AP News Digest 3 a.m.

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
APTOPIX Israel Palestinians

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TOP STORIES

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GAZA-HOMELESS AGAIN — It took Ramez al-Masri three years to rebuild his home after it was destroyed in a 2014 Israeli offensive. When fighting returned to the area last week, it took just a few seconds for the house to be flattened again in an Israeli airstrike. He now finds himself among the thousands of Gazans who once again are homeless. Al-Masri is counting on international aid to rebuild his home. But after a yearlong pandemic and fatigue with years of Mideast deadlock, it remains unclear whether the international community is prepared to open its wallet once again. By Fares Akram SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIA — The COVID-19 death toll in India has passed 300,000 as a devastating surge of new infections appears to be easing in big cities. But the virus isn’t finished with India by any means. As megacities such as Mumbai and New Delhi see some improvement, the virus appears to be taking a ghastly toll in the country’s vast rural areas. SENT: 500 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTREAK-ONE LITTLE CITY — As the pandemic began sweeping America, the world watched as New York City’s streets echoed with the wail of ambulances. But in a little-known working-class New England city, the virus was starting to burn through the streets like a firestorm. Central Falls — the poorest and smallest city in the nation’s smallest state — is also among the hardest hit there by COVID-19. It’s a place where conversations regularly stumble into heartache. The dead husband. The mother who came from Guatemala in search of a better life, only to die in a new land. The Polish priest who buried parishioner after parishioner. But if you ask, people here tell you their stories. By Tim Sullivan. SENT: 2,290 words, photos. This story has an abridged version.

BELARUS-OPPOSITION — A prominent opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president has been arrested after the airliner in which he was traveling was diverted to the country after a bomb threat. The opposition and Western officials denounced the incident Sunday as a hijacking operation by the Belarus government. Raman Pratasevich faces charges that could bring 15 years in prison in Belarus was aboard the Ryanair flight from Athens, Greece, to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius when it changed course to head for Minsk. The plane was allowed to continue to Vilnius after several hours in Minsk. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called the incident a “state-sponsored terror act.” By Liudas Dapkus SENT: 830 words, photos.

ITALY-CABLE CAR DEATHS — Italy’s transport minister is heading to the scene of a cable car disaster that killed 14 people. Witnesses and local authorities say the lead cable apparently snapped and the emergency brake failed to stop the cabin from careening back down the mountain until it pulled off the line and crashed to the ground. SENT: 530 words, photos.

GEORGE FLOYD — Members of George Floyd’s family, and others who lost loved ones to police encounters, joined activists and citizens in Minneapolis for a march that was one of several events planned nationwide to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death. By Mohamed Ibrahim. SENT: 430 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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ROAD RAGE-BOY SLAIN— The family of a 6-year-old California boy who was shot to death by another driver in a road-rage attack announced a $50,000 reward on Sunday for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. SENT: 260 words.

NEW ZEALAND-GOVERNOR-GENERAL — Cindy Kiro says she hopes to inspire Maori girls after becoming the first Indigenous woman appointed as New Zealand’s governor-general. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she had picked Kiro for the largely ceremonial role as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative, and that the queen had approved. SENT: 330 words, photos.

RAND PAUL-VACCINE — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said on a radio show he won’t be getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but that he might change his mind if people who previously contracted the disease are getting reinfected at a greater rate than those who are vaccinated. SENT: 330 words.

CHINA-AUSTRALIA — Australia says its citizen Yang Hengjun will be tried by a Chinese court on espionage charges on Thursday amid deteriorating relations between the countries. SENT: 230 words, photos.

GAS PRICES — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline jumped 8 cents over the past two weeks, to $3.10 per gallon. SENT: 170 words.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-SURVIVING DAUGHTER'S REMORSE — Michelle Pepe unwittingly exposed her parents to the coronavirus when she visited them for her mother’s 80th birthday in Florida. Her mom survived, but her dad died on April 13, 2020, and she struggles with guilt. Countless people around the world are struggling to shake off the heavy burden of feeling responsible for a loved one’s death from COVID-19. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBRREAK-JAPAN — Japan mobilized military doctors and nurses to give shots to elderly people in Tokyo and Osaka as the government desperately tries to accelerate its vaccination rollout and curb coronavirus infections just two months before hosting the Olympics. SENT: 610 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WHITMER-APOLOGY — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has apologized after apparently violating state-mandated social distancing guidelines at a local restaurant. The Detroit Free Press reports Sunday that a photo circulated on social media shows Whitmer with a large group of unmasked people at an East Lansing bar and grill. SENT: 390 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ETHIOPIA-TIGRAY CONFLICT-UNITED STATES — The United States is restricting visas for people undermining efforts to resolve the deadly fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Other U.S. actions linked to the crisis include wide-ranging restrictions on economic and security assistance to Ethiopia. SENT: 600 words, photos.

