BC-AP Top Stories Digest
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 .
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — With the partial government shutdown in its 20th day, President Donald Trump heads to Texas after amping up his threats to declare a national emergency to get money for a border wall. Democrats warn he’d be usurping power if he tries to bypass Congress. By Catherine Lucey, Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller. SENT: 900 words. UPCOMING: Developing from events starting at 2:10 p.m. in Texas, 900 words by 5 p.m., photos.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-IMMIGRATION COURTS — The government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall is playing havoc with the nation’s already backlogged immigration court system, forcing the postponement of hearings for thousands of asylum seekers. By Amy Taxin. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos, by 3 p.m.
US-CHINA-FORCED LABOR — A U.S. company that stocks college bookstores with T-shirts and other team apparel cut ties with a Chinese company that drew workers from an internment camp holding targeted members of ethnic minority groups. By Martha Mendoza and Yanan Wang. SENT: 650 words, photos.
R KELLY-INVESTIGATIONS — R. Kelly, one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, has been hounded for years by allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls — accusations he and his attorneys have long denied. But an Illinois prosecutor’s plea for potential victims and witnesses to come forward has sparked hope among some advocates that the R&B star might face new charges. UPCOMING: 900 words by 4 p.m., photos.
YEMEN — A bomb-laden drone launched by Yemen’s Shiite rebels explodes over a military parade for the Saudi-led coalition, killing at least six people in a brazen attack threatening an uneasy U.N.-brokered peace in the Arab world’s poorest nation. By Ahmed al-Haj. SENT: 900 words, photos.
CONGO-ELECTION — Congo appears ready to achieve its first peaceful transfer of power with the surprise victory of opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi, despite clear signs that a rival opposition leader actually won in a landslide. With no major protests and limited violence, the vast country seems to be choosing stability over credibility, accepting the end to President Joseph Kabila’s long and turbulent rule. But observers warn a court challenge to the results could spin the country into chaos. By Mathilde Boussion. SENT: 910 words, photos. UPCOMING: New approach.
MEASURING PAIN — Researchers are hunting for the first objective way to measure pain, what the National Institutes of Health calls a pain meter. That’s because there’s no stethoscope for pain, and doctors can’t measure it like they measure blood pressure or a fever. Patients must describe what they’re feeling and hope they’re believed. Among the devices in early-stage testing: one that peeks into the eyes to link pupil reactions to pain. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 1,010 words, photos, video.
REDRAWING AMERICA-REDISTRICTING LAWSUITS — A busy year of legal battles is getting under way over allegations that hundreds of legislative districts across the country were illegally drawn to disadvantage certain voters or political parties. First up is a scheduled court hearing Thursday in Virginia, where a federal judicial panel is reviewing proposals to redraw some state House districts that it determined were racially gerrymandered. Next on the schedule is a February trial in Michigan over allegations that U.S. House and state legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans. In similar lawsuit is on tap for March in Ohio. By David A. Lieb. SENT: 2,000 words, photos.
ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-IOWA — Nine-term Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King likes to note that President Donald Trump has referred to him as “the world’s most conservative human being,” but the Iowa congressman known for his caustic comments about race and immigration is bracing for what could be his toughest campaign since being elected 16 years ago. The challenge isn’t from a Democrat, but from a deeply conservative state legislator who announced this week he’d seek the Republican nomination. UPCOMING: 500 words by 4 p.m., photos.
DEMOCRATS-DRUG PRICES — Challenging the Trump administration on a top consumer issue, leading congressional liberals are proposing legislation that would radically reduce U.S. prescription drug bills by linking prices to lower costs in other countries. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 650 words. UPCOMING: 790 words by 4 p.m., photos.
VENEZUELA-PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION — President Nicolas Maduro celebrates the start to his second term as Venezuela’s leader, but his world just got smaller as countries seized upon the inauguration to cut diplomatic ties, label him a dictator and reject his legitimacy. By Scott Smith. SENT: 800 words. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4:30 p.m.
PELVIC MESH LAWSUITS — Doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine say lawsuits by four states, including Washington and California, over products used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence might scare patients away from the best treatment options — or maybe even push the products off the market. By Gene Johnson. SENT: 1,280 words, photos.
RETAIL STORES-SALES — Unemployment hasn’t been so low in years, wages are rising, consumer confidence is high and gasoline is cheap, all creating high expectations for department stores this holiday season. That’s not what investors got in sales numbers released Thursday. SENT: 510 words, photo.
GADGET SHOW-ROBOTS EVERYWHERE — Robots are becoming increasingly useful in industrial and warehouse settings but have had a harder time finding roles in everyday life, with notable exceptions like robotic vacuum cleaners and consumer drones. But you wouldn’t know it from the array of walking, talking and ping-pong-playing robots at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. By Matt O’Brien and Joseph Pisani. SENT: 780 words, photos.
FLEXIN’ IN MY COMPLEXION — A 12-year-old girl bullied for her dark skin tone turned her grandmother’s message of empowerment, “Flexin’ in My Complexion,” into hope for others. By Leanne Italie. SENT: 650 words, photos, video.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN-SERENA & ROGER — It was a terrific moment for tennis, drawing tons of attention to an otherwise meaningless exhibition event: Serena Williams and Roger Federer sharing a court for the first — only? — time. It was also, potentially, a scary moment for tennis. Williams and Federer are both 37, far closer to the ends of their careers than anyone with a stake in the sport would care to think about. And so the whole scene on New Year’s Day at the Hopman Cup raised a key question, one that will be a backdrop at the Australian Open when play begins in Melbourne on Monday: What happens to tennis when these two GOATS (“Greatest of All Time”) are gone? By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 750 words, photos.