would be allowed to migrate to the United States and escape the poverty in their homeland. By Sonia Perez D. SENT: 650 words with photos.

RAPE INVESTIGATIONS — The national reckoning over sexual assault has come amid a trend in which police investigations of rape are increasingly unlikely to result in an arrest. The clearance rate of sexual assault fell to its lowest point on record last year, according to FBI data obtained by The Associated Press, a nadir that experts say raises questions about the resources police are devoting to sexual assault. By Jim Mustian and Michael R. Sisak. SENT: 900 words, photos.

YE--MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — LeBron James, who went to the NBA Finals for the eighth straight year and then changed addresses again, is the AP’s Male Athlete of the Year for the third time. Now with the Los Angeles Lakers, James remained the game’s dominant player, adding even more glitz to a legacy that reached epic status long ago. SENT: 900 words, photos. With list.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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WWII VET-OBIT — Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest World War II veteran who was also believed to be oldest living man in the U.S., dies in Texas at 112, a family member says. SENT: 130 words, photos.

ARETHA FRANKLIN-IRS — An attorney representing the estate of the late Queen of Soul says at least $3 million in back taxes have been paid to the IRS since Aretha Franklin’s death last August. SENT: 300 words, photo.

OBIT-HUBBLE TELESCOPE DEVELOPER — Nancy Grace Roman, the first woman to hold an executive position at NASA and who helped with development of the Hubble Space Telescope, dies at 93. SENT: 130 words.

FRANCE-BARREL MAN — A 71-year-old Frenchman departs on a journey across the Atlantic in a specially constructed barrel capsule, designed to use ocean currents alone to propel him across the sea. SENT: 110 words, photos.

MUSIC-ARETHA FRANKLIN — The Queen of Soul will get a royal tribute from Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Kelly Clarkson and more next month. SENT: 130 words, photo.

ANTARCTICA SOLO — A British adventurer is close to becoming the second person to traverse Antarctica completely unassisted, just a few days after an American became the first to conquer the feat, which was previously said to be impossible. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-MILITARY RAISES-FACT CHECK — In his first visit to U.S. troops in a conflict zone, President Donald Trump drew cheers when he told troops he won them their first raise in 10 years and suggested it was a whopping one. Neither is true. SENT: 440 words. AP Photos.

ELECTION 2020-IOWA DEMOCRATS — Early supporters of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the Iowa caucuses admit the charismatic candidate swept them off their feet en route to the presidency. As they size up the 2020 Iowa caucuses, though, they say it’s all about the sheer calculation of who can beat President Donald Trump out of a field of as many as two dozen Democratic hopefuls. “The innocence in us wants to fall in love,” says one such activist. But now, “it’s OK to just fall in like.” SENT: 760 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a wide-ranging overhaul of top government posts, including naming a new foreign minister, following international fallout from the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. SENT: 600 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WEAPON TEST — Putin oversaw a test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, declaring that the weapon is impossible to intercept and will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come. SENT: 370 words, photos.

INDONESIA-TSUNAMI — Indonesia widens the no-go zone around an island volcano that triggered a weekend tsunami that killed at least 430 people. SENT: 630 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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POLICE OFFICERS-DEATHS — More police officers died in the line of duty in the U.S. this year than last. Gunfire was the leading cause, with nearly as many dying in vehicle accidents, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. SENT: 390 words.

WINTRY WEATHER — Post-holiday travelers find driving difficult as a winter storm dumps heavy snow and whips up gusty winds across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota. SENT: 400 words, photos.

INTERNET OUTAGE — Many CenturyLink customers across the U.S. lose internet access amid a lengthy outage that stretches from New York to California. SENT: 200 words.

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SCIENCE

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BEYOND PLUTO — The spacecraft team that brought us close-ups of Pluto will ring in the new year by exploring an even more distant and mysterious world. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will zip past the scrawny, icy object nicknamed Ultima Thule soon after the stroke of midnight. SENT: 830 words, photos. UPCOMING: Flyby scheduled for 12:33 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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PENDING HOME SALES — The National Association of Realtors releases its November report on pending home sales, which are seen as a barometer of future purchases. By Paul Wiseman. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 10 a.m., then 350 words by 10:45 a.m.

EURO-20 YEARS — The euro is about to turn 20, but the countries that use it are still wrestling over how the shared currency should work — and how to fix flaws exposed by a debt crisis that scarred its second decade.

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SPORTS

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BKC--MID-MAJOR SCHEDULING SHAKEUP — Conference USA radically alters its league basketball schedule in an effort to get more teams into the NCAA Tournament and get better seeds. The revolutionary schedule features four games that won’t be set until February, when the conference standings will determine the matchups. By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by noon.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Ron DePasquale can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

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