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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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TOP STORIES

Farmworkers demanding better pay who have blocked a stretch of the Pan-American South Highway gather around a bus they seized, on the fifth day of protests, in Villacuri, Ica province, Peru, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. They are protesting clauses in a law that exempts them from benefits given other workers, including annual bonuses and vacations. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

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VIRUS OUTBREAK — America’s employers scaled back their hiring last month as the viral pandemic accelerated across the country, adding 245,000 jobs, the fewest since April and the fifth straight monthly slowdown. The unemployment rate fell to a still-high 6.7%, from 6.9% in October, the Labor Department said. November’s job gain was down from 610,000 in October. The report of another slowdown in hiring was the latest evidence that the job market and the economy are faltering in the face of a virus that has been shattering daily records for confirmed infections. By Christopher Rugaber. SENT: 520 words, photos. With VIRUS OUTBREAK-THE LATEST.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL-CYBERATTACK — A Vermont hospital network is still recovering from a massive digital disruption in October, signaling the dangers of cyberattacks on the nation’s health care system during a surge of COVID-19. The same day as the Oct. 28 attack, the FBI had warned of an incoming wave of criminal digital cyber threats to U.S. hospitals and providers. Experts say the pandemic has left health care organizations vulnerable to ransomware attacks that cut off access to health records and other technical infrastructure. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

Relatives of victims of the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion hold portraits of their loved one who killed during the explosion, during a vigil at the seaport main entrance, as they marking four months since the blast that killed more than 200 people and injured thousands, in Beirut, Lebanon Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. An investigation has yet to provide answers or hold any senior official responsible and the victims are demanding answers and justice for their loved ones. (AP PhotoHussein Malla)

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US SURGE — States face a deadline to place orders for the coronavirus vaccine as many reported record infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and hospitals were pushed to the breaking point — with many fearing that the worst is yet to come. The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit an all-time high in the U.S. on Thursday at 100,667, according to the COVID Tracking Project, while new daily cases now are averaging 210,000 and deaths are averaging 1,800 per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. By Michael Rubinkam and Tammy Webber. 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.

BIDEN-CABINET DIVERSITY — President-elect Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to expand racial and ideological diversity in his Cabinet and other top jobs, drawing rebukes from advocacy groups that fear he’ll fall short on promises to build out an administration that looks like the country it governs. By Will Weissert, Lisa Mascaro and Steve Peoples. UPCOMING: 900 words by 4 p.m., photos. With: BIDEN-THE LATEST, developing. And: BIDEN — President-elect Joe Biden pushes ahead with his call for massive economic stimulus as the economic recovery from this spring’s coronavirus lockdowns falters amid a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases. SENT: 200 words. UPCOMING: Developing from afternoon remarks, 600 words by 5 p.m., photos.

ELECTION 2020-MISINFORMATION’S LEGACY — A cellphone video of a man hauling a large box into a Detroit election office spread across social media as proof of voter fraud, even though it was debunked by news organizations and public officials. That single video serves as a powerful emblem of the trafficking in false information that has plagued the presidential election won by Joe Biden. By Amanda Seitz and David Klepper. SENT: 1,420 words, photos. An abridged version of 970 words is also available.

A boy carries a fish at a fish market in Prayagraj, India, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (AP PhotoRajesh Kumar Singh)

INDIA-FARMER-PROTESTS — Tens and thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. Protesters with distinctive colorful turbans and long, flowing beards are choking the highways in giant demonstrations and threatening to besiege the capital. By Sheikh Salaliq. SENT: 1,180 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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TIME-KID-OF-THE-YEAR — Colorado student, scientist named Time’s first-ever ‘Kid of the Year.’ SENT: 430 words.

MARSHALS-SHOT-NEW YORK — Fugitive is killed, 2 US marshals shot in Bronx gunfight. SENT: 300 words, photos, video.

FRANCE-POLICE DISCRIMINATION — Macron calls racial profiling ‘unbearable,’ announces survey. SENT: 210 words, photo.

