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BC-AP News Digest 2:20 pm

May 17, 2019

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.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-IRAN POLITICS _ President Donald Trump won the White House pledging to wind down America’s foreign entanglements and put “America First.” With fears of a brewing conflict with Iran swirling that could hamper his re-election hopes, Trump publicly is adopting a softer tone. By Zeke Miller and Steve Peoples. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos.

TRUMP-TARIFFS _ Bogged down in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to ease tensions with America’s friends _ lifting import taxes on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and delaying auto tariffs that would have hurt Japan and Europe. By Business Writers Paul Wiseman and Tom Krisher. SENT: 1,200 words sent as TRUMP-AUTO TARIFFS, photos; new version upcoming.

TRUMP’S ATTORNEY GENERAL _ More and more, Attorney General William Barr is becoming the president’s favorite lawyer. He’s not only enthusiastically embracing Donald Trump’s political agenda, he’s also gone all-in by casting special counsel Robert Mueller’s report as vindication for Trump and hinting that the real wrongdoing was committed by those who launched the investigation. By Michael Balsamo and Jonathan Lemire. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5 p.m., photos.

OHIO STATE-TEAM DOCTOR _ A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over nearly two decades, and university officials knew what he was doing and did little to stop him, according to an investigative report released by the school. Dr. Richard Strauss committed the abuse from 1979 to 1997 _ nearly his entire time at Ohio State _ in episodes involving students from at least 16 sports, plus his work at the student health center and his off-campus clinic, the report said. By Kantele Franko and Julie Carr Smyth. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ABORTION-MISSOURI _ Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature approves a sweeping bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, joining Alabama and other states that have moved to severely restrict the procedure. Republican Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign the bill. The ban would be among the most restrictive in the U.S. It would include exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted. By Summer Ballentine. SENT: 450 words, photo, developing. WITH: ABORTION-LOUISIANA GOVERNOR _ Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards, who has repeatedly bucked the national leaders of his Democratic Party on abortion rights, is about to sign legislation that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks of pregnancy. UPCOMING: 900 words by 4 p.m.

IRAQ-CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE _ When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside. The message, relayed to The Associated Press by two Iraqi government officials, underscores Iraq’s delicate position _ its government is allied with both sides of an increasingly tense confrontation. By Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Bassem Mroue. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 4:30 p.m.

GULF TENSIONS-GAS PRICES _ A rare mix of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and China is tugging oil prices in opposite directions and creating uncertainty over where they might land. Deteriorating trade talks between the United States and China have threatened to drive down the cost of oil and gasoline. By Cathy Bussewitz and Michelle Chapman. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 5 p.m.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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TV-STEVE KROFT _ ’60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft to retire from the news magazine on Sunday, capping 30 years at the show. SENT: 200 words, photos.

PREHISTORIC FOSSIL FIND _ A teen searching for arrowheads in southern Iowa found something much bigger: the prehistoric jawbone of a mastodon. SENT: 200 words.

WOMAN DECAPITATED-SON ARRESTED _ Police arrest a 22-year-old Texas man suspected of cutting off his mother’s head with a hacksaw. SENT: 150 words.

LARGE LIZARD CAPTURED _ Wildlife officials finally captured a large invasive Asian water monitor that had been running loose in the Florida Keys for more than a year. SENT: 150 words.

GRUMPY CAT-DEATH _ Owners say Grumpy Cat, whose sour puss became an internet sensation, has died at age 7. SENT: 150 words, photo, video.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2020-MEDICARE FOR ALL _ A half-dozen presidential candidates back “Medicare for All,” a proposal that would put the government in charge of most health benefits. But many of the Democrats they’re courting aren’t so sure that the nation’s health care system should be overhauled so dramatically. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-FLYNN _ Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn told the special counsel’s office that people connected to the Trump administration and Congress sought to influence his cooperation with the Russia investigation, and he provided a voicemail recording of one such communication, prosecutors say. By Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo. SENT: 600 words, photo. Developing.

ELECTION 2020-ELIZABETH WARREN-ABORTION _ Elizabeth Warren calls for a series of targeted measures designed to safeguard abortion rights following a flurry of new state laws that dramatically restrict women’s ability to terminate pregnancies, moves Democrats have decried as a planned effort to chip away at the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. SENT: 430 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-STEVE BULLOCK _ Montana Gov. Steve Bullock begins his first full day of campaigning in an Iowa town where union manufacturing jobs have vanished, underscoring his argument he thinks he can appeal to small-town and culturally conservative voters who put Donald Trump in the White House. UPCOMING: 500 words by 2 p.m.

