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BC-AP News Digest 2:10 pm

December 24, 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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INDONESIA TSUNAMI-NIGHTMARE — The tsunami that roared ashore in Indonesia, killing more than 370 people and injuring over 1,400, was particularly cruel. It hit on a busy holiday weekend when many were enjoying the warm night breeze on the beach under a full moon. And unlike most big waves, which are typically portended by an earthquake’s violent shaking, this was a stealth attack. There were no major ground convulsions, no sirens, no text messages. By Niniek Karmini and Margie Mason. SENT: 1,055 words, photos. WITH: INDONESIA-TSUNAMI — Efforts to collect hundreds of bodies and save the injured have been stepped up in Indonesia following the country’s latest tsunami, as scientists collect evidence on how a volcanic eruption triggered the weekend tragedy; INDONESIA-TSUNAMI-PHOTO GALLERY (both sent).

FINANCIAL MARKETS — President Donald Trump’s attack on the Federal Reserve spooks financial markets on Christmas Eve, raising fears about an uncertain future should the White House try to undermine or remove the head of the U.S. central bank. The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 653 points following a tweet from Trump about the Fed. By Alex Veiga and Josh Boak. SENT: 720 words, photos, developing. WITH: TRUMP-FEDERAL RESERVE — President Donald Trump lashes out at the Federal Reserve after administration officials spent the weekend trying to assure the public and financial markets that Jerome Powell’s job as Fed chairman is safe. SENT: 540 words, photo.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN —President Donald Trump was meeting with his Homeland Security secretary and other officials on Monday to discuss border security issues as a partial government shutdown over his U.S.-Mexico border wall entered Christmas without a clear resolution in sight. By Darlene Superville and Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 940 words, photos, video, developing. WITH: GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-CHRISTMAS —The partial government shutdown, now in its fourth day, has darkened the lights and locked the gate to the normally brightly colored holiday tree near the White House. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos.

YEMEN-HIDDEN KILLERS — While Yemen Houthi rebels’ use of Scud and other retrofitted ballistic missiles has drawn attention for striking deep inside Saudi Arabia, their reportedly widespread use of mines represents a risk for generations to come in the Arab world’s poorest country. By Jon Gambrell and Malak Harb. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video. This story is this week’s Tuesday Spotlight.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-KEVIN SPACEY — A Massachusetts prosecutor says Kevin Spacey is scheduled to be arraigned next month on a charge of indecent assault and battery on allegations he sexually assaulted the teenage son of a Boston television anchor in a Nantucket restaurant. SENT: 130 words, photos, developing.

YE-POSITIVE MOMENTS — ‘Look for the helpers,’ was the advice Fred Rogers’ mother gave him when he saw tragedy in the news. AP reporters follow that simple call from the beloved children’s show host and find people who volunteered in unexpected ways in some of the nation’s darkest moments of 2018. SENT: 1,160 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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MEDICAL DEBT ERASED — Two retired debt collectors have used their expertise to erase $475 million in debt for more than 250,000 people in recent years. SENT: 810 words, photos.

CHRISTMAS-MIDEAST — Pilgrims from around the world are flocking to Bethlehem for what is believed to be the biblical West Bank city’s largest Christmas celebrations in years. SENT: 675 words, photos.

SCI-RUSSIA-SPACE STATION — A Russian cosmonaut who explored a mysterious hole in a capsule docked to the International Space Station says that the opening was drilled from inside the spacecraft and Russian law enforcement agencies are investigating what caused it. SENT: 290 words, photos.

ODD-NORWAY-CAR THIEF — A car thief had to call the police to ask for help after he was trapped inside the car he was trying to steal. SENT: 120 words.

BRITAIN-PUPPY SALES — Britain has banned third-party sales of puppies and kittens to protect the animals from exploitation. SENT: 300 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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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. UPCOMING: 600 words by 3 p.m., photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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AFGHANISTAN — A brazen hours-long coordinated assault on a government building in the Afghan capital of Kabul Monday killed 28 people, most of whom were employees of the department for martyrs and disabled persons, said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish. Another 20 people were wounded. Developing.

ISRAEL-ELECTIONS — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has agreed to hold early elections in April after the ruling coalition appears to come up short on votes needed to pass a contentious piece of court-ordered legislation. By Aron Heller. SENT: 890 words, photos.

PAKISTAN-POLITICS — An anti-graft tribunal has sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison for corruption, drawing criticism from his party, which says the decision is a “black stain” on the justice system. By Munir Ahmed. SENT: 505 words, photos.

CHINA-CHRISTMAS CRACKDOWN — Just say no to Christmas. No Santa. No trees. No seasonal sales. That’s the message from at least three cities in China that have banned Christmas decorations this year, according to official notices and interviews. SENT: 1,155 words, photos.

CHILD DEAD-US BORDER PATROL — The tiny white coffin with the body of the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in U.S. custody ends its heartbreaking journey home in the pre-dawn hours. SENT: 475 words, photos.

BRITAIN-GATWICK AIRPORT-DRONES — Chagrined county police in England insists that drone sightings over London’s Gatwick Airport were authentic, while a former suspect in the aerial mystery that wreaked days of travel havoc complains bitterly about his treatment. SENT: 395 words, photos.

BRAZIL-RIO MILITIAS — Paramilitary groups known as militias are growing across the state of Rio de Janeiro. Their latest big illicit business is smuggling cigarettes from neighboring Paraguay. They dominate large swaths of Rio, controlling services like internet access, cable, electricity and water. The groups also engage in extortion and sometimes murder. Some crime experts say militias have become Rio’s biggest security threat. SENT: 1400 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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CYBERSECURITY-CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE — It’s called the “Dark Side” because the 50 workers there prefer to keep the lights low so they can dim the brightness on their computer screens. Questions about exactly what goes on at the heart of one of the United States’ primary cybersecurity facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory aren’t always answered, and photos by outsiders aren’t allowed. SENT: 880 words, photos.

CHARTER SCHOOL-BLACKS DIVIDED — The heirs to the Walmart fortune -- among the country’s biggest promoters of charter schools -- have been working to make inroads with the black community amid a fierce debate over charters in the black community. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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YE-STORY OF THE YEAR — The depths of Larry Nassar’s depravity began to emerge some 15 months before the calendar flipped to 2018 — when reports of his sexual abuse first appeared in newspaper stories that would eventually lead to a trial and, ultimately, to the doctor’s imprisonment. But it was January 2018, the month when more than 150 female athletes testified at Nassar’s sentencing hearing for convictions on child-porn and sex-abuse charges, that marked a turning point in a crisis that has inflicted untold damage. By Eddie Pells. SENT: 930 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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YE-CREEPING TECH DYSTOPIA — We may remember 2018 as the year in which technology’s dystopian potential became clear, from Facebook’s role enabling the harvesting of our personal data for election interference to a seemingly unending series of revelations about the dark side of Silicon Valley’s connect-everything ethos. SENT: 1,280 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Shelley Acoca 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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