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BC-AP Americas Digest

December 27, 2013

TOP STORIES:

OBAMA

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama, with the last vestiges of 2013′s political wrangling officially behind him, is setting his sights on the coming year, when a bevy of unfished tasks will increasingly compete for attention with the 2014 midterm elections.

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OBAMA-BUDGET

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama has signed a bipartisan budget deal easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military, marking a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress. By Josh Lederman.

PRIEST ABUSE-APPEAL

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official given a stiff prison term for his handling of priest-abuse cases has had his landmark conviction overturned, and may soon be back before the sentencing judge for bail.

HATE CRIME-KNOCKOUT GAME

HOUSTON — A white man has been arrested on federal hate crimes charges for allegedly shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a “knockout game”-style attack. By Michael Graczyk.

AP Photo.

BUSINESS:

ONLINE SHOPPING

UNDATED — Americans waited until the last minute to buy holiday gifts, but retailers weren’t prepared for the spike. Heavy spending in the final days of the mostly lackluster season sent sales up 3.5 percent between Nov. 1 and Tuesday, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks payments but doesn’t give dollar figures. By Mae Anderson and Scott Mayerowitz.

AP Photos.

CUBA-STRUGGLING ENTREPRENEURS

HAVANA — The dented pizza trays are packed away, so too the old blender. Gone is the sweet smell of rising dough that infused Julio Cesar Hidalgo’s apartment when he and his girlfriend churned out cheesy pies for hungry Cubans. Two years on the front lines of Cuba’s experiment with limited capitalism has left Hidalgo broke and out of work. It’s a fate many new small ventures have met. By Andrea Rodriguez and Anne-Marie Garcia.

AP Photos.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

SUPER BOWL 2014-The ACTS

NEW YORK — Everyone is in Bruno Mars’ ear about one thing when it comes to performing the Super Bowl halftime show: How will you deal with the freezing cold?

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