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BC-AP News Digest 6:30 pm

March 24, 2014

The world at 6:30 p.m. Times are EDT.

At the Nerve Center, Rob Jagodzinski and Mike Stewart 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://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.



— JERSEY SHORE MOTEL FIRE — Prosecutor: Cigarette discarded in chair caused New Jersey shore motel fire that killed 4. SENT: 525 words, photos.

— CORRECTION OFFICER ARRESTED — New York jail guard supervisor arrested, accused of ignoring dying inmate’s pleas for help. SENT: 340 words.

— GIRL SCOUT COOKIE RECORD — Oklahoma girl sells more than 18,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, breaking group’s record. SENT: 130 words.

— WOODS-MASTERS — Tiger Woods says it’s ‘still too soon’ to know if his back will be OK in time for Masters. SENT: 470 words, photos.

— JAMAICA-OBIT-WYMORE FLYNN — Patrice Wymore Flynn, actress and widow of screen legend Errol Flynn, dies at 87 in Jamaica. SENT: 500 words, photo.



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — After 17 days of desperation and doubt over the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the country’s officials say an analysis of satellite data points to a “heartbreaking” conclusion: Flight 370 met its end in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, and none of those aboard survived. But the larger mystery of what happened aboard the Boeing 777 to send it so off-course remains unsolved. By Todd Pitman and Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,500 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 7 p.m.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-WHAT WE KNOW — What the prime minister’s statement answered about the missing flight and what questions still remain. SENT: 250 words.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-FAMILIES — Relatives sob, collapse after Malaysian PM confirms loss of plane with 239 people on board. SENT: 770 words, photos.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-BLACK BOXES — Race is on to find Flight 370′s black boxes before batteries die; searchers must ‘get lucky.’ SENT: 740 words, photos.

— AP PHOTO XHG122 — A relative of Chinese passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight cries after being told that satellite data indicate the missing plane crashed into a remote corner of the Indian Ocean. By Ng Han Guan.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Seeking to isolate Russia, the U.S. and Western allies declare they are indefinitely cutting Moscow out of a major international coalition and warn they stand ready to order tougher economic penalties if Vladimir Putin presses further into Ukraine. The moves come amid a flurry of diplomatic jockeying as the West grapples for ways to punish Russia for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and prevent the crisis from escalating. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 1,000 words, video, photos, audio.

— CONGRESS-UKRAINE — Senate Democratic leader says GOP may have helped Russia annex Crimea; Senate advances Ukraine aid bill. SENT: 550 words.

— OBAMA-NIGHTWATCH — Obama says a famous Dutch art work provides one of the best settings ever for one of his statements to the media. A notebook. SENT: 610 words, photos, video, audio.


DARRINGTON, Wash. — The search for survivors of a deadly Washington state mudslide grows to include scores of people who are still unaccounted for, raising fears that the deep muck could have claimed many more lives than the eight bodies found so far. Authorities predict that the number of missing will decline as more people are found to be safe, but the length of the list adds to anxieties two days after a mile-wide layer of soft earth crashed onto a cluster of homes at the bottom of a river valley. In a race to find loved ones, family members and neighbors use chain saws and their bare hands to pick through tangled piles of filthy debris. By P. Solomon Banda and Phuong Le. SENT: 850 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: 950 words by 7:30 p.m.

— WASHINGTON MUDSLIDE-5 THINGS — Washington landslide: Big, deadly and dangerous. SENT: 360 words, video, photos, audio.


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana becomes the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards adopted by most states a few years ago, capitalizing on a national backlash, but leaving some critics wondering whether the state is leaving the program in name only. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signs legislation after lawmakers approved the measure requiring the State Board of Education to draft new standards outlining what students should be learning in each grade rather than using the Common Core standards. By Tom LoBianco and Summer Ballentine. SENT: 500 words. UPCOMING: 650 words by 7 p.m., photos.


CHICAGO — A Chicago train operator may have dozed off before the train she was driving jumped the tracks and scaled an escalator at one of the nation’s busiest airports, injuring 32 people, according to a transit union chief. The operator reportedly had worked significant overtime recently and was “extremely tired” when the train derailed at the end of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line at O’Hare International Airport. By Carla K. Johnson and Priya Sridhar. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO NY108 — A Chicago Transit Authority train car rests on an escalator at the O’Hare Airport station after it derailed.


