Good morning! Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today. Some plans are subject to change; see the 2 p.m. News Digest for updates. You can find our contact info at the bottom of this advisory.
Among today’s coverage highlights as we see them at 10:15 a.m. EST:
— HEALTH OVERHAUL (sent; new version upcoming)
— NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT (sent; developing)
— AMAZON-DRONE DELIVERY (sent; developing)
–CYBER MONDAY (upcoming)
— COMMON CORE-THE CRITICS (upcoming)
— AIRLINE PILOTS-AUTOMATION (sent)
— THAILAND-WHOSE DEMOCRACY? (sent)
— UKRAINE PROTEST (sent; developing)
— EGYPT (sent; developing)
— EPIDEMIC OF TWINS (upcoming)
— KINDERTRANSPORT MEMORIES (sent)
PHOTOS: QUIET ZONE-PHOTO ESSAY (sent; with text block); MYANMAR’S BOY SOLDIERS (sent; with full text story); NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT continuing coverage.
VIDEO: NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT continuing coverage; AUSTRALIA-BIRD STEALS CAMERA (sent; with short text); CHRISTMAS TREES-ROOT ROT (sent; with full text story); OWENS MEDAL-AUCTION (sent; with full text story).
Here are details of those stories, plus others we have in the works for today and notable pieces that we sent in the past 10 hours (all times EST):
WASHINGTON AND POLITICS
HEALTH OVERHAUL – HealthCare.gov on the mend, government says as self-imposed deadline passes. SENT: 700 words, photos. UPCOMING: new angle with look ahead to what’s in store the rest of the year; details TBD.
COMMON CORE-THE CRITICS – Critics of the new Common Core academic standards have many concerns. Supporters think the worries are overblown, but they also cannot dismiss the underlying concerns or guarantee the academic standards’ success. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 4 p.m., photos.
AIRLINE PILOTS-AUTOMATION – Pilots are becoming so reliant on the computer systems that do most of the flying in today’s airliners that on the rare occasions when something goes wrong, they’re sometimes unprepared to take control, according to aviation safety experts and government and industry studies. SENT: 1200 words, photos.
OBAMA-2014 ELECTIONS – Democrats running for re-election in Arkansas, Louisiana and other Republican-leaning states faced enough problems before Obama’s popularity swooned in November. Now they are awkwardly distancing themselves from him a year before the 2014 election, seeking the right balance between independence and betrayal. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m., photo.
BIDEN-JAPAN- He opens a weeklong trip to Asia aimed at showing the U.S. is still committed to increasing its engagement and influence in the region. SENT: 130 words, photo.
OBAMA-5 NEW THINGS: He sings in the bathroom, can whip up Pakistani delicacies: 5 new things about Obama. SENT: 600 words, photos.
NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT – Federal authorities begin investigating the cause, including retrieving data from two data recorders. Some question whether federally mandated auto-slowdown technology — not yet installed on the Metro-North tracks — could have prevented the crash. SENT: 1000 words. UPCOMING: 750 words by 5 p.m. Photos, video.
OKLAHOMA EARTHQUAKES-UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY – After decades of little seismic activity in this region, earthquakes have become more common in the last several years. UPCOMING: 850 words by noon, photos.
GAY MARRIAGE-HAWAII – The first couples started to take advantage of Hawaii’s newfound aloha for gay weddings. SENT: 700 words, photos.
FLIGHT DELAY-TUBERCULOSIS – About 70 passengers on a US Airways Express flight from Texas to Arizona were briefly kept on the plane after it landed, and some say they were told to get tuberculosis tests and vaccinations. SENT: 110 words.
SAME-SEX DIVORCE-MISSISSIPPI — A woman asking Mississippi to recognize her same-sex marriage so that she can legally get a divorce appears in court for a hearing. UPCOMING: Hearing begins at 10 a.m. EST. 550 words by 5 p.m.
CHRISTMAS TREES-ROOT ROT – There’s something rotten in Christmas tree country. And that has some farmers looking overseas for a solution. SENT: 960 words, photos, video.
HEPATITIS C-OUTBREAK – A traveling medical technician who infected dozens of patients in multiple states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes is set to find out how many decades he’ll spend in prison. SENT: 250 words. UPCOMING: updates from 9:30 a.m. hearing, then 600 words by 4 p.m.
