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BC-AP News Digest 7 am

December 20, 2018

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org .




ITALY-THE MISSING-INVESTIGATING THE DEAD — The quest to trace the identities of all the victims of the Mediterranean’s deadliest migrant shipwreck has revealed that the sinking was far deadlier than anyone knew. One of the two investigators on the project has confirmed that the boat that sank on April 18, 2015 carried not 800 migrants as previously believed, but as many as 1,100. The discovery makes it even harder for the investigators to keep Italy’s promise to name the dead, especially when Europe has turned against migrants. By Lori Hinnant, Trisha Thomas and Krista Larson. SENT: 2,480 words, photos. An Abridged version has also moved. With ITALY-THE MISSING-INVESTIGATING THE DEAD-FAMILIES-PHOTO GALLERY — Migrant families wait, torn between hope and grief (sent).

STUDENT KILLED-IOWA — Before they arrested a farmhand in the death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, investigators scrutinized four other potential suspects during their five-week search. Newly unsealed search warrant documents show that those who drew police interest included a neighbor seen washing his SUV hours after Tibbetts vanished, a Nebraska man who ditched his vehicle in Iowa days later and an acquaintance who had recently erased his cellphone data. All have been ruled out as suspects. By Ryan J. Foley. SENT: 930 words, photo.




UNITED STATES-SYRIA — Against the advice of many in his own administration, President Donald Trump is pulling U.S. troops out of Syria. Could a withdrawal from Afghanistan be far behind? By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 810 words, photo. UNITED STATES-SYRIA-GLANCE — A look at U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war, from Obama’s decision to get in to Trump’s decision to get out (sent).

SYRIA — The United States’ main ally in Syria rejected President Donald Trump’s claim that Islamic State militants have been defeated and warned that the withdrawal of American troops would lead to a resurgence of the extremist group. By Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 750 words, photos. With SYRIA-THE LATEST.

TRUMP’S PROMISE — President Trump appears likely to pass up his last, best chance to secure funding for the “beautiful” wall he’s long promised to construct along the U.S.-Mexico border. By Zeke Miller and Jill Colvin. SENT: 1,100 words, photo. With TRUMP-BORDER WALL — The Senate approves legislation to temporarily fund the government, a key step toward averting a federal shutdown after President Trump backed off his demand for money for a border wall with Mexico (sent).

NORTH KOREA-NUCLEAR —North Korea says it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States first removes what Pyongyang called a nuclear threat. The surprisingly blunt statement jars with Seoul’s rosier presentation of the North Korean position and could rattle the fragile trilateral diplomacy to defuse a nuclear crisis that last year had many fearing war. By Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 1,060 words, photos. With KOREAS DIPLOMACY — U.S. envoy on North Korea visits border village amid stalemate (sent).

YE-TOP 10 STORIES — The mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school — which killed 17 students and staff, and sparked nationwide student-led marches for gun control — was the top news story of 2018, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

IRAN-CARPETS — As the Trump administration works to unravel Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the producers of the country’s famed Persian carpets fear they will lose vital markets. Before the U.S. withdrew from the deal and began restoring crippling sanctions earlier this year, the $425 million a year industry preserved an ancient tradition while providing much-needed income to Iranians as well as Afghan refugees, who create much of the more luxurious hand-woven pieces. SENT: 770 words, photos.




SPACE STATION — Three astronauts have returned to Earth after more than six months aboard the International Space Station. SENT: 220 words.

GEORGIA PLANE CRASH — Authorities say three people died and another was wounded when a single-engine plane crashed near a north Georgia airport. SENT: 100 words.

PHARMACY SHOOTING-OKLAHOMA — Authorities say an argument between a customer and a store clerk at a Walgreens in Oklahoma led to a shooting in which the customer was killed and two other people were wounded. SENT: 130 words, video.

GBI-VICTIM PHOTOS — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says two of its workers have resigned after taking a photo with a dismembered man’s head during a medical examination. SENT: 130 words.

AIRPORT GUN-JUELZ SANTANA — Rapper Juelz Santana sentenced to more than two years in prison for trying to get a loaded gun onto a plane. SENT: 130 words.

GERMANY-REPORTER’S FRAUD — CNN tells AP that German reporter is being stripped of journalism awards after revelations of fabricated articles. SENT 210 words, photo.

OBAMA-HOSPITAL VISIT — Former President Barack Obama surprises patients as he delivered gifts at a children’s hospital in Washington. SENT: 120 words.




USDA-FOOD STAMPS — The Trump administration is setting out to do what this year’s farm bill didn’t: tighten work requirements for millions of Americans who receive federal food assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing a rule that would restrict the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment to receive food stamps. SENT: 710 words, photo.

