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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

February 13, 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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DRUNKEN DRIVER-PARDON — In his final days in office, Gov. Rick Snyder wiped out the felony drunken-driving conviction of a man who pleaded for a pardon so he could seek a lucrative promotion as the next president of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. SENT: 950 words, photo.

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TOP STORIES

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COUNTERINTELLIGENCE DEFECTOR-IRAN — A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information to the Tehran government, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program. The Justice Department said that Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, defected in 2013 after attending a conference in Iran aimed at “condemning American moral standards.” She is currently at-large, along with four Iranian hackers who, prosecutors say, used the information she provided to target her former colleagues in the U.S. intelligence community. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 450 words, photos. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY — Even before there’s a firm deal to seal, President Donald Trump is portraying the congressional agreement on border security as a political win for him. Barring major changes in the bill’s language, which is still being worked out, Trump is expected to accept the deal but prepared to use executive action to try to secure additional funding for the wall by shifting federal dollars without congressional sign-off. By Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey and Alan Fram. SENT: 1100 words. UPCOMING: 990 words by 5 p.m., photos, video

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS-BALANCING ACT — Running for president is famously grinding, but more than a half-dozen Democratic contenders are already discovering how much tougher the campaign trail can be when you already have a day job — as a sitting member of Congress. By Elana Schor. UPCOMING: 1000 words 4 p.m., photo.

NIGERIA-ELECTIONS-FAKE NEWS — In Nigeria fake news can be so outlandish, yet widely believed, that the president recently felt compelled to declare that he had not died and been replaced by a Sudanese body double. “It’s (the) real me, I assure you,” President Muhammadu Buhari said late last year, to dispel the story that was viewed more than 500,000 times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Nigeria’s fake news can also be lethal. By Rodney Muhumuza And Sam Olukoya. SENT: 950 words, photos.

MARS ROVER — NASA calls it quits for its longest-running rover on Mars, declaring Opportunity dead 15 years after it landed on the red planet. UPCOMING: 400 words. Developing from 2 p.m. press conference.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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UNITED STATES-COLOMBIA — President Trump meets with the president of Colombia, with the crisis in Venezuela high on the agenda. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Developing from midday events, 300 words by 3 p.m., photos, video.

CONGRESS-YEMEN-WAR POWERS — Asserting Congress’ authority over war powers, the House is expected to vote on a resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from the conflict in Yemen. UPCOMING: 790 words by 3 p.m., photo.

TRUMP SUPPORTER-KHASHOGGI — The man who led President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee says America is in no moral position to criticize Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. SENT: 270 words.

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NATIONAL

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CALIFORNIA-DIGITAL DIVIDE — California’s new governor says the state’s consumers should get a piece of the billions of dollars that technology companies make by capitalizing on the personal data they collect. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5 p.m

CINDY McCAIN-TRAFFICKING — Many parents of children who don’t look like them weren’t surprised when to hear that Cindy McCain inaccurately reported a woman for human trafficking because she was at the airport with a child of a different ethnicity, prompting police intervention. Mixed-race families regularly face suspicion and doubt — and the assumption that they’re the nanny. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 pm.

OAKLAND TEACHERS STRIKE-TEACH FOR AMERICA — A potential teacher strike in Oakland, California, is heating up long-simmering tensions between traditional public schools and education reform programs like Teach for America, which recruits college graduates with no teaching experience to work for a short period in needy schools. UPCOMING: 1,050 words, photos by 5 p.m.

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INTERNATIONAL

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ISRAEL-NEW FRIENDS? — The Mideast conference in Poland that started Wednesday offers Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an opportunity to flaunt in public what he has long boasted about happening behind the scenes — his country’s improved relations with some Gulf Arab nations. Several Gulf dignitaries are expected to attend in a potential show of force against uninvited Iran. But the Palestinians are urging a boycott of the conference, and it remains to be seen whether Arab officials will make any public overtures to Netanyahu without a major concession to the Palestinian cause, which still animates the Arab public. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

MIDEAST MEETING — Although it is absent from the stage, Iran is nevertheless taking the spotlight at a Middle East security conference co-hosted by the United States and Poland that has highlighted deep divisions between the U.S. and some of its traditional allies. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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SUPERBUG SELF-CLEANSE, HFR — Think of it as decontaminating yourself. People who were found to harbor MRSA superbugs while they were in the hospital greatly cut their risk of developing full-blown infections if they swabbed medicated goo in their nose and used special soap and mouthwash for a while after going home. UPCOMING: 625 words. Eds: This story may not be published, broadcast or posted online before 5 p.m.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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CONGRESS-SPRINT-T-MOBILE MERGER — Democratic lawmakers are challenging a pledge by T-Mobile and Sprint not to raise prices or hurt competition if their $26.5 billion merger goes through. SENT: 920 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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FILM-UNITED SKATES — The HBO film “United Skates” is a fascinating look at the rich and creative African-American subculture of roller skating, which is in the danger of dying. By Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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