AP News Digest 2 p.m.

APTOPIX Haiti President Killed
APTOPIX Haiti President Killed

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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ONLY ON AP

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AP-POLL-INFRASTRUCTURE — About 8 in 10 Americans favor plans to increase funding for roads, bridges and ports and for pipes that supply drinking water. But a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that’s about as far as Democrats and Republicans intersect on infrastructure. President Joe Biden has bet that a handshake with a group of Republican senators would be enough to power a $973 billion infrastructure deal through Congress, while Democrats would separately take up a $3.5 trillion proposal that could include money for child tax credits, schools, health care and clean energy. The poll finds 55% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of infrastructure; 42% disapprove. By Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut. SENT: 805 words, photos.

CHINA-LARGEST DETENTION CENTER — China’s largest detention center is twice the size of Vatican City and has room for at least 10,000 inmates. The AP was the first Western media allowed in during a state-led tour of Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in the far western region of Xinjiang. No. 3 was converted from an internment camp into a pre-trial detention facility, the AP found, in what appears to be an attempt to move Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities into a more permanent prison system justified under the law. By Dake Kang. SENT: 1,700 words, photos. An abridged version of 1,000 words is also available.

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TOP STORIES

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VIRUS OUTBREAK — Death rates are soaring across Southeast Asia as virus wave spreads. Indonesia has converted nearly its entire oxygen production to medical use just to meet the demand from COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe. Overflowing hospitals in Malaysia had to resort to treating patients on the floor. And in Myanmar’s largest city, graveyard workers have been laboring day and night. Just in the last two weeks, the three Southeast Asian nations have all surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate from a new coronavirus wave. By David Rising and Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,360 words, photos.

REPUBLICANS-VACCINES — Republican politicians are under increasing pressure to convince vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots as a new, more contagious variant sends caseloads soaring. But few are suggesting whether they’re willing to support new action. By Jill Colvin. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 5 p.m.

CAPITOL BREACH-INVESTIGATION — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection “will do the job it set out to do” after Republicans have said they will boycott the probe. She left open the possibility that she would appoint other members to the panel, as she has the authority to do under committee rules. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

WESTERN-WILDFIRES — Lower winds and better weather helped crews using bulldozers and helicopters battling the nation’s largest wildfire in southern Oregon while a Northern California wildfire crossed into Nevada, prompting new evacuations as blazes burn across the West. By Nathan Howard. SENT: 560 words, photos. With WILDFIRES-SMOKE EXPLAINER — As wildlife smoke spreads, who’s at risk? SENT: 880 words, photos.

HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED-COLOMBIA — The assassination of Haiti’s president this month has exposed an industry of retired Colombian soldiers who feed private security enterprises around the world. Haitian authorities have implicated at least 20 retired Colombian soldiers in the slaying of President Jovenel Moïse. By Regina Garcia Cano and Astrid Suarez. SENT: 1,090 words, photos. WITH: HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED — Hundreds of workers fled businesses in northern Haiti after demonstrations near the hometown of assassinated President Jovenel Moïse grew violent ahead of his funeral. SENT: 440 words, photos.

OPENING-CEREMONY-DIRECTOR-FIRED — The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.” By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 650 words, photo. WITH: OLYMPIC SCANDALS-- From doping, to demonstrations to dirty officials to the reluctant postponement of the Tokyo Games, the Olympics have never lacked their share of off-the-field scandals that keep the Games in the headlines long after the torch goes out. SENT: 800 words, photos.

Find more stories on the 2020-Tokyo olympics here

AMAZON-BUZZERS — Amazon is pushing landlords around the country to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment building front doors whenever they need to leave packages in the lobby instead of the street. The service, called Amazon Key for Business, allows delivery workers to make their rounds faster since they don’t have to ring doorbells. And fewer stolen packages could give Amazon an edge over other online retailers. But there could be drawbacks. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 965 words, photos.

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THE OLYMPICS

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EXPLAINER-PROTEST-RULE — The simple act of taking a knee felt like something more monumental when it happened on Olympic soccer pitches in Japan on the opening night of action. Players from the U.S., Sweden, Chile, Britain and New Zealand women’s teams went to a knee before their games, anti-racism gestures the likes of which had not been seen before on the Olympic stage. They figured to be the first of many of these sort of demonstrations over the three-week stay in Tokyo. SENT: 700 words, photo.

OLY-ATHLETE PROTESTS — After images of Olympic soccer players taking a knee were excluded from official highlight tapes and social media channels, the IOC says kneeling protests will be shown in the future. Players from five women’s teams kneeled on the first day of competition, the first day such gestures were allowed at the Olympics. SENT: 400 words, photos.

