Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up today. Some plans are subject to change.

HIGHLIGHTING:

Among today's coverage highlights as we see them at 1600 GMT:

-- ECONOMY - An informal package of four stories; see top listings below.

-- UKRAINE-PROTESTS (sent; developing)

-- SYRIA-UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS (sent; developing)

-- ITALY-KNOX TRIAL (sent; developing)

-- ISRAEL-BOYCOTT DEBATE (upcoming)

-- IMMIGRATION-CONGRESS (sent; developing)

-- FATAL FIRE-KENTUCKY (sent; developing)

-- WINTER WEATHER

-- CANADA-BIEBER ASSAULT CHARGE (sent; developing)

-- SCHUMACHER-INJURED (sent)

PHOTOS: FEMALE FIREFIGHTERS (sent; with text)

VIDEO: CARIBBEAN CRUISE SHIP OUTBREAK (with text, photos)

Here are details of those stories, plus others we have in the works for today and notable pieces that we sent in the past 10 hours (all times GMT):

BUSINESS /ECONOMY

ECONOMY-GDP - A pickup in consumer spending powered solid economic growth last quarter and raised hopes that this year will be the strongest since the recession ended 4½ years ago. Risks to the economy remain, including nervousness in the stock market. And problems such as long-term unemployment and stagnant pay aren't likely to be solved soon. But for the economy as a whole, optimism is rising. UPCOMING: 850 words by 2030 GMT, photos.

BERNANKE LEGACY - His policies drew praise as well as warnings that they injected new risks that will endure beyond his tenure. UPCOMING: 950 words by 1900 GMT.

CHINA-ECONOMIC OBSTACLES — Business should be picking up for Zhao Guoping, a Beijing shopkeeper, as Chinese leaders try to build a consumer society to replace a worn-out economic model based on trade and investment. But his financial struggle highlights the hurdles that ambitious effort faces. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

ARGENTINA-ECONOMIC SURVIVAL KIT - Consumer prices are soaring, the treasury is running low on foreign currency and the peso has had its sharpest slide in 12 years. Instead of rioting, though, Argentines are falling back on tried and true survival skills to cope with the turmoil. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

WASHINGTON AND POLITICS

IMMIGRATION-CONGRESS - House Republican leaders plan to outline broad immigration principles, including legalization for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally, to the GOP rank and file as they look to revive long-stalled efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration system. SENT: 790 words. DEVELOPING.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS - A widening cheating scandal within the Air Force's nuclear missile corps is revealing systemic personnel problems in the force and is setting off high-level meetings to search for solutions. SENT: 670 words. UPCOMING: Air Force briefing at 1600 GMT.

UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN - Hagel hinted Thursday at growing U.S. impatience with Karzai. SENT: 450 words. UPCOMING: Hagel news conference mid-morning EST, 650 words by 1900 GMT.

WORLD

UKRAINE-PROTESTS - Ukraine's embattled president is taking sick leave, his office announced Thursday, leaving it unclear how involved he may be in efforts to resolve the country's political crisis in which protesters are calling for his resignation. SENT: 780 words, photos, interactive. UPCOMING: Developing; 800 words by 2100 GMT.

SYRIA-UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS - The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighborhoods, an international human rights group says. SENT: 720 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing on a number of fronts; details TBD.

SYRIA-PEACE TALKS -Bitter divisions among Syrian negotiators over the question of transferring power remained front and center Thursday as the Geneva peace talks neared the end of a critical first phase. SENT: 560 words.

SYRIA - The U.N. delivered hundreds of relief parcels Thursday to a besieged rebel-held refugee camp in the Syrian capital that has suffered for months from crippling shortages of food and medicine, U.N. and Palestinian officials said. SENT: 940 words, photos.

BRITAIN-SYRIAN REFUGESS - British Foreign Secretary William Hague says that his country is preparing to accept the most vulnerable Syrian refugees this year. SENT: 315 words, photos.

ITALY-KNOX TRIAL - An appeals court in Florence began deliberations Thursday in the third murder trial of U.S. student Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend as the star defendant waited far away on a separate continent. By Colleen Barry. SENT: 750 words, photos. With CHRONOLOGY (sent). UPCOMING: 800 words by 1900 GM.