MADOFF FRAUD-TRIAL – A longtime employee whose testimony expected this week is central to a federal trial against five of his former co-workers at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. SENT: 800 words, photos.
POLICE HOMELESS DEATH – A former police officer goes to trial on charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 3 p.m.
KATRINA-BURNED BODY — For the second time in three years, a federal jury is set to hear the Justice Department’s case against a former New Orleans police officer who shot and killed a man outside a strip mall in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. UPCOMING: Jury selection begins at 9:30 a.m. Word count depends on progress.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT — A former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company’s response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is set to face a jury, more than three years after the Justice Department launched a criminal probe of the disaster. UPCOMING: Jury selections begins at 11 a.m. EST. Word count depends on progress.
CYBER MONDAY – It was big one year. Then, it wasn’t. Now it’s huge. Cyber Monday is sometimes the busiest online shopping day of the year, but it wasn’t always. And with many retailers offering deals online well before Monday, there’s a chance it might not be this year. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos.
AMAZON-DRONE DELIVERY – Amazon.com says it’s considering using drone aircraft for deliveries, but says it will take years to advance the needed technology and for the needed FAA rules and regulations to be created. SENT: 240 words. UPCOMING: Developing on a variety of fronts; details TBD. Video planned.
SUPREME COURT-INTERNET TAXATION – The Supreme Court today refused to consider throwing out New York state’s taxes on Internet purchases on websites like Amazon.com, a move that could change the way Internet commerce works. SENT: 250 words.
THAILAND-WHOSE DEMOCRACY? – This is a fight about power, and who ought to have it. The unrest that has brought the capital to the brink of catastrophe this week has laid bare a societal schism pitting the majority rural poor against an urban-based elite establishment. SENT: 1,450 words, photos.
THAILAND-POLITICS – Thailand’s prime minister says she is willing to do anything it takes to end violent protests, but cannot accept the opposition’s “unconstitutional” demand to hand power to an unelected council. SENT: 800 words, photos.
UKRAINE-PROTEST – Thousands of Ukrainian protesters on Monday besieged government buildings in Kiev and called for the ouster of the prime minister and his Cabinet, as anger at the president’s decision to ditch a deal for closer ties with the European Union gripped other parts of the country and threatened his rule. SENT: 920 words, photos. UPCOMING: 950 words by 3 p.m.
UKRAINE-REVOLUTIONARY WORD — Soon after the current wave of protests arose in Ukraine, a new word appeared to describe them: Euromaidan. What does it mean? SENT: 500 words, photos.
EGYPT – A panel of liberals completes the rewriting of Egypt’s constitution, drafted by Islamists under Morsi, and the draft now heads into a nationwide referendum for approval. That sets up a new fight, with Morsi’s protesting supporters trying to stop it in the street. SENT: 650 words, photos. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5 p.m.
EGYPT-CONSTITUTION GLANCE — 10 things you need to know about the constitution, including how it addresses women’s rights and other issues. UPCOMING: 500 words by 3 p.m.
ISRAEL-NETANYAHU — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s penchant for scented candles is setting off a stink, with media and politicians accusing him of extravagantly spending public money. SENT: 500 words, photos.
UN RIGHTS – A growing body of evidence collected by U.N. investigators points to the involvement of senior Syrian officials, including Assad, in crimes against humanity and war crimes, the U.N.’s top human rights official said today. SENT: 280 words.
BRITAIN-HELICOPTER CRASH — Air accident investigators say the pilot of a police helicopter did not put out any emergency calls before crashing through the roof of a crowded Glasgow pub, killing at least eight. SENT: 210 words, photos.
MYANMAR’S BOY SOLDIERS – He disappeared when he was 12 years old, a skinny boy from the wrong side of town who thought he’d stumbled onto the golden ticket. SENT: 1,500 words, photos.
KINDERTRANSPORT MEMORIES – It was called the Kindertransport – Children’s Transport – a path from hell to freedom. Seventy-five years ago this week, the first group of kids arrived; some 10,000 children, most but not all Jewish, would escape the Nazis in the months to come. Memories of five of those in the transport, as told to the AP. SENT: 1,800 words and then-and-now photos.
VENEZUELA’S FADING INFLUENCE – Venezuela’s economic woes are spreading beyond its borders, costing the country influence with allies and key trading partners. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.
