AP News Digest 2 p.m.

Via AP news wire
Thursday 17 September 2020 19:09 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


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.




AP POLL-STATE OF THE COUNTRY — Less than seven weeks until Election Day, most Americans are deeply pessimistic about the direction of the country and skeptical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 7 in 10 Americans think the nation is on the wrong track, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Those sour assessments pose a challenge for Trump as he urges voters to reward him with four more years in office instead of handing the reins to Democrat Joe Biden. By Julie Pace and Hannah Fingerhut. UPCOMING: 800 words by 3:30 p.m., photo, graphic.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRUMP-MASKS — The chasm between President Donald Trump and public health experts over the importance of wearing face masks just keeps widening, undercutting what medical officials say should be a clarion message about the need for robust use of one of the country’s best tools to fight the coronavirus. Trump is rarely seen wearing one and insists, “masks have problems.” By Darlene Superville. UPCOMING: 850 words by 5 p.m., photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — Just two weeks after students started returning to Ball State University last month, the surrounding county had become Indiana’s coronavirus epicenter. Out of nearly 600 students tested for the virus, more than half have been positive. Dozens of infections have been blamed on off-campus parties, prompting university officials to admonish students. By Casey Smith, Irena Hwang and Collin Binkley. SENT: 1,340 words, photos.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-FEDERAL ARRESTS — Attorney General William Barr has pushed prosecutors to be aggressive in charging demonstrators who cause violence. An Associated Press analysis shows that many of the 300 people charged following the death of George Floyd are accused of serious crimes like hurling Molotov cocktails, burning police cars and seriously injuring law enforcement. But others are not accused of serious crimes, prompting criticism that the effort is politically motivated effort to stymie demonstrations. By Michael Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Richer and Colleen Long. SENT: 1170 words, photo, graphic. WITH: RACIAL INJUSTICE-PORTLAND UNREST — The Justice Department explored whether it could pursue either criminal or civil rights charges against city officials in Portland, Oregon after clashes erupted there night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators, a department spokesman says. SENT: 405 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP — President Trump is aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural and exurban voters in Wisconsin, looking to repeat his path to victory four years ago. Trump is making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year less than seven weeks from Election Day, viewing success in the state’s less-populated counties as critical to another term. By Zeke Miller. UPCOMING: 600 words by 5 p.m., with updates from 9 p.m. event, 800 words by 10 p.m., photos.

ELECTION 2020-BIDEN — Joe Biden returns -- virtually -- to the Senate where his political career began and fields questions about his White House bid and efforts to wrest the chamber from Republican control. Later, he’ll answer more questions at a town hall in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where he was born. By Lisa Mascaro and Bill Barrow. SENT: 759 words. UPCOMING: Developing from afternoon event, 8 p.m. town hall, 890 words by 9 p.m., photos. WITH: ELECTION 2020-BIDEN-FACT CHECK — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is presenting a distorted account of President Trump’s words on the coronavirus, wrongly suggesting Trump branded the virus a hoax. In fact, Trump pronounced Democratic criticism of his pandemic response a hoax. UPCOMING: 450 words by 4:30 p.m., photo.

Find more coverage on the 2020 U.S. Elections featured topic page in AP Newsroom.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, still a historically high number of people that illustrates the broad economic damage still taking place nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. The Labor Department said that U.S. jobless claims fell by 33,000 from the previous week and that 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago. By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman. SENT: 875 words, photos.

