AP News Digest 6 p.m.

Via AP news wire
Sunday 19 December 2021 23:08
APTOPIX Qatar Arab Cup Soccer Tunisia Algeria
APTOPIX Qatar Arab Cup Soccer Tunisia Algeria

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org.

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NEW/DEVELOPING

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Adds: VIRUS OUTBREAK-ELIZABETH WARREN; BRITAIN-BREXIT; JEFFREY EPSTEIN-MAXWELL TRIAL-EXPLAINER; FILM-LOS ANGELES FILMS CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS; VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIENNA-COVID-VICTIMS; GUATEMALA-MIGRANTS’ BODIES; MEXICO-BRIDGE COLLAPSE; GLF-PNC-CHAMPIONSHIP

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TOP STORIES

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CONGRESS-BUDGET — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril. By Alan Fram and Hope Yen. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

MED-VIRUS OUTBREAK — As strained U.S. hospitals brace for a new surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the fast-spreading omicron variant, doctors are warning of yet another challenge: the two standard drugs they’ve used to fight infections are unlikely to work against the new strain. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 810 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BIDEN — The COVID-19 omicron variant is “just raging around the world,” the White House’s top medical adviser said, and President Joe Biden is planning to give “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans. By Josh Boak. SENT: 790 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MILITARY-RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS — More than 12,000 military service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are seeking religious exemptions, and they’re having zero success: Not a single request has been granted. The services are besieged with requests they’re unlikely to approve and troops claiming religious reasons for avoiding the shots are perplexed because exemptions are theoretically available yet seem impossible to obtain. Caught in the middle are chaplains. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.

REL-VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHURCH ATTENDANCE — In-person attendance at houses of worship across the U.S. has slowly risen from dramatically low levels when the pandemic surged in the spring of 2020. But in many cases, attendance is still not back to pre-pandemic levels — and in some cases, it’s less than half. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 1,220 words, photos. This is the Monday Spotlight

SCHOOLS CONSERVATIVE UPRISING — A recent Wyoming school board meeting was again packed with opponents of mask mandates when things took an abrupt turn and a parent started reading aloud sexually explicit passages from a book available in school libraries. “Parents like myself had no idea this stuff was here,” the parent, Shannon Ashby, told trustees of Laramie County School District No. 1 in the capital city. The push to remove objectionable books from school libraries is part of a renewed conservative interest in public education as a political issue since the start of the pandemic. By Mead Gruver. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

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TRENDING NEWS

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MUSIC-FESTIVAL-STABBING — A West Coast rapper known as Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed in an altercation at a Los Angeles music festival where he was scheduled to perform, leaving fans of the young musician heartbroken. SENT: 540 words, photos.

FILM-LOS ANGELES FILMS CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS — L.A. film critics pick ‘Drive My Car’ as year’s best. SENT: 290 words, photos.

INDIA-SIKH TEMPLE — A man was beaten to death in the northern Indian city of Amritsar after he allegedly attempted to commit a sacrilegious act inside the historic Golden Temple, one of Sikhs’ most revered shrines. SENT: 190 words, photos.

PAKISTAN-BLAST — Death toll in southern Pakistan sewer gas blast jumps to 17. SENT: 260 words, photo.

BRITAIN-OBIT-ROGERS — Lauded modern British architect Richard Rogers dies at 88. SENT: 620 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-RESTAURANTS — While restaurants in the U.S. and United Kingdom are open without restrictions and often bustling, they are entering their second winter of the coronavirus pandemic anxious about what’s ahead: They’re squeezed by labor shortages and skyrocketing food costs and the omicron variant is looming. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ELIZABETH WARREN — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday she has tested positive for COVID-19. “Thankfully, I am only experiencing mild symptoms & am grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated & boosted,” she tweeted. SENT: 150 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Britain’s health secretary has refused to rule out imposing tougher COVID-19 restrictions before Christmas amid the rapid rise of infections and continuing uncertainty about the omicron variant. SENT: 590 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BELGIUM — Thousands of peesters demonstrated in Brussels for a third time against reinforced COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter a spike in infections as the omicron variant sweeps across Europe. SENT: 290 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IRAN — State TV reports that Iran has detected its first case of infection by the omicron variant of the coronavirus. SENT: 190 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ISRAEL — Israel’s prime minister is warning against the spread of the new, highly infectious variant of coronavirus and urging people to vaccinate. SENT: 200 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GERMANY — Germany is tightening travel restrictions for people coming from Britain in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant there. SENT: 190 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FINLAND-WINTER WONDERLAND — Christmas is in full swing in Finnish Lapland, where venue operators happily report that visitors have returned in numbers approaching pre-pandemic levels. SENT: 840 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIENNA-COVID-VICTIMS — Tens of thousands of Vienna residents have turned out to participate in a “sea of lights” commemoration for the more than 13,000 Austrians who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. SENT: 180 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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CHILE-ELECTION — Gabriel Boric, a leftist millennial who rose to prominence during anti-government protests, was elected Chile’s next president after a bruising campaign against José Antonio Kast, a free-market firebrand likened to Donald Trump. SENT: 610 words, photos.

BRITAIN-POLITICS — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is walking a political tightrope as he faces increasing attacks from both friends and enemies amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. For the second winter in a row, Johnson is betting vaccines will be his savior, urging everyone to get booster shots to slow the spread of the new omicron variant and hoping to avoid the need for further politically unpalatable restrictions on business and social activity. SENT: 730 words, photos.

BRITAIN-BREXIT — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the appointment of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to become lead negotiator with the European Union. The news comes a day after long-time ally David Frost resigned after a week political upheaval in the Conservative Party. SENT: 260 words, photo.

