AP News Digest 3 a.m.

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 21 December 2021 06:55 GMT
Virus Outbreak Biden
Virus Outbreak Biden (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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MIGRATION ALPINE HELPING HANDS — As Europe erects ever more fearsome barriers against migration, volunteers along the Italy-France border are working to keep migrants from being killed or maimed by cold and mountain mishaps as they cross the high Alps. Hundreds of volunteers run migrant shelters, clothe them for the hazardous border crossing and trek into the cold in search of those who need a guiding hand through the snows. They are a counter-weight to populist politicians who say migrants are threatening European livelihoods and liberal traditions. By John Leicester. SENT: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m.




VIRUS OUTBREAK — As coronavirus cases surge in the days before Christmas, President Joe Biden plans to deliver a speech Tuesday that stresses the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from the wave of infections tied to the new omicron variant. By Josh Boak. SENT: 900 words, photos. WITH VIRUS OUTBREAK-OMICRON (sent) VIRUS-OUTBREAK-OMICRON-EXPLAINER (sent).

COVID'S SCARS-CAREGIVING COMES HOME — As nursing homes filled up wit COVID cases and shut out visitors, some families took matters in their own hands: bringing home the people they love. Unexpectedly caring for an elderly adult has brought families assurances and peace, but also consequences to finances and relationships that could outlast the pandemic itself. By National Writer Adam Geller. SENT: 2,700 words, photos. An abridged version has also moved.

CYBERSECURITY-POLAND-NSO-HACKS — Security researchers say they’ve found spyware from the notorious hacker-for-hire company NSO Group on the cellphones of two leading Polish opposition figures. The Citizen Lab researchers did not determine who ordered the hack but both victims believe it was Poland’s increasingly illiberal government. By Frank Bajak and Vanessa Gera. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

DAUNTE WRIGHT-OFFICER TRIAL — A jury resumes deliberations Tuesday in the trial of a suburban Minneapolis police officer who says she meant to use her Taser instead of her gun when she shot and killed Black motorist Daunte Wright By Amy Forliti and Scott Bauer. SENT: 750 words, photos.

MIGRATION THE NEW SYRIAN REFUGEE — Syrians are fleeing their country in growing numbers, driven not by the horrors of war but by the misery of the war’s aftermath. They have lost hope in a future at home amid poverty and corruption, as well as continued hostilities, government repression and revenge attacks by multiple armed groups. Bushra, a 29-year-old Kurd, made the journey earlier this year, one of only a few thousand who succeeded in going from Belarus on a harrowing trip through the forests of Poland, to reach Germany. Now seeking asylum as a refugee, she says she cannot return to her shattered homeland. By Sarah El Deeb and Christoph Noelting. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.




BIDEN-NEW DOG: President Joe Biden has introduced a new member of the family. It’s a purebred German shepherd puppy named Commander. At the same time, the first lady’s office also said the cat that she promised more than a year ago will finally arrive in January. But the news wasn’t as “paws-itive” for Biden’s other German shepherd, Major, who is unlikely to return to the White House. SENT: 400 words, photos.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-CHRIS NOTH — Chris Noth will no longer be part of the CBS series “The Equalizer” in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the actor. Universal Television and CBS made a joint announcement Monday that Noth would no longer be part of filming “effective immediately.” SENT: 270 words.

SUPER BOWL-RING SCAM — A New Jersey man who posed as a former New England Patriots player in order to buy and sell Super Bowl rings that he claimed were gifts to Tom Brady’s family will plead guilty to fraud. SENT: 280 words, photos.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-GERMANY — Germany’s leaders are set to decide on new restrictions after Christmas aimed at slowing the spread of the new omicron variant of COVID-19, but plans so far fall short of a full lockdown. SENT: 370 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW ZELAND — New Zealand will shorten the gap between second COVID-19 vaccine doses and boosters and push back the phased reopening of its borders in measures to keep the omicron variant at bay. SENT: 230 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AUSTRALIA — New COVID-19 cases in Australia’s most populous state have surged past 3,000 for the first time, adding pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to speed the rollout of booster shots. SENT: 320 words, photos.




CONGRESS-BUDGET — Democrats began picking up the pieces after Sen. Joe Manchin effectively crushed President Joe Biden’s big domestic policy bill. But they faced serious questions over whether the $2 trillion initiative can be refashioned to win his crucial vote or the party will be saddled with a devastating defeat. By Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

BIDEN-MILEAGE-STANDARDS — In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases, reversing a Trump-era rollback that loosened fuel efficiency standards. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 910 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-MILITARY-EXTREMISM — Warning that extremism in the ranks is increasing, Pentagon officials are issuing detailed new rules prohibiting service members from actively engaging in extremist activities. The new guidelines come nearly a year after some current and former service members participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, triggering a broad department review. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 850 words, photo.

US HOUSE-CALIFORNIA — Long-serving California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard — the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress — will not seek re-election in her Los Angeles-area district. The decision by the 80-year-old Democratic congresswoman comes as her district appears headed for elimination, as part of California’s once-a-decade redrawing of congressional district boundaries to account for population shifts. SENT:350 words, photos.




