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BC-AP News Digest 3 am

March 23, 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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NEW/DEVELOPING

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SYRIA _ A U.S.-backed Syrian force says it has liberated the last area held by the Islamic State group in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, declaring victory over the extremists and the end of their self-declared caliphate. SENT: 170 words, photo.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE _ Special counsel Robert Mueller turns over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation, ending a probe that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump’s presidency with no new charges but launching a fresh wave of political battles over the still-confidential findings. By Eric Tucker, Michael Balsamo and Chad Day. SENT: 1,400 words, photo, video, audio. With TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-KEY PLAYERS _ Key players in the Mueller probe; RUSSIA PROBE-CAST _ Russians who became mixed up in the probe (both sent).

WAITING FOR MUELLER _ The woman was so unassuming in appearance that she was able to quietly slip past the crowd of reporters gathered in the hallways of the Rayburn House Office Building. Without being noticed, she was able to deliver to Congress the simple envelope that contained a monumental message: Robert Mueller’s investigation was over. By Jonathan Lemire, Michael Balsamo and Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1,040 words, video, photos.

UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA _ President Trump tweets that he has reversed his administration’s decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea _ a move that leaves officials at the Treasury Department and observers across Washington scratching their heads. By Deb Riechmann and Jill Colvin. SENT: 800 words, photos.

PENNSYLVANIA POLICE SHOOTING _ The family of an unarmed black teenager fatally shot by a white police officer is expressing anger and sadness over a jury’s decision to acquit, and Pittsburgh braced for protests a day after the verdict. By Ramesh Santanam and Mark Scolforo. SENT: 870 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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ILLINOIS POLE TAX STORMY DANIELS _ Adult film star Stormy Daniels briefly appeared at the Illinois Capitol to protest the state’s tax on strip clubs. The porn actress who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump before he became president read a two-minute statement opposing the tax. By Political Writer John O’Connor. SENT: 250 words, photos.

VAN GOGH CONFIRMED _ A painting at a Connecticut museum that has long been thought to be by Vincent Van Gogh has been authenticated by Dutch researchers. SENT: 320 words, photo.

PAKISTAN-INDIA _ The prime ministers of India and Pakistan exchanged goodwill messages in a sign of easing tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals. SENT: 130 words photo.

MEXICO-PENAL COLONY _ Mexico accounts for final “ghost” prisoners at penal colony. SENT: 200 words, photo.

CHILE-PROSUR _ Several South American presidents have launched a new regional bloc to replace the Union of South American Nations that was promoted by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to counter U.S. influence in the region. SENT: 250 words, photos.

VIETNAM-KARMA CRACKDOWN _ Vietnamese authorities order monks at a popular Buddhist pagoda to stop “soul summoning” and “bad karma eviction” ceremonies after an investigation found the rituals were a scam. SENT: 510 words.

COUNTRY SINGER KILLED _ A country music singer has died in Texas after his manager says a revolver he was handling during a music video shoot accidentally discharged. SENT: 120 words.

PAKISTAN-PARADE _ Pakistanis are celebrating the National Day with a military parade that’s showcasing short- and long-range missiles, tanks, jets, drones and other hardware. SENT: 120 words.

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MORE ON THE MUELLER REPORT

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TRUMP RUSSIA PROBE-LOOMING BATTLE _ Within minutes of receiving notification that special counsel Robert Mueller had turned over his report on the Russia investigation, congressional Democrats were calling for the report to be fully released, including the underlying evidence. They have threatened subpoenas if it is not. By Mark Sherman and Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 740 words, photo. With TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-NEXT STEPS _ Now what? We may not get all the details uncovered over the past 21 months _ at least not right away _ but this story is far from over; TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-LEGAL CLOUD _ A look at the non-Mueller cases encircling the president; TRUMP-INVESTIGATIONS-THINGS TO KNOW _ Where the investigations related to President Trump stand (all sent).