TRUMP IMMIGRATION-LEGAL CHALLENGE _ A federal appeals court ruled the Trump administration acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when it sought to end an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation. SENT: 400 words, photo.

CONGRESS-LGBT RIGHTS _ Democrats in the House approve sweeping anti-discrimination legislation that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. SENT: 680 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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RUSSIA-PLANE FIRE _ A Russian state news agency says a report from the country’s civil aviation authority indicates that the crew of an airliner that caught fire while making an emergency landing, killing 41 people, had not deployed the plane’s air brakes. SENT: 130 words, photo. Developing.

CUBA-TOURISM FIGHT_ The battle for Cuba’s economic future is being waged on its beaches. With the rest of the island’s economy stagnant or in free fall, Cuba is betting on its ability to draw more and more tourists to its unspoiled coasts and ocean-side hotels _ along with colonial cities and cultural sites. The effort to surpass 5 million tourists has become the modern-day equivalent of Soviet-era campaigns to increase the sugar harvest, but the Trump administration is unleashing a series of measures to cripple Cuba tourism industry in hopes of forcing concessions in Cuba’s support for Venezuela. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

BREXIT _ Talks between Britain’s Conservative government and the opposition Labour Party seeking a compromise over Brexit broke down without agreement Friday, plunging the country back into a morass of uncertainty over its departure from the European Union. Each side blamed the other for the collapse. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the talks with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government had “gone as far as they can.” SENT: 700 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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MONTFORD POINT MARINES _ It took an executive order to enable black men to join the U.S. Marine Corps, and even then they still faced obstacles. But the pioneering men who broke the Marines’ color barrier in the 1940s recall how they persevered and prevailed. President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 executive order banned discrimination in government and defense industry employment because of “race, creed, color, or national origin.” SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

FIGHTER JET CRASH _ A wide area including a freeway around an F-16 fighter jet crash site in Southern California remained off-limits Friday as military and civilian authorities investigated. SENT: 550 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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OBIT-WOUK _ Herman Wouk, the versatile author of “The Caine Mutiny” and the World War II epics “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance,” has died at age 103. Literary agent Amy Rennert says Wouk died in his sleep early Friday at his home in Palm Springs, California. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952 for “The Caine Mutiny,” the classic Navy drama that made Captain Queeg a symbol of authority gone mad. He adapted his two-part war epic into a highly rated TV miniseries that aired in the 1980s. By National Writer Hillel Italie. SENT: 900 words, photo.

TV-GAME OF THRONES-THEN AND NOW _ When season eight of “Game of Thrones” began, The Associated Press examined the arcs of the major characters who had survived the bloody series until its final season. With Sunday’s finale of the HBO show looming, here’s an update on where those characters stand after an action-packed season of zombie-mobbing, dragon-torching and secret-revealing. Will Daenerys end up ruling the Seven Kingdoms? Jon? Sansa? No one? And how many really want to anymore? Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS throughout. By Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

TV-NEW SEASON-TAKEAWAYS _ The major broadcast networks touted their 2019-20 season wares this week, but executives also had to address real-life drama involving Jessie Smollett, Michael Weatherly and Constance Wu. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. UPCOMING: 1,300 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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GLF--PGA CHAMPIONSHIP _ Defending champion Brooks Koepka, coming off a course-record 63, takes a one-stroke lead over Danny Lee into the second of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Tiger Woods, in his first tournament since his Masters victory, is nine back. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 7:30 p.m.

BKN--RAPTORS-BUCKS _ The Bucks, their defense and rebounding offsetting poor shooting in an opening win, play the Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. For Toronto, Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard can’t be the only ones hitting shots. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 8:30 p.m.

HKN--SHARKS-BLUES _ The Blues look to bounce back after a contentious goal in overtime sent them toa loss against San Jose. The Sharks, up 2-1 entering Game 4 of the Western Conference final, had forced overtime on Logan Couture’s goal with 61 seconds left in the third period. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

RAC--PREAKNESS PREVIEW _ For the first time since 1996, there’s no Kentucky Derby winner and no Triple Crown possibility on the line at the Preakness. While the race may have lost much of its shine, it’s as wide open as ever. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos, video, graphic by 5 p.m.

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HOW TO REACH US

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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.