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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

February 8, 2019

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content.

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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.

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.

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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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.

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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