Estimated read time: 8-9 minutes
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Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up today. Some plans are subject to change.
Among today's coverage highlights as we see them at 1545 GMT:
-- ECONOMY (sent; developing)
-- UKRAINE-OLIGARCHS TO THE RESCUE (sent)
-- UKRAINE-SNIPERS (upcoming)
-- PISTORIUS TRIAL (sent; developing)
-- CONSERVATIVES (sent; developing)
-- ARMY GENERAL-SEX CHARGES (sent; developing)
-- RETHINKING POT-NETHERLANDS (sent)
-- BITCOIN FOUNDER-DENIAL (sent; developing with new angles)
-- SYRIA-ISLAMIC STATE (upcoming)
-- TV-COSMOS (upcoming)
PHOTOS: BRITAIN-LAWYERS PROTEST (sent); PAKISTAN-WOMEN LABOR FOR LIFE-PHOTO ESSAY
VIDEO: CA_BITCOIN_DENIAL (sent)
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:
BUSINESS / ECONOMY
ECONOMY - U.S. hiring improved in February from the previous two months despite a blast of wintry weather, likely renewing hopes that growth will accelerate this year. SENT: 660 words, photo. UPCOMING: Developing; details TBD.
UKRAINE - Crimea would be welcome as an equal part of Russia if the region votes to leave Ukraine in an upcoming referendum, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said Friday. SENT: 830 words, photo.
UKRAINE-OLIGARCHS TO THE RESCUE - Ukraine's new leadership has reached out to oligarchs for help - appointing them as governors in eastern regions where loyalties to Moscow are strong. SENT: 980 words, photos.
UKRAINE-SNIPERS - Doctors and others tell the AP that bullet wounds from people shot during mass protests in Kiev indicate that snipers shot both protesters and police. UPCOMING: 900 words by 2000 GMT, photos.
OBAMA-RUSSIA - One by one, Obama's warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by Putin. SENT: 880 words, photo.
UKRAINE-SANCTIONS - Economic complications cause worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could backfire on the U.S. and Europe. SENT: 1,010 words, photo.
PARALYMPICS-OLYMPICS - Ukraine will compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi despite Russia's military moves in Crimea. SENT: 510 words.
PISTORIUS-TRIAL - A security guard working in Pistorius' gated community says the athlete told him everything was "fine" when he called to investigate neighbors' reports of gunshots on the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed. SENT: 950 words, photos.
NKOREA-ELECTIONS - Going to the polls is not a choice but a requirement, which effectively makes North Korean elections Sunday a national head count, and a powerful tool for checking up on the people. SENT: 850 words, photos.
RETHINKING POT-NETHERLANDS - An exchange of one drug problem for another has become a headache for Maastricht — and may give reason for pause in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado that recently allowed the sale of marijuana. SENT: 1,210 words, photos. With GLANCE.
SYRIA-ISLAMIC STATE - Once a vibrant, religiously mixed community, Syria's eastern city of Raqqa is now a shell of its former life, terrorized by hard-line militants who have turned it into the nucleus of their vision for the Islamic caliphate they hope to establish in Syria and Iraq. The only provincial capital wrested from control by Assad's government, Raqqa now exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with the revolt against his rule, residents say. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 2000 GMT.
VENEZUELA PROTESTS - Venezuela is coming under increasing international scrutiny amid violence that mostly recently killed a National Guardsman and a civilian in a clash at a protest barricade. SENT: 830 words, photos.
BRITAIN-UNEARTHING WWI - After the 1918 victory - which cost 1 million Britons their lives - the site was forgotten, until it was recently rediscovered by a local official with an interest in military history. SENT: 780 words, photos.
GREECE-GERMANY - German President Joachim Gauck is to visit a Greek village Friday where German troops massacred dozens of villagers during World War II. SENT: 360 words, photos.
COLOMBIA-FREEING THE PARAMILITARIES - About 400 right-wing paramilitaries are due to walk free this year after serving eight-year sentences for crimes that normally carry more than triple the prison terms. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
EGYPT-ENTREPRENEURIAL ECONOMY - Experts say entrepreneurship and small business acumen are more crucial than ever as Egypt tries to claw its way out of tough economic times. SENT: 720 words, photos.
AFGHANISTAN ELECTIONS - Karzai's elder brother said Friday he dropped out of the country's April 5 presidential election to leave the field open to a candidate that he hoped would steer the nation through a "dignified" transition. SENT: 450 words, photos.
MALAYSIA-ANWAR IBRAHIM - A Malaysian court sentences opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges. SENT: 520 words, photos.
