AP News Digest 7 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 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.

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.

BELARUS-FLIGHT DIVERTED— Western leaders decried the diversion of a plane to Belarus in order to arrest an opposition journalist as an act of piracy and terrorism. The European Union and others on Monday demanded an investigation into the dramatic forced landing of the Ryanair jet, which was traveling between two of the bloc’s member nations. By Raf Casert and Liudas Dapkus. SENT: 610 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: 800 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. Tuesday will mark one year since Floyd, who was Black, died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleaded for air. Chauvin, who is white, has since been convicted of murder and manslaughter for Floyd’s death, which sparked worldwide protests and calls for change in policing in the U.S. By Mohamed Ibrahim. SENT: 650 words, photos, video.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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BRITIAN ACTIVIST-SHOT — An activist who has played a leading role in antiracism demonstrations in Britain is in critical condition after being shot in London. The Taking the Initiative Party says Sasha Johnson was shot in the head on Sunday. SENT: 200 words, photos.

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.

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.

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.

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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-THAILAND — Thailand placed barbed wire and checkpoints in several southern villages along the Malaysian border after identifying a cluster of infections with a coronavirus variant that’s believed to spread faster. The lockdown came as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sought to assure people that his government could manage a recent surge as it is set to start a national vaccination campaign next month. SENT: 360 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. 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 — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has agreed to a one-month extension to the deal on surveillance cameras at nuclear sites. Speaking at a news conference Monday in Vienna, IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi told journalists that came after a discussion with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear program. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MYANMAR — Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has made a court appearance in person for the first time since the military arrested her Feb. 1. Her lawyers said Suu Kyi met with them before Monday’s hearing began. She faces several charges that her supporters say are attempts to discredit her and legitimize the military’s takeover. SENT: 650 words, photos.

INDIA-CYCLONE — A severe cyclone is brewing in the Bay of Bengal off eastern India. Officials said Cyclone Yaas is expected to make landfall on Wednesday and could pack sustained winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour. It will be the second storm to hit India in 10 days after Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 140 people across the country’s western coast last week. SENT: 300 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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PGA CHAMPIONSHIP-WRAPUP — Phil Mickelson showed he’s still the people’s champion by winning his sixth and most unlikely major at the PGA Championship. With fans screaming his name as they lined the dunes at Kiawah Island, the 50-year-old Mickelson held off Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen by two shots to become the oldest major champion in history. Mickelson emerged from a throng of swarming fans onto the 18th green to close out his win. His sentimental late-career victory was reminiscent of Tiger Woods at the Masters two years ago. Mickelson is now eligible for at least the next five U.S. Opens. That’s the one major he’s never won. SENT: 1,070 words. WITH: GLF--PGA-Notebook, GLF--PGA-Glance (SENT).

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Dave Clark 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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