AP NEWS
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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

May 1, 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-BARR— Private tensions between Justice Department leadership and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team break into public view in extraordinary fashion as Attorney General William Barr pushes back at complaints over his handling of the Russia investigation report and leveled his own criticism at the special counsel. By Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1030 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Developing from 12:50 p.m. hearing resumption, 1050 words by 5 p.m., photos, video.

VENEZUELA — Wary Venezuelans braced for another day of upheaval as both the opposition and Nicolás Maduro’s loyalists vowed to take to the streets, hoping to tip the balance in an agonizing power struggle that appeared to grow even more desperate after a so far unsuccessful attempt to spark a military uprising. By Scott Smith And Joshua Goodman. SENT: 950 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-VENEZUELA — For the third time this year, the big moment in Venezuela became the big bust. The Trump administration expected, or at least was led to expect, that President Nicolas Maduro would be forced out as early as this week as the opposition launched a popular uprising with support from the defense minister and others top officials. That didn’t happen, leaving the U.S. and other countries scrambling for answers to the deepening political crisis. By Matthew Lee and Ben Fox. UPCOMING: 890 words by 5 p.m., photos, video.

WIKILEAKS-ASSANGE — A British judge sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail seven years ago and holing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Judge Deborah Taylor appeared unimpressed by Assange’s written apology and his lawyer’s argument that he sought refuge in the embassy because of overwhelming fear of being taken from Sweden, where he faced sexual misconduct allegations, to the U.S. to face separate charges related to his WikiLeaks activity. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 700 words, photos.

COLLEGE GRADS-MIDDLE CLASS — A college degree has long been a ticket to the U.S. middle class. It typically confers higher pay, stronger job security, greater home ownership and comparatively stable households. Those benefits have long been seen as worth the sacrifices often required, from deferred income to student debt. Yet college graduates aren’t as likely as they once were to feel they belong to the middle class, according to a collaborative analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff. By Josh Boak and Emily Swanson. SENT: 1,275 words, photo.

ATH--CAS-SEMENYA APPEAL — The sports world’s highest court rules that Olympic champion Caster Semenya and other female runners like her with unusually high testosterone must take medication to reduce their levels of the male sex hormone if they want to compete in certain events. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-BIDEN — Donald Trump’s over-the-top tweet storm about Joe Biden’s endorsement by a firefighter’s union telegraphs a larger message about Trump’s thinking on the 2020 presidential race now that Biden has joined the field: The former vice president is not cooperating with Trump’s re-election strategy, and that’s giving the president growing unease. By Zeke Miller. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos.

MEDICARE FOR ALL-COST — The Congressional Budget Office releases cost estimates for a “Medicare for All”-style government-run health program. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Alan Fram. UPCOMING: Developing from 2 p.m. report, 600 words by 5 p.m., photo.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-LAWSUIT — The Trump administration and several Republican-led states face a midnight deadline for filing papers with a federal appeals panel reviewing a lower court ruling that former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is unconstitutional. By Kevin McGill and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 513 words. UPCOMING: Updates possible ahead of midnight deadline.

CONGRESS-DISASTER AID — The White House is displaying new flexibility on giving disaster aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, with President Donald Trump’s Republican allies increasingly losing patience with a weeks-long standoff over a widely-backed disaster aid bill. UPCOMING: 700 words by 3 p.m., photo.

TRUMP-HOMELAND SECURITY — The Trump administration is asking Congress for an additional $4.5 billion in emergency spending for border security as the administration contends with a surge of Central American migrants at the border. SENT: 320 words, photo.

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INTERNATIONAL

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ISLAMIC STATE-NEW THREAT — No longer burdened by territory and administration, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi outlined the new path forward for his group: Widen your reach, connect with far-flung militant groups and exhaust your enemies with a “war of attrition.” The deadly Easter attacks in Sri Lanka a week before his video appearance underscored this message in blood. It also highlighted the ease with which IS, like al-Qaida before it, can inflict chaos through a loosely defined brand of global jihad in the most chilling way. That’s even after losing the relative safety of its so-called caliphate across stretches of Iraq and Syria. By Jon Gambrell and Zeina Karam. SENT: 1,125 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY-COOPERATORS — Federal prosecutors said all along that they expect more people to be charged in the sweeping college admissions scandal. Their secret weapon? The cooperation of some parents and coaches who have already agreed to plead guilty, observers say. “You can rest assured that there is going to be a new wave of indictments,” said former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon. “They wouldn’t need so many cooperators for existing cases. What seems to me is that these individuals who are cooperating are helping the government to make new cases,” he said. SENT: 740 words, photos.

CITY’S POET-WHITE NATIONALIST PAST — Philadelphia’s second poet laureate, who focused on taking poetry to neighborhoods and the city’s young people, has been outed as a former white nationalist. In the late 1980s, Frank Sherlock was a 19-year-old skinhead and vocalist for a white nationalist punk band called New Glory. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos.

PENN STATE-ABUSE — Pennsylvania’s attorney general will appeal a federal judge’s decision to vacate the child-endangerment conviction of former Penn State President Graham Spanier. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the decision, a day after U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick ruled Spanier was improperly charged under a 2007 law for actions that occurred in 2001. SENT: 600 words, photo.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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HUMAN RELATIVE — Nearly 40 years after it was found by a monk in a Chinese cave, a fossilized chunk of jawbone has been revealed as coming from a mysterious relative of the Neanderthals. SENT: 600 words, photo.

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BUSINESS

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FEDERAL RESERVE — The Federal Reserve is all but sure to keep interest rates on hold — and for the foreseeable future — even as President Donald Trump keeps up his attacks on the Fed for not cutting rates. The Fed will likely reiterate a message that has reassured consumers and investors since the start of the year: No rate hikes are likely anytime soon. The Fed’s low-rate policy is keeping borrowing costs down, helping boost stock prices and supporting an economy that’s growing steadily. And with inflation remaining tame, the Fed is seen as able to stay on the sidelines at least through this year. SENT: 500 words, photo.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MUSIC-BILLBOARD AWARDS — Taylor Swift is set to kick off the 2019 Billboard Music Awards with the debut performance of her new song “ME!” and she could continue her run as the most decorated winner in the show’s history. Swift, a 23-time Billboard Award winner, will open Wednesday night’s show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas alongside Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, who is featured on her new track. Swift is also nominated for two awards: top female artist and top touring artist. By Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu. SENT: 500 words, photos. Will updated after the show starts at 8 p.m.

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SPORTS

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APRIL OFFENSE — Home runs and strikeouts are on pace to set records while batters are getting hit by pitches at the highest rate since 1900. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING, 700 words, photos, by 5 p.m.

RAC--KENTUCKY DERBY-BAFFERT — The pain of seeing Cavonnier get beat by a nose in his first Kentucky Derby nearly kept trainer Bob Baffert from returning to Churchill Downs. He figured he would never again have a horse good enough to win on the first Saturday in May. Since the mid-1990s, Baffert has won five Kentucky Derbies and two Triple Crowns while becoming the face of horse racing. He goes for his sixth Derby win this weekend. By Racing Writer Beth Harris. SENT: 650 words, photos.