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BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

March 29, 2015

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EDT.

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NEW & DEVELOPING

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BUILDING COLLAPSE-MANHATTAN — Emergency workers find two bodies in the mass of rubble left behind by an apparent gas explosion three days earlier in Manhattan’s East Village, police say. By Meghan Barr. SENT: 510 words.

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ONLY ON AP

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NSA SURVEILLANCE — The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits. Yet in their public defense of the program, NSA leaders never disclosed the internal debate. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.

DROWNING MIGRANTS — MISSION, Texas - Drowning cases along the Rio Grande have spiked since last fall as a surge of law enforcement along the Mexico border has prompted immigrants to wade through weed-infested canals to avoid detection. By Seth Robbins. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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TOP STORIES

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YEMEN — A two-day Arab summit in Egypt ends with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force, setting the stage for a more overtly violent confrontation between U.S.-allied Arab states and Tehran. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 1,280 words, photos. With: ARAB FORCE-Q&A - Q&A on Arab joint intervention force in Yemen. SENT: 470 words, photos.

FRANCE-PLANE CRASH — The pastor in the hometown of the German co-pilot who is accused of intentionally slamming a passenger plane into a French mountain says the community stands by Andreas Lubitz and his family. By Dorothee Thiesing. SENT: 740 words, photos, video. With: VATICAN-PALM SUNDAY - Pope Francis prays for the victims of the plane crash during Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square. SENT: 260 words, photos.

IRAN-NUCLEAR TALKS — Western officials say Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but is pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms. Tuesday is the deadline for a preliminary agreement. By George Jahn and Matthew Lee. SENT: 860 words, photos.

NIGERIA_ELECTION — ABUJA, Nigeria — Boko Haram fighters attack poll stations in northeast Nigeria and a governor demands elections be canceled in an oil-rich southern state as ballot counting starts for a presidential election too close to call. By Michelle Faul and Shehu Saulawa. SENT: 900 words, photos.

RESISTING PIPELINES — There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation’s highest costs and that natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to how and where new pipelines are being proposed. By Rik Stevens. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. This story moved as the Monday Spotlight.

FINAL FOUR LOOKAHEAD — The NCAA completes its Final Four field with Michigan State’s 76-70 OT win over Louisville and the winner of Gonzaga vs. Duke (now underway). The two regional winners will join Kentucky and Wisconsin for the showcase in Indianapolis next week. By Basketball Writer Jim O’Connell. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 10 p.m.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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CIVIL WAR IMAGES — A Houston housewife who quietly collected rare Civil War images for 50 years sells more than 500 early photographs to the Library of Congress. By Brett Zongker. SENT: 130 words, photos, video.

RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is defending the new state law that’s garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination, saying it wasn’t a mistake to have enacted it. By Tom Coyne. SENT: 810 words, photos.

DOOLITTLE RAIDERS-MEDAL — World War II heroes to receive Congressional Gold Medal on April 15 then present it to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. By Dan Sewell. SENT: 500 words, photos.

CANADA-PLANE LEAVES RUNWAY — An Air Canada plane made a hard landing in bad weather and skidded off the runway at the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the airline says that 25 people were taken to hospitals for observation and treatment of minor injuries. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

RUSSIA-OPERA — Russia’s cultural minister has fired the director of a Siberian theater whose staging of Wagner’s opera “Tannhauser” offended the powerful Russian Orthodox Church. SENT: 160 words, photo.

ASSISTED LIVING-CHARITY CALENDAR — A charity calendar from an Ohio assisted living facility features women in their 80s and 90s showing some skin. SENT: 150 words, photo.

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INTERNATIONAL

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EBOLA-WEST AFRICA — The West African countries hit hardest by Ebola are ramping up efforts to eradicate the deadly disease using lockdowns, restrictions on burials and a warning to survivors about the potential dangers of unprotected sex. By Boubacar Diallo and Jonathan Paye-Layleh. SENT: 380 words, photos.

ISLAMIC STATE — A new video released by the Islamic State group shows its fighters cutting off the heads of eight men said to be Shiite Muslims. SENT: 400 words.

SAUDI-SWEDEN-TROUBLED TIES — When Sweden’s foreign minister used the word “dictatorship” to refer to Saudi Arabia in a speech, she set off a diplomatic crisis that has underscored the perils of promoting reform four years after the Arab Spring. By Aya Batrawy. SENT: 940 words, photos.

TUNISIA-TERRORISM — Tunisia’s prime minister says a leading suspect in a deadly museum attack on foreign tourists has been killed in anti-terrorist operations, as tens of thousands of Tunisians marched through the capital to denounce extremist violence. By Bouazza Ben Bouazza. SENT: 350 words.

SINGAPORE-LEE KUAN YEW — Singaporeans bid farewell to longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew with an elaborate procession and a three-hour state funeral at which his son, the current prime minister, eulogizes the statesman and declares that the wealthy city-state he helped build is his monument. By Stephen Wright. SENT: 900 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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SPRING BREAK-SHOOTING — A house party that dissolved into a hail of gunfire and left seven young people hurt has officials on the Florida Panhandle pondering what to do with a spring break season they say has gotten out of control. By Melissa Nelson-Gabriel and Matt Sedensky. SENT: 500 words, photos.

RAIL CROSSINGS-CITATIONS — A series of crashes involving trains and passenger vehicles — including deadly collisions in New York and California last month — have prompted police to ramp up ticket enforcement at railroad crossings. By Jim Fitzgerald. SENT: 820 words, photos. With: CAR-TRAIN CRASH LOS ANGELES - A day after a light rail train slammed into a car injuring 21 people, trains were again running by the University of Southern California. SENT: 420 words, photo.

MINING FOR TOURISTS — As Appalachian coal mining wanes, officials across the region search for something to replace the traditional jobs and revenues. Some entrepreneurs are luring tourists with mining museums, festivals and even a vineyard that produces wines like “Coal Miner’s Blood.” By Jonathan Drew and Allen G. Breed. SENT: 1,690 words, photos. A 980-word abridged version has also moved.

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WASHINGTON AND POLITICS

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OBAMA — President Barack Obama is teeing off in Florida with a trio of oil and private equity moguls. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 130 words, photos.

DEM 2016-O’MALLEY — Potential Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley says the country needs fresh perspectives for confronting its problems and criticized the prospects of the Clinton and Bush families yet again seeking the White House. By Alan Fram. SENT: 300 words, photos.

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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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TV-SLUMPING MSNBC — As he returns to run the NBC News Group, executive Andy Lack faces one of the same puzzles he tried to solve a decade and a half ago: how to make MSNBC work. By AP Television Writer David Bauder. SENT: 900 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Rob Jagodzinski can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Shaun Hill (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.