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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

March 14, 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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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY — Republican opposition grows to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border as the Senate heads to a showdown vote that seemed certain to rebuff Trump despite his last-minute warnings. But Congress isn’t expected to muster the two-thirds vote in both houses to overcome Trump’s threatened veto. By Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro. SENT: 850 words. UPCOMING: Early afternoon Senate vote expected, 890 words by 5 p.m., photos, video.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY-ETHICS — In some ways, the college-admissions bribery scheme newly revealed by federal prosecutors seemed almost inevitable. Ethics experts say Americans these days are barraged with examples of corruption, greed and amoral behavior to the point that many likely wonder, “Why should I play by the rules?” By David Crary. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 5 p.m.

BREXIT — British lawmakers were voting on whether to scuttle the already dwindling chances the U.K. will leave the European Union this month as scheduled, but EU officials warned they would only allow a delay if the country made a fundamental shift in its approach to Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May grudgingly granted the vote after Parliament twice rejected her EU divorce deal and also ruled out leaving the EU without an agreement. Withdrawing from the EU without a deal could mean major disruptions for businesses and people in the U.K. and the 27 remaining countries. By Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka. SENT: 800 words, photos. WITH: BREXIT-GLOSSARY — From backstop to Brexiteer, AP demystifies Brexit jargon. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BRAZIL-SCHOOL SHOOTING — Classmates, friends and relatives hug cry and pray at a wake for the victims of a mass shooting at a Brazilian school while authorities work to uncover what drove two former students to attack with a gun, crossbows and axes. The attackers, neighbors who were 17 and 25 years old, reportedly did internet searches about mass shootings in the U.S. in the months before they launched their own attack, killing eight before taking their own lives. By Mauricio Savarese and Peter Prengaman. SENT: 700 words. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 4:30 p.m.

MOB SHOOTING — The reputed boss of New York’s Gambino crime family is gunned down outside his home, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, the custom-tailored tabloid regular John Gotti. By Tom Hays and Michael R. Sisak. SENT: 500 words, photos. UPCOMING: New version, 700 words, by 4 p.m.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2020-BETO O’ROURKE — Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke jumps into the 2020 presidential race, shaking up the already packed field and pledging to win over voters from both major parties as he tries to translate his political celebrity into a formidable White House bid. President Donald Trump takes note of the newcomer’s energetic mannerisms, on display during O’Rourke’s cable TV comments, telling reporters, “he’s got a lot of hand movement.” By Will Weissert. SENT: 970 words. UPCOMING: Updates expected, 970 words by 5 p.m., photos, video.

TRUMP-NUCLEAR SAFETY — The nuclear-power industry is pushing the Republican-controlled Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The NRC is listening. By Ellen Knickmeyer. UPCOMING: 750 words by 4 p.m., photos.

SHANAHAN — Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan tells Congress the Pentagon has no plans to force allies to pay dramatically higher costs for hosting American forces in their countries, saying reports of a steep increase are wrong. By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 340 words, photo.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-STONE — Trump confidant Roger Stone will go on Nov. 5 on charges he lied to Congress, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. SENT: 230 words, photos, video.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-FBI — During the early days of the Russia investigation, FBI officials debated whether Donald Trump’s chance of winning should factor into how aggressively they investigated potential coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, two FBI officials told Congress last year, according to newly released transcripts of their interviews. By Eric Tucker and Chad Day. SENT: 650 words, photo.

OBIT-BAYH — Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who championed the federal law banning discrimination against women in college admissions and sports, died at his home at age 91. Bayh was surrounded by family at his home in Easton, Maryland, when he died shortly after midnight from pneumonia, his family said in a statement. His son, Evan, followed him into politics and became Indiana’s governor and a senator. SENT: 1,150 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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NEWTOWN SHOOTING-GUN MAKER — Gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, a divided Connecticut Supreme Court ruled. Justices issued a 4-3 decision that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit and overturned a lower court ruling that the lawsuit was prohibited by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes. SENT: 575 words, photo.

WINTER WEATHER — A blizzard that paralyzed parts of Colorado and Wyoming barreled into the Midwest, bringing whiteout conditions to western Nebraska and dumping heavy rain that prompted evacuations in communities father east. Emergency crews responded after a vehicle was swept off a road in Norfolk, Nebraska, and rising water along the Elkhorn River prompted evacuations of the eastern side of the city of 24,000 people. The missing individual had not been found by midmorning Thursday. SENT: 800 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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ETHIOPIA-PLANE CRASH — Flight recorders from a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight arrived in France for analysis as frustrated relatives of the 157 people killed stormed out of a meeting with airline officials in Addis Ababa. Sunday’s crash was the second fatal flight for a Boeing 737 Max 8 in less than six months. More than 40 countries, including the U.S., have now grounded the planes or refused to let them into their airspace. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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FOOD-SPEECH EVOLUTION — Scientists report that the way most of us speak today has been shaped in part by how long ago our ancestors gave up on chewing on tough, raw meat. UPCOMING: 575 words by 4 p.m.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago. Lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor during a hearing in Cook County Circuit Court after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial. SENT: 500 words, photos, video.

HALLMARK-LORI LOUGHLIN-BRIBERY SCANDAL — The Hallmark Channel brings to mind holidays, happy endings and, incongruously, a college admissions scam that has cast a pall over the reputation of one of the channel’s top stars, Lori Loughlin. Her arrest on a charge she participated in a scheme that paid bribes to secure her daughters’ admission in college — and the travel restrictions that may arise from the case — now presents a challenge to the family-friendly brand. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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GLF--PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP — Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson lead the strongest field in golf when The Players Championship begins, the first time since 2006 it is held in March. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7:30 p.m. EDT.

BBO--LABOR — Major League Baseball and its players’ union reached an unprecedented agreement to discuss renegotiating their labor contract that has three seasons remaining, part of a deal that includes modest rule changes for 2020 and drops pitch clocks until 2022 at the earliest. SENT: 475 words.