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BC-AP Newsfeatures Digest

September 2, 2016

Questions about this digest: Contact Christopher Sullivan at 212-621-5435. Reruns of stories are available at http://apexchange.com, from the Service Desk at 800-838-4616, or your local AP bureau.



The bodies began surfacing as the Islamic State killers retreated, bearing witness to months of mass slaughter that devastated entire villages. More than two dozen mass graves have been identified in the area around Mount Sinjar alone, the heartland of Iraq’s tiny Yazidi minority. That represents but a single corner of the swath of IS-held territory in Syria and Iraq, where the AP has documented 72 mass graves so far. By Lori Hinnant and Desmond Butler. SENT: 2,450 words, with abridged version, on Aug. 30. Photos, video, interactive, savage legacy website.


NEW YORK — For 45 years, many Americans identified the Muscular Dystrophy Association with comedian Jerry Lewis and his annual Labor Day telethon. The MDA dropped Lewis as its national chairman and telethon host in 2011, then scrapped the telethon itself last year. How is the charity faring in this new era, as a no-telethon Labor Day approaches? The report card is mixed. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 1,000 words on Sept. 1. Photos.


The hills of northern Myanmar’s Sagaing region were so legendarily thick with forests that in the days of kings, condemned criminals were ordered into the woods as a death sentence. Today illegal logging has left vast swaths of bare patches, and the logging continues despite a ban by Myanmar’s new government, The Associated Press finds. By Esther Htusan. SENT: 1,840 words, with an abridged version, on Sept. 2. Photos.


WAUKEGAN, Ill. — Consider Waukegan and Stevenson, two Illinois school districts separated by 20 miles — and an enormous financial gulf. Stevenson, mostly white, is flush with resources. The high school has five different spaces for theater performances, two gyms, an Olympic-size pool and an espresso bar. Waukegan, with its mostly minority student body, is struggling. At one school, the band has to practice in a hallway, and as many as 28 students share a single computer. Last year, Stevenson spent close to $18,800 per student; Waukegan, $12,600. And the gap has been getting wider — here and in many places across the nation. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, school districts serving poor communities generally have been hit harder than more affluent districts, according to an Associated Press analysis. The result has been a worsening of America’s rich schools, poor schools divide — and its racial divide, because many poor districts are also heavily minority. By Sara Burnett and Larry Fenn. SENT: 1,400 words, with an abridged version, in advance for 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6. Photos, video.


MACON, Ga. — Standing back-to-back and ignoring each other for generations, a black church and a white church that split from a single Baptist congregation are now trying to rebuild a connection by confronting racism. “This is not a conversation of blame,” one pastor says. “What will govern how quickly we move is when there’s a certain level of understanding of the past.” By Religion Writer Rachel Zoll. 2,200 words, with an abridged version, on Aug. 29, and thereafter. Photos.


BC-Divided America-Two Churches-Glance, on various denominations’ ongoing self-examinations.

NOTE: These are the latest stories in AP’s continuing series Divided America, which explores the economic, social and political divisions in American society. Stories that moved previously are listed at the bottom of this digest.

FOR THIS WEEK (for immediate release, except as noted):


Texting while driving is not just a dangerous habit, but an infuriatingly widespread one, practiced by so many drivers that police say it’s impossible to catch even a fraction of them all. That forces police around the country to get creative. By Legal Affairs Writer Denise Lavoie. SENT: 1,060 words on Sept. 2. Photos, video.


BC-TEXTING WHILE DRIVING-STATES - Detailed statistics on the problem for several states.


It’s as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump live on two entirely different Earths: one warming, one not. Clinton says climate change “threatens us all,” while Trump tweets that global warming is “mythical.” Measurements and scientists say Clinton’s Earth is much closer to reality. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 650 words on Aug. 29. Photos. Part of a series.


BC-CAMPAIGN 2016-WHY IT MATTERS: Series introduction.


Is the federal government too big, too small or just right? By Josh Lederman. SENT: 700 words, photo. Part of a series.


WASHINGTON — The federal government is steadily piling up debt — to the tune of about $14 trillion held by investors. Over the long term, that threatens the economy and our pocketbooks. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 600 words on Sept.1. Photo.


In the drought-stricken West, where every drop of water counts, some California farmers are using advanced drone technology to save the scarce resource. By Scott Smith. SENT: 830 words on Aug. 29. Photos, video.


