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BC-AP News Digest 3 am

February 15, 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 .

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ONLY ON AP

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TRUMP-STEEL TARIFF _ Despite President Donald Trump’s tough talk on trade, his administration has granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying the hefty tariff he put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, according to an Associated Press analysis. By Richard Lardner and Larry Fenn. UPCOMING: 1,280 words, photo by 3:30 a.m.

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TOP STORIES

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VENEZUELA-MADURO INTERVIEW _ A month into Venezuela’s political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro predicts he will survive an unprecedented global campaign to force his resignation. Maduro tells The Associated Press his government is in secret talks with the Trump administration, and has invited a special U.S. envoy for a visit. Officials in Washington say they are willing to meet only to discuss Maduro’s “exit plans.” By Joshua Goodman and Ian Phillips. SENT: 1,160 words, photos, video.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY _President Donald Trump will sign a border security compromise that would avert a second painful government shutdown. But a new confrontation has been ignited, this time over Trump’s plan to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his wall on the Mexican border. Wall money in the bill, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he must have. By Alan Fram, Catherine Lucey and Andrew Taylor. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video. With AP EXPLAINS-TRUMP-NATIONAL EMERGENCY _ Can Trump declare emergency to build his wall?; BORDER WALL-FUNDING SOURCES _ Shifting money from other accounts to Trump’s border wall is not without political problems (both sent).

AMAZON HQ-ECONOMIC IMPACT _ Amazon’s decision to walk away from New York City could scare off other tech companies considering moving to or expanding in the city. That’s according to experts analyzing the e-commerce giant’s sudden cancellation of plans to build a massive headquarters in Queens. The decision wipes out 25,000 promised jobs in a city that wants to be seen as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast. Politicians were angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company’s anti-union stance. By Michael R. Sisak and Josh Boak. SENT: 905 words, photos.

R KELLY-INVESTIGATIONS _ Attorney Michael Avenatti says he has given Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of R&B star R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl. Avenatti said Thursday that he has turned over the video to Chicago prosecutors. He said Kelly and the victim both repeatedly refer on the recording to the girl being 14. By Sara Burnett. SENT: 615 words, photos.

PARADISE LOST-WHERE THEY DIED _ One hundred days after Paradise burned in the deadliest wildfire in California history, many stories of the dead are coming to light. At the fire’s start, a 71-year-old amputee sat in his wheelchair, pointing a garden hose at an inferno. Nearly three weeks later, an 80-year-old man who tried to save his beloved truck was taken off life support. Most of the victims were elderly, and many were disabled. Their loved ones are coping with the guilt of having failed to persuade them to evacuate. By Jocelyn Gecker and Janie Har. SENT: 1,885 words, photos, video. Abridged version (1,050 words) also available. WITH: PARADISE LOST-100 DAYS LATER-PHOTO ESSAY _ It’s been 100 days since a wildfire nearly burned the town of Paradise off the map and grief among survivors is still raw. By Noah Berger and Brian Melley. SENT: 1,135 words, photos.

LAROUCHE-THE-LEGACY _ Fitting for a man who saw so much darkness in the world, Lyndon LaRouche died on the fringes this week, his name little known to anyone under 50, his death rumored online a day before mainstream outlets confirmed it. His influence, however, will surely outlast him. The 8-time presidential candidate never received many votes, but he had a global following, and has been praised by some people now very much in the news, including Alex Jones and Roger Stone. By Hillel Italie. SENT: 785 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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DUBAI-AIRPORT-DRONE _ Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international travel, has briefly halted flights over an alleged drone sighting. SENT: 105 words.

HAZING ARRESTS _ Louisiana State University says nine fraternity members have been arrested for hazing-related crimes, in a toughened school approach to such incidents after the 2017 death of a pledge in a fraternity drinking ritual. SENT: 675 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-EU _ U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Brussels for what are expected to be tense talks with the European Union’s top diplomat. SENT: 235 words, photo.

OBIT-SILENT SCREAM PRODUCER _ Donald S. Smith, the producer of the controversial 1984 anti-abortion film “The Silent Scream,” has died at age 94. SENT: 490 words.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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DEMOCRATS-LIBERAL LEAN _ Captivated by a handful of liberal superstars, Democrats are venturing where the party has long feared to tread: Steep taxes on the rich. Abolishing an immigration enforcement agency. And proposing a sweeping Green New Deal that calls for an “economic transformation” to combat climate change. By Lisa Mascaro and Steve Peoples. SENT: 1,165 words, photo.

TRUMP-HEALTH _ President Trump has put on some pounds and is now officially considered obese. Results of his most recent physical reveal that his Body Mass Index is now 30.4, based on the fact that he’s now carrying 243 pounds on his 6-foot, 3-inch frame. By Deb Riechmann. SENT: 650 words, photos.

