AP NEWS
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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

March 21, 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-RUSSIA PROBE-Q&A — America is waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. But anyone looking for a grand narrative on President Donald Trump, Russian election interference and all the juicy details uncovered over the past 22 months could end up disappointed. By Chad Day and Eric Tucker. SENT: 1170 words, photo. WITH: TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-SESSIONS — As Washington awaits word from special counsel Robert Mueller, three Justice Department officials inextricably linked to his appointment join each other in stage at a ceremony honoring former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. UPCOMING: Developing from 1:30 p.m. event, 450 words by 4 p.m., photos. WITH: TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-CONGRESS — A Russian-born former business adviser to President Donald Trump will speak to two House committees next week as Democrats begin to gather information in multiple wide-ranging investigations of the president. SENT: 275 words.

UNITED STATES-ISRAEL — Bolstering embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump says it’s time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Netanyahu, who faces a tough re-election bid and corruption allegations, has accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights. By Matthew Lee and Deb Riechmann. SENT: 700 words. UPCOMING: 890 words by 5 p.m., photos.

MIGRANT SURGE — An unprecedented surge of Central American families trying to enter the U.S. has thrust a single law enforcement agency, the Border Patrol, into the role of caring for thousands of parents and children at a time. One Border Patrol processing center in South Texas is well over capacity with 1,500 parents and children inside. At the same time, crowds of migrants are crossing the nearby river separating the U.S. and Mexico, waiting on a dirt path for border agents to detain them and eventually bring them to the same facility. SENT: 1,200 words, photos by 5 p.m.

MOZAMBIQUE-CYCLONE — A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, the death, damage and flooding continues in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region’s recent history. Floodwaters are rushing across the plains of central Mozambique, submerging homes, villages and entire towns. The flooding has created a muddy inland ocean 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide where there used to be farms and villages, giving credence to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi’s estimate that 1,000 people may have been killed. By Farai Mutsaka. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.

BUMP STOCK BAN — Bump stocks — the attachment used by the killer during the 2017 Las Vegas massacre to make his weapons fire rapidly like machine guns — will become illegal in the U.S. next week. It’s the only major gun restriction imposed by the federal government in the past few years. SENT: 980 words, photos.

FACEBOOK-PASSWORDS — Facebook said that it stored millions of its users’ passwords in plain text for years. The acknowledgement from the social media giant came after a security researcher posted about the issue online. “Security rule 101 dictates that under no circumstances passwords should be stored in plain text, and at all times must be encrypted,” said cybersecurity expert Andrei Barysevich of Recorded Future. “There is no valid reason why anyone in an organization, especially the size of Facebook, needs to have access to users’ passwords in plain text.” By Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay. SENT: 350 words, developing.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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AP POLL-SPENDING PRIORITIES — A growing majority of Americans want greater government spending on health care, and the increase is being driven by both Democrats and Republicans, according to new data from a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring views of government spending since the 1970s. An analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and survey staff reveals that Americans want to spend more money on a wide range of government functions. By Hannah Fingerhut and Andrew Taylor. SENT: 800 words, photo.

WHITE HOUSE-PRIVATE EMAIL — A top House Democrat says Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a powerful White House aide, is not preserving all of her official email communications as required by federal law. SENT: 480 words, photos.

REDRAWING AMERICA-IMBALANCE OF POWER — Democrats won more votes, regained control of the U.S. House and flipped hundreds of seats in state legislatures during the 2018 elections. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for Republicans. SENT: 1,400 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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MOBSTER KILLED — The man accused of rubbing out the reputed boss of New York City’s Gambino crime family may not have just legal problems to worry about: There’s also the likelihood he now has a target on his back that could bring him the death penalty via vigilante mob justice. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 p.m.

PETROCHEMICAL-FIRE-TEXAS — National Guard troops have been called in and residents are being told to say inside after elevated levels of benzene were detected near a Houston-area petrochemicals storage facility that caught fire this week. Harris County officials said that the Guard and hazardous materials teams have established perimeters around the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park. SENT: 600 words, photos.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY-PRISON — Some lawyers say a number of the wealthy parents accused of paying bribes to get their kids into top universities may get short stints behind bars, if convicted, to send a message that the privileged are not above the law. Others predict that most, if not all, will end up with probation and a fine. SENT: 915 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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IRAQ-FERRY SINKS — A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year sank in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 71 people, mostly women and children, officials said. Col. Hussam Khalil, head of the Civil Defense in the northern Nineveh province, told The Associated Press the accident occurred as scores of people were out in a tourist area celebrating Nowruz, which marks the Kurdish new year and the arrival of spring. SENT: 400 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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SOUTHERN FLOOD THREAT — U.S. weather experts say the stage is set for unprecedented major flooding this spring for most of the nation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said more than 200 million Americans are at risk for some kind of flooding. SENT: 500 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 3 p.m.

PRESERVING FERTILITY — Scientists are closing in on a way to help young boys undergoing cancer treatment preserve their future fertility — and the proof is the first monkey born from the experimental technology. UPCOMING: 775 words by 5 p.m.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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INTEREST RATES-CONSUMER EFFECT — So much for those worries about rising interest rates. Just a few months ago, rising rates were bearing down on everyone from home buyers to stock investors after the Federal Reserve put through seven quarter-point increases in 2017 and 2018. This year, the Fed has changed course. In January, it opened the door to a “patient” approach to further rate increases. Then on Wednesday the central bank surprised the market when it said it may not raise rates at all during 2019. SENT: 700 words, photo.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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R KELLY-DUBAI: Dubai found itself entangled in the sex abuse case against American R&B singer R. Kelly on Thursday after the performer asked a U.S. judge to allow him to come to the Arabian Peninsula sheikhdom to perform shows and “meet with the royal family.” SENT. 699 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BKC--NCAA-MURRAY STATE-MARQUETTE — Murray State faces faces Marquette in game featuring two of the nation’s top scorers in Murray State’s Ja Morant and Marquette’s Markus Howard. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPC0OMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 4:30 p.m. start. WITH: BKC--NCAA TOURNAMENT-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout day.

BKC--NCAA-ABILENE CHRISTIAN-KENTUCKY — No. 2 seed Kentucky enters the NCAA Tournament with another group of fabulous freshmen and sophomore PJ Washington, who has a sore left foot. The Wildcats take on No. 15 Abilene Christian, which is making its first NCAA appearance. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7:10 p.m.

BBA--MARINERS-ICHIRO — Ichiro Suzuki says “sayonara.” The 45-year-old Seattle Mariners star retires shortly after waving goodbye at the Tokyo Dome. He goes 0 for 4 and salutes his adoring fans when pulled from right field in the eighth inning. His walk to the dugout signals the end of a great career. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.