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BC-AP News Coverage Advisory 1440 GMT
Associated Press
2013-08-23 11:01 PM

Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up today. Some plans are subject to change.

HIGHLIGHTING:

Among today's coverage highlights as we see them at 1440 GMT:

-- SYRIA

--JAPAN-RADIOACTIVE WATER

-- MICROSOFT

--MANNING-WIKILEAKS

PHOTOS: SLAUGHTERHOUSE ESCAPES (10 photos, with text);

ROMANIA ROMA KING CIOABA DEATH (10 photos, with text slugged ROMANIA-GYPSY KING)

VIDEO: FROZEN BEER

Here are details of those stories, plus others we have in the works for today and notable pieces that we sent in the past 10 hours:

TOP NEWS

SYRIA: Syrian troops clash with rebels in the suburbs of Damascus in the area where the opposition says a chemical weapons attack killed more than 130 people. The UN presses for access for its experts, and reports that more than 1 million children have become refugees because of the civil war. SENT: 790 words, photos. UPCOMING: 950 words by 1800 GMT photos, video.

- UN-SYRIA-CHILDREN REFUGEES - The U.N. says the number of registered child refugees fleeing Syria's violence has topped the 1 million mark in another grim milestone of the deepening conflict. SENT: 540 words, photos.

- OBAMA-SYRIA :Obama says a possible chemical weapons attack in Syria this week is a "big event of grave concern" that has hastened the timeframe for determining a U.S. response. While he appeared to signal some greater urgency in responding, his comments were largely in line with his previous statements throughout the two-year conflict. SENT: 640 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing from 1645 GMT event, photos.

LEBANON: Twin powerful explosions detonated outside mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Friday, killing at least 27 people, wounding 350 and wreaking major destruction in the country's second largest city, Lebanese Health Ministry officials said. SENT: 400 words. UPCOMING: 650 words by 1700 GMT photos.

EGYPT: Islamist supporters of Morsi are demonstrating after Friday prayers, but the numbers are smaller than in past weeks. Police are out in force. SENT: 700 words, photos. Developing now. UPCOMING by 3 p.m.: 900 words, photos.

OBAMA-EGYPT: Obama says cutting off aid to Egypt "may not reverse what the interim government does."But he says the U.S. must be "very careful" about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that run contrary to the country's values. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: DEVELOPING from 1645 GMT event.

BO XILAI: Greed, machinations and betrayal in one of China's elite families went on display Friday when prosecutors in the corruption trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai released testimony from his wife on a businessman's gifts to the family, including a French villa and plane tickets to three continents. SENT: 1030 words, photos.

KOREAS-DIVIDED FAMILIES: Seoul officials say North and South Korea have agreed to allow reunions next month of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. It will be the first the time the emotional meetings have happened in three years. SENT: 610 words, photos.

JAPAN RADIOACTIVE WATER: Experts fear Fukishima's radioactive water is about to reach the Pacific and greatly worsen what has already become a new crisis: the inability to contain vast quantities of radioactive water that has been leaking from the turbine basements, large underground storage pools and maintenance tunnels. SENT: 1060 words, photos.

INDIA-GANG RAPE: A young photojournalist was gang raped while her male colleague was tied up and beaten in an isolated, overgrown corner of India's business hub of Mumbai, police said Friday. The case was reminiscent of the December gang rape and death of a young university student in the Indian capital that shocked the country. SENT: 440 words, photos.

UGANDA-BABY DEATHS: One baby was healthy and the other cold and lifeless, a sight that horrified Michael Mubangizi and his wife, a young Ugandan couple who soon felt one of their twin babies had been swapped at Uganda's main public hospital. A DNA test later proved they were right. The high-profile case which will soon be heard by a court, highlights the high number of baby thefts at hospitals that are being carried out by hospital workers for money. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1600 GMT, photos.

IRAN SANCTIONS: New signs are emerging that international sanctions are taking a deepening toll on Iran's economy -- putting billions of dollars in oil money out of the government's reach. Yet there is no indication the distress is achieving the West's ultimate goal of forcing the Islamic Republic to halt its nuclear program. SENT: 1150 words, photo.