EGYPT - Egypt's Interior Ministry says it has arrested 11 Muslim Brotherhood members whom it accused of running Facebook pages inciting violence against the police. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 2100 GMT.

ISRAEL-BOYCOTT DEBATE- A major Hollywood movie star and Israel's finance minister find themselves on opposite sides of Israel's growing debate about the threat of an economic boycott, should its negotiations with the Palestinians fail. Scarlett Johansson stands by her decision to be a spokeswoman for an Israeli company that manufactures in a West Bank settlement, while Finance Minister Yair Lapid warns that Israel's economy will suffer a painful blow if peace talks collapse. UPCOMING: 900 words by 1900 GMT.

VATICAN-BANK - — The Vatican bank's much-publicized financial reform has hit a small glitch: The bank told dozens and perhaps hundreds of widows and Vatican pensioners that they had to close their accounts or risk losing access to their money as part of Pope Francis' reform efforts. UPCOMING: 800 words by 11 a.m.

RUSSIA-SUICIDE BOMBING ARRESTS - Russia's counterterrorism agency on Thursday identified the two suicide bombers who struck the southern city of Volgograd and announced the arrest of two suspected accomplices. SENT: 310 words

AFRICAN UNION-SUMMIT - African leaders are meeting in Ethiopia Thursday at a summit to discuss food security amid outbreaks of violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic. SENT: 460 words.

IRAQ - BAGHDAD - Militants stormed a government office in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least two employees and triggering a firefight with police as security forces besieged the building official said. SENT: 390 words, photos.

THAILAND-HUMBLED GOVERNMENT- It was an extraordinarily humbling moment for a democratically elected administration: Government officials, locked out of their offices by protesters and begging to get back inside. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

GAZA-MAKING MOVIES- Gaza's tiny movie industry may struggle with amateur actors and power outages, but at least it has a winning formula: the heroics, from a Palestinian perspective, of those fighting Israeli occupation. SENT: 840 words, photos.

LUNAR NEW YEAR - Such journeys are being shunned by many of the newly prosperous Chinese who are increasingly using the weeklong national holiday to fly to overseas or tourist spots within China.. SENT: 630 words, photos.

SOUTH SUDAN-DISPLACED - Some wonder if they can ever make a home here again and are asking to be refugees in other countries. SENT: 650 words, photo.

PHILIPPINES-JAILBREAK - MANILA - Nearly 200 inmates complaining of hunger and squalid conditions escaped from a Philippine provincial jail in an eastern province that was devastated by a monster storm in November, police said Thursday. SENT: 180 words.

US

POPE-CHICAGO ARCHBISHOP - As Pope Francis prepares to make his first major appointment in the U.S., the recent release of troubling records on how archbishops responded to sex abuse cases will intensify scrutiny of any candidate's child protection record. UPCOMING: 950 words by 2 p.m., photos.

MISSOURI EXECUTION - Missouri has carried out its third execution in three months after a back-and-forth day of appeals and denials. SENT: 850 words, photos.

TECH

GOOGLE-MOTOROLA - Google is selling Motorola's smartphone business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, a price that leaves little doubt that Google's biggest acquisition turned out to be an expensive mistake. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.

SPORTS

SCHUMACHER INJURED - Michael Schumacher is slowly being brought out of the coma he has been in since a skiing accident a month ago. Doctors want to see if the swelling in the brain of the Formula One great has diminished and to assess his level of function. SENT: 390 words.

ENTERTAINMENT

CANADA-BIEBER ASSAULT CHARGE - Bieber is charged with assault for allegedly hitting a Toronto limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month, just hours after his attorney entered a separate not guilty plea in Florida to drunken-driving and other charges. SENT: 850 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing on several fronts; details TBD.

PEOPLE-HASTY PUDDING-MIRREN — Helen Mirren is honored as woman of the year by Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals. UPCOMING: Events start at 2:45 p.m.; 200 words by 6 p.m., photos, video.

GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS - Elton John, Lady Gaga and the movie "Dallas Buyers Club" are among the nominees for awards presented by the gay advocacy group GLAAD. SENT: 120 words.