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BC-NY--New York News Digest, ADVISORY, NY

December 29, 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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UPCOMING TOMORROW

TIMES SQUARE CROWD

NEW YORK _ Officials frequently say that as many as 2 million people will pack New York City’s Times Square for New Year’s Eve. But is it possible? Crowd-size experts say no way. Crowd science professor G. Keith Still says the real Times Square ball drop crowd likely has fewer than 100,000 people. Nevertheless, city officials and event organizers continue to float mammoth crowd estimates. By Michael R. Sisak UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 a.m.

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TOP STORIES

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NYC ELECTRICAL FLASH-BLUE SKY

NEW YORK _ Electric utility Con Edison is working to figure out what caused a high-voltage equipment failure that unleashed an otherworldly flash of bright blue light in the night sky over New York City. The event caused power outages, briefly grounded flights at LaGuardia airport and filled social media feeds with eerie photos and wonder. By Jennifer Peltz. SENT: 730 words, photos, video.

GRAND CENTRAL TUNNELS

NEW YORK _ Deep in the bedrock 15 stories below the famous Grand Central Terminal, a cavernous construction site is slowly, and expensively, taking shape as a commuter rail hub that will accommodate more than 150,000 passengers a day. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.

VATICAN-SEXUAL ABUSE

VATICAN CITY _ The Vatican has taken testimony from a man who says ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused him for years starting when he was 11. The man came forward after the New York archdiocese announced that a church investigation determined that an involving a different former altar boy was credible. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 815 words, photo.

KIDNAPPING CHARGES-JEWISH SECT

NEW YORK _ Three more alleged leaders of an extremist Jewish sect have been arrested on charges of kidnapping two children in New York and the children have been found safe in Mexico, authorities said Friday. SENT: 340 words.

POLICE OFFICERS-DEATHS

WASHINGTON _ More police officers have died in the line of duty this year in the United States than in 2017, according to data released Thursday. The states that experienced the highest number of officer fatalities were Texas, California, Florida and New York, with 11 fatalities each. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 375 words, photos.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

WASHINGTON _ It’s looking increasingly like the partial government shutdown will be handed off to a divided government to solve in the new year. Meanwhile, in New York, the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts suspended work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers, including several civil lawsuits in which President Donald Trump himself is a defendant. By Juliet Linderman and Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 975 words, photos, video.

WAR ROBOTS

CHELMSFORD, Mass. _ The Army is looking for a few good robots. Not to fight — not yet, at least — but to help the men and women who do. The big fight over small robots opens a window into the intersection of technology and national defense and shows how fear that China could surpass the U.S. drives even small tech startups to play geopolitics to outmaneuver rivals. Among prototypes: tank-sized unmanned supply vehicles that have been tested in recent weeks in the rough and wintry terrain outside Fort Drum, New York. By Matt O’Brien. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, video.

IN BRIEF:

_ BOMB HOAX-CHURCH: Police in Schenectady, New York have spent six hours investigating a bomb threat at a church that turned out to be false.

_ NYC TRAFFIC DEATHS: New York City traffic deaths are poised to drop for a fifth straight year and set a new record low.

_ WOODSTOCK ANNIVERSARY: three-day music festival will be held in August 2019 at the original Woodstock concert site to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic event. AP Photos.

_ ROCHESTER-POLICE SHOOTING: Police in Rochester say an officer fired five shots at a 15-year-old teenager who was attempting to run down the officer in a stolen car.

_ CRASH-MAN KILLED: State police in upstate New York say a man was killed when his vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

_ WIND TURBINE LAWSUIT: The New York Thruway Authority has filed a lawsuit against multiple companies over the failure of four wind turbines.

_ SMALL BUSINESSES-LOANS: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state has provided $188 million in loans to small businesses in 2018, creating thousands of jobs and retaining thousands of others.

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

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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TV-MRS MAISEL-FASHION

NEW YORK _ Fans of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” know that the New York-centered show’s clothes deliver eye-popping color and to-die-for style, but they might not know the costumes represent more than 1950′s couture. By Brooke Lefferts. SENT: 850 words, photos.

RETHINKING OLD FAVORITES

NEW YORK _ Whether it’s blackface minstrel routines from Bing Crosby’s “Holiday Inn,” Apu’s accent in “The Simpsons,” bullying scenes in “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the arguably rapey coercion of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Sixteen Candles” or the simplistically clunky gender Interactions of “Mr. Mom,” Americans have amassed a catalog of entertainment across the decades that now raises a series of contentious but never-more-relevant questions: What, exactly, do we do with this stuff today? By Ted Anthony. SENT: 1,800 words, photos.

FILM-BIRD BOX

NEW YORK _ For so long, movies around the holidays have been merry and bright. Lately, more and more seem murderous and designed to fright. Take this winter, where, of course, sugary options abounded, such as “Mary Poppins Returns” on the big screen and “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” on TV. Then there’s the post-apocalyptic survival story “Bird Box.” By Mark Kennedy. SENT: 58U5 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FBC-CAMPING WORLD BOWL

ORLANDO, Fla. _ Syracuse sent Eric Dungey out a winner, and got a good look at its future. Dungey capped his record-setting college career by throwing for 303 yards, Abdul Adams and Trishton Jackson combined to score three touchdowns in their Syracuse debuts and the 17th-ranked Orange got their first 10-win season since 2001 by topping No. 15 West Virginia 34-18 in the Camping World Bowl on Friday. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 730 words, photos.

BKL-WNBA CROSSROADS

NEW YORK _ As 2018 closes, the WNBA is at a crossroads. The play on the court has never been better but that hasn’t led to the league and its owners making money. The WNBA says it has lost significant money the last 22 years, including $12 million last season. By Doug Feinberg. SENT” 865 words, photos.

BKN-NETS-HORNETS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ Kemba Walker scored 29 points and made seven 3-pointers, Tony Parker had 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Charlotte Hornets avenged a double-overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week with a 100-87 victory on Friday night. By Steve Reed. SENT: 330N words, photos.

FBN--BILLS-WILLIAMS RETIRING

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. _ Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is retiring at age 35 after 13 seasons, a decision that leaves the Buffalo Bills without their most respected leader and longest-active tenured player. By John Wawrow. SENT: 575 words, photo.

FBN-JETS-ENUNWA EXTENSION

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. _ Quincy Enunwa is staying put with Sam Darnold and the New York Jets. The wide receiver signed a multiyear contract extension Friday, opting for the deal with his only NFL team rather than free agency in the offseason. By Dennis Waszak Jr. SENT: 770 words, photos.

FBN-GIANTS-BECKHAM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ While Odell Beckham Jr. returned from a career-threatening ankle injury, the 2018 season didn’t end as he would have liked. The New York Giants missed the playoff for the second straight year and fourth time in his five-year career, and the NFL’s highest-paid receiver was sidelined for the final four games of the season with a nagging quad injury. By Tom Canavan. SENT: 620 words, photos.

HKN--SENATORS-ISLANDERS

NEW YORK _ The New York Islanders defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-3 Friday night. SENT: 500 words, photos.

BKC--DELAWARE-HOFSTRA

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. _ Justin Wright-Foreman hit five of the six 3-pointers he attempted to post 29 points and Hofstra held Delaware to just 18 first-half points as the Pride routed the Blue Hens, 91-46 in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both schools Friday night. SENT: 150 words.

BKC--ALBANY-KENT STATE

KENT, Ohio _ Jaylin Walker scored 26 points and made a pair of free throws with three seconds left to give Kent State a 70-68 nonconference victory over Albany on Friday night. SENT: 150 words.

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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