AP News Digest 6 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.





SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-CONGRESS, listed on the 6 p.m. digest, will not move this cycle.




AWOL-WEAPONS-EXPLOSIVES — An Associated Press investigation has found that the U.S. military has a missing explosives problem. Hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives have vanished over the past decade, as have hundreds — and possibly thousands — of armor-piercing grenades. They came from military bases and shipments. Troops falsified records to cover up some thefts, and in other cases didn’t report explosives as missing. The consequences can be deadly. By Kristin M. Hall, Justin Pritchard and James LaPorta. SENT: 2,200 words, photos, graphics. An abridged version of 1,100 words has also been sent. WITH: AWOL WEAPONS-EXPLOSIVES-TAKEAWAYS — Takeaways from an Associated Press investigation. SENT: 535 words, photos.




VIRUS-OUTBREAK-US — While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn’t finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., sending record numbers of patients to the hospital in some states, especially in the Midwest and New England. The U.S. recorded its first known omicron infection on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated person who had returned to California from South Africa, where the variant was first identified just over a week ago. By Heather Hollingsworth. SENT: 950 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK —Governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines as the coronavirus delta variant of COVID-19 pushes up cases in Europe and fears grow over the omicron variant. Greeks who are over age 60 and refuse vaccinations could be hit with monthly fines. In Israel, the government halted the use of a controversial phone tracking technology to trace possible cases of the new coronavirus variant after a public uproar. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 1,185 words, photos.

SUPREME COURT — We’ve been here before, with the fate of abortion rights throughout the United States in doubt awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court. But today’s court is much different. By Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko. SENT: 770 words, photos.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-TEXAS — Texas offers a glimpse in real time of what would be a striking new landscape if the Supreme Court drastically curtails abortion rights: GOP-controlled states with almost no access to abortion, and women traveling hundreds of miles to get one. By Paul J. Weber and Mark Sherman. SENT: 870 words, photos.

ASYLUM-WAITING IN MEXICO — Migrants seeking to enter the United States will again have to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, as the Biden administration reluctantly announces plans to comply with a court order and accept conditions set out by Mexico for resuming the Trump-era policy. By Elliot Spagat. SENT: 980 words, photos.

YE-DEATHS — They both carved out sterling reputations as military and political leaders over years of public service. But both also saw their legacies tarnished by their roles in the long, bloody war in Iraq. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are among the many noteworthy people who died in 2021. Also among those who died this year was a man who for years held the title of baseball’s home run king. Hank Aaron, who died in January, endured racist threats on his path to breaking Babe Ruth’s record and is still considered one of the game’s greatest players. By Bernard McGhee. SENT: 6,940 words, photos.

MED--AUTISM RATES — New government autism numbers suggest more U.S. children are being diagnosed with the developmental condition and at younger ages. In an analysis of 2018 data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that among 8-year-olds, 1 in 44 had been diagnosed with autism. That compares with 1 in 54 kids identified with autism in 2016, which CDC reported last year. The CDC said that children were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with autism by age 4 in 2018 than in 2014. By Lindsey Tanner. SENT: 400 words, photos.

SUPPLY-SHORTAGE-NEXT-BEST-THING -- The holidays have always been defined by disappointing out-of-stock messages on the most popular items. But the pandemic-induced supply chain snarls have created unprecedented shortages across all types of products. That has many customers buying early as shortfalls are only expected to worsen as the holiday season moves into the final stretch. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: 920 words, photos.




CHRISTMAS PARADE-SUV — Milwaukee County’s top prosecutor says a young assistant in his office sought $1,000 bail for a man accused of driving through a Christmas parade because she was overworked and never saw his risk assessment. SENT: 750 words, photo.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP LAWYERS — A judge has ordered nine lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump to pay Detroit and Michigan a total of $175,000 in sanctions for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results. SENT: 170 words.

