AP News Digest 2 p.m.

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.



Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the qualifying session for the upcoming Russian Formula One Grand Prix, at the Sochi Autodrom circuit, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. The Russian Formula One Grand Prix will take place on Sunday. (AP PhotoPavel Golovkin, Pool)


VENEZUELA-US SANCTIONS CASE — The Associated Press has learned that a key informant against one of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s closest aides has been accused of lying to his law enforcement handlers in a case involving millions of dollars transported on private jets in violation of U.S. sanctions. The charges against Alejandro Marin could hurt the case against Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami, who the U.S. considers one of Venezuela’s most corrupt power brokers, giving oxygen to claims by the nation’s socialist elite that the U.S. is resorting to trumped-up charges to pursue its goal of regime change. By Joshua Goodman. SENT: 1,225 words.




SUPREME COURT-VACANCY — President Donald Trump is set to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort. By Zeke Miller. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 3 p.m., photos. Developing after 5 p.m. announcement.

SUPREME COURT-BARRETT - Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be nominated for the seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, but she is more aptly described as the heir to another departed late Supreme Court justice: conservative icon Antonin Scalia. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. EDITORS: If Amy Coney Barrett is nominated as expected, AP will have three additional stories it has prepared: notable opinions from Barrett; quotes from her on subjects including court precedent and faith; and a bio box.

SUPREME COURT-VACANCY-CATHOLICS — Roman Catholics account for a bit more than 20% of the U.S. population, yet they are on track to hold six of the Supreme Court’s nine seats now that President Donald Trump is expected to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to fill its vacancy. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 900 words, photo. WITH: SUPREME COURT-VACANCY-AP EXPLAINS — A look at the confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s nominee and what we know and don’t know about what’s to come. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-DEBATE - Ahead of the first debate-stage matchup between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each campaign is promising a stark contrast in policy, personality and preparation. Trump has decided to skip any formal preparation. And while Biden’s team believes the significance of Tuesday’s primetime affair may be exaggerated, the former vice president has been aggressively preparing to take on the Republican president. By Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 4 p.m., photos. WITH: ELECTION 2020-BLACK VOTER TURNOUT — Democrats’ efforts to urge Black voters to vote by mail appear to be paying off in North Carolina, according to an AP analysis of early vote data. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. WITH: ELECTION 2020-DEBATE-MOMENTS: Some of the most memorable moments from past presidential debates. By Ashley Thomas. SENT: 900 words, photos.

Find more coverage on the 2020 U.S. Elections featured topic page in AP Newsroom.

ELECTION-2020-AWFUL-OVALS -- Two decades ago, hanging chads on Florida ballots became the unlikely symbol of a disputed presidential election. This year, it could be poorly marked ovals or boxes. Millions of Americans will bypass their polling place and cast mail-in ballots for the first time as the coronavirus has altered how the November election is run in most states. Voters marking their ballots from home could lead to an increase in the kinds of mistakes that typically would be caught by a scanner or election worker during in-person voting at the polls. That could end up as part of another Florida-like battle over ballots and voters’ intent. By Christina A. Cassidy. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-DESPAIR AND HOPE -- The grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case has been a painful gut punch to protesters, many of them Black women, in Kentucky and throughout the country. Those who rallied all summer in Taylor’s name sacrificed jobs, homes and friendships. They also believed that a Black woman killed by police might finally get justice, and in that justice America would signal that their lives and the lives of other Black women have worth. Now, after the decision, these same protesters are searching for hope and a reason to keep fighting. By Claire Galofaro and Aaron Morrison. SENT: 1,195 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — Colleges across the country are struggling to salvage the fall semester as campus coronavirus cases skyrocket and tensions with local health leaders flare. Schools have locked down dorms, imposed mask mandates, barred student fans from football games and toggled between online and in-person classes. No one is happy, it seems. By Todd Richmond and Heather Hollingsworth. SENT: 970 words, photos.




VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CHINA-VACCINES — Hundreds of thousands of people have taken one of the four leading vaccine candidates in China. Kan Chai, a popular journalist and writer in September shared his experience of signing up for a state-backed firm’s vaccine candidate, CNBG. SENT: 1,220 words, photos. This story is the Sunday Spotlight.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SOCIAL-MEDIA-SHAMING -- Humans love to shame or blame others during a public health crisis. Researchers say the practice dates back to well before the pandemic. But the warp speed and reach of today’s social media gives it an aggressive new dimension. SENT: 920 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PATIENT NO. 1 — Italy’s coronavirus “Patient No. 1,” whose case confirmed one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks was underway, is taking part in a 112-mile relay race as a sign of hope after he himself recovered from weeks in intensive care. SENT: 630 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW YORK — More than 1,000 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day Friday, marking the first time since June 5 the state has seen a daily number that high. SENT: 380 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FRANCE - France’s COVID-19 resurgence is palpable in the buzzing biology lab of a public hospital in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. Tube after tube arrive with new nasal swabs, now about 240 per day. And the lab director struggles to obtain enough reagents to keep up with escalating demand. More than 1 million of France’s 67 million people took a virus test over the past week, putting growing strain on labs like this one. SENT: 600 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Police moved into London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday afternoon to breakup a protest against restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 after demonstrators ignored warnings to observe social-distancing rules. SENT: 465 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-MILESTONE-ZIMBABWE — Schools are reopening in Zimbabwe, along with churches, bars, restaurants, airports and tourist attractions. As the country’s coronavirus infections decline, strict lockdowns designed to curb the disease are being replaced by a return to relatively normal life. The threat has eased so much that many people see no need to be cautious, which has invited complacency. That worries some health experts. SENT: 740 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ASIA — The health minister in Australia’s Victoria state has resigned in the fallout from an inquiry into why security guards were used instead of police or the military at quarantine hotels. Lapses in security at the hotels were given as the major reason for a second wave of COVID-19 cases. SENT: 610 words, photos.

Find more coverage on the Virus Outbreak on the featured topic page in AP Newsroom.




TAP-WATER-TAINTED-BRAIN-EATING-MICROBE -- Texas officials have warned residents of some communities near Houston to stop using tap water because it may be tainted with a brain-eating microbe. SENT: 375 words, photos.

SWITZERLAND-SNOWFALL — Parts of Austria and Switzerland were surprised by unseasonably early snowfall overnight, after a sharp drop in temperatures and heavy precipitation. SENT: 90 words, photos.

ELECTION-2020-DELAWARE-RALLY INVESTIGATION -- Police are investigating a confrontation in which a man pointed a gun toward protesters outside a campaign rally for a Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware. SENT: 310 words.




ELECTION 2020-MOMENT OF TRUTH — With just weeks left before the Nov. 3 election, now is the moment of truth for a number of current and former Trump administration officials debating whether they, too, should step forward and join a chorus of Republican voices trying to convince on-the-fence voters to help deny Trump a second term. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP-PENNSYLVANIA — President Donald Trump’s campaign is increasingly focused on making inroads in Pennsylvania to shore up his path to reelection and offset potential vulnerabilities in other battlegrounds. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

FACT CHECK-WEEK — Plenty of misstatements flew in a momentous week in which the U.S. reached the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus and President Donald Trump pushed ahead with plans to name a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That’s the finding of an AP Fact Check, which examined the political rhetoric. SENT: 3,300 words. Find AP Fact Checks at https://apnews.com/APFactCheck

Find more coverage on the 2020 U.S. Elections featured topic page in AP Newsroom.




PORTLAND-PROTESTS — Dozens of people wearing militarized body armor are arriving early for a right-wing rally Saturday in Portland, Oregon, that is expected to attract thousands who support President Donald Trump. Local and state elected officials forcefully condemned the event and rushed to shore up law enforcement ranks as left-wing groups organized several rallies to oppose the Proud Boys’ message. SENT: 1,000 words, developing.

BIRMINGHAM-CHURCH-BOMBING-SURVIVOR -- The survivor of the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church that killed four girls is seeking an apology and restitution from the state. Sarah Collins Rudolph still has shards of glass in her body from the explosion that took her sister, her right eye and her dreams of becoming a nurse. SENT: 700 words, photo.

ROCHESTER-DANIEL PRUDE-CHIEF — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren tapped a Black woman to become the new interim city police chief, saying Saturday she will bring a “fresh approach to policing” in the aftermath to Daniel Prude’s death. SENT: 360 words.

KANSAS CITY HONORING KING — A year after a divisive debate that ended with Kansas City residents voting to remove the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name from a prominent boulevard, the city is trying again to find a way to honor the civil rights icon. SENT: 775 words, photos.

