AP News Digest 6 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.

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NEW/DEVELOPING

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Adds: VIRUS OUTBREAK-ISRAEL; BELARUS-CRACKDOWN; US-PULITZER BOARD; BIDEN-PUBLIC-LANDS-NOMINEE; VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BRITAIN; BIDEN-CUBA; HEALTH=DEPARTMENT-FIRING; MEDICAID-EXPANSION-MISSOURI; WESTERN-DROUGHT-HAALAND; VIRUS OUTBREAK-BONUSES; OPIOID CRISIS-WEST VIRGINIA; GEORGIA-INSURANCE-COMMISSIONER-TRIAL; WASHINGTON POST-LAWSUIT; FBI-KAVANAUGH; CYBERSECURITY-KASEYA-RANSOMWARE; FEDERAL PRISONS-WARDEN; CAPITAL BREACH-INVESTIGATION, CALIFORNIA RECALL-REPUBLICANS, BORDER PATROL-NEBRASKA.

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ONLY ON AP

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AP-POLL-INFRASTRUCTURE — About 8 in 10 Americans favor plans to increase funding for roads, bridges and ports and for pipes that supply drinking water. But a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that’s about as far as Democrats and Republicans intersect on infrastructure. By Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut. SENT: 805 words, photos.

CHINA-LARGEST DETENTION CENTER — China’s largest detention center is twice the size of Vatican City and has room for at least 10,000 inmates. The AP was the first Western media allowed in during a state-led tour of Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in the far western region of Xinjiang. No. 3 was converted from an internment camp into a pre-trial detention facility, the AP found, in what appears to be an attempt to move Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities into a more permanent prison system justified under the law. By Dake Kang. SENT: 1,700 words, photos. An abridged version of 1,000 words is also available.

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TOP STORIES

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VIRUS OUTBREAK — Death rates are soaring across Southeast Asia as virus waves spread. Just in the last two weeks, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar have all surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate from a new coronavirus wave. By David Rising and Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,360 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-REPUBLICANS-VACCINES — Republican politicians are under increasing pressure to convince vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots as a new, more contagious variant sends caseloads soaring. But it may be too late to change the minds of many who are refusing. By Jill Colvin and Brian Slodysko. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 7 p.m.

CAPITOL BREACH-INVESTIGATION — Unfazed by Republican threats of a boycott, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declares that a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection will take on its “deadly serious” work whether Republicans participate or not. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 910 words, photos, video.

WESTERN-WILDFIRES — Lower winds and better weather helped crews using bulldozers and helicopters battling the nation’s largest wildfire in southern Oregon while a Northern California wildfire crossed into Nevada, prompting new evacuations as blazes burn across the West. By Nathan Howard. SENT: 560 words, photos. With WILDFIRES-SMOKE EXPLAINER — As wildlife smoke spreads, who’s at risk? SENT: 880 words, photos.

HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED-COLOMBIA — The assassination of Haiti’s president this month has exposed an industry of retired Colombian soldiers who feed private security enterprises around the world. Haitian authorities have implicated at least 20 retired Colombian soldiers in the slaying of President Jovenel Moïse. By Regina Garcia Cano and Astrid Suarez. SENT: 1,090 words, photos. WITH: HAITI-PRESIDENT-ASSASSINATED — Hundreds of workers fled businesses in northern Haiti after demonstrations near the hometown of assassinated President Jovenel Moïse grew violent ahead of his funeral. SENT: 440 words, photos.

OPENING-CEREMONY-DIRECTOR-FIRED — The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 650 words, photo. WITH: OLYMPIC SCANDALS– From doping, to demonstrations to dirty officials to the reluctant postponement of the Tokyo Games, the Olympics have never lacked their share of off-the-field scandals that keep the Games in the headlines long after the torch goes out. SENT: 800 words, photos.

Find more stories on the 2020-Tokyo Olympics here

AMAZON-BUZZERS — Amazon is pushing landlords around the country to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment building front doors whenever they need to leave packages in the lobby instead of the street. The service, called Amazon Key for Business, allows delivery workers to make their rounds faster since they don’t have to ring doorbells. And fewer stolen packages could give Amazon an edge over other online retailers. But there could be drawbacks. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 965 words, photos.