ART BASEL-MIAMI — The official Art Basel show is back in Miami with all its eccentric glory, a dizzying list of celebrity attendees and dozens of spin-off shows already generating buzz, including a 10-year-old child painter and a $4 million Banksy sale. SENT: 560 words, photos.

BEVERLY HILLS-SHOOTING — A 29-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, a philanthropist and the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, killed at their home in Beverly Hills, California. SENT: 280 words.

MONTANA-WILDFIRES — A late-season wildfire pushed by strong winds has ripped through a tiny central Montana farming town, burning several homes and grain elevators that had stood for more than a century. SENT: 170 words, photos.

FAMILY-KILLED-FLORIDA -- Officials say a 57-year-old Florida man who served as the music minister at a church is accused of fatally shooting his wife and two adult children. SENT: 265 words.

1981-KILLING-SOLVED — Baltimore County police say they’ve solved a 40-year-old homicide of a teenage girl. SENT: 270 words.

UNITED NATIONS-HEADQUARTERS-STANDOFF — The United Nations headquarters in New York City was locked down for several hours after a man was seen pacing outside with what police said appeared to be a shotgun. SENT: 450 words, photo.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE INEQUALITY — The global initiative to share coronavirus vaccines fairly already scaled back its pledge to the world’s poor once. Now, to meet even that limited promise, COVAX would have to deliver more than a million doses every hour until the end of the year. That seems unlikely: The vaccine alliance that helps run COVAX warned in internal documents that a substantial number of doses might only show up in late 2022 or even 2023. SENT: 1,115 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIDEN — With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases predicted this winter, President Joe Biden appeals for Americans to get their boosters and get behind his plan to tackle the new omicron variant through wider availability of vaccines, but without new major restrictions on daily life. By Zeke Miller and Alexandra Jaffe. SENT: 760 words, photos, video.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE MANDATES-EXPLAINER — Millions of health care workers across the U.S. were supposed to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this coming Monday under a mandate issued by President Joe Biden’s administration. Thanks to legal challenges, they won’t have to worry about it, at least for now. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-NEW-YORK — Health officials say the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been found in a Minnesota man who attended an anime convention in New York City in November. Officials in New York say they are working to trace attendees at the convention held Nov. 19-21 at the Javits Convention Center. SENT: 295 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH AFRICA — South Africa has accelerated its vaccination campaign by giving jabs at pop-up sites in shopping centers and transportation hubs to combat a rapid rise in new COVID-19 cases a week after the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. SENT: 670 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRAL QUESTIONS-VACCINE MANDATE — The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the U.S. is on hold because of legal challenges, but employers can still require the shots. SENT: 250 words, graphic.




ABORTION-POLITICS — Vulnerable Democrats from Nevada to New Hampshire are promising to make abortion a centerpiece of their political strategy heading into the midterm elections.SENT: 1,210 words, photos, video.

ABORTION-TENNESSEE — Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court concluded historic arguments over abortion, a federal appeals court signaled it might be willing to allow yet another restrictive ban to go into effect. Earlier this year, a three-judge panel on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted banning abortion in Tennessee once cardiac activity is detected in an embryo — at around six weeks. But late Wednesday, the appeals court said it would vacate that ruling and instead schedule a rehearing before the full court. SENT: 530 words.




CONGRESS-GOVERNMENT FUNDING — The House passes a bill that funds the government through Feb. 18 and avoids a short-term shutdown after midnight Friday. But quick passage of the measure in the Senate is in doubt. SENT: 930 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA-UKRAINE — Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart, demands that Moscow pull back troops from the border with Ukraine. SENT: 900 words, photos.

EUROPE-US-BELARUS-SANCTIONS — The United States, European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed simultaneous sanctions on dozens of officials, organizations and companies in Belarus. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ELECTION 2024-HALEY — Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is being feted at The Citadel, where a Republican group is making her the first woman to receive its highest honor. SENT: 290 words, photos.

