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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FBI-IMPERSONATION OF JOURNALISTS — A police department’s scramble to stop bomb scares at a Washington state high school has escalated into a yearslong wrangle between the FBI and the news media. Using documents and interviews, The Associated Press has pieced together the story of how an FBI agent posed as an AP reporter a decade ago to catch the teenage culprit. By Raphael Satter. UPCOMING: 2,000 words by 3:30 a.m., photos. Abridged version of 700 words will also be available.

PAKISTAN-MEDIA UNDER ATTACK — The specter of blasphemy charges, which are tantamount to a death sentence, is frightening Pakistani media into silence, say bloggers, media analysts and a popular news anchor. A court is hearing charges against five bloggers forced to flee the country, while the prime minister promises to troll social media in search of anything that can be construed as blasphemous. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 1,210 words, photos.

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TOP STORIES

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BUDGET-HEALTH CARE — Republicans intent on scrapping Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act have a budget problem: As it turns out, repealing and replacing it won’t save nearly as much money as getting rid of it entirely, the goal they’ve been campaigning on for seven years but which seems beyond reach. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 720 words, photos.

TRUMP-REPUBLICANS — Congressional Republicans have a lot to say about President Donald Trump. His proposed budget is “draconian, careless and counterproductive.” The health care plan is a “bailout” that “won’t pass.” With friends like these, who needs Democrats? By Lisa Lerer. SENT: 820 words, photos.

TILLERSON-ASIA — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Beijing for his first face-to-face talks with Chinese leaders expected to focus on North Korea’s nuclear program, trade and South China Sea territorial disputes. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 710 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing.

ZIMBABWE-POWER COUPLE — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe plucked her from the secretarial pool to become his second wife. Now Grace Mugabe, four decades his junior, is stirring speculation that she wants to succeed her 93-year-old husband as leader. As this nation slumps deeper into economic crisis, uncertainty grows over who will take power and how. By Christopher Torchia. UPCOMING: 770 words by 6:05 a.m., photos.

SUPREME COURT-NEIL GORSUCH — Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is roundly described by colleagues and friends as a silver-haired combination of wicked smarts, down-to-earth modesty, disarming friendliness and thoughtful deliberation. His critics largely go along with that. Even so, they’re not sure it’s enough to earn him a spot on the court, thinking him too prone to rule on the side of conservative and business interests. By Nancy Benac and Mark Sherman. UPCOMING: 1,500 words by 10 a.m., photos. Abridged version also planned. Eds: This story is this week’s Sunday Spotlight.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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HILLARY CLINTON-ST PATRICK’S DAY — Hillary Clinton says she’s “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground. SENT: 370 words, photos.

BANGLADESH-MAN KILLED — Man carrying explosives killed at checkpoint in Bangladesh. SENT: 120 words, photos.

ARTIE LANGE-DRUG ARREST — Comedian Artie Lange arrested recently on drug possession charges outside his New Jersey home. SENT: 110 words, photo.

NCAA WOMEN-TIPPING OFF — It was a thrilling first day of the women’s NCAA Tournament — and there even weren’t any major upsets. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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IOWA CONGRESSMAN-HARSH WORDS — Outside his rural congressional district stretching over 39 Iowa counties, conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King’s stream of inflammatory comments generate outrage and condemnation. Back home, they often rate little more than a shrug of “that’s just Steve being Steve.” SENT: 870 words, photos.

TRUMP-TRAVEL BAN-HAWAII ATTORNEY GENERAL — For Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, the fight against President Trump’s revised travel ban is personal. UPCOMING: 850 words by 3:30 a.m., photos.

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NATIONAL

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DEATH PENALTY-FLORIDA — The Florida prosecutor who thrust herself into the forefront of the anti-death penalty movement is a political novice who was elected just seven months ago. SENT: 800 words, photos.

ST PATRICK’S PARADE-GAYS — Boston is staging its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade after a rancorous attempt to bar a group representing gay veterans. SENT: 130 words.

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INTERNATIONAL

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NEW ZEALAND-US DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY — New Zealand authorities say they’re unable to investigate an incident involving a U.S. Embassy staffer based in Wellington after the U.S. government elected to shield him by invoking diplomatic immunity. SENT: 340 words.

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SPORTS

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FOULING FLUBS — Coaches across the country can use the first two days of the NCAA Tournament as examples when they’re teaching the importance of knowing when and how to foul in late-game situations. First Northwestern sank the winning free throws in a 68-66 victory over Vanderbilt after an ill-timed foul. Then Arkansas clinched its 77-71 triumph over Seton Hall after the Pirates committed a flagrant foul in the final minute. SENT: 640 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, 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 [email protected] or call 877-836-9477.

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