AP News Digest 3 a.m.

Via AP news wire
Friday 25 December 2020 08:00 GMT
APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Congress
APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Congress (Copyright 2020 Jacquelyn Martin. All rights reserved.)

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





VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHINA-VACCINES — With rich countries snapping up supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, some parts of the world may have to rely on Chinese-developed shots to try to conquer the outbreak. The question: Will they work? There is no outward reason to believe they won’t, but China has a history of vaccine scandals, and its drugmakers have revealed little about their final human trials and the more than 1 million emergency-use inoculations they say have been carried out inside the country already. SENT: 935 words, photos

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ASIA — South Korea has reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Christmas Day, as the prime minister pleaded for vigilance to arrest a viral surge that has worsened hospitalization and deaths. The 1,241 new cases confirmed by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Friday brought the country’s caseload to 54,770. SENT: 545 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS — The United States will require airline passengers from Britain to get a negative COVID-19 test before their flight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Thursday. The U.S. is the latest country to announce new travel restrictions because of a new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading in Britain and elsewhere. SENT: 400 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA — California’s deadly Christmas was marked by pleas to stay away from holiday gatherings outside the home and indoor church services in what could be a make-or-break effort to curb a coronavirus surge that already has filled some hospitals well beyond normal capacity. Festive gatherings with friends and family might be tempting after a year that has seen the pandemic take at least 23,635 lives and ravage the economy as much of the state remained under a stay-at-home order that has closed nonessential businesses. SENT: 835 words, photos.

TRUMP-CHRISTMAS — After tossing a grenade that threatens to blow up a massive COVID relief and government funding bill and force a government shutdown in the midst of a pandemic, President Donald Trump spent his Christmas Eve golfing in Florida Failure to agree on the bill could deny checks to millions of Americans on the brink. SENT: 900 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS — President Donald Trump’s sudden demand for $2,000 checks for most Americans was swiftly rejected by House Republicans as his haphazard actions throw a massive COVID relief and government funding bill into chaos. The rare Christmas Eve session of the House lasted just minutes, with help for millions of Americans awaiting Trump’s signature on the bill. By Lisa Mascaro and Andrew Taylor. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHRISTMAS EVE — Bethlehem on Thursday ushered in Christmas Eve with a stream of joyous marching bands and the triumphant arrival of the top Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land, but few people were there to greet them as the coronavirus pandemic and a strict lockdown dampened celebrations in the traditional birthplace of Jesus. Similar subdued scenes were repeated across the world as the festive family gatherings and packed prayers that typically mark the holiday were scaled back or canceled altogether. SENT: 1,435 words, photos. WITH: VATICAN-CHRISTMAS EVE — Pope Francis celebrates Christmas Eve with midnight Mass at the Vatican.




GAZA-HERITAGE PRESERVATION — A group of artists in the Gaza Strip has launched an initiative to save an ever-dwindling number of historic structures at risk of demolition. The buildings go back hundreds of years — to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. SENT: 610 words, photos.

MICHAEL JACKSON-NEVERLAND RANCH SOLD — Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California has found a new owner in billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. SENT: 200 words, photos.

FRANCE-NOTRE DAME — Wearing hard hats and protective suits, members of the choir of Notre Dame Cathedral sang inside the medieval Paris landmark for the first time since last year’s devastating fire for a special Christmas Eve concert. SENT: 270 words, photos.

MISSISSIPPI-DEATH PENALTY CASE-NFL — The NFL says it is honoring Curtis Flowers, a Black man from Mississippi who was imprisoned more than 22 years. SENT: 440 words, photos.

CHRISTMAS-SANTA TRACKING — The North American Aerospace Defense Command used to monitor for signs of a nuclear attack. But this year, the command is making sure the coronavirus won’t sideline the fabled Santa Claus from delivering gifts around the world. SENT: 520 words, photos.

NOT REAL NEWS — False claims about Congress and the coronavirus spread online this week as a $900 billion COVID-19 relief and government funding bill passed both chambers but did not find favor with President Donald Trump. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

