AP News Digest 3:30 am

US Russia Ukraine
US Russia Ukraine

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 https://newsroom.ap.org.

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ONLY ON AP

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WHO-TURMOIL IN ASIA — Current and former staffers have accused the top director of the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific of racist, unethical and abusive behavior that has undermined the U.N. health agency’s efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic. The allegations were laid out in an internal complaint filed in October and again in an email last week, sent by unidentified “concerned WHO staff” to senior leadership and the executive board and obtained by the AP. Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the head of a vast region that includes China and the Philippines, refuted the allegations. By Medical Writer Maria Cheng. SENT: 1,600 words, photos. An abridged version of 960 words is also available.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-POLL — Will the pandemic ever really be “over"? And what would that mean? A new AP-NORC poll shows that few Americans — just 15% — say they’ll consider the pandemic over only when COVID-19 is largely eliminated. By contrast, 83% say they’ll feel like the pandemic is over when it’s largely a mild illness, like the seasonal flu. By Kate Brumback, Nathan Ellgren and Jocelyn Noveck. SENT: 950 words, photo.

SPACEX-PRIVATE FLIGHT WINNER — The real winner of a sweepstakes for a ride in space has finally come forward: a Florida-based airline pilot. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 810 words, photos, video.

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TOP STORIES

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SUPREME COURT-POLITICS — Democrats across the political spectrum are embracing news of 83-year-old Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s looming retirement, which gives President Joe Biden an opportunity to follow through on a pledge to appoint the first Black woman to the high court. By National Politics Writer Steve Peoples. SENT: 780 words, photos.

SUPREME COURT-BREYER-LEGACY — Breyer will take with him a razor-sharp intellect and a relentlessly pragmatic approach to the law. That approach has often found him searching for a middle ground or grasping for an outcome he can live with on an increasingly conservative court. By Mark Sherman. SENT: 1,020 words, photos. With SUPREME-COURT-BREYER-RETIREMENT — Breyer to retire, giving Biden first court pick. Also see SUPREME COURT-BIDEN below.

UKRAINE-TENSIONS — The Biden administration and NATO tell Russia there will be no U.S. or NATO concessions on Moscow’s main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine. In separate written responses delivered to the Russians, the U.S. and NATO held firm to the alliance’s open-door policy for membership, rejected a demand to permanently ban Ukraine from joining, and said allied deployments of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe are nonnegotiable. By Vladimir Isachenkov and Matthew Lee. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, videos. For full coverage of Ukraine.

AFGHANISTAN-WINTER WOES — In recent weeks winter cold is devastating Afghanistan’s most vulnerable. International aid organizations are scrambling to save millions from starving or freezing because they have neither food nor fuel. For the poorest the only heat or means of cooking is with the coal or wood they can scrounge from the snowy streets or that they receive from aid groups. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IRAN-VACCINATION PUSH — While the West sees vaccination rates slowing and infections soaring with the spread of omicron, Iran for once is not seeing grim COVID-19 statistics dominate the headlines. Iran, which has been pummeled by successive virus waves for nearly two years, has found a brief, hopeful respite in mass vaccination. Still, the threat of omicron looms large. The contrast in pandemic responses between the Islamic Republic’s new hard-line and president his relatively moderate predecessor has bred skepticism. By Nasser Karimi and Isabel Debre. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

BEIJING-2008 VS. 2022-CRACKDOWNS — China has cracked down on Tibet, is at the midpoint of doing so in Xinjiang and is just beginning in Hong Kong. Though it plays out somewhat differently in Hong Kong, the approach is fundamentally the same, from crushing the Tiananmen protests in 1989 to snuffing out the candlelight vigils for Tiananmen in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. By Ken Moritsugu. SENT: 1,070 words, photos. With CHINA-US — China demands U.S. halt Olympics “interference."

