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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

December 19, 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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ONLY ON AP

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YEMEN-CHILD SOLDIERS — MARIB, Yemen — An AP investigation has found that thousands of children have been recruited by Yemen’s Houthi rebels to fight in the country’s civil war. Boys describe being thrown into the heat of battle, amid bombardment and airstrikes, watching friends die. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 2,500 words, photos, video. An abridged version of 950 words will also move.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-BORDER WALL — President Donald Trump appears to back off his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, signaling he might be open to a deal that would avoid a partial government shutdown. By Lisa Mascaro, Catherine Lucey and Matthew Daly. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

CONGRESS-SENTENCING BILL — The Senate passes a sweeping criminal justice bill that addresses concerns that the nation’s war on drugs has led to the imprisonment of too many Americans for non-violent crimes without adequately preparing them for their return to society. By Kevin Freking. SENT: 840 words, photo.

TRAVEL BAN-DYING SON — After a yearlong legal battle, a Yemeni mother will get to come to the U.S. to give her dying son one last kiss. Shaima Swileh is expected to arrive to San Francisco on Wednesday on her way to see her 2-year-old son Abdullah, who is on life-support at an Oakland hospital. Citizens from Yemen and four other mostly Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, are restricted from coming to the United States under the Trump administration’s travel ban. By By Julie Watson. SENT: 700 words, photos. UPCOMING: Mother to arrive to San Francisco after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE — A federal judge who described himself as disgusted by Michael Flynn’s behavior upended a straightforward sentencing hearing, postponing punishment for President Trump’s first national security adviser and telling him in a stinging rebuke, “Arguably you sold your country out.” By Eric Tucker and Chad Day. SENT: 1,070 words, photos, video. With TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-TAKEAWAYS — Cooperation counts, but so does the crime. SENT: 510 words, photos.

ELON MUSK-TUNNEL — Elon Musk has unveiled his underground transportation tunnel, allowing reporters and VIPs to take some of the first rides in the subterranean tube, which the tech entrepreneur says is the answer to what he calls “soul-destroying traffic.” Guests boarded a Tesla Model S, were driven to the test station in Los Angeles, lowered into the tunnel and zipped through.

CHINA-FORCED LABOR-REACTION — The U.S. government is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese internment camp where ethnic minorities are sewing clothes that have been shipped to the U.S. market. By Martha Mendoza and Yanan Wang. SENT: 500 words, photos.

GROWING UP DIGITAL-GOOGLE FTC COMPLAINT — Nearly two dozen consumer, privacy and public health groups are urging U.S. regulators to investigate whether children are being endangered by deceptive apps in Google’s app store for smartphones running on its Android software. The 102-page complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission alleges Google’s Play store is harming kids by allowing apps that break privacy laws, contain adult content or include manipulative advertising in a section of its Play store designed for children. By AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. SENT: 500 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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SPEAKER RYAN’S FAREWELL — Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan is bemoaning America’s “broken politics.” He’s also using a farewell speech to say that Washington’s failure to overhaul costly federal benefit programs is “our greatest unfinished business.” SENT: 860 words, photo. UPCOMING: 950 words after 1 p.m. speech.

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INTERNATIONAL

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JOURNALIST DEATHS — The number of journalists killed worldwide in retaliation for their work nearly doubled this year, according to an annual report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The New York-based organization found that 34 journalists were killed in retaliation for their work as of Dec. 14, while at least 53 were killed overall. That compares to 18 retaliation killings among the 47 deaths documented by the committee in 2017. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 600 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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ECONOMY-FALLING STOCK MARKET — Employers are hiring, consumers are spending and the economy is growing briskly. And yet the stock market has been free-falling, shrinking the wealth of households and companies and spooking investors. Does this mean a recession is imminent? Not in the view of most economists. By Economics Writer Josh Boak. SENT: 1,100 words, photo.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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OBIT-PENNY-MARSHALL — Penny Marshall, the trailblazing director of smash-hit big-screen comedies who first indelibly starred in the top-rated sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. She was 75. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 800 words, photos. With OBIT-PENNY MARSHALL-REACTIONS — Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, more stars mourn Penny Marshall (sent).

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SPORTS

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OLY--SNOW VOLLEYBALL-AMERICANS — The United States is sending a pair of teams to a European snow volleyball tour event in Moscow this week, a boost for the sport as it tries to grow a worldwide footprint. Four-time Olympian Lloy Ball, who won the gold medal with the U.S. indoor team in 2008, will play in the tournament and hopes to bring home some information on how the Americans can compete as the new discipline tries to earn a spot in the 2026 Olympics. If it does, volleyball would be the first sport to be a part of both the Summer and Winter Games. By Jimmy Golen. UPCOMING: 980 words, photos by 4 a.m.

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