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BC-AP News Digest 3:25 am

February 8, 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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HEALTH OVERHAUL-WHITE HOUSE REPORT _ Borrowing a word from Democrats, a new White House report says changes made to the Affordable Care Act under President Donald Trump didn’t amount to “sabotage.” The report from the Council of Economic Advisers says Obama-era subsidies that help low- and middle-income customers pay their premiums will keep HealthCare.gov afloat even if some healthy people drop out or seek other coverage because of Trump’s changes. Nearly 90 percent of customers get taxpayer-provided assistance. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 680 words, photos.

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TOP STORIES

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JEFF BEZOS-NATIONAL ENQUIRER _ Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he was the target of “extortion and blackmail” by the publisher of the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish revealing personal photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained his private exchanges with his mistress. By Michael Balsamo and Zeke Miller. SENT 1,150 words, photo.

VIRGINIA POLITICS-BLACKFACE-FALLOUT _ The political crisis in Virginia threatens to turn a state that has trended Democratic back into a battleground, and that could complicate the party’s effort to defeat President Donald Trump next year. Democrats don’t think voters will suddenly embrace Trump. But the governor and attorney general have admitted they’ve worn blackface in the past, and the lieutenant governor is accused of a 2004 sexual assault. Democrats fear that could dampen enthusiasm in their base. By Bill Barrow. SENT: 1,070 words, photos. With VIRGINIA GORVERNOR-STRATEGY _ How Virginia Gov. survives scandal by staying out of sight (sent).

TRUMP-IMMIGRATION-FACT CHECK _ President Donald Trump has long railed against immigration as a scourge on the economy and national security. He’s committed his administration to starting construction on a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration and asylum seekers, yet he reversed his past policy efforts on restricting legal immigration in this year’s State of the Union address. By Economics Writer Josh Boak. SENT: 1,870 words, photo.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY _ Congressional bargainers seem close to clinching a border security agreement that would avert a fresh government shutdown, with leaders of both parties voicing optimism and the top GOP negotiator saying he believes President Donald Trump would back the emerging accord. By Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor. SENT: 834 words, photos.

OBIT-JOHN DINGELL _ Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history and a master of legislative deal-making who was fiercely protective of Detroit’s auto industry, has died. The Michigan Democrat was 92. By Mike Householder and David Eggert. SENT: 1,420 words, photo. With OBIT-JOHN DINGELL-A LIFE _ John Dingell represented Michigan from Ike to Obama; JOHN DINGELL TWITTER _ In or out of the House, John Dingell was at home on Twitter; OBIT-JOHN DINGELL-REACTIONS _ Dignitaries praise former Congressman John Dingell (all sent).

VENEZUELA-OIL WORKERS EXODUS _ Thousands of Venezuelan oil workers are fleeing poverty wages and dangerous working conditions, taking lucrative jobs in far-flung parts of the world. With each new departure, fewer remain behind with the know-how to pump the world’s most abundant oil reserves, once the economic backbone of a thriving country. By Scott Smith. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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SAUDI-WRITER KILLED _ UN expert says Saudi Arabia quietly held second hearing for 11 people facing charges over journalist Khashoggi’s killing. SENT: 130 words.

KASHMIR-AVALANCHE _ Officials say heavy snow has caused avalanches in the Himalayan region of Kashmir that have trapped 11 people and killed one. SENT: 260 words, photos.

TURKEY-BUILDING COLLAPSE _ Turkey’s interior minister says the number of dead from the collapse of an eight-story apartment building in Istanbul has increased to 11. SENT: 110 words, photos.

TAIWAN-AIRLINE STRIKE _ Pilots from Taiwan’s China Airlines have gone on strike during the Lunar New Year travel rush, forcing the cancellation of 18 flights over coming days. SENT: 350 words.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-WHITAKER _ Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is testifying before Congress for the first time Friday, with Democrats eager to press him on his interactions with President Donald Trump and his oversight of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. SENT: 550 words, photo.

TRUMP-HEALTH _ President Donald Trump is in for some poking and prodding as doctors assess whether his “incredibly good genes” continue to serve him well. Trump travels to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington on Friday for a follow-up to his first annual medical checkup as president. His personal physician declared him to be in “excellent health” last year after a battery of tests on his heart, lungs, gastrointestinal system and other areas. SENT: 890 words, photo.

ELECTION 2020-CORY BOOKER _ New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is taking his call for social justice to Iowa, where he plans to visit with black leaders this weekend on his first trip to the early 2020 caucus state as a Democratic presidential candidate. SENT: 580 words, photo.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION _ A divided Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortion rights. SENT: 420 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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LAST SLAVE SHIP _ Descendants of the last Africans brought to the United States as slaves are gathering in Alabama. The get-together will be held in Africatown USA, a once-thriving community settled by the free blacks after the Civil War. The area is now part of Mobile, Alabama, and residents are hoping the event will renew interest in a fading community. The Africans were illegally smuggled into Alabama decades after the slave trade was outlawed. Some of their descendants still live on the Gulf Coast. SENT: 950 words, video, photos.

DEATH PENALTY-ALABAMA _ Alabama asks the U.S. Supreme Court to let it proceed with the execution of an inmate who won a stay on religious grounds after asking to have his imam in the execution chamber. SENT: 520 words, photo. UPCOMING: Developing; execution scheduled for 8 p.m.

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INTERNATIONAL

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IRAN REVOLUTION ANNIVERSAY-ECONOMY _ Iran faces several economic struggles as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Inflation continues to rise as its currency depreciates. University graduates are unable to find jobs. Some of the challenges stem from the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions after the Trump administration pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Other problems date back to the time of the revolution. SENT: 880 word, photos.

THAILAND-POLITICS _ A Thai political party on Friday named a princess as its nominee to be the next prime minister, upending tradition of the palace eschewing politics and upsetting all predictions about what might happen in next month’s elections. SENT: 940 words, photos. With THAILAND-ROYALTY AND POLITICS _ Royals’ roles in politics vary, but few join electoral fray (sent).

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SPORTS

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OBIT-FRANK ROBINSON _ Crowding the plate, fearsome and fearless, Frank Robinson hammered his way into the Hall of Fame. His legacy, however, was cemented the day he simply stood in the dugout at old Cleveland Stadium as the first black manager in Major League Baseball. Robinson, the only player to earn the MVP award in both leagues, has died at 83. By Sports Writers David Ginsburg and Ben Walker. SENT: 1,900 words, photos.

NBA TRADES _ Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia made their moves. Anthony Davis will have to wait until the summer for his. The New Orleans Pelicans held onto Davis but dealt Nikola Mirotic to the Bucks, one of the Eastern Conference contenders who fortified their teams on Thursday before the NBA trade deadline. The Raptors are getting center former All-Star center Marc Gasol from Memphis. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 720 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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MUSIC-GRAMMYWATCH-ALICIA KEYS _ Grammys host Alicia Keys previewed the show by rolling out the red carpet and dancing while Trombone Shorty played funk music with bandmates. Keys was all smiles as she joined Grammys CEO Neil Portnow, show producer Ken Ehrlich and others for a toast at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the 61st Grammys will take place Sunday.The piano-playing singer said the ceremony “will be about the celebration and the power of music.” By Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu. SENT: 330 words, photos. With MUSIC-GRAMMYWATCH-CLIVE DAVIS-PREVIEW _ Brandi Carlile says she is feeling the pressure of performing at Clive Davis’ star-studded party the night before the Grammy Awards. SENT: 430 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Vincent Willis 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.

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