CONGRESS-EARMARKS -- Banished from Congress for over a decade, earmarks suddenly returning in this year’s spending bills with about $14 billion, or 1% percent of discretionary spending, devoted to lawmakers’ pet projects. Many Republicans are refusing to earmark as a matter of principle, characterizing it as graft. By Kevin Freking and John Mone. SENT: 1,180 words, photos, video.

TEXAS-O’ROURKE -- There’s no road trip or soul searching, no beard or blogging. Beto O’Rourke, once Democrats’ breakout presidential star from Texas, is weighing a new campaign -- this time quietly -- for governor. By Paul J. Weber and Will Weissert. SENT: 940 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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IRAN-NUCLEAR — Iran’s hard-line parliament speaker says a temporary deal between Tehran and international inspectors to preserve surveillance images taken at nuclear sites had ended. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency said talks with Tehran continued into Sunday night over that agreement. SENT: 880 words, photos.

SUEZ CANAL-VESSEL — An Egyptian appeals court says it lacks jurisdiction to look into the Suez Canal Authority’s demands to uphold financial claims that led to the the seizure of the cargo ship that blocked the waterway in March. The authority and the ship’s owners dispute who was at fault when the Ever Given ran aground and how much compensation should be paid. SENT: 720 words, photos.

CHINA-US-SOLAR DILEMNA — The Biden administration’s solar power ambitions are colliding with complaints the global industry depends on Chinese raw materials that might be produced by forced labor. A big hurdle is polysilicon, used to make solar panels. The global industry gets 45% of its supply from Xinjiang, the northwestern region where the ruling Communist Party is accused of mass incarceration of minorities and other abuses. SENT: 1,110 words, photos.

SAMOA-LEADERSHIP BATTLE — Samoa was plunged into a constitutional crisis after the woman who won an election last month was locked out of Parliament and the previous leader claimed he remained in charge. The fast-moving events marked the latest twists in a bitter power struggle that has been playing out in the small Pacific nation since it elected its first female leader. SENT: 540 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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POLICE CHASE-SHOTS FIRED — Authorities in South Carolina say they believe they’ve closed in on a man accused of four killings in two states who has eluded police for almost a week. The Chester County Sheriff’s Office says it had a perimeter set up with 200 officers Sunday night in the search for 26-year-old Tyler Terry. SENT: words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MUSIC-BILLBOARD AWARDS — It was a family affair at the Billboard Music Awards: Pink twirled in the air in a powerful performance with her daughter, and Drake was named artist of the decade, accepting the honor alongside his 3-year-old son. The Weeknd was on hand to accept the most wins of the night — 10. He walked into the show with 16 nominations, winning honors like top artist, top Hot 100 song for “Blinding Lights” and top R&B album for “After Hours.” Pink’s performance was one of several pre-taped moments at the awards show, which aired on NBC. Live performances were held outdoors, in front of feverish audience members wearing masks. By Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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GLF--PGA CHAMPIONSHIP — What will Phil do next? Win a major at age 50. Phil Mickelson put himself in the record book Sunday by winning the PGA Championship to become the oldest major champion in golf history. And he didn’t have to work all that hard for it. Mickelson was in a tight race for the opening hour until Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen made all the wrong moves. Mickelson won his sixth major and becomes the first player in PGA Tour history to win 30 years apart. Next up is the U.S. Open and renewed hope for a career Grand Slam. SENT: 1,250 words. WITH: GLF--PGA Championship-The Latest, GLF--PGA-Notebook, GLF--PGA-Glance (SENT).

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Shameka Dudley-Lowe 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 877-836-9477.

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