AP News Digest 3:10 a.m.

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 14 July 2021 08:10 BST
Ethiopia Tigray Crisis War Turn
Ethiopia Tigray Crisis War Turn (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EDT. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org.




EHTIOPIA-TIGRAY CRISIS-WAR’S TURN — Video and photos obtained by The Associated Press and smuggled out of Ethiopia’s Tigray region give a rare look at the dramatic turn in a conflict that has threatened to destabilize one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries. After months of fear in the regional capital occupied by Ethiopian soldiers and those from neighboring Eritrea who pursued the Tigray regional leaders, crowds of Mekele residents rushed to the local security bureau to sign up to fight. The Tigray leaders have rejected the unilateral cease-fire Ethiopia’s government announced as its soldiers retreated, and they vow to clear Tigray from their “enemies.” SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

MIGRATION-LITHUANIA-BELARUS — A former school building in a Lithuania border village is one of many such facilities quickly converted by the Lithuanian authorities to house an influx of migrants from Iraq, other Mideast nations and Africa that the Baltic country’s government says has been organized by Belarusian authorities’ as part of their “hybrid war” against the neighbor and other EU nations. By Liudas Dapkus and Mstylav Chernov. SENT: 1,210 words, photos.




BIDEN-CUBA-HAITI — The problems of two tiny Caribbean states, Cuba and Haiti, have vexed U.S. presidents for decades. Now, Haiti and Cuba are posing a growing challenge for President Joe Biden that could have political ramifications. By Aamer Madhani and Matthew Lee. SENT: 1,260 words, photos.

CONGRESS-INFRASTRUCTURE — Senate Democrats say they’ve reached a budget agreement envisioning spending an enormous $3.5 trillion over the coming decade. It would pave the way for their drive to pour federal resources into climate change, health care and family-service programs sought by President Joe Biden. By Lisa Mascaro and Alan Fram. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

IRANIAN-KIDNAPPING-PLOT CHARGES — An Iranian intelligence officer and three members of an Iranian intelligence network have been charged in Manhattan with plotting to lure a U.S. resident and human rights activist from New York City to Iran. By Deepti Hajela and Larry Neumeister. SENT: 990 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US — New COVID-19 cases per day in the U.S. have doubled over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings. Infections jumped to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23. And all but two states — Maine and South Dakota — reported that case numbers have risen over the past two weeks. By Heather Hollingsworth and Josh Funk. SENT: 830 words, photos.

VOTING BILLS-TEXAS — Texas Republicans are authorizing law enforcement to find and bring back more than 50 legislators who fled to Washington “under warrant of arrest if necessary” after Democrats left the state to again block passage of sweeping new voting restrictions. Still, it was not immediately clear Tuesday whether state troopers would actually be sent to Washington, where they would have no jurisdiction to make arrests. By Paul J. Weber, Acacia Coronado and Brian Slodysko. SENT: 900 words, photos, videos.

GERMANY-MERKEL-4 PRESIDENTS — Angela Merkel has just about seen it all when it comes to U.S. presidents. Merkel on Thursday makes her first visit to the White House since Joe Biden took office. He is the fourth American president of her nearly 16-year tenure as German chancellor. Merkel, who turns 67 on Saturday, will be heading into political retirement in the coming months after deciding long ago not to seek a fifth term in Germany’s national election in September. Even with contentious issues on the table Merkel can expect a warm welcome from Biden on what is likely her last visit. It hasn’t always been that way during her time in charge. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 1,070 words, photos. _______________________________



DEMOCRATIC DONOR-DRUG DEATHS — A wealthy donor to Democrats is on trial in Los Angeles on charges he injected gay men with methamphetamine in drugs-for-sex fetish that led to two deaths and other overdoses. SENT: 790 words, photos.

MEXICO-DRUG LORD — An appeals court in Mexico has overturned the acquittal of 1990s drug lord Hector “El Güero” Palma, staving off an international embarrassment had he walked free. SENT: 460 words, photo.

