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AP News Digest 2 p.m.

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All Times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org.

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ONLY ON AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and his wife Susan tour the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Pompeo's stop in Turkey is focused on promoting religious freedom and fighting religious persecution, which is a key priority for the U.S. administration, officials said. (AP PhotoPatrick Semansky, Pool)

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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-FRANCE-24-HOURS-IN-ICU — France is more than two weeks into its second coronavirus lockdown, and intensive care units have been over 95% capacity for more than 10 days now. Associated Press journalists spent 24 hours with the intensive care team at La Timone, southern France’s largest hospital, as they struggled just to keep even one bed open and bring in reinforcement staff. Doctors and nurses say they’re exhausted and frustrated that the government didn’t take advantage of the summer lull to prepare for the surge of infections to come. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 2,120 words, photos. An abridged version of 940 words is also available.

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Residents push baby strollers full of belongings they retrieved from their damaged homes at their village damaged by Typhoon Vamco in Rodriguez, Rizal province, Philippines on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Typhoon Vamco left dozens of people dead as it swelled rivers and flooded low-lying areas while it passed over the capital and storm-battered northeast Philippines. (AP PhotoAaron Favila)

TOP STORIES

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BIDEN — With President Donald Trump still refusing to cooperate with his successor, President-elect Joe Biden has been forced to seek extraordinary workarounds to prepare the best he can for the exploding public health threat and evolving national security challenges he will inherit in less than 10 weeks. By Steve Peoples. UPCOMING: 920 words by 5 p.m., photos. WITH: BIDEN-STAFF — President-elect Joe Biden announces top White House staff positions, drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign and some of his closest confidants to fill out an increasingly diverse White House leadership team. SENT: 590 words, photos.

Pro-democracy protesters take cover with inflatable ducks and umbrellas as police fire water cannon during an anti-government rally near the Parliament in Bangkok, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Thailand's political battleground shifted to the country's Parliament Tuesday, where lawmakers are considering proposals to amend the country's constitution, one of the core demands of the student-led pro-democracy movement. (AP PhotoWason Wanichakorn)

CONGRESS-REPUBLICANS —House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, his ranks bolstered by the 2020 election, is on track to be reelected by colleagues as GOP leader, cementing his role as a survivor who brushed back naysayers and parlayed an alliance with President Donald Trump to revive his path to perhaps one day becoming House speaker. By Lisa Mascaro. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos.

FEDERAL RESERVE-SHELTON - Judy Shelton, President Trump’s controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve who is a caustic critic of the Fed, faces a razor-thin confirmation vote in the GOP-controlled Senate, with several Republican senators opposed and others expected to be absent. By Andrew Taylor and Christopher Rugaber. UPCOMIING: 600 words by 5 p.m., photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US SURGE — The fall surge in the coronavirus is sending the death toll soaring in states around the country and putting the country on pace to reach 250,000 deaths this week. By Michael Kunzelman. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 4 p.m.

People light candles during the celebrations of the 31st anniversary of the pro-democratic Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in 1989, in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (AP PhotoPetr David Josek)

MED-VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE SCORECARD — Two COVID-19 vaccines might be nearing the finish line, but scientists caution it’s critical that enough people volunteer to help finish studying other candidates in the U.S. and around the world. Moderna Inc. and competitor Pfizer Inc. recently announced preliminary results showing their vaccines appear more than 90% effective, at least for short-term protection against COVID-19. By Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 860 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

A worker, wearing a full protective equipment, disinfects the casket of someone who died of coronavirus COVID-19 at the Fontaine funeral home in Charleroi, Belgium, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported more than 535,000 confirmed virus cases and more than 14,400 deaths linked to the coronavirus. (AP PhotoFrancisco Seco)

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LIL WAYNE-GUN CHARGE — Rapper Lil Wayne has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, an offense that carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison. SENT: 300 words.

DUELING DINOSAURS — The skeletons of two dinosaurs that appear to have died fighting each other have been donated to a North Carolina museum. SENT: 160 words, photos.

Loren Golden, a registered nurse, protests outside her employer, St. Mary Medical Center, in Langhorne, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. The nurses are on strike to state their concern for low staffing levels, not enough nurses, and to demand competitive wages. (Jessica GriffinThe Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

CANINE BORDER CROSSING — A dog’s journey across the Canadian border and back was complicated by coronavirus restrictions limiting movement from a town on one side of the St. John River to a Maine town on the other. SENT: 200 words.