CYBERSECURITY-TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS — The Transportation Security Administration issues new directives aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity defenses of U.S. rail and airport operators. SENT: 370 words.

EPA-WATER INFRASTRUCTURE — States, Native American tribes and U.S. territories are set to receive $7.4 billion in 2022 to improve water quality and access. SENT: 520 words, photo.

FEDERAL PRISONS — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lambastes the director of the beleaguered federal prison system, saying he has “no intention of reforming the institution.” SENT: 630 words.

CAPITOL BREACH-CHILD IN TOW — Prosecutors recommend a three-month prison sentence for a North Carolina woman accused of bringing her 14-year-old child into the U.S. Capitol when she and her husband stormed the building on Jan. 6. SENT: 580 words, photo.

KENNEDY CENTER HONORS-BIDEN — President Joe Biden will be in the house for the Kennedy Center Honors program Sunday. SENT: 360 words, photo.




JUSSIE-SMOLLETT-TRIAL — A second man testified that Jussie Smollett plotted a racist and anti-gay attack on himself and paid the man and his brother to carry it out, giving them lines to shout and pointing out a surveillance camera the former “Empire” actor said would capture the hoax on video to use for publicity. SENT: 850 words, photos.

SCHOOL SHOOTING-MICHIGAN — A prosecutor turned up the heat against the parents of a boy accused of killing four students at his Michigan high school, saying a gun “seems to have been just freely available” to him and charges still were being considered against the pair. SENT: 515 words, photos.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN-MAXWELL-TRIAL— A former housekeeper testified that two women who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing them as underage teens were repeated visitors to his Palm Beach mansion, summoned by Epstein or his associate Ghislaine Maxwell. SENT: 760 words, photos.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-POLICE SHOOTING-OHIO —The Ohio sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times has been charged with murder and reckless homicide. Now-retired Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade, who is white, was charged. He shot Goodson, who was Black, last December in an encounter that is still largely unexplained and involved no body camera or dash cam footage. SENT: 540 words, photo, video.

CHRISTMAS-TREE-SHORTAGE — Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions are leading to a nationwide shortage of Christmas trees, both real and artificial. SENT: 585 words, photos.

UNIVERSITY-FREE SPEECH-FLORIDA — A University of Florida professor has filed a grievance against the school, saying administrators told him he couldn’t use the worlds ‘critical’ and ‘race’ together in describing a new study concentration. SENT: 710 words, photo.

DAUNTE WRIGHT-OFFICER-TRIAL — Jury selection moved forward in the trial of a suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in Daunte Wright’s shooting death, with the 10th and 11th jurors seated ahead of opening statements next week. SENT: 650 words, photos.

INDIGENOUS GAMERS — Marlon Weekusk, a member of the Onion Lake Cree Nation, is known by his icon: a howling white wolf that has held significance for him throughout his spiritual journey as a Cree. Weekusk is one of a growing group of Indigenous streamers who are bringing their cultures to their gaming platforms. SENT: 940 words.

INFANT-DEATH-SENTENCING — A South Dakota judge on sentenced a woman to 10 years in the state prison system for her infant son’s 1981 death that went unsolved for decades. Judge Bradley Zell called the sentencing of 60-year-old Theresa Bentaas a difficult decision that he belabored for weeks, in part because it was not clear whether her son died from complications during birth or abandonment in the South Dakota cold. SENT: 670 words.

INCAPACITATED WOMAN-SEXUAL ASSAULT — A former Arizona nurse was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman at a long-term care facility where she later gave birth. SENT: 580 words, photos.




AFGHANISTAN-HUMANITARIAN-CRISIS — A senior international aid official says Afghanistan is being hit by multiple crises that are “progressively getting worse,” with drought, economic collapse and displacement all pushing the population into catastrophic hunger. SENT; 535 words, photos.

