Sunday, September 27, 2020

AP News Digest 6:20 p.m.

| February 13, 2020 3:30 PM

Here are the AP's latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP's coverage, visit Coverage Plan at

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SOUTH SUDAN-OIL POLLUTION — South Sudan’s oil regions are pocked by open waste pits and water and soil contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals. That’s according to four environmental reports commissioned by the government and the oil companies that operate there. The reports, which were obtained by the AP but have never been released publicly, also contain accounts by local residents of unexplained illnesses, miscarriages and severe birth defects. The toxins found in water and soil include mercury, arsenic and manganese, the reports show. By Sam Mednick. SENT: 3,450 words, photos, video. Abridged version available. With SOUTH SUDAN-OIL POLLUTION-GETTING THE STORY — Getting the story of South Sudan's oil pollution (sent).

TRUMP-OPPORTUNITY ZONE HERO — President Trump's story in his State of the Union address about a homeless vet who turned his life around thanks to a company using the administration's "Opportunity Zone" tax breaks was not completely true. Tony Rankins, who was in the House chamber for the speech at Trump's invitation, landed a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel and moved into an apartment months before a final list of neighborhoods eligible for the tax breaks was published. Rankins doesn't work at a site taking advantage of the breaks now either, and never has. By Bernard Condon. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

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TRUMP-ATTORNEY GENERAL — Attorney General William Barr takes a public swipe at President Trump, saying the president’s tweets about Justice Department prosecutors and cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.” By Michael Balsamo. SENT: 1,020 words, photo. With TRUMP-KELLY — President Trump lashed out against former White House chief of staff John Kelly for being disloyal after the ex-adviser came to the defense of a former national security aide who offered key testimony in the impeachment inquiry. SENT: 680 words, photos.

TRUMP-WAR POWERS-CONGRESS — The Senate approves a bipartisan measure aimed at limiting President Trump's authority to launch military operations against Iran. It’s the Senate's first major vote since acquitting Trump on impeachment charges last week. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 690 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-BUTTIGIEG-RECORD == Pete Buttigieg faces a more intense spotlight on issues of race and policing as he tries to translate his strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire into support in more diverse states. By Michelle R. Smith. SENT: 800 words, photos. With ELECTION 2020-LIMBAUGH — Rush Limbaugh draws bipartisan criticism for saying the U.S. won't elect an openly gay president. SENT: 640 words, photos.

Find more coverage on the 2020 U.S. Elections featured topic page in AP Newsroom.

CHINA-OUTBREAK — China reported a surge in deaths and infections from a new virus after changing the way the count is tallied, further clouding an epidemic that has stirred fear as it spread to more than two dozen countries. The spike came after two days in which the number of new cases dropped and brought little clarity for those desperate to understand the trajectory of the outbreak. By Yanan Wang. SENT: 1,070 words, photos. With MED--CHINA OUTBREAK-US EVACUEES — US announces 15th virus case, this one in Texas evacuee. SENT: 300 words, photo.

CHINA OUTBREAK-JAPAN VIRUS SHIP — Daily life on the cruise ship quarantined off a Japanese port can include fear, excitement and soul-crushing boredom. Passengers on the ship describe cramped rooms and boring food in interviews with The Associated Press and on social media posts. By Foster Klug. SENT: 1,410 words, photos, video.

ASYLUM-WAITING IN MEXICO — Many U.S. holding cells along the Mexican border were less than half-full, even empty, during an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families from Central America, newly unsealed court documents show, raising questions about the Trump administration's claims that it had to make people wait in Mexico because it didn't have the means to accommodate them. By Elliot Spagat. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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NEWTOWN SHOOTING-GUN-MAKER — Families of those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting will have access to the shooter's computer as part of their lawsuit against gun maker Remington. The families are looking for evidence of Lanza's exposure to advertisements for weapons. SENT: 210 words.

NY FASHION WEEK-PLUS SIZE MEN — Ryan's Secret show brings awareness to male body positivity. SENT: 220 words, photo.

OHIO STATE-FOOTBALL PLAYERS CHARGED — Two former Ohio State football players pleaded not guilty to holding a woman against her will and raping her. SENT: 410 words, photos.

ODD-RESCUED BEAR CUB — An orphaned black bear cub has been placed with a substitute mother this week after being saved by a dog and brought to safety. SENT: 265 words, photos.

MUSIC-JUSTIN BIEBER — Justin Bieber admits getting back in the studio to record his first album in five years wasn't easy. The singer said that fear kept him from getting back to music. SENT: 250 words, photos.

TRUMP-DAYTONA 500 — President Trump to give command to start engines at Daytona. SENT: 310 words, photos.

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UNITED STATES-BEWARE CHINA — China and its increasingly sophisticated military top U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s list of international security challenges. But in Europe the bigger worry is closer to home: Russia. By National Security Writer Robert Burns.. SENT: 1,050 words, photos. With JUSTICE DEPARTMENT-HUAWEI — The Justice Department files new criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei and two of its U.S. subsidiaries. SENT: 490 words, photos.

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT-CONGRESS — In a bid to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, the House approves a measure removing a 1982 deadline for state ratification and reopening the process to amend the Constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sex. SENT: 780 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP-FUNDRAISING — Pro-Donald Trump groups raised more than $60 million in January and have more than $200 million on hand for this year's general election, shattering fundraising records on the path toward a goal of raising $1 billion this cycle. SENT: 310 words, photos.

