BC-AP News Digest 6:15 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

The world at 6:15 p.m. Times EST.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Coralie Carlson, Suzanne Boyle McCrory and Mike Stewart can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com . For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

A selection of top photos can be found at http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos

NEW & DEVELOPING

— Adds VENEZUELA-OBIT-CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ'S SUCCESSOR, AIR TRAVELERS-KNIVES.

— LA MAYOR — Los Angeles looks for new mayor to plug budget holes after low-drama race that's likely headed for a runoff; polls close at 11 p.m.

— FOX SPORTS CHANNEL — New Fox cable sports network aims to go 1-on-1 with ESPN and debut in August.

— SUPERBUGS — CDC officials report increase in dangerous superbugs in hospitals; urge steps to stop spread.

— CARBON POLLUTION — Carbon dioxide levels rose by second highest rate; reaching global warming limits unlikely.

— STEVEN TYLER ACT — Hawaii Senate passes Steven Tyler Act that seeks to protect celebrities' privacy.

— TV-JON STEWART — Jon Stewart taking break from 'Daily Show' this summer to direct his first film.

TOP STORIES

VENEZUELA-OBIT-CHAVEZ

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez, the fiery populist who waged continual battle for socialist ideals, angered Washington time and again, and repeatedly outsmarted rivals at home, is dead at 58. A self-described "subversive," Chavez fashioned himself after the 19th century independence leader Simon Bolivar and renamed his country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. By Frank Bajak. Eds: A separate advisory has moved detailing our coverage of Chavez's death in all formats, and will be updated as warranted.

AP photos, video, interactive.

— VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ — Venezuela's defense minister pledges that the military will remain loyal to the constitution in the wake of Chavez's death.

— VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ'S INNER CIRCLE — Key players within Chavez's inner circle.

— CHAVEZ-VENEZUELANS IN AMERICA — Venezuelans in US: Cautious optimism of change in homeland after word of Hugo Chavez's death.

DOW RECORD

NEW YORK — The stock market is back. Five and a half years after the start of a frightening drop that erased $11 trillion from stock portfolios and made investors despair of ever getting their money back, the Dow Jones industrial average has regained all the losses suffered during the Great Recession and made a new high. By Business Writer Bernard Condon.

AP photos, interactive. Eds: See Dow Record, ADVISORY, which moved earlier today, for a listing of all stories planned if the Dow finishes the day above its 2007 record close of 14,164.53.

— WALL STREET — The Dow has never been higher. The 30-stock index surges past its all-time high and keeps going. It climbs as much as 158 points early and reaches 14,286, breaking through its previous record high set in October 2007. The gains represent a remarkable comeback for the stock market. AP photos.

— DOW RECORD-THREE PERSONAL STORIES — Five years of market fluctuations touched many, whether working on Wall Street or retired.

AIR TRAVELERS-KNIVES

WASHINGTON — Airline passengers will be able to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes beginning next month under a policy change announced by the head of the Transportation Security Administration. A union representing 10,000 flight attendants calls the policy "dangerous" and "shortsighted." By Joan Lowy.

AP photo.

BUDGET BATTLE-REPUBLICAN STRATEGY

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans' unyielding stand against tax increases has caught President Barack Obama and his allies off guard, resulting in the spending-cuts-only approach to deficit reduction that Democrats most wanted to avoid. Instead of accepting some higher tax revenues to minimize automatic Pentagon cuts, Republicans seem more determined than ever to block tax increases on high incomes, whatever the political risk. And that has dimmed hopes for a broader deficit-cutting effort this year. By Charles Babington.

AP photo.

— BUDGET BATTLE-WHITE HOUSE TOURS — White House cancels visitor tours, cites staff reductions due to automatic spending cuts.

— BUDGET BATTLE-GLANCE — A look at how the cuts could affect government operations and you.

VATICAN-POPE

VATICAN CITY — The two American cardinals sit atop a stage, fielding questions from the world's news media on everything from the delayed arrival of some of their colleagues to their own wardrobe choices. Most experts doubt the upcoming conclave will select an American as pope, but the Americans are already exerting a surprising amount of control over the message. By Nicole Winfield.

AP photos.

— VATICAN-POPE-IMMUNITY — Attorneys who have tried unsuccessfully for years to sue the Vatican over failures to stop clergy sex abuse are looking into whether Benedict is more legally vulnerable in retirement, especially if he travels beyond the Vatican walls. AP photos.

