AP News Digest 2 p.m.

Via AP news wire
Thursday 13 May 2021 19:11
APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
APTOPIX Israel Palestinians

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.

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TOP STORIES

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ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS — Hamas sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel as Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and called up 9,000 more reservists. The relentless escalation of hostilities came even as Egyptian negotiators held in-person talks with the two sides, intensifying efforts at mediation. This round of fighting seems to be rippling farther and wider than at any time since the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising. By Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MASKS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places, according to a person briefed on the announcement. The new guidance will still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools. By Zeke Miller and Michael Balsamo. SENT: 175 words, photos, developing.

BIDEN-GASOLINE-PRICES — President Joe Biden warns gasoline stations to not engage in any price gouging as motorists wait for fuel to start flowing reliably through the Colonial Pipeline which has restarted after falling victim to a cyberattack. The president said he expects the pipeline to resume normal operations by next week and stressed the importance of improving the durability of U.S. infrastructure as part of his $2.3 trillion jobs plan. By Josh Boak. SENT: 839 words. UPCOMING: Developing, 890 words by 5 p.m., photos, video. WITH: PIPELINE-CYBERSECURITY-ATTACK — Gas pumps remained shrouded by plastic bags at thousands of service stations across more than a dozen U.S. states. SENT: 765 words, photos.

VOTING BILLS-DEMOCRATS — Democrats are using a collection of lawsuits and political pressure to fight back against Republican-led efforts to tighten voting laws in states across the country. The whack-a-mole strategy is the best they’ve got, they admit, as hopes for a massive federal overhaul of elections fade. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 1050 words, photos.

ANTI-VACCINE-MAKING MONEY — Ty and Charlene Bollinger are part of an ecosystem of for-profit companies, nonprofit groups, YouTube channels and other social media accounts that stoke fear and distrust of COVID-19 vaccines, resorting to what medical experts say is often misleading and false information. An investigation by The Associated Press has found that the couple work closely with others prominent in the anti-vaccine movement — including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his Children’s Health Defense — to drive sales through affiliate marketing relationships. The Bollingers have said that they have sold tens of millions of dollars of products through various ventures and paid out $12 million to affiliates. By Michelle R. Smith and Johnatan Reiss. SENT: 3,275 words, photos. UPCOMING: An abridged version will also move.

OPIOIDS CRISIS-LAWSUITS — A corner of West Virginia that has been decimated by opioid addiction finally has the chance to make its case for holding accountable some of the corporate giants it blames for the crisis. No matter the outcome, the case is expected to resonate well beyond Huntington and surrounding Cabell County. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 1,300 words, photos. With AP data distribution: A data set showing drug shipment data to counties from 2006 to 2012, released previously by a federal judge, is available to customers enrolled in AP’s data.world platform. If your news organization is not yet licensed to access our data distribution, please contact mailto:apdigitalsales@ap.org for enrollment details.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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TV-AMERICAN-IDOL-KENNEDY — A 16-year-old “American Idol” contestant has dropped out of the singing competition after a video circulated of him sitting next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. SENT: 170 words, photos.

AIRPLANE-COLLISION-COLORADO — Two small airplanes collided in midair near Denver, leaving one aircraft nearly ripped in half and forcing the pilot of the other to deploy a parachute attached to the plane to land safely. Remarkably, no one was injured, officials say. SENT: 350 words, photos, video.

PEOPLE-CHRISSY TEIGEN — Chrissy Teigen has apologized for harassing a then-teenage Courtney Stodden online nearly a decade ago. SENT: 270 words, photo.

OBIT-POST-IT-NOTES-SILVER — The inventor of the adhesive used on one of 3M’s best-known products, the Post-it Note, has died, according to the company and his published obituary. Spencer Silver was 80 and died May 8 at his home, the family’s obituary said. SENT: 225 words.

MEDIA-FOX-WEEKEND — Popular commentator Dan Bongino will be getting a weekly Saturday night program on Fox News Channel starting on June 5. SENT: 130 words.

