Questions about the Newsfeatures Digest: Contact Christopher Sullivan at 212-621-5435. For photos, call 212-621-1900. Reruns of stories are available at http://apexchange.com, from the Service Desk at 800-838-4616, or your local AP bureau. Digest updated through the week.
NEW THIS DIGEST: BC-INSURANCE EXCHANGES-CLOUDY FUTURE, BC-ECONOMIST-END OF INNOVATION?-Q&A, BC-JERUSALEM-SHRINE SURVEILLANCE, BC-PHISHING-TAX SEASON, BC-OSCARS-BOX OFFICE, BC-GIANT ROOFTOP GREENHOUSE.
FOR THIS WEEK (for immediate release except as noted):
INSURANCE EXCHANGES-CLOUDY FUTURE
Political uncertainty isn’t the only threat to the Affordable Care Act’s future. Health insurance exchanges created to help millions of people find coverage are turning into money-losing ventures for many insurers. By Tom Murphy. SENT: 1,000 words on Feb. 26. Photos.
ECONOMIST-END OF INNOVATION?-Q&A
It’s a dreary thought. America’s most innovative days are gone. A lack of truly groundbreaking inventions has imposed a long-term drag on economic growth — and with it the prospect of meaningful pay raises for most of us. That, at least, is the argument put forth in a provocative new book by Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 1,600 words on Feb. 25. Photos.
Across Europe, gay and transgender asylum seekers face abuse at shelters from refugees, staff or translators, suggesting some migrants from conservative Muslim countries are bringing taboos against homosexuality into more liberal West. By Kirsten Grieshaber and Mike Corder. SENT: 1,400 words on Feb. 22. Photos.
Russia is planning to ask permission to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras over America amid warnings from intelligence and military officials that such overflights have become instrumental in Moscow’s ability to collect intelligence on the United States. By Deb Riechmann. SENT: 760 words on Feb. 22. Photo.
Twenty five years after the first U.S. Marines swept across the border into Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War, American forces find themselves battling the extremist Islamic State group, born out of al-Qaida, in the splintered territories of Iraq and Syria. By Jon Gambrell. SENT: 950 words on Feb. 22. Photos.
Video surveillance of Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site was meant to be a quick fix to lower tensions that have driven months of Israeli-Palestinian violence, but disputes over who controls the footage and what the cameras may and may not film are holding up the project. SENT: 900 words on Feb. 26. Photos.
What may look like a legitimate email from the IRS may actually be part of a phishing scheme to steal information stored in your computer. SENT: 930 words on Feb. 25. Photo.
ON THE MONEY-BEST TIME TO BUY
For those willing to wait, there’s a best time of year to buy all kinds of things, from TVs and towels to blankets and bathing suits. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: 750 words on Feb. 24.
EVERYTHING IS A SNACK
Food makers turning grilled chicken, chocolate, peanut butter and even Spam into snacks to fit with changing eating habits. SENT: 800 words on Feb. 24. Photos.
Meet the Hero Rats: intelligent, surprisingly adorable creatures with some of the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom. They’ve successfully cleared minefields in Mozambique and Angola, and this month began doing the same in Cambodia. SENT: 1,300 words on Feb. 23. Photos.
FASHION-JOINING THE DIGITAL AGE
High-end fashion houses are re-imagining their way of doing business — rethinking hallowed institutions such as the seasonal fashion show. With big names like Tom Ford canceling his show at New York Fashion week and Burberry planning to cut the number of shows from four to two, the houses are trying to adjust to a world where customers want the clothes on display now — not six months from now — and offering their clothes for sale online straight from the runway. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 1,000 words on Feb. 22. Photos.
AP Film Writers Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr weigh in on what will win and what should win at the Oscars this year. SENT: 1,200 words on Feb. 24. Photos.
They call it Oscar bait – those certain ingredients a movie typically needs to find its way to Academy Award contention. But what are these ingredients? Do they evolve with the times? And how much of the bait is created by slickly choreographed awards campaigns that rival those of presidential candidates? By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 900 words on Feb. 23. Photos.
Thought recent attention has focused intensely on the #OscarsSoWhite campaign sparked by the obvious lack of racial diversity in the Oscar nominations, advocates for women in Hollywood note that we should be paying attention to gender equity as well. But many are heartened — though cautiously — by recent moves toward overall diversity that should benefit women, as well as the mere fact that the conversation has started in earnest. By National Writer Jocelyn Noveck. SENT: 800 words on Feb. 22. Photos.
Movies make more money when exactly half the cast is non-white, according to an annual analysis that shows an even stronger connection between diversity and profits — and suggests how profoundly out of touch the motion picture academy is when giving Oscars only to white actors. By Business Writer Ryan Nakashima. SENT: 600 words, photos. With OSCARS-DIVERSITY-THE SHOW — A look at how this year’s Oscarcast will be different because of the diversity crisis. SENT: 670 words, photo.
Colombia’s “Embrace of the Serpent,” nominated for a best foreign language Oscar, shows the Amazon from the point of view of the natives instead of the traditional white man’s perspective. SENT: 600 words on Feb. 24. Photos, video.
With: BC-JORDAN-OSCAR DREAMS — A coming-of-age drama set among Bedouin tribesmen is the first Oscar contender produced by Jordan’s nascent film industry. SENT: 1,000 words. Photos.
HOUSTON TRAIL RIDE-PHOTO GALLERY
About 3,000 riders on horseback and in wagons mosey along Texas roads in celebration of next month’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. SENT: 12 photos on Feb. 24.
GIANT ROOFTOP GREENHOUSE
CHICAGO — At nearly two acres, the greenhouse atop a soap factory on Chicago’s far South Side is enormous. Its owners claim there is no bigger rooftop greenhouse in the world. Even in winter, it supplies lettuce and other greens to local restaurants and stores. By National Writer Martha Irvine. SENT: 500 words on Feb. 25. Photos, video.
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