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BC-AP News Digest 2 pm

February 13, 2019

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 .




DRUNKEN DRIVER-PARDON _ In his final days in office, Gov. Rick Snyder wiped out the felony drunken-driving conviction of a man who pleaded for a pardon so he could seek a lucrative promotion as the next president of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. SENT: 950 words, photo.




COUNTERINTELLIGENCE DEFECTOR-IRAN _ A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information to the Tehran government, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program. The Justice Department said that Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, defected in 2013 after attending a conference in Iran aimed at “condemning American moral standards.” She is currently at-large, along with four Iranian hackers who, prosecutors say, used the information she provided to target her former colleagues in the U.S. intelligence community. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 450 words, photos. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos. WITH: IRAN _ A suicide bombing targeting a bus carrying personnel of Iran’s elite paramilitary Revolutionary Guard force killed at least 20 people and wounded 20 in the country’s southeast. SENT: 750 words, graphic.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY _ Even before there’s a firm deal to seal, President Donald Trump is portraying the congressional agreement on border security as a political win for him. Barring major changes in the bill’s language, which is still being worked out, Trump is expected to accept the deal but prepared to use executive action to try to secure additional funding for the wall by shifting federal dollars without congressional sign-off. By Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey and Alan Fram. SENT: 1100 words. UPCOMING: 990 words by 5 p.m., photos, video

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS-BALANCING ACT _ Running for president is famously grinding, but more than a half-dozen Democratic contenders are already discovering how much tougher the campaign trail can be when you already have a day job _ as a sitting member of Congress. By Elana Schor. UPCOMING: 1000 words 4 p.m., photo. WITH: ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS-DATA _ Democrats are enlisting Howard Dean to lead a new operation they hope will help them match Republicans’ success in using voter data to win elections. SENT: 840 words, photo.

NIGERIA-ELECTIONS-FAKE NEWS _ In Nigeria fake news can be so outlandish, yet widely believed, that the president recently felt compelled to declare that he had not died and been replaced by a Sudanese body double. “It’s (the) real me, I assure you,” President Muhammadu Buhari said late last year, to dispel the story that was viewed more than 500,000 times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Nigeria’s fake news can also be lethal. By Rodney Muhumuza and Sam Olukoya. SENT: 950 words, photos.

MARS ROVER _ NASA calls it quits for its longest-running rover on Mars, declaring Opportunity dead 15 years after it landed on the red planet. UPCOMING: 400 words. Developing from 2 p.m. press conference.




AMERICAN IDOL-FENTANYL _ A recently unsealed court document says Antonella Barba, a former contestant on both “American Idol” and “Fear Factor” worked as a courier for a drug ring. SENT: 150 words, photo.

BEAR ATTACK-WOMAN DRAGGED _ A woman who survived a bear attack outside her Pennsylvania home has been released from the hospital and says she feels lucky to have survived. SENT: 150 words.

CHURCH-DONATION RETURNED _ An Alabama church damaged by a tornado is returning a $25,000 donation from a casino because it doesn’t support gambling. SENT: 150 words.

CANADA-CHAIRS THROWN _ A 19-year-old woman faces charges for allegedly throwing two chair off a 45th story balcony along a busy downtown Toronto street. SENT: 150 words.

ZOO-MONKEY STOLEN _ Police in Florida have found Kali, the 12-year-old rare monkey stolen from the Palm Beach Zoo. SENT: 150 words, photos.




UNITED STATES-COLOMBIA _ President Trump meets with the president of Colombia, with the crisis in Venezuela high on the agenda. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Developing from midday events, 300 words by 3 p.m., photos, video.

CONGRESS-YEMEN-WAR POWERS _ Asserting Congress’ authority over war powers, the House is expected to vote on a resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from the conflict in Yemen. UPCOMING: 790 words by 3 p.m., photo.

TRUMP SUPPORTER-KHASHOGGI _ The man who led President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee says America is in no moral position to criticize Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. SENT: 270 words.

SUPREME COURT-HEALTH ISSUES _ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has missed a month of Supreme Court arguments as she recovers from lung cancer surgery. But she’s not the first justice to be away for a while and her absence hardly compares with those of some of her predecessors. SENT: 850 words, photo.




CALIFORNIA-DIGITAL DIVIDE _ California’s new governor says the state’s consumers should get a piece of the billions of dollars that technology companies make by capitalizing on the personal data they collect. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5 p.m

CINDY McCAIN-TRAFFICKING _ Many parents of children who don’t look like them weren’t surprised when to hear that Cindy McCain inaccurately reported a woman for human trafficking because she was at the airport with a child of a different ethnicity, prompting police intervention. Mixed-race families regularly face suspicion and doubt _ and the assumption that they’re the nanny. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 pm.

