Officials investigate near the area of an explosion, late Sunday, March 18, 2018, in Austin, Texas. The area around the explosion site has been blocked off and authorities are interviewing neighbors and searching for possible witnesses. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

BC-AP News Digest 7 am

March 19, 2018 - 7:10 am

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

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ONLY ON AP

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KUSHNER COS-FALSE DOCUMENTS — Jared Kushner's family real estate company routinely filed false documents with New York City claiming it had no rent-regulated tenants in its buildings when, in fact, it had hundreds. Tenant advocates say the tactic is used by landlords to get around protections that prevent them from forcing out low-paying tenants in favor of higher-paying ones. In the case of the Kushner Cos., that's exactly what happened. By Business Writer Bernard Condon. SENT: 1,390 words, photos. UPCOMING: New York City Council news conference at 10 a.m.

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TOP STORIES

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TRUMP— President Donald Trump is not considering firing the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, a top White House lawyer says, despite a cascade of tweets that revived chatter that the frustrated president is itching to can the veteran prosecutor. By Darlene Superville. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

RUSSIA-WHAT'S NEXT — Vladimir Putin now has a stronger hold on Russia — and stronger place in the world — thanks to an overwhelming mandate for yet another term as president. By Angela Charlton. SENT: 900 words, photo, video. With RUSSIA-PRESIDENT — Putin gains massive mandate for nationalist policies; RUSSIA-PRESIDENT-THE LATEST; BRITAIN-SPY — EU condemns spy hit as Britain slams "absurd" Russia denials.

DEADLY PACKAGE EXPLOSION —Two people are injured in another explosion in Texas' capital, and police are not ruling out a connection to the three previous explosions that detonated earlier this month elsewhere in the city. By Paul J. Weber and Will Weissert. SENT: 720 words, photos. TOP VIDEO: — US Texas Explosion 3 (CR) —Police: Tripwire may have set off Austin blast. With DEADLY PACKAGE EXPLOSION-THE LATEST.

BUDGET BATTLE — Congressional leaders and the White House are pressing to strike an accord on a $1.3 trillion catchall spending bill, though disputes remain over immigration, abortion and a massive rail project that pits Trump against his most powerful Democratic adversary. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 860 words, photo.

MEXICO-QUAKE-SIX MONTHS LATER — Six months after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shocked Mexico City, dozens of people are still living in improvised street camps in front of damaged buildings. By Christopher Sherman. SENT: 630 words. With 17 photos by Rebecca Blackwell, highlighted by RLB302.

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS-METAL DETECTORS — Security experts say metal detectors put in place decades ago to quell gang activity and other violence in many urban districts have made it tougher for troubled students or outsiders to get guns into those schools. Officials in some suburban and rural school districts are now considering detectors as they rethink their security plans following a high school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. By Corey Williams. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by noon, photos. This is the Tuesday Spotlight. Also see SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA below.

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WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

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JIM CARREY-PORTRAIT — Jim Carrey criticized for portrait believed to be Sarah Huckabee Sanders. SENT: 110 words, photo.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL-DEATH — Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall at Florida show. SENT: 170 words.

HILLARY CLINTON-WOMEN — Hillary Clinton explains comments about women voters. SENT: 120 words, photo.

PEOPLE-PITBULL — Grammy-winning rapper Pitbull heads to U.N. to discuss global water crisis. SENT: 130 words.

SIBLING-SHOOTING-VIDEO-GAME — Mississippi girl dies after shooting over video game controller. SENT: 100 words.

CHINA-SEEING RED-PHOTO GALLERY — From flags to carpets, red rules Chinese politics. SENT: 260 words. With 12 photos by Aijaz Rahi, highlighted by ARX101.

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INTERNATIONAL

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SYRIA — The European Union's top diplomat criticizes Turkey over its military offensive in a northern Syrian town, calling on Ankara to ensure that fighting eases in the conflict-torn country. SENT: 650 words, photos. With SYRIA-THE LATEST.

