Alexa

BC--Americas Digest

BC--Americas Digest

TOP STORIES:

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA

WASHINGTON -- The United States criticizes Russia for killing hundreds of civilians in airstrikes in Syria and accuses Moscow of undermining hopes for a cease-fire between Bashar Assad's government and leading rebel groups. By Bradley Klapper.

UNITED STATES-ISLAMIC STATE

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and coalition airstrikes killed 10 Islamic State leaders over the past month, including several linked to the Paris attacks or other plots against the West, a U.S. military official in Iraq says. By Lolita C. Baldor.

DEADLY WRECK-AFFLUENZA

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A teen fugitive who's known for using an "affluenza" defense and his mother attempted to disguise themselves and disappear among the American tourists thronging a Mexican resort city for the holidays, but are now in custody and will be returned to the U.S. after a cellphone used to order pizza gave away their location, authorities say.

With: DEADLY WRECK AFFLUENZA-THE LATEST; AP EXPLAINS-AFFLUENZA.

PERRY'S NUCLEAR WARNING

WASHINGTON -- A former U.S. defense secretary is on a mission to warn of a "real and growing danger" of nuclear doom, troubled by the risks of catastrophe from the very weapons he helped develop. Atop William J. Perry's list: a nuclear terror attack in a major U.S. city or a shooting war with Russia that, through miscalculation, turns nuclear. A terrorist attack using a nuclear bomb or improvised nuclear device could happen "any time now - next year or the year after," he said in an interview with reporters this month. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. AP Photos.

CUBA-ECONOMY

HAVANA -- President Raul Castro warns Cubans to prepare for tough economic conditions in 2016 despite warmer relations with the United States. Castro said that while tourism is booming, low oil prices have damaged the outlook of an economy that depends on billions of dollars of subsidized oil and cash from Venezuela. By Michael Weissenstein. AP Photos.

CLEVELAND-POLICE-SHOOT-BOY

CLEVELAND -- The case is far from over for the city of the Cleveland and the white patrolmen involved in the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, despite the grand jury decision not to charge the officers in the killing. The family is suing the city, federal prosecutors are looking into possible civil rights charges against Timothy Loehmann and his partner, and the two officers face a departmental investigation that could result in disciplinary action, including firing. By Mark Gillispie and John Seewer. AP Photos. AP Video.

CHICAGO POLICE

CHICAGO -- A white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager pleads not guilty Tuesday.

PUERTO RICO-POLICE SHOOTING

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The policeman who allegedly shot three fellow officers to death at work underwent psychological treatment for a decade and had faced three separate investigations for insubordination and unexcused absences, a Puerto Rico police spokesman said. By Danica Coto. AP Photos.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE-TRUMP-CLINTON

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is reviving memories of Bill Clinton's affair with a White House intern and his turbulent interactions with black voters during South Carolina's 2008 primary as the ex-president campaigns for his wife in New Hampshire.

With: PRESIDENTIAL RACE-TRUMP-MONEY; PRESIDENTIAL RACE-CLINTON; PRESIDENTIAL RACE-PATAKI.

AP POLL-RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

WASHINGTON -- Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. By Rachel Zoll and Emily Swanson.

With: AP POLL-CIVIL LIBERTIES-THINGS TO KNOW.

MIDWEST FLOODING

ST. LOUIS -- A rare winter flood pushes swollen rivers and streams to virtually unheard-of heights, sparking widespread evacuations and the transfer of inmates from an Illinois state prison as Missouri's governor activated the National Guard to help divert traffic away from submerged roads. By Jim Salter and Alan Scher Zagier. AP Photos.

MEXICO-VIGILANTES

MEXICO CITY -- The chief prosecutor in the western Mexico state of Michoacan said that criminals made up a large percentage of the "self-defense" vigilante movement that sprang up nearly three years ago to challenge a local drug cartel.

SEAWORLD-ORCA TANKS

SAN DIEGO -- SeaWorld files a lawsuit challenging a California commission's ruling that bans the company from breeding captive killer whales at its San Diego theme park. AP Photo.

NEW YEAR'S EVE SECURITY

NEW YORK -- Officials seek to assure revelers that the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square will be the safest place in the world -- heavily secured by thousands of New York Police Department officers, including a new specialized counterterrorism unit. By Colleen Long and Jonathan Lemire.

CHILE-BREAKING THE SILENCE

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Recent public confessions of atrocities by former soldiers have shocked Chileans and may be a sign that military pacts of silence are coming undone 40 years after the bloody dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. By Luis Andres Henao and Eva Vergara. AP Photos.

WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts-- Sociologists rarely achieve fame beyond their peers, but William Julius Wilson's influence extends from the campus to television (the creator of "The Wire" calls his writings an inspiration) to the White House. As Wilson turned 80 this month, the expert on race and class talked with The Associated Press about his ideas' reflection in today's news, from income inequality to the Black Lives Matter movement. By National Writer Hillel Italie. AP Photos.

BUSINESS:

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

WASHINGTON -- A stronger job market lifted consumer confidence in December, a business group says. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 96.5 this month from November's revised 92.6. Americans were more optimistic about current conditions and about the future. By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman.

With: HOME PRICES.

FAKE MEATS

NEW YORK -- Patrick Brown is on an improbable mission: Make a burger Americans love, minus the meat. Veggie patties have been around for decades, but Brown and others want to make foods without animal products that look, cook and taste like the real thing -- and can finally appeal to the masses. Brown's company, Impossible Foods, is part of a wave of startups aiming to wean Americans off foods like burgers and eggs, and their efforts are attracting tens of millions of dollars from investors. The goal is to lessen the dependence on livestock for food, which they say isn't as healthy, affordable or environmentally friendly as plant-based alternatives. By Food Industry Writer Candice Choi.

With: FAKE MEATS-TASTE TEST.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT:

TV-DOWNTON ABBEY-JIM CARTER

NEW YORK -- In the grand domain of splendid characters at Downton Abbey, Mr. Carson is perhaps the first among equals. Among the superb cast of "Downton Abbey," a similarly towering figure is Jim Carter, who plays him. By Television Writer Frazier Moore. AP Photos.

With: TV-DOWNTON ABBEY-QUOTES.

BILL COSBY-LAWSUIT

PITTSBURGH -- Attorneys for a western Pennsylvania woman who contends Bill Cosby repeatedly drugged and had sex with her in the 1980s have filed a response to Cosby's attempt to have a federal judge dismiss her defamation lawsuit against him. By Joe Mandak.

FILM REVIEW-WHERE TO INVADE NEXT

Of course Michael Moore exaggerates. Of course he engages in cheerful, unabashed cherry-picking. Of course he sees black and white where most of us see shades of gray.That doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong. It just means he's being Michael Moore -- and in his latest documentary, "Where to Invade Next," it's a more impishly entertaining Moore than usual, using comedy and even a bit of fantasy to prove his point. Which is, basically, that Europe has some ideas on how to run a society that Americans should plunder and pillage -- er, adopt! -- forthwith. By National Writer Jocelyn Noveck. AP Photos.

FEATURES:

TRAVEL-SKIN-IN PAMPERING

Ski resorts are upping the ante, finding new ways this season to pamper guests who barely want to leave the slopes. Ski-in, ski-out used to just refer to prime lodgings that didn't require a shuttle -- or even a walk -- to get to the trails. Today that coveted designation has been expanded to bars and even spa treatments. It's the ultimate in luxury -- or laziness. By Business Writer Scott Mayerowitz. AP Photo.