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-MEDIA _ Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow were the windows through which many Americans took in the news that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe has ended. Fox News Channel’s Hannity says reports that there will be no additional indictments prove the probe was all a hoax. MSNBC’s Maddow says there is much more to learn. She didn’t mention the lack of indictments until 16 minutes into her show. By Media Writer David Bauder. SENT: 620 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP _ Presidential contenders are spreading out across the country as they try to find space in the crowded 2020 Democratic field. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

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INTERNATIONAL

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NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING _ A Jordanian prince and the family of a slain 3-year-old boy and were among those who visited a New Zealand mosque when it reopened for the first time since a terrorist killed dozens of people there. SENT: 570 words, photos. With NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-SURGEON _ ‘My heart fell’ says New Zealand surgeon who treated girl, 4; NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE ATTACK-HEALING WITH HAKA _ ‘Rise up!’ NZ students heal with haka after mosque attacks (both sent).

THAILAND-ELECTION _ Thailand’s election Sunday is likely to produce a weak unstable government whether it’s a civilian or military-backed party that cobbles together a coalition, setting off a new phase of uncertainty in a country that’s a U.S. ally in Southeast Asia and one of the world’s top tourist destinations. SENT: 720 words, photos.

UNITED NATIONS-MOSQUE ATTACKS _ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres went to the first mosque built in New York City on Friday to show solidarity with the Muslim community, urging people everywhere “to reaffirm the sanctity of all places of worship and the safety of all worshippers.” SENT: 370 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-CYCLONE _ A vast and powerful cyclone made landfall along a remote stretch of the northern Australian coast, bringing fierce winds and heavy rains amid safety fears for a small number of residents who’ve stayed in the area. SENT: 320 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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ABORTION-GEORGIA _ Amid protests and a heavy police presence, the Georgia Senate passed a bill banning almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. SENT: 820 words, photos.

IMMIGRATION-FLIGHT ATTENDANT DETAINED _ A Texas flight attendant who was enrolled in the government’s program for “Dreamers” flew to Mexico for work and was stopped by immigration authorities who forced her to spend more than a month in detention, her attorney says. SENT: 650 words, photos.

POLICE SHOOTING-PLANTED EVIDENCE _ A federal judge dismissed a federal evidence-tampering charge against an ailing retired Mississippi sheriff’s deputy accused of wrongfully shooting a man to death in 2013. SENT: 580 words.

STUN GUN BAN _ New York state’s ban on personal ownership of stun guns is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled in the latest in a series of court decisions that have led to the loosening of restrictions on the weapons in several states. SENT: 410 words, photo.

WATCHDOG GROUP-RESIGNATION _ The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center announced that he is stepping down, the latest high-profile departure from the watchdog organization best known for its work monitoring extremist groups. SENT: 400 words, photos.

PETROCHEMICAL FIRE-TEXAS _ Fire reignites at the Houston-area industrial plant where an earlier blaze burned for days and sent plumes of black smoke over much of Southeast Texas. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY _ Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pushed back on a U.S. judge’s revised proposals to prevent the utility’s equipment from causing more wildfires, saying it could not “monitor every tree at every moment of every day” to ensure they don’t pose a threat to its electric lines in violation of California laws. SENT: 370 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY

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PINTEREST-IPO _ Pinterest is pinning its future on Wall Street, with the digital scrapbooking site on Friday filing for an initial public offering of stock. It follows a similar filing with securities regulators earlier this month by ride-hailing company Lyft in what is shaping up to be a busy season for technology IPOs. Also expected to sell stock to the public in the coming weeks: Lyft rival Uber and messaging app Slack. By Technology Writers Rachel Lerman and Barbara Ortutay. SENT: 480 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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NCAA-TOP TALENT _ The NCAA Tournament’s 64-team bracket has been cut in half, and from Zion Williamson to Ja Morant to RJ Barrett, no fewer than a dozen potential lottery picks are still in the tournament, only one win away from the Sweet 16. If even half of them make it, they’ll way outshine some classes from recent years. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 820 words, photos.

NCAA-NORTH DAKOTA STATE-DUKE _ Zion Williamson scored 25 points in an explosive performance in his NCAA Tournament debut to help lead top-seeded Duke to an 85-62 win over North Dakota State in Friday night’s first round game. RJ Barrett led Duke with 26 points and 14 rebounds and combined with Williamson for an unstoppable 1-2 freshman punch. By Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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PEOPLE-DJ KHALED _ In the run-up to the Kids’ Choice Awards, host DJ Khaled is feeling plenty of support _ from his son. The producer-DJ said his 2-year-old son, Asahd, gets excited just watching his dad in the ads promoting the show on Nickelodeon. By AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. SENT: 350 words, video, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Vincent Willis 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.