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MORE ON ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

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ISRAEL-HEIRS OF KAHANE — In the 1980s, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s violent anti-Arab ideology was considered so repugnant that Israel banned him from parliament and the U.S. listed his party as a terrorist group. Today, his disciples march through the streets of Jerusalem and other cities by the hundreds, chanting “Death to Arabs” and attacking any that cross their path. UPCOMING: 1,100 words by 4 p.m., photos.

GAZA-HOSPITALS-DOUBLE THREAT — Just a few weeks ago, the Gaza Strip’s feeble health system was struggling to cope with a runaway surge in coronavirus cases. To make space for patients who couldn’t breathe, health authorities cleared out operating rooms, suspended non-urgent care and redeployed surgeons to COVID-19 patients. UPCOMING: 960 words by 4 p.m., photos, video.

Click here for more coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOLS — The president of the American Federation of Teachers called for a full return to in-person learning in the fall, saying the union is “all in” on bringing students back to the classroom. SENT: 610 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — Some wealthy nations that were most praised last year for controlling the coronavirus are now lagging far behind in getting their people vaccinated — and some, especially in Asia, are seeing COVID-19 cases grow. SENT: 950 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-STREET-RACING — Across America, illegal drag racing has surged in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic began. Officials have reported a dangerous uptick in the activity from Oregon and New Mexico, to New York and Georgia. People have been killed. The roar of engines and traffic tie-ups have become huge annoyances. Police and elected leaders are trying to fight back. SENT: 1,130 words, photos, video. WITH: VIRUS-OUTBREAK-STREET-RACING-SPEEDWAY-PROGRAM — Colorado program steers drag racing off streets, onto track. SENT: 590 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-HOME-VACCINATIONS — As interest in coronavirus vaccinations dwindles nationwide, local health offices and other providers are ramping up efforts to find and reach homebound people who can’t travel for a shot. California and Pennsylvania are among states coordinating efforts to provide vaccinations in homes. SENT: 795 words, photos, video.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MOBILE-VACCINATIONS — Salvation Army mobile soup kitchen trucks are rolling through some of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods delivering food and COVID-19 vaccines. In three weeks, dozens of people have received vaccinations through the program designed to reach those who normally have little to no access to churches, community centers or other places where doses are being given. SENT: 515 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNVACCINATED LATINOS — What’s holding back many Latinos from getting a COVID-19 shot isn’t vaccine hesitancy but practical concerns like missing work, getting a bill or, for some, immigration worries, according to new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. SENT: 750 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE INCENTIVES-EXPLAINER — Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement of a weekly $1 million prize to entice Ohioans to get coronavirus vaccines is raising questions and objections. SENT: 560 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PUBLIC HEALTH — The government will provide $7.4 billion to expand the nation’s public health capacity by hiring school nurses to vaccinate kids and creating a service corps around health care as well as bolstering traditional disease detection efforts, White House officials said. SENT: 490 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “anxious” about a rise in the U.K. of the coronavirus variant first identified in India, after a closely monitored study of infections in England found the variant is becoming more prevalent just ahead of the next big easing of lockdown restrictions. SENT: 555 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PROMS — A year after the pandemic canceled most proms, school districts around the country are considering whether they can once again hold the formal dance for seniors. SENT: 920 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-VIRAL-QUESTIONS-GLOBAL-VACCINES — When will COVID-19 vaccines be widely available globally? Experts say it could be 2023 or later before COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in some countries. SENT: 320 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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CAPITOL BREACH-DENIALISM — What insurrection? A growing number of Republicans are propagating a false portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, brazenly arguing that the rioters who bludgeoned police officers, smashed windows and doors and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives were somehow acting peacefully. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls Republicans’ denialism “sick.” UPCOMING: 880 words by 5 p.m., photos.

EX-TRUMP LAWYER-FUNDRAISING — Former Trump attorney and self-proclaimed “Kraken releaser” Sidney Powell has told prospective donors that her group, Defending the Republic, is a legal defense fund to protect the integrity of U.S. elections. But the company suing Powell over her baseless claims of a rigged presidential election says the true beneficiary of her social welfare organization is Powell herself. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 3 p.m., photo.