THE-DIRTY GAMES? — It’s one of the uncomfortable realities of the Tokyo Olympics. Not a single one of the approximately 11,000 athletes competing over the next 17 days has been held to the highest standards of the world anti-doping code over the critical 16-month period leading into the Games. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

OLY-TV-CROWD-NOISE — One of Molly Solomon’s favorite memories from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics was watching Lindsey Vonn before she skied. Cameras in the start house would focus on her, with microphones picking up her breathing while she listened to final instructions. With no spectators in the stands during the Tokyo Games, Solomon is hoping to pick up on more of those moments. The NBC Olympics executive producer says the network will not add additional crowd noise to its coverage. SENT: 515 words, photos.

OLY-GUINEA-WITHDRAWS — The African country of Guinea has pulled out of this year’s Olympics, keeping five athletes from competing at the Tokyo Games. Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow blamed the virus and its variants. SENT: 240 words.

JILL-BIDEN — Jill Biden is in Tokyo on her first solo international trip as first lady. She’s leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games. SENT: 890 words, photos.

EXPLAINER-SURFING — Surfing is as much skill and science as instinct and timing. SENT: 980 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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MUSIC-KANYE-WEST — Kanye West knows how to make a splash even with an upcoming listening event in Atlanta. SENT: 370 words, photo.

INTERNET-OUTAGE — Major websites went down in what appeared to be a brief but widespread outage. The websites of Airbnb, AT&T, Costco and Delta showed error messages around midday. SENT: 75 words.

ECUADOR-PRISON-VIOLENCE — Rival gangs of inmates have fought in two prisons in Ecuador, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens. SENT: 115 words, photos.

CHICAGO-VIOLENCE — Police say a drive-by shooting in Chicago wounded eight people who had been riding on a party bus, one of several shootings in the city that left at least three people dead on the same day. SENT: 370 words, photo.

ITALY-CAPRI-BUS-CRASH — Italian firefighters say a public bus on the vacation island of Capri crashed through a guardrail and landed on a beach resort area. Capri’s mayor said the bus driver died. SENT: 180 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-US — The White House addresses a summer-time surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases that is spreading fast through the South, most prominently in Louisiana. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SMALL-BUSINESS-TOURISM — Small businesses in the U.S. that depend on tourism and vacationers say business is bouncing back, as Americans rebook postponed trips and spend freely on food, entertainment and souvenirs. SENT: 1,115 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JAPAN — Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases a day before the Olympics begin, as worries grow of a worsening of infections during the Games. SENT: 370 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CHINA-COVID-ORIGINS — China says it won’t accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19. Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the National Health Commission, says he was “rather taken aback” by the call for a further look into the pandemic’s origins and specifically, the theory that the virus might have leaked from a Chinese lab. SENT: 600 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRAL QUESTIONS-BREAKTHROUGH CASES — A small number of COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases are expected after vaccination, and health officials say they’re not a cause for alarm. SENT: 380 words, graphic.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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BIDEN-ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT — President Joe Biden’s administration says it is making $3 billion in economic development grants available to communities — a tenfold increase in the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tells The Associated Press her agency will begin accepting applications for the competitive grants, which officials hope will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. SENT: 335 words, photos.

UNITED-STATES-AFGHANISTAN — The U.S. military launched several airstrikes this week in support of Afghan government forces fighting Taliban insurgents, including in the strategically important province of Kandahar, officials said. SENT: 660 words, photos. WITH: UNITED STATES-AFGHAN-VISAS — House lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to allow in thousands more of the Afghans who worked alongside Americans in the Afghanistan war. SENT: 325 words,

JUSTICE-DEPARTMENT-GUN-TRAFFICKING — The Justice Department is launching gun trafficking strike forces in five cities in the U.S. It’s part of an effort to reduce spiking violent crime by addressing illegal trafficking and prosecuting offenses that help put guns in the hands of criminals. Attorney General Merrick Garland is launching the strike forces on Thursday in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. SENT: 540 words, photos.

IOWA-SENATE-FINKENAUER — Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer is running for Republican Chuck Grassley’s U.S. Senate seat. The one-term former congresswoman hopes her blue-collar credentials will propel her forward in a state that has grown more conservative over the years. SENT: 625 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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PANDEMIC-AFRICA-SOUTH-SUDAN-MOTHERS — Even before the pandemic hit, South Sudanese women were accustomed to building lives on the edge of uncertainty. But COVID-19 is shaking that fragile foundation. The country is just a decade old and one of the world’s most difficult places to raise children. Coronavirus has exacerbated hunger and poverty. And inflation is hollowing out earnings. Some women are getting jobs outside home for the first time. SENT: 1,490 words, photos, video. An abridged version of 1,020 words is also available.

