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.
VIRUS OUTBREAK —A team of young scientists in South Africa is assembling the equipment needed to reverse engineer Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. The scientists are effectively making an end run around an industry that has vastly prioritized rich countries over poor in vaccine sales and manufacturing. The research team in Cape Town is working with highly unorthodox backing from the World Health Organization. WHO is leading attempts to replicate proprietary technology in a zero-hour attempt to address global inequities in vaccine access. By Lori Hinnant, Maria Cheng and Andrew Meldrum: 1,360 words, photos.
METAVERSE EXPLAINER — The term metaverse seems to be everywhere. Facebook is hiring thousands of engineers in Europe to work on it, while video game companies are outlining their long-term visions for what some consider the next big thing on the internet. Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play. You can go to a virtual concert, take a trip online and try on digital clothing. But tech companies still have to figure out how to connect their online platforms. Analysts also worry about Facebook trying to lead the way into a virtual world that could require even more personal data and offer greater potential for abuse and misinformation. By Kelvin Chan and Matt O’brien. SENT: 1,110 words, photos.
FACEBOOK PAPERS-INDIA MISINFORMATION — Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Facebook in India dithered in curbing hate speech and anti-Muslim content on its platform and lacked enough local language moderators to stop misinformation. That misinformation at times led to real-world violence. The files show these problems have been plaguing the company for years, particularly in cases where members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party created multiple Facebook accounts to amplify anti-Muslim content. They highlight Facebook’s con. By Sheikh Saaliq and Krutika Pathi. SENT: 1,960 words, photos. An abridged version is available. WITH: FACEBOOK PAPERS-CAPITOL BREACH — New internal documents provided by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen provide a rare glimpse into how the company, after years under the microscope for the policing of its platform, appears to have simply stumbled into the Jan. 6 riot. For weeks, riot participants had vowed — on Facebook itself — to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory with little response from the company. By Alan Suderman and Joshua Goodman. SENT: 1,210 words, photos.
PROP-FIREARM-MOVIE-SET — Hours before actor Alec Baldwin fired a fatal gunshot from a prop gun that he had been told was safe, seven camera crew members for the movie he was filming walked off the job to protest conditions and production issues that included safety concerns. Disputes in the production of the Western film “Rust” began almost from the start in early October. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed hours after the crew walked off. By Cedar Attanasio, Morgan Lee and Michelle L. Price. SENT: 1,350 words, photos, videos. See additional stories below.
KOBE BRYANT — Kobe Bryant’s widow said she pleaded with the Los Angeles County sheriff to make sure no one takes photographs from the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, and he reassured that the area had been secured. SENT: 350 words, photos.
OKLAHOMA SENATOR-ASIAN AMERICANS — A Republican Oklahoma state senator is drawing criticism for referring to Asian Americans as “yellow families.” Sen. Dave Rader of Tulsa made the comment Wednesday during an interim legislative study on racial inequality in economics and the criminal justice system. SENT: 340 words.
DUBAI-UNION PROPERTIES — Federal prosecutors in the United Arab Emirates say they’ve launched a major investigation into Dubai-based real estate developer Union Properties. SENT: 310 words.
MEXICO-TROPICAL WEATHER — Hurricane Rick gathered force off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast and is forecast to hit that coast by Monday as a near-Category 3 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rick may be a near-major hurricane with winds as high as 115 miles per hour (185 kph) before hitting land somewhere around the seaport of Lazaro Cardenas and the coastal resort of Zihuatanejo. SENT: 210 words.
NEW ORLEANS-PARADE — Parade-loving New Orleans is getting its groove back. Thousands of people crowded the streets of New Orleans on Saturday for the first big parade since the pandemic made such events impossible. SENT: 900 words, photos.
VIRGINIA-GOVERNOR — Former President Barack Obama has offered a sharp rebuke of the Republican candidate for Virginia governor while campaigning for the Democrat in the closely contested race. Obama spoke at a rally in Richmond and accused Republican Glenn Youngkin of encouraging what Obama called “lies and conspiracy theories” about the 2020 presidential election. SENT: 980 words, photos.
OBIT-GRANT WOODS — Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods died Saturday. His wife Marlene Galan Woods announced his unexpected death at age 67. The longtime Republican loyalist changed his registration to Democratic in 2018 because of his frustration at the party’s direction and then-President Donald Trump. SENT: 700 words, photo.
DRAG RACE CRASH — Authorities say driver lost control during a Texas drag racing event and slammed into a crowd of spectators, killing two children and injuring eight other people. A 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy were killed Saturday afternoon at an event called “Airport Race Wars 2” at the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport. SENT: 390 words.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-GIANT SEQUOIAS — The California highway connecting visitors to the world’s two largest sequoia trees will stay closed so crews can remove upwards of 10,000 trees weakened by wildfires, drought, disease or age. A fire closed the highway and it will stay closed after the blaze is out so that crews can cut down trees and trim branches. SENT: 470 words, photos.
KENTUCKY-BOURBON-PRODUCER-STRIKE — Striking workers at one of the world’s largest bourbon producers have voted to a ratify a new contract with Heaven Hill on Saturday. About 420 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23D went on strike about six weeks ago. SENT: 380 words, photos.
UZBEKISTAN ELECTION — Uzbeks voted Sunday in a presidential election that the incumbent is expected to win in a landslide against weak competition. Although Shavkat Mirziyoyev has relaxed many of the policies of his dictatorial predecessor, he has made little effort at political reform. SENT: 370 words, photos.
PAKISTAN ISLAMIST RALLY — A radical Islamist party has agreed to suspend for three days its march of thousands toward the capital Islamabad after Pakistan agreed to drop pending charges against the party’s leader. The agreement between the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party and the government was nailed down Sunday. SENT: 390 words, photos.
MORROCO SUFIS-PHOTO GALLERY — Followers of a Sufi religious order convened on a Moroccan village near the city of Nador for the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in the first such gathering since the pandemic. A few hundred faithful, known as Fuqaras, from France, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and other countries, met for the week-long Islamic holiday celebration. SENT: 460 words, photos.
COLOMBIA DRUG LORD — Colombian authorities captured the country’s most wanted drug trafficker for whom the U.S. government had been offering a $5 million reward. Dairo Antonio Úsuga is better known by his alias “Otoniel” and is the alleged leader of the violent Gulf Clan cartel. The country’s president likened his capture to the arrest three decades ago of Pablo Escobar. SENT: 590 words, photos.
BBN-NLCS-DODGERS-BRAVES — Eddie Rosario capped a remarkable NL Championship Series with a three-run homer that sent the Atlanta Braves to the World Series for the first time since 1999. The Braves finished off the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers with a 4-2 win, capturing the series four games to two. SENT: 1,200 words, photos. WITH: BBO-World-Series-Preview — When Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves meet Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros, it will be a World Series that’s been six decades in the making. These longtime National League rivals began playing in 1962 and met more than 700 times before the Astros moved to the American League in 2013. Game 1 is Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. SENT: 900 words, photos.
FBC-T25-ILLINOIS-PENN ST. — Casey Washington caught a 2-point conversion pass from Brandon Peters to end the first nine-overtime game in NCAA history and lift Illinois over No. 7 Penn State 20-18 Saturday. SENT: 670 words, photos.
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