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BC-AP Americas Digest

January 9, 2014

TOP STORIES:

HAGEL-NUCLEAR FORCES

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is making a rare visit to an Air Force nuclear missile base, hoping to boost morale among the Air Force men and women who operate, maintain and safeguard the nation’s Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles, and who officials have said are increasingly tired of working in what can seem like oblivion. By National Security Writer Robert Burns.

UNITED STATES-IRAN-SANCTIONS BATTLE

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration enters the year locked in a battle with Congress over whether to plow ahead with new economic sanctions against Iran or cautiously wait to see if last year’s breakthrough nuclear agreement holds. A summary of arguments for and against new sanctions. By Bradley Klapper.

AP photos.

CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS

TRENTON, New Jersey — This was supposed to a month of celebration for Chris Christie’s political future. But a day after revelations that his administration may have closed highway lanes to exact political retribution, the prospective Republican presidential candidate is faced with the biggest test of his political career. By Steve Peoples and Angela Delli Santi.

AP photos.

GATES BOOK

WASHINGTON — Rushing to curb political fallout, the White House pushes back against harsh criticism in a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that questions President Barack Obama’s war leadership and rips into Vice President Joe Biden. By Josh Lederman.

AP Photos.

OBAMA-NSA SURVEILLANCE

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is expected to restrict National Security Agency access to Americans’ phone records and rein in spying on foreign leaders, according to people familiar with a White House review of the government’s surveillance programs. By Julie Pace.

AP Photos.

NO DEEP FREEZE

RIO DE JANEIRO — Sure, it’s mind-bogglingly cold in the Northern Hemisphere. But the sweltering weather on the opposite end of the Earth has man and beast alike dreaming of ice. By Jenny Barchfield.

AP Photos.

BRAZIL-UN PRISON

SAO PAULO — The United Nation’s human rights agency calls for an “immediate, impartial and effective investigation” into the violence that has swept through a penitentiary in northeastern Brazil where at least 60 inmates were killed in 2013 in clashes between rival gangs. By Stan Lehman.

CUBA-US

HAVANA — Cuban and U.S. representatives are set to meet in Havana for a new round of restarted migration talks on Thursday, a signal of the longtime Cold War foes’ recent willingness to engage in areas of mutual interest but unlikely to be a harbinger of a major thaw in relations. By Peter Orsi.

AP Photos.

CANADA-BIRD FLU

TORONTO — Canadian health officials say a fatal case of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Canada, the first such case in North America. The victim was travelling from China when symptoms first appeared. By Rob Gillies.

BUSINESS and FINANCE:

FISKER BANKRUPTCY

WILMINGTON, Delaware — Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group Corp. has increased its offer for Fisker Automotive, heating up the fight for the failed electric-vehicle maker. Wanxiang sweetened its bid with an additional $10 million in cash. By Randall Chase.

TEC-GADGET SHOW-WEARABLES

LAS VEGAS — Gadget lovers are slipping on fitness bands that track movement and buckling on smartwatches that let them check phone messages. Some brave souls are even donning Google’s geeky-looking Glass eyewear. At the International Consumer Electronics Show this week, companies are showing off hundreds of new watches, wristbands and eyeglasses with built-in video screens or cameras. By Peter Svensson.

AP Photos.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

VENEZUELA-SLAIN ACTRESS

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro hastily gathers state governors and mayors to talk about the country’s violent crime amid public outrage over the killing of a popular soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela. By Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda.

AP Photos, video.

TV-PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS

LOS ANGELES — The fans made their top picks in television, music and film at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards and deemed Ellen DeGeneres their favorite daytime TV host, making her the woman with the most People’s Choice honors — a total of 14 trophies. By Jessica Herndon. AZ

AP Photos.

SPORTS:

RODMAN-NKOREA

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Dennis Rodman apologizes Thursday for comments about captive American missionary Kenneth Bae in an interview with CNN. A day after the former basketball star sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and led a squad of former NBA players in a friendly game, Rodman issued the apology through publicist Jules Feiler in an email message to The Associated Press. By Eric Talmadge

AP Photos, video.

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