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BC-AP Americas Digest

December 28, 2013

TOP STORIES:

NSA-PHONE RECORDS

NEW YORK — The heated debate over the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records fell squarely into the courts when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional. The ruling sets the stage for federal appeals courts to confront the delicate balance developed when the need to protect national security clashes with civil rights established in the Constitution. By Larry Neumeister.

AP photos.

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA-DENVER

DENVER — The first batch of Denver businesses approved to sell recreational marijuana receive their licenses, the owners mugging for pictures and saying they never thought they’d see the day when they’d get a permit to sell pot. By Kristen Wyatt.

AP Photos.

ARGENTINA-ACONCAGUA KID

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Tyler Armstrong has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, which at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters) is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres. The 9-year-old boy from Yorba Linda, California, made it to the peak with the help of his father and a Tibetan sherpa. By Michael Warren.

AP photos.

BUSINESS:

HYUNDAI CEO RESIGNS

UNDATED — John Krafcik, the president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, is stepping down next week after five years at the helm, the company announced. He will be replaced by David Zuchowski, the current executive vice president of sales who joined the company in February 2007.

WCUP 2014-HOTEL PRICES

SAO PAULO — Hotel rooms are expected to cost almost 50 percent more in Rio de Janeiro during the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament than when the city will host the 2016 Olympics, in part because organizer FIFA’s official accommodations agency hasn’t set maximum room rates like those promised in Rio’s winning bid for the Olympic Games. By Tales Azzoni.

AP photos.

HAITI-BUILDING TABLETS

Two tech companies have launched rival ventures to build Android tablets in Haiti, a country with little recent experience in electronics manufacturing. Startups Surtab SA and Handxom SA began production last month and plan to sell the 7-inch touchscreen devices to phone stores nationwide and markets overseas. By Trenton Daniel.

AP photos.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

TV-DUCK DYNASTY

LOS ANGELES — A&E landed in the middle of America’s culture wars when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson sounded off on gays and the Bible, and the channel quickly found there was no safe ground. It was pilloried for allowing a man who equated gays with sin to have a national TV stage. Then it was excoriated for giving him the hook. But in the end, might the great “Duck” flap result in even higher ratings for A&E’s highest-rated show when Phil and the family return to prime time next month. By Television Writer Lynn Elber.

AP photos.

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