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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Via AP news wire

AP News Digest 3:45 a.m.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Here are the AP’s latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at







GRINER RELEASE-HOW IT HAPPENED — The swap that freed Brittney Griner is not the one Washington had hoped to negotiate or the one officials had forecast through months of demanding the release of both Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 1,140 words, photos. With UNITED STATES-RUSSIA-WHELAN — Family of American prisoner Paul Whelan backs Griner deal; BRITTNEY GRINER-TIMELINE (both sent).

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA-GRINER — Russia frees WNBA star Brittney Griner in a high-profile prisoner exchange, as the U.S. releases Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout but fails to win freedom for another American who has been jailed for nearly four years. The deal achieves a top policy goal for President Joe Biden but carries what U.S. officials describe as a heavy price. By Eric Tucker, Matthew Lee and Zeke Miller. SENT: 1,170 words, photos, video. With RUSSIA-BOUT-PROFILE —‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout now part of a deal himself; UNITED-STATES-RUSSIA-GRINER-SPORTS-REAX — Brittney Griner’s release celebrated by basketball world (both sent).

CONGRESS-MARRIAGE RIGHTS-HOW IT HAPPENED — Passing congressional legislation to protect same-sex marriages was a monthslong effort, building on a decadeslong push. The bill passed the Senate Nov. 30, and the House passed the bill again Thursday and sent it to President Joe Biden. Here’s how it happened. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 1,600 words, photos. An abridged version is also available.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CHINA — A rash of COVID-19 cases in schools and businesses were reported by social media users Friday in areas across China after the ruling Communist Party loosened anti-virus rules as it tries to reverse a deepening economic slump. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

UKRAINIAN-FINANCE-MINISTER-INTERVIEW — Ukraine’s finance minister says crucial Western financial support is “not charity” but “self-preservation” in the fight to defend democracy as his country deals with growing costs to repair electrical and heating infrastructure wrecked by Russian attacks. By David Mchugh. SENT: 810 words, photo.

SAUDI-ARABIA-CHINA — Chinese leader Xi Jinping has met with Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince while on a visit to the kingdom, solidifying ties with a region crucial to his country’s energy supplies as sanctions intensify on Russia over its war on Ukraine. SENT: 640 words, photos.




WCUP-MOROCCO-PORTUGAL-PREVIEW — Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team will look to end Morocco’s surprising World Cup run that has brought joy to African soccer and the Arab world. Whether Ronaldo starts Saturday’s quarterfinal match remains in doubt after he was dropped for Portugal’s round-of-16 win over Switzerland. Morocco has secured a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time in a great way to the mark the first World Cup to take place in the Middle East. SENT: 650 words, photos.

SOC--WCUP-NETHERLANDS-ARGENTINA PREVIEW -- The World Cup quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands has all the ingredients of a classic. Lionel Messi is going up against Virgil van Dijk while the youngest coach at the World Cup in Argentina’s Lionel Scaloni is taking on the oldest in wily Dutchman Louis van Gaal. SENT: 720 words, photos.

SOC--WCUP-WORKER DEATH -- Qatar is investigating the death of a migrant worker who reportedly suffered an accident while doing repairs at a resort that served as training base for the Saudi team during the World Cup. SENT: 340 words, photos.




RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR — The Kremlin says it’s up to Ukraine’s president to end the conflict in the country, suggesting terms that Kyiv has repeatedly rejected. And Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to press on with the fighting despite Western criticism. SENT: 770 words, photos.




0REGON-PSYCHEDELIC-MUSHROOM-STORE-RAID — A store that had been openly and illegally selling psychedelic mushrooms in Portland, Oregon, was raided by police, authorities say. In 2020, Oregon became the first state in the country to legalize the use of psilocybin for people 21 and older in a controlled, therapeutic environment under the supervision of trained facilitators. SENT: 360 words, photos.

ODD-CALIFORNIA-UNICORN LICENSE — California animal control officials have granted permission for a little girl to keep a unicorn. In a letter, the girl wrote: “Dear LA County, I would like your approval if I can have a unicorn in my backyard if I can find one.” SENT: 220 words, photos,




VOTING-REPUBLICANS — Republicans are re-evaluating their antipathy to mail voting. After former President Donald Trump condemned that method of casting ballots in 2020, conservatives shied away from it. Following a disappointing midterm, some Republicans are saying it’s time to push mail voting again. By Bill Barrow and Nicholas Riccardi. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photo by 5:30 a.m.




ALASKA-OPERATION-SANTA — Santa and Mrs. Claus left Rudolph at home to catch a ride recently on an Alaska Air National Guard cargo plane to visit the Inupiac village of Nuiqsut, about 30 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. The visit in late November was part of the Operation Santa Claus outreach program, in which the guard tries to bring Christmas gifts to a few Alaska Native villages each year. The plane carried the important guests, but also more than 1,400 pounds of gifts for about 160 students at the town’s school. The program dates back to 1956 and for some villages hit by adversity, it brings them Christmas itself. SENT: 950 words, photos, video.

TEXAS-PRISONER-ESCAPE — A multitude of security lapses such as inadequate strip searches, poorly applied restraints, a staffing shortage and an environment where correctional officers became complacent created the conditions that led to the May escape of a Texas inmate, resulting in the deaths of five people, according to two reviews of the incident. SENT: 930 words, photos.

GEORGE-FLOYD-OTHER-OFFICERS — The former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s back while another officer kneeled on the Black man’s neck is expected to be sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter. SENT: 580 words, photo.




LEBANON-PRESIDENTIAL-VACANCY-EXPLAINER — Lebanon has been without a president for over a month, its legislators unable to agree on a new head of state. The impasse is holding up a range of initiatives, from putting into place structural reforms for an International Monetary Fund program to allowing the country’s state-owned television channel to broadcast the World Cup. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

PERU-NEW-PRESIDENT-PLAYBOOK — Peru’s first female president is pushing to cement her hold on power, saying she expects to complete the term of her ousted predecessor and buck the trend of presidential failures blighting the Andean nation. SENT: 780 words, photos.

ECUADOR-CHILD-MALNUTRITION — Government officials in Ecuador say child malnutrition is chronic among the country’s 18 million inhabitants. It is seen everywhere, but hits hardest in rural areas and among the country’s Indigenous peoples. Ecuador has the second highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in Latin America, after Guatemala. SENT: 730 words, photos, video.

JAPAN-FIGHTER-JET — Japan announced Friday that it will jointly develop its next-generation fighter jet with the U.K. and Italy as Tokyo looks to expand defense cooperation beyond its traditional ally, the United States. The Mitsubishi F-X fighter jet will replace the aging fleet of F-2 that Japan previously developed with the United States. SENT: 720 words, photos.

US-CHINA-SPACE — The U.S. is closely monitoring Chinese activities that potentially threaten American assets in space as debris rapidly accumulates in low Earth orbit, the head of United States military operations in space say. SENT: 550 words, photos.




FINANCIAL MARKETS — Shares rose in Asia on Friday after an advance on Wall Street led by the latest rally in technology companies. Chinese benchmarks rose on reports the government is planning new measures to support the ailing property sector, which has dragged on growth over the past several years. SENT: 670 words, photos.




FBN--RAIDERS-RAMS — Baker Mayfield threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds to play to cap a 98-yard drive and Los Angeles’ brand-new quarterback led two TD drives late in the fourth quarter to propel the Rams to a shocking 17-16 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 850 words, photos.




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 For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact or call 844-777-2006.

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