TRUMP-BLOOMBERG-FACT CHECK — President Trump makes fun of Mike Bloomberg’s height; Bloomberg fires back. How tall are they, anyway? SENT: 320 words, photos.

TRUMP-WALL FUNDING — The Pentagon slashed billions of dollars in funding for 17 Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to free up money for the construction of President Donald Trump's long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall, angering not just Democrats but also GOP defense hawks. SENT: 800 words, photos.

TRUMP-HICKS — Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's most trusted and longest-serving aides, is returning to the White House. SENT: 790 words, photos.

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VATICAN-AMAZON-REACTION — Roman Catholic priests, deacons and bishops across the Amazon voiced surprise, resignation and reluctant acceptance of Pope Francis' refusal to allow married men to be ordained priests, lamenting that their faithful will continue to be deprived of Mass and subject to competing evangelical churches that have made impressive inroads in the region. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

HAITI POLITICAL CRISIS — Thousands of young Haitians spent 2019 on the streets, demanding President Jovenel Moise resign over his government’s failure to prosecute years of unbridled corruption that siphoned billions in international aid into bank accounts overseas. For now, Moise's opponents have failed. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.

SUDAN — Sudan's transitional government says it has reached a settlement with families of the victims of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, a key step in having the U.S. remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism so it can rejoin the international community after years of exclusion. SENT: 1,280 words, photos.

COLOMBIA-BUFFETT'S DRUG WAR — The eldest son of multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett is spending $200 million to help Colombia kick its cocaine curse. For nearly two decades Howard Buffett has crisscrossed the world giving away part of his father’s fortune to promote food security, conflict mitigation and public safety. SENT: 1,540 words, photos.

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SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-WEINSTEIN — Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer told jurors that prosecutors in the rape case against him were acting like moviemakers, conjuring up a world "where women had no free will.” Lawyer Donna Rotunno in her closing argument called Weinstein an innocent man who is relying on jurors not to be swayed by a “sinister tale." SENT: 850 words, photos.

MURDERED WOMAN-NEW EVIDENCE — California authorities used recently developed DNA techniques to free one man and implicate another for only the second time in the United States, officials say. SENT: 750 words, photo.

DEATH PENALTY-OKLAHOMA — Oklahoma officials say the state is planning to resume executing death-row inmates, five years after lethal injections were put on hold following a series of death-chamber mishaps. SENT: 590 words, photos.

PUERTO RICO-ONLINE-SCAM — An online scam that targeted Puerto Rican agencies attempted to steal more than $4 million, police said Thursday, deepening concerns about the management of local government finances during an economic crisis. SENT: 580 words, photos.

WINTER WEATHER — Students are staying home from school and several businesses are closed in the upper Midwest as arctic air pushes wind chill readings to more than 40 below zero in some areas. SENT: 300 words, photos, video.

SOUTHERN STORMS-FLOODING — Days of torrential rain across the Southeast left residents to deal with rising rivers, falling trees, weakened dams and mudslides as storms finally subsided. SENT: 500 words, photos.

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AMAZON-PENTAGON-WAR-CLOUD — A federal court has ordered a temporary halt in Microsoft's work on a $10 billion military cloud contract that Amazon was initially expected to win. Amazon sued in November to revisit that decision, alleging that President Donald Trump's bias against the company hurt its chances to win the project.

401K RECORD BALANCES — Fidelity Investments says the average 401(k) balance rose to a record $112,300 last year. Part of the gain was due to surging markets, as stocks and bonds of all types rallied. But just as important was better savings habits by workers. By Business Writer Stan Choe. SENT: 670 words, photo.

CHINA OUTBREAK-BUSINESS IMPACT — The economic toll of China's viral outbreak continues to mount for corporations based in and outside of the country as factories are shuttered and consumer behavior is altered measurably. SENT: 610 words, photos.

McCLATCHY-BANKRUPTCY — McClatchy, the publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers, has filed for bankruptcy protection as it struggles to pay off debt while revenue shrinks because more readers and advertisers are going online. SENT: 950 words, photo. With McCLATCHY-BANKRUPTCY-GLANCE (sent).

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BBA--ASTROS-SIGN STEALING — Alex Bregman spoke for about 30 seconds and said he was sorry, but did not say why. He said he had learned, but did not say what. On a patch of grass between the Houston Astros' spring training building and fields, under a sun obscured by clouds, the star third baseman stepped to a microphone at a news conference, becoming the first player to apologize -- without really discussing with any details -- for the sign-stealing scheme from the club's 2017 World Series championship season. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 900 words, photos.

BKN--ALL-STAR-CHICAGO STYLE — The NBA is headquartered in New York. Anthony Davis, one of the game’s biggest names, plays in Los Angeles. Both, unquestionably, are world-class cities. But in Davis’ eyes, they both pale to his hometown. And this weekend, the Chicago native believes the eyes of the basketball world are where they belong -- on his city. “Chicago basketball,” the Lakers’ forward said. “There is nothing like Chicago basketball.” By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 800 words, photos. With BKN-ALL-STAR-BETTTING — Place your bet: New NBA All-Star format could attract action. SENT: 920 words, photo.

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