BOLIVIA-DEATH DOLLS: A sinister warning dangles above the burned-out hulk of a minibus in this sprawling sister city to Bolivia's capital: A faded effigy tied to a power line as if it had been hanged. "Death dolls," made of old clothes stuffed with rags, have become a common sight in this impoverished city plagued by crime. SENT: 660 words, photos

ROMANIA-GYPSY KING: The King of the Gypsies arranged an opulent wedding for his 12-year-old daughter, buying her a lacy gown from Italy. When she stormed out, the outcry led Romania to stop ignoring child marriage and pushed him to take a public change of heart. Florin Cioaba, a member of the family that has led the country's embattled minority since the 19th century, went on to help modernize Roma traditions, while still preserving his community's separate culture. Hundreds of Roma turned out for a funeral in his Transylvanian hometown of Sibiu to remember him on Friday. SENT: 700 words, photos.

VATICAN-PAPAL CALLS: Pope Francis has charmed the masses with his informal style, simplicity and sense of humor -- and a handful of strangers have gotten the treatment up close, receiving papal phone calls out of the blue after writing him or suffering some personal tragedy. SENT: 450 words, photo.

MANNING-WIKILEAKS: Pursuing further details about Manning's transition to an identity as a woman. When was the decision made? Why was it announced a day after sentencing? Also looking at reax from LGBT veterans groups, and trying to get more detail on how military will handle Manning's situation. UPCOMING: Length and ETA TBD.

FORT HOOD SHOOTING: A military jury begins its second day of deliberations, even though the suspected gunman has admitted responsibility and mounted no defense. SENT: 400 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Court starts at 1400 GMT; will be updated throughout the day; length TBD on developments.

AFGHANISTAN MASSACRE: A military jury decides whether a U.S. soldier should go to jail for life or have a chance at parole after admitting to killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan. SENT: 400 words. UPCOMING: Developing from closing arguments starting at 1500 GMT, photos.

SAN DIEGO MAYOR: Many in San Diego wonder whether its mayor has finally agreed to step down over sexual harassment accusations. The City Council is set to rule Friday on the proposed agreement. SENT: 260 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated from City Council meeting scheduled for 2000 GMT.

TERROR SUPPORT-TALIBAN: A judge is scheduled to sentence an elderly Muslim cleric convicted of sending thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban terror group. Hafiz Khan faces up to 60 years in federal prison. UPCOMING: Hearing begins at 1800 GMT.

BUSINESS

MICROSOFT-BALLMER: Steve Ballmer, who succeeded Microsoft founder Bill Gates as CEO, will retire within the next 12 months. The world's biggest software company did not name a successor. Microsoft Corp.'s stock shot up 9 percent in premarket trading following the news. SENT: 400 words. DEVELOPING.

NASDAQ TRADING HALT-FALLOUT: The latest high-tech disruption in the financial markets ratchets up the pressure on Nasdaq and other electronic exchanges to take steps to avoid future breakdowns and manage them better if they do occur. The three-hour trading outage on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday also can be expected to trigger new rounds of regulatory scrutiny on computer-driven trading. SENT: 700 words, photos.

LAGARDE-JACKSON HOLE: Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, speaks at the annual meeting of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The subject is "Reconciling Domestic with Global Economic Policy Objectives." UPCOMING: Developing from speech at 1815 GMT.

JEEP INVESTIGATION: U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints of ceiling fires in some Jeep Grand Cherokees. The probe covers 146,000 SUVs from the 2012 model year. SENT: 350 words.

SPORTS

President of IOC to be at the UN today for a ceremonial event; we plan to ask him about the letter from Russia promising no discrimination against gay athletes.

LIFESTYLES/POP CULTURE

SLAUGHTERHOUSE ESCAPES: Winston escaped death to find a piglet's paradise. The little piggy found wandering this summer along a bustling New York City boulevard is among hundreds of animals - including cows, sheep, goats and chickens - who apparently managed to flee in recent years from the city's growing number of urban slaughter markets. SENT: 460 words, photos.

HYPERLOOP TRAVEL: When billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk published fanciful plans to shoot capsules full of people at the speed of sound through a tube connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, he asked the public to perfect his rough plans. From tinkerers to engineers, the race is on. Musk, meanwhile, has set his "Hyperloop" project aside. SENT: 375 words, photos.

HEALTH

LOW SALT CHINESE FOOD: A project aims to help Chinese takeout restaurants in Philadelphia to cut the sodium in their food by 10 to 15 percent. About 220 of more than 400 takeout places have agreed to participate, with the ultimate goal of decreasing hypertension-related mortality rates in the city. SENT: 450 words, photos, video.

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