*

upload_article_image

AP News Digest 3:40 a.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.

ONLY ON AP

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID-2020-ATLAS — Almost no place has been spared — and no one. The virus that first emerged a year ago in Wuhan, China, swept across the world in 2020, leaving havoc in its wake. More than any event in memory, the pandemic has been a global event. On every continent, households have felt its devastation — joblessness and lockdowns, infirmity and death. And an abiding, relentless fear. SENT: 1,690 words, photos, videos. With VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID-2020-ATLAS-OTHER-COUNTRIES; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-UNITED STATES; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-BRAZIL; VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID-2020-ATLAS-PERU; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-SPAIN; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-ISRAEL; VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID-2020-ATLAS-GERMANY; VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID-2020-ATLAS-ITALY; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-KENYA; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-SOUTH AFRICA; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-IRAN; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-JAPAN; VIRUS-OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-INDIA; VIRUS OUTBREAK-COVID 2020 ATLAS-CHINA.

A droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (AP PhotoDavid Goldman)

NEW ZEALAND-ARDERN INTERVIEW — New Zealand this year pulled off a moonshot that remains the envy of most other nations: It eliminated the coronavirus. But the goal was driven as much by fear as it was ambition, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed in an interview with The Associated Press. She said the target grew from an early realization the nation’s health system simply couldn’t cope with a big outbreak. By Nick Perry. SENT: 900 words, photos, video.

TOP STORIES

ELECTION 2020-VOTERS — President Donald Trump has been on a mission to convince his loyal base that his victory was stolen and the contest rigged. But now that the Electoral College has formalized Joe Biden’s win and Republican officials are finally acknowledging him as president-elect, many Trump voters across the country seem to be doing the same. By Jill Colvin and Jonathan Cooper. SENT: 1,320 words, photos.

A mother and child enjoy a merry-go-round ride before the start of a new curfew in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. France on Tuesday is lifting a lockdown imposed on Oct. 30, but starts a new curfew as infections are still high. (AP PhotoDaniel Cole)

FEDERAL-AGENCIES-HACKED-SOLARWINDS — Before this week, few people were aware of SolarWinds, a Texas-based software company providing vital computer network monitoring services to corporations and government agencies around the world. But the revelation that elite cyber spies have spent months secretly exploiting SolarWinds’ software to peer into computer networks has put many of its highest-profile customers in national governments and Fortune 500 companies on high alert. By Technology Writer Matt O’Brien. SENT: 630 words, photo.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIDEN — Biden soon will be entering a no-Zoom zone at the White House. It’s just one sign of the challenges his new administration will face when it moves to Washington in the midst of a pandemic. After months of being cautious about COVID-19, Biden’s prudence will be tested by technology and tradition. By Zeke Miller and Aamer Madhani. SENT: 980 words, photos.

IRAQ-CAMP CLOSURES — A push by the Iraqi government to close displacement camps by the end of the year threatens to leave tens of thousands of people homeless and without aid during a pandemic and at the onset of winter. The displaced were driven from their homes during the war against the Islamic State group. Many say they cannot return because their homes were destroyed or they fear reprisal by tribes and militias. Iraq’s cash-strapped government says it must accelerate closures to revive lagging reconstruction efforts. By Samya Kullab. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

A child walks barefoot by the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Turkey has announced a four-day lockdown starting New Year's Eve to go on until the morning of Jan. 4. to curb the spread of COVID-19. The government this month re-introduced weekend lockdowns as well as nighttime curfews amid a spike in infections and deaths. It has avoided a full lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic to keep the economy running.(AP PhotoEmrah Gurel)

MINNESOTA-JUVENILE LIFER — A Black man sent to prison for life as a teenager took his first steps of freedom to the sound of ringing bells and cheering family members and supporters, hours after a pardons board commuted his sentence in a high-profile murder case. By Robin McDowell and Margie Mason. SENT: 1,230 words, photos, video.

FEDERAL EXECUTIONS — For the first time in history, the U.S. government has carried out more executions in a year than all states combined as Trump oversaw a full-throttle resumption of federal executions after a 17-year pause, according to a new report. By Legal Affairs Writer Michael Tarm. SENT: 690 words, photo.

WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

French police officers stop a person for a control on the Trocadero, near the Eiffel Tower, as they enforce a curfew, in Paris, France, Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. France on Tuesday is lifting a lockdown imposed on Oct. 30, but starts a new curfew 20h00, local time, as infections are still high. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

MACKENZIE-SCOTT-DONATIONS — MacKenzie Scott says she has given $4.1 billion to charity. SENT: 370 words, photo.

MONARCH BUTTERFLY-THREATENED — Feds to delay seeking legal protection for monarch butterfly. SENT: 920 words, photos.

MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS — Top Capitol Hill Republicans are laboring to keep the price tag for a long-delayed COVID-19 aid package in check, seeking to prevail in a battle over help for state and local governments, while capping the cost of bonus jobless benefits and direct payments sought by Democrats. SENT: 820 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN-THEATER — Theaters in Britain must shut to audiences under toughened coronavirus restrictions, leaving only a few online shows standing. SENT: 870 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ASIA — South Korea has reported another high in daily coronavirus increases as health officials face growing pressure to enforce stricter social distancing to slow the spread in the capital area. SENT: 620 words, photos. With VIRUS-OUTBREAK-THE-LATEST.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA — Hospitals are filling up so fast in California that officials are rolling out mobile field facilities and scrambling to hire more doctors and nurses to prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

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

WASHINGTON/POLITICS

BIDEN-CABINET — Biden is nominating his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation and intends to choose former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary. SENT: 970 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-BIDEN — More than a month after the election, top Republicans finally acknowledge Biden as the next U.S. president, a collapse in GOP resistance to the millions of voters who decisively chose the Democrat. SENT: 970 words, photos. With ELECTION 2020-REPUBLICANS — McConnell warns GOP off Electoral College brawl in Congress.

TRUMP-BARR — Trump is considering pushing to have a special counsel appointed to advance the federal tax investigation into Hunter Biden. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

INTERNATIONAL

AFGHANISTAN-PEACE TALKS — A Taliban team, led by the co-founder of the insurgent movement, arrived in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani government leaders amid growing calls for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan. SENT: 550 words, photos.

NATIONAL

ELECTION-2020-GEORGIA-STIMULUS — As Congress bargains over more financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic, some of the hundreds of thousands of Georgians who are casting ballots for the Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate are calling for action. SENT: 770 words, photos.

FLORIDA-OYSTERS-BAY-CLOSURE — Because of a dwindling oyster population, a Florida agency is expected to shut down oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through the end of 2025, dealing a blow to an area that historically produced 90% of the state’s oysters and 10% of the nation’s. SENT: 670 words, photos.

——————

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

——————-

FINANCIAL-MARKETS — Shares rose in Asia after revived hopes for more aid for the U.S. economy broke a four-day losing streak on Wall Street. By Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 800 words, photos. With JAPAN-TRADE Japan exports slip despite uptick in trade with China.

——————

SCIENCE

——————-

CHINA-MOON-PROBE — Chinese ground crews are standing by for the return of a lunar probe bringing back the first fresh samples of rock and debris from the moon in more than 45 years. SENT: 710 words, photos.

HOW TO REACH US

At the Nerve Center, Jerome Minerva can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Shuji Kajiyama (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.