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BC-NY--New York News Digest , NY

December 28, 2018

Members can send stories and tips to apalbany@ap.org for upstate and apnyc@ap.org for the New York metro area. The New York desk can be reached at 212-621-1670. The photo desk is reachable at 212-621-1902.

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TOP STORIES

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RAPE INVESTIGATIONS

NEW YORK _ Police are closing rape investigations at the lowest rate in decades despite advancements in forensic testing. Police nationwide cleared just 32 percent of rape investigations in 2017, down from 62 percent in 1964. By Jim Mustian and Michael R. Sisak: SENT: 1,150 words, photos, video, graphic.

TRANSFORMER EXPLOSION-QUEENS

A transformer explosion at an electrical plant set the skies above New York City ablaze in an eerie, pulsing blue light Thursday night, causing scattered power outages, delaying flights and sparking a social media storm of jokes about an alien invasion. By Jim Mustian and Michael R. Sisak. SENT: 560 words, photos.

OFFICER ATTACKED-SUBWAY

NEW YORK_ A police officer on patrol alone says he was just “trying to survive” as he fought off homeless men who came at him in a caught-on-video confrontation in a New York City subway station Sunday night. By Michael R. Sisak and Jim Mustian. SENT: 645 words.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-COURTS

NEW YORK_ The partial government shutdown prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts Thursday to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers, giving President Donald Trump a reprieve from the progress of some litigation he faces.

ASYLUM CASE RULING

NEW YORK _ Saying that the U.S. prides itself on its humanity and openness, a New York judge has ordered a bail hearing for an asylum applicant detained nearly three years. By Larry Neumeister. SENT: 460 words.

KIDNAPPING CHARGES-JEWISH SECT

NEW YORK_ A New York man has been charged in the kidnapping of two children whose mother recently fled an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in Guatemala. By Jim Mustian. SENT: 340 words, photo.

YE--LEGAL MARIJUANA-BANNER YEAR

PORTLAND, Ore. — The last year was a 12-month champagne toast for the legal marijuana industry as the global market exploded and cannabis pushed its way further into the financial and cultural mainstream. Looking ahead, governors in New York and New Jersey are pushing to legalize recreational pot in their states. By Gillian Flaccus. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

CHINA-CORRUPTION CASE

BEIJING _ China’s former deputy intelligence chief, Ma Jian, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for corruption. A court said in a statement online that Ma used his political power to aid the business operations of Guo Wengui, a New York-based real estate billionaire wanted by Chinese authorities. SENT: 250 words, photos.

CONGO-LONGSHOT CANDIDATE

KINSHASA, CONGO _ He wants to run Africa’s second-largest country, one of vast mineral wealth, sprawling poverty and vicious fighting that has cost millions of lives. Noel Tshiani Muadiamvita’s chances are slim to none, but the former New York banker is convinced he’s perfect for the job. By Khaled Kazziha. SENT: 725 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

_BRONX BURGLARIES: New York police are looking for a group of five men who have broken into at least eight Bronx businesses by cutting holes in the back of the buildings.

_FIRST DAY HIKES: New York parks and environmental conservation staff are leading hikes on public lands to kick off the new year.

_NIAGARA FALLS PLANT CLOSING: The owners of a Niagara Falls manufacturing plant say it will close by Dec. 30.

_FLU CASES NEW YORK: The Cuomo administration says the number of confirmed cases of influenza is rising across New York state, with more than 5,400 people coming down with the illness so far this season.

_ NEW YEAR’S EVE-TIMES SQUARE: Preparations for New Year’s Eve in Times Square are taking shape, and some of those shapes are 192 new crystal triangles on the famous ball. AP Photos.

_ POWERBALL-JACKPOT TICKET: Officials say a winning ticket for a $298 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a New York City gas station.

_ NEW YORK OFFICIALS-SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A second state Department of Criminal Justice Services employee has filed a federal lawsuit against top officials in the agency, accusing them of retaliating against her after she cooperated in a sexual harassment investigation.

_ ODD-HIGHWAY BIRTH-NAME: It was my way and the highway for a newborn New Yorker, who’s now named after the expressway where she was born in her parents’ minivan as they raced to a hospital.

_ BASKETBALL PLAYER DIES: Medical examiners are working to determine why a 16-year-old boy collapsed at basketball practice and died, and his mother says she has no idea what befell her healthy son.

_ CO-OP CITY-FIRE: Firefighters say three people have been hospitalized after a blaze in New York’s Co-op City, the nation’s biggest cooperative housing complex.

_ NATIONAL GUARD-MILITARY FUNERALS: The New York National Guard says it will have provided military funeral honors for more than 11,000 veterans and military members by the time 2018 ends next week.

_ SHOPPING MALL-FIGHTS: Authorities say several fights and a falling sign that sounded like a gunshot sent shoppers running for the exits at one of New York state’s largest malls.

_ CHURCH FIRE: A fire has torn through a suburban New York church two days after Christmas.

_ FIRE-TEEN KILLED: Fire marshals are working to determine what caused a Queens apartment blaze that killed a teenage girl and seriously injured two women.

_ HOLIDAYS-DWI CRACKDOWN: State officials say a crackdown on impaired driving on New York roads will continue through New Year’s Day.

_ MINIMUM WAGE HIKE: An ad campaign is being launched to raise awareness of the new minimum wage across New York state.

_ DEER HUNTING: For white-tailed deer hunters in New York state, 2018 was the third year in a row of increased harvest.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

OPERA--DUELING DIVAS

NEW YORK _ The fireworks start early this New Year’s Eve at the Metropolitan Opera, where two jealous divas locked in a deadly rivalry will be setting off sparks in a new production of Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur.” By Mike Silverman. SENT: 800 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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FBN--FOX 25 YEARS

UNDATED _ The way football is televised today went in motion 25 years ago this month when Fox won rights to broadcast NFL games for $1.6 billion over four years. Besides its personalities the network has given us the scorebox, audio that brings viewers closer to the game, the one-hour pregame show, and a big production feel to sporting events. By Joe Reedy. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

FBN--Jets-Darnold’s Finish

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. _ Sam Darnold is wrapping up his rookie season with glimpses of greatness. First, Aaron Rodgers. Next, Tom Brady. The New York Jets quarterback’s final two opponents are among the best to play the position, and Darnold appreciates the situation he’s in. By Dennis Waszak Jr. SENT: 938 words, photo.

BKN--KNICKS-BUCKS

MILWAUKEE _ The New York Knicks visit the Milwaukee Bucks. AP Photos planned.

HKN--JACKETS-RANGERS

NEW YORK _ The Columbus Blue Jackets visit the New York Rangers. AP Photos planned.

HKN--SABRES-BLUES

ST. LOUIS _ The Buffalo Sabres visit the St. Louis Blues. AP Photos planned.

HKO--WORLD JUNIORS

VICTORIA, British Columbia _ The United States rallied to beat Slovakia 2-1 on Wednesday night to open the World Junior Championship. In Group A at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, defending champion Canada routed Denmark 14-0. Maxime Comtois _ the lone returning player for the title team a year ago in Buffalo, New York _ had four goals. SENT: 400 words, photos.

If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apnyc@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867.

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