Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 11:40 p.m. EST



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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported a six-fold jump in viral infections in four days to 346, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around the fourth-largest city where schools were closed and worshipers and others told to avoid mass gatherings. China meanwhile says the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, with another 109 people dying of the disease, most in the epicenter of Hubei province. The new figures bring the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288 with 2,345 deaths, as strict quarantine measures and travel bans continue to contain the disease that emerged in China in December and has since spread worldwide.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Democrats are preparing to weigh in on their party's presidential nomination fight. Saturday's caucuses are the third contest in a 2020 primary season that has so far been marred by chaos and uncertainty in overwhelmingly white, rural states. While state officials aren't promising they'll report results on Saturday, Nevada's first-in-the-west caucuses will test the candidates' strength with a black and brown voters for the first time in 2020. The election comes at a critical moment for the Democratic Party as self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders emerges as the clear front-runner in the still-crowded field and a half dozen more moderate candidates savage one another for the chance to emerge as the preferred Sanders' alternative.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he was briefed by U.S. officials “about a month ago” that Russia has been trying to help his campaign as part of Moscow's efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. The Vermont senator then said, "Here's the message to Russia: Stay out of American elections.” His response was a sharp contrast from that of President Donald Trump, who has pushed back at the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia has interfered in elections on his behalf. Minutes before Sanders condemned Russian interference, Trump dismissed reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help him as well as “a rumor” started by Democrats.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just weeks into the 2020 election cycle, intelligence officials have concluded that Russia already is actively interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign. Intelligence experts say Russia is not only hoping to help President Donald Trump, as in 2016, but also to help the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race. The intelligence experts say the Russians have a deeper motive than just reelecting Trump. They want to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the U.S. elections and stir general chaos in American politics. Lawmakers were told in a classified briefing last week that Russia is taking steps aimed at helping Trump, and Sanders acknowledged Friday that he was briefed last month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg says he's willing to release at least three women from nondisclosure agreements that prevented them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or discrimination suits filed against him. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against his company over the last three decades. Bloomberg says his company has identified three agreements that address complaints about comments the women said he'd made. Bloomberg says he'll release the women from their nondisclosure agreements if they want to talk about the allegations. Fellow Democrats slammed Bloomberg repeatedly this week in his debut debate for declining to release women from the nondisclosure agreements.

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The Associated Press

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