AP News Digest 2 p.m.

Via AP news wire
Saturday 03 July 2021 19:00
APTOPIX France Cycling Tour de France
APTOPIX France Cycling Tour de France

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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BUILDING-COLLAPSE-THEY-BARELY-ESCAPED — When half of a Florida apartment building collapsed, the other half of the tower was left standing. While 126 residents, mostly from the oceanside units, are among the missing nine days later, many others barely escaped. With the elevator collapsed, they descended the cracked stairwell that had separated from the wall, along the way helping neighbors they met for the first time and others they’d known for years. While their escapes felt agonizingly long, it all unfolded in mere minutes. At least 22 people have died. By Kelli Kennedy. SENT: 1,820 words, photos. An Abridged version is also available.

BUILDING COLLAPSE-MIAMI — Demolition workers planned to bring down the remainder of a collapsed condo building on Sunday ahead of an approaching storm that added to worries that the damaged structure could come down on its own, officials said. Two more bodies were found in the rubble, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 24. By Terry Spencer. SENT: 640 words, photos.

Find more on the building collapse in the AP Newsroom hub.

BIDEN — Infrastructure and cherries are on President Joe Biden’s plate during a trip to Michigan to talk up his legislative priorities. It’s part of his administration’s push for the massive public works package, though he’s the only one with a visit to a cherry farm on his schedule. Vice President Kamala Harris is going to a union training center in Las Vegas later Saturday, while first lady Jill Biden makes pitches in Maine and New Hampshire. By Josh Boak. SENT: 330 words, photos. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 4 p.m.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — Countries across Europe are scrambling to accelerate coronavirus vaccinations and outpace the spread of the more infectious delta variant, in a high-stakes race to prevent hospital wards from filling up again with patients fighting for their lives. By Barry Hatton. SENT: 950 words, photos. With VIRUS-OUTBREAK-THE-LATEST.

CAPITOL BREACH-DESTROYING EVIDENCE — An Associated Press review of court records finds that at least 49 Capitol riot defendants have been accused of trying to erase incriminating photos, videos and texts from phones or social media accounts. Authorities say other rioters who haven’t been accused of destroying evidence still engaged in exchanges with others about deleting content. Experts say evidence concealment or destruction can serve as proof of people’s consciousness of guilt and make it harder to negotiate plea deals and seek leniency at sentencing. By Jacques Billeaud. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

TROPICAL WEATHER-ATLANTIC — Hurricane Elsa fell back to tropical storm force as it raced toward Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, but it still threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida. The storm was located about 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic and was moving west-northwest at 29 mph (46 kph). By Danica Coto and Evens Sanon. SENT: 730 words, photos.

DATA SERVICES-CYBERATTACK — Businesses are scrambling to contain a ransomware attack that has paralyzed their computer networks, a situation complicated in the U.S. by offices lightly staffed at the start of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. By Matt O'Brien. SENT: 580 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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TRAFFIC-STOP-ARMED-MEN — Massachusetts state police say 11 suspects have been taken into custody following an hourslong standoff that prompted the partial closure of Interstate 95 and shelter-in-place orders for areas near where the incident took place. SENT: 550 words, photo.

CANADA-TRAIN-DERAILS — A train carrying tar sands and timber has derailed in the Canadian province of Alberta, spilling at least part of its load, officials said, though there were no reports of injuries. SENT: 100 words, photos.

RAINBOW GATHERING — A group known as the Rainbow Family are gathering this year in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and elsewhere for their annual July 4th celebration. It will culminate Sunday in a silent hand-holding circle punctuated by a loud “ohm.” Forest Service officials are monitoring the group and have given out citations for drug possession and minor infractions. SENT: 790 words, photos.

