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BC-AP Top Stories Digest

April 3, 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-MAR-A-LAGO — The arrest at Mar-a-Lago of a Chinese woman carrying two passports and malware shines a spotlight on the unique troubles of fortifying President Donald Trump’s lush Florida estate, a presidential refuge that mixes Palm Beach society, world diplomacy and significant security concerns. By Jonathan Lemire and Colleen Long. UPCOMING: 850 words by 4 p.m., photos, video.

ELECTION 2020-DEFENDING BIDEN — It’s a “human touch.” He’s a “warm, affectionate person.” ″He hugs everybody.” Many prominent women in politics and beyond are coming to the defense of Joe Biden in light of accounts of his unwanted touching. But the nature of their defense, coming frequently from older women, raises some uncomfortable questions, namely: Is Biden simply too out of step to be his party’s standard-bearer in the #MeToo era? By National Writer Jocelyn Noveck. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5 p.m., photos.

CONGRESS-RUSSIA PROBE — The House Judiciary Committee approves subpoenas for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report as Democrats pressure the Justice Department to release the document without redactions. The committee gives Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler permission to issue subpoenas for the final report, its exhibits and any underlying evidence or materials prepared for Mueller’s investigation. SENT: 730 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos.

CHICAGO MAYOR— The dominating win in Tuesday’s runoff election of the first black woman as Chicago mayor signals hope for many in a city plagued with a history of corruption, crime and racial divide. SENT: 725 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5:30.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY — Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman faced court appearances on charges they took part in the college bribery scandal that has ensnared dozens of wealthy parents. The actresses along with Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and dozens of others were charged last month in a scheme in which authorities say parents paid an admissions consultant to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities. By Alanna Durkin Richer. SENT: 450 words, photos. Hearings scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES-SEIZURE RISK — U.S. health officials are investigating whether electronic cigarettes may trigger seizures in some people who use the nicotine-vaping devices. The Food and Drug Administration said it has reviewed 35 reports of seizures among e-cigarettes users, particularly young people. Regulators stressed it’s not yet clear whether vaping is responsible. But they said they’re concerned and encouraged the public to report information about the issue. SENT: 525 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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UNITED STATES-NATO — NATO’s secretary general acknowledges divisions within the alliance — “serious issues with serious disagreements” — and called for bigger defense budgets to cope with global challenges such as Russian assertiveness that was the core reason NATO was created 70 years ago this week. SENT: 780 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photos, video, graphic.

TIDAL BASIN-CHERRY BLOSSOM TROUBLES — Each spring, hundreds of thousands of tourists schedule trips to Washington to coincide with the blooming of the capital’s iconic cherry blossom trees. But this year’s cherry blossom season has been somewhat marred by regular flooding in the Tidal Basin_blamed on rising sea levels and a crumbling sea wall. Now a multimillion dollar project seeks to revitalize what the National Parks Service calls “America’s Front yard.” UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m., photos, video.

SENATE-NOMINATIONS — Senate Republicans, frustrated by delays in confirming dozens of lower-profile nominees from President Donald Trump, are forcing through a rules change to sharply cut back debate on most of Trump’s picks. SENT: 490 words. UPCOMING: Developing from early afternoon vote, 750 words by 5 p.m., photos.

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS — Beto O’Rourke says if he is elected president, he would support a House bill to create a commission to study reparations to African Americans over slavery. By Juana Summers. SENT: 280 words. UPCOMING: 500 words by 4 p.m., photos.

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NATIONAL

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ALABAMA PRISONS — The Justice Department issued a scathing report on Alabama’s prisons on Wednesday, saying the state is violating the Constitution by failing to protect inmates from violence and sexual abuse and by housing them in unsafe and overcrowded facilities. The department gave Alabama 49 days to correct the violations, or possibly face another federal lawsuit. SENT: 930 words, photos.

FRATERNITY HOUSE-DEADLY FALL — A judge has sentenced three former Penn State fraternity members to jail in the 2017 death of a pledge, the first defendants ordered to serve time behind bars in a case that rewrote Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing law. Centre County Judge Brian Marshall sentenced former Beta Theta Pi members Tuesday for hazing surrounding the death of sophomore engineering major Tim Piazza, 19, of Lebanon, New Jersey. SENT: 600 words, photo.

NIPSEY HUSSLE — Now that police have captured the man they suspect gunned down rapper Nipsey Hussle, the focus turns to the courtroom. Eric Holder, 29, was arrested without incident Tuesday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after police say he shot and killed Hussle over a personal dispute, and could make his first court appearance on Wednesday. SENT: 500 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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BREXIT — Prime Minister Theresa May and the leader of Britain’s main opposition party were meeting for talks on ending the impasse over the country’s departure from the European Union — a surprise about-face that left pro-Brexit members of May’s Conservative Party howling with outrage. After failing three times to win Parliament’s backing for her Brexit blueprint, May dramatically changed gear Tuesday, saying she would seek to delay Brexit — again — and hold talks with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to seek a compromise. SENT: 900 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECH

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BIASED FACIAL RECOGNITION— Facial recognition researcher Joy Buolamwini didn’t set out to be a thorn in the side of one of the world’s wealthiest companies, but the MIT graduate student has become a formidable and impossible-to-ignore critic of Amazon’s surveillance software. The founder of an artificial intelligence research coalition that calls itself the Algorithmic Justice League has successfully pushed companies like IBM and Microsoft to reduce racial and gender bias in the face recognition software they sell to law enforcement agencies. The work has also started to catch the ear of federal and state lawmakers looking to regulate the technology. UPCOMING: 1,000 words.

FRESH PET FOOD — Kibbles for Fido? Nope. These days he’s getting diced chicken with sweet potatoes and spinach. U.S. pet owners are increasingly feeding fresh food to their dogs and cats. Some order pre-proportioned meals of meat and vegetables or frozen raw meat online. Others find them in refrigerators at big retailers like Walmart. SENT: 950 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BKC--FINAL FOUR-PRECISION TIME — The technology used for game clocks has become part of a basketball referee’s on-court DNA, something few could see coming considering the system was initially scoffed at by some officials. The Precision Time system created by former referee Mike Costabile is used at nearly every level of the sport, including the NCAA Tournament. Costabile estimates by stopping the clock automatically on a referee’s whistle can save roughly 90 seconds formerly lost when timekeepers manually stopped the clock. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 p.m.