SENTENCING BILL-FLIPPING MCCONNELL — When Mitch McConnell returned to his home state of Kentucky, he couldn’t escape the debate over criminal justice reform. The noise was encouraged and amplified by advocates who embarked on a single-minded campaign to sway the Senate majority leader, recognizing him as a key to unlocking a historic overhaul of federal sentencing laws. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1,060 words, photos. With SENTENCING BILL-Q&A — What’s in the bill, and what’s not; SENTENCING BILL-MINORITIES — Black leaders forged alliance with Trump on sentencing deal (both sent).




BRITAIN-GATWICK AIRPORT-DRONES —Thousands of passengers were delayed, diverted or stuck on planes as the only runway at Britain’s Gatwick Airport remained closed into a second day after drones were spotted over the airfield. SENT: 450 words, photos.

RUSSIA-PUTIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning Thursday about the rising threat of a nuclear war, saying “it could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet.” SENT: 400 words, photos. With RUSSIA-PUTIN-THE LATEST.

JAPAN-NISSAN-GHOSN — A Japanese court denied prosecutors’ request to extend the detention of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been charged with underreporting his pay. SENT: 430 words, photos.

MEXICO-DOMESTIC WORKERS — Mexican society is re-examining the role of domestic workers and the working conditions for its mostly female labor force. Domestic workers are in ample supply in a country where half the population lives in poverty, and it’s common for middle class families to employ one or more. Now labor laws are set to improve for the workers. And the recent Netflix movie “Roma” by Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuaron has broken an awkward silence over employer-employee relationships. By Amy Guthrie. SENT: 1,350 words, photos.

MOROCCO-TOURISTS KILLED — Denmark’s prime minister says the killings of two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains can be considered “politically motivated and thus an act of terror.” SENT: 130 words, photos.

SRI LANKA-POLITICS — Sri Lanka’s president appoints 28 lawmakers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Cabinet ministers after weeks of political crisis led to government dysfunction. SENT: 320 words.

GERMANY-NAZI GUARD — A German court says it won’t put on trial a former guard at the Nazis’ Majdanek death camp who was charged with being an accessory to murder, arguing that the 97-year-old is too sick to face court proceedings. SENT: 330 words.




SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-WEINSTEIN — Harvey Weinstein is due in court in New York as a judge decides on the future of his sexual assault case, which has been clouded by allegations that police acted improperly in the investigation that led to his arrest. SENT: 580 words, photo.

OIL TRAIN ACCIDENTS — The Trump administration miscalculated potential damages from train derailments when it canceled an Obama-era rule requiring the installation of more advanced brakes by railroads hauling explosive fuels, The Associated Press has found. SENT: 770 words, photos.

WAFFLE HOUSE SHOOTING — The man accused of killing four people in a Nashville Waffle House used to send his father text messages in which he punctuated everyday chitchat with delusional rants. SENT: 870 words, photos.

CLERGY ABUSE-ILLINOIS — The Illinois attorney general says her office has found 500 more Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children than the state’s six archdioceses have publicly identified. SENT: 520 words, photo.




FEDERAL RESERVE-POWELL’S CHALLENGE — Jerome Powell sounded a note of humility Wednesday. The question for the Federal Reserve chairman is whether humility plays well with the financial markets. By Economics Writer Josh Boak. SENT: 860 words, photo.

FINLAND-REINDEER TECH — Rudolph and friends no longer need to rely on the famous reindeer’s red nose to avoid getting lost. Now they have wireless technology. To keep track of their animals in Lapland, Northern Finland’s vast and remote snow-covered forests, reindeer herders are turning to technology by fitting them with internet-connected collars. SENT: 580 words, photos.




CHICKEN HAPPINESS — What makes for a happy chicken? Researchers are trying to answer the question as chicken welfare becomes a bigger issue. Chicken companies are trying to improve their image after being criticized for birds that grow so big and fast they can barely walk. But there’s disagreement about how to measure chicken welfare, and whether there’s even a problem that needs to be fixed. By AP Food & Health Writer. SENT: 860 words, video, photos.

US HEIGHTS & WEIGHTS — A new report shows U.S. adults aren’t getting any taller but they are still getting fatter. The average U.S. adult is overweight and just a few pounds from obese, thanks to average weight increases in all groups — but particularly whites and Hispanics. By Medical Writer Mike Stobbe. SENT: 390 words, photo.




FBC-SIGNING DAY —Zach Harrison choosing to stay home and play for Ohio State and new coach Ryan Day was maybe the most intriguing development of what can now be considered the new signing day. This is year two of the early signing period in college football and just like last year, most of the scholarships have been scooped up. The traditional signing period in early February will mostly be for finishing touches. Alabama has already wrapped up another recruiting title. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 830 words, photos.




PEOPLE-MICHELLE OBAMA — For Michelle Obama, choosing what designer to wear while she was in the White House involved many factors, from diversity to whether they were a nice person. Obama talked the decisions behind the outfits that made headlines during her time as first lady during a conversation with another fashion trendsetter, Sarah Jessica Parker, who was the moderator for the Wednesday night event for Obama’s “Becoming” book tour. By Entertainment Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody. SENT: 560 words, photos.




At the Nerve Center, Richard Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

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