AP News Digest 3:55 a.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.

———————————

TOP STORIES

———————————-

RUSSIA UKRAINE WAR — The Russian military is observing a cease-fire in two areas of Ukraine to allow civilians to evacuate, Russian state media reported Saturday, the first breakthrough in allowing civilians to escape the war. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 730 words, photos. With RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-THE LATEST; RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-THINGS TO KNOW (both sent).

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-TRUMP — Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is posing a serious test for Donald Trump and his “America First” doctrine at a moment when he is eyeing another presidential run and using this year’s midterm elections to keep bending the GOP to his will. He’s largely alone in his sustained praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin as “smart.” By Jill Colvin. SENT: 1,180 words, photos. With ELECTION 2022-PENCE — Former Vice President Mike Pence declares “there is no room in this party for apologists for Putin.” SENT: 500 words, photo.

RUSSIAN-UKRAINE-WAR-MARIUPOL-DIARY — In the first week of war in Ukraine, the country’s southern port city of Mariupol saw shelling, the heartbreaking deaths of children, and the hope of new births. Associated Press journalists captured harrowing moments unfolding in the Azov Sea city, which was plunged into darkness late in the week as the battle knocked out electricity and also phone lines, making it that much harder to help the wounded. By Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka. SENT: 840 words, photos.

RUSSIAN-UKRAINE-WAR-VATICAN — The head of the Polish bishops’ conference has done what Pope Francis has so far avoided doing: He publicly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urged the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to use his influence with Vladimir Putin to demand an end to the war and for Russian soldiers to stand down. By Nicole Winfield SENT: 920 words, photos.

PAKISTAN-EXPLOSION — Officials vow to hunt down and arrest the masterminds behind a deadly mosque attack in Pakistan a day earlier claimed by an Islamic State affiliate. The assault killed 57 people and wounded nearly 200. By Kathy Gannon and Riaz Khan. SENT: 720 words, photos.

————————————————————————

MORE ON RUSSIA UKRAINE WAR

————————————————————————-

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-CYBERATTACKS — The 1,000-plus Ukrainian volunteer “hacker” corps that formed in a fury to counter Russia’s blitzkrieg is much more than a paramilitary cyberattack force — it is crucial to information combat and to crowdsourcing intelligence in the first major internet-centric war. SENT: 890 words, photo.

UKRAINE-WAR-RUSSIAN DISSIDENT — A Russian citizen who years ago left her home country in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s government has been forced to flee again — this time from her adopted home of Kyiv — as Putin’s armed forces assault Ukraine. Olena, an anti-Putin activist before she moved to Ukraine in 2016, said she feels like a “double refugee” after leaving Russia and then fleeing Putin’s invasion. SENT: 570 words, photos.

UKRAINE-WAR-BALKANS-PUTIN-EXPLAINER — Well before Russian tanks and troops rolled into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin was using the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s to ostensibly offer justification for the invasion of a sovereign European country. The Russian president has been particularly focused on NATO’s bombardment of Serbia in 1999 and the West’s acceptance of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008. He has claimed that both created a precedent that shattered international law and order, giving him an apparent excuse to intervene in Ukraine. SENT: 800 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-MEDIA-CRACKDOWN — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday intensified a crackdown on media outlets and individuals who fail to hew to the Kremlin line on Russia’s war in Ukraine, blocking Facebook and Twitter and signing into law a bill that criminalizes the intentional spreading of what Moscow deems to be “fake” reports. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-NO-FLY-ZONE-EXPLAINER — Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has renewed calls for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, That’s despite the repeated rejection of the idea by Western leaders, who are concerned about triggering a wider war in Europe. SENT: 750 words, photos.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-BIDEN-FINLAND — Presidents Joe Biden and Sauli Niinisto meet at the White House as Finland finds itself at a crossroads of whether to move closer to Europe and the West by joining NATO as Russian forces pummel Ukraine. SENT: 260 words, photos.

UKRAINE-HUMANITARIAN RELIEF — Iryna Volvach was hoping to be able to seek asylum when word broke that the Biden administration was granting humanitarian relief to Ukrainians already in the United States. The 62-year-old woman living in Los Angeles is among about 75,000 Ukrainians who may benefit from Temporary Protected Status, providing Ukrainians in the United States with a rare dose of good news after a week of devastating developments back home. UPCOMING: 720 words, photos, interactive by 6:30 p.m.

————————————————————————

MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

————————————————————————-

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIDEN — The U.S. will run out of money this month to bolster COVID-19 testing supplies and to ensure the treatment of uninsured Americans for the virus remains free unless Congress moves swiftly to approve more funding, the White House warns. SENT: 770 words, photo.

