BC-AP Newsfeatures Digest


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.

OF SPECIAL NOTE:

SUICIDE AND GUNS

MONTROSE, Colorado — A map of suicide rates in the U.S. reveals a striking pattern — with states of the interior West, along with Alaska, showing the highest rates, just as they have higher rates of firearm ownership and a common view that gun rights are inviolable. Now, in Colorado, there’s an initiative, the Gun Shop Project, to see if this strong gun community itself — sellers and owners, operators of shooting ranges — can help lower the toll by breaking a taboo and taking up a hard, face-to-face discussion about guns and suicide. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 2,700 words, with an abridged version. AP Photos, video, graphic map. Moved March 30, in advance for print release Sunday, April 3. Will be retransmitted spot. Video will move on Monday, April 4, and text story will be re-sent with video link.              With:              BC-Suicide and Guns-States, about related projects in high-suicide places in the West.  

THE KENYA-KENTUCKY CONNECTION

A probe by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the IAAF into Kenya’s offshore running industry is zeroing in on a Russian agent with a string of doping positives and associations in her Kentucky camp. By Sports Writers John Leicester and Eddie Pells. SENT: 2,430 words, with abridged version, on March 31. Photos, video.

FOR THIS WEEK (immediate release except as noted):

AIRPORT SECURITY-LONG WAITS

An expedited screening program called PreCheck was supposed to be the answer to maddeningly long security lines at the airport. But four years after its launch, the Transportation Security Administration is far short of enrolling enough travelers to make a difference, spelling trouble for summer travel season. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 1,140 words on March 30. Photos, video.

CHINA-THE MASTERFUL CON

Gilbert Chikli needed a place where he could legitimize money stolen from some of the biggest corporations in the world. He found it in China. An AP investigation has found that China is emerging as a global hub for money laundering, where criminal networks can safely hide cash, clean it, and pump it back into the global financial system. By Erika Kinetz, Daniel Estrin and Tia Goldenberg. SENT: 3,200 words on March 28. Abridged version, 900 words, available. Photos, video.

With:

BC-CHINA-MASTERFUL-CON-EVIDENCE: A look at criminals around the world who launder money through China.

BC-CHINA-THE MASTERFUL CON-FILM, about a movie based on Chikli’s exploits.

CHINA-BARBIE HACK

Mysterious cyber-thieves tricked Mattel into wiring over $3 million to a bank in China. The funds were swept up in a tide of dirty money passing through China, which is emerging as global money laundering hub. By Erika Kinetz. SENT: 1,360 words on March 29. Photos.

With:

BC-MONEY LAUNDERING-OLD HAVENS.

ASIA-JOURNALISTS UNDER PRESSURE

In many countries across Asia, governments are growing less tolerant of critical reporting, arresting journalists and closing media outlets in some cases. A look at which countries are clamping down on press freedoms. SENT: 1,100 words on March 29. Photos.

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-FINDING SNOW

A year after his annual ski trip was nearly ruined by California’s drought, an Associated Press reporter finds an entirely different landscape: It was as if he and his friends had awakened in a white dream. SENT: 700 words by 3 p.m., photos.

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-MIDDLE EAST

A Saudi Arabian company’s land purchases have rekindled debate over whether a patchwork of laws and court rulings in the western United States too heavily favors farmers — especially growers of thirsty, low-profit crops like alfalfa — when cities are telling residents to shorten showers, skip car washes and replace grass lawns. By Elliot Spagat and Aya Batrawy. SENT: 850 words on March 28.

With:

BC-CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-MIDDLE EAST-Q&A.

SYRIA-RESCUING ANTIQUITIES — With their history threatened by Islamic State militants, Syrians have succeeded in a sweeping evacuation of museums across the country in recent years, hiding hundreds of thousands of artifacts, often at the risk of their own lives. By Maeva Bambuck. SENT: 1,310 words, photos. With video SYR ANTIQUITIES (CR); SYRIA — Syrian activists: Airstrikes hit east of Damascus, kill 23 (sent).

YEMEN-HUNGER WAR

Hunger is the most horrific consequence of Yemen’s conflict and has spiraled in a year since Shiite rebels seized the capital and Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the US, responded with a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade. SENT: 1,620 words on March 29. Photos.

BRIDGE JOBS

In the old days, the transition from employment to retirement was marked by a date on a calendar, along with some sheet cake, and a maybe a gold watch. Those days are long gone for most workers in the United States. For workers today, the journey toward complete withdrawal from the labor-force can go on for many years after “retiring.” It’s a phase economists refer to as “bridge employment,” basically a period of working after leaving a career job, but before full retirement. By Adam Allington. SENT: 900 words on March 29. Photos.

DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD

NEW YORK — While congressional Republicans’ bid to defund Planned Parenthood was vetoed by President Barack Obama, anti-abortion activists and politicians are achieving a growing portion of their goal with an aggressive state-by-state strategy.  Over the past year, more than a dozen states — the latest Florida last week — have sought to halt or reduce public funding for Planned Parenthood.  By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 900 words on March 28. Photo.

SUMMER TRAVEL-5 TIPS

Experts offer tips for saving on summer travel; Washington considers more disclosure of airline fees. SENT: 870 words on March 29. Photo.

HOLLYWOOD-ARTS EDUCATION

Years of cuts have stripped arts classes from much of the Los Angeles school district, leaving many children in the world’s entertainment capital with no instruction in music, visual arts, dance or theater. By Christine Armario. SENT: 940 words on March 29. Photos, video.

And:

BC-HOLLYWOOD-ARTS EDUCATION-ONE STUDENT — An East Los Angeles teen has found escape from gang by singing Mexican corridos. By Christine Armario. SENT: 480 words. Photos.

FITNESS-WORKOUT INJURIES

Doctors, chiropractors and trainers say workout-related injuries have become more common as the high intensity interval training and CrossFit hybrids movement has exploded. Some experts say the workouts strain participant’s bodies beyond what they’re meant to endure as they sling sledgehammers over their shoulders, perfect headstand push-ups and jump on monster tires. By Kelli Kennedy. UPCOMING: 750 words on March 30. Photos.

BEYOND VR-AUGMENTED REALITY

Augmented reality startups and technology trendsetters want to show that virtual reality is merely a ‘stepping stone’ to breakthroughs that touch more people. By Technology Writer Mike Liedtke. SENT: 1,030 words on march 31. Photos.

HONG KONG-ART FAIR-PHOTO GALLERY

HONG KONG — Asia’s biggest exhibition of modern and contemporary art brought together 239 galleries from 35 countries and territories in Hong Kong, which has emerged as the region’s top art trading hub. A photo gallery captures the scene. By Kin Cheung. SENT: 160 words on March 27. Photos.

The AP