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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

January 29, 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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AP POLL-STATE OF THE UNION — A large majority of Americans say they are pessimistic about the state of the country and few expect things will get better in the year ahead, according to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. A week before President Donald Trump delivers his assessment of the nation in a speech to Congress delayed by a record-setting government shutdown, the survey found just 28 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. By Michelle R. Smith and Emily Swanson. SENT: 920 words, photo, video. With: AP POLL-TRUMP-APPROVAL-GLANCE — The public continues to give President Donald Trump his best ratings on the economy, but a new poll finds the share who approve of how he’s handling that issue has slipped since last fall. SENT: 640 words.

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TOP STORIES

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GLOBAL THREATS — President Trump’s intelligence chiefs cast doubt on his goal of a nuclear-disarmed North Korea, saying the North is unlikely to entirely dismantle its nuclear arsenal and views those weapons as “critical to regime survival.” The intelligence report also says the Islamic State group “remains a terrorist and insurgent threat” in Iraq and in Syria. Not mentioned as security threat: the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, which Trump has asserted as the basis for his demand that Congress finance a border wall. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 680 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-STONE — Roger Stone, a longtime adviser and confidant of President Trump, pleads not guilty to charges in the Russia investigation after a publicity-filled few days spent torching the probe as politically motivated. The self-proclaimed dirty trickster was uncharacteristically silent during his brief appearance at the federal courthouse in Washington. He faces charges that he lied to lawmakers, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. By Eric Tucker and Chad Day. SENT: 570 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos, video, audio.

BREXIT — British Prime Minister Theresa May sought to salvage a Brexit deal but headed toward a clash with the European Union by promising to overhaul the divorce deal she spent a year and a half negotiating with the bloc. Trying to break the Brexit deadlock, May urged lawmakers to send the EU an “emphatic message” that they would not accept an Irish border guarantee in the withdrawal deal — a provision May and the EU both approved late last year. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 850 words, photos, developing.

US-CHINA-HUAWEI — A bitter dispute between China and the U.S. over Huawei intensifies as Beijing demands Washington back off its sweeping “crackdown” on the telecom giant on charges of technology theft and Iran sanctions violations, complicating trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies. By Kelvin Chan and Joe McDonald. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4:30 p.m.

LAS VEGAS SHOOTING-FBI REPORT — A high-stakes gambler who rained down a hail of gunfire, killing 58 people from his high-rise casino suite in Las Vegas wanted infamy and mass destruction, the FBI told the Associated Press, but took whatever motive might stretch beyond that to his grave. “It wasn’t about MGM, Mandalay Bay or a specific casino or venue,” said Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office. “It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.” By Ken Ritter. SENT: 765 words, photos.

WINTER WEATHER — Winter’s sharpest bite in years moves past painful into life-threatening territory, with temperatures expected to plunge as low as 30 below in Minnesota and nearly as cold in Wisconsin and Illinois. Health officials warned that wind chills could bring frostbite and hypothermia in a flash, prompting cities to take special measures to check on and protect homeless and the elderly. American Indian tribes were checking on heating supplies for members in substandard housing. Even animals were at risk, with Northern Plains ranchers taking steps to protect their cattle. By Blake Nicholson. SENT: 825 words, photos, video. Developing.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-BORDER WALL — With the federal government back in business, leaders of both political parties signal flexibility — and a rhetorical shift — as congressional bargainers work toward a deal on border security. A GOP leader says he can do without the word “wall, “in favor of “barrier,” a semantic retreat from President Donald Trump’s vow to build a wall along the border with Mexico. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos.

CONGRESS-DRUG PRICES — A senior Republican lawmaker says he plans to investigate price spikes in the cost of insulin for people with diabetes as Congress opened hearings on the high cost of prescription drugs. SENT: 730 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY BANKRUPTCY — Faced with potentially ruinous lawsuits over California’s wildfires, the nation’s biggest utility files for bankruptcy reorganization in a move that could mean higher bills for customers and reduce the size of any payouts fire victims receive. By Sudhin Thanawala and Cathy Bussewitz. SENT: 650 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, by 4 p.m.

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INTERNATIONAL

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VENEZUELA-POLITICAL CRISIS — Venezuela’s chief prosecutor asked the country’s top court to ban opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country, launching a criminal probe into his anti-government activities while international pressure builds against President Nicolas Maduro. SENT: 735 words, photos.

CANADA-MISSING MEN — A former landscaper charged with killing eight men with ties to Toronto’s Gay Village district pleads guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder. SENT: 675 words.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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FED-3 THINGS TO WATCH FOR — The Federal Reserve is set Wednesday to leave its key short-term interest rate alone and to signal that it will remain cautious this year about raising rates further. At a news conference, Chairman Jerome Powell could shed further light on the pressures facing the U.S. economy - from a global slowdown and a trade war with China to slowing corporate earnings and a nervous stock market. Here are three things to watch for after the Fed meeting ends Wednesday afternoon. SENT: 800 words, photo.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MEDIA-TWEET CRAZY — If Twitter is the town square for journalists, some are ready to step away. That’s happening this week at the online news site Insider — by order of the boss. Reporters have been told to take a week off from tweeting at work and to keep TweetDeck off their computer screens. The idea is to kick away a crutch for the journalists and escape from the echo chamber. SENT: 1,084 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FBN--SUPER BOWL-TOM AND JULIAN — Teammates call it a bromance. And Tom Brady openly uses the word love to describe his bond with Julian Edelman. The connection between quarterback and receiver has strengthened this season. The two now await their fourth Super Bowl together. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

FBN-SUPER BOWL-MR FALCON-CTE — Linebacker Tommy Nobis, a hard-hitting linebacker for Atlanta who earned the nickname “Mr. Falcon,” had the most severe form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. And now, as Atlanta prepares to host the Super Bowl, the descent of the NFL upon their hometown is a reminder for his family of the impact — both good and bad — that football has had on them. By Sports Writer Jimmy Golen. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

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