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MORE ON VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-US — Fifteen months after the pandemic transformed Las Vegas from flamboyant spectacle to ghost town, Sin City is back. Tourists are streaming in again, gambling revenue has hit an all-time high, the Las Vegas Strip has its first new casino in a decade, and big concerts are starting at a gleaming new stadium. But that progress is threatened: Nevada this week saw the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country, hospitalizations are on the rise again, and the highly contagious delta variant has become the most prevalent form of the virus in the state, adding urgency to the campaign to get more people vaccinated. SENT: 830 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IRAN — President Hassan Rouhani said Iran may face another wave of coronavirus infections, as health officials warned of the spread of the more infectious delta variant of the virus. SENT: 570 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AFGHANISTAN — Afghanistan’s health minister says a deadly fungal infection known as “black fungus’ that first surfaced in Indian COVID-19 patients has been detected in Afghanistan, which is in the middle of a brutal third wave of the coronavirus. SENT: 200 words.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-INDONESIA — After a slow vaccination rollout, Indonesia is now racing to inoculate as many people as possible as it battles an explosion of cases that have strained hospitals. On Saturday, the strictest measures this year enter force, including work from home, the closure of places of worship and malls, and restaurants allowed delivery only. SENT: 910 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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CLOSED-CAPITOL — As it has been for nearly 16 months, longer than any time in the nation’s history, the U.S. Capitol is closed to most public visitors. The one-two punch of the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered the Capitol’s doors in the spring of 2020 and the deadly insurrection by then-President Donald Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6 has left the icon of American democracy unopen to all but a select few. As the rest of the nation emerges this July Fourth holiday from the pandemic for cookouts and fireworks that President Joe Biden is encouraging from the White House, the people’s house faces new threats of violence, virus variants and a more difficult moment. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

JILL BIDEN — Within the span of 36 hours last week, Jill Biden went from clinking cups of beer with Doug Emhoff, the vice president’s spouse, at a baseball game in Houston to joining the president in Florida to comfort families affected by the collapsed condominium building in Surfside. The breadth of her travel illustrated the range of missions and emotions associated with a first lady’s movements around the country. And Jill Biden is doing it all while juggling her job outside the White House and keeping up with her family. SENT: 990 words, photos.

BIDEN-LGBTQ ENVOY — Jessica Stern will soon become the State Department’s special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights. As she assesses the challenges that lie ahead, Stern sees a mix of promising developments and worrisome news almost everywhere she looks. SENT: 510 words, photo.

ELECTION-2020-ARIZONA-TRUMP — Newly released records show the top Republicans in Arizona’s largest county dodged calls from Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the 2020 election, as the then-president sought to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in key battleground states. SENT: 640 words.

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NATIONAL

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CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES — Firefighters were making progress against Northern California forest fires that burned several homes and forced thousands to flee communities even as authorities prepared for a hot, crowded Fourth of July weekend that could bring the threat of new blazes. SENT: 430 words, photos, video.

DISPUTED PIPELINE-TENNESSEE — Environmentalists and activists claimed victory after a company canceled plans to build an oil pipeline through southwest Tennessee and north Mississippi, and over an aquifer that provides drinking water to 1 million people. SENT: 760 words, photo.

RESTAURANTS-OYSTER COLONY — Shells discarded by diners are being collected, cleaned and dumped into waterways around the country and the world, where they form the basis of new oyster colonies. A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ELECTED-SCHOOL-BOARD-CHICAGO — Chicago is on the verge of having a fully elected school board for the first time in its history. The move follows decades of organizing by parents, activists and unions. With the shift, Chicago would join most American cities in having an elected board. SENT: 900 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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AFGHANISTAN-INTELLIGENCE LOSSES — The two-decade war in Afghanistan has given U.S. spies a perch for keeping tabs on terrorist groups that might once again use the beleaguered nation to plan attacks against the U.S. homeland. But that will end soon with the withdrawal of U.S. troops, leaving intelligence agencies scrambling. By NOMAAN MERCHANT. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. With UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN — The U.S. military vacates its biggest airfield in Afghanistan. SENT: 940 words, photos. With: AFGHANISTAN-20-YEARS-PHOTO-GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: US troops on front lines of America’s longest war. SENT: 230 words, photos.

JAPAN-MUDSLIDE — A powerful mudslide carrying a deluge of black water and debris crashed into rows of houses in a town west of Tokyo following heavy rains, leaving at least 19 people missing, officials said. SENT: 350 words, photos.