JERUSALEM-SHRINE-BRIDGE — A rickety bridge allowing access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site is at risk of collapse, according to experts, but the flashpoint shrine’s delicate position at ground-zero of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has prevented its repair for more than a decade. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

NORWAY-ATTACK-ANNIVERSARY — Commemorations have begun to mark 10 years since Norway’s worst ever peacetime slaughter. On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Breivik set off a bomb in the capital, Oslo, killing eight people, before heading to tiny Utoya island where he stalked and shot dead 69 mostly teen members of the Labor Party’s youth wing. SENT: 715 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WILDFIRES-EXPLAINER — A look at what’s fuelling thousands of wildfires that engulf broad expanses of Russia each year, destroying forests and shrouding territories in acrid smoke. SENT: 770 words, photos.

KOREAS-US-NUCLEAR — Top U.S. and South Korean officials agreed to try to convince North Korea to return to talks on its nuclear program, which Pyongyang has insisted it won’t do in protest of what it calls U.S. hostility. SENT: 500 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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INDIGENOUS BOARDING SCHOOLS-CHURCHES — Top officials in the Episcopal Church launch a review of the denomination’s role in operating boarding schools for Native American children for many decades in the past. The initiative follows the discoveries of unmarked graves at similar schools in Canada, and announcement of a U.S. Interior Department review of such schools by the U.S. , most of which which church-run. SENT: 1,260 words, photos. Eds: An abriged version of 990 words is available.

NASHVILLE-INTERSTATE-RACE — Tennessee state Rep. Harold Love Jr.’s father put up a fight in the 1960s against rerouting Interstate 40 because he believed it would stifle and isolate Nashville’s Black community. His father was forced to sell a North Nashville home to make way for the highway. After his father’s prediction came true, Love Jr. is now part of a group pushing to build a cap across the highway that would create a community space to help reunify the city. The $120 million project is being spearheaded by Mayor John Cooper’s administration. SENT: 1,075 words, photos.

BRIBERY-INVESTIGATION-OHIO — The energy giant at the center of a $60 million bribery scheme in Ohio admitted to riveting new details of its role in the conspiracy as part of a settlement agreement with federal prosecutors, including how it used secret dark money groups to fund the effort and paid a soon-to-be top utility regulator to write the legislation it got in exchange. SENT: 725 words, photo.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi attorney general’s office is expected to file briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court to outline the state’s arguments in a case that could upend nearly 50 years of court rulings on abortion rights nationwide. SENT: 390 words, photo.

GEORGIA-CHASE-DEADLY-SHOOTING — A judge is expected to delve into the jury selection process at a hearing for the upcoming murder trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased and shot after he was spotted running in a Georgia neighborhood. SENT: 330 words, photos.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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COCKATOOS OPEN BINS AUSTRALIA —- Clever cockatoos have figured out how to hoist open trash-can lids with their beaks. Scientists focused on animal cognition are tracking the spread of this new “foraging technique” across the suburbs of Sydney. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 5 p.m.

MED-SUPERBED-FUNGUS — U.S. health officials say they now have evidence that an untreatable “superbug” fungus has spread in two hospitals and a nursing home. Outbreaks of the Candida auris fungus were reported in a Washington, D.C, nursing home and at two Dallas-area hospitals. A handful of the patients had invasive fungal infections that were impervious to all three major classes of medications. SENT: 375 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT-BENEFITS —The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy. Jobless claims increased to 419,000 from 368,000 the previous week. The weekly number of first-time applications for benefits, which generally tracks layoffs, has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January. SENT: 655 words, photos.

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks were muted as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings and a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits. SENT: 345 words, photos.

DAIMLER-ELECTRIC-CARS — Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its move into electric cars. It says it can see a market scenario where all sales are electric by the end of the decade. For the shorter term the Stuttgart-based carmaker says it plans to raise its share of battery and plug-in hybrid cars to 50% of sales by 2025. SENT: 405 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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TRAVEL-WOODLAWN-CEMETERY — Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City is the resting place of scores of famous and influential people. One recent trolley tour of jazz and vaudeville greats included the gravesites of Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George M. Cohan and more. Other walking and trolley tours cover themes such as Black, Irish, Italian and women’s history. SENT: 800 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FBC--NCAA-COMPENSATING ATHLETES-RECRUITING — There are plenty of questions about the impact of college athletes profiting off their celebrity. The opportunities for athletes can now be a selling point for coaches when pitching prospects on joining their programs. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBC--CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT — If the Southeastern Conference does add Texas and Oklahoma, as is being discussed by the two schools and the powerhouse league, could that be the first domino to fall in another round or realignment that reshapes college sports? By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 700 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 844-777-2006.

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