ASIA-STORM — The death toll in the strongest typhoon to batter the Philippines this year has reached at least 146, and the governor of an island province especially hard-hit by Typhoon Rai said there may be even greater devastation that has yet to be reported. SENT: 600 words, photos.

PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN-RALLYING SUPPORT — Islamic countries scrambled to find ways to help Afghanistan avert an imminent economic collapse they say would have a “horrendous” global impact. SENT: 920 words, photos.

JAPAN-FIRE — Japanese police identified a 61-year-old man as a prime suspect behind a fire that engulfed a mental health clinic in an eight-story building where he was a patient, killing 24 people who were trapped inside. SENT: 850 words, photos.

HONG KONG-ELECTION — Voters in Hong Kong cast their ballots in the first election since Beijing amended the laws to reduce the number of directly elected lawmakers and vet candidates to ensure that only those loyal to China can run. SENT: 730 words, photos.

SUDAN — Sudanese took to the streets in the capital of Khartoum and elsewhere across the country for mass protests against an October military takeover and a subsequent deal that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok but sidelined the movement. SENT: 760 words, photos.

​​BANGLADESH-ROHINGYA — A special rapporteur of the United Nations said the international community should build a better partnership with Bangladesh and cut off Myanmar military in dealing with the Rohingya refugee crisis by putting pressure on Myanmar from where they have fled. SENT: 670 words, photos.

LEBANON-UN — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Lebanon on a high-profile visit he said will focus on supporting the people of the crisis-stricken country. SENT: 430 words, photos.

POLAND-MEDIA — Poles are marching in cities across the country to defend a U.S.-owned television network that is being targeted by the right-wing government. SENT: 450 words, photos.

GUATEMALA-MIGRANTS' BODIES — The body of Guatemalan migrant Daniel Arnulfo Pérez Uxla was laid out for the memorial service Sunday in his hometown of Tejar, in the highland province of Chimaltenango. Pérez Uxla was one of four migrants killed in a Dec. 9 truck crash in southern Mexico whose bodies have been returned to their homeland. SENT: 410 words, photos.

MEXICO-BRIDGE COLLAPSE — Officials in southern Mexico say a pedestrian suspension bridge has collapsed, dumping a group heading to a Christmas party into a ravine and sending 23 people to the hospital. SENT: 120 words.

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NATIONAL

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UNEMPLOYED IN NEBRASKA — Even in normal times Nebraska has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Now, with some workers slow to return to work after COVID-19 shutdowns, the state has recorded the country’s lowest-ever state unemployment rate of 1.8% in November. Now Gov. Pete Ricketts, who frequently expounds on the value of work, is confronting an intriguing question: Can a governor force citizens to work, even if they apparently aren’t eager or able to do so? SENT: 890 words, photos.

OBIT-JOHNNY ISAKSON — Johnny Isakson, an affable Georgia Republican politician who rose from the ranks of the state Legislature to become a U.S. senator known as an effective, behind-the-scenes consensus builder, has died at age 76. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN-MAXWELL TRIAL-EXPLAINER — The case for and against Ghislaine Maxwell has been made, and as soon as Monday, her fate will rest squarely in the jury’s hands. Questions and answers about the case. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

MIDWEST-TORNADOES-BABIES — Two babies survived a tornado in Kentucky last weekend that ripped the bathtub they were sheltering in out of the ground and tossed it with them inside, their grandmother said. SENT: 300 words.

POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA — A North Carolina police department says one of its officers shot and killed a man who was stabbing his ex-wife’s 13-year-old daughter inside a home. SENT: 180 words.

BODIES DISCOVERED-MINNESOTA — Authorities are investigating the deaths of several people whose bodies were discovered inside a home in a northwestern Minnesota city. SENT: 210 words.

STOLEN ARTIFACTS RETURNED — Federal authorities say 18th and 19th century rifles and pistols and other historical artifacts stolen almost a half-century ago from a number of Pennsylvania museums have been returned to the institutions. SENT: 460 words.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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FILM-BOX OFFICE — Never underestimate your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, even with a mutating virus afoot. Despite rising concerns over the omicron variant, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” not only shattered pandemic-era box office records; it became the third best opening of all time behind “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” SENT: 870 words, photos.

EMIRATES-PEOPLE-DAVID GUETTA — Internationally-known DJ David Guetta defended his participation in Saudi festivals in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a performance at the MDLBeast Soundstorm music festival in Riyadh. Marketed as the region’s biggest music event, the festival drew backlash for whitewashing Saudi Arabia’s image, and celebrities and influencers came under scrutiny for promoting a country with human rights abuses. SENT: 770 words, photos.

EMIRATES — The United Arab Emirates says that it will no longer censor films released in cinemas, the country’s latest effort to boost its brand as a liberal hub attractive to foreigners. SENT: 180 words.

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SPORTS

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GLF-PNC-CHAMPIONSHIP — John Daly and his college son won the PNC Championship. Tiger Woods and his 12-year-old son make them work for it. Woods and his son set a tournament record with 11 straight birdies and were tied for the lead on the back nine. But they couldn’t birdie the par-5 closing hole. SENT: 520 words, photos.

SKI-WCUP-RIVER’S-RISE — There’s nothing easy about evolving from a top junior skier into a World Cup contender. Just ask River Radamus, the Colorado racer who won three golds at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics and four medals (two golds and two silvers) at the junior world championships from 2017-2019. The 23-year-old Radamus has been pushing his body to the limit this season, though, and the results are starting to come — just in time for the Beijing Olympics in February. SENT: 670 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Mae Anderson can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, ext. 1900. 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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