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MORE ON THE OLYMPICS

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FAT DON'T FLY — Fat don’t fly. The crude phrase is well known in ski jumping circles, and it has historically led to eating disorders in a sport that is trying to address the problem with rule changes and access to nutritionists. By Sports Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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TRENDING NEWS

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JEOPARDY CHAMPION — “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider’s history-making run ends. SENT: 750 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRANSPLANT DENIAL — Hospital patient without COVID shot denied heart transplant. SENT: 690 words, photos.

PROFESSOR-VIDEO — Professor suspended over video sues Michigan university. SENT: 370 words, photos.

BOOM-JET PLANT — North Carolina chosen for supersonic passenger jet plant. SENT: 720 words, photos.

MIDEAST-WEATHER — Jerusalem blanketed in white after rare snowfall. SENT: 110 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON

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SUPREME COURT-BIDEN — Biden is eyeing at least three judges for the expected vacancy on the Supreme Court. SENT: 1,260 words, photos, video. With SUPREME COURT-CONGRESS — Senate Democrats plan to move swiftly to replace Breyer; SUPREME COURT-CONFIRMATION-EXPLAINER — A look at the Supreme Court confirmation process.

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NATIONAL

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GEORGE FLOYD-OFFICERS-CIVIL RIGHTS — Prosecutors building their case against three fired Minneapolis police officers of violating George Floyd’s civil rights turned to some key witnesses who testified earlier at Derek Chauvin’s state murder trial. SENT: 820 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Trial resumes at 11 a.m.

OKLAHOMA EXECUTION-GRANT — Donald Grant, an Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of killing two Del City hotel workers in 2001, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. SENT: 410 words, photo. UPCOMING: Execution scheduled for 10 a.m.

INDIGENOUS MASSACRE-REMAINS RETURNED — The remains of 20 Native Americans massacred in Northern California in 1860 have been returned to their tribe. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

TRUMP-LEGAL TROUBLES — New York’s attorney general wants to put a stop to former President Donald Trump’s attempted end-run around a yearslong civil investigation into his business practices, asking a judge to dismiss his lawsuit aimed at halting the probe. SENT: 680 words, photos.

POLICE OFFICERS-SHOT — Fallen New York City Police officers sought bridges between the department and the communities they served. SENT: 790 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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NORTH KOREA-OPENING BORDERS — After spending two years in a strict lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea may finally be opening up — slowly. SENT: 1,010 words, photos. With KOREAS-TENSIONS — North Korea fires two suspected missiles in sixth launch in 2022.

HONDURAS-INAUGURATION — Xiomara Castro is scheduled to be sworn in as Honduras’ first female president, facing high expectations to turn around the deeply troubled country amid uncertainty about whether an unfolding legislative crisis will allow her the support she needs. SENT: 670 words, photos.

ISRAEL-HOLOCAUST-REMEMBRANCE — Several dozen impoverished elderly Israelis, among them Holocaust survivors, received food donations from a charity ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. SENT: 790 words, photos.

JORDAN-SYRIA — The Jordanian military says that troops have killed 27 suspected smugglers attempting to enter the country from neighboring Syria. SENT: 280 words.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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FINANCIAL MARKETS— Asian stock markets tumbled by unusually wide margins after the Federal Reserve indicated it plans to start raising interest rates soon to cool inflation. By Business Writer Joe McDonald. SENT: 710 words, photos.

ECONOMY-GDP — The Commerce Department issues its first of three estimates of how the U.S. economy performed in the fourth quarter of 2021. By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman. UPCOMING: 130 words after 8:30 a.m. release, then expanded, with photos.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS — The Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. By Business Writer Matt Ott. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 8:30 a.m., photo.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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MUSIC-YOUNG-SPOTIFY — Neil Young’s music will be removed from Spotify at his request, following the veteran rock star’s protest over the streaming service airing a popular podcast that featured a figure criticized for spreading COVID misinformation. By Media Writer David Bauder. SENT: 420 words, photo.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Jerome Minerva can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Wally Santana (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 844-777-2006.

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