SKOREA-JAPAN-BITTER TIES – When South Korean fans at a soccer game against Japan unfurled two massive banners honoring men considered national heroes for battling Japanese invaders, organizers took them down, Tokyo grumbled — and South Koreans cheered yet another sign of defiance against their former colonizer. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
SYRIA-SPLINTERED OPPOSITION – On the deep disillusionment and distrust that many Syrians have come to feel toward the Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s main opposition group in exile. SENT: 950 words, photos.
ROMANIA-ANIMAL CRUELTY – The struggling EU country has seen a spate of brutal attacks against animals following the deadly mauling of a 4-year-old boy in August by one of Bucharest’s tens of thousands of street dogs. SENT: 420 words, photos.
GERMANY-FLAT RATE SEX – Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels in the country. SENT: 120 words.
GERMANY-OBIT-BOERE — German justice officials say Heinrich Boere, who murdered Dutch civilians as part of a Nazi Waffen SS hit squad during World War II but avoided justice for six decades, has died in a prison hospital at 92. SENT: 400 words, photos.
AUSTRALIA-BIRD STEALS CAMERA – A brazen bird snatches a video camera that was recording crocodiles in northwest Australia and captures fascinating footage of its 110-kilometer (70-mile) journey across the country’s remote landscape. SENT: 180 words, photo, video.
EPIDEMIC OF TWINS – Nearly half of all babies born with advanced fertility help are in multiple births, with much higher risks of health problems. Now fertility experts are pushing a new goal: One. More couples are attempting pregnancy with just a single embryo. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos, video.
AUSTRALIA-THALIDOMIDE LAWSUIT – A class action suit by Australian and New Zealand victims of Thalidomide against the anti-morning sickness drug’s British distributor Diageo Scotland Ltd. Is settled for 89 million Australian dollars ($81 million), a lawyer says. SENT: 300 words.
CHINA-SPACE – China launches its first rover mission to the moon, sending a robotic craft named Jade Rabbit to trundle across the lunar landscape, examine its geology and beam images back to Earth. SENT: 300 words, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-BUDGET LAPTOPS GIFT GUIDE – There’s no shortage of new laptop computers on the market this holiday season, even for those on a budget. UPCOMING: About 900 words by noon, photos.
OWENS MEDAL AUCTION – Amid the jerseys and baseball bats held in a secure room at SCP Auctions, there’s a piece of sports memorabilia that speaks to much more than athletic prowess: an Olympic medal won by track star Jesse Owens at the 1936 Games in Berlin. SENT: 500 words, photos, video.
POP CULTURE / LIFESTYLES
TWELVE DAYS-COST – The cost of every item mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is more than double the average annual increase. SENT: 400 words.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN-AUCTION — The grey wool suit Gene Kelly wore in the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” is going up for auction after being kept in a closet by a memorabilia collector for more than four decades. The suit is expected to bring more than $20,000. UPCOMING: 500 words by 3 p.m., photo.
NEW ZEALAND-HOBBIT DRAGON – New Zealand’s national airline unveils a giant image of the dragon Smaug on one of its planes to celebrate the premiere of the second movie in the Hobbit trilogy. The plane is to fly to Los Angeles in time for the premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” SENT: 230 words, photos.
HONG KONG-BRUCE LEE – Bruce Lee fans who covet the original yellow jumpsuit that the martial arts legend wore onscreen will get a chance to bid for it at a Hong Kong auction this week. SENT: 280 words, photos.
JAPAN-PEOPLE-LADY GAGA – One-of-a-kind Lady Gaga has been replicated. The pop star unveils life-size dolls in her likeness, dressed in her flamboyant costumes. SENT: 230 words, photos.
QUIET ZONE-PHOTO ESSAY – In this remote area of West Virginia, a cell phone signal is an hour away by car. Wifi is forbidden. The radio plays nothing but static. This is the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area where state and federal laws discourage the use of everyday devices that emit electromagnetic waves. The quiet zone aims to protect sensitive radio telescopes at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, as well as a nearby Naval research facility, from man-made interference. This enables scientists to detect energy in outer space that is equivalent to the energy emitted by a single snowflake hitting the ground. SENT: photos and 250 words.
HOW TO REACH US
At the Nerve Center, Caleb Jones, Marco Mulcahy and Nina Sen can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, (ext. 7636). Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-836-9477.