DUBAI-JETMAN-KILLED — One of Dubai’s “jetmen,” whose flights over the world’s tallest building and alongside a jumbo jet with engines strapped to his back wowed watchers online, died while training in the deserts of this Arabian sheikhdom, his organization said. SENT: 400 words, photos.

GERMANY STOLEN TREASURES — More than 1,500 police have carried out a series of searches in Berlin and arrested three people in a massive operation connected to the spectacular theft of 18th-century jewels from a unique collection in Dresden last November. SENT: 425 words, photos.

Dominic Thiem of Austria serves to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their singles tennis match at the ATP World Finals tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

CHICAGO VIOLENCE-BOY SHOT — Police say a 5-year-old Chicago boy has been hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting as he sat on a couch playing on an iPad. SENT: 175 words.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK — With more shutdowns looming and a vaccine months away from wide distribution, governors across the U.S. are pleading for more help from Washington ahead of what is shaping up to be a bleak winter. SENT: 945 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FEDERAL PRISONS — A federal prison complex in Louisiana that emerged as an early coronavirus hotspot — with hundreds of inmates suffering from the virus — failed to comply with federal health guidance and left inmates with the virus in their housing units for a week without being isolated, the Justice Department’s inspector general finds. SENT: 660 words, photo.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-ASIA — South Korea says that it will tighten social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area and some parts of eastern Gangwon province to try to suppress a coronavirus resurgence there. SENT: 350 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-HUNGARY — Doctors in Hungary are warning that a lack of medical staff qualified to treat intensive coronavirus patients could soon lead to soaring deaths and a breakdown in the country’s fragile health care system. SENT: 660 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE SENATOR — A U.S. senator from Ohio is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine test. Republican Rob Portman says he hopes to encourage more people to volunteer for the vaccine studies. He says vaccines are the best hope for reducing the pandemic’s toll. SENT: 460 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ONE GOOD THING-TULIP FRIENDS — When the coronavirus upended daily life, Amy Baird was frightened by a sterile new world of uncertainty, uncomfortable masks and scarce embraces. The 38-year-old was driving a familiar road near her home in Spanish Fork, Utah, when she caught her breath at the sight of hundreds of red and white tulips blooming along a gentle slope. She thought: Maybe the world would make it after all. When she heard about free greeting cards from Hallmark, she decided to send one to the mysterious gardener. A fast friendship formed between Baird and the 79-year-old widow with Stage 4 cancer. SENT: 735 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-VIRAL-QUESTIONS-VACCINES — Health care workers are likely to receive the first coronavirus vaccines when supplies are limited, but a decision on who gets the first shots has not been made. SENT: 230 words, graphic.

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

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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CONGRESS-SOCIAL MEDIA - The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook defend their safeguards against disinformation in the 2020 presidential election and pledge to Congress they’ll take vigorous action for two special elections in Georgia that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 800 words. UPCOMING: 890 words by 5 p.m., photos, video.

ELECTION 2020-PENNSYLVANIA — A hearing on the Trump campaign’s federal lawsuit seeking to prevent Pennsylvania officials from certifying the vote results was set to begin Tuesday after a judge denied the campaign’s new lawyer’s request for a delay. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and the president’s personal attorney, entered the federal courthouse in Williamsport to cheers across the street from several dozen supporters of President Donald Trump. SENT: 850 words, photos.

MISSILE DEFENSE-TEST — In a first for the Pentagon’s push to develop defenses against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States, a missile interceptor launched from a U.S. Navy ship at sea hit and destroyed a mock ICBM in flight on Tuesday, officials said. SENT: 580 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GRASSLEY — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator who is president pro tempore of the Senate, says he is quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus. SENT: 222 words, photo.

ELECTION 2020-GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE — Georgia’s top elections official is under attack from President Trump and other fellow Republicans in the aftermath of the heated election season. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been disputing claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia from Trump’s campaign since unofficial returns have shown Democrat Joe Biden with a 14,000-vote lead in the once reliably red state. Georgia’s two U.S. senators have demanded that Raffensperger resign. SENT: 950 words, photos.