MAINE LOBSTER — Maine’s lobster fishermen braced for a difficult summer this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but then the unexpected happened. They kept catching lobsters, and people kept buying them. SENT: 515 words, photos.




UN-GENERAL-ASSEMBLY-IN-THE-BACKGROUND --If the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting of national leaders is always a window on the world, this year the window is opening directly onto their desks, presidential palaces and homelands. Staying home because of the coronavirus pandemic, they are speaking by video. It’s adding a new layer of imagemaking to the messages and personas they seek to project. SENT: 955 words, photos.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY-INDIA - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to help the world produce and deliver potential coronavirus vaccines while making no mention of the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on his own country, where the enormous population has suffered among the highest numbers of cases and deaths in the world. SENT: 825 words, photos.

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY BRITAIN — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the coronavirus pandemic has frayed the bonds between nations, and is urging world leaders to unite against the “common foe” of COVID-19. SENT: 300 words, photos.

FRANCE-KNIFE ATTACK — A French official says the chief suspect in a double stabbing in Paris told investigators he carried out the attack in anger over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. SENT: 400 words, photos.

GERMANY-JEWS-SECURITY — As Jews around the world gather Sunday night to mark the beginning of Yom Kippur, many in Germany remain uneasy about going together to their houses of worship to pray, a year after a white-supremacist targeted a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on the holiest day in Judaism. SENT: 960 words, photos.

LEBANON-POLITICS — Lebanon’s prime minister-designate resigned Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, dealing a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit country. SENT: 760 words, photos.

POLAND-POLITICS — The three parties in Poland’s conservative government have signed a new coalition agreement, putting aside disagreements sparked by a power struggle. However, they gave no details about the agreement and took no questions from journalists, creating uncertainty about how the Cabinet will look after an expected reshuffle. SENT: 270 words, photos.

FRANCE-DRESS CODE — French women are known for their instinctive knack for spot-on chic attire. But now they have the right to be confused. Ministers working overtime trying to tamp down the coronavirus spread and ramp up the economy have gotten side-tracked in a debate about whether crop tops or other skimpy clothing on girls in classrooms is a grave affront to the French Republic. SENT: 720 words, photo.

MALAYSIA ELECTION — Malaysia’s 7-month-old ruling alliance triumphed in its first electoral test in eastern Sabah state, a major victory for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin amid challenges to his leadership. SENT: 680 words, photos.

UKRAINE-PLANE-CRASH -- Searchers combing the area where a Ukrainian military aircraft crashed found two more bodies Saturday, bringing the death toll to 26. One person survived. SENT: 375 words, photos.




SCI-VIRUS OUTBREAK-AIRBORNE SPREAD — Tiny particles that people expel when they sneeze, cough or talk are getting a close look for their ability to spread the new coronavirus. They come in a range of sizes, and while public health advice was originally based on larger particles, the focus has shifted to risk from smaller ones. By Malcolm Ritter. SENT: 1,235 words, photos.




Q&A-PARENTS-NAVIGATING-VIRTUAL-SCHOOL -- Across the U.S., the pandemic has forced students to attend virtual school. Technology being technology, all sorts of things can go wrong. But there are ways to cope, some of which you might not have considered before. SENT: 835 words, photos.

CHINA-AUTO SHOW — Ford, Nissan and BMW unveiled new electric models with more range for the Chinese market on Saturday as the Beijing auto show opened under anti-virus controls that included holding news conferences by international video link. SENT: 590 words, photos.




HKN--STANLEY CUP — The Lightning can capture the Stanley Cup with a victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 5. Tampa Bay would become the first team in one of the four major North American pro sports leagues to win a title since the pandemic began. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

BKN--NUGGETS-LAKERS - The Los Angeles Lakers can reach the NBA Finals by beating the Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. Denver has twice advanced from 3-1 deficits in these playoffs. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.

FBC--T25-AP TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS - The SEC begins with new starting quarterbacks at No. 6 LSU and No. 4 Georgia; new coaches at Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Missouri; and new motivation at No. 2 Alabama. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 9 p.m.

TEN--FRENCH OPEN-WHAT TO KNOW — The French Open starts Sunday with just 1,000 spectators a day and in autumn chill after a spring postponement because of the pandemic. Among the storylines: Serena Williams’ bid for a 24th Grand Slam singles title; Novak Djokovic’s temperament after his U.S. Open default. SENT: 900 words, photos.




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