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VIRUS OUTBREAK-STATE SPENDING — An Associated Press analysis shows states spent more than $7 billion this spring buying personal protective equipment such as masks gloves and gowns as well as vital medical devices such as ventilators. The data obtained from states through open-records requests is the most comprehensive accounting to date of how much states were spending and whom they were paying during a chaotic period at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Some states paid as much as $11 for individual N95 masks, which could have been bought for around 50 cents before the pandemic. By David A. Lieb and Camille Fassett. SENT: 1,865 words, photos. Eds: An abridged version of 980 words is available. WITH: VIRUS OUTBREAK-STATE SPENDING-CANCELED ORDERS — Businesses left with bills as states halt virus supply deals. SENT: 970 words, photos.
FEDERAL AGENCIES HACKED — Contradicting his secretary of state and other top officials, President Donald Trump suggests without evidence that China — not Russia — may be behind the major cyberattack against the United States and he tries to minimize its impact. In his first comments on the breach, Trump scoffs at the focus on the Kremlin and downplays the intrusions, which the nation’s cybersecurity agency has warned posed a “grave” risk to government and private networks. By Jill Colvin and Matthew Lee. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS — Negotiators are down to a handful of remaining issues as they seek to finalize an almost $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package. There’s optimism the overdue talks would soon produce an agreement. The Senate convened a Saturday session, while House members stood by for a vote that will come no earlier than Sunday. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 950 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK — First, Theresa Pirozzi’s 85-year-old dad got sick and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Days later, her mom was so weak she could barely walk. Now, instead of getting ready for Christmas, Pirozzi is anxiously awaiting updates from the hospital where both of her parents are in intensive care with the coronavirus. The couple is emblematic of the crisis deepening at an alarming rate in California, where hospitals are being stretched to their limits as the virus explodes across the state. By Alanna Durkin Richer. SENT: 750 words, photos. WITH: VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE — The Army general in charge of getting COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S. is apologizing for what he calls “miscommunication” with states over the number of doses to be delivered in the early stages of distribution. SENT: 280 words, photo.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-POLITICAL HYPOCRISY — Several American political leaders have been caught preaching one thing on the coronavirus and doing another. Politicians have long been called out for hypocrisy. But their actions can feel like a personal insult during a pandemic that’s forced millions into seclusion and left many without paychecks. By Juliet Williams. SENT: 960 words, photos. Eds: This story has moved as the Sunday Spotlight.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-RURAL CHURCHES — As churches in rural communities in South Dakota approach this year’s Christmas season, church announcements are marked not with parties and performances, but with deaths. Churches in Canton, South Dakota, are grappling with how to approach an Advent filled with quiet mourning after a series of coronavirus deaths in the community. Yet congregations are also finding new significance in the season when Christians mark the long, dark nights leading up to Christmas by preparing to celebrate the hope of Jesus Christ’s birth. SENT: 895 words, photos.
BIDEN CHURCH — Joe Biden’s home church, St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, is one of the last places where the president-elect can at least try to blend in, a luxury that probably will fade away completely when he takes office next month. Once he arrives in Washington, the trappings of the presidency — and the eagerness of the city’s residents to be near power — could make a casual church visit nearly impossible. By Will Weissert and Elana Schor. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
WINTRY WEATHER-DOME COLLAPSE — The owner of a sports complex in the upstate New York city of Binghamton says he plans to rebuild after its air-supported dome collapsed under this week’s record-breaking snowfall. SENT: 180 words.
GEORGE-FLOYD COURTROOM CAMERAS — A judge has upheld his decision to livestream the trial of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd. SENT: 225 words.
FRANCE-EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION — A modeling agent associated with disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been charged in France with sexual harassment and the rape of minors over 15 years old. SENT: 215 words, photos.
MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BRITAIN — Millions of people must cancel their Christmas get-togethers and most shops have to close in London and much of southern England, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday as he imposed a new, stricter level of coronavirus restrictions on the region to curb rapidly spreading infections. SENT: 720 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ITALY — An author of a withdrawn World Health Organization report into Italy’s coronavirus response warned his bosses in May that people could die and the U.N. agency could suffer “catastrophic” reputational damage if it allowed political concerns to suppress the document, according to emails seen by The Associated Press. SENT: 1,190 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ISRAEL-VACCINATIONS — Israel’s prime minister has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The shot Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received on Saturday made him the first Israeli and among the world’s first leaders to be inoculated. SENT: 210 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-IRAN-VACCINES-EXPLAINER — Although Iran faces crushing U.S. sanctions, there are still ways for Tehran to obtain coronavirus vaccines as the country suffers the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the pandemic. After earlier downplaying the virus, Iran has since acknowledged the scope of the disaster it faces after 1.1 million reported cases and over 52,000 deaths. SENT: 860 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-PORTUGAL — As a resurgence of the pandemic in the fall looked set to overwhelm nursing homes in Portugal, and public health services struggled to cope, the government mobilized all the resources it could. That included deploying military units. SENT: 760 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-INDIA — India’s confirmed coronavirus cases have crossed 10 million , but new infections have dipped to their lowest levels in three months, as the country prepares for a massive COVID-19 vaccination in the new year. SENT: 400 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA — California hospitals are battling to find beds to house patients amid fears that the exploding coronavirus infection rate will exhaust resources and health care workers. SENT: 910 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BALKANS — Balkan citizens going home from Western Europe for holidays have created huge traffic jams at border crossings despite coronavirus restrictions meant to discourage travel for Christmas and the New Year. SENT: 400 words, photos.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHINA — China will soon begin coronavirus inoculations for workers in health care, transport and border control, a senior official says. SENT: 390 words, photo.