AP-PICTURES-OF-THE-MONTH-RELIGION-PHOTO-GALLERY — The AP’s top faith-related images from November. SENT: 300 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS OUTBREAK-THANKSGIVING TRAVEL — Americans couldn’t resist the urge to gather for Thanksgiving, driving only slightly less than a year ago and largely ignoring the pleas of public health experts, who begged them to forgo holiday travel to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, data from roadways and airports shows. SENT: 620 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN-Q&A — Britain’s announcement that it has become the first Western country to authorize the use of a COVID-19 vaccine has sparked debate about whether officials emphasized speed over safety. SENT: 1,160 words, photos. With: VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN-VACCINE — America’s top infectious disease expert has apologized for suggesting U.K. authorities rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying he has “great faith” in the country’s regulators. SENT: 300 words, photos. And: VIRUS-OUTBREAK-EUROPOL-VACCINE-WARNING — EU police agency Europol warns of fake coronavirus vaccines. SENT: 300 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GERMANY — Officials in Germany said they are taking the potential for attacks on mass vaccination centers into consideration as they set up sites to prepare for European Union regulators authorizing the first coronavirus vaccines. The European Medicines Agency has indicated it may not decide whether to grant its authorization until Dec. 29, about two weeks later than Germany had expected to launch a national immunization drive. SENT: 350 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-EUROPOL-VACCINE WARNING — European Union police agency Europol has issued a warning highlighting the risk of organized crime scams linked to COVID-19 vaccines, including the possibility criminals will sell dangerous counterfeit vaccines. SENT: 340 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TURKEY — Turkey’s president says he would get vaccinated against the coronavirus to set an example for his country’s citizens. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after Friday prayers in Istanbul that the Turkish government plans to buy multiple vaccines. SENT: 200 words.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-MIDEAST — The island kingdom of Bahrain says it has become the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. Bahrain already granted an emergency-use authorization for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm. SENT: 270 words, photos.

PUBLIC HEALTH-FRONT-LINE WORKERS — A Maryland county health department is taking action after a coronavirus outbreak left a veteran public health worker dead and several colleagues with lasting medical problems. SENT: 960 words, photo.

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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VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS — After months of gridlock, new legislation delivering COVID-19 relief finally has momentum on Capitol Hill. Money for businesses, schools, vaccine distribution and jobless benefits seem to be sure bets for inclusion. But another round of $1,200 direct payments seems unlikely as lawmakers hammer out the details. SENT: 900 words, photos.

CONGRESS-MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION — The Democratic-controlled House approves a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, reversing what supporters called a failed policy of criminalization of pot use and taking steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws. Opponents, mostly Republicans, called the bill a hollow political gesture. SENT: 900 words, photos.

PARDON-BRIBERY SCHEME — A California psychologist convicted of tax evasion was at the center of a mysterious investigation into whether White House officials were illegally lobbied to obtain a presidential pardon. UPCOMING: 750 words by 4 p.m., photo.

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INTERNATIONAL

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BREXIT — Britain’s business minister said U.K.-EU trade talks are at a “difficult” point, as British officials poured cold water on hopes of an imminent breakthrough — and France said it could veto any agreement it didn’t like. SENT: 740 words, photos. With BREXIT-FISHY-TALKS — Fishing holds key to Brexit trade deal as talks drag on (sent).

BANGLADESH-ROHINGYA — Authorities in Bangladesh start sending a first group of more than 1,500 Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ETHIOPIA-MILITARY CONFRONTATION — Several thousand combatants have been killed in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, an official with the fugitive regional government has asserted, although claims remain difficult to verify a month after the fighting erupted between Ethiopian and regional forces. SENT: 650 words, photos.

ISRAEL-IRAN — The Israeli government has urged its citizens to avoid travel to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, citing threats of Iranian attacks. Iran has been threatening to attack Israeli targets since its chief nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated last Friday near Tehran. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

MADAGASCAR-HUNGER — “It’s the hunger that killed him,” the grieving mother says. In this village in Madagascar’s extreme south, she lost her 3-year-old boy in June as hunger swept the region, more severe than in recent years. On a visit this week, The Associated Press spoke with suffering families who are among the 1.5 million people in need of emergency food assistance, according to the U.N. World Food Program. SENT: 550 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-SMOTHERING DEMOCRACY — Venezuela holds an election for its National Assembly on Sunday, and the outcome is likely to be dominated by President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist party. Opposition leaders are boycotting the vote in the crisis-stricken nation. SENT: 900 words, photos.

DENMARK-NO-MORE-OIL — Denmark has decided to end to all oil and gas offshore activities in the North Sea by 2050 and has cancelled its latest licensing round, saying the country is “now putting an end to the fossil era.” SENT: 510 words.