VATICAN-SCANDAL — A Vatican judge indicted 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, on charges including embezzlement, abuse of office, extortion and fraud in connection with the Secretariat of State’s 350 million-euro investment in a London real estate venture. SENT: 850 words. With: VATICAN-SCANDAL-EXPLAINER — A breakdown of the case, the accusations and some of the key players. SENT: 780 words, photos.

BRAZIL-BOLSONARO — Brazil’s Supreme Court has authorized a criminal investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to allegations of potential corruption within his Health Ministry involving a vaccine deal. SENT: 345 words, photo.

FRANCE-FAR-RIGHT-WOES — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is facing stinging criticism for making her party too mainstream, dulling its extremist edge, and ignoring grassroots members, with voices from inside and outside warning this could cost her votes in next year’s presidential race. SENT: 800 words, photos.

SYRIA — Artillery fire from government-controlled territory and airstrikes killed at least eight civilians in Syria’s last rebel enclave, most of them children, and destroyed a civil defense center and a water station, rescue workers and a war monitor said. SENT: 380 words.

IRAN-NUCLEAR — Iran’s sole nuclear power plant is back online following an emergency shutdown two weeks ago, state TV reported. The report quoted Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, spokesperson for the country’s energy ministry, as saying the Bushehr plant “returned to the production of energy” after the completion of needed maintenance. SENT: 300 words.

POLAND-POLITICS — Former European Union leader and ex-Prime Minister Donald Tusk was elected head of the strongest party in Poland’s fragmented opposition. Tusk, 64, said he is returning to Polish politics and to the opposition Civic Platform party to help fight the “evil” of the current right-wing government. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MIGRATION-EUROPE-TUNISIA — The Tunisian Red Crescent says at least 43 migrants have drowned off the coast of Tunisia and 84 others have been rescued after their boat capsized overnight. The head of the organization told the Associated Press the boat, which was carrying 127 migrants, left Libya’s coastal city of Zuwara on Friday to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Italy. SENT: 230 words.

BRITAIN-FANS-RETURN-PHOTO-GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: British sports fans making up for lost time. SENT: 600 words, photos.

LIBYA — The U.N. says Libyan delegates have failed to agree on a legal framework to hold presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, putting an agreed-upon roadmap to end the conflict there in jeopardy. SENT: 600 words.

PALESTINIANS-PROTEST — Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday to demonstrate against President Mahmoud Abbas, hoping to inject new momentum into a protest movement sparked by the death of an outspoken critic in the custody of security forces. SENT: 430 words.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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JOB MARKET-SHRINKING POPULATIONS — as America’s job market rebounds and the need for workers intensifies, employers will likely have little chance to relax. Consider that the number of working age people did something last year it had never done in the history of the United States: It shrank. A continuing drop in that population, or even a tepid increase, would pose a problem for the economy. SENT: 1,350 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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SEMENYA-WHAT NOW? — This could be it for Caster Semenya and the Olympics. Forced out of her favorite race by World Athletics’ testosterone rules, the two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters took a late shot at qualifying for Tokyo in the 5,000 meters, an event not affected by the hormone regulations. She came up short. SENT: 800 words, photos.

BKN--HAWKS-BUCKS -- The Bucks need one win to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974 when they face the Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. All eyes are on Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Atlanta’s Trae Young, both hoping to play after being sidelined with injuries. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:30 p.m.

TEN--WIMBLEDON -- For once, Roger Federer may not be the unanimous fan favorite on Centre Court. The eight-time Wimbledon champion faces Cameron Norrie, the only British man left in the draw. Federer, 39, is the oldest man in Wimbledon’s third round since 1975. U.S. teenager Coco Gauff reaches the fourth round. SENT: 360 words, photos. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.

HKN--STANLEY CUP —The Lightning, behind Nikita Kucherov’s three goals and two assists in the Stanley Cup Final, are on the verge of a second consecutive championship. Tampa Bay leads the Canadiens 3-0 and can complete a sweep Monday night in Montreal. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Rob Jagodzinski can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, (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 844-777-2006.