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Getting ready for an NYC celebration ... Flooding closes major interstate near St. Louis ... Cosby team to mount 'vigorous defense'


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UNDATED (AP) — New York City is getting ready to drop the big crystal ball tonight to usher in the new year. But there's a lot of prep work to do before the celebration. Some 6,000 police will be on duty in Times Square, including members of a new specialized counterterrorism unit. About a million people are expected to turn out for the annual celebration. New Zealand and much of Australia are among the places that have already have said hello to 2016.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A New Year's celebration is the last thing on the minds of some people in the Midwest. Officials in Missouri and Illinois are helping residents get to higher ground as flood waters rise. Early this morning, officials closed Interstate 55 south of St. Louis because of flooding from the Meramec (MEHR'-uh-mehk) River. And they're concerned about the Mississippi River, which runs beside the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis. It could reach nearly 13 feet above flood stage.

ELKINS PARK, Pennsylvania (AP) — Bill Cosby's attorney says she intends to "mount a vigorous defense" against what she calls "this unjustified charge." Attorney Monique Pressley says in a statement that Cosby "will be exonerated by a court of law." The 78-year-old entertainer, who's charged with felony assault, is accused of sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee after giving her pills and wine at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

NEW YORK (AP) — Police in New York say a man has plunged to his death while trying to scale the famed Four Seasons Hotel. Police say 24-year-old Conner Cummings, of Rockaway, New Jersey, tried to climb a scaffold on the outside of the 42-story hotel shortly before midnight last night, and fell nine stories to his death. He landed on one of the lower rooftops of the structure.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Starting tomorrow, Styrofoam will by a no-no in the District of Columbia. A ban on Styrofoam food and drink containers goes into effect January 1. D.C.'s City Council and then-mayor Vincent C. Gray passed the law in 2014 as part of a set of environmental initiatives that also includes requiring businesses to use compostable disposable dining products by 2017. A business still using Styrofoam containers after 30 days will be fined $100.

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