BIDEN-CONGRESS — President Joe Biden is welcoming a group of Republican senators to talk infrastructure at the White House as negotiations intensify over a smaller, potentially bipartisan proposal that could become one piece of the administration’s ambitious public investment plan.UPCOMING: Developing from 1:30 p.m. meeting, 780 words by 4 p.m., photos, video.

BIDEN-ENVIRONMENT — The Environmental Protection Agency revokes a Trump-era rule that overhauled how the agency evaluates air pollutants, a move the Biden administration says will make it easier to enact limits on dangerous and climate-changing emissions. SENT: 600 words. UPCOMING: Developing, 700 words by 5 p.m., photo.

SUPREME COURT-N-WORD — The Supreme Court is considering whether to hear the case of a Black man who says he suffered discrimination because the N-word was carved into the wall of a hospital elevator where he worked. If the justices agree, they could decide whether the use of the N-word alone allows an employee to sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. SENT: 800 words, photo.

ARMY SECRETARY — Christine Wormuth, poised to be the first female Army secretary, tells Congress at her confirmation hearing that combating sexual assault and harassment is a top priority, and that more training is needed to encourage soldiers to step in when they see bad behavior by others. UPCOMING: 600 words by 4 p.m., photos.

MILITARY-SEXUAL ASSAULTS — Reports of sexual assaults across the U.S. military increased by a very small amount in 2020, a year when troops were largely locked down for months as bases around the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to U.S. officials. SENT: 612 words, photo.

CHENEY-WYOMING — For pro-Trump Republicans, removing Rep. Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership was relatively easy. Booting her from office will be another matter. SENT: 1,080 words, photo.

GAETZ INVESTIGATION — A key figure in the federal investigation of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges next week. SENT: 300 words, photo.

PENNSYLVANIA-PRIMARY-EMERGENCY-POWERS — Republican lawmakers across the country have tried to roll back the emergency powers that governors wielded during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they ordered businesses shut, mask-wearing in public and students home for distance learning. Pennsylvania’s Legislature is now taking its case to the ballot. SENT: 1,175 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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LEAVING-LEBANON — The shelves are bare at the Panacea pharmacy north of Beirut. Its owner, Rita El Khoury, has spent the past few weeks packing up her career, apartment and belongings before leaving Lebanon for a new life abroad. For the 35-year-old pharmacist and her husband, and countless others feeling trapped in a country hammered by multiple crises, Lebanon has become unlivable. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

CHINA-STUDENT'S DEATH — It was a call no parent wants to receive. On Mother’s Day, around 9 p.m., a woman in Chengdu in southwestern China was told that her son, who she had dropped off at school just hours ago, had died. The local branch of the education department said the 16-year-old’s death was a suicide, but the mother is disputing that. SENT: 790 words, photo.

GREECE-ONE GOOD THING-SYRIAN FAMILY REUNITED — Torn apart in the deadly chaos of an air raid, a Syrian family of seven has been reunited, against the odds, three years later at a refugee shelter in Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, a centuries-old melting point of cultures overlooking the Aegean Sea. SENT: 790 words, photos.

CHINA-US — Muslim leaders from the Xinjiang region rejected Western allegations that China is suppressing religious freedom, speaking at a reception for foreign diplomats and media at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. SENT: 720 words.

EID-AL-FITR — Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr in a subdued mood for a second year Thursday as the COVID-19 pandemic again forced mosque closings and family separations on the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. SENT: 930 words, photos.

RUSSIA-SCHOOL SHOOTING — Russian President Vladimir Putin says the deadly school shooting in Kazan “has shaken” the country and ordered the government to revise school security protocols and tighten control over civilian gun ownership. SENT: 550 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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IMMIGRATION-BORDER-ENCOUNTERS — While asylum-seeking families and children dominate public attention, single adults represent a growing number of encounters with U.S. border agents. They made up nearly two of every three Border Patrol encounters in April. They are less likely to surrender to authorities than families and children, making them less visible. SENT: 830 words, photos, video.