WESTERN WILDFIRES-HOW DID WE GET HERE — Two unusual weather phenomena combined to create some of the most destructive wildfires the West Coast states have seen in modern times. First was a dramatic lightning storm over Northern and Central California. Thousands of bolts ignited hundreds of fires in parched grasslands and vineyards. Then, warm, dry winds blew toward the West Coast — not the usual direction. By Andrew Selsky. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES — The Trump administration is claiming “resounding vindication” from a report on the coronavirus crisis in nursing homes, but some commission members say that’s a misreading of their work and much remains to be done. UPCOMING: 600 words by 2:30 p.m. UPCOMING: Updates from 4:30 p.m. event, 800 words by 6 p.m., photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NYC SCHOOLS — Short of staff and supplies for opening New York City’s public school system for both remote and in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that in-school learning for most city students will be pushed back at least another week. SENT: 630 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-POLL WORKERS-MASKS -- Poll workers signed up to work the November election in a county near St. Louis have been urged in an email to “act surprised” if voters ask why they aren’t wearing masks given the coronavirus threat. The St. Charles County Election Authority’s email Wednesday says workers will not be required to wear a mask but must keep one near them and put it on if a voter asks. SENT: 600 words.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CONGRESS-ASIAN AMERICANS — The House on a mostly party line vote approved a resolution condemning racism against Asian Americans as related to the coronavirus. Republicans called the legislation an election-year effort to criticize President Donald Trump and “woke culture on steroids.” UPCOMING: 500 words by 3 p.m., photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIA-DEATHS — India is now second in the world with the number of reported coronavirus infections with over 5.1 million cases, behind only the United States. Its death toll of only 83,000 in a country of 1.3 billion people, however, is raising questions about the way it counts fatalities from COVID-19. Experts say its official death toll is likely an undercount. SENT: 1,120 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WHO QUARANTINE — The World Health Organization’s European director warned national governments against reducing the quarantine period for people potentially exposed to the coronavirus, even as he acknowledged that COVID-19 “fatigue” was setting in with growing public resistance to the measures needed to control the pandemic. SENT: 385 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ISRAEL-JEWISH NEW YEAR — A raging coronavirus outbreak is casting a shadow over the usually festive Jewish New Year as Israel faces a second nationwide lockdown to stem a runaway coronavirus outbreak. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-ASIA — India counted another record daily increase of coronavirus infections after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government faced scathing opposition criticism in Parliament for its handling of the pandemic and a contracting economy that has left millions jobless. SENT: 400 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Britain imposed tougher restrictions on people and businesses in parts of northeastern England as the nation attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19 before the colder winter months. SENT: 730 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LEBANON PRISON — The head of Lebanon’s doctors union says the country’s largest prison is grappling with an alarming coronavirus outbreak. He says many inmates are refusing to take preventative measures or get tested. SENT: 630 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ONE GOOD THING-MARATHON NUN -- Sister Stephanie Baliga has run the Chicago Marathon for the past nine consecutive years. When the race was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, she decided to run a treadmill marathon in her convent’s basement to raise money for the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels food pantry in Chicago. In the end, she finished her “race” with a time of 3 hours and 33 minutes, which was submitted to Guinness World Records. So far, she has raised more than $130,000 for her mission. SENT: 590 words, photos, video.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-VIRAL-QUESTIONS-MASKS-IN-SCHOOLS — Whether students have to wear masks depends on where they go to school. SENT: 310 words, graphic.

Find more coverage on the Virus Outbreak on the featured topic page in AP Newsroom.




MASK PROTEST-TWISTED SISTER — Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider took to social media to condemn anti-maskers who ripped off their masks inside a Florida Target store while blaring the group’s hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” SENT: 485 words.

GERMANY-BAYONET WEDDING -- A man in Germany avoided a lengthy jail sentence after he made a marriage proposal in court to the woman he was on trial for allegedly trying to kill with a bayonet and she refused to testify against him. SENT: 160 words.

SENIOR APARTMENT SHOOTING — A shooting outside a senior living apartment complex in a small Wisconsin town left four people wounded, including the gunman. SENT: 380 words, photos, video.

BABY KILLED-MOTHER SENTENCED — A Florida woman who killed her 6-month-old son in South Carolina because she was angry when the child’s father wouldn’t answer her texts or phone calls was sentenced to 30 years in prison. SENT: 385 words.

MESA VERDE-ANCESTRAL REMAINS -- Tribal leaders have reburied the remains of their ancestors that were taken more than a century ago from what’s now a national park in Colorado. SENT: 350 words.