KUSHNER’S TEST _ Jared Kushner notched a hard-fought win on criminal justice reform but stumbled in efforts to end the government shutdown. Now Kushner is in Warsaw pushing for the elusive goal of Mideast peace and at the same time keeping a foot squarely planted in high-stakes trade negotiations. The presidential son-in-law is getting an education in the ways of Washington. By Catherine Lucey, Lisa Mascaro, Jill Colvin and Matthew Lee. SENT: 1,265 words, photos.

SENATE-ATTORNEY GENERAL _ William Barr was sworn in Thursday for his second stint as the nation’s attorney general, taking the helm of the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 815 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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UNITED STATES-MEXICO ASYLUM _ Civil liberties groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco to block the Trump administration from returning asylum seekers to Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. By Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 635 words, photos.

WESTERN STORMS _ Authorities warn that mudslides are still possible even after a damaging storm moved through California. April Newman, spokeswoman for Riverside County Fire Department, says crews will continue damage assessments Friday. The system unleashed rain, snow and wind across the U.S. West. By Terence Chea and John Antczak. SENT: 1,040 words, photos, video.

DENVER TEACHERS-STRIKE _ Denver teachers are back at work after winning a deal for pay raises, the latest victory in a national movement by educators to raise their wages and advocate for changes in schools. By Colleen Slevin. SENT: 630 words, photos, video.

EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK _ Chicago police say local media reports that the attack against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was a hoax are unconfirmed. The reports surfaced as investigators were questioning two “persons of interest” who were captured on surveillance cameras in the area where Smollett says the attack occurred. SENT: 525 words, photos.

MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK _ A Colorado runner who survived a mountain lion attack says he wrestled the young animal to the ground and jammed his foot onto its neck to suffocate it to death. By P. Solomon Banda. SENT: 680 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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KASHMIR-EXPLOSION _ Security officials say the death toll from a car bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir has climbed to 41 after rebels fighting against Indian rule struck a paramilitary convoy in the single deadliest attack in the divided region’s volatile history. By Aijaz Husssain. SENT: 750 words, photos.

INDIA-IKEA _ Swedish giant Ikea is tackling the $40 billion Indian market for home furnishings, taking on local furniture makers in places like Hyderabad’s bustling Nampally market. Ikea hopes to win over India’s growing consumer class with its clean, air-conditioned stores. It says India is a test case for whether to keep shifting resources toward emerging economies, including Latin America and China, given the saturation of markets in the West and the possibility of another global recession. By Omer Farooq. SENT: 975 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WOMEN IN AFGHAN WAR _ An estimated 20,000 Soviet women served in Afghanistan during its decade-long war there. As Russia marks the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, memories of the horrors remain fresh for nurses, clerks and shopkeepers thrust into the bloody conflict. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 1,105 words, photos.

PALESTINIANS-ACTIVIST OBSERVERS _ Palestinian activists are trying to fill the void following Israel’s expulsion of an international observer force from a volatile West Bank city by launching their own patrols to document alleged Israeli settler violence. The activists in Hebron don blue vests and are armed with video cameras. A settler spokesman accused the activists of causing tensions. By Eyad Moghrabi. SENT: 850 words, photos.

SYRIA-PLAYBACK THEATER _ A young Syrian refugee walks on stage and begins telling the story of her brother’s kidnapping years ago during her country’s civil war, wiping away tears as she speaks. Ten Syrian amateur actors then re-enact her story, one of them screaming: “Ihsan, I miss you a lot!” They have been training for three months to do “playback theater,” an initiative to get war victims to talk through their trauma, initiate dialogue and help forge reconciliation. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 725 words, photos.

THAILAND-TRANSGENDER CANDIDATE _ A CEO and promoter well known in the Thai soccer world wants to be the country’s first transgender prime minister. Pauline Ngarmpring wants her nomination to bring hope to the marginalized and to open up political space for future LGBT generations. By Jerry Harmer and Tassanee Vejpongsa. SENT: 680 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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ANESTHESIA-BABIES _ A study finds strong evidence that one episode of general anesthesia doesn’t hurt a baby’s brain development. The study can’t answer questions about repeated or prolonged anesthesia in children. But it’s reassuring for parents whose babies face a single, uncomplicated surgery. The study was published Thursday in the medical journal Lancet. By Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 450 words.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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TRUMP-AUTO TARIFFS _ By Sunday, President Donald Trump’s Commerce Department is expected to issue its opinion on whether auto imports endanger U.S. national security enough to justify imposing tariffs of 20 to 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts. SENT: 1,350 words, photos.

CHINA-US-TRADE TALKS _ U.S. and Chinese envoys are holding a second day of trade talks after the top economic adviser to President Donald Trump said he has yet to decide whether to go ahead with a March 2 tariff increase on imports from China. Economists say this week’s negotiations will be too brief to resolve a sprawling dispute over Beijing’s technology ambitions. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 460 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Vincent Willis can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, Dien Magno (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.