RACIAL-INJUSTICES-REPARATIONS-COLLEGES — Students and community activists from New England to the Deep South are demanding their colleges take more ambitious steps to atone for past sins amid the nation’s latest racial reckoning. Brown University students recently approved a resolution calling on the Rhode Island school to identify slave descendants and begin paying reparations. SENT: 1,120 words, photos, video.

GEORGE-FLOYD-OTHER-OFFICERS — The trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd will be pushed back to March 2022. Judge Peter Cahill said he changed the trial date so the federal case can go forward first. SENT: 940 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA-SERIAL-SLASHINGS — A tree trimmer in rural Northern California has been charged in throat-slashing serial killings that left three people dead, prosecutors announced. SENT: 555 words, photos.

GEORGIA CHASE-DEADLY SHOOTING — A Georgia judge says he will review under seal mental health records of Ahmaud Arbery to decide whether they can be used at trial by defense attorneys for the men charged with his killing. SENT: 780 words, photos.

WESTERN WILDFIRES — U.S. officials say they’ll try to stamp out wildfires as quickly as possible this year as severe drought tightens its grip across the West and sets the stage for another destructive summer of blazes. SENT: 580 words, photos.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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MED-ANTI-RACISM-DOCTORS — Identical twin doctors who have fought bigotry all their lives have a lofty new mission: dismantling racism in medicine. At 33, Brittani James and Brandi Jackson are teaching other doctors how to see and undo racism in their work. SENT: 1,815 words, photos. An abridged version of 1,075 words is also available.

OYSTER-RESTORATION — When the pandemic hit, oyster farmers found the restaurants that sold their bivalves had largely closed. Many faced economic ruin until a conservation group along with two federal agencies offered to buy up millions of oysters in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Washington state as part of a program to restore shellfish reefs at 20 locations. SENT: 940 words, photos.

SCI-SPACE-TOURIST — A Japanese fashion tycoon who’s booked a SpaceX ride to the moon is going to try out the International Space Station first. Yusaku Maezawa announced that he’s bought two seats on a Russian Soyuz capsule. He’ll blast off in December on the 12-day mission with his production assistant and a professional cosmonaut. SENT: 415 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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ECONOMY-WAGE INCREASES — Desperate for labor, restaurants and retailers are boosting pay to try to hire enough workers to keep up with a flood of customers unleashed by the fading pandemic. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 5 p.m.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT-BENEFITS — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000. SENT: 780 words, photos.

FINANCIAL-MARKETS — Stocks were strongly higher, following three days of losses and the biggest one-day drop in the S&P 500 since February. SENT: 415 words, photo.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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TV-HALSTON — Although the new Netflix miniseries “Halston” doesn’t drop until Friday, it has already generated some heat for star Ewan McGregor and director Daniel Minahan from the designer’s relatives. McGregor and Minahan address the controversy and the steps they took to portray the famed designer, who died in 1990. SENT: 950 words Thursday, photos, video.

MEDIA MORNING TV — The pandemic has been rough on viewership of the broadcast morning shows. SENT: 945 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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RAC--PREAKNESS-CHALLENGERS — Thirty years after Hansel bounced back from a disappointing Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness, Midnight Bourbon is the most likely horse to follow that pattern. Some horses late in joining the Triple Crown trail are also in contention Saturday. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.

BKO--HALL OF FAME-BIG THREE — Kobe. Tim. KG. Full names aren’t necessary when talking about Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, the headliners of this year’s enshrinement class for the Basketball Hall of Fame. And they might lead a class like no other. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4 p.m.

HKN--BEATING THE GOALIE — NHL goaltenders get beat by shots over their shoulders more than any other spot, a reflection of seismic changes in how the position is played and the latest cycle in the cat-and-mouse game between goalies and shooters. But goalies being goalies, they are adjusting. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

BBO--PITCHERS WILD - Pitchers are hitting batters and throwing wild pitches at record rates. The reasons vary but one thing’s for sure: When a batter is plunked it’s often painful. Phillies star Bryce Harper was hit in the face by a 97 mph fastball, although he wasn’t seriously hurt. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 6 p.m.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Richard A. Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Courtney Dittmar 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(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.