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BC-AP News Digest 7:10 am

March 16, 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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NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING _ New Zealand’s stricken residents reached out to Muslims in their neighborhoods and around the country, with a fierce determination to show kindness to a community in pain as a 28-year-old white supremacist stood silently before a judge, accused in mass shootings at two mosques that left 49 people dead. By Juliet Williams and Nick Perry. SENT: 1,080 words, videos, photos. With NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-THE LATEST; NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-SENATOR _ An Australian senator who sparked outrage by blaming Muslim immigration for a white supremacist’s bloody rampage in two New Zealand mosques faces a reprimand from lawmakers next month. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos; NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-BACKGROUND _ Alleged Christchurch gunman’s actions stun hometown. SENT: 430 words, photos. See more digest lines below.

NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-THE VICTIMS _ Yasir Amin and his father had walked the path toward the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch too many times to count. Every Friday without fail, they attended prayers together at the mosque. It was a routine so serene and so ordinary that Amin was nearly blinded by confusion when the man drove up with the gun. By Kristen Gelineau and Juliet Williams. SENT: 1,270 words, photos.

TRUMP-CONGRESS _ President Donald Trump’s veto of a bipartisan congressional resolution rejecting his border emergency declaration is more than a milestone. It signals a new era of tenser relations between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. By Zeke Miller and Catherine Lucey. SENT: 750 words, photo. With TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY _ Trump demonstrates he is not through fighting for his signature campaign promise, which stands largely unfulfilled 18 months before voters decide whether to grant him another term. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

US-CHINA-MILITARY THREAT _ Chinese bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese anti-satellite weapons. The Pentagon’s new budget proposal is shaped by national security threats that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has summarized in three words: “China, China, China.” By National Security WriterRobert Burns. SENT: 870 words, photo. With US-CHINA-MILITARY THREAT-GLANCE _ China’s narrowing military gap with the U.S. SENT: 50 words.

SYRIA-WAR ANNIVERSAY _ Syria is marking the eighth anniversary of its grinding war, and while the Islamic State group’s territorial defeat will close one of its bloody conflicts, others are still burning. The violence has left a trail of broken lives among the shattered population, and individual Syrians are trying to find their way in a maze of conflicts, players and interests that only gets more complex. By Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 1430 words, photos.

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MORE ON NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING

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NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-TRUMP _ President Trump plays down the threat posed by racist white nationalism after the gunman accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president “a symbol of renewed white identity.” SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-HERO _ When the gunman advanced toward the mosque killing those in his path, Abdul Aziz didn’t hide. Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find, a credit card machine, and ran outside screaming “Come here!” Aziz is being hailed as hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch. The gunman killed 49 people after attacking two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history. Seven were killed at the Linwood mosque. SENT: 680 words, photos.

CRI--MOSQUE SHOOTING-BANGLADESH TEAM _ New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White has said his country may no longer be a safe haven for visiting sports teams after the mass shooting at a Christchurch mosque. The Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided the shooting and White says New Zealand may have to reconsider security for sports teams. By Sports Writer Steve McMorran. SENT: 640 words, photos. With RGU--MOSQUE SHOOTING-MATCH CANCELED _ Christchurch team cancels Super Rugby match after shootings (sent).

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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BREXIT _ A senior European Union official is floating the possibility of a two-step delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union, currently scheduled for March 29. SENT: 130 words, photos. With BREXIT-THE LATEST.

SLOVAKIA-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION _ Voters in Slovakia are selecting a new head of state in an election that could give the country its first female president. SENT: 130 words, photos.

FRANCE-PROTESTS _ French yellow vest protesters have clashed with riot police near the Arc de Triomphe on the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. SENT: 290 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP _ Five candidates for president are set to campaign, while others weighing a run, including former Vice President Joe Biden, will speak. SENT: 140 words.

CHINA-LANDSLIDE _ Officials say a landslide in northern China has knocked down several buildings, killing seven people and leaving 13 others missing. SENT: 190 words.

PEOPLE-NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON _ Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will return to the air on two TV shows that had been put on hold for a sexual misconduct investigation. SENT: 130 words, photo.

CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS _ A convicted appointee of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has joined his co-defendant’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. SENT: 260 words.

