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BC-AP News Digest 7 am

March 2, 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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SPACEX-CREW CAPSULE _ America’s newest capsule for astronauts is rocketing toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX. A Falcon rocket blasted off with the crew Dragon capsule from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The only passenger is a life-size test dummy, named Ripley from the “Alien” movies. SpaceX needs to nail the debut of the capsule before putting people on board later this year. The Dragon should reach the space station Sunday morning. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 1,110 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-NEW PHASE _ Washington state’s Jay Inslee has become the first governor in the Democrats’ growing presidential primary field, and there are more to come. The governors say their experience proves they can turn Democratic priorities into law. By Bill Barrow. SENT: 1,090 words, photo.

VIETNAM-KIM JONG UN _ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spent his last day in Hanoi, laying large red-and-yellow wreaths at a war memorial and at the mausoleum of national hero Ho Chi Minh as he continued an official state visit meant to cement his image as a confident world leader after his summit breakdown with President Donald Trump. By Foster Klug. SENT: 920 words, video, photos. With VIETNAM-KIM JONG UN-THE LATEST; VIETNAM-KIM JONG UN-HO’S MAUSOLEUM _ Kim pays respects at embalmed body of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh. SENT: 430 words, photos.

INDIA-PAKISTAN _ Indian and Pakistani soldiers again targeted each other’s posts and villages along their volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and wounding six others, officials say. By Roshan Mughal and Aijaz Hussain. SENT: 840 words, photo. With INDIA-PAKISTAN-THE LATEST.

TEACHER PROTESTS _ Successful walkouts last year empowered teachers nationwide pushing for better conditions, but some red-state lawmakers have shown a willingness to push back this year. Legislation _ some of which seems geared to antagonize teachers _ is sparking a new wave of action by educators. By Adam Beam and Anthony Izaguirre. SENT: 850 words, photos. With OAKLAND TEACHERS STRIKE _ Oakland teachers strike ends with tentative contract deal. SENT: 640 words, photo.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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NIGERIA-PIPELINE EXPLOSION _ Official: 50-plus people missing after pipeline explodes, causes stampede in southern Nigeria. SENT: 130 words.

GERMANY-FATAL FIRE _ German firefighters say that five people, including four children, have been killed after a blaze ripped through their home in the southern city of Nuremberg. SENT: 110 words, photos.

PEOPLE-JERRY LEE LEWIS _ Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis is recovering after a minor stroke, but he’s expected to make a full recovery. SENT: 110 words, photo.

GIANTS-BAER ALTERCATION _ A video posted by TMZ shows Giants President and CEO Larry Baer in a physical altercation with his wife in a San Francisco park. SENT: 330 words, photo.

INDONESIA-GOLD MINE COLLAPSE _ An official overseeing a grueling rescue at a collapsed Indonesian gold mine says the voices of dozens of trapped miners are no longer being heard as the effort to reach them continued for a fourth day. SENT: 310 words, photo, graphic.

KAMALA HARRIS-HARASSMENT SETTLEMENTS _ The California Department of Justice paid more than $1 million to employees who alleged they faced sexual harassment or workplace retaliation while presidential candidate Kamala Harris was state attorney general. SENT: 440 words.

OBIT-CHARLES MCCARRY _ Charles McCarry, an admired and prescient spy novelist who foresaw passenger jets as terrorist weapons and devised a compelling theory for JFK’s assassination has died at 88. By National Writer Hillel Italie. SENT: 120 words.

AFGHANISTAN _ An Afghan official says Taliban fighters have attacked a corps of security forces in their camp in southern Helmand province, killing at least 23. SENT: 350 words.

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WASHINGTON

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ELECTION 2020-BERNIE SANDERS _ Sen. Bernie Sanders will return to Brooklyn, the borough where he was born, to launch a presidential campaign that’s expected to connect his working-class childhood to his populist political views that have reshaped the Democratic Party. By Juana Summers. SENT: 410 words, photo. UPCOMING: 750 words after 11:30 a.m. speech. With TRUMP-DEMOCRATS-SOCIALISM _ As the White House gears up for the 2020 campaign, it’s pressing the case that Democrats are rallying behind the policies of “socialism.” SENT: 770 words, photos, video.

ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP _ Democratic presidential hopefuls are introducing themselves to voters in some of the earliest states that will weigh in on their campaigns to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: developing.

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INTERNATIONAL

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SYRIA _ Fighters with the U.S.-backed force battling the Islamic State group in eastern Syria advanced on two fronts as the extremists used snipers and booby traps to slow the push on the last area they control, a spokesman for the group says. By Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 410 words, photos.

NICARAGUA-POLITICAL CRISIS _ A representative of President Daniel Ortega said the government is working in good faith to find common ground with the opposition as talks on defusing Nicaragua’s political standoff finished a third day without deals on key sticking points. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BRAZIL CARNIVAL _ Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival officially began with streets parties and revelry amid expectations the first such celebration since Jair Bolsonaro took office would target the far-right president known for offending the LGBT community and minorities. SENT: 610 words, photos.

SAUDI ARABIA _ Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have referred detained women’s rights activists to trial, saying those charged “enjoy all rights preserved by the laws in the kingdom” after they were reportedly tortured in custody. SENT: 390 words.

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NATIONAL

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NEO-NAZI GROUP-BLACK LEADER _ One of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups appears to have an unlikely new leader: a black activist who has vowed to dismantle it. Court documents filed Thursday suggest James Hart Stern wants to use his new position as director and president of the National Socialist Movement to undermine the Detroit-based group’s defense against a lawsuit. SENT: 670 words, video, photos.

OPIOID KICKBACK SCHEME _ A former exotic dancer was hired as a regional sales manager at a drug company despite her lack of pharmaceutical experience because executives believed she could help carry out the company’s plan to bribe doctors into prescribing its powerful painkiller, a former executive told jurors. SENT: 520 words.

OMAR-ISRAEL _ Rep. Ilhan Omar came under a fresh round of criticism for remarks about Israel that critics decried as anti-Semitic. SENT: 540 words.

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BUSINESS

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TRUMP-CHINA TARIFFS _ President Donald Trump says he has asked China to remove its tariffs on U.S. farm products such as pork and beef. SENT: 130 words.

SHELDON ADELSON-HEALTH _ Casino magnate and major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson is battling cancer, but industry analysts and his Las Vegas Sands Corp. says the gambling empire he founded and helms has the personnel to guide it through the health crisis. SENT: 640 words, photo.

TESLA CRASH _ A federal safety agency is sending a three-member team to investigate a fatal crash involving a Tesla electric car and a semitrailer that is strikingly similar to a 2016 crash involving another vehicle made by the company. SENT: 550 words.

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SCIENCE/TECH

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MARS-LANDER _ NASA’s newest Mars lander has started digging into the red planet, but hit a few snags, scientists say. SENT: 230 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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BKN--BULLS-HAWKS — The Chicago Bulls are playing their best basketball of the season at a time many might have thought the focus would be shifting to the NBA draft lottery. The wins are making Lauri Markkanen hungry for more. Markkanen made three free throws to give Chicago the lead for good and the Bulls overcame Trae Young’s career-high 49 points to beat the Atlanta Hawks 168-161 in four overtimes. By Sports Writer Charles Odum. SENT: 720 words, photos.

IDITAROD _ Big crowds are expected to converge on Alaska’s largest city Saturday as hundreds of dogs and their humans kickoff the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race with a short ceremonial run along snow-heaped streets. SENT: 330 words, photo.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Richard Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.