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AP Top News at 8:10 p.m. EST

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history
NEW YORK (AP) - The gunman who fatally ambushed two police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, authorities said Sunday. Moments before opening fire, Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them, "Watch what I'm going to do," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.


Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash
NEW YORK (AP) - Civil rights leaders Sunday condemned the ambush killings of two New York police officers and expressed fear that the backlash over the bloodshed could derail the protest movement that has grown out of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In the raw hours following the killing of the officers, police union officials and politicians accused those who have protested the deaths of Garner and Brown of fanning anti-police fervor. Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association in New York, said there was "blood on the hands" of demonstrators and elected officials who have criticized police tactics.


US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list
HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company. Sony Pictures Entertainment, which said it canceled the theatrical release of "The Interview" after distributors refused to show it, pledged to find a way to get the film out. "How it's going to be distributed, I don't think anybody knows quite yet," a Sony lawyer said. The comedy involves a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader.


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How do you joke about the Sony hacking? A little carefully
How do you joke about the Sony hacking story? After all, it was an attempt at comedy that launched this whole sobering mess. If you're Chris Rock, you joke about it cleverly but carefully. Promoting his new movie "Top Five" this week, he noted an added bonus: "My movie's very Korean-friendly. There are no jokes about North Korea in `Top Five.' If you're Korean, go out and see `Top Five.' You will enjoy it."


Pope's role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock
MIAMI (AP) - The key role Pope Francis played encouraging talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro left fractures among his flock in South Florida, where many older Roman Catholics equate the Castro brothers with the devil. Many Catholics worldwide have expressed pride in seeing Francis stirring hopes of progress in communist Cuba, but some Cuban-Americans say their spiritual leader betrayed them.


2014 frustrates US hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry is ending 2014 much in the same way he started it, frustrated in efforts to push Israel and Palestinians toward peace. With a diplomatic showdown looming this past week over Arab plans to force Israel from occupied Palestinian lands within three years, Kerry prepared for a quick trip to Jordan in hopes of finding a calmer alternative.


Nigerian Islamic extremists pose regional threat
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Thousands of members of Nigeria's home-grown Islamic extremist Boko Haram group strike across the border in Cameroon, with coordinated attacks on border towns, a troop convoy and a major barracks. Farther north, Boko Haram employs recruits from Chad to enforce its control in northeastern Nigerian towns and cities.


Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit
DETROIT (AP) - Bankruptcy behind it, Detroit's atmosphere swirls with the promise of better days. Charles Floyd Jones can only hope that the city's good fortune trickles down to him and the 10 other residents of a tent city that's sprouted in the shadow of a resurgent downtown where rental occupancy is close to full and restaurants and shops are doing brisk business. Jones and others in this makeshift community of seven tents - believed to be the only tent city in Detroit - say they have nowhere else to go.


States trying to lure lawyers into rural practice
CORSICA, S.D. (AP) - By landing a steady job in a hopping metropolis, Jake Fischer achieved the dream of many who finished law school during the Great Recession. Then, he left the big-city life and moved to a small South Dakota town, lured by a program that seeks to boost the number of rural attorneys. Although federal grant money for decades has been available for doctors, nurses and dentists willing to relocate to sparsely populated areas, the South Dakota program is believed to be the first of its kind to similarly compensate lawyers.


'Hobbit' goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut
NEW YORK (AP) - While Hollywood continued to wrestle with the fallout of the Sony hacking scandal, the weekend box office offered the solace of a moviegoing truism: Hobbits sell. Peter Jackson's final installment of his six J.R.R. Tolkien adventures, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," debuted with $56.2 million over the weekend and $90.6 million since opening Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday. For an industry reeling from the cancellation of "The Interview" and terrorist threats against moviegoers, Middle-earth provided reliable refuge.