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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

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

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ONLY ON AP

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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.

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TOP STORIES

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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. With 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).

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 removes its nuclear threat first, a bombshell statement that could rattle a fragile diplomacy between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang to defuse the nuclear crisis. By Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 730 words, photos. With KOREAS DIPLOMACY — U.S. envoy on North Korea visits border village amid stalemate (sent).

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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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).

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INTERNATIONAL

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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.

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NATIONAL

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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.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian stock markets plunged, following Wall Street down after the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates. By Business Writer Joe McDonald. SENT: 450 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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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.

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SPORTS

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MLB-CUBA AGREEMENT — Major League Baseball, its players’ association and the Cuban Baseball Federation reach an agreement that will allow players from the island nation to sign big league contracts without defecting, an effort to eliminate the dangerous trafficking that had gone on for decades. SENT: 1,130 words, photo.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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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.

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