AP News Digest 4:15 a.m.

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 — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned his people that retreating Russian forces were creating “a complete disaster” outside the capital as they leave mines across “the whole territory,” including around homes and corpses. By Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 990 words, photos, videos. With RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-THE-LATEST.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-ENERGY-EXPLAINER — Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding payment in rubles for natural gas — or else. Germany is talking about gas rationing in case of a cutoff. Prices for the fuel used to heat homes, generate electricity and power industry are through the roof. While Putin has said importers of Russian gas must now pay in rubles, he’s offered what could be seen as a loophole. SENT: 1.090 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK — COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have plunged to their lowest levels since the early days of the pandemic, offering a much needed break to health care workers and patients alike following the omicron surge. The number of patients hospitalized with the coronavirus has fallen more than 90% in more than two months, and some hospitals are going days without a single COVID-19 patient in the ICU for the first time since early 2020. By Ben Finley and Kimberlee Kruesi. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

INDIA-BANNING THE HIJAB — A recent court ruling upholding a ban on Muslim students wearing head coverings in schools has sparked criticism from constitutional scholars and rights activists amid concerns of judicial overreach regarding religious freedoms in officially secular India. By Sheikh Saaliq. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

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MORE ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR

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RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-SPANISH DISINFORMATION — Disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is surging in Spanish, as stories crafted for a Latin American audience gets a boost from the Kremlin. RT en Español, the Spanish language version of one of Russia’s top outlets, is now a leading source of Spanish-language information on the war, even though RT consistently spreads pro-Russian conspiracy theories and disinformation. By David Klepper and Amanda Seitz. SENT: 950 words, photos

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-RADIO — This is Radio Ukraine calling. A new Prague-based internet radio station has started to broadcast news, information and music tailored to the day-to-day concerns of some 300,000 refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic since Russia launched its military assault against Ukraine. SENT: 910 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-MEDIA — New restrictions placed on journalists in Russia have impeded but not muzzled reporting about the country and its war in Ukraine. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-FIGHTERS-PHOTO-GALLERY — They are old, young, local, foreign, often new to war. Thousands of people have volunteered to join Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces and resist Russia’s invasion. The Associated Press this week spent time with some of them. SENT: 460 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-HONG KONG-CHINA — Hong Kong authorities on Saturday asked the entire population of more than 7.4 million people to voluntarily test themselves for COVID-19 at home for three days in a row starting next week. SENT: 360 words, photos.

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TRENDING NEWS

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CUOMO-BOOK-DEAL — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday filed a lawsuit against the state’s ethics commission, the latest move in an ongoing dispute over his earnings from a book about his efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. SENT: 200 words, photo.

NASA-MOON ROCKET — NASA kicked off a critical countdown test for its new moon rocket, a 30-story behemoth that could make its first lunar test flight by summer. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MISSISSIPPI-STATE-SONG — Mississippi is on the verge of scuttling a state song with racist roots, two years after it retired a Confederate-themed state flag. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MUSIC-THE-JUDDS-CMT — The Judds are reuniting to perform on the CMT Music Awards, their first major awards show performance together in more than two decades. SENT: 385 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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CAPITOL RIOT INVESTIGATION-GARLAND — The lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are sending a blunt but clear message to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department: Donald Trump and his allies likely committed crimes, and it’s up to you to do something about it. By Farnoush Amiri and Michael Balsamo. SENT: 990 words, photos. With CAPITOL RIOT-INVESTIGATION-CRIMES — A closer look at the possible crimes the Jan. 6 committee has suggested Trump and his associates might be charged with. SENT: 990 words, photos.

HUNTER BIDEN-TAXES — A federal grand jury has heard testimony in recent months about Hunter Biden’s income and payments he received while serving on the board of a Ukraine energy company, according to two people familiar with the probe. SENT: 540 words, photo.

BIDEN-PRESS SECRETARY — White House press secretary Jen Psaki isn’t confirming reports that she’ll soon take a TV job at MSNBC, insisting she’s focused on her job as President Joe Biden’s chief spokesperson. SENT: 480 words, photos.

ELECTION-2022=GEORGIA-GREENE — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a lawsuit Friday challenging a state law that a group of voters is using to challenge her eligibility to run for reelection. SENT: 510 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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CALIFORNIA-CORPORATE-BOARDS-DIVERSITY — A Los Angeles judge ruled Friday that California’s landmark law mandating that corporations diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups is unconstitutional. SENT: 520 words, photos.

CUOMO-BOOK-DEAL —

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INTERNATIONAL

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VATICAN-MALTA — Pope Francis headed to the Mediterranean island nation of Malta on Saturday for a pandemic-delayed weekend visit, aiming to draw attention to Europe’s migration challenge that has only become more stark with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. SENT: 520 words, photos.

RAMADAN — The Muslim holy month of Ramadan — when the faithful fast from dawn to dusk — began at sunrise Saturday in much of the Middle East, where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent energy and food prices soaring. SENT: 620 words, photos.

CHINA-MYANMAR — China says it will back neighbor Myanmar “no matter how the situation changes,” in the latest show of unequivocal Chinese support for the ruling military council that seized power last year. SENT:330 words, photo.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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CLIMATE-FIRE-AND-FLOOD — A new study says the West is going to get more one-two punches of nasty wildfires followed by extreme rainfall as the world warms. Friday’s study says these combinations, which can lead to mudslides and flooding, will increase eight-fold in the Pacific Northwest and double in California by the year 2100 in a global warming worst case emissions scenario. By AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 610 words, photos. WITH: CALIFORNIA-DROUGHT-SNOW-SURVEY — California is experiencing one of the driest starts to spring in decades, and absent a heavy dose of April and May showers the state’s drought will deepen and that could lead to stricter rules on water use and another devastating wildfire season. SENT: 610 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BKW—NCAA-CHAMPIONSHIP LOOKAHEAD — The South Carolina Gamecocks have had the top spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll the entire season. The last test for the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament will be the Connecticut Huskies. Women’s college basketball gets the greats of the game together on the biggest stage as consistently as any sport. This South Carolina-UConn matchup is no different. By Dave Campbell. SENT: 500 words, photos. BKW--NCAA-Gender Equity (sent).

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Vincent K. Willis 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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