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BC-AP News Digest 6:15 pm

February 18, 2018

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST.

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NEW & DEVELOPING

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NASCAR-DAYTONA 500 — Race underway.

BKN--ALL-STAR GAME — Game starts at 8 p.m.

Adds: GERMANY-SECURITY CONFERENCE, AP FACT CHECK, BURNED BEARS, PENN STATE-DANCE MARATHON.

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TOP STORIES

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SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida vent their anger at President Donald Trump, contending his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. By Jason Dearen and Terry Spencer. SENT: 1,140 words, photos. WITH: SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA-LEGAL ROAD — The evidence against the Florida school shooter is so overwhelming, the only question if he is convicted is whether he will be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life in prison. By Curt Anderson. SENT: 600 words, photos.

SCHOOL SHOOTING-RED FLAG LAWS — The warnings around Nikolas Cruz seemed to flash like neon signs: expelled from school, fighting with classmates, a fascination with weapons and hurting animals, disturbing images posted to social media, previous mental health treatment. In some states, that would be enough for relatives and others to request a judicial order barring him from possessing guns. Not in Florida. By Ryan J. Foley and Don Thompson. SENT: 800 words, photos. This story is this week’s Monday Spotlight.

TRUMP — President Donald Trump, raging from the privacy of his Florida estate as the nation mourns the school shooting victims, accuses the FBI of fixating on the Russia investigation and failing to deter the attack. He says “they are laughing their asses off in Moscow” at the fallout from the Kremlin’s election interference. By Catherine Lucey. SENT: 950 words, photo. WITH: AP FACT CHECK: Trump roars on Twitter about Russia probe. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

IRAQ-AMERICANS AFTER IS — The U.S.-led coalition is reducing the number of American troops in Iraq after driving the Islamic State group out of the territory it seized. But U.S. and Iraqi commanders warn that the hard-won victory could be undercut by a large-scale withdrawal. Iraq’s regular military still depends on U.S. support, and many of the problems that helped fuel the extremists’ rise remain unresolved. By Susannah George. SENT: 1,600 words, photos.

IRAN-PLANE CRASH — An Iranian commercial airplane brought back into service only months ago after being grounded for seven years crashes in a foggy, mountainous region of southern Iran, and officials say they fear all 65 people on board were killed. The crash of the Aseman Airlines ATR-72 marks yet another fatal aviation disaster for Iran, which for years was barred from buying airplane parts for needed maintenance due to Western sanctions over its contested nuclear program. By Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell. SENT: 980 words, graphic.

OLY--RUST-BELT BLUES — The Pyeongchang Winter Games are spread across South Korea’s Gangwon Province, a rural former coal mining region that few had heard of until its hard-fought bid to be an Olympic host — a massively expensive proposition with dubious payoff. Will it work? And could it even work in its American equivalent: the coalfields of Appalachia? By Claire Galoforo and Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 1,595 words, photos, video. See more Olympics coverage below and full coverage on OLYMPIC DIGEST.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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BURNED BEARS — Officials tracking two bears that were badly burned in a wildfire say the animals are settling back into their home in the wild after receiving unusual treatment for their injured paws. SENT: 300 words, photos.

PENN STATE-DANCE MARATHON — Hundreds of Penn State students take part in 46-hour dance marathon, raise more than $10 million for pediatric cancer patients. SENT: 120 words, photos.

FILM-BOX OFFICE — Already a much-celebrated pop-culture milestone, “Black Panther” is now a record-setting smash at the box office, too. SENT: 800 words, photos.

ROSALYNN CARTER-SURGERY — Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is recovering from surgery to remove scar tissue from a portion of her small intestine, The Carter Center says. SENT: 200 words.

BRITAIN ROYAL WEDDING DRESS — It’s almost certainly going to be the dress of the year - but who will Meghan Markle pick to design her wedding gown? SENT: 900 words, photos.

WASHINGTON’S HAIR — Archivists at Union College say a lock of George Washington’s hair was discovered in an old almanac that belonged to Philip J. Schuyler, whose father was one of the college’s founders in 1795. SENT: 550 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE OLYMPICS

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RUSSIAN DOPING — The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics has announced that one of its athletes failed a drug test. SENT: 350 words, photo.

OLY-FRE--MEN’S SLOPESTYLE — Gus Kenworthy finished last in the Olympic final of ski slopestyle but this hardly felt like a loss. The kiss he shared with his boyfriend at the bottom of the hill made history. SENT; 800 words, photos.

OLY--HEAD INJURIES — Concussion dangers lurk everywhere at the Olympics, from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course to the careening twists and turns of the snowboardcross track. SENT: 860 words, photos.

OLY-TIM DAHLBERG-US FLOP — The biggest team in the Olympics — 241 athletes in all — has been a flop so far, winning so few medals that you can count them on both hands. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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SEN DUCKWORTH RISING — Sen. Tammy Duckworth is an Asian-American woman in the mostly-white, mostly-male and very fusty Senate. And now, with a baby due in April, the Illinois Democrat will be the first senator to give birth while in office. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

TRUMP-HEATING AID— The Trump administration is once again calling for the complete elimination of low-income heating assistance. SENT: 500 words, photo.

FACEBOOK-POST OFFICE — Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office. SENT: 450 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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LATVIA-CENTRAL BANKER — Latvia’s top banking official, a key member of the European Central Bank, has been detained after being questioned for hours by anti-corruption authorities amid accusations of bribery and money laundering in the European nation’s financial system. SENT: 800 words, photos.

POLAND-ISRAEL — A spokeswoman for Poland’s prime minister attempts to downplay his words equating Polish collaborators in the Holocaust to alleged “Jewish perpetrators” by saying the remark was an invitation to a frank debate about World War II crimes against Jews. SENT: 600 words, photos.

RUSSIA-CHURCH SHOOTING — Russian media are reporting that a gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle on churchgoers leaving a service in the Dagestan region, killing five people and wounding four others. SENT: 120 words.

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NATIONAL

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CITIES SELLING DIVERSITY — Some cities and regions are dangling racial diversity along with positive business climates, competitive tax rates and available land in pitches to lure tech companies and high-paying jobs to town. SENT: 800 words, photos.

DNA-MISSING PERSONS — For families who have searched years for missing loved ones, donating a sample of their DNA is often a last, desperate act to confirm their worst fears. SENT: 650 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BKN--ALL-STAR GAME — The NBA’s best square off in an All-Star Game with a twist. Stephen Curry and LeBron James picked the teams as the league abandons the East vs. West format to liven up the 67th edition of its midseason showcase. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

CAR--NASCAR-DAYTONA 500 — NASCAR kicks off its new season with a slew of young drivers leading the field to green in the Daytona 500. UPCOMING: 900 words. Race underway.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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BRITAIN FILM AWARDS — “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” caps a winning evening at the British Academy Film Awards by taking the trophy for best picture. SENT: 600 words, photos. WITH: BRITAIN-FILM AWARDS-LIST (sent).

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Rob Jagodzinski 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 877-836-9477.

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