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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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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-BORDER WALL — President Donald Trump has informed congressional Republicans that he “will not sign” a temporary funding measure passed by the Senate to keep the government, citing border wall funding. House Speaker Paul Ryan says after meeting with Trump at the White House that he and other leaders are going to go back to the Hill to “work on adding border security” to the funding package. . By Lisa Mascaro, Matthew Daly and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

SYRIA — President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out U.S. troops from Syria plunges the volatile region into profound uncertainty and leaves America’s only allies in Syria in the lurch. A quick and unplanned withdrawal opens the door for major turmoil as various groups rush to fill the political and security vacuum left behind by U.S. forces, giving leverage to America’s enemies, including Russia, Iran and the Syrian government. Experts warn the Islamic State group, currently fighting to hang on to its last pockets in Syria, would soon find its way back. By Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 900 words. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4:30 p.m.

UNITED STATES-MEXICO-ASYLUM — Immigrants seeking asylum will no longer be released into the U.S. while their immigration cases play out, the Trump administration said, forcing them instead to wait in Mexico in one of the most significant moves on immigration since the president took office. By Colleen Long. SENT: 1,075 words, photos.

BRITAIN-GATWICK AIRPORT-DRONES — Drones spotted over the runway forced the shutdown of London’s Gatwick Airport on during one of the busiest times of the year, stranding or delaying tens of thousands of Christmas-season travelers and setting off a hunt for the operator of the intruding aircraft. The prospect of a deadly collision between what police called “industrial”-grade drones and an airliner led authorities to stop all flights in and out. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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, video.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-ATTORNEY GENERAL — President Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr, sent an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department this year criticizing as “fatally misconceived” the special counsel’s investigation into whether the president took steps to obstruct a probe into ties between his campaign and Russia. SENT: 580 words, photo.

CHINA-ESPIONAGE — U.S. officials say two Chinese citizens acting on behalf of their country’s main intelligence agency carried out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from military service members, government agencies and private companies in the United States and nearly a dozen other nations. It was the latest in a series of Justice Department indictments targeting cyberespionage from Beijing. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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CONGO-ELECTION-DELAY — Congo’s electoral commission delayed the country’s long-awaited presidential election until Dec. 30, citing a recent fire that destroyed 80 percent of the voting machines in the capital. The vote had been scheduled for Sunday. SENT: 570 words, photos.

BANGLADESH-FACEBOOK — Facebook is shutting down a series of fake news sites spreading false information about the Bangladesh opposition days before national elections, an official from the social media platform said. The sites — nine Facebook pages designed to mimic legitimate news outlets, as well as six fake personal accounts spreading anti-opposition propaganda — were created by Bangladeshis with government ties, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told the AP in an exclusive interview. SENT: 930 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-WEINSTEIN — A New York judge declined to dismiss sexual assault charges against Harvey Weinstein, rejecting the latest push from the disgraced film producer’s lawyers to have his indictment thrown out. Judge James Burke’s ruling buoyed a prosecution that has appeared on rocky ground in recent months amid a prolonged defense effort to raise doubts about the case and the police investigation. SENT: 865 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stock prices are falling further on Wall Street, a day after another big plunge rocked markets around the world. SENT: 930 words, photo, developing.

ALTRIA-JUUL — Altria, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, is spending nearly $13 billion to buy a huge stake in the vape company Juul as cigarette use continues to decline. The Marlboro maker said that it will take a 35 percent share of Juul, putting the value of the company at $38 billion, larger than Ford Motor Co., Delta Air Lines or the retail giant Target. By Michelle Chapman. SENT: 650 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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PATRIOTS-GORDON — Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is leaving football to focus on his mental health. He tweets his thanks to the Patriots for their support and vows to come back. Gordon has been suspended multiple times by the NFL for drug violations. SENT: 500 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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MEDIA-MORNING TV — A year after morning news shows at CBS and NBC abruptly lost male anchors Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer in sexual misconduct scandals, the “Today” show has done appreciably better weathering the storm. Momentum at “CBS This Morning,” the most buzzworthy morning show for a handful of years, stopped dead with Rose’s firing. SENT: 800 words, photo.