New York prepares for slain officer’s funeral

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(image: AP)

Thousands of mourners including police officers from across the country are expected to attend the funeral on Saturday of Rafael Ramos, one of the two NYPD officers shot and killed in Brooklyn on December 20. Ramos’ wake was held on Friday in Queens. Funeral arrangements for the other murdered officer, Wenjian Liu, will be finalized when his family members arrive from China. Both mens’ families have seen an outpouring of sympathy and support from New Yorkers, while the relationship between current and former police officers and Mayor Bill de Blasio has become increasingly strained in the wake of the shootings.

* WORLD * Further exchanges of prisoners between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels could happen in coming days after Friday saw the biggest swap of captives since the conflict began. Meanwhile, the Russian economy looks to be heading for a tough year ahead, hit by low oil prices. Vladimir Putin announced that government officials’ new year holiday had been cancelled.

Pakistan said its forces had killed the Taliban leader who allegedly masterminded the attack on a Peshawar school this month in which more than 130 children died.

North Korea blamed the US for widespread internet outages over the past week amid the fallout over the Sony hack and release of The Interview movie.

* POLITICS * Martin O’Malley is taking a “wait-and-see” approach to a possible presidential bid, the Washington Post reports, as the Maryland Governor plans for life after leaving office next month. The paper also offers a primer to the next few potentially crucial months on the road to the White House.

The Huffington Post offers 10 of the Best political Quotes of the Year while NOLA.com looks at the biggest campaign donors of the year, locally and nationally.

Former President George H. W. Bush remains hospitalized in Texas for a fourth night.

* MEDIA * Egypt joined Morocco in banning the Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings over what officials called “historical inaccuracies.”

Here’s the Columbia Journalism Review’s most-read stories of 2014, while the Online Journalism Blog looks back at this year and ahead to next. Poynter.org lists the digital tools journalists should have been using in 2014.

Hardworking BBC staff celebrated the Christmas season on-air and in a Vine by journalist Mike Hills that quickly went viral.

* BUSINESS * 2014 was a bumper year for IPOs, with a total of 1,205 raising $258bn globally, according to the FT. Reuters asked some investment strategists what to watch for  next year.

* SPORTS * San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is reportedly to meet this weekend with officials from his alma mater at the University of Michigan as speculation continues that he may return to Ann Arbor as coach.

95 years ago today, the New York Yankees purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox and a “curse” was born.

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The previous year, Ruth had signed a new contract with the Red Sox, and his personal copy of that agreement was sold at auction earlier this year for more than a million dollars, making it the most expensive item of sports memorabilia sold in 2014.

* CULTURE * In what resembles a tale from a convoluted libretto, the New York City Opera, which filed for bankruptcy and staged its last production in 2013, looks set to be at the center of a legal battle in coming weeks over its name and other assets.

You can stream WNYC’s Soundcheck’s 120 favorite songs of 2014 here.

Finally, check out these curious predictions for the future from 1930, via BBC Magazine.

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