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AP-AS-CHINA-OUTBREAK

China reports 1,886 new virus cases, death toll up by 98

Mainland China reported 1,886 new virus cases and 98 more deaths for a total of 1,868, following a report that 80% of cases have been mild, prompting guarded optimism from health officials. The latest figures come after health officials in China published the first details on nearly 45,000 cases, saying more than 80% have been mild and new ones seem to be falling since early this month. A total of 72,436 cases have been reported in mainland China as of Tuesday. A recent spike was due to a broader definition in the hardest-hit region based on doctors' diagnoses before laboratory tests were completed.

UNITED NATIONS-LIBYA

UN: Impact of long Libya war on civilians is `incalculable'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N humanitarian coordinator for Libya says the impact of the country’s nine-year war on civilians “is incalculable." Yacoub El Hillo pointed to the conflict's intensity escalating “exponentially” since a rebel commander launched an offensive last April as well as rising casualties and almost 900,000 people now needing assistance. El Hillo said a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya which was agreed to by 12 key leaders at a conference in Berlin on Jan. 19 has seen “serious violations” in the last 10 days, with new strikes in and around the capital Tripoli.

ELECTION 2020-THE LATEST

The Latest: Warren calls for party unity in taking on Trump

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Elizabeth Warren is preaching Democratic unity in taking on President Donald Trump, a challenge she's framing as an existential crisis for America. Warren said at a town hall on Monday afternoon in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson that America is at its best when it takes on a problem. She said the 2020 election “is the moment in history that we have been called to,” likening it to the challenges America overcame from its founding revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II.

AP-US-JEFF-BEZOS-CLIMATE-CHANGE

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to fight climate change

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune to help fight climate change. Bezos, the world’s richest person, said in an Instagram post Monday that he'll start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits. Bezos says he will call his new initiative the Bezos Earth Fund. An Amazon spokesman confirmed that Bezos will be using his own money for the fund. Bezos, who founded Amazon 25 years ago, has a stake in the company that is worth more than $100 billion. Amazon, the company Bezos runs, has an enormous carbon footprint. Amazon officials said last year the company would work to have 100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030.

MISSISSIPPI SHOOTING

Daughter of man accused of killing 8 describes his abuse

MAGNOLIA, Miss. (AP) — The daughter of a Mississippi man on trial in the shooting deaths of eight people has testified that he beat her frequently during her childhood. The Daily Leader newspaper reported that 12-year-old My'Khyiah Godbolt took the stand at a courthouse in Magnolia on Monday to testify against her father, Willie Cory Godbolt. The 37-year-old Godbolt is charged with capital murder, accused of fatally shooting eight people, including the deputy who arrived at his in-laws' home over the long Memorial Day holiday weekend of May 2017. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The jury trial resumes Tuesday at a courthouse in Magnolia.

VIRGINIA GUN LAWS

Virginia lawmakers reject assault weapon ban

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Moderate Democrats joined Republicans on a Senate committee Monday in rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. The bill was a top priority for Northam, a Democrat who has campaigned heavily for a broad package of gun-control measures.

BC-ML-SYRIA

After gains in northern Syria, Assad predicts total victory

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad is congratulating his troops for consolidating control over the northern province of Aleppo. In a televised address, he pledged to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory. He said the onetime economic hub of Aleppo will “return stronger than it was before.” His address came hours after troops captured more than 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in one day and secured the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire. Since December, the offensive has displaced over 800,000 people in the shrinking rebel enclave in one of the worst humanitarian crises since the war began nine years ago.

SEVERE WEATHER-MISSISSIPPI

Hundreds still flooded from homes in Mississippi capital

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The swollen Pearl River appears to have crested in Mississippi’s capital of Jackson at just under 37 feet, but Gov. Tate Reeves warned the hundreds of evacuees not to rush back home until they get the all clear. The Pearl is forecast to fall below major flood stage at 36 feet around midnight Tuesday. More problems could arise if heavier-than-forecast rain falls in the next few days. No injuries were reported from the major flooding in central Mississippi and southern Tennessee. As the high water recedes, officials expect to find damaged roads and problems with water and sewage lines. In Savannah, Tennessee, two houses slid down a muddy bluff into the Tennessee River, although its residents had fled earlier.

CHINA-FORBIDDING FAITH

China’s 'War on Terror' uproots families, leaked data shows

Beijing (AP) — When a Chinese government mass detention campaign engulfed Memtimin Emer’s native Xinjiang region three years ago, it wasn’t just the elderly imam who was locked away — three of his sons were as well. A leaked database details how, in Emer's case and hundreds of others, the state targeted ordinary religious practice in its mass detention campaign, criminalizing entire families in the process. Emer's three sons landed in China’s detention camps despite never being charged with a crime _ for trying to travel abroad, for being “untrustworthy”, or for going on the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

AP-US-PIER-1-BANKRUPTCY

Pier 1 files for bankruptcy protection amid online challenge

Home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. is filing for bankruptcy protection. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, which was founded in 1962, has recently struggled with increased competition from online retailers such as Wayfair. Pier 1 said Monday it will pursue a sale, with a March 23 deadline to submit bids. In the meantime, the company says lenders have committed approximately $256 million in debtor-in-possession financing so it can still operate during the Chapter 11 proceedings. Last month, Pier 1 announced it would close 450 stores, including all its stores in Canada. The company is also closing two distribution centers.

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The Associated Press

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