When Pope Francis canonizes Mother Teresa on Sunday, he’ll be honoring a nun who won admirers around the world and a Nobel Peace Prize for her joy-filled dedication to the “poorest of the poor.” He’ll also be recognizing holiness in a woman who felt so abandoned by God that she was unable to pray and was convinced that she was experiencing the “tortures of hell.” By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.


BC-MOTHER TERESA-MIRACLE — For Brazilian man, Mother Teresa worked a miracle. SENT: 440 words, photos.


Seventy years after the most daring attempt of Jewish Holocaust survivors to seek revenge against their former tormentors, the leader of the plot had a simple regret — to his knowledge he didn’t actually kill any Nazis. A recently declassified U.S. military investigation report has only added new mystery to why the brazen operation failed to be lethal. By Randy Herschaft and Aron Heller. SENT: 1,380 words, photos, video.


Tempers are rising among migrants squeezed in record numbers into a shrinking slum camp in France’s port city of Calais, where hours-long waiting lines for food and showers and the tightening grip of security forces are leaving emotions raw. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


A high school sports teacher and a counselor are trying to understand how they got caught in a dragnet designed to root out followers of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who Turkey blames for a failed coup attempt last month. Both insist they had nothing to do with Fethullah Gulen, but they’re among 20,000 public school teachers — and tens of thousands of other professionals — either fired or suspended in the aftermath. By Elena Becatoros and Berza Simek. SENT: 1,100 words on Aug. 29. Photos.


China is mobilizing under President Xi Jinping’s drive to overhaul soccer in the country and turn its team from a national embarrassment into a World Cup winner by 2050. SENT: 1,170 words on Sept. 2. Photos.


At 79 and 15 years since his last film, the man affectionately known as “The Pro” is back. Warren Beatty, whose exploits on and off the screen made him an unqualified Hollywood legend, has finally made the Howard Hughes film he’s contemplated on and off for 40 years. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 900 words on Aug. 31. Photos.


BC-FILM-FALL PREVIEW-WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO — AP’s film writers list the 10 things they’re most looking forward to in the coming fall movie season. By Film Writers Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr. SENT: 900 words. Photos.


“Cats” is back purring along. What else is on tap on Broadway? Some big celebrities are coming when the weather cools, including Cate Blanchett, Diane Lane, Janet McTeer, Josh Groban and Liev Schreiber. Here’s a look at some highlights of the 2016-17 fall season: By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. SENT: 1000 words on Aug. 29 Photos.


After making his name as the satirist of everything from “radical chic” to 20th century architecture, Tom Wolfe is now mining the mystery of language and the reputation of the most influential linguist of our time, Noam Chomsky. By National Writer Hillel Italie. SENT: 750 words on Aug. 29. Photos.


DIVIDED AMERICA - previous stories

Below are stories that moved previously in this continuing election-year series. Note: A separate advisory provides further details. For questions about the project, contact Brian Carovillano at bcarovillano@ap.org or the AP’s Nerve Center at nervecentermanagers@ap.org.


Americans agree on this much: They are disgusted with politics. They look toward Washington and see a broken federal government, a place where politicians seem more interested in self-preservation than in We the People. Things don’t seem much better in state capitals. By Jay Reeves and Robin McDowell. SENT: 1,330 words, with abridged version. Photos, video, interactive.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In cities and towns across the country, a disturbing pattern has emerged: The economic averages that reflect America’s recovery from the Great Recession don’t capture the experience of many typical people in typical communities. That’s because wealth is flowing disproportionately to the rich, skewing the data we use to measure economic health, resulting in an economy on paper that most Americans don’t recognize in real life. Take Memphis, for example. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 1,500 words, with abridged version. Photos, video, interactive.


BENTON, Ky. — Evangelical, conservative Christians feel under siege. Steadily, over decades, they sense that they have been pushed to the margins of American life, attacked for their most deeply held beliefs. Now, many evangelicals say liberals want to seal their cultural victory by silencing the church. By Religion Writer Rachel Zoll. SENT: 2,500 words, with an abridged version. Photos, videos, interactive.


MISSOULA, Mont. — This election year’s heated rhetoric over immigration has found a home on the range, and discouraging words abound. What started as a clash over a single issue — whether to welcome a small number of refugees to a peaceful corner of western Montana — soon erupted into a larger feud over Islam, big government and the idea that Americans should “take care of our own” before worrying about newcomers. Demonstrators took to the streets carrying signs with wildly divergent views. By National Writer Sharon Cohen. SENT: 2,670 words, with abridged version. Photos, video, interactive.