FEC FINE-CRUZ _ The Federal Election Commission is fining Texas Sen. Ted Cruz $35,000 for failing disclose that he received loans to help finance his 2012 Senate run. SENT: 120 words.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE _ Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is not ready to be sentenced because he’s continuing to cooperate with “several ongoing investigations.” SENT: 440 words, photo. With TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-CONGRESS _ Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says his panel will investigate a claim that Justice Department officials once discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. SENT: 300 words, photo.

ELECTION 2020-KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND-NEW HAMPSHIRE _ Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to connect with voters’ important issues on the ground _ or, in some cases, underground. The U.S. senator from New York held two roundtable discussions in New Hampshire communities struggling with contaminated water. SENT: 430 words, photos.

SUPREME COURT-GINSBURG’S BIRTHDAY _ Fans of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are celebrating her 86th birthday by exercising in front of the high court. The court’s oldest justice has become known for her workouts, which include push-ups and planks. SENT: 390 words, photos

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INTERNATIONAL

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PUERTO RICO-HURRICANE MARIA _ Hundreds of Puerto Ricans filled a coliseum to speak at a first of its kind public hearing organized by a group of U.S. legislators visiting the U.S. territory amid complaints about austerity measures and the pace of federal hurricane recovery funds nearly two years after Hurricane Maria. SENT: 700 words.

CUBA-US _ The U.S. State Department says it is eliminating a coveted five-year tourist visa for Cubans, dealing a heavy blow to entrepreneurs and Cuban members of divided families, who used the visas to see relatives in the United States and buy precious supplies for their businesses on the island. SENT: 630 words, photo.

ETHIOPIA PLANE CRASH-SUSPENDED GRIEF _ The Rev. George Kageche Mukua was coming home. The Catholic priest had last seen his Kenyan family a year ago, when he boarded a plane for Europe. His return ended in a thunderous impact in a rural field as Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 faltered shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa and crashed. His family and others around the world are now in a state of suspended grief, waiting for answers. SENT: 660 words, photos.

UNITED NATIONS-SOUTH SUDAN _ The Security Council extended the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by a vote of 14-0 with Russia abstaining to protest the resolution’s failure to welcome September’s peace agreement. SENT: 610 words.

UNITED NATIONS-AFGHANISTAN _ The United States and China clashed over Beijing’s $1 trillion “belt and road” global infrastructure program after the Security Council unanimously approved a bare bones resolution extending the mandate of the U.N. political mission in Afghanistan for six months. SENT: 500 words.

VENEZUELA-GERMAN JOURNALIST _ A German freelance journalist jailed in Venezuela since November on espionage charges was released within weeks of two other reporters being expelled from the tumultuous South American nation, his parents and a human rights attorney confirmed. SENT: 540 words.

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NATIONAL

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ST PATRICK’S DAY PARADE _ New York City is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, bringing together tens of thousands of marchers in one of the largest American celebrations of Irish heritage. The six-hour procession of green-clad marchers up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is one of the city’s oldest events, with its earliest iterations dating back more than 250 years. By SENT: 520 words.

MISSISSIPPI-CIVIL RIGHTS _ The Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman said Mississippi’s governor is “clearly despicable” for not acknowledging work by the state’s only black congressman to get the home of a slain civil rights leader named a national monument. SENT: 520 words, photos.

REDISTRICTING LAWSUIT-MISSISSIPPI _ A federal appeals court told Mississippi lawmakers to redraw a state Senate district where a judge found that black residents’ voting power had been diluted. SENT: 430 words.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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US-CHINA-TRADE TALKS _ U.S. business groups say they are encouraged by China’s approval of a new law that loosens restrictions on foreign investment and said it could help smooth the way to a substantive trade agreement between the two countries. By Economics Writer Christopher Rugaber. SENT: 570 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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T25-ACC-DUKE-NORTH CAROLINA _ Zion Williamson made the difference for fifth-ranked Duke in its third matchup with rival North Carolina. Williamson tipped in his own miss to put the Blue Devils ahead for good, and Duke survived a final-play shot to beat the third-ranked Tar Heels 74-73 in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 670 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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OBIT-WS MERWIN _ W.S. Merwin, a prolific and versatile poetry master who evolved through a wide range of styles as he celebrated nature, condemned war and industrialism and reached for the elusive past, died Friday. He was 91. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

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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.