AP News Digest 6 p.m.

Via AP news wire
Thursday 15 July 2021 23:06
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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.








BIDEN-MERKEL — Welcoming Angela Merkel to the White House for a final time, President Joe Biden renews his concerns to the German chancellor about a major Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline but says they agree Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon. Merkel is nearing the end of a political career that has spanned four American presidencies. By Aamer Madhani, Alexandra Jaffe and Frank Jordans. SENT: 920 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Updates after 6:30 p.m. dinner; 990 words by 9 p.m.

EUROPE-WEATHER — More than 60 people have died and dozens are missing as severe flooding in Germany and Belgium turned streams and streets into raging, debris-filled torrents that swept away cars and toppled houses. Recent storms across parts of western Europe made rivers and reservoirs burst their banks, triggering flash floods overnight after the saturated soil couldn’t absorb any more water. By Frank Jordans. SENT: 985 words, photos.

For more on Europe flooding, visit AP's Newsroom here.

BIDEN-CHILD TAX CREDIT — The U.S. government is starting to deposit child tax credit money into the accounts of more than 35 million families. Most families will now qualify for monthly payments of as much as $300 per child. By Josh Boak. SENT: 1,120 words, photos, video. With BIDEN-CHILD TAX CREDIT-GLANCE — How the payments work. SENT: 370 words, photos.

CONGRESS-INFRASTRUCTURE — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pressures lawmakers to reach agreement by next week on a pair of massive domestic spending measures, signaling Democrats’ desire to push ahead aggressively on President Joe Biden’s multitrillion dollar agenda. By Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 990 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN — A Taliban surge has put the insurgent force in control of key border posts, opened up fresh sources of revenue and rattled many of Afghanistan’s neighbors. In the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, a two-day regional meeting that begins Thursday was originally supposed to deal with “connectivity” in South and Central Asia, encouraging trade ties and transport issues. But it has morphed into a high-level gathering of senior U.S., Russian and EU officials that most certainly will be consumed with Afghanistan and the impact of the rapidly advancing Taliban. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 865 words, photos. With UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN-CENTRAL ASIA — American diplomats are escalating a charm offensive with Central Asian leaders as they work to secure a spot to respond to any resurgence of outside militants in Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdraws, but the nations are responding warily. SENT: 890 words, photo.




NAVY COMMANDO-FIRST FEMALE — First female sailor completes Navy special warfare training. SENT: 700 words, photo.

THAILAND-SNAKE — Bangkok’s snakes keep catchers busy despite virus surge. SENT: 360 words, photos, video.

MANATEES-RELEASED — A baby manatee and its injured mother are now swimming in Florida’s St. Johns River after undergoing four months of rehabilitation at Sea World Orlando. SENT: 270 words, photo.

NETHERLANDS-3D-PRINTED-BRIDGE — Dutch Queen Maxima has teamed up with a small robot to unveil a steel 3D-printed pedestrian bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district. SENT: 295 words, photos.

MOVIE-PRODUCER-ARREST — Movie producer charged with operating prostitution service. SENT: 300 words.

BRITAIN-SEX-PISTOLS — Two former members of the Sex Pistols are suing singer Johnny Rotten for the right to use the band’s songs in an upcoming television series about the anarchic punk icons. SENT: 285 words. _________________________________



VIRUS-OUTBREAK — As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow-flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant. SENT: 1,360 words, photos.

MED-WHO-VIRUS-ORIGINS — The head of the World Health Organization has acknowledged it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak. SENT: 620 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SURGEON GENERAL — Surgeon General Vivek Murthy urges technology companies, health care workers and everyday Americans to do more to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. By David Klepper. SENT: 520 words, photo.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-REHAB-WHILE-PREGNANT — There’s a growing movement to get help for pregnant women who are struggling to stop using drugs. But specialized rehab programs are a rarity, because many treatment options consider pregnancy to be high risk. Experts fear that even more limitations during the coronavirus pandemic will stifle progress being made to reduce the number of babies born exposed to drugs. SENT: 975 words, photos.

REL-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CATHOLIC-CLERGY — Hundreds of Catholic clergy have been killed by the coronavirus in countries hit hardest by the pandemic, including more than 290 priests in Italy and more than 500 nuns and priests in India. In the U.S., the toll includes dozens of retired or infirm nuns who lived in congregate settings across the nation. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JAPAN — New daily coronavirus cases have surged above 1,300 in Tokyo, a six-month high, as fears rise of a possible dramatic increase that could flood hospitals during the Olympics that start in eight days. SENT: 300 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA — Los Angeles County’s public health officer says a rapid and sustained increase in COVID-19 cases in the nation’s largest county requires a return to mandatory mask-wearing indoors even when people are vaccinated. SENT: 570 words, photos.