BUILDING-COLLAPSE-PARAGUAY — The remains of a young Paraguayan nanny among those killed in the collapse of a Florida condominium tower has arrived home, her coffin wrapped in a national flag and with a photograph of her young face. SENT: 390 words, photos.

ALABAMA-SOLAR FEES — Environmental groups and homeowners have filed a federal lawsuit against state regulators for approving Alabama Power’s fees on customers with rooftop or on-site solar. SENT: 530 words, photo.

REALITY STAR-RAPE CHARGES — Developer and reality TV personality William Hutchinson has pleaded not guilty to raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl at his Southern California vacation home. SENT: 240 words, photo.

SACHA BARON COHEN-ROY MOORE — A federal judge has dismissed Roy Moore’s $95 million lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Moore said he was tricked into an interview that ended up lampooning sexual misconduct accusations against him. SENT: 400 words, photo.

AP PHOTOS: BIKERS CLEAR INDONESIAN STREETS FOR AMBULANCES — In Indonesia’s traffic-choked capital area, volunteer motorcycle riders weave through jammed vehicles, honking their horns while opening paths for ambulances, a key service in a region hammered by COVID-19 infections and deaths. SENT: 280 words, photos.




HEALTH DEPARTMENT-FIRING — Tennessee’s former top vaccinations official said she couldn’t stay silent after she was fired this week amid scrutiny from Republican state lawmakers over her department’s outreach efforts to vaccinate teenagers against COVID-19. SENT: 790 words, photo.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-EL SALVADOR — El Salvador’s congress has voted overwhelmingly to impose a 90-day ban on sporting events, concerts, festivals and other mass gatherings because of a surge in coronavirus cases. SENT: 200 words.

GUATEMALA-PROTESTS — The president of Guatemala has banned most protests for two weeks, arguing they have been spreading the coronavirus. SENT: 330 words, photo.




CALIFORNIA-RECALL — Candidates in the recall election that could remove Gov. Gavin Newsom are sketching starkly different visions of California. The Democratic governor celebrated his new budget at a Los Angeles ceremony where he described California as a nation-leading powerhouse emerging from the pandemic. But his Republican rivals depict California as a failed state with Newsom as its incompetent leader. SENT: 890 words, photos.

TRUMP-LEGAL TROUBLES-JOB CHANGES — The move by Donald Trump’s company to strip its top finance chief from several leadership positions less than two weeks after his criminal indictment suggests it is facing a tricky, new business environment as it seeks to reassure lenders and other business partners. Allen Weisselberg has lost positions overseeing a Scottish golf course, a payroll firm and other entities under the Trump Organization, according to government registry records. SENT: 690 words, photo.

BLACK REPUBLICAN — Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal has become the first Black Republican elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction. Paschal on Tuesday won the special general election to fill House District 73 which was vacated when Matt Fridy joined the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. SENT: 460 words.




HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED — A former Haitian senator, a fired government official and an informant for the U.S. government are the latest suspects identified as part of a sweeping investigation into the killing of President Jovenel Moïse. SENT: 740 words, photos.

CUBA-PROTEST — Cuban officials say one person has died during demonstrations that have shaken the island in recent days by protesting over food shortages, high prices and other grievances against the government. SENT: 600 words, photos. WITH: CUBA-PROTEST-MIAMI -- Demonstrators backing rare street protests by thousands in communist Cuba have blocked a stretch of a major South Florida highway. A large protest group gathered at a busy Miami intersection Tuesday in support of Cubans who began protesting the island’s poor economic conditions last weekend. SENT: 800 words, photos, videos.

KOREAS-DEFECTORS’ INTEGRATION – At a government-run center in Seoul, North Korean defectors play music, grow plants and mingle with South Korea-born citizens in a resettlement program that also aims to study the blending of cultures should the rivals unify – an unlikely prospect for now. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

CHINA-HOTEL COLLAPSE —The death toll in the collapse of a hotel in eastern China has been raised to 17 as the search ended. The city of Suzhou said 23 people had been pulled from the rubble of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel after its collapse Monday. SENT: 260 words, photos.