LEBANON-GULF-BOYCOTT — Lebanese have been losing business opportunities and contracts in recent weeks as a result of a diplomatic crisis between their government and Saudi Arabia. At the root of the crisis is Saudi Arabia’s years-old regional rivalry with Iran, with Lebanon caught in the middle. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

SOUTH-KOREA-US — America’s defense chief rebuked China, vowing to confront its potential military threats in Asia and warning that its pursuit of hypersonic weapons intended to evade U.S. missile defenses “increases tensions in the region.” SENT: 740 words, photos.

CYPRUS-POPE — Pope Francis praised the “mosaic” of Cyprus’ multiethnic people as he arrived on the ethnically divided Mediterranean island and urged it to welcome migrants and heal the divisions that have lacerated the country for nearly a half-century. SENT: 900 words, photos. WITH: FRANCE-ARCHBISHOP-RESIGNS — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris after he admitted to an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman in 2012. SENT: 650 words, photos.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-GAZA-PROTESTS — Rights groups say that Israel failed to investigate shootings that killed more than 200 Palestinians and wounded thousands at violent protests along the Gaza frontier in recent years, strengthening the case for the International Criminal Court to intervene. SENT: 890 words, photos.

LAOS-CHINA-RAILWAY — Laos, a nation of 7 million people wedged between China, Vietnam and Thailand, is opening a $5.9 billion Chinese-built railway that links China’s poor southwest to foreign markets but piles on potentially risky debt. SENT: 950 words, photos, video.

BRITAIN-MEGHAN-LAWSUIT — The Duchess of Sussex has won the latest stage in her long-running privacy lawsuit against a British newspaper publisher over its publication of parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father. SENT: 830 words, photos.

MEXICO-US-ELECTRIC CARS — The Mexican government threatened legal action over provisions of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act that would give subsidies of up to $12,500 for purchases of union-made, American-made electric vehicles. SENT: 460 words, photos.




MED-EMBRYO-ALTERNATIVE — Scientists are using human stem cells to create a structure that mimics a pre-embryo and can serve as a research alternative to a real one. They’re called “blastoids.” Researchers say they provide an efficient, ethical way to study human development and pursue biomedical discoveries in fertility and contraception. SENT: 665 words, photos.

SCI-SPACE-STATION — Spacewalking astronauts have replaced a broken antenna outside the International Space Station after getting NASA’s all-clear for orbiting debris. SENT: 310 words, photos.

SPAIN-VOLCANO SCIENCE — Scientists from around the world flocking to an eastern Atlantic Ocean island are using an array of new technologies to scrutinize a volcanic eruption from land, sea, air, and even space. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.




OPEC-OIL PRICES — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries have decided to maintain the amount of oil they pump to the world. The decision comes even as the new omicron variant casts a shadow of uncertainty over the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Officials from OPEC countries and their allies voted to stick with a pre-omicron pattern of steady, modest monthly increases in oil releases. SENT: 680 words, photos.




BBO-LABOR — Hours into Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the union’s proposal for greater free agency and wider salary arbitration would damage small-market teams. Owners locked out players at 12:01 a.m. Thursday following the expiration of the sport’s five-year collective bargaining agreement. SENT: 455 words, photos. Will be updated throughout the day.

FBN-COWBOYS-SAINTS — The Dallas Cowboys meet the New Orleans Saints in a match-up of teams on simultaneous slides. The Saints have lost four straight while Dallas has lost three of four. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Kickoff 8:20 p.m.

PENG-IOC-PENG SHUAI — The International Olympic Committee says it held a second video call with Peng Shuai. But again it didn’t release any video or transcript nor did the group make any reference to the tennis player’s sexual assault allegation against a former Chinese government official. SENT: 460 words, photos. With: CHINA-PENG-SHUAI-WTA-FALLOUT — The stand the women’s professional tennis tour is taking in China over concern about Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai’s well-being could cost the WTA millions of dollars. It also could end up being unique among sports bodies. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.




At the Nerve Center, Mae Anderson can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Donald E. King (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@ap.org or call 844-777-2006.