There’s no easy fix for the National Flood Insurance Program, now drowning in a $24 billion sea of red ink, but experts and advocates say they hope Congress takes a harder look over the next three years at proposals to make the program financially stable, more affordable, and more effective at motivating change in communities built too close to the water. At least 1.1 million home and business owners in the flood insurance program are likely to see their rates rise substantially over the next few years, despite a rate-relief bill signed by the president last week. An Associated Press analysis found hundreds of communities where substantial numbers of property owners may be in trouble. By David B. Caruso. SENT: 840 words, photo, graphic.


NEW YORK — At a time when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are pushing people to put forward their most polished, put-together selves, a new class of apps aims for a bit more honesty. Among the latest is Secret, created by two former Google engineers who were looking for a way to let people deliver more genuine feedback to co-workers. With the app, friends and friends of friends can share their deepest and darkest thoughts, along with gossip, criticism and even plans to propose, under a cloak of near-anonymity. The result — what happens when you can say what you want without a name and profile photo attached — is an experiment in human nature. By Barbara Ortutay. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the happy hour crowd poured in on a recent weeknight, the kitchen and bar staff at Hock Farm restaurant scrambled to meet the incoming orders. And by using their bare hands to prepare the meals, all of them were breaking a state law that took effect in January and will be enforced starting in July. Under the new bill, chefs and bartenders in California must keep bare hands off food going straight to the plate or the drink glass, from the rice in a sushi roll to the mint in a mojito. Instead, they must use gloves or kitchen utensils such as tongs. Yet as concerns about the law’s inflexibility mount and restaurant owners protest, state lawmakers are considering a reversal before inspectors begin slapping fines on eateries this summer. By Fenit Nirappil. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.



NOVOOZERNOE, Crimea — Ukraine’s fledgling government orders troops to pull back from Crimea, ending days of wavering as Russian forces stormed and seized bases on the peninsula. Even as Moscow ratcheted up the military heat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Ukrainian counterpart in the highest level encounter between the two countries since the Crimea invasion. By Laura Mills and Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,200 words, video, photos.


KIEV, Ukraine — A hairstyling business closes four salons rather than deal with crooked tax officials. An independent salesman hustling paint from the trunk of his car faces a $5 million tax penalty. That’s the world of small business in Ukraine — a tangled thicket of bribe-hungry government inspectors and complicated, unpredictable regulations. Reforms to reduce graft and red tape are set to be part of the conditions of an international financial rescue package that officials in Kiev are expected to wrap up with the International Monetary Fund this week. By David McHugh. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.



WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest minority group risks being left behind by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Hispanics account for about one-third of the nation’s uninsured, but all signs indicate they remain largely on the sidelines as the White House races to meet a goal of 6 million sign-ups by March 31. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 870 words, photos.

— HEALTH OVERHAUL Q&A — If I have insurance at work, can I still shop in the online exchange? Second in a three-part series of answers to reader questions. SENT: 590 words.


MANCHESTER, N.H. — He is working to re-write political history, working the Red Arrow Diner, wearing faded blue jeans, cowboy boots and still driving his aging pickup truck. But a week after Scott Brown joined New Hampshire’s suddenly high-profile U.S. Senate race, it’s unclear if the everyman appeal that fueled his celebrity in Massachusetts is enough to revive his political career north of the border. There are signs that the state’s notoriously feisty voters are reluctant to embrace the recent Republican transplant. By Steve Peoples. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— HILLARY AND JEB — Jeb Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton are speaking at a higher education conference that will focus on ways to address American problems with affordability. SENT: 670 words, photos.



If you think of climate change as a hazard faced by some far-off polar bear decades from now, you’re mistaken. That’s the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to issue a report on the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and human. “The polar bear is us,” says one scientist. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

— UNITED NATIONS-GLOBAL WEATHER — The U.N. weather agency says much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change. SENT: 300 words, photo.



CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentences to death 529 suspected supporters of the ousted Islamist president over a deadly attack on a police station after a mass trial lasting only two sessions in which defense lawyers say they were unable to present their case. The convictions face an appeal process but the sweeping sentences signal that authorities intend swift and heavy prosecutions in the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood while heightening rights activists’ fears that due process is being swept aside. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— ARAB SUMMIT — Egypt and Saudi Arabia aim to use an Arab summit this week in Kuwait to crank up pressure on Qatar over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. SENT: 680 words, photos.


PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp argued fiercely in the turbulent weeks before he killed her, and the athlete’s girlfriend told him she was sometimes scared by his behavior, which included jealous outbursts in front of other people, according to phone messages revealed at the Olympian’s murder trial. By Christopher Torchia and Carley Petesch. SENT: 800 words, photos.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A major international summit to rein in the threat of nuclear terrorism opens with Japan pledging to return to the United States more than 315 kilograms (700 pounds) of weapons-grade plutonium and a supply of highly enriched uranium. Japan originally received the material from the U.S. and Britain in the 1960s for use in research. By Toby Sterling and Juergen Baetz. SENT: 620 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan toddler shot five times by Taliban militants who gunned down his parents and two siblings in a Kabul restaurant regains consciousness and asks for his mother, his relatives say, calling the survival of the boy, who is less than 2 years old, a miracle. Afghan investigators say the gunmen may have had inside help in the bold attack that killed nine people. By Kim Gamel. SENT: 600 words, photos.



NEW YORK — Five former employees of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff are convicted of conspiracy, capping a six-month trial in which they were accused of enriching themselves while telling an elaborate web of lies to hide a fraud that cheated investors of billions of dollars. The trial — one of the longest in the history of Manhattan federal court — was the first to result from the massive fraud revealed in December 2008 when Madoff ran out of money and was arrested. By Larry Neumeister. SENT: 880 words, photos.


NEW YORK — A long-awaited museum dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will open to the public at the World Trade Center site May 21. The opening will follow a ceremony and dedication period during which the museum will be open around the clock for 9/11 family members, rescue and recovery workers and others directly affected by the attacks. By Karen Matthews. SENT: 410 words, photos.


TEXAS CITY, Texas — The Coast Guard aims to reopen one of the nation’s busiest seaports two days after a collision between a barge and a ship caused nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil to spill into the waters south of Houston. The closure of the Houston Ship Channel created a bottleneck of more than 80 ships waiting to enter or leave the bay. Authorities are still trying to determine the full extent of the environmental damage and to manage a cleanup that might stretch up to 12 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. By Juan Lozano. SENT: 750 words, photos.



They’re coming, a whole lot of them, streaming across the state line and dead serious about their basketball. In one of the game’s great rivalries, Louisville and Kentucky meet Friday in Indianapolis, which awaits an army of fans clad in blue and red for a regional only three hours from both schools. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.


— ARIZONA SHERIFF-RACIAL PROFILING — Judge scolds Arizona sheriff’s aide for mischaracterizing findings in racial profiling case. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— GAY MARRIAGE-MICHIGAN — Same-sex couples who took advantage of a brief legal window to get married this weekend in Michigan say they are being turned away while trying to make changes to legal documents including driver’s licenses as the state appeals the federal judge’s ruling overturning a ban on gay marriage. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN — New York jurors hear opposing portrayals of al-Qaida spokesman, who’s bin Laden’s son-in-law. SENT: 660 words, filers of courtroom sketches.

— WINTRY WEATHER — Parts of New England brace for more snow as Northeast shivers through early spring. SENT: 280 words.

— CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS — NJ Democrat: Report clearing Chris Christie in traffic jam plot incomplete, lacks credibility. SENT: 430 words.

— BANNED FRACKING ACTIVIST — Fracking activist, barred from 300 square miles of drilling company land, asks for relief. SENT: 570 words.

— WTC-PARACHUTE JUMP — Defense lawyers: 4 being arrested in parachute jump from 1 World Trade Center in September. SENT: 350 words.

— GERMANY-BEHEADED FLAMINGOS — Fox or fiend? Police hunt flamingo killer who beheaded Frankfurt Zoo birds 2 nights in a row. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— OBIT-GWAR FRONTMAN — Dave Brockie, who as “Oderus Urungus” fronted the alien-costumed heavy metal band GWAR during graphic and fake-blood-soaked stage shows for more than three decades, dies at 50. SENT: 400 words.

— TV-FALLON’S FAST START — For NBC, Fallon ascendancy is 1 ‘Tonight’ show transition that’s working. SENT: 930 words, photos.




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