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THE OLYMPICS

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OLY-ATHLETE PROTESTS — After images of Olympic soccer players taking a knee were excluded from official highlight tapes and social media channels, the IOC says kneeling protests will be shown in the future. SENT: 400 words, photos. With EXPLAINER-PROTEST-RULE — Players from the U.S., Sweden, Chile, Britain and New Zealand women’s teams went to a knee before their games, anti-racism gestures the likes of which had not been seen before on the Olympic stage. SENT: 700 words, photo.

THE-DIRTY GAMES? — It’s one of the uncomfortable realities of the Tokyo Olympics. Not a single one of the approximately 11,000 athletes competing over the next 17 days has been held to the highest standards of the world anti-doping code over the critical 16-month period leading into the Games. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

OLY-TV-CROWD-NOISE — One of Molly Solomon’s favorite memories from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics was watching Lindsey Vonn before she skied. Cameras in the start house would focus on her, with microphones picking up her breathing while she listened to final instructions. With no spectators in the stands during the Tokyo Games, Solomon is hoping to pick up on more of those moments. SENT: 515 words, photos.

OLY-GUINEA-WITHDRAWS — The West African country of Guinea has reversed an earlier decision to pull out of the Olympics. Guinea’s sports minister said Thursday the country will send a delegation of five athletes to the Tokyo Games. SENT: 310 words, photo.

JILL-BIDEN — Jill Biden is in Tokyo on her first solo international trip as first lady. She’s leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games. SENT: 890 words, photos.

EXPLAINER-SURFING — Surfing is as much skill and science as instinct and timing. SENT: 980 words, photos.

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WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

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US-PULITZER BOARD — New York Times opinion columnist Gail Collins, Associated Press Editor at Large John Daniszewski and journalist Katherine Boo have been elected as co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board, SENT: 240 words, photo.

MUSIC-KANYE-WEST — Kanye West knows how to make a splash even with an upcoming listening event in Atlanta. SENT: 370 words, photo.

WASHINGTON POST-LAWSUIT — Washington Post reporter sues paper for discrimination. SENT: 430 words, photo.

INTERNET-OUTAGE — Major websites went down in what appeared to be a brief but widespread outage. The websites of Airbnb, AT&T, Costco and Delta showed error messages around midday. SENT: 75 words.

ECUADOR-PRISON-VIOLENCE — Rival gangs of inmates have fought in two prisons in Ecuador, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens. SENT: 115 words, photos.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-US — Vaccinations are beginning to rise in some states where COVID-19 cases are soaring. That’s according to White House officials who briefed reporters on Thursday. SENT: 670 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Retailers in England are warning of barren supermarket shelves as more and more store employees get “pinged” to self-isolate because of contact with someone who has the coronavirus. SENT: 830 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BONUSES — Elected officials in a Michigan county gave themselves bonuses with federal relief money related to the coronavirus pandemic. The money, described as “hazard pay,” included $25,000 for Jeremy Root, chairman of the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners. SENT: 410 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ISRAEL — Israel’s prime minister is calling upon hundreds of thousands of citizens who have not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus to get the shot. The appeal comes as new infections climbed precipitously in recent weeks. SENT: 300 words, photo.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SMALL-BUSINESS-TOURISM — Small businesses in the U.S. that depend on tourism and vacationers say business is bouncing back, as Americans rebook postponed trips and spend freely on food, entertainment and souvenirs. SENT: 1,115 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JAPAN — Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases a day before the Olympics begin, as worries grow of a worsening of infections during the Games. SENT: 370 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CHINA-COVID-ORIGINS — China says it won’t accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19. SENT: 600 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRAL QUESTIONS-BREAKTHROUGH CASES — A small number of COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases are expected after vaccination, and health officials say they’re not a cause for alarm. SENT: 380 words, graphic.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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BIDEN-ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT — President Joe Biden’s administration says it is making $3 billion in economic development grants available to communities — a tenfold increase in the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill. SENT: 335 words, photos.

