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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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IMMIGRATION-CHILDREN’S SHELTERS — Decades after the U.S. stopped institutionalizing kids because large and crowded orphanages were causing lasting trauma, it is happening again. The federal government has placed most of the 14,300 migrant children in its care in detention centers and residential facilities packed with hundreds, or thousands, of kids. SENT: 2,400 words, photos. An abridged version of 1,000 words is also available.

YEMEN-CHILD SOLDIERS — 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 has also moved.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP SYRIA — President Donald Trump says the battle against Islamic State in Syria is over and decides it’s time to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from the country, a conclusion that contradicts recent statements from within his own administration and sparks outrage from members of his party in Congress. The withdrawal is likely to be viewed positively by Turkey, though, which is battling U.S.-backed Kurdish forces along its southern border. By Lolita Baldor and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 1,200 words, photo. WITH: United States-Syria-Glance — A look at U.S. involvement in Syria. Upcoming.

SENTENCING BILL-FLIPPING McCONNELL — When Mitch McConnell returned to his home state of Kentucky, he couldn’t escape the debate over criminal justice reform. Ads ran on television. Religious leaders talked about it on popular podcasts. Even his beloved University of Louisville proved no sanctuary, holding a forum in support of the Senate legislation. Much of the noise in Kentucky was no accident. It was encouraged and amplified by advocates who embarked on a single-minded campaign to sway the majority leader, recognizing it as a crucial key to unlocking a historic overhaul of federal sentencing laws now on the precipice of becoming law. Upcoming: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

TRUMP-BORDER WALL — The Senate is preparing to vote on a short-term measure to fund the government through Feb. 8, a move that eases the risk of a shutdown and comes only after President Donald Trump backed off his demand for border wall funds. By Lisa Mascaro, Matthew Daly and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 750 words, photos.

FEDERAL RESERVE — The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate for a fourth time this year despite President Trump’s repeated assertions that doing so would be a terrible idea. They signaled however, fewer hikes in 2019. Upcoming: Fed announcement at 2 p.m. ET and Powell news conference at 2:30 p.m. WITH: FINANCIAL MARKETS — US stocks are rising as energy companies benefit from a partial recovery in oil prices following a huge loss the day before. SENT: 900 words, photos.

BREXIT — The European Union marks 100 days until Brexit by triggering an action plan to ensure planes can still fly and money can still flow between Britain and the bloc in the increasingly likely event that the U.K. crashes out of the EU without a divorce deal. The British government, trying to plow through political gridlock over Brexit, releases much-delayed immigration plans that it says will “take back control” of the country’s borders — but critics say will batter the economy by shutting out everyone except highly paid professionals. By Jill Lawless and Lorne Cook. SENT: 850 words. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.

SPORTS BETTING-FEDERAL REGULATION — The federal government would regulate sports betting nationwide under a bill to be introduced Wednesday. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, told The Associated Press he and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah will introduce the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 800 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” in a farewell speech in which he calls Washington’s failure to overhaul costly federal benefit programs “our greatest unfinished business.” ″Our complex problems are solvable,” Ryan says in excerpts of remarks he plans to deliver at the Library of Congress. SENT: 900 words, photo. Eds: Speech starts at 1 p.m.

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INTERNATIONAL

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AFGHANISTAN — The latest talks between the Taliban and a U.S. peace envoy on the war in Afghanistan focused on the withdrawal of NATO troops, the release of prisoners and halting attacks on civilians by pro-government forces, a Taliban spokesman said. SENT: 775 words, photo.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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OPIOID ANTIDOTE-PRESCRIBING — The U.S. government told doctors to consider prescribing the overdose antidote naloxone to many patients who take opioid painkillers in a move that could add more than $1 billion in health care costs. UPCOMING: 500 words by 5 p.m.

HEIGHTS & WEIGHTS — You can hang the mistletoe the same height as every holiday season, but you might want to pick a wider doorway. A new government report shows that U.S. adults are not getting any taller in recent years, but they continue to get fatter. UPCOMING: 500 words by 5 p.m.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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FACEBOOK-FACT CHECK — Facebook defines ‘permission’ loosely in saying it didn’t violate users’ privacy when it gave some partners more extensive access to user data. By Barbara Ortutay and Matt O’Brien. SENT: 600 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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YE-OVER IT — Keep your backyard chicken coops, dear 2018, and your vampire facials, too. And that Floss dance from “Fortnite Battle Royale”? Forget about it in the new year. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FBC-SIGNING DAY — The second year of college football’s early signing period promises to be busy, with most teams expected to lock up the bulk of their 2019 classes and Alabama working on another recruiting championship. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, by 6 p.m. With: Signing-Day The Latest.

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