SCHOOL-SHOOTING-FLORIDA-MARCH-FOR-OUR-LIVES _ The three Deitsch siblings have devoted long hours to the March for Our Lives movement since the Parkland school shooting last year. By Kelli Kennedy. SENT: 920 words, photos. TOP VIDEO: _ US FL Parkland March for Lives (CR HFR) _ Three siblings help form March For Our Lives. With SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA-FATHER _ Hearing on Parkland father’s confrontation with ex-monitor. UPCOMING: SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA-MARKING THE DAY _ Families, community plan quiet school massacre anniversary.

OAKLAND TEACHERS STRIKE-TEACH FOR AMERICA _ A potential teacher strike in Oakland, California, is heating up long-simmering tensions between traditional public schools and education reform programs like Teach for America, which recruits college graduates with no teaching experience to work for a short period in needy schools. UPCOMING: 1,050 words, photos by 5 p.m.

DEATH AND DISAPPEARANCE IN INDIAN COUNTRY _ Lawmakers in several states have proposed legislation calling for examinations into the deaths and disappearances of Native American women amid concerns law enforcement lacks the data and resources needed to tackle a problem described by some as a deepening crisis. By Mary Hudetz. UPCOMING: 1,500 words, photos by 5 p.m.




MIDEAST MEETING _ Although it is absent from the stage, Iran is nevertheless taking the spotlight at a Middle East security conference co-hosted by the United States and Poland that has highlighted deep divisions between the U.S. and some of its traditional allies. SENT: 1,200 words, photos. WITH: _ SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES-THE EXCLUDED _ The exclusion of countries or peoples from high-profile summits and conferences often says much about the events themselves. SENT: 650 words, photos.

ISRAEL-NEW FRIENDS? _ The Mideast conference in Poland that started Wednesday offers Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an opportunity to flaunt in public what he has long boasted about happening behind the scenes _ his country’s improved relations with some Gulf Arab nations. Several Gulf dignitaries are expected to attend in a potential show of force against uninvited Iran. But the Palestinians are urging a boycott of the conference, and it remains to be seen whether Arab officials will make any public overtures to Netanyahu without a major concession to the Palestinian cause, which still animates the Arab public. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-SOCIALIST PARTY BOSS _ It was show time for the most-watched program on Venezuela’s normally sleep-inducing state TV: Episode No. 240 of “Hitting it With a Sledgehammer,” the talk show hosted by one of the ruling socialist party’s most-revered _ and reviled _ leaders. A military salsa band playing pro-government songs stirred up a live audience of several thousand state employees, pilot cadets and ideological die-hards. SENT: 775 words, photos.




SUPERBUG SELF-CLEANSE, HFR _ Think of it as decontaminating yourself. People who were found to harbor MRSA superbugs while they were in the hospital greatly cut their risk of developing full-blown infections if they swabbed medicated goo in their nose and used special soap and mouthwash for a while after going home. UPCOMING: 625 words. Eds: This story may not be published, broadcast or posted online before 5 p.m.

ON THE MONEY-MEDICARE ADVANTAGE ENROLLMENT _ Medicare Advantage enrollees get a new, second chance to find the right health coverage this year. SENT: 665 words, photos.




CONGRESS-SPRINT-T-MOBILE MERGER _ Democratic lawmakers are challenging a pledge by T-Mobile and Sprint not to raise prices or hurt competition if their $26.5 billion merger goes through. SENT: 920 words, photos.

HUAWEI-SOFT POWER _ Before being accused of cyberspying by the U.S., Chinese tech company Huawei had embarked on a global push to win consumers and burnish its brand by sponsoring Canadian hockey programs, an Australian rugby team, funding research at top universities, and promoting classical music concerts in Europe. Since the feud with the US and other Western countries, the company has stepped up its PR efforts in a different way, reaching out to the media and governments. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. WITH: CHINA-US-HUAWEI _ A Chinese government spokeswoman says that the U.S. and other countries have not presented any conclusive evidence that Chinese telecoms gear maker Huawei Technologies threatens their national security and are merely stirring fears out of self-interest. SENT: 500 words, photo.




FILM-UNITED SKATES _ The HBO film “United Skates” is a fascinating look at the rich and creative African-American subculture of roller skating, which is in the danger of dying. By Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy. SENT: 750 words, photos.




At the Nerve Center, Richard A. Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Donald E. King (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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