MED-MODERNA-VACCINE-KIDS — A top official at the European Medicines Agency says a decision on whether to recommend that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be authorized for children is expected late next week. SENT: 395 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRAL QUESTIONS-IMMUNE SYSTEM — COVID-19 vaccines probably won’t work as well if you have a weakened immune system, but the shots should still offer some protection. That’s why vaccination is still recommended if your immune system is weakened by disease or certain medications. SENT: 340 words, photo.




BIDEN-CRIME — The Biden administration convenes the first meeting of its community violence intervention collaborative, a group of mayors and administration officials who will work together to reduce gun violence. By Alexandra Jaffe. UPCOMING: 470 words, photo by 7 p.m.

BIDEN-SANDERS — It’s an unlikely yet understandable partnership between two former rivals — Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Together, they are trying to unite the Democrats in Congress around the president’s national rebuilding proposal. By Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

VOTING BILLS-TEXAS DEMOCRATS — Sheltered in a downtown D.C. hotel, the Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas to block a restrictive voting bill are living a life of scrutiny, stress and secrecy. The more than 50 state legislators find themselves balancing a punishing schedule of political lobbying, outside work and family obligations, all under a national spotlight. By Ashraf Khalil. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

ALASKA RAINFOREST LOGGING — The Biden administration is ending large-scale, old-growth timber sales on the nation’s largest national forest — the Tongass National Forest in Alaska — and will instead focus on forest restoration, recreation and other noncommercial uses. By Matthew Daly and Becky Bohrer. SENT: 530 words, photos.

CENSUS DIRECTOR — President Biden’s nominee to lead the Census Bureau tells a Senate committee he would bring transparency and independence to the nation’s largest statistical agency. By Mike Schneider. SENT: 630 words, photos.

CYBERSECURITY-RANSOMWARE REWARD — The Biden administration will offer rewards up to $10 million for information leading to the identification of foreign state-sanctioned malicious activity against critical U.S. infrastructure. By Frank Bajak. SENT: 430 words, photo. With CYBERSECURITY-HACKING-FOR-HIRE — Microsoft says it has blocked tools developed by an Israeli hacker-for-hire company that were used to spy on more than 100 people. SENT: 390 words, photo.

POWELL-CONGRESS — For anyone worried about surging prices for everything from food and gas to airplane tickets and clothes, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s message in two days of congressional hearings this week was straightforward: Just give it more time, and those price gains should slow, or even reverse. SENT: 800 words, photo.

IMMIGRATION COURTS — Attorney General Merrick Garland has tossed out a Trump administration policy that barred immigration judges from temporarily shelving some deportation cases. Garland on Thursday overruled a decision by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that judges could not put those cases on hold — a practice known as administrative closure. SENT: 260 words, photo.

TRUMP — Former President Donald Trump insists he’s “not into coups!” after a new book revealed the country’s top military leader feared Trump might try to stage one after losing the 2020 election. By Jill Colvin. SENT: 800 words, photo.




PANDEMIC-WORLD-OF-EXTREMES — The coronavirus pandemic has upended life around the globe, but it has hasn’t stopped the spread of authoritarianism and extremism. Some researchers believe it may even have accelerated it, by curbing individual freedoms and boosting the reach of the state. SENT: 1,630 words, photos.

SOUTH-AFRICA-ZUMA-RIOTS — South Africa’s army has begun deploying 25,000 troops to assist police in quelling weeklong riots and violence sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma. SENT: 680 words, photos.

HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED-MIAMI — A small private security company in Miami faces questions about its role in the assassination of Haiti’s president. CTU Security hired more than 20 former soldiers from Colombia for a mission to the island nation. Now the Colombians have been killed or captured in the aftermath of the July 7 killing of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. SENT: 980 words, photos.

INDIA-NEW-INTERNET-RULES — It began with a tweet by pop star Rihanna that sparked widespread condemnation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of massive farmer protests near New Delhi. Officials ordered Twitter to block hundreds of tweets critical of the government, and relations between Twitter and Modi’s government have gone downhill ever since. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

CUBA-PROTESTS — Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has acknowledged shortcomings in his government’s handling of shortages and of neglecting certain sectors, but he urged Cubans to not act with hate — a reference to violence during recent street protests. SENT: 560 words, photos.

NETHERLANDS-JOURNALIST-SHOT — Peter R. de Vries, the renowned Dutch crime reporter shot last week in a brazen attack in Amsterdam, has died, Dutch media reported, citing a statement from his family. SENT: 840 words, photos.

EUROPE-EDIBLE INSECTS — What pairs with beetle? Startups seek to make bugs tasty. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

LEBANON — Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri says he is stepping down, nine months after he was named to the post by the parliament. He is citing “key differences” with the country’s president, Michel Aoun. SENT: 895 words, photos.

RUSSIA-MEDIA — Russian authorities have declared the publisher of an investigative media outlet an “undesirable” organization and listed its journalists as “foreign agents.” SENT: 430 words, photo.

PALESTINIANS-PROTESTS — Palestinians say they are determined to keep up protests against the Palestinian Authority after security forces attacked a sit-in outside a police station last week. SENT: 930 words, photos. With ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS — Israel says it arrested “dozens” of Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank who are linked to the Hamas militant group. SENT: 240 words.

