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AP Top News at 9:23 p.m. EST

Published: January 3, 2018
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday: 1. TRUMP BLASTS STEVE BANNON OVER BOOK The new book portrays the president as an undisciplined man-child who didn't actually want to win the White House and quotes Bannon as calling contact by Trump's son with a Russian lawyer "treasonous." 2. PAUL MANAFORT SUES SPECIAL COUNSEL Trump's ex-campaign chair says that prosecutor Mueller and the Justice Department overstepped their bounds by charging him for conduct that he says is unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 3. COUNTER-DEMONSTRATORS CROWD STREETS Tens of thousands of government supporters take to the streets across Iran after a week of nationwide protests sparked calls for the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Attorneys for three men accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees urged a federal judge on Wednesday to include prospective jurors from rural western Kansas because they are more likely to have voted for President Donald Trump. But the government countered that granting the request would as a matter of policy "wreak havoc," saying the defense is seeking to pick a jury pool based on ideology while "opening a dangerous door" to similar requests in other cases. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren took the matter under consideration after a hearing in U.S.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) A brutal winter storm smacked the coastal Southeast with a rare blast of snow and ice Wednesday, hitting parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina with their heaviest snowfall in nearly three decades. Forecasters warned that the same system could soon strengthen into a "bomb cyclone" as it rolls up the East Coast, bringing hurricane-force winds, coastal flooding and up to a foot of snow. At least 17 deaths were blamed on dangerously cold temperatures that for days have gripped wide swaths of the U.S. from Texas to New England. A winter storm warning extended from the Gulf Coast of Florida's "Big Bend" region all the way up the Atlantic coast.

WASHINGTON (AP) You thought President Donald Trump might mellow out in 2018? Refrain from taunting world leaders tweet by tweet? Think again. Trump is storming into the new year in exceptionally aggressive fashion, picking fresh fights on Twitter with such speed that his aides, international partners and the public are struggling to catch up. If he was brash on the global stage in Year 1, the first days of Year 2 suggest he was just warming up. Pakistan? Liars and swindlers who enable terrorists, the president tweeted just hours after the world celebrated the arrival of a new year. The Palestinians?

WASHINGTON (AP) A first-of-its kind genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000 per patient, making it one of the most expensive medicines in the world and raising questions about the affordability of a coming wave of similar gene-targeting therapies. The injectable treatment from Spark Therapeutics can improve the eyesight of patients with a rare genetic mutation that affects just a few thousand people in the U.S. Previously there has been no treatment for the condition, which eventually causes complete blindness by adulthood. Pricing questions have swirled around the treatment due to a number of unusual factors it is intended to be a one-time treatment, it treats a very small number of patients and represents a medical breakthrough.

Two Indonesian fishermen who say they were enslaved on an American fishing boat have settled their lawsuit against the vessel's owner seven years after escaping and receiving special U.S. visas as victims of human trafficking, their lawyers told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The attorneys said Sorihin, who uses just one name, and Abdul Fatah settled their lawsuit for an undisclosed sum against Thoai Van Nguyen, the California-based owner and captain of the Sea Queen II. Nguyen denied all allegations of abuse but agreed to provide a detailed list of rights to anyone fishing on his boats. The lawsuit, filed in U.S.

WASHINGTON (AP) Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama was sworn into office Wednesday, shrinking the Senate's Republican majority and leading lawmakers of both parties to plead for more bipartisanship as Congress tackles pressing issues in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. Vice President Mike Pence administered the Senate's oath of office to Jones, the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter century, and to former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who was appointed to replace Sen. Al Franken, who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Two former vice presidents, both Democrats, were there to support the Senate's newest members as the GOP majority narrowed to 51-49.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Two executives for U.S. Figure Skating warned against any potential boycott of the Pyeongchang Olympics by the United States. USFS President Sam Auxier, asked Wednesday about Sen. Lindsey Graham's comments that North Korea competing in next month's games should prompt a U.S. team boycott, said Graham and others "need to be careful" about the American team not participating. Auxier added, "They shouldn't be playing politics with this." Added U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith about political intervention in the Olympic process: "It doesn't help anybody." We'll be there." USOC spokesman Mark Jones, reiterating the governing body's long-held position, said: "We intend to bring full delegations to the Olympic and Paralympic Games." On Monday, Graham said the United States now has a reason to stay away from the Olympics, which begin on Feb.