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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

February 25, 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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TOP STORIES

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VENEZUELA-POLITICAL CRISIS _ The Trump administration announces new sanctions on allies of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as it struggles to find new ways to boost his opponent Juan Guaido after an effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the economically devastated nation faltered amid strong resistance from security forces who remain loyal to the socialist leader. By Ben Fox and Joshua Goodman. SENT: 650 words, photos. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 4:30 p.m.

UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA _President Donald Trump has lowered expectations for North Korea’s denuclearization as he heads into his second meeting with its leader, Kim Jong Un. Trump is hoping to recreate the global spectacle of his first meeting with Kim even though it yielded few concrete results and the months that followed have produced little optimism about what will be achieved in the sequel. By Jonathan Lemire. SENT: 1,350 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing.

R KELLY-INVESTIGATIONS _ R. Kelly pleads not guilty to charges that he sexually abused four people dating back to 1998, including three underage girls, and his attorney says the R&B star is still trying to pay the bail that would allow him to go free while awaiting trial. By Don Babwin and Michael Tarm. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

IMMIGRATION-SKILLED WORKERS _ Immigrants with specialized skills are being denied work visas or seeing applications get caught up in lengthy bureaucratic tangles under federal changes that some consider a contradiction to President Donald Trump’s promise of a continued pathway to the U.S. for the most talented foreigners. By National Writer Matt Sendesky. SENT: 1,520 words, photos. This is the Tuesday Spotlight.

OSCARS-GREEN BOOK_ The racial road-trip drama “Green Book” emerged with the top prize at Sunday’s Oscars, and before the winners had left the stage was already the subject of backlash both inside the Dolby Theatre and beyond. Spike Lee attempted to leave the ceremony over the divisive best picture winner’s triumph, and many others assailed it as a poor choice on a night when black artists broke ground in several categories. By AP Film Writer Jake Coyle. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 6 p.m.

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INTERNATIONAL

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VATICAN-SEX ABUSE _ Pope Francis’ summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and ordinary Catholics outraged over a scandal that has harmed so many and compromised the church’s moral authority so much. SENT: 820 words, photos.

NIGERIA-ELECTION _ Nigeria’s electoral commission on Monday began announcing official results from the country’s 36 states as President Muhammadu Buhari seeks a second term, while observers criticized the weeklong delay in balloting that they said discouraged some voters from taking part. SENT: 720 words, photos. With AP EXPLAINS-NIGERIA-ELECTION _ AP Explains: What to watch as Nigeria awaits presidential election results in a close race. By Cara Anna. SENT: 730 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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SUPREME COURT-CROSS CASE _ The Supreme Court hears arguments this week over whether a 40-foot-tall concrete cross at a highway median violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause or is merely a memorial that’s honored World War I dead for the last century. SENT: 920 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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OVERDOSES-CRIMINAL CHARGES _ The opioid crisis is spurring many states to take a tougher stance against drug dealers, including creating laws that treat fatal overdoses as murders and manslaughters. Lawmakers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi and Virginia have proposed bills this year that would allow murder and manslaughter charges for fatal overdoses. Other states have passed similar laws in recent years. But opponents say such laws discourage people from calling 911 for help for overdose victims. By Dave Collins. SENT: 850 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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CHINA TRADE _ China’s stock market surges after Trump’s decision to postpone a tariff hike on Chinese imports and state media expresses hopes the fight with Washington over Beijing’s technology ambitions can be resolved. By Business Writer Joe McDonald. SENT: 700 words, photos.