AP News Digest 3:15 a.m.

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 20 April 2022 08:20

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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TOP STORIES

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RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR — Russia is hurling its military might against Ukrainian cities and towns and pouring more troops into the war. The fighting in the east seeks to slice the country in two in a potentially pivotal battle for control of Ukraine’s industrial heartland of coal mines and factories. The boomerang-shaped front stretched for hundreds of miles in what is known as the Donbas. If successful, the battle would give President Vladimir Putin a victory following the failed attempt by Moscow’s forces to storm the capital, Kyiv, and heavier-than-expected casualties. By Adam Schreck. SENT: 1180 words, photos, video. With RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-NEW OFFENSIVE-EXPLAINER — How Russia’s eastern push in Ukraine may unfold. SENT: 1,180 words, photos; RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-THE LATEST.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-CHERNOBYL — When Russian forces invaded and occupied the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, they dug trenches in one of the world’s most radioactive places. Experts fear that they were, in effect, digging their own graves. Thousands of tanks and troops rumbled into the Chernobyl exclusion zone at the start of the war, churning up soil contaminated by the world’s worst nuclear disaster. By Cara Anna and Inna Vernytsia. SENT: 1090 words, photos.

TRAVEL-MASK MANDATE — The Justice Department says it will not appeal a federal district judge’s ruling that ended the nation’s federal mask mandate on public transit unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the requirement is still necessary. A judge in Florida on Monday ended the mandate which required face coverings on planes and trains and in transit hubs. The CDC continues to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determines a mandate is necessary, the Justice Department will file an appeal. By Heather Hollingsworth and Teresa Crawford. SENT 780 words, photos. With TRAVEL-MASK MANDATE EXPLAINER: What happens in the post-mask world of travel? SENT: 1,380 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHINA — A health official says 4 million more people in Shanghai have been allowed to leave their homes as coronavirus quarantine rules ease, bringing the total number of people who can leave their homes to 12 million. Authorities confined most of Shanghai’s 25 million people to their homes starting March 28 following a surge in infections. China’s case numbers in its latest infection surge are relatively low, but the ruling Communist Party is enforcing a “zero-COVID” strategy that has shut down major cities. SENT: 660 words, photos.

NETFLIX-SHARING CRACKDOWN — An unexpectedly sharp drop in subscribers has Netflix considering changes to its service that it has long resisted: minimizing password sharing and creating a low-cost subscription supported by advertising. The looming changes announced late Tuesday are aimed at helping Netflix regain the momentum it’s lost during the past year as pandemic-driven lockdowns that kept people at home lifted and other services run by deep-pocketed rivals such as Apple and Walt Disney began to chip away at its vast audience. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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TRENDING

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HAWAII-SEAL BIRTH — Images of a Hawaiian monk seal being born on an Oahu beach have been captured on camera. Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species with only about 1,400 seals in the world. SENT: 250 words, photos.

INHALED-DRILL-BIT — An Illinois man inhaled a drill bit during a routine dental visit — and then ended up at the hospital, where doctors removed it with a rare medical procedure. SENT: 250 words, photos.

BLAC CHYNA KARDASHIANS TRIAL — A jury is seated in a trial that pits model and former reality TV star Blac Chyna against the Kardashian family, who she alleges destroyed her TV career. SENT: 630 words, photo.

DEPP-HEARD-LAWSUIT — Actor Johnny Depp takes the stand in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, saying her domestic abuse allegations against him were disturbing, heinous and “not based in any species of truth.” SENT: 560 words, photos.

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MORE ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE

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RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-CHINA’S MILITARY — With its ground troops forced to pull back in Ukraine and regroup, and its Black Sea flagship sunk, Russia’s military failings are mounting. No country is paying closer attention than China to how a smaller and outgunned force has battled what was thought to be one of the world’s most powerful armies. By David Rising. SENT: 1310 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-JAPAN — Japan has revoked Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status over its invasion of Ukraine, as Tokyo steps up sanctions amid the Russian military’s widespread atrocities against civilians. Japan has also expelled eight Russian diplomats and officials. SENT: 290 words, photos.

UNITED-NATIONS-UKRAINE — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing for a halt in fighting in Ukraine during Orthodox Christians’ Holy Week. He called Tuesday for a four-day “pause,” starting Thursday, to allow humanitarian aid and evacuations. SENT 770 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIDEN — A judge's ruling that threw out a federal requirement to wear a mask when using mass transit adds to the Biden administration’s messaging challenges as it tries to move past the virus in the lead-up to midterms. SENT: 1030 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS — Walt Disney World has lifted the last of its mask requirements, meaning face coverings will be optional for visitors at all locations on the central Florida Disney property. SENT: 200 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2022-HOUSE-ALASKA-PALIN Sarah Palin says she’s serious about her campaign for the U.S. House, telling The Associated Press that her unique place in American politics would put her in a stronger position representing Alaska in Washington. Still, she says that if Donald Trump runs for president in 2024 and asks her to be his running mate, she’ll consider it. SENT: 1432 words, photos. An abridged version is also available.

ELECTION 2022-GUNS — Democrats have spent years pledging to address the gun violence that plagues communities across the U.S. But a surge of mass shootings over the weekend served as a reminder of how little has been accomplished. By National Politics Writer Steve Peoples. SENT: 1,250 words, photos.

