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BC-AP News Digest 7 am

May 4, 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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VENEZUELA US MILITARY OUTREACH _ On at least two occasions since 2016, the U.S. government missed opportunities to cultivate relations with top military generals that national security adviser John Bolton claimed this week backed out last minute of a plan to topple President Nicolás Maduro. In 2017, a still young Trump administration rejected a visa request for the head of military intelligence so he could bring his 3-year-old son to Boston for brain surgery. Prior to that, the U.S. rebuffed a potential backchannel to the country’s defense minister _ someone long viewed as a potential white knight _ after those brokering an aide’s secret trip to Washington for a meeting with the Defense Intelligence Agency were outed on Venezuelan state TV. By Joshua Goodman. SENT: 1,360 words, photos.

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TOP STORIES

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NORTH KOREA-MISSILE _ North Korea on Saturday fired several unidentified short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said, a likely sign of Pyongyang’s growing frustration at stalled diplomatic talks with Washington meant to provide coveted sanctions relief in return for nuclear disarmament. By Foster Klug and Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 670 words, photos. With NORTH KOREA-MISSILE-THE LATEST.

TRUMP-ECONOMY _ The lowest unemployment rate in a half century, more than 260,000 new jobs, and higher hourly wages. “I’ll be running on the economy,” President Donald Trump declares. And why wouldn’t he? By Steve Peoples and Chris Rugaber. SENT: 1,150 words, photos, video.

ELECTION 2020-KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND _ New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is making a case for being the coolest candidate in the Democratic 2020 presidential field. She went sledding in New Hampshire, played foosball and baked cookies, arm wrestled and hung out with drag queens at an Iowa gay bar. By Will Weissert. SENT: 840 words, photos. With ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP _ Joe Biden makes his first campaign trip to South Carolina, while other contenders race across Iowa. SENT: 230 words, photos. UPCOMING: Updates expected throughout the day.

THAILAND-KING’S CORONATION _ Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn was officially crowned Saturday amid the splendor of the country’s Grand Palace, taking the central role in an elaborate centuries-old royal ceremony that was last held almost seven decades ago. The coronation represents a renewal of the monarchy’s power after the October 2016 death of Vajiralongkorn’s revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. By Grant Peck. SENT: 970 words, photos. With THAILAND-KING’S CORONATION-THE LATEST.

SOUTH AFRICA-ELECTION-BORN FREE VOTERS _ As South Africa’s May 8th election approaches, political observers are watching what impact the country’s young voters will have. Many of these voters never directly experienced the brutal system of apartheid that was ended 25 years ago. But they and others say they want to see more drastic change. to end the country’s continued economic inequality. By Andrew Meldrum. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

SUDAN-AGAINST THE ISLAMISTS _ The Sudanese protesters who succeeded in driving President Omar al-Bashir from power last month say their revolution won’t be complete until they have dismantled what many describe as the Islamist-dominated “deep state” that underpinned his 30-year rule. That has already escalated tensions with the transitional military council, leading to the resignation of three Islamist members last week after the protesters briefly suspended talks. By Joseph Krauss. SENT: 920 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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HURRICANE FLORENCE-REPORT _ A National Hurricane Center report says Hurricane Florence killed 22 people across three states, was the ninth most destructive storm in terms of property damage and spawned 44 tornadoes. SENT: 440 words.

ASIA-CYCLONE _ Indian officials are trying to find out if there are any casualties from Cyclone Fani, after one of the biggest storms to hit the eastern coast in decades tore through the state of Odhisha, causing heavy damage to infrastructure. SENT: 130 words, photos.

JOHN SINGLETON _ A representative for John Singleton says the director will be laid to rest in a small, private ceremony on Monday in Los Angeles. SENT: 120 words, photo.

PEOPLE-VINCE VAUGHN _ Actor Vince Vaughn is convicted of reckless driving after his arrest for failing a drunken driving test last year. SENT: 130 words, photo.

BRITAIN-ROYAL BABY _ The baby wait goes on for Meghan, Prince Harry and royal-watchers around the world. SENT: 210 words, photos.

BACH-SEMENYA _ IOC President Thomas Bach says he has “a lot of sympathy” for Caster Semenya after the South African runner lost her Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal in a landmark case against track and field’s governing body. SENT: 360 words, photos.

DEATH ROW INMATE DIES _ Authorities say a man who was sent to California’s death row for killing and mutilating a 5-month-old girl has died of natural causes. SENT: 130 words, photos.

TEXAS STORMS _ Several tornadoes were reported across south central Texas, leaving damage in their wake but no reports of injuries as severe thunderstorms rumbled across the region. SENT: 110 words, photos.

BRAZIL-BOLSONARO _ Brazil’s president is canceling a trip to New York as several companies pulled out of an event where he was due to be honored. SENT: 200 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-SPYING-NEWS GUIDE _ President Trump says the FBI unlawfully spied on his campaign. But surveillance is a common investigative technique and not inherently illegal. A look at what we know about the surveillance of Trump’s campaign. By Michael Balsamo. SENT: 970 words, photos. With TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-BARR _ Democrats have a new political foil: Attorney General William Barr. SENT: 1,050 words, photo.