—————————————

TRENDING NEWS

—————————————-

OBIT-MITCHELL-RYAN — Mitchell Ryan, who played a villainous general in the first “Lethal Weapon” movie, a ruthless businessman on TV’s “Santa Barbara” and had character roles on the soap opera “Dark Shadows” and the 1990s sitcom “Dharma & Greg,” has died. He was 88. SENT: 310 words, photo.

STOLEN LEMUUR DIES — Maki, a ring-tailed lemur who made headlines when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens in 2020 and then found and returned, has died at the age of 22, the zoo announced. SENT: 320 words, photos.

OBIT-WALTER-MEARS — Walter R. Mears, who for 45 years fluidly and speedily wrote the news about presidential campaigns and elections for The Associated Press and won a Pulitzer Prize doing it, has died. He was 87. SENT: 270 words, photo.

——————————————————

WASHINGTON/POLITICS

——————————————————

CAPITOL-RIOT-IDAHO-SENTENCE — An Idaho man who hit a police officer with a pipe as part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last year was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison. SENT: 610 words, photos.

ELECTION 2022-PENCE — Former Vice President Mike Pence will urge Republicans to move on from the 2020 election and will declare “there is no room in this party for apologists for Putin” as he escalates his break from former President Donald Trump. SENT: 500 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words after 8 p.m. speech.

CAPITOL RIOT-FIRST TRIAL — The first person to be tried in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was a Texas militia member who advocated for physically removing and replacing “corrupt” members of Congress as he drove to Washington, a former group member testifies. SENT: 900 words, photos.

—————————

NATIONAL

—————————-

UTAH-TRANSGENDER-YOUTH-SPORTS — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox says that he plans to veto legislation that would effectively ban transgender student-athletes from girls sports if it’s sent to him in the final hours before lawmakers adjourn. SENT: 280 words, photo.

POLICE-CHIEF-FIRED — A Florida police chief has been fired after only about six months on the job following an investigation into several discrimination complaints. SENT: 220 words.

BREONNA TAYLOR-EX-OFFICER’S-TRIAL — The acquittal of an ex-Louisville police officer tied to the botched drug raid that ended with Breonna Taylor’s death is stirring the frustrations of her family and protesters who marched for months in her name. SENT: 650 words, photos.

—————————————

INTERNATIONAL

—————————————

KOREAS-TENSION — North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the sea, according to its neighbors’ militaries, extending Pyongyang’s streak of weapons tests this year amid a prolonged freeze in nuclear negotiations with the United States. SENT: 800 words, photos.

CHINA-CONGRESS-DEFENSE-SPENDING — China on Saturday announced a 7.1% increase in defense spending in 2022 to $229 billion, continuing years of robust spending on its increasingly powerful military that is challenging the U.S. armed forces’ dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. SENT: 560 words, photos.

IRAN-NUCLEAR — The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog prepared to meet with Iranian officials as talks in Vienna over Tehran’s tattered atomic deal with world powers appear to be reaching their end. SENT: 470 words, photo.

MEXICO-JOURNALIST-KILLED — A journalist was killed Friday in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, the seventh slain in the country so far this year and the latest to cause indignation not only at home but abroad and even in the U.S. government. SENT: 520 words, photo.

CHINA-US-NEW AMBASSOR — New U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns has arrived to take up his post in Beijing amid heightened tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan, trade, human rights and the war in Ukraine. SENT: 320 words, photo.

——————-

SPORTS

———————

T25-NORTH CAROLINA-DUKE PREVIEW — Retiring Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski sees more maturity from his fourth-ranked Duke team coming down the stretch entering his final home game. Beyond the emotions sure to come with Coach K’s farewell from Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils want to keep rolling after losing only once since mid-January — including a romp against a rival North Carolina team that wants to prove it’s better than it showed in last month’s 20-point loss. By Aaron Beard. SENT: 600 words and photos.

GLF–BAY HILL — Rory McIlroy opened with a 7-under 65 and had reason to expect a score like this at Bay Hill, not so much because of the course but rather the day of the week. Good starts have not been a problem for McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the last two years. Now it’s about keeping them going to the finish line. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.

CRI-OBIT-WARNE — Shane Warne, whose artful and record-breaking spin bowling on the cricket field was matched by his impish allure and often controversial career off the pitch, was remembered by all manner of athletes, actors, prime ministers and rock stars following his death from an apparent heart attack. He was 52. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

——————————————-

HOW TO REACH US

——————————————-

At the Nerve Center, Vincent K. Willis can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, (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@ap.org or call 844-777-2006.