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — As Virginia’s only Latino state lawmaker, Alfonso Lopez made it his first order of business to push for a law granting in-state college tuition to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally since childhood. The bill failed. Again and again. “If we had a more diverse (legislature) and more Latinos in the House of Delegates,” he says, “I don’t think it would be as difficult.” But truly diverse legislatures are rarity across the United States. While minorities have made some political gains, they remain severely underrepresented in Congress and nearly every state legislature, according to an analysis of demographic data by The Associated Press. The lack of political representation can carry real-life consequences. When the people elected don’t look, think, talk or act like the people they represent, it can deepen divisions that naturally exist in the U.S. By David Lieb. SENT: 2,500 words, with abridged version. Photos, interactive.



NEW YORK -- Meet Peggy Albrecht and John Dearth. Albrecht is a freelance writer and comedian from Los Angeles who loves Bernie Sanders. Dearth, a retiree from Carmel, Indiana, grew up a Democrat but flipped with Ronald Reagan. He’s Trump guy. They live in the same country, but as far as their news consumption goes, they might as well live on different planets. The growth in partisan media over the past two decades has enabled Americans to retreat into tribes of like-minded people who get news filtered through particular world views. Fox News Channel and Talking Points Memo thrive, with audiences that rarely intersect. What’s big news in one world is ignored in another. Conspiracy theories sprout, anger abounds and the truth becomes ever more elusive. By David Bauder. SENT: 2,000 words, with an abridged version. Photos.


Wherever you look in this nation born of a bloody revolution of musket fire, chances are there’s sharp disagreement over firearms. Democrats war with Republicans, and small towns are against cities. Women and men are at odds, as are blacks and whites and old and young. North clashes with South, East with West. By National Writer Matt Sedensky. SENT: 1,440 words, with abridged version.




ROCKY FORD, Colo. -- From where Peggy Sheahan stands, deep in rural Colorado, the last eight years were abysmal. The county where she is steadily losing population, middle-class jobs have vanished, crime is up as heroin use rises. In Denver, 175 miles to the northwest, things are going better for Andrea Pacheco. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the 36-year-old could finally marry her partner, Jen Winters. After months navigating Denver’s superheated housing market, they snapped up a bungalow at the edge of town. It is no coincidence that Sheahan backs Donald Trump, while Pacheco supports Hillary Clinton. Town and country represent not just the poles of the nation’s two political parties, but different economic realities that are transforming the 2016 presidential election. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 2,580 words on July 4. Photos. A 960-word abridged version also moved. Highlighting video US DA URBAN RURAL (CR).


NEW YORK — As Americans struggle to make sense of senseless deaths, Staten Islanders have the dubious distinction of being a step ahead. Since Eric Garner’s death during his arrest in July 2014, they have confronted a measure of the anger, pain and alienation that the nation now shares. In this island borough, police and the policed have had to coexist. The highly publicized deaths of black men in encounters with police across the country, and now the sniper killing of five Dallas officers, have focused new attention on the chasm between police and minorities. Years of tension have left people wary in both the policing community and in minority neighborhoods, with many yearning for one another’s respect. But it’s not simple to change the way people see each other. By National Writer Adam Geller, SENT: 3,000 words, with abridged version, moved in advance for release 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 14, and thereafter. Photos. Video.


A woman sleeps in her car, waiting to receive free dental care at a clinic in rural Virginia. Another peers though a fence at the Mexican border to see the grandmother she left behind 18 years before, when she was brought to the United States as a toddler. Health care and immigration are two of the most contentious issues of this most contentious election year, but they are not merely grist for politics and politicians. Americans like these women are dealing with them in nearly every moment of their everyday lives. A team of AP photographers across the country set out to record those moments. Each set out to capture a single, intimate image to illustrate the human side of immigration, the economy, the environment, gun rights, social values like abortion, gay rights and conservative Christian beliefs, and race. Each offers a personal story that illuminates the campaign’s headlines. SENT: 200 words on July 15, with photo gallery and interactive.


LOGAN, W.Va. — There are places like this across America — poor and getting poorer, feeling left behind while the rest got richer. But nowhere has the plummet of the white working class been as merciless as here in central Appalachia. And nowhere have the cross-currents of desperation and boiling resentment that have devoured a presidential race been on such glaring display. The mines are idle, there are no jobs, families are fleeing, drug abuse is rampant. Even cremations are up at the funeral home down the street, because people can’t afford caskets anymore. For many, Donald Trump is their last chance. If this great disrupter can’t make it right, they say, it’s all over. By Claire Galofaro. SENT: 2,000 words, with abridged version, on July 14, in advance for 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 18, photos.


