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AP Top News at 2:54 p.m. EST

Timeline of events before and after NYC cop deaths
A timeline of events in the hours before and moments after two New York Police Department officers were killed in their cruiser Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old man who vowed online to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner. ---


NY mayor: No protests until after officer funerals
NEW YORK (AP) - New York's mayor on Monday called for protests and political debate to pause until after funerals are held for two officers shot and killed inside their patrol car this weekend by a man vowing retaliation for the deaths of black men at the hands of white police. "I think it's important that regardless of people's viewpoints that everyone step back," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a speech at the Police Athletic League. "I think it's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time."


Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from "spiritual Alzheimer's" that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God. Francis' Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.


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Late at night, Christie doing 2016 foreign policy homework
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - It's after 9 p.m. on a Sunday night in late November and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is deep into a conference call, talking about nuclear weapons and Iran. One voice is advocating a hard line, arguing against allowing Iran any capability to enrich uranium. Another summarizes the status of current negotiations and argues that forcing Iran to give up enrichment entirely isn't realistic.


10 years after tsunami, victim's mom learns body wasn't lost
SEINT PAING, Myanmar (AP) - Of all the moments to chase a dream, May Aye Nwe chose the morning of Dec. 26, 2004. A child of rural Myanmar, she boarded a small boat seeking a better life in Thailand, just as the Indian Ocean tsunami raced in.


Joe Cocker dies at 70
LONDON (AP) - British singer Joe Cocker is dead at age 70. His London-based agent, Barrie Marshall, said Cocker died early Monday of lung cancer in Colorado, where he has lived for the past two decades.


Convict in 1964 civil-rights deaths won't confess
PARCHMAN, Miss. (AP) - Craggy-faced and ornery, Edgar Ray Killen bears the signs of his 89 years. His hands are still scarred and rough from decades in the east Mississippi sawmills. He has a muscular build even as he maneuvers in his wheelchair. Time has not softened his views and he remains an ardent segregationist. And he steadfastly refuses to discuss the "Freedom Summer" slayings of three civil-rights workers, which sparked national outrage, helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and landed him behind bars.


Going it alone, Obama rocked the boat in 2014
HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama rang in 2014 by declaring a "year of action," vowing to strengthen the nation by focusing on fairness, competitiveness and the power of American diplomacy. Since Congress seemed unwilling to help, the president said he'd act alone. On immigration, climate change and U.S.-Cuba relations, at least, Obama stayed true to his word, reshaping on his own decades of American policy he argued had outlived its time. In a flurry of executive decrees taken over the heads of lawmakers, Obama added major notches to his legacy and tackled important issues for key support groups.


AP-GfK Poll: Cards, gifts cross religious lines
WASHINGTON (AP) - Christmastime is here and a new poll reveals the cards and gifts that are part of celebrating the holiday are ubiquitous, even among those who don't share the Christian beliefs behind the story of the Magi who gave the first Christmas gifts. According to the Associated Press-GfK poll, 77 percent of Americans plan to exchange gifts this holiday season and 48 percent will send greeting cards. The gift-giving set includes about 8 in 10 Christians and 73 percent of those who say they have no religious beliefs.


Judge seems skeptical of challenge to Obama immigration plan
WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge on Monday appeared deeply skeptical of an Arizona sheriff's lawsuit seeking to halt President Barack Obama's plan to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell questioned whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had legal standing to challenge the immigration program announced last month. She suggested the topic is better left for Congress and the Obama administration to sort out.

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