UNITED NATIONS-COLOMBIA — The U.N. special envoy for Colombia is calling on Colombian society to use the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the country’s largest rebel group as an opportunity to address many longstanding issues that provoked recent protests and unrest. SENT: 760 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN-PEACE TALKS — An Afghan official says a high-powered Afghan government delegation is to meet with the Taliban in Qatar to jump-start a long-stalled peace process. SENT: 520 words, photos.

SRI LANKA-ECONOMIC CRISIS — Sri Lanka has cut back on imports of motorcycles, farm chemicals and even its staple spice turmeric as its foreign exchange reserves dwindle, hindering its ability to repay a mountain of debt. SENT: 940 words, photos.




WESTERN-WILDFIRES — Fierce wildfires in the northwest are threatening American Indian tribal lands as they burn homes and forest lands. National Interagency Fire Center data shows that Blazes in Oregon and Washington are among some 60 large, active wildfires that have destroyed close to a million acres of land, mostly in the West. SENT: 990 words, photos.

ARREST-STRUGGLE-DEATH SETTLEMENT — A local government in Georgia has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a Hispanic man who died in a struggle with police officers 2017. SENT: 650 words.

CALIFORNIA-PENSION FUND-SETTLEMENT — The United States’ largest public pension fund has agreed to pay up to $2.7 billion to refund policyholders hit with huge hikes in their premiums. The deal announced Tuesday involves the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS. It still needs court approval. SENT: 420 words.

FLINT WATER — Some Flint residents are urging a judge to reject a $641 million settlement in litigation arising from the Michigan city’s lead-contaminated water. SENT: 490 words, photos.

SHRINKING-METROS — Facing criticism from small cities that feared losing status and funding, the federal government says that it won’t raise the population threshold for what qualifies as a metro area. The Office of Budget and Management said Tuesday that it will keep the minimum population needed in a community’s core city at 50,000 residents in order to be designated a “metropolitan statistical area.” SENT: 550 words, photo.




CHINA-US — China has denounced an appeal by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for a U.S.-European “unified front” against what she called Chinese “unfair economic practices” and human rights abuses. SENT: 380 words, photos. WITH: CHINA-COMPUTER SECURITY — Tech experts in China who find a weakness in computer security would be required to tell the government and couldn’t sell that knowledge under rules tightening the Communist Party’s control over information. SENT: By Business Writer Joe McDonald. 350 words, photo.




EMMY NOMINATIONS — “The Crown” tied with “The Mandalorian” for the most Emmy nominations Tuesday, 24 each, but the Marvel universe also got bragging rights with runner-up “WandaVision.” The nominations reinforced the rapid rise of streaming, with the top-nominated scripted shows on services that largely emerged in the past two years. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, videos. WITH: EMMY NOMINATIONS -MJ RODRIGUEZ — Mj Rodriguez didn’t just win her first Emmy nomination. The “Pose” actor made history, becoming the first trans performer to earn a lead acting nomination. Rodriguez said the recognition made her feel “represented and seen,” and more accepted than she’d ever felt. SENT: 610 words, photos, video.

PEOPLE-BRITNEY SPEARS — Three weeks after Britney Spears’ dramatic comments in court condemning the conservatorship that has controlled her life for 13 years, a Los Angeles judge and others with power over the pop star will convene for a hearing to deal with the aftermath. SENT: 600 words, photos.




ALL-STAR GAME — A Sho-case for Shohei Ohtani became a grand stage for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., too. Ohtani unleashed his 100 mph heat while pitching a perfect inning for the win in becoming baseball’s first two-way All-Star, Guerrero rocked Coors Field with a 468-foot home run and the American League breezed 5-2 Tuesday night for its eighth straight victory. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

OLY-TEAM-USA-UNIFORMS — The Team USA flag bearers in steamy Tokyo will likely be the coolest members of their packs. Ralph Lauren built a personal air conditioning system into a white jacket for flag bearers at opening ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics. SENT: 670 words, photos.

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