BC-AP News Digest 7 am

Here are the AP's latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST.








CHICAGO VIOLENCE-TRAIN THEFTS — Four times in the last few years, gangs have stolen guns after luckily choosing the right box cars to break into in little tended trains near Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. The spate of incidents — including one heist of 111 brand new Rugers guns, many of which are now still on the city's streets — point up not only the dangerous confluence of the railyards near the city's most gang- and homicide-plagued areas, but also federal officials' concerns that the railways, shippers and others involved aren't taking enough responsibility in preventing it from happening. Lax train-cargo security is a concern elsewhere, including in and around Los Angles, Dallas and Miami. But Chicago stands out not only because it's the No. 1 hub of the nation's freight rail network, but because its busiest tracks and rail yards hug the high-crime South and West Sides. By Michael Tarm. SENT: 900 words, photos video.




ATTORNEY GENERAL-RUSSIA —Jeff Sessions may not have been clear about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election, but this much is: The controversy over any Kremlin involvement in American politics is not going to fade away anytime soon. By Eric Tucker. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 3:30 a.m., photos. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 1,020 words, photos, video. WITH: ART OF THE PARSE — In Washington, it's the art of the parse. Everyone splits rhetorical hairs from time to time, but politicians are especially adept at trying to weasel out of tight spots with carefully crafted explanations. By Nancy Benac. SENT: 700 words, photos; ATTORNEY GENERAL-RUSSIA-STATEMENTS; ATTORNEY GENERAL-RUSSIA-PERJURY-Q&A; ATTORNEY GENERAL-RUSSIA-GLANCE (all sent).

RUSSIA'S AMBASSADOR — The White House's back-to-back scandals involving Russia have at least one person in common: Sergey Kislyak, Russia's well-connected top diplomat in the U.S. who, by some accounts, is an unlikely figure to be at the center of controversy. By Vivian Salama, Vladimir Isachenkov and Matthew Lee. SENT: 800 words, photos. With RUSSIA-TRUMP — The Kremlin decries the "emotional atmosphere" in Washington about Sessions' meetings with a Russian diplomat (sent).

PENCE-EMAIL — Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business as Indiana's governor. As Trump's running mate, Pence frequently criticized rival Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. Pence's contacts were sent an email falsely claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money. By Ken Thomas. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-NORTH KOREA — Malaysian police release the only North Korean it had detained in the killing of the half brother of North Korea's leader, as it condemned the use of a banned nerve agent in the attack and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 900 words, photos. With MALAYSIA-NORTH-KOREA-THE-LATEST.

SYRIA-RACE FOR RAQQA — A major battle to liberate the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State militants is looming, with U.S. officials looking to build on momentum from the battlefields in Mosul in the push for the de-facto capital of the self-proclaimed IS caliphate. Armed with a new Pentagon plan for militants in both countries, President Donald Trump is now mulling options for upping the fight. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. With SYRIA — Syrian troops after taking Palmyra from IS, clear explosives; SYRIA — SYRIA-PALMYRA-GLANCE (both sent).

YELLEN — One by one, several Federal Reserve officials have signaled in recent days that the Fed is ready to resume raising interest rates as soon as this month. The question is whether the official who matters most — Chair Janet Yellen — will add her own voice to that impression. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 800 words, followed by 130 words at 1 p.m. as speech is delivered, 300 words by 1:45 p.m. WITH: FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian shares lower as investors await Fed chair's speech (sent).




BAR SHOOTING-KANSAS-SURVIVOR RELEASED — Survivor of Kansas bar shooting released from hospital. SENT: 250 words.

NINTENDO-SWITCH — The Nintendo Switch, a hybrid game machine that works as both a console at home and a portable tablet on the go, makes its debut. SENT: 900 words, photos.

FAKE FOODS? — The dairy industry's accusations calling soy, almond and rice drinks "fake milk" is just the latest in the history of food fights. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

BRITAIN-WWII BOMB — London neighborhood evacuated after WWII German bomb found. SENT: 130 words, photo.

OSCARS-ACADEMY EMAIL — Film academy president reassures members after Oscar botch. SENT: 600 words, photo.

HARVARD-SLAVERY — Harvard seeks to confront historical ties to slavery. SENT: 130 words, photos.




ATLANTA JEWISH COMMUNITY-HATE — Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta's Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension. Six decades ago, during the turmoil of the civil rights era, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a huge hole in Atlanta's largest synagogue, and a generation earlier, a Jewish businessman was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism. SENT: 850 words, photos. WITH: JEWISH CEMETERY VANDALISM — Police: Jewish cemetery vandalized in New York state (sent).

PRISON LOCKDOWN-NEBRASKA — Disturbance leaves two inmates dead at Nebraska prison. SENT: 450 words, photos, video.

FATAL FIRE-OREGON — Oregon mother and son succumb to injuries from rural house fire. SENT: 600 words, photos.




IRAQ — Thousands of civilians flee Mosul overnight as Iraqi forces advanced north of a sprawling military base near the city's airport. SENT: 500 words, photos.

SOMALIA-US MILITARY — MOGADISHU, Somalia — The Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab has proved to be a more resilient foe than expected, forcing the United States to expand its military involvement in the Horn of Africa nation with the realization that current strategies including drone attacks are not enough, security experts say. UPCOMING: 800 words by 3:05 a.m. EST, photos.

TRUMP IN ASIA-INDONESIA — Indonesians are by turns shocked and bemused by Donald Trump's volatile presidency but many say Trump's personality and actions haven't changed their positive view of the United States. There is a reservoir of goodwill in the world's most populous Muslim nation toward the U.S., which Indonesians often see as a beacon for values they hope will flourish in their own country. SENT: 880 words, photos.

ISRAEL-IRAN-PEACE CONCERT — Rockers in Israeli-Iranian concert show that despite their countries' enmity, ordinary people can find common ground. SENT: 900 words, photos.

CHINA-INDIA-DALAI LAMA — China says Dalai Lama border visit would damage India ties. SENT: 250 words, photo.




FBC--BAYLOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT INVESTIGATION — Breaking months of public silence, former Baylor coach Art Briles said he could no longer "remain silent" and insisted he did not cover up sexual violence by his players or try to obstruct any investigations tied to the assault scandal at the nation's largest Baptist university. SENT: 740 words, photos.

BBI--WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC — The World Baseball Classic opens Monday, with hopes that one day it will be as important as soccer's World Cup. But baseball's top international event has a ways to go. It is a work in progress, with many major leaguers focused on the upcoming season. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 500 words, photos.




CATERPILLAR-SEARCH WARRANT — Federal law enforcement officials raided three central Illinois facilities of Caterpillar as part of an investigation that is tied to the equipment manufacturing giant's Swiss subsidiary. SENT: 700 words, photos.

AMAZON-OUTAGE — Typo caused Amazon's big cloud-computing outage. SENT: 130 words, photos.




At the Nerve Center, Alexandra Olson 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://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.