DIGITAL STARTUP-TRUMP REELECTION — President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign was powered by a cell phone app that allowed staff to monitor the movements of his millions of supporters, and offered intimate access to their social networks. While the campaign may be winding down, the data strategy is very much alive, and the digital details the app collected can be put to multiple other uses. SENT: 2,455 words, photos. Eds: An abridged version of 1,200 words is available.

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INTERNATIONAL

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TROPICAL WEATHER — Hurricane Iota tore across Nicaragua, hours after roaring ashore as a Category 4 storm along almost exactly the same stretch of the Caribbean coast that was recently devastated by an equally powerful hurricane. The extent of the damage was unclear because much of the affected region was without electricity and phone and internet service, and strong winds hampered radio transmissions. SENT: 800 words, photos.

PERU-POLITICAL CRISIS — Peru prepares to swear in a new president – the nation’s third in a week – as the nation returns to a tense calm after a week of turmoil. Stores are open and people out running errands even as anti-riot police stand guard. The hope is Francisco Sagasti will be able to steer the country back to stability after the worst constitutional crisis in two decades. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.

NATO-US-AFGHANISTAN NATO — Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warns that the military organization could pay a heavy price for leaving Afghanistan too early, after a U.S. official says Trump is expected to withdraw a significant number of American troops from the conflict-ravaged country in coming weeks. SENT: 570 words.

ETHIOPIA PEACE PRIZE TO WAR — Abiy Ahmed left Ethiopians breathless when he became the prime minister in 2018, introducing a wave of political reforms in the long-repressive country and announcing a shocking peace with enemy Eritrea. Not even two years after taking power, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Now — a year later — Abiy is waging war in the defiant Tigray region, accusing its forces of a deadly attack on a military base, and his shine is threatening to wear off as his country’s long-brewing troubles explode onto the world stage and he rejects international pressure for dialogue. SENT: 925 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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PUBLIC HEALTH-EDUCATION — Public health programs in the United States have seen a surge in enrollment as the coronavirus has swept through the country, killing more than 247,000 people. As state and local public health departments struggle with unprecedented challenges, a new generation is entering the field, determined to help fight the pandemic. By Michelle R. Smith and Kathy Young. SENT: 1,230 words, photos, video.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-WEINSTEIN — A group of women who say they were victimized by Harvey Weinstein, including one who testified at his trial, have endorsed former prosecutor Lucy Lang to replace the Manhattan district attorney who put the movie mogul behind bars. SENT: 470 words, photos.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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SPACEX-CREW LAUNCH — SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts arrives at the International Space Station, their new home until spring. The Dragon capsule pulled up and docked, following a 27-hour, automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 430 words, photos, video.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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FINANCIAL-MARKETS —Stocks were lower on Wall Street, taking a pause from their big rally this month that vaulted them back to record heights. SENT: 700 words, photos. WITH: RETAIL SALES — Retail sales in the U.S. grew a slower-than-expected 0.3% in October. SENT: 235 words, photo.

AMAZON PHARMACY — Now sold on Amazon: insulin and inhalers. The company said that it has opened an online pharmacy, giving shoppers the chance to buy their medication on their phones and computers. The move propels Amazon into a new business and could shake up the pharmacy industry. Big chains like CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to bring them a steady flow of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medications. SENT: 630 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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BOOKS-TARANTINO — Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino has a two-book deal with Harper, beginning with a novelization of “Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood” that is scheduled for next summer. “Once Upon a Time” will be a true Tarantino production: The book will come out first as a mass market paperback, like the old pulp novels the filmmaker loves, and will offer “a fresh, playful and shocking departure from the film,” according to Harper. By National Writer Hillel Italie. SENT: 550 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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BKN--NBA DRAFT PREVIEW — The twice-delayed NBA draft finally arrives Wednesday, and players such as Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman believe the extra time has them better prepared for their debuts. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 p.m.

BKN--BUCKS-PELICANS TRADE - Point guard Jrue Holiday is heading to Milwaukee after his trade from New Orleans, the AP is told. The Pelicans are getting Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and a package of first-round draft picks from the Bucks. By Basketball Tim Reynolds. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BBN--CUBS-EPSTEIN — Theo Epstein, who transformed the Chicago Cubs and helped bring home a drought-busting title in 2016, is leaving the team after nine seasons as president of baseball operations. General manager Jed Hoyer is taking his place. SENT: 200 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Richard A. Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 ext. 1600. For photos, Courtney Dittmar (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Phil Holm (ext. 7636). Expanded AP content can be obtained from https://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.