BIDEN-PUBLIC-LANDS-NOMINEE — A bitterly divided U.S. Senate panel deadlocked on President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee vast government-owned lands in the West, as Democrats united behind a nominee whose credibility was assailed by Republicans over her links to a 1989 environmental sabotage case. SENT: 740 words, photos.

BIDEN-CUBA — The Biden administration unveils new sanctions against a Cuban official and government entity it says were involved in human rights abuses during a government crackdown on protests. SENT: 550 words, photos, video.

UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN — The U.S. military launched several airstrikes this week in support of Afghan government forces fighting Taliban insurgents, including in the strategically important province of Kandahar. SENT: 660 words, photos. With UNITED STATES-AFGHAN VISAS — House lawmakers vote overwhelmingly to allow in thousands more of the Afghans who worked alongside Americans in the Afghanistan war. SENT: 580 words, photos.

JUSTICE-DEPARTMENT-GUN TRAFFICKING — Attorney General Merrick Garland says he hopes the Senate will act quickly to confirm the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help front the federal effort against gun violence. SENT: 870 words, photos, video.

IOWA-SENATE-FINKENAUER — Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer is running for Republican Chuck Grassley’s U.S. Senate seat. The one-term former congresswoman hopes her blue-collar credentials will propel her forward in a state that has grown more conservative over the years. SENT: 625 words, photos.

FBI-KAVANAUGH — Senate Democrats raise new concerns about the thoroughness of the FBI’s background investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after the FBI revealed it had received thousands of tips and had provided “all relevant” ones to the White House counsel’s office. SENT: 340 words, photo.

WESTERN-WILDFIRE-HAALAND — Confronting the historic drought that has a firm grip on the American West requires a heavy federal infrastructure investment to protect existing water supplies but also will depend on efforts at all levels of government to reduce demand by promoting water efficiency and recycling, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. SENT: 750 words, photos.

FEDERAL PRISONS-WARDEN — Federal investigators question the warden of a federal women’s prison in California and search his office after a former correctional officer at the facility was arrested on charges of sexually abusing inmates. SENT: 470 words, photo.

CALIFORNIA RECALL-REPUBLICANS — California’s recall ballot is finally set, but the state Republican party is still determining its best strategy for winning back the governor’s office in one of the nation’s most Democratic states. SENT: 930 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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PANDEMIC-AFRICA-SOUTH-SUDAN-MOTHERS — Even before the pandemic hit, South Sudanese women were accustomed to building lives on the edge of uncertainty. But COVID-19 is shaking that fragile foundation. SENT: 1,490 words, photos, video. An abridged version of 1,020 words is also available.

JERUSALEM-SHRINE-BRIDGE — A rickety bridge allowing access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site is at risk of collapse, according to experts, but the flashpoint shrine’s delicate position at ground zero of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has prevented its repair for more than a decade. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

NORWAY-ATTACK-ANNIVERSARY — Church bells pealed across Norway for the 10th anniversary of the country’s worst peacetime slaughter, as leaders urged renewed efforts to fight the extremism behind the attack that left 77 people dead. SENT: 715 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WILDFIRES-EXPLAINER — A look at what’s fueling thousands of wildfires that engulf broad expanses of Russia each year, destroying forests and shrouding territories in acrid smoke. SENT: 770 words, photos.

KOREAS-US-NUCLEAR — Top U.S. and South Korean officials agreed to try to convince North Korea to return to talks on its nuclear program, which Pyongyang has insisted it won’t do in protest of what it calls U.S. hostility. SENT: 500 words, photos.

BELARUS-CRACKDOWN — The longtime leader of Belarus vowed Thursday to continue a crackdown on civil society activists he regards as “bandits and foreign agents.” SENT: 500 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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INDIGENOUS BOARDING SCHOOLS-CHURCHES — Top officials in the Episcopal Church launch a review of the denomination’s role in operating boarding schools for Native American children for many decades in the past. The initiative follows the discoveries of unmarked graves at similar schools in Canada, and announcement of a U.S. Interior Department review of such schools by the U.S., most of which were church-run. SENT: 1,260 words, photos. Eds: An abridged version of 990 words is available.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT-FIRING — Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee is defending his administration’s firing of the state’s vaccination chief and rollback of outreach for childhood vaccines. Michelle Fiscus has repeatedly said she was terminated to appease some GOP lawmakers who were outraged over state outreach for COVID-19 vaccinations to minors. SENT: 730 words, photo.

