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BC-AP News Digest 5:30 am

February 23, 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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R KELLY-INVESTIGATIONS _ R&B star R. Kelly was taken into custody after arriving at a Chicago police precinct, hours after authorities announced multiple charges of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17. The 52-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was driven to the station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows. The vehicle pulled up outside the precinct about 8:15 p.m. and a security detail for Kelly kept reporters and cameramen at arms’ length as he exited the side door. By Sara Burnett and Michael Tarm. SENT: 1,175 words, photos, video. WITH: R KELLY-NEW CHARGES _ Case against R. Kelly may be stronger this time. SENT: 900 words, photos. WITH: R KELLY-INVESTIGATIONS-TOURS _ R. Kelly’s hopes of touring in Europe seem dashed now that he is facing new criminal charges. SENT: 775 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-POLITICAL CRISIS _ Venezuelans frustrated over their nation’s crippling food and medical shortages are expected to join opposition leaders Saturday in a potentially risky push to deliver international aid that Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept into the country. By Christine Armario. SENT: 1,130 words, photos, video.

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS-FOREIGN POLICY _ Foreign policy has largely taken a back seat on the presidential campaign trail, and former Vice President Joe Biden could seize on that opening to position himself as the global policy expert if he runs. By Elana Schor and Thomas Beaumont. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. With ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATIC DIVIDE _ Democratic presidential candidates split into two camps: those who want to quickly overhaul economic systems and those who favor more gradual change. SENT: 910 words, photos.

TRUMP-FAMILY PLANNING _ The Trump administration sets up new obstacles for women seeking abortions, barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals. The new policy is certain to be challenged in court. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and David Crary. SENT: 830 words, photo.

PATRIOTS OWNER-PROSTITUTION CHARGE _ Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-center massage parlor in Florida, police said. The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlors. Kraft was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the misdemeanor charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week. By Terry Spencer and Joshua Replogle. SENT: 800 words, photos. WITH: MISBEHAVING OWNERS _ Misbehaving owners of sports teams have drawn headlines pretty much since sports have been around. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

VIETNAM-FOES TO FRIENDS _ The Vietnamese capital once trembled as waves of American bombers unleashed their payloads, but when Kim Jong Un arrives here for his summit with President Donald Trump he won’t find rancor toward a former enemy. Instead the North Korean leader will get a glimpse at the potential rewards of reconciliation. By the time the Vietnam War ended in 1975, tens of thousands of tons of explosives had been dropped on Hanoi and nearly two decades of fighting had killed 3 million Vietnamese and more than 58,000 Americans. Vietnam, though victorious, lay devastated by American firepower, with cities in ruins and fields and forests soaked in toxic herbicides and littered with unexploded ordnance. By Denis D. Gray And Hau Dinh. SENT: 1,350 words photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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WALMART GREETER-CEREBRAL PALSY _ A beloved Walmart greeter with cerebral palsy meets with store management in a bid to keep his job but came away with no guarantees. SENT: 450 words, photo.

AMAZON-DISABILITY SUIT _ Fired Amazon worker in Kentucky with Crohn’s disease sues company over his dismissal, what he says was a need for more bathroom breaks. SENT: 375 words.

INDIA-TAINTED LIQUOR _ Indian police say at least 50 people died after drinking tainted liquor in two separate incidents in the country’s remote northeast. SENT: 150 words.

HAIR DYE LAWSUIT _ A Florida man is suing a consumer products company after he says he suffered permanent scarring and discoloration on his face from using a men’s hair dye. SENT: 150 words.

MAYOR ARRESTED-SHOTS FIRED _ Florida mayor accused of shooting at deputies trying arrest him on allegations of practicing medicine without a license has been removed from office. SENT: 150 words.

PICTURES OF THE WEEK-PHOTO GALLERY: AP PHOTOS: A selection of pictures from the past week. SENT: 150 words.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-UNITED NATIONS _ President Trump announced that he has selected Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Trump said in a pair of tweets that Craft “has done an outstanding job representing our Nation” and he has “no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level.” SENT: 825 words, photo.

ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA _ With a new election ordered in North Carolina’s disputed congressional race, a key question remains unanswered: Who could face criminal charges after a state elections board hearing exposed evidence of ballot fraud? Among those in potential legal trouble are the central figure in the scandal, political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, and some of those working for him. According to testimony heard by the board, they illegally gathered up voters’ absentee ballots and, in some cases, filled in votes and forged signatures. By Emery P. Dalesio and Jonathan Drew. SENT: 675 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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SHACKLED CHILDREN _ A California couple pleaded guilty to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point they stopped growing. David and Louise Turpin will spend at least 25 years in prison after entering the pleas in Riverside County Superior Court to 14 counts that included cruelty toward all but their toddler daughter, and imprisoning the children in a house that appeared neatly kept outside, but festered with filth and reeked of human waste. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

DEEP SOUTH-WEATHER _ A soggy South saw floodwaters push into homes and submerge highways as a week of relentless rain continued to pound the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys. Saturday could be worse across parts of eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee, with forecasters predicting inches more rain and a strong chance of tornadoes. The water will take weeks to drain, with the worst flood since 2011 predicted for parts of the lower Mississippi River. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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SUDAN-STATE OF EMERGENCY _ Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, facing deadly protests, on Friday declared a state of emergency for a year, disbanded the federal government and replaced all state governors with senior army officers. Al-Bashir _ who seized power in a 1989 coup_ also said that he will postpone pushing for constitutional amendments that would allow him to seek a third term in office. SENT: 550 words, photo.

SYRIA _ They were living in holes in the ground, with only dry flatbread to eat at the end. Those injured in an intense military campaign had no access to medical care, and those who were sick had no medicine. Yet, if it were not for the call to leave, they would have stayed. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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SPACEX-CREW CAPSULE _ NASA and SpaceX approved a first test flight next week of the new commercial Dragon capsule designed for crew. No one will be aboard, only an instrumented dummy in a white SpaceX spacesuit. But the capsule will still fly to the International Space Station, following its planned March 2 liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Officials gave the green light after conducting a safety review. SENT: 425 words, photo.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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AIRLINES-SEAT-BACK CAMERAS _ Now there is one more place where cameras could start watching you _ from 30,000 feet. Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on planes used by other carriers. SENT: 450 words, photos.

GENERAL MOTORS-FAREWELL VOLT _ As their company was swirling around the financial drain in the early 2000s, General Motors executives came up with an idea to counter its gas-guzzling image and point the way to transportation of the future: an electric car with a gas-engine backup that could travel anywhere. At Detroit’s auto show in 2007, they unveiled the Chevrolet Volt concept car, not knowing yet whether they had the technology to pull off a major breakthrough in battery-powered vehicles. It took nearly four more years, but the first Volt _ a longer-range version of a plug-in hybrid _ rolled off the assembly line late in 2010. GM had hopes that customers would be ready for a car that could go 38 miles on electricity before a small internal combustion generator kicked in. They weren’t. On Tuesday, the last Volt was built with little ceremony at a Detroit factory that’s now slated to close. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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OSCARS-PREVIEW _ The 91st Academy Awards lack a host but not intrigue. Among the questions heading into Sunday’s show are whether Netflix can win its first best picture Oscar. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 850 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BBO--SPRING START _ The sun came out in Arizona. Free agents played for their new teams. Ichiro Suzuki was back in uniform at age 45. Baseball is back. A day after the scheduled exhibition opener was rained out, baseball returned to the ballparks of Florida and Arizona on Friday with the first spring training games. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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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, (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, (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.