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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

March 30, 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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MASSAGE PARLORS-LIGHT SENTENCES — When Florida authorities shut down 10 massage spas last month and arrested hundreds of men for buying sex, they broke a longstanding pattern. In the past, owners had mostly faced minor charges and punishment, patrons almost never were arrested, and signs of human trafficking often didn’t lead to investigations. An Associated Press review of state records shows that while law enforcement in Florida has investigated hundreds of individual massage parlors for illegal sexual activity, it was usually low-level massage therapists who were arrested. By Mike Schneider and Terry Spencer. SENT: 900 words, photos.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-IMMIGRATION — President Donald Trump declares he is likely to shut down America’s southern border next week unless Mexican authorities immediately halt all illegal immigration, a severe move that could hit the economies of both countries. The president also says he is cutting U.S. aid to the three Central American nations whose citizens are fleeing north through Mexico. By Jonathan Lemire, Nomaan Merchant and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, video.

CONGRESS-HEALTH CARE — President Donald Trump’s decision to revive the fight over the Affordable Care Act stirs a political and policy debate among Republicans on how best to approach the divisive issue heading into the 2020 election. By Lisa Mascaro and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 1,060 words, photo.

CAMPAIGN 2020-SENATE — Democrats hoping to capture Senate control next year face a far more promising map than last year, when they had to defend most of the seats that were in play. Even so, they have only a few legitimate targets and will have to practically run the table of winnable races if they’re going to capture the majority. By Alan Fram. SENT: 1,000 words. With: CAMPAIGN 2020-SENATE-STATES — A look at some states that will affect the battle for Senate control. SENT: 800 words, photos.

BREXIT — The U.K. may be forced to create a national unity government to end the impasse over Britain leaving the European Union, as Prime Minister Theresa May clings to the Brexit divorce agreement that Parliament has rejected three times, a senior Conservative suggested. Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s comments came a day after the House of Commons rebuffed the prime minister’s call for lawmakers to “put aside self and party,” sending her Brexit deal to its latest defeat. SENT: 730 words, photos.

BOREN-UNIVERSITY INVESTIGATION — David Boren’s appointment as president of the University of Oklahoma two decades ago was the capstone of a storied career. Born into a prominent Oklahoma political family, he became a Rhodes scholar, then governor at age 33 and later a U.S. senator respected for his expertise in intelligence. His arrival on campus marked a heady time for the school, which set out to achieve his vision for a flagship institution. But now, less than a year after retiring, Boren’s reputation is at risk. The 77-year-old Democrat finds himself ensnared in allegations that he sexually harassed male subordinates. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. Eds: This story has moved as the Sunday Spotlight.

BKC--NCAA-TEXAS TECH-GONZAGA — In a classic confrontation, top-seeded Gonzaga plays Texas Tech in the West Region final for a spot in the Final Four. The Zags have one of the nation’s best offenses and the Red Raiders one of the best defenses. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 6:09 p.m.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS-RURAL VOTERS — Several Democratic presidential candidates will make their case to Iowa farmers Saturday — part of a broader effort to win over rural voters who have drifted to Republicans in recent years. SENT: 810 words, photos. Developing.

ELECTION 2020-BETO O’ROURKE — Beto O’Rourke formally kicks off his presidential campaign with three rallies across his home state, where he came close enough to upsetting Sen. Ted Cruz to generate the national buzz now buoying his 2020 White House bid. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Developing from rally in El Paso, photos.

FACT CHECK-WEEK — President Trump’s relentless drive to be given credit for all manner of things suffused his speech to Michigan supporters this past week. SENT: 2,800 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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SENATOR BATMAN — Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has spent much of his adult life crusading for the issues that are important to him and now he’s helping to commemorate the 80th birthday of his childhood hero, Batman, the caped crusader, who Leahy credits with helping him win a ban on the export of land mines. SENT: 475 words, photo.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT-LAW ENFORCEMENT — When prosecutors dropped the charges that accused Jussie Smollett of orchestrating a fake attack, the outrage was swift and overwhelming. Smollett saw his record wiped clean without offering so much as an apology. Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted the decision as a “whitewash of justice” and billed Smollett $130,000 for the cost of the police investigation. President Donald Trump called it a “national embarrassment” and promised a federal probe. The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association said it was “an affront” to prosecutors across the state. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

VETERANS GHOST TOWN — Crunching slowly down snow-covered Liberty Lane between stately brick buildings, Brian Hatch can recall when the sprawling veterans’ center on the edge of his small Iowa town teemed with activity as patients walked the lush, tree-covered grounds and hundreds of doctors, nurses and other staffers kept the round-the-clock campus humming. Apart from chirping birds and occasional dog walkers, there’s now only silence. SENT: 850 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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MOROCCO-POPE — Pope Francis landed in Morocco for a trip aimed at highlighting the North African nation’s Christian-Muslim ties, while also showing solidarity with migrants at Europe’s door and tending to a tiny Catholic flock. Moroccan King Mohammed VI was on hand to greet Francis when he arrived amid pouring rain in Rabat, the Moroccan capital. SENT: 475 words, photos.

MOZAMBIQUE-CYCLONE-NOTEBOOK — We didn’t know his name or even see his face. But amid the grim scene of a cyclone-devastated village, the little boy stood out because he danced. He skipped down the muddy street in Buzi to music only he could hear, oblivious to the suffering around him, at least for a while. He was barefoot and in muddy shorts. He likely wore the only clothing he had left. By Cara Anna. SENT: 700 words, photos.

HIJACKED SHIP-RESCUES AT SEA — A rescue in the Mediterranean Sea that took an ominous turn has raised concerns that some merchant ship captains might become reluctant to save migrants in danger of drowning during the perilous crossing from north Africa to Europe, fearing they could lose control of their ship. SENT: 600 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MUSIC-THE ROLLING STONES — The Rolling Stones are postponing their latest tour so Mick Jagger can receive medical treatment. The band announced that Jagger was told by doctors “he cannot go on tour at this time.” The band added that Jagger “is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.” SENT: 175 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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BKC--NCAA-PURDUE-VIRGINIA — Top-seeded Virginia faces Purdue in the South Region final, with the winner off to the Final Four. The Cavaliers’ tough defense will be tested by the high-scoring Boilermakers and guard Carsen Edwards. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:49 p.m.

GLF--MATCH PLAY — Tiger Woods goes head to head with Rory McIlroy in the Dell Technologies Match Play. The showdown between golf’s biggest name and its hottest player will send one of them to the quarterfinals. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 3 p.m., 750 words by 8 p.m.