Find more coverage on the Virus Outbreak on the featured topic page in AP Newsroom.
BIDEN CABINET — President-elect Joe Biden introduces the environmental team he hopes will steer America toward greater action to curb climate change and protect the nation’s air and water. Donald Trump’s presidency has been marked by efforts to boost oil and gas production while rolling back government efforts intended to safeguard the environment. SENT: 350 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3:30 p.m. Event scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
BIDEN-ANALYSIS — The definition of a scandal changes quickly in Washington. Over the course of four years, the nation’s capital has careened from one crisis to the next. And now it’s Republicans who are suddenly aghast over a lack of decorum. SENT: 870 words, photos.
OBIT-WINTER — Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter, a Democrat who pushed to strengthen public education and improve race relations, has died. He was 97. Winter, who was governor from 1980 to 1984, died Friday night at home in Jackson, family spokesman Dick Molpus said. SENT: 1,075 words, photos.
BOSNIA-MOSTAR-ELECTION — Bosnia’s ethnically divided southern city of Mostar is holding its first local election in 12 years. The vote on Sunday ends a political stalemate between two nationalist parties representing ethnic groups that has prevented Mostar’s citizens from democratically electing their local legislators. SENT: 880 words, photos.
AFGHANISTAN — Five rockets were fired at a major U.S. base in Afghanistan, but there were no casualties, NATO and provincial officials say. The rockets hit Bagram Airfield, said Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the governor in northern Parwan province. SENT: 310 words, photo.
TURKEY HOSPITAL FIRE — Turkey’s health minister says nine people have been killed in a fire at an intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients. The Anadolu news agency says the fire started when an oxygen cylinder exploded at the privately-run Sanko University Hospital unit in Gaziantep in southern Turkey. SENT: 275 words, photos.
BREXIT — European Union and British negotiators extended their standoff over EU fishing rights in U.K. waters and remained unable to make a decisive breakthrough in trade talks aimed at averting a chaotic and costly post-Brexit split on New Year’s Day. SENT: 520 words, photos.
ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN — Opponents and supporters of Armenia’s prime minister have rallied in the capital as the nation paid tribute to thousands who died in fighting with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. SENT: 330 words, photos.
TEXAS-AG CRIMINAL-ALLEGATIONS PROSECUTOR — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has spent years dodging legal and public relations blows that might have knocked others out of politics. Criminal allegations from his top deputies have set him up to square off against what may be his most formidable opponent yet: A federal prosecutor with a team of seasoned FBI agents and a track record of getting corrupt public officials sent to prison. SENT: 715 words, photos.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-BOSTON — Boston police and prosecutors are investigating after body camera footage surfaced that shows officers pushing protesters, pepper-spraying crowds and one officer talking about hitting protesters with a police vehicle. SENT: 260 words.
MILWAUKEE-POLICE CHIEF — A judge has given Milwaukee’s ousted police chief his job back, just a day after the board that demoted him selected a new acting chief. SENT: 290 words.
FBN–BILLS-BRONCOS — The Buffalo Bills, behind quarterback Josh Allen, can clinch their first AFC East title since 1995 when they play the Broncos. Denver is trying to avoid a fourth straight losing season, which hasn’t happened since the late 1960s and early ’70s. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game started 4:30 p.m.
FBC–T25-ACC CHAMPIONSHIP — No. 4 Clemson goes for its sixth straight ACC championship and a playoff berth when it faces No. 2 Notre Dame. The Irish beat the Tigers 47-40 this season and the longtime independent is eyeing its first conference title. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 4 p.m.
FBC–T25-SEC CHAMPIONSHIP — No. 1 Alabama plays No. 11 Florida for the SEC championship, with the Tide trying to keep a perfect season going. The Gators likely ruined their shot at the playoff with their loss to LSU last weekend but can still capture their first SEC title since 2008. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
FBC–T25-BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP — No. 3 Ohio State tries to capture its fourth consecutive outright conference crown — and a possible playoff spot — when it plays No. 15 Northwestern for the Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes have won eight straight against the Wildcats. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game started noon.
HKN–2021 SEASON DEAL – The NHL has tentatively agreed to a regular season that will be limited to divisional play only, the AP is told. Unclear is whether the league’s seven Canadian teams will be allowed to play in their country because of health protocols. SENT: 550 words, photos.
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