BC-AP News Digest 3 am


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

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ONLY ON AP

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KOREAS-TENSION — In an exclusive interview with the AP, North Korea’s vice foreign minister blames President Donald Trump for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula through his tweets and expansion of military exercises, saying the U.S. is becoming “more vicious and more aggressive” under his leadership than it was under President Barack Obama. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 650 words, video, photos. With KOREAS-TENSION-THE LATEST; KOREAS-TENSION-QUOTES (sent).

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TOP STORIES

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AFGHANISTAN — The attack on an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military killed at least 36 Islamic State group fighters, according to Afghan officials. The “mother of all bombs” — officially the GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon — unleashes 11 tons of explosives. By Amir Shah. SENT: 100 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words by 4 a.m., photos.

SYRIA — Preparations begin for the evacuation of more than 10,000 residents from two pro-government Shiite villages in northern Syria and two rebel-held towns near Damascus. The evacuations would be the first in a number of rescues stretching over two months to free some 30,000 Syrians from besieged areas in a deal struck by rebels and the government. By Philip Issa. SENT: 320 words, graphic. UPCOMING: 650 words by 4 a.m., photos, video.

ARKANSAS EXECUTIONS-OPPONENTS — While outrage on social media is growing over Arkansas’ unprecedented plan to put seven inmates to death before the end of the month, the protests have been more muted within the conservative Southern state where capital punishment is still favored by a majority of residents. By Jill Bleed. SENT: 920 words, photos. With ARKANSAS EXECUTIONS-INMATES — A look at the seven inmates scheduled to be executed next week. SENT: 700 words, photos; ARKANSAS EXECUTIONS-THE DRUGS — A look at the three drugs Arkansas plans to use for the executions. SENT: 700 words, photo.

TURKEY-REFERENDUM-PREVIEW —Turkey is a country divided as it heads toward a historic referendum on a new political system that backers say will bring much-needed stability to Turkey but opponents fear would lead Turkey down the path of an autocratic, one-man rule by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. By Suzan Fraser. UPCOMING: 860 words by 5 a.m., photos.

UNITED-PASSENGER REMOVED — A lawyer for a man who suffered a concussion and lost two teeth when he was dragged off a United Express flight hopes the 69-year-old becomes “a poster child” for the mistreatment passengers suffer at the hands of the airline industry. By Don Babwin and Sara Burnett. SENT: 720 words, photos. With UNITED-PASSENGER REMOVED-COMPANY STATEMENTS (sent).

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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PEOPLE-JENNIFER GARNER-BEN AFFLECK — Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are formally ending their marriage with divorce petitions that seek joint custody of their three children. SENT: 270 words, photos.

BOARDING SCHOOL-SEXUAL ABUSE — A report names 12 former faculty and staff members at an elite Connecticut boarding school who allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with students that went on for decades. SENT: 130 words.

ROLLER COASTER STUCK — An amusement park roller coaster stalls outside Washington, D.C., leaving 24 riders stuck 100 feet (30 meters) up in the air. SENT: 250 words, photos.

OBIT-DAN ROONEY — Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, one of the NFL’s most influential and popular executives, dies at 84. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

US-ARENA — U.S. coach Bruce Arena thinks the Americans could win the World Cup in 2026, when they could co-host the tournament with Mexico and Canada. SENT: 900 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-HEALTH OVERHAUL — With the effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare” at an impasse, the Trump administration has released a set of fixes to stabilize shaky health insurance markets — but the insurance industry says the changes don’t go far enough. SENT: 840 words, photo.

PENCE-ASIA — Vice President Mike Pence is opening his trip to the Asia-Pacific region amid increasing tensions in North Korea over the regime’s nuclear and missile programs. SENT: 200 words, photo.

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INTERNATIONAL

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VENEZUELA-POLITICAL CRISIS — Thousands of Venezuelans take to the streets in wealthy eastern Caracas amid a tropical downpour to support a protest movement that is gaining steam even as it turns more deadly. SENT: 380 words, photos.

NIGERIA-KIDNAPPED GIRLS — Friday marks three years since Boko Haram extremists swept up nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls in a brazen mass kidnapping that shocked the world. At least 195 of the girls remain captive. UPCOMING: 300 words by 7 a.m., photos.

JAPAN-VIETNAM-GIRL MURDER — Police arrest a Japanese man in connection with the death of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl near Tokyo, weeks after her naked body was found near a trench. SENT: 200 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT-FORENSICS REVIEW — Defense attorneys say they will step up their challenges to certain forensic practices now that the Justice Department has disbanded an independent commission that was studying how to improve their reliability. SENT: 750 words, photo.

AFGHAN FAMILY DETAINED — Lawyers say an Afghan family that traveled to the U.S. on special visas and was detained by immigration officials at the Los Angeles airport in March has received status as permanent residents under their original visas. SENT: 130 words.

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SPORTS

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PLAYOFFS-INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR — Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo returns to the playoffs in Toronto on Saturday afternoon. Except in Greece, where it’ll already be very early Sunday morning. They won’t mind staying up late in Athens to watch. Same goes for plenty of other places around the world as all eight of the NBA first-round playoff series that start this weekend feature international players. UPCOMING: 680 words by 4 a.m., photos.

NASCAR-DANICA PATRICK-FITNESS — Danica Patrick, who continues to struggle in NASCAR, is carving out an off-track career in the health and fitness space. She’s also launched a clothing line and is working on a book that will be out next year. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 4 a.m., photos.

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ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

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FILM-BOSTON MARATHON DOCUMENTARY — The colorful 121-year history of the Boston Marathon is captured in a new documentary premiering Saturday in its host city. SENT: 550 words, photos.

CHINA-BEIJING FILM FESTIVAL — The lack of South Korean films among the more than 500 being screened at a Beijing festival has nothing to do with politics, an organizer says. SENT: 440 words, photo.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Dien Magno 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.