UNITED STATES-VENEZUELA _ The Trump administration ended a week of pointed but vague threats of a military response to the Venezuelan political crisis with a meeting at the Pentagon to consider its options, though there was still no sign any action was on the horizon. SENT: 850 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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PLANE CRASH-FLORIDA RIVER _ A charter plane carrying 143 people and traveling from Cuba to north Florida ended up in a river at the end of a runway, though no critical injuries or deaths were reported, officials say. A Boeing 737 arriving at Naval Air Station Jacksonville from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with 136 passengers and seven aircrew slid off the runway into the St. Johns River, a NAS Jacksonville news release says. SENT: 460 words, photo.

FELON VOTING RIGHTS-FLORIDA _ Florida felons will have to pay court-ordered financial obligations if they want their voting rights restored under a bill sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday that would implement a voter-approved constitutional amendment. SENT: 600 words, photo.

FLORIDA CONSTITUTION _ Florida will place new regulations on people paid to gather petitions for constitutional amendments under a bill going to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. SENT: 390 words.

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INTERNATIONAL

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AFGHANISTAN-PEACE TALKS _ The Taliban say the gap is narrowing in talks with Washington’s special peace envoy over a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The two sides are continuing to meet in Qatar, where the insurgent movement maintains a political office. SENT: 570 words, photos.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS _ Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 90 rockets into southern Israel, according to the Israeli military, triggering retaliatory airstrikes and tank fire against militant targets in the blockaded enclave and shattering a month-long lull in violence. SENT: 410 words.

BALKANS-POPE _ Pope Francis, who opened 2019 with trips to the Muslim world, is shifting gears to tend to Orthodox relations, with a delicate visit starting Sunday to the Balkan nations of Bulgaria and North Macedonia. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

AP EXPLAINS-CONGO-EBOLA _ More than 1,000 deaths have now been confirmed in eastern Congo’s Ebola outbreak, the second-worst in history behind the West African one in 2014-16 that killed more than 11,300 people. Attacks on health workers are badly complicating efforts to contain one of the world’s most notorious diseases. At least 85 have been wounded or killed since January. SENT: 590 words, photos, graphic.

BRAZIL-POLICE KILLINGS _ Police killings in the state of Rio de Janeiro have hit a record high, rising by 18% in the first three months of this year in a spike partly attributed to a zero tolerance for criminals campaign by state leaders. SENT: 590 words, photos.

ITALY-VENICE BIENNALE _ Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn created a splash on the sidelines of the Venice Biennale contemporary art fair two years ago with a sculpture of gigantic child’s hands reaching out of the Grand Canal, calling attention to climate change that threatens, among other things, to sink the lagoon city. This edition, Quinn has created a successor sculpture that he wants to be a call to action: Six pairs of arching hands creating a bridge over a Venetian waterway, symbolic of the need overcome divisions. SENT: 480 words, photos.

JAPAN-EMPEROR _ Japan’s Emperor Naruhito greeted the public for the first time since his succession, expressing hope for Japan to keep pursuing peace. Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, a day after his 85-year-old father, Akihito, abdicated. SENT: 380 words, photos.

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SCIENCE

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SPACE STATION _ SpaceX launched a load of supplies to the International Space Station following a pair of unusual power delays. A Falcon rocket raced into the pre-dawn darkness, carrying a Dragon capsule with 5,500 pounds of goods. This recycled Dragon _ which is making its second space trip _ is due to arrive at the orbiting lab Monday. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 550 words, photos.

JAPAN-ROCKET _ A Japanese aerospace startup funded by a former internet maverick successfully launched a small rocket into space, making it the first commercially developed Japanese rocket to reach orbit. SENT: 240 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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RAC--KENTUCKY DERBY _ Bob Baffert not only has the Kentucky Derby favorite, but two other horses capable of giving him a share of history. Game Winner is the 9-2 favorite for Saturday’s 145th running at Churchill Downs after opening Tuesday as the 5-1 second choice behind Omaha Beach, who was scratched because of a breathing problem. Baffert’s two other pupils, Roadster and Improbable, are 5-1 co-second choices that give the Hall of Fame trainer additional chances to win a sixth Derby and tie Ben Jones’ record. SENT: 140 words, photos. Post time scheduled for 6:46 p.m. With KENTUCKY DERBY-POLITICS _ Politicians look to make hay at Kentucky Derby (sent).

NUGGETS-TRAIL BLAZERS _ CJ McCollum matched his career playoff high with 41 points, Rodney Hood hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 18.6 seconds left in the record-tying fourth overtime and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 140-137 to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. It was the second quadruple-overtime playoff game in NBA history, joining a 1953 game between the Boston Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals. By Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 810 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Richard Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Phil Holm (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.