BORDER PATROL-NEBRASKA — Nebraska State Patrol officials have defended their state-funded mission to the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas, arguing that they answered a call for help from fellow law enforcement officers amid a surge in illegal border crossings. SENT: 720 words, photo.

NASHVILLE-INTERSTATE-RACE — Tennessee state Rep. Harold Love Jr.’s father put up a fight in the 1960s against rerouting Interstate 40 because he believed it would stifle and isolate Nashville’s Black community. After his father’s prediction came true, Love Jr. is now part of a group pushing to build a cap across the highway that would create a community space to help reunify the city. SENT: 1,075 words, photos.

BRIBERY-INVESTIGATION-OHIO — The energy giant at the center of a $60 million bribery scheme in Ohio admitted to riveting new details of its role in the conspiracy as part of a settlement agreement with federal prosecutors, including how it used secret dark money groups to fund the effort and paid a soon-to-be top utility regulator to write the legislation it got in exchange. SENT: 725 words, photo.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The office of state’s Republican attorney general made the request in written arguments filed Thursday. SENT: 390 words, photo.

GEORGIA-CHASE-DEADLY-SHOOTING — Attorneys are clashing over testimony at the upcoming murder trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. SENT: 770 words, photos.

MEDICAID-EXPANSION-MISSOURI — The Missouri Supreme Court vacated a lower court’s decision in the state’s Medicaid expansion case, agreeing that the voter-approved plan to offer Medicaid to more people should stand. SENT: 530 words, photos.

OPIOID CRISIS-WEST VIRGINIA — A potential $26 billion national settlement deal with big U.S. drug distribution companies has raised hopes that help could be on the way in places like opioid-ravaged West Virginia. SENT: 990 words, photos.

LEAKS-SENTENCING — A former Air Force intelligence analyst says his guilt over participating in lethal drone strikes in Afghanistan led him to leak government secrets about the drone program to a reporter. SENT: 560 words, photo.

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HEALTH & SCIENCE

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COCKATOOS OPEN BINS AUSTRALIA —- Clever cockatoos have figured out how to hoist open trash-can lids with their beaks. Scientists focused on animal cognition are tracking the spread of this new “foraging technique” across the suburbs of Sydney. SENT: 900 words, photos.

MED-SUPERBED-FUNGUS — U.S. health officials say they now have evidence that an untreatable “superbug” fungus has spread in two hospitals and a nursing home. SENT: 375 words, photos.

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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

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CYBERSECURITY-KASEYA-RANSOMWARE — The Florida company whose software was exploited in the devastating Fourth of July weekend ransomware attack has received a universal key that will decrypt all of the more than 1,000 businesses and public organizations crippled in the global incident. SENT: 430 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT-BENEFITS —The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy. SENT: 655 words, photos.

DAIMLER-ELECTRIC-CARS — Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its move into electric cars. It says it can see a market scenario where all sales are electric by the end of the decade. SENT: 405 words, photos.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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TRAVEL-WOODLAWN-CEMETERY — Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City is the resting place of scores of famous and influential people. One recent trolley tour of jazz and vaudeville greats included the gravesites of Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George M. Cohan and more. Other walking and trolley tours cover themes such as Black, Irish, Italian and women’s history. SENT: 800 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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FBC–NCAA-COMPENSATING ATHLETES-RECRUITING — There are plenty of questions about the impact of college athletes profiting off their celebrity. The opportunities for athletes can now be a selling point for coaches when pitching prospects on joining their programs. SENT: 830 words, photos.

FBC–CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT — If the Southeastern Conference does add Texas and Oklahoma, as is being discussed by the two schools and the powerhouse league, could that be the first domino to fall in another round or realignment that reshapes college sports? By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 700 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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The Nerve Center can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Courtney Dittmar (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or call 844-777-2006.

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