VATICAN-SEX ABUSE TRIAL — A prosecutor for the Holy See has asked a Vatican court to convict and sentence an Italian priest for the alleged sexual abuse of a former altar boy on Vatican City property. SENT: 290 words.

RUSSIAN-OBIT-MAMONOV — Russian rock musician, poet and actor Pyotr Mamonov has died at the age of 70. Mamonov died at a Moscow hospital after two weeks in artificial coma on a ventilator after testing positive for the coronavirus. For decades, Mamonov was a prominent figure in Russia’s cultural scene. SENT: 200 words, photos.




NEWSPAPER SHOOTING-TRIAL — A jury has found a gunman criminally responsible for killing five people at a Maryland newspaper. The jury of eight men and four women rejected defense attorneys’ arguments that Jarrod Ramos was unable to understand the criminality of his actions because of mental illness when he attacked the Capital Gazette newsroom in 2018. SENT: 600 words, photos.

MISSING COUPLE — The son of a Wisconsin couple who went missing last week was formally accused of killing his father and dismembering his body, while authorities announced that additional human remains were found in another location. SENT: 300 words.

CALIFORNIA-GUARANTEED INCOME — The California Legislature has approved the nation’s first state-funded guaranteed income program. The $35 million plan will fund local programs that will provide monthly cash payments to young adults who recently left foster care and pregnant people. SENT: 890 words, photos.

WESTERN-WILDFIRES — A blaze that erupted near the flashpoint of the deadliest wildfire in recent U.S. history was heading away from homes, but survivors of the 2018 blaze in the town of Paradise worried that history could repeat itself. SENT: 1,065 words, photos.

FEWER-SCALLOPS — Fishermen are harvesting fewer scallops off the East Coast as the population of the valuable shellfish appears to be on the decline. Sea scallops are one of the most profitable resources in the Atlantic. SENT: 370 words, photos.

QUEST FOR CARP NAME — What’s in a name? When it comes to Asian carp, quite a lot. Some government agencies are changing the label to “invasive carp” in the wake of anti-Asian hate crimes that surged during the pandemic. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-AUDUBON — Audubon Society chapters are grappling with how to address their namesake’s legacy as the nation continues to reckon with its racist past. John James Audubon was a celebrated 19th century naturalist but also a slaveholder publicly opposed to abolition. The Massachusetts chapter of the prominent conservation group has published an essay on Audubon’s life and pledged to improve staff diversity. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

VERSACE MANSION -DEATHS — Police say two men apparently killed themselves in a suite at the Miami Beach hotel where fashion designer Gianni Versace lived before his death. SENT: 260 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA-CHILD DEATH INVESTIGATION — Detectives have arrested a man in the death of his 18-month-old son this week in a motel in South Los Angeles, according to authorities and the boy’s mother. SENT: 200 words, photos.

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY-ERIC GARNER — A New York appeals court ruled that a judicial inquiry is warranted into the investigation of Eric Garner’s 2014 police chokehold death, denying the city’s push to cancel the proceeding. SENT: 500 words.

BUILDING COLLAPSE-MIAMI — The recovery efforts for a South Florida condo building that collapsed last month might be coming to an end soon. Miami-Dade police identified four more victims of the Surfside condo collapse, meaning that 90 of the 97 confirmed dead have been identified. SENT: 400 words, photos.




SCI-BLUE-ORIGIN-BEZOS — An 18-year-old is about to become the youngest person in space, rocketing away with an aviation pioneer who will become the oldest at age 82. Blue Origin announced that instead of an auction winner launching with founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, Oliver Daemen will be on board. The company said he’ll be the first paying customer, but did not disclose the cost of his ticket. SENT: 310 words, photo.




PFIZER-LAWSUIT — Pfizer Inc. and two of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $345 million under a proposed settlement to resolve litigation over EpiPen price hikes. SENT: 340 words.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT-BENEFITS — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the U.S. economy and job market are quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession. The report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell by 26,000 last week to 360,000. SENT: 510 words, photos.




FILM-GLAAD STUDY — The year 2020 saw welcome growth in racial diversity of LBGTQ characters in films released by major studios, according to a new study by the advocacy group GLAAD. But for the fourth year in a row there were no transgender or other non-binary characters in those films. SENT: 520 words.




OLY--TOKYO-GOING IT ALONE — There won’t be any shots of excited, shocked or crying family members in the stands at the Tokyo Olympics. No singing, chanting and cheering among flag-waving fans at the venues, either. No local or foreign spectators are allowed, leaving athletes to reach out via calls, texts and video chats to those back home. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 2 p.m. With OLYMPICS-CORPORATE SPONSORS — For corporate sponsors, there won’t be much schmoozing at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo, thanks to the pandemic. SENT: 930 words, photos.




At the Nerve Center, Mae Anderson 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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