JEFFREY EPSTEIN-MAXWELL TRIAL — The sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is speeding to a conclusion. The jury began deliberations late Monday in Manhattan federal court. The jury went home after less than an hour. SENT: 800 words, photos.

GEORGE FLOYD-TEXAS GOVERNOR — Time is running out for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to decide whether to posthumously pardon George Floyd for a 2004 drug arrest. Floyd spent much of his life in Houston before his death last year led to a reckoning in the U.S. over race and policing. In October, Texas’ parole board sent Abbott a unanimous recommendation to pardon Floyd whose arrest by a former officer whose policework is no longer trusted by prosecutors. The Republican governor typically hands out pardons around Christmas but he has remained silent over what would be only the second posthumous pardon by a Texas governor. SENT: 550 words, photos.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT-PROSECUTOR — A newly released report finds prosecutors’ handling of the initial case against former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett represented a “major failure of operations.” The report by special prosecutor Dan Webb was released Monday. SENT: 480 words, photos.




IRAN YEMEN — Iran is reporting that its top diplomat to Yemen has died after reportedly contracting the coronavirus. The death of Ambassador Hassan Irloo on Tuesday came after he was recalled from war-torn Yemen for what Iran described as medical treatment. SENT 300 words, photos.

ASIA STORM — The governor of a central Philippine province devastated by Typhoon Rai last week has pleaded for the government to quickly send food and other aid. Governor Arthur Yap of Bohol province warned Tuesday that without outside help, army troops and police forces would have to be deployed to prevent looting due to worsening hunger. SENT: 600 words, photos.

JAPAN FIRE — The suspect in a deadly fire at a mental health clinic in Osaka last week might have studied a fatal 2019 Kyoto Animation studio arson while preparing his own attack that killed 25 people, police say. SENT: 550 words, photos.

EAST TIMOR-PRIST ABUSE — A defrocked American priest accused of sexually abusing orphaned and disadvantaged young girls under his care in East Timor has been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison, in the first case of its kind in the staunchly Catholic nation. SENT: 600 words, photos.

SPAIN-POLAND-A DAUGHTERS BIRTH — When the Polish Olympic athlete Jolanta Ogar-Hill and her wife decided to have a baby, it was obvious to them both that Poland would not be the place to bring up their child. In recent years, right-wing ruling politicians and church leaders in the traditionally Roman Catholic nation have increased their hostile rhetoric toward LGBT people. So Ogar-Hill and and her Spanish-British wife, the filmmaker Chuchie Hill, have instead made their home in Mallorca, Spain. SENT: 750 words, photos.




FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian shares have bounced back from a worldwide slump in financial markets spurred by worries about how badly the omicron variant, inflation and other forces will hit the world economy. Tokyo gained 2.1% and other benchmarks in Asia also were higher. Oil prices also advanced. SENT: 650 words, photos.

THERANOS FOUNDER-FRAUD TRIAL-EXPLAINER — A jury is deliberating the fate of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who is charged with 11 counts of criminal fraud and conspiracy. Guilty verdicts on all counts could send the former entrepreneur to prison for up to 20 years. SENT: 850 words, photos.




SCI-NASA-SPACE TELESCOPE — The Hubble Space Telescope’s successor is a time-traveling wonder capable of peering back to within a hair’s breadth of the dawn of the universe. And it’s finally on the brink of flight. Set to soar after years of delay on Friday, the James Webb Space Telescope will seek out the faint, twinkling light from the first stars and galaxies, providing a glimpse into cosmic creation. SENT: 970 words, photos.




FBN--VIRUS OUTBREAK-NFL FUTURE — The NFL’s decision to reduce COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated players could signal a trend for pro sports leagues and provide an example for society to follow heading into 2022. Despite a rising number of positive cases that forced three games to be rescheduled over the weekend, the NFL, in cooperation with the players’ union, agreed on Saturday to scale back testing for vaccinated players. The move aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends “diagnostic testing” only for symptomatic or close-contact vaccinated people, and “screening tests” only for unvaccinated people. UPCOMING by 5 a.m.

GLF--ON THE FRINGE-TIGER — The moment offered great hope for the immediate future of Tiger Woods. Ten months after a horrific car crash, he finished second with his 12-year-old son as his partner in a scramble. The words asked for restraint. A real return is still a ways off. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 820 words, photos by noon.




FILM-DENZEL WASHINGTON — Denzel Washington the actor has some 60 films under his belt, plus two Oscars, and at 66 is universally regarded as one of the all-time greats. Denzel Washington the director has only completed his fourth feature. “I don’t call myself a director,” he said n an interview last week. “I’m still learning.” Washington's last directorial effort, "A Journal for Jordan," opens Christmas Day. 900 words, photos. By National Writer Jocelyn Noveck. UPCOMING by 8 a.m.




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