AP News Digest 2:15 p.m.

February 15, 2020 11:30 AM

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

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CHINA-OUTBREAK — China has reported 143 new virus deaths and a dip in new cases while the head of the World Health Organization has praised the country's efforts to contain the disease. He says China has "bought the world time" and that other nations must make the most of it. By Yanan Wang. SENT: 1,110 words, photos. With CHINA-OUTBREAK-AT A GLANCE (sent).

MED-CHINA-OUTBREAK-Q&A — Changes in how China counts how many people are sick with a new respiratory virus is confusing experts who can't tell if the epidemic is getting worse or not. It's one of many questions complicating efforts to contain the coronavirus' spread around the world. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 910 words, photo.

ELECTION 2020-SANDERS-LATINOS — A self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders is sometimes pigeonholed as the hero to white college students and left-leaning boomers. But his campaign believes his outreach to diverse voters, especially Latinos in places such as east Las Vegas, will be the secret to his success in the Democratic race for president. There are signs that Sanders’ work has begun to pay off, though the first real test comes next Saturday in Nevada's caucuses. By Michelle L. Price and Nicholas Riccardi. UPCOMING: 1,150 words, photos by 3 p.m. With ELECTION 2020 — Heavy campaigning in Nevada this weekend before the next Democratic debate Wednesday and then the state’s caucuses on Saturday. Early caucus voting gets underway. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m. Developing into the evening.

Find more coverage on the 2020 U.S. Elections featured topic page in AP Newsroom.

UNITED STATES AFGHANISTAN — The Pentagon chief says a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not without risk but “looks very promising." With a formal announcement expected Sunday of a seven-day "reduction in violence" deal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper says it’s time to give peace a chance in Afghanistan through a political negotiation. By Robert Burns and Matthew Lee. SENT: 660 words, photos. With AFGHANISTAN-SOVIET WITHDRAWAL ANNIVERSARY — Saturday marks the 31st anniversary of the last Soviet soldier leaving Afghanistan. Some of the same Afghan insurgent leaders who drove out the former Soviet Union have fought the U.S. for 18 years and are now negotiating for peace. SENT: 530 words, photos.

CENSUS-TECHNOLOGY CONCERNS — A major civic exercise involving thousands of people using new technology. Shortcomings in testing. Hundreds of millions of people waiting on the results. Sound familiar? The botched Iowa caucus may have been a cautionary tale on the perils of using previously unused technology for a grand civic participatory event, with cyber-security concerns thrown in. By Mike Schneider. SENT: 1,030 words, photos. This story is this week's Sunday Spotlight.

SKOREA-PARASITE-BASEMENT DWELLERS — For many South Koreans, the image of a cramped basement apartment portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” rings true. According to data, around 1.9% of South Koreans live in semi-basement apartments, an affordable choice in in Seoul, one of the most expensive cities in Asia. Just like in the movie, they're prone to floods and the toilet often sits higher than the floor. SENT: 500 words, photos.

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WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

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OBIT-LYNN COHEN — An actress best known for playing the nanny Magda in “Sex and the City” has died at age 86. SENT: 130 words.

ODD-MATING SNAKES — A Florida city has shut down a section of lake after receiving reports that numerous snakes had swarmed the area to have sex. SENT: 140 words.

BABY PHOTOGRAPHER-KIDNAP — A Washington woman and her teenage daughter are suspected of drugging a new mother after posing as photographers in an elaborate plot to kidnap the mother's newborn baby. SENT: 400 words.

GERMANY-PERFUME EVIDENCE — German police say they nabbed a drunk driver who tried to flee a traffic stop after finding him hiding behind a hedge “in a cloud of perfume." SENT: 130 words.

DOG LEFT TO DROWN — A New Jersey man has been sentenced to a year in prison on an animal cruelty conviction after authorities said he left a puppy in a cage at water's edge in a rising tide. SENT: 330 words.

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MORE ON VIRUS OUTBREAK

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CHINA-OUTBREAK — France has become the first country outside Asia to report a death from a new virus that originated in China. Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said Saturday that the deceased patient was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who tested positive for the virus in late January. SENT: 740 words, photos.

ASIA-JITTERY WORSHIPPERS — Temporary restrictions and dwindling crowds in places of worship across Asia have underscored the extent of the scare over a viral outbreak that has permeated many aspects of life in the religiously diverse region. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

JAPAN-OUTBREAK-CRUISE SHIP — The U.S. says Americans aboard a quarantined ship will be flown back home on a chartered flight Sunday, but that they will face another two-week quarantine. SENT: 650 words, photos.

CAMBODIA-OUTBREAK-CRUISE SHIP — Cambodia gets more praise for allowing cruise ship to dock. SENT: 620 words, photos.