ZIMBABWE-NEW OPPOSITION — As Zimbabwe faces its first vote without former leader Robert Mugabe in decades, the biggest opposition party selects a charismatic lawyer and pastor to challenge the military-backed president. An AP Interview. By Farai Mutsaka. SENT: 830 words, photos.

CHINA-POLITICS — China appoints Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe as its new defense minister, becoming the international face of the country's rapid military modernization. SENT: 520 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-CRYPTOCURRENCY — A chief strategist of Venezuela's state-backed digital currency is a former U.S. congressional intern who once organized protests against the socialist government he is now helping circumvent U.S. financial sanctions. SENT: 1,270 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-MYANMAR — Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is feted in Australia with a military honor guard and 19-gun salute as part of a state visit that provokes protests over her response to her country's violent campaign against Rohingya Muslims. SENT: 770 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-FAKE NEWS-KENYA — The U.S. government is gearing up to fight fake news — not at home, where it's the subject of heated debate following the 2016 presidential campaign, but in Kenya, where America has sought to nurture a vibrant but volatile African democracy. SENT: 730 words, photo.

BRITAIN-OBIT-O'BRIEN — Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the first cardinal in history to recuse himself from a papal election over a personal scandal, has died, his archdiocese in Scotland says. He was 80. SENT: 460 words, photo.

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NATIONAL

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TRAIN DERAILMENT-KENTUCKY — Two freight trains collide and derail, injuring four people and igniting a fire that forced nearby residents to evacuate, authorities say. SENT: 320 words, photos, video. With TRAIN DERAILMENT-KENTUCKY-THE LATEST.

BRIDGE COLLAPSE-VICTIMS — A matter of seconds between those who would live and those who would die as Florida pedestrian bridge topples down highway bustling with passing vehicles. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA — Documents show some officials were so concerned about the mental stability of the student accused of last month's Florida high school rampage that they decided he should be forcibly committed. By Legal Affairs Writer Curt Anderson. SENT: 820 words, photo.

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WASHINGTON & POLITICS

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TRUMP-OPIOIDS — Trump's plan to combat opioid drug addiction nationwide calls for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including the death penalty where appropriate under current law. SENT: 720 words, photo. UPCOMING: Trump scheduled to unveil plan at 2:40 p.m. in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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BUSINESS

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CHINA-ECONOMY — A U.S.-trained economist is appointed to succeed the longtime governor of China's central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, at a time when the ruling Communist Party is trying to reduce financial risks and surging debt. By Business Writer Joe McDonald. SENT: 620 words, photos. With CHINA-ECONOMY CZAR — China's next economic czar: Harvard-trained Xi adviser.

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HEALTH/SCIENCE

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CONSTRUCTION ROBOTS — Tech startups are developing self-driving bulldozers, survey drones and bricklaying robots to help the construction industry boost productivity, speed and safety as it struggles to find enough skilled workers. SENT: 900 words, photos. TOP VIDEO: — US CA Construction Robots (CR) — Robots break new ground in construction industry.

MENOPAUSE-SEXUAL DISCOMFORT, HFR — In women with menopause-related sexual discomfort, placebo gels worked as well as prescription hormone tablets at reducing symptoms in a study suggesting low-cost over-the-counter moisturizers might be the best option. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. UPCOMING: 350 words by 11 a.m.

SEYCHELLES-CORAL REEF FIGHT — Beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean island nation of the Seychelles, a fight is growing to save the coral reefs that shelter a range of creatures, from tiny invertebrates to the sprawling octopus, from climate change. SENT: 580 words, photos.

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SPORTS

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NCAA TOURNAMENT-UNITS — By becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1, UMBC made about $1.7 million for the America East Conference. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words, photos. With UMBC-FAIRYTALE ENDS — UMBC's NCAA fairytale ends but memories will last forever.

JOHN-LEICESTER-RUSSIAN-DOPING — Another victim of Russian doping bites the dust, as the "gold standard" of anti-doping bottles pulls out of the niche market vital for clean sport. By Sports Columnist John Leicester. SENT: 860 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US

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At the Nerve Center, Trenton Daniel can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Alyssa Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Phil Holm (ext. 7636). Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://newsroom.ap.org. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact [email protected] or call 877-836-9477.

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