CONGRESS-RUSSIA PROBE — Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 30, appearing just a month before the presidential election as Republicans try to make the case that he worked against Donald Trump in 2016. UPCOMING: 600 words by 4 p.m., photo.

MELANIA TRUMP — First lady Melania Trump makes an appearance at a New Hampshire hospital, her first solo public event outside of Washington since the coronavirus pandemic set in. UPCOMING: 500 words by 5 p.m., photo.

FBI-DOMESTIC EXTREMISM — FBI Director Chris Wray tells lawmakers that he regards antifa as more of an ideology than an organization, putting him at odds with President Donald Trump, who has said he would designate it as a terror group. UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m., photos.

SUPREME COURT-NOTEBOOK — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer doesn’t seem overly concerned about election cases landing in his lap. Breyer, a member of the court that decided the Bush v. Gore case essentially settling the disputed 2000 presidential election, says, “I’ve learned over time, deal with the case when it comes up, don’t deal with it on the basis of what’s said in a newspaper.” SENT: 538 words, photos.

BOOKS-BARACK OBAMA — The first volume of former President Barack Obama’s memoir is coming out Nov. 17, two weeks after Election Day. It’s called “A Promised Land” and will cover his swift and historic rise to the White House and his first term in office. SENT: 876 words, photo.

CUMMINGS MEMOIR-TRUMP TWEETS — U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote he felt “pure pain” from President Donald Trump’s tweets about Baltimore in a memoir that’s being published posthumously. SENT: 540 words, photo.

BARR-SLAVERY — Attorney General William Barr is drawing sharp condemnation for comparing lockdown orders during the coronavirus pandemic to slavery. SENT: 180 words, photo.




TROPICAL WEATHER — Homeowners and businesses along the soggy Gulf Coast began cleaning up in the wake of Hurricane Sally, even as the region braced for a delayed, second round of flooding in the coming days from rivers and creeks swollen by the storm’s heavy rains. SENT: 980 words, photos, videos.

ACTRESS FATAL-ACCIDENT — Amy Locane, a former “Melrose Place” actress who has already served a prison sentence for a fatal 2010 drunken driving crash in New Jersey, is headed back behind bars after a judge agreed with prosecutors that her initial sentence was too lenient. SENT: 550 words, photo.




RUSSIA GERMANY-NAVALNY — Colleagues of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said that a bottle of water with a trace of the Novichok nerve agent was found in his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk after he fell ill on a flight from there to Moscow last month. SENT: 925 words, photos.

GREECE-MIGRANT SHIP-BLAZE — Greek police are moving hundreds of migrants to an army-built camp on the island of Lesbos after a fire destroyed an overcrowded facility, leaving them homeless for days. SENT: 525 words, photos.




FINANCIAL-MARKETS — U.S. stocks were lower, led by big technology names, as Wall Street continues to swirl after the Federal Reserve said it will keep interest rates at nearly zero for years to help nurse the wheezing economy. SENT: 730 words, photos, developing.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LAUNCHED DURING PANDEMIC — Thousands of companies are started in the U.S. in a typical year; but like everything else, going into business on your own is different in the year of the coronavirus. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

HOME CONSTRUCTION — U.S. housing construction fell 5.1% in August after three months of strong gains as home builders mounted a rebound following a pandemic-induced shutdown in March and April. SENT: 320 words, photo.




EMMYS — The Emmy Awards will bow to the coronavirus with a mostly virtual ceremony Sunday, but producers vow that they’ll put on a good show for viewers and one that will honor the best of TV. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.




BKN-HEAT CELTICS — Miami looks to take a 2-0 lead on Boston in their Eastern Conference finals series, which resumes Thursday night. The Celtics haven’t gotten themselves into an 0-2 hole since the East finals in 2017. Game begins 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 10:30 p.m.

GLF-US OPEN - The U.S. Open begins at Winged Foot for the sixth time with a September date not seen for this championship since 1913. Dustin Johnson is among the favorites. Tiger Woods returns to the course where he missed the cut for the first time in a major. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 8 p.m.




At the Nerve Center, Richard A. Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Courtney Dittmar (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Phil Holm (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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