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BC-AP Americas Digest

December 23, 2013

TOP STORIES:

SEVERE WEATHER

CONCORD, New Hampshire — The first full day of winter brings a wild mix of weather across the United States: ice and high wind in the upper Midwest and northeastern New England states, flooding in the South and record-shattering temperatures in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (upper teens and low 20s Celsius) along the mid-Atlantic region. Freezing rain across much of eastern Canada turns roads and sidewalks into skating rinks and wreaked havoc on holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year. By Holly Ramer.

AP Photos.

FOREIGN ADOPTIONS

NEW YORK — Lawmakers from both parties in Congress, including liberals and conservatives, have united behind a bill aimed at encouraging more adoptions of foreign orphans and reflecting impatience with current policies overseen by the State Department. “Every child needs and deserves to grow up in a family,” says the bill’s chief advocate, Sen. Mary Landrieu. By National Writer.

AP Photos.

BOLIVIA-CHOLITA TRAFFIC COPS-PHOTO GALLERY

EL ALTO, Bolivia — This city in Bolivia’s highlands has hired Aymara women dressed in traditional multilayered Andean skirts and brightly embroidered vests to work as traffic cops and bring order to its road chaos. With photo gallery by Juan Karita.

BUSINESS:

APPLE-CHINA

BEIJING — Apple and China Mobile announce a long-anticipated agreement Monday to bring the iPhone to the world’s biggest phone company. The deal might help to boost iPhone sales in a market where Apple Inc. faces intense competition. The iPhone already is available in China through two smaller carriers but the latest deal links it with a bigger network and state-owned China Mobile Ltd.’s marketing power. By Joe McDonald and Marley Seaman.

AP Photo.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

DUCK DYNASTY-HOMETOWN

WEST MONROE, Louisiana — “Faith. Family. Ducks.” It’s the unofficial motto for the family featured in the TV reality show Duck Dynasty and that homespun philosophy permeates nearly everything in this small north Louisiana town. By Tamara Lush.

AP Photos.

FEATURES:

PANCHO CLAUS

HOUSTON — They have black hair and black beards, though sometimes just a mustache. They, like Santa, wear hats — usually sombreros but sometimes a fedora. They are clad in serapes and ponchos or, in one case, a red and black zoot suit. And they make their grand entrance on low riders, Harleys and, in San Antonio, via a pack of burros. Meet Pancho Claus. This Tex-Mex Santa, borne from the Chicano civil rights movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is now an adored Christmas fixture in many Texas cities. Each one has a unique local flavor, but all share common roots that set Pancho apart from Santa. It’s Feliz Navidad, amigos, and the ultimate goal is to help low-income families and at-risk children. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti.

AP Photos, video.

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