PERU-PROTECTED MONUMENTS-PHOTO GALLERY — Attacked in other countries during social and political protests, historical monuments and statues in Peru’s capital came out of recent street demonstrations practically intact, in part because they were protected with plastic or fabrics, but also because they were not targeted by protesters. SENT: 300 words, photos.

QATAR — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Friday expressed optimism the yearslong boycott of Qatar by Arab nations, including the kingdom, may be nearing an end, coming just hours after mediator Kuwait described ongoing talks over the crisis as “fruitful.” SENT: 620 words, photo. With: QATAR-ISRAEL — Qatar remains committed to the creation of a Palestinian state and says progress on that front would need to be “at the core” of any agreement to normalize relations with Israel. SENT: 350 words, photo.

JAPAN-ENVIRONMENTAL FUND — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged a 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) fund to promote ecological businesses and innovation to achieve his goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050. SENT: 340 words, photos.

ONE GOOD THING-HONG KONG KITCHEN — Located smack in the middle of Hong Kong’s bustling Mong Kok neighborhood, Dignity Kitchen offers an array of mouthwatering Singaporean fare. But what sets Dignity Kitchen apart from other restaurants in the city is that it is a social enterprise, almost entirely staffed by employees with physical or mental disabilities. SENT: 530 words, photos.

MONTENEGRO-GOVERNMENT — Montenegro’s parliament has voted to approve a new conservative, pro-Serb coalition government, which will succeed a pro-Western party that has ruled the small Balkan nation for almost three decades. SENT: 400 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES — Fire danger remained high amid unpredictable wind gusts and dry conditions in Southern California, as crews made progress against blazes that burned several homes and injured two firefighters. SENT: 500 words, photos.

HUMAN SMUGGLING-TEXAS — Police in Texas say more than two dozen people who were possibly being held as a part of a human smuggling operation have been removed from a house in Houston. Officers responded to reports late Thursday of a man in his underwear running down a residential street and yelling that he had been kidnapped. SENT: 170 words, photos.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-BREONNA TAYLOR — A council of Kentucky prosecutors says it does not have the legal authority to appoint another special prosecutor in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Taylor’s mother asked the council for the new prosecutor. SENT: 340 words, photo.

POLICE SHOOTING-WISCONSIN-KENOSHA — A California attorney for an Illinois 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during a night of unrest in Wisconsin is extracting himself from his criminal defense after prosecutors raised ethical concerns about the lawyer. SENT: 350 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IOWA-CONTRACT — After facing a workforce shortage for months, Iowa has awarded an emergency $2.3 million contact-tracing contract to a company owned by a Republican Party insider. The Iowa Department of Public Health says political considerations did not play a role. SENT:

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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FINANCIAL-MARKETS — Global markets and U.S. futures rise after American economic data and a pact by oil producers to raise output helped to allay concern about Pfizer’s reduction of the number of doses of coronavirus vaccine it might ship this year. SENT: 600 words, photos.

CHINA-US-BLACKLIST — The U.S. government has stepped up a feud with Beijing over security by adding China’s biggest maker of processor chips and a state-owned oil giant to a blacklist that limits access to American technology and investment. SENT: 390 words, photo.

HYUNDAI-ENGINE-RECALL — A week after being fined by regulators for delaying safety recalls, Hyundai is recalling about 130,000 vehicles in the U.S. because the engines could fail. SENT: 350 words, photo.

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SPORTS

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TOKYO-DELAY COSTS — The cost of the postponement for the Tokyo Olympics could reach at least $2.8 billion in figures released by the Tokyo organizing committee, the Tokyo city government and Japan’s national government. SENT: 650 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NFL -- The NFL is further limiting player access to team facilities as it attempts to enhance safety measures during the pandemic. In a memo sent to the 32 clubs and obtained by the AP, teams must close their facilities for two days after games, with some exceptions. SENT: 100 words. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 4 p.m. EST.

FBC--WEEKEND PREVIEW — A spike in COVID-19 cases leaves No. 3 Ohio State short-handed for its game at Michigan State. One more cancellation makes the Buckeyes ineligible for the Big Ten title game. Also, No. 8 BYU, looking to bulk up its resume, plays at No. 14 Coastal Carolina. SENT: 750 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Rob Jagodzinski 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 https://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.