Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EST

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-THE LATEST

The Latest: Shutdown affects court cases that involve Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown has prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers. The order suspends action in several civil lawsuits in which President Donald Trump is a defendant.

Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written order that the suspension will remain in effect until the business day after the president signs a budget appropriation law restoring Justice Department funding.

The Manhattan courts, with several dozen judges, are among the nation’s busiest courts.

In one case involving Trump, a judge last week ruled that a group of people suing Trump and his three eldest children can remain anonymous because they fear retaliation by the president or his followers.

A similar order to McMahon’s has been issued in the Northern District of Ohio.

IRAQ-TRUMP FALLOUT

Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdrawal after Trump visit

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers are seizing on President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to demand U.S. forces leave the country.

Politicians from both sides of Iraq’s political divide are calling on parliament to vote to expel U.S. troops. Approximately 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State group.

Foreign influence has become a hot-button issue in a year that saw supporters of populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr win the largest share of votes in May elections. Al-Sadr has called for curbing U.S. and Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs.

Trump spent three hours at a U.S. air base meeting with American troops on an unannounced visit Wednesday. He left without meeting any Iraqi officials.

Lawmakers decried the visit as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

RAPE INVESTIGATIONS

Despite #MeToo, rape cases still confound police

NEW YORK (AP) — Police are closing rape investigations at the lowest rate in decades despite advancements in forensic testing.

That’s according to FBI data showing sexual assault is second only to robbery in the least solved categories of violent crime.

Police nationwide cleared just 32 percent of rape investigations last year. That rate has fallen from 62 percent in 1964.

The declining clearance rate comes even as the #MeToo movement is empowering women to speak up about sexual assault.

Rape remains among the most underreported crimes with studies showing as few as one in three victims report to law enforcement.

Sexual assault is among the most difficult crimes to solve as the cases often lack witnesses and physical evidence.

But several experts say police have not dedicated sufficient resources to investigating rape.

ARETHA FRANKLIN-IRS

Franklin attorney: $3 million in back taxes paid to IRS

DETROIT (AP) — An attorney says the late Queen of Soul’s estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since Aretha Franklin’s death last August in Detroit.

David Bennett, who represents Franklin’s estate, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the estate is being audited by the IRS, which he says filed a claim this month in a county probate court north of Detroit.

TMZ reported earlier Thursday that legal documents it obtained showed the IRS claimed Franklin owes more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties.

Bennett says all of Franklin’s returns have been filed. He adds that the IRS is questioning the filed returns and that Franklin’s estate is disputing what the IRS claims “was income.”

Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August. She was 76.

WINTRY WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Nearly a foot of snow in western Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A winter storm has dumped nearly a foot of snow in western Minnesota as it sweeps across the Upper Midwest.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein (HAH’-sehn-styne) says around 10.5 to 11 inches of snow had fallen in the Moorhead-Alexandria area by mid-afternoon Thursday, and it’s still snowing.

Hasenstein says the snow breaks just northwest of the Twin Cities around Elk River. He says snowfall peaked around 3 inches at the Minneapolis airport, then rain early Thursday melted the snowpack.

The weather service reports 10 inches of snow north of Martin, North Dakota, as of late Thursday morning. Blustery winds are causing blizzard conditions in Jamestown, North Dakota, and in northern South Dakota, where the state Department of Transportation reports visibility is down to a quarter-mile from Leola to Britton on Highway 10.

The storm is expected to weaken during Thursday night into Friday morning.

POLICE OFFICER KILLED-CALIFORNIA-THE LATEST

The Latest: Trump uses officer’s killing to push for wall

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Donald Trump says the shooting death of a California officer by a man in the country illegally shows the need for a border crackdown.

Trump tweeted Thursday that a “full scale” manhunt is underway for the assailant and that it’s “time to get tough on Border Security.” He ended the message with: “Build the Wall!”

A man killed Cpl. Ronil Singh of the small-town Newman Police Department during a traffic stop Wednesday over suspected drunken driving.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said Thursday that the gunman is in United States illegally but didn’t release his name or other details.

Trump’s tweet comes during a partial government shutdown over an impasse on funding his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

INTERNET OUTAGE

Nationwide internet outage affects CenturyLink

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Some CenturyLink customers across the country were without the internet as outages stretched from New York to California.

The company said in a statement Thursday that its network was “still experiencing a disruption” and that it was working to restore services. It provided no other details, including how many customers were affected.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, said via Twitter that this was a “nationwide outage” and her agency needed to investigate.

It appeared that most of the trouble was in the West.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the internet problems led to the temporary shutdown of phone services at the Idaho Department of Correction and the state’s Department of Education.

There were reports of ATM machines not working in Idaho and Montana.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

He promised: LeBron James is the AP’s male athlete of 2018

LeBron James has been selected as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the third time.

In 2018, he continued to excel on the court, opened the “I Promise” school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and further used his voice as an activist who bristled at being told to “shut up and dribble.”

James went to the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year. He changed addresses again, leaving his Cleveland home for the second time to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the biggest move of free agency over the summer.

He remained arguably the dominant player in the basketball, adding even more glitz on a legacy that reached epic status long ago.

James received 78 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors announced Thursday, while Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts was second with 46. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was third, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was fourth and Triple Crown winner Justify was fifth.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

CHINA-MUSLIM FEARS

Poet fears for his people as China ‘Sinicizes’ religion

JINAN, China (AP) — As China ramps up its crackdown on minorities, authorities in a region populated by the country’s Hui (HWAY) Muslims have issued a demolition order for a landmark mosque and ordered closed an Arabic language school.

Such persecution has so far largely targeted the largest Muslim minority group, the Uighurs (WEE’-guhrs), while the Hui have generally have been supportive of the ruling Communist Party. But there are signs that’s changing.

China under President Xi Jinping (SHEE jin-PING’) is tightening control over a wide spectrum of religious and political activity. In some places, a campaign to “Sinicize” religion has prompted authorities to seize Bibles, remove the halal designation from food products, demolish churches and strip mosques of loudspeakers and Islamic crescents and domes.

GUATEMALA-CHILD DEAD-BORDER

Father of dead Guatemalan boy heard rumors they could cross

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The father of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody took his son to the border after hearing rumors that parents and their children would be allowed to migrate to United States.

That’s according to the boy’s stepsister, who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday, two days after the boy’s death.

Authorities say Felipe Gomez Alonzo died at a New Mexico hospital after suffering coughing, vomiting and fever. Another Guatemalan child, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, died in U.S. custody on Dec. 8. Both deaths are under investigation.

Catarina Gomez Lucas, the boy’s 21-year-old stepsister, would not say who spread the rumors or who transported the father and son to the border. They came from a poor community of people who fled Guatemala during that country’s civil war.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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