NEW ZEALAND-DOG ATTACK - New Zealand doctors say 7-year-old Japanese girl was bitten about 100 times during dog attack. SENT: 330 words.
THAILAND-POLITICS - Army checkpoints set up in the Thai capital to keep security during the country's political unrest are getting a makeover in a bid to project a kinder, gentler image. SENT: 300 words, photos.
THAILAND-NAVY VS PRESS - A leading international rights group calls on Thai authorities to investigate the navy's alleged role in the trafficking of desperate migrants from Myanmar instead of charging journalists for reporting on the subject. SENT: 330 words.
MALAYSIA-INDONESIA-MAID DEATH - A Malaysian court sentences a couple to death by hanging for murdering their 26-year-old Indonesian housemaid three years ago, a lawyer says. He says the court ruled that the maid died of starvation because the couple failed to provide sufficient food and medical attention. SENT: 230 words.
MALAYSIA-ULTRAMAN BOOK BANNED - Malaysia bans Ultraman comic book for equating the Japanese action hero with Allah. SENT: 320 words.
MACAU-LAGERFELD HOTEL - Macau developer, Karl Lagerfeld announce plans for Chanel designer to create first hotel. SENT: 290 words.
AUSTRALIA-LOST GERMAN - A German tourist who was missing for more than two weeks in the Australian Outback survived by eating flies after becoming lost and stranded by floodwaters, police said Friday. SENT: 250 words.
BRITAIN-LAWYERS PROTEST - Thousands of British lawyers have stayed away from court to protest legal aid cuts that they fear will devastate the country's respected justice system. SENT: 130 words, photos.
US-ARMY GENERAL-SEX CHARGES - Prosecutors and defense attorneys will give their opening statements in the court-martial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair on sexual assault charges. SENT: 750 words, photos. UPCOMING: Updates through the day from court session, beginning at 1400 GMT, photos.
BOSTON MARATHON-SECURITY - Planners are hoping to keep the party-like atmosphere of the world's oldest annual marathon intact while at the same time beefing up security. UPCOMING: 600 words by 2000 GMT, photos.
VENEZUELANS IN US - Unlike early waves of Venezuelan immigrants who left in the initial years after the late President Hugo Chavez came to power with abundant savings and houses or condos they'd bought as vacation homes, these days Miami's large Venezuelan community is filled increasingly with those from the middle class. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1700 GMT, photos.
DRUG WAR-CHICAGO - A reputed lieutenant of recently captured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is scheduled to change his plea to guilty in a federal trafficking case in Chicago. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Developing from 1930 GMT hearing.
US-CONSERVATIVES - The early auditions for the Republican Party's next presidential contest are in full swing at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists. SENT: 570 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words by 10:30 a.m. to update with Rick Perry's speech; 850 words by 4 p.m., photos.
US-MILLENNIALS-POLITICS - Young adults like to think of themselves as independent, but when it comes to politics, they're more likely than not to lean to the left. UPCOMING: 650 words by 1630 GMT.
BITCOIN FOUNDER-DENIAL - Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world's most popular digital currency came to be. SENT: 1,120 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Developing on a number of fronts; details TBD.
TURKEY-INTERNET BANS - Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks. SENT: 330 words, photos.
TV-COSMOS - Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," the 21st-century edition debuting Sunday, has a head start with a Twitter following of 1.7 million. UPCOMING: 650 words by 1900 GMT photos.
MUSIC-SIZE RECORDS - International DJ-producer Steve Angello is giving away his record label's entire catalog with the help of Google Play. SENT: 450 words.
TV-ABOUT A BOY-STOCKHAM - It wasn't hard for Benjamin Stockham to figure out his role as Marcus, the title character of NBC's new sitcom "About a Boy." SENT: 840 words, photos.
FILM-Q&A-ICE CUBE - Capitalizing on his comedic "Friday" formula, Ice Cube has secured box-office success with "Next Friday," ''Friday After Next" and this year's "Ride Along," also starring Kevin Hart. UPCOMING: 800 words by 2000 GMT, photos.
MET OPERA-WOZZECK SWITCH - Matthias Goerne got to sing the title role of Berg's "Wozzeck" twice as many times as he bargained for during his trip to New York. SENT: 460 words.
JAPAN-DEAF COMPOSER - The man once lauded as "Japan's Beethoven" bowed repeatedly and apologized Friday at his first media appearance since it was revealed last month that his famed musical compositions were ghostwritten and he wasn't completely deaf. SENT: 250 words, photos.
PAKISTAN-WOMEN LABOR FOR LIFE-PHOTO ESSAY - Tens of thousands of poor Pakistanis work in "bonded labor." An AP Photo Essay looks at some of their lives. SENT: photos, 300 words.
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