BIDEN-INFRASTRUCTURE-NUCLEAR — The Biden administration launches a $6 billion effort to save nuclear power plants at risk of closing, citing the need to continue nuclear energy as a carbon-free source of power that helps to combat climate change. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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DEATH-PENALTY-TENNESSEE — Tennessee’s governor says he won’t intervene in the state’s plans to execute an inmate convicted of killing his estranged wife and her sons decades ago. Attorneys for 72-year-old Oscar Smith had asked Republican Gov. Bill Lee for clemency ahead of Thursday’s scheduled lethal injection. SENT: 200 words, photos.

CLERGY ABUSE-NEW JERSEY — A New Jersey diocese agrees to pay $87.5 million to settle claims involving clergy sex abuse with some 300 alleged victims in one of the largest cash settlements involving the Catholic church in the United States. The settlement must still go before a U.S. bankruptcy judge. By Mike Catalini. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CHILD-MOLEST-LAWSUIT — A Southern California school district has agreed to pay $13.75 million to settle civil lawsuits over a worker who admitted molesting elementary school students. The agreement was announced Tuesday by attorneys for 10 former students from Liberty Elementary School in Riverside. SENT: 120 words, photos.

SAN FRANCISCO OFFICERS CHARGED — Two San Francisco police officers and a retired officer working part-time at the department have been charged in two separate cases with destroying evidence, stealing a machine gun and other charges. SENT 520 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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MALAYSIA-RONINGYA BREAKOUT — More than 500 Rohingya refugees escaped from detention in Malaysia following a protest and most have been rearrested. Police said six detainees, including two children, were killed while trying to cross a highway. SENT: 190 words, photos.

YEMEN — State-run media reports that Yemen’s internationally recognized presidential council has been sworn in in the southern port city of Aden. Aden serves as the interim seat since the Houthi rebels seized the capital of Sanaa in 2014, setting off Yemen’s long-running civil war, amid concerted international efforts to end the conflict. SENT: 450 words, photos.

MEXICO-LITHIUM — Mexico’s Senate has passed a bill to nationalize lithium mining and extraction. The law approved Tuesday says a state-run company will have exclusive rights to mine lithium, a mineral used in electric car batteries and other devices. SENT: 140 words, photos.

CUBA-US-MIGRATION — Two days before the opening of migration talks between Cuba and the United States, which have been paralyzed for four years, a high-ranking Cuban official is lamenting Washington’s “incoherent” and “differentiated” migration policies. SENT: 700 words, photo.

SRI LANKA-ECONOMIC CRISIS —Sri Lankan police have opened fire at people protesting new fuel price increases, killing one and injuring 13 others, in a town northeast of the capital. SENT: 690 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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WORLD'S LARGEST BATTERIES — To supplement wind and solar power, the hydropower industry is pushing the development of more pumped storage plants, which function like giant batteries. By Environmental Writer John Flesher. SENT: 1,280 words, photos.

GARDENING-NATIVE-PLANTS — Does your idea of the perfect garden include plants that thrive with relatively little human intervention? You can make it real by planting native plants. SENT: 650 words, photos.

CHILDREN-HEPATITIS OUTBREAK — Health officials detect more cases of a mysterious liver disease in children that was first identified in Britain, with new infections in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. SENT: 410 words.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks are mixed in Asia after a rally on Wall Street led by technology stocks. Share benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney but fell in Shanghai. SENT: 690 words, photos.

JAPAN TRADE — Japan has reported a much bigger than expected trade deficit for March as a weaker yen and high oil prices pushed costs of imports sharply higher. SENT: 430 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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JAPAN-UKRAINE-OPERA SINGER — When Oksana Stepanyuk, an award-winning soprano with the Japan Opera Foundation, performs “Melody,” composed by Myroslav Skoryk, a Ukrainian, her voice turns into a wail of mourning. It’s a pensive but piercing prayer for her homeland. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 750 words, photos, video.

EGYPT-VINTAGE-CARS-PHOTO-GALLERY — Car collector Mohamed Wahdan is preserving a slice of Egypt’s four-wheeled history. He says he has accumulated more than 250 vintage, antique and classic cars, most of them were discovered inside the country. SENT: 370 words, photos.

CLIMATE-CHANGE-HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood’s response to climate change has included donations, protests and other forms of activism. But it’s apparently missing out on a solution close to home. According to a new study of TV and film scripts from 2016-20, less than 3% refers to climate change-related words and phrases. By Lynn Elber. SENT 550 words, photos.

OPERA-RUST BELT LUCIA — Call it bel canto in the Rust Belt. The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of “Lucia di Lammermoor” plucks the ill-fated heroine out of the Scottish hills and into a contemporary American town whose once-prosperous residents are suffering the effects of economic decline. By Mike Silverman. SENT 860 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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HAWKS-HEAT — Jimmy Butler scored a playoff career-high 45 points, including a personal 7-0 run in the final moments, and the Miami Heat held off the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Tuesday night. SENT: 920 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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The Nerve Center 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@ap.org or call 844-777-2006.

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