FLORIDA-CHRISTMAS — With unexpectedly cold weather in the forecast and pandemic-related curfews in some places, Florida is about to have a Christmas unlike any other in recent memory, and it may involve falling iguanas. SENT: 400 words, photos.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-GREECE-EMPTY STREETS — It’s been a while since visitors to Greece sought out souvenirs in Athens’ oldest neighborhood. The winding streets of Plaka, laid out long before the city imported a grid system, are lined with closed stores behind aluminum shutters. The coronavirus pandemic has kept tourists away from the historic city center that forms a semi-circle around the Acropolis, and the area remained unusually devoid of pedestrians and motorists before Christmas. SENT: 250 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ONE GOOD THING-HONG KONG FRIDGE — Most people who head to Woosung Street in Hong Kong’s old-school neighborhood of Jordan are visiting its popular restaurants serving everything from curries to seafood. Others may be headed for a lone refrigerator, painted blue, with a sign that reads: “Give what you can give, take what you need to take.” SENT: 360 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LATIN AMERICA — An intensive care nurse in Mexico City on Thursday became the first person in Latin America to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine. SENT: 585 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US SURGE — Hard-hit California eclipsed 2 million coronavirus cases on Christmas Eve as the U.S. headed into a holiday season of travel and family gatherings that threaten to fuel the deadly crisis across the nation. SENT: 595 words, photos. WITH: VIRUS OUTBREAK-THE LATEST, Virus Outbreak-Things to Know.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WINTER HOMELESS — The pandemic has caught homeless service providers in a crosscurrent: Demand is high but their ability to provide services is constricted. Shelter operators who already cut capacity to meet social distance requirements face new stresses with winter looming. Coming in from the cold can now mean spending a night in a warehouse, an old Greyhound bus station, schools or an old jail. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Truckers and travelers stuck in a days-long gridlock at the English port of Dover started heading to France on Thursday after the country partially reopened its borders with Britain following international concern over a rapidly spreading new coronavirus variant. SENT: 680 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ITALY RESTRICTIONS — Police in Italy enforced new COVID-19 travel restrictions aimed at limiting far-flung families from gathering over Christmas as public health officials appealed Thursday for people to use common sense to prevent new infections over the holidays. SENT: 730 words, photos.

Find more coverage on the Virus Outbreak on the featured topic page in AP Newsroom.




ELECTION 2020-WISCONSIN — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a decision dismissing a lawsuit seeking to declare President Donald Trump won swing state Wisconsin. SENT: 255 words.

ELECTION 2020-MICHIGAN THREATS — The Republican chair of a county canvassing board in Michigan who initially refused to certify local election results that favored Democrat Joe Biden over President Donald Trump says Thursday that she doesn’t know a woman charged with sending her threatening text messages. SENT: 475 words, photo.

UNITED STATES-MOROCCO-WESTERN SAHARA — The State Department says the United States will open a consulate in Western Sahara following President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed region. By Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee. SENT: 285 words, photo.




JAPAN-GENDER EQUALITY — Japan on Friday adopted a plan that delays women’s advancement goals by up to a decade after failing to reach even half of the 30% target by 2020 and other measures. SENT: 355 words, photo.

LEBANON-ISRAEL — Israeli jets flew very low over parts of Lebanon early Friday, terrifying residents on Christmas Eve, some of whom reported seeing missiles in the skies over Beirut. SENT: 250 words.

PAKISTAN-DANIEL PEARL — A provincial court in Pakistan ordered the release of a British-born Pakistani man charged in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. SENT: 505 words, photos.

BREXIT — Just a week before the deadline, Britain and the European Union struck a tentative free-trade deal Thursday that should avert economic chaos on New Year’s and bring a measure of certainty for businesses after years of Brexit turmoil. SENT: 1,160 words, photos. WITH: Brexit-Economy-Explainer, Brexit-Timeline.




RACIAL INJUSTICE-COLUMBUS POLICE — The police chief of Columbus, Ohio, recommended on Thursday that the officer who shot and killed Andre Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, earlier this week be fired. SENT: 545 words, photos.

UPS DRIVER KILLED — A UPS employee accused of fatally assaulting a co-worker he was helping deliver packages told police he stabbed the man before fleeing into the woods, according to an arrest warrant released Thursday. SENT: 480 words, photo.

HOLIDAY STORM — Strong winds and bitter cold pummeled the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Thursday as the region dug out from a winter storm that closed interstate highways and grounded flights. SENT: 215 words, photos.




FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks rose in China and were little changed in Japan on Friday with most world markets closed for Christmas holidays. SENT: 285 words, photo.




OBIT-LESLIE WEST — Leslie West, an iconic guitarist-vocalist who was behind several ’70s rock anthems including “Mississippi Queen” with the band Mountain, has died. He was 75. SENT: 365 words, photos.




HEISMAN FINALISTS — Alabama teammates Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith along with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask have been named finalists for the Heisman Trophy. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 450 words, photos.

FBN-PLAYERS ACTIVISM — For several NFL stars, speaking out against social injustice meant speaking to youngsters who have experienced racism. Travis Kelce, Derrick Henry, Tyler Lockett and Calais Campbell each spent time this season chatting with students about a film that focuses on social and emotional effects of racism against Black men and boys. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. SENT: 650 words, photos.

YE—LAMENTATION FOR SPORTS — The AP makes its annual foray into verse, this time capturing the rhythms of a sports year in unprecedented upheaval. It began with the New Year’s Day death of David Stern and followed with the fatal helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant, the lockdown of sports, the struggles for social justice and the restart of games during a pandemic. As the year-end verse asks at the outset: “Well, had enough yet?/Don’t look at the score./How bad did it get?/Like nothing before.” By Fred Lief. SENT: 1,380 words, photos.

Find more year-end coverage on the featured topic page in AP Newsroom.




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