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WASHINGTON/POLITICS

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TRUMP-DAYTONA — President Donald Trump is out to rev up his appeal with a key voting demographic, NASCAR fans, when he takes in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. NASCAR drivers may veer to the left during their trip around the oval racetrack, but their fans lean right, which helps explain the regularity with which GOP presidents have made their way to the track. This year, Trump will serve as grand marshal and give the command for drivers to start their engines. SENT: 610 words, photos. With CAR--NASCAR-DAYTONA 500-TRUMP — Fans are "kind of excited about having Donald at the ranch.” SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-CHINA — Defense Secretary Mark Esper says China is a rising threat to global order and that the world's most populous nation steals Western know-how, intimidates smaller neighbors and seeks an “advantage by any means and at any cost.” Esper uses an address to an international security conference in Germany to give his most comprehensive condemnation yet of a communist country that he said tops the Pentagon’s list of potential adversaries. China’s foreign minister says U.S. officials are spreading ``lies’’ and that America ``does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China.’’ SENT: 680 words, photos.

FACT CHECK-WEEK — It was the week of the New Hampshire primary, a Trump budget and machinations involving the Justice Department. An AP Fact Check takes a look at the political rhetoric surrounding such events. President Donald Trump told supporters that his U.S.-Mexico border wall is being paid for by people who live in the U.S. illegally, through what he called “redemption payments.” There's no such thing. SENT: 1,910 words, photos. Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

VIRGINIA-NEW SOUTH — Democrats in Virginia are using their newfound legislative control to refashion the state as the South's progressive leader on racial, social and economic issues. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-CALIFORNIA — Democrats are winning the early numbers game in the fight for U.S. House seats in California. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

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INTERNATIONAL

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SYRIA — Turkey's foreign minister says a Turkish delegation will hold talks in Russia on Monday on the situation in Syria's Idlib province amid mounting fears of a humanitarian disaster there. SENT: 490 words, photos.

GERMANY-SECURITY CONFERENCE-RUSSIA —Europe needs to strive for better relations with Russia in the long term, French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday, adding that while he isn’t proposing lifting sanctions they have changed nothing about Russia's behavior. SENT: 410 words, photos.

SECURITY CONFERENCE-UKRAINE — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he hopes to end the separatist conflict in his country's east by the end of his term in 2024. He also hopes relations between Washington and Kyiv can “start afresh” now that the proceedings from President Donald Trump's impeachment are over. SENT: 390 words, photos.

EUROPE STORM — Rescuers have pulled two bodies from rough seas off the coast of southeast England as Britain endures a second straight weekend of stormy weather. The fourth named storm of the season, dubbed Dennis by Britain's Met Office weather service, prompted widespread travel disruptions Saturday and has the potential to cause even more damage than last weekend's Storm Ciara. SENT: 410 words, photos.

IRAN NUCLEAR — Iran's foreign minister says U.S. President Donald Trump is receiving bad advice if he believes an American "maximum pressure" campaign will cause the government in Tehran to collapse. SENT: 590 words, photos.

YEMEN — The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen says one of its warplanes has been shot down over a mountainous northern province. SENT: 200 words.

SOUTH SUDAN — South Sudan's rival leaders appear to have cleared a major hurdle with just a week left before the deadline to form a coalition government. SENT: 360 words.

EMIRATES-IVANKA TRUMP — Ivanka Trump has arrived in the United Arab Emirates, where she met with women entrepreneurs and was to meet Abu Dhabi's crown prince. SENT: 260 words, photos.

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NATIONAL

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COLLEGE STUDENT SLAIN — Authorities say a 14-year-old has been arrested in the fatal stabbing of a Barnard College student in a Manhattan park in December. SENT: 330 words, photo.

HOUSTON EXPLOSION-NO ZONING — Last month’s explosion at a Houston metal fabricating and manufacturing company that killed two workers and damaged hundreds of structures has renewed debate over the city’s lack of zoning. But experts say it’s highly unlikely the city is going to now adopt such development rules, which have resulted in having homes located near petrochemical facilities and businesses that handle hazardous materials. SENT: 900 words, photos.

RURAL ALASKA-REAL ID — In rural Alaska, the closest state motor vehicle office is often a pricey plane ride away. And that is complicating efforts by residents to get new federal identification cards for commercial air travel starting this fall. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

FATAL STABBING-EX-DIPLOMAT'S DAUGHTER — A woman arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing an acquaintance during an argument in a Maryland home has been identified by news reports as a daughter of a former U.S. ambassador. SENT: 210 words, photo.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-WEINSTEIN — Harvey Weinstein's lawyers say he is confident heading into what could be his last weekend of freedom as his New York City rape trial moves closer to a verdict. Jurors are set to start deliberating Tuesday. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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BKN--ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT -- NBA players showcase their athletic ability and agility in the skills challenge, 3-point shooting contest and slam dunk competition. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Events start 8 p.m. With The Latest.

BKN--ALL-STAR-SILVER -- With the death of Kobe Bryant three weeks ago still reverberating, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gives his midseason state-of-the-league remarks. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 8:30 p.m.

BBA--ASTROS-BAKER -- Astros manager Dusty Baker wants action from Major League Baseball: End the criticism of his team from across baseball over sign stealing, and take steps to ensure pitchers don't throw at his players. SENT: 650 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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