ATLANTA — Hillary Clinton may be closer than ever to shattering what she famously called “the highest, hardest glass ceiling,” but women in the U.S. remain significantly underrepresented at all levels of elected office. Although women comprise half the population, they serve as mayors of 19 percent of all cities with a population of 30,000 or greater and represent just a quarter of all state lawmakers. Just 12 percent of governors are women, and they comprise just one in five seats in Congress. While the election of a female president would be unprecedented in the U.S., at least 52 other countries around the world already had a female leader. By Christina A. Cassidy. SENT: 1,500 words, with an abridged version, for release on Monday, July 25, and thereafter. Photos.


— LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: Spreadsheets were made available ahead of the story’s release date: The number and percentage of women currently serving in each state legislature; All women who have served in the U.S. House of Representatives for each state; All women who have served in the U.S. Senate for each state; All women who have served as governor for each state; All current city mayors nationwide who are women.

— BC-US--Women in Office-Glance, various groupings of female representation in the states. This will include states with the highest and lowest percentage of women in their legislatures, and states that have never elected a woman to Congress, the U.S. senator or as governor.


SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — Outside a flag-making factory here, a summer of discontent is brewing in a nation showing innumerable divides. Workers feel it inside, too — that gulf between rich and poor and left and right. Yet, as giant rolls of nylon take shape as perhaps the most unifying American symbol, the flagmakers sound far more similar than different. Whether for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, when asked if there are things that unite Americans, they instantly say yes. Gesturing to their handiwork, they invoke what it stands for: freedom, opportunity and pride. And across the fractured U.S., opinion surveys and interviews find unity on all kinds of issues, from Americans’ views of other nations and their religiosity to their love of dogs. By National Writer Matt Sedensky. SENT: 2,200 words, with an abridged version, for release beginning Aug. 3. Photos, graphic, video. With:

BC-US--DIVIDED AMERICA-ONE WORD, asked for a single word to define America, poll respondents reflect diversity and dissonance. Word cloud Graphic.


The rest of the world may think Americans eat a lot of burgers, have huge shopping malls and are ruled by an arrogant government. But they’re also seen from afar as generous tippers, friendly, uncomplicated, rich and the standard bearers of freedom, equality, creativity and technological power. Here’s what The Associated Press found when it asked ordinary people around the world about their views of America. By Vijay Joshi. SENT: 2,000 words on Aug. 4. Photos.


LAS VEGAS — It’s a persistent paradox in American politics: Many Hispanic families have an immense personal stake in what happens on Election Day, but despite population numbers that should mean political power, Hispanics often can’t vote, aren’t registered to vote, or simply choose to sit out. Enter Donald Trump, and the question that could make or break the election in key states. By inflaming the anti-immigrant sentiments of white, working-class men, has the Republican nominee jolted awake another group — the now 27.3 million eligible Hispanic voters long labeled the sleeping giant of U.S. elections? By Sergio Bustos and Nicholas Riccardi. 2,200 words, with an abridged version, moved for release Monday, Aug. 8. Photos, video, graphic.


WASHINGTON — Before it got too overheated, America wasn’t that split by global warming, but now tempers are rising with the temperatures. Democrats (and scientists) have become more convinced that global warming is a real, man-made threat. Republicans and Tea Party activists have become more convinced that it is —  to quote the repeated tweets of Donald Trump — a “hoax.” By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. 1,840 words, with abridged version, moved for release Monday, Aug. 15. Photos.


The oldest millennials — already 20 when airplanes slammed into New York City’s Twin Towers — can remember the relative economic prosperity of the 1990s, and when a different Clinton was running for president. The nation’s youngest adults find it hard to recall a reality without terrorism and economic worry. More than 75 million strong, millennials edged out baby boomers this year as the largest living generation in U.S. history. How they vote on Nov. 8 will shape the political landscape for years to come. The Associated Press spent time with seven millennial voters in five states where their generation promises to have an outsized influence in November, and discovered a uniquely American mosaic, from a black teen in Nevada voting for the first time to a Florida-born son of Central American immigrants to a white Christian couple in Ohio. By Gillian Flaccus, Tamara Lush and Martha Irvine. SENT: 1,900 words, with an abridged version, for use on Monday, Aug. 22, and thereafter. Photos, video and interactive.

The AP

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