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BC-AP News Digest 3:10 am

December 21, 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-ANALYSIS — During one particularly frenetic stretch in Donald Trump’s presidency, a top Republican senator said there were three men guarding the country from chaos: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House chief of staff John Kelly and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Within weeks, not one will be left in the administration. By Julie Pace and Zeke Miller. SENT: 870 words, photos.

TRUMP-MATTIS — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigns after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America’s role in the world. By Zeke Miller and Lolita Baldor. SENT: 1,430 words, video, photos, audio. With UNITED STATES-SYRIA — Military leaders scramble Thursday to devise a swift but safe departure of troops from Syria; UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN — The Pentagon is developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops serving in Afghanistan (both sent).

TRUMP-BORDER WALL — The federal government heads toward a partial shutdown over President Trump’s quest for border wall funds. A package approved by House Republicans includes $5.7 billion Trump wants for the wall, but the Senate is likely to reject it. By Lisa Mascaro, Matthew Daly and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 1,050 words, photos. With SHUTDOWN GLANCE — What happens in a partial government shutdown (sent).

MEXICO-US-MIGRATION — Mexico’s willingness to accept U.S. asylum seekers while their applications are processed appears to be yet another sign of the blooming honeymoon between leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and President Donald Trump, though it is also causing concern among officials in Mexican border cities already struggling to deal with thousands of Central American migrants. SENT: 910 words, photos.

JAPAN-NISSAN-GHOSN — Japanese prosecutors added a new allegation of breach of trust against Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn on Friday, dashing his hopes for posting bail. Ghosn, along with another former Nissan executive, Greg Kelly, was arrested Nov. 19 and charged with underreporting his income by about $44 million in 2011-2015. They are also facing the prospect of additional charges that claim the two underreported Ghosn’s income for other years by nearly $80 million in total. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 520 words, photos.

YE--IMMIGRATION — Children torn from their parents, refugees turned away, tear gas fired on asylum-seekers, and a president who says he’s making good on promises to protect the nation’s borders. In a breathless 2018, they were just a handful of headlines on immigration, one of the year’s most dominant issues. By Matt Sedensky and Julie Watson. SENT: 1,980 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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HERSHEY’S KISSES-MISSING TIPS — A group of bakers say batches of Hershey’s Kisses that don’t have their trademark tip are ruining the look of their desserts. SENT: 130 words, photos.

RIFLE PART SMUGGLING SYRIA — A California business executive has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for helping smuggle rifle parts and other military equipment to rebels in his native Syria. SENT: 130 words.

CZECH-MINE EXPLOSION — A spokesman for a mining company says the death toll in a methane explosion that hit a coal mine in northeast Czech Republic has increased to 13. SENT: 110 words.

ISRAEL BOYCOTT — A U.S. fund-raising website says it has suspended the account of the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel following a complaint by a pro-Israel group that the campaign has links to militant groups. SENT: 120 words.

NBC OUTAGE-PHILADELPHIA — Television viewers in the Philadelphia area had been getting black screens when they turned their TVs to NBC10 during the series finale of the time travel drama “Timeless.” SENT: 130 words.

MORMON WOMEN DRESS SLACKS — Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say female missionaries in all 407 missions worldwide now have the option to wear dress slacks. SENT: 290 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2020-WOMEN — A year defined by the political power of women is ending with men enjoying much of the attention. Beto O’Rourke, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have emerged as early favorites in the opening phase of the 2020 campaign. By Elana Schor, Juana Summers and Holly Ramer. SENT: 1,110 words, photos.

MEDICARE LOBBYING — A group gaining influence in Washington as a champion for Medicare beneficiaries is bankrolled by major health insurance companies that are trying to cash in on private coverage offered through the federal health insurance program. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Richard Lardner. SENT: 930 words, photos.

TRUMP HOTEL LAWSUIT — A federal appeals court agreed to take up a case accusing Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency in violation of the U.S. Constitution, giving the president’s legal team its first major victory in the case. SENT: 600 words, photo.

TRUMP-MY GENERALS — President Donald Trump’s band of “my generals” is disbanding. A political novice, Trump took office nearly two years ago gushing about the retired military leaders who had agreed to serve in his administration: retired four-star Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis as defense secretary, and John Kelly, another retired four-star Marine general, heading the Department of Homeland Security. SENT: 920 words, photos.

MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE-LAME DUCK — Michigan Republicans were poised to pass bills that would toughen rules for ballot drives and automatically give lawmakers the authority to intervene in court cases, pushing lame-duck legislation that critics said would weaken the power of voters and Democrats. SENT: 610 words, photos.

ETHICS INVESTIGATION-ESTY — A Democratic congresswoman forced to abandon her re-election campaign amid criticism over her handling of an alleged incident of sexual harassment could have done more to protect her staff but didn’t violate congressional rules, according to an ethics report. SENT: 350 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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TOYS FOR TOTS-TOYS R US — When Toys R Us closed, Toys for Tots felt the loss. The toy giant’s decision to shutter its stores this year left some huge holes for the annual charity drive to fill. Toys R Us shoppers donated more than 250,000 toys last year and the company gave $5 million in corporate contributions — 40 percent of all corporate giving to the Marine Corps community edffort. SENT: 770 words, photos.

CLERGY ABUSE-CHICAGO CARDINAL — The Catholic archbishop of Chicago, who was hand-picked by the pope to help organize an upcoming Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse, will have a leading role in the church’s effort to seek reforms. SENT: 750 words, photos, video.

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INTERNATIONAL

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NORTH KOREA-NUCLEAR — The Trump administration’s special envoy for North Korea expresses optimism about the diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear crisis, a day after the North issued a surprisingly blunt statement saying it will never disarm unless the U.S. removes what it calls a nuclear threat. SENT: 700 words, photos.

UNITED NATIONS-YEMEN — The U.N. Security Council called a vote on a resolution that would authorize the use of U.N. monitors to observe the implementation of a cease-fire in Yemen’s important port of Hodeida and the withdrawal of rival forces from that area. SENT: 670 words, photos.

BRITAIN-GATWICK AIRPORT-DRONES — Flights resumed at London’s Gatwick Airport this morning after drones sparked the shutdown of the airfield for more than 24 hours, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded or delayed during the busy holiday season. SENT: 330 words, photos.

BOLIVIA-LLAMA SHEPHERDS — Millions of llamas help the Aymara and Quecha people of Bolivia survive in a harsh, high-altitude environment. The hardy animals provide transportation, meat, wool and leather, and hold a religious significance for many. Yet more and more young people are abandoning the millennia-old life built around the animals and moving to the cities. SENT: 710 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian stocks fell further after Wall Street slid on recession fears, putting markets in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney on track to end 2018 down more than 10 percent. By Business Writer Joe McDonald. SENT: 530 words, photos.

NO CELL HOTELS — Can you take a vacation from your cell phone? A growing number of hotels will help you find out. Some resorts are offering perks, like snorkeling tours and s’mores, to guests who manage to give up their phones for a few hours. Some have phone-free hours at their pools; others are banning distracting devices from public places altogether. By Business Writer Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 840 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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INDONESIA-ALBINO ORANGUTAN — The world’s only known albino orangutan climbed trees, foraged for food and began building a nest after being released into a remote Borneo jungle more than a year after conservation officials found her starving and dehydrated in an Indonesian village. SENT: 470 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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OLY--GYM’S PARKOUR GRAB — Gymnastics is fighting a custody battle for parkour, the funky street sport that has spread globally from the suburbs of Paris. The gymnastics federation has declared parkour to be its newest discipline and intends to lobby for its inclusion in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. This despite howls of complaint from parkour groups and a #WeAreNOTGymnastics protest movement by parkour lovers on social media. By John Leicester. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 4 a.m.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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FILM-VICE-CHRISTIAN BALE-AMY ADAMS — Christian Bale and Amy Adams do the impossible and become the enigmatic Dick and Lynne Cheney for Adam McKay’s “Vice,” which opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas day. The charged polemic follows the Cheneys from their inauspicious origins to Washington D.C., where Dick Cheney would become one of the most powerful and influential figures in the country. “Vice” is generating awards season buzz and is the leading nominee at the Golden Globe Awards. The film opens Christmas day. By Film Writer Lindsey Bahr. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

CLIPPERS-CRYSTAL — Billy Crystal, who has been the team’s most well-known fan through the good times and bad, will be the analyst for the Jan. 31 game against the Lakers. Crystal will call the game on television with Ralph Lawler, who is retiring at the end of the season after 40 years with the team. By Sports Writer Joe Reedy. SENT: 290 words, photo.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Vincent Willis 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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