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BC-AP News Digest 5:30 am

December 27, 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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TRUMP-IRAQ — In an unannounced trip to Iraq, President Donald Trump staunchly defends his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from neighboring Syria despite a drumbeat of criticism from military officials and allies who don’t think the job fighting Islamic State militants there is over. By Darlene Superville. SENT: 1,270 words, photos. WITH TRUMP-IRAQ-PRESIDENTIAL VISITS — Trump’s trip marks the sixth time that a U.S. president has visited Iraq. SENT: 300 words, photos.

FINANCIAL MARKETS — The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumps more than 1,000 points — it’s biggest point-gain ever — as Wall Street notches its best day in 10 years, rallying back from a Christmas Eve plunge. The Dow soars 1,086.25 points, or 5 percent, to 22,878.45. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. WITH: HOLIDAY SALES — Holiday sales in the U.S. had their strongest growth in six years, helped by shoppers who were more confident in the economy, according to shopping tracker Mastercard SpendingPulse. SENT: 230 words, photo.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — With most lawmakers away for the holidays and President Donald Trump vowing to hold the line, chances look slim for ending the partial government shutdown any time soon. By Juliet Linderman and Darlene Superville. SENT: 660 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-CALIFORNIA — Go west, 2020 presidential candidates? Early voting in California’s primary will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests, which could force the sprawling field of Democrats to navigate those states as well as California’s notoriously complex landscape. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 1,035 words, photos.

YE--VATICAN-SEX ABUSE — It has been a wretched year for Pope Francis, whose blind spot on clergy sex abuse conspired with events beyond his control to threaten his legacy and throw the Catholic hierarchy into a credibility crisis not seen in modern times. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 1,330 words, photos.

CHILD DEAD-BORDER — The deaths of two migrant children in just over two weeks raises strong new doubts about the ability of U.S. border authorities to care for the thousands of minors arriving as part of a surge of families trying to enter the country. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 1,020 words, photo, video.

ANTARCTICA SOLO — An Oregon man becomes the first person to traverse Antarctica alone without any assistance, trekking across the polar continent in an epic 54-day journey that was previously deemed impossible. Colin O’Brady, of Portland, finishes the bone-chilling, 930-mile (1,500-kilometer) journey as friends, family and fans track the endurance athlete’s progress in real time online. By Amanda Lee Myers. SENT: 680 words.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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PEOPLE-CYRUS-HEMSWORTH — Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth appear to have tied the knot amid reports the couple got married in a secret wedding ceremony. SENT: 130 words, photo.

CITY BUS-JOYRIDE — Authorities say a joyrider sneaks off with an empty New York City bus and takes it on an hourslong adventure from the Bronx to Queens and back. SENT: 130 words.

PEOPLE-ROBIN THICKE — Singer Robin Thicke surprises his pregnant girlfriend with a marriage proposal. SENT: 130 words.

OFFICER ATTACKED-NO CHARGES — New York City prosecutors say they won’t bring criminal charges against five homeless men seen on video battling a police officer on a subway platform, blaming police for citing the men only for sleeping on the station floor. SENT: 420 words.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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YE-TRUMP CHANGES WASHINGTON — Mr. Trump went to Washington. And he changed it. In his first two years in office, President Trump has rewritten the rules of the presidency and the norms of the nation’s capital, casting aside codes of conduct and traditions that have held for generations. By Jonathan Lemire. SENT: 1,190 words, photos.

MONEY MULES — Law enforcement officials are scrambling to slow a seemingly endless cycle of money laundering schemes, especially those involving “money mules” — people who use their own bank accounts to move money for criminals for purposes they think are legitimate or even noble. By Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo. SENT: 920 words, photos.

TRUMP-FACT CHECK — President Donald Trump is recycling familiar fictions concerning the Iran nuclear deal as he lashes out at a Republican senator who criticized him and a U.S. official who resigned in protest against Trump’s plan to pull troops from Syria. SENT: 690 words.

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INTERNATIONAL

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INDONESIA-TSUNAMI — Indonesian authorities ask people near an island volcano to avoid the coast while eruptions and weather and sea conditions are monitored for tsunami risks. A tsunami last Saturday night killed 420 people and displaced thousands. By Niniek Karmini. SENT: 500 words, photos, video.

SYRIA-ISRAEL — Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fire missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reports, saying most of the missiles were shot down by air defense units. SENT: 500 words. WITH: SYRIA — Turkey says it is working with the United States to coordinate the withdrawal of American forces but remains “determined” to clear U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters from northeastern Syria. By Zeynep Bilginsoy. SENT: 600 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WEAPON TEST — Russian President Vladimir 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. By Vladimir Isachenkovsent. SENT: 370 words, photos.

ESTONIA-DIGITAL GOVERNMENT — The Baltic nation of Estonia is engaged in the most ambitious project in governance in today’s world, creating a totally digital government designed to reduce bureaucracy, increase transparency and boost economic growth. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

HONDURAS-DANGEROUS DIVES-PHOTO ESSAY — Hundreds of teens and adults have made diving to fish for lobsters their livelihood in the Mosquitia, one of the poorest corners of Honduras nestled on the Caribbean coast. Also, many of them have been victims of what divers call a pressure attack, but medical science calls “decompression sickness,” an illness caused when nitrogen bubbles form in divers’ bodies potentially causing paralysis and even death. SENT: 920 words, photos.

ARGENTINA GENDER VIOLENCE — The recent accusation by an Argentine actress that she was raped at the age of 16 by a fellow actor has not only sparked rage but a wave of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in Argentina. While many compare the phenomenon to the #metoo movement local activists say its origins are rooted in the local grassroots “Ni Una Menos” movement which has staged massive protests against gender violence in the South American since its inception in 2015. SENT: 920 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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PREP SCHOOL ABUSE — A New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate reports to jail to begin serving the remaining 10 months of his jail sentence. SENT: 530 words, photos.

FLINT WATER — Two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal plead no contest to a misdemeanor in exchange for more serious charges being dropped, bringing to six the number of officials who have agreed to such deals.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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LIGHTER LAUNDRY DETERGENT — Amazon’s rise is forcing laundry detergents to shrink. Soap makers Tide and Seventh Generation have introduced redesigned, lighter packaging to please Amazon and other online stores: lighter packaging means those retailers will pay less to ship the detergent to shopper’s doorsteps, making each sale more profitable. By Joseph Pisani. UPCOMING: About 600 words by noon, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MEDIA-HANNITY — Bad news for Trump also means a tough time for his biggest media backer, Fox News’ Sean Hannity. His ratings are down since the election, and his rivals are up. By AP Media Writer David Bauder. SENT: 750 words, photo.

FILM-STAN & OLLIE — John C. Reilly talks about the inspiration he got from Oliver Hardy and the camaraderie he had with Steve Coogan that drove him in his Golden Globe-nominated performance in “Stan & Ollie,” which will be released in the U.S. on Friday. By Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton. SENT: 640 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR — Serena Williams has been voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time. Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after a remarkable return to tennis. SENT: 830 words, photos.

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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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