SYRIA

BEIRUT — Syrian jets bomb opposition-held security buildings in Raqqa a day after euphoric rebels overran the northern city and captured the provincial governor, the highest-ranking official to fall into their hands. Rebels battle pockets of resistance as they struggle to gain control of a major Syrian city for the first time in the civil war. By Zeina Karam.

AP photos, video.

AGING AMERICA-PREDICTING DEATH

CHICAGO — Want to know your chances of dying in the next 10 years? Here are some bad signs: getting winded walking several blocks, smoking, and having trouble pushing a chair across the room. That's according to a "mortality index" developed by researchers for people older than 50. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner.

MORE ON CHAVEZ

VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ'S SUCCESSOR

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, taking over leadership of Hugo Chavez's political movement following the socialist leader's death, faces the daunting task of rallying support in a deeply divided country while maintaining unity within his party's ranks. Maduro decidedly lacks the vibrant personality that made Chavez a one-man political phenomenon in Venezuela, but he has the advantage of being Chavez's hand-picked successor. By Christopher Toothaker.

AP photos.

— VENEZUELA-HUGO CHAVEZ-BIO BOX — Biographical information on Chavez.

— VENEZUELA-HUGO CHAVEZ-CHRONOLOGY — Key events in Chavez's rise to power and presidency.

MORE ON DOW RECORD

AP PHOTOS: DOW RECORD-THEN AND NOW

NEW YORK — Remember the world on Oct. 9, 2007? That was when the stock market last set a record high. It was a headier time: pre-financial crisis, pre-bailout, pre-Great Recession. The Dow Jones industrial average hit its highest close ever on Tuesday. Compare that to five and a half years ago, when it set its previous all-time high of 14,164.53, and my, how things have changed. By Business Writer Christina Rexrode. AP photos: A mobile-friendly gallery showing a timeline of key moments in the Dow's history juxtaposed with pop culture.

DOW RECORD-BULL VS. BEAR

NEW YORK — The AP asks two experts about the stock market's rise, which has come despite a sluggish economy and slowing corporate profits. One is James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis. The other is Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in Boston. By Business Writer Matthew Craft.

— DOW RECORD-Q&A — A Q&A on how the Dow Jones industrial average climbed to a record.

— DOW RECORD-TIMELINE — The Dow makes headlines all the time. But let's not forget everything else that happened as the stock market index twisted and turned

— DOW RECORD-STOCK BY STOCK-GLANCE — How the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average have performance since Oct. 9, 2007, the previous record close.

NATIONAL

WINTER STORM

CHICAGO — What promises to be the biggest snow storm of the season is rolling through the Midwest just as residents were readying for spring. The storm promises to dump 10 inches of snow on Chicago, making up for the snow the city hasn't received this winter, before it hits the East Coast. In the Upper Midwest, schools are closed, roads are slick and flights are canceled, leaving residents wondering what happened to the promise of an early spring. By Jason Keyser.

AP photos.

GAS DRILLING-CELEBRITIES

NEW YORK — The scene: a Manhattan art-house theater. The cause: a campaign against the gas drilling process known as fracking that's being led by more than 100 celebrities. The campaign has galvanized hundreds of thousands of followers, but as with many activist causes, the facts can get drowned out by glitz. Now, some experts are asking whether the celebrities are enlightened advocates or whiny NIMBYs — crying "Not in my backyard!" — even as their privileged lives remain entwined, however ruefully, with fossil fuels. By Jennifer Peltz and Kevin Begos.

AP photos.

WORKING FROM HOME

NEW YORK — Yahoo's leaked edict under CEO Marissa Mayer that calls remote workers back to the office lit the Twitterverse on fire, angering advocates of telecommuting and other programs intended to balance work and home life. A new study shows a tide moving the other way, with more workers now telecommuting and men significantly more likely than women to be granted the freedom to work partly at home. But Mayer's larger question still stands: Is it good for offices and for workers? The answers are complicated. By Leanne Italie.

AP photos.

OKLAHOMA-STATES' RIGHTS

OKLAHOMA CITY — One piece of legislation would make it a felony to enforce the new federal health care law. Another is designed to curb the possible influence of the United Nations in local government. While provocative bills aren't particularly unusual in state legislatures, so many have been offered by conservatives in Oklahoma this year that GOP leaders here and in other states have established a special committee to handle what is now a major category of business: measures to combat the federal government's influence in the states. By Sean Murphy.

AP photos.

BUSINESS

MARTHA STEWART-TRIAL

NEW YORK — Home decor and food guru Martha Stewart testifies that she did nothing wrong when she signed an agreement to open shops within most of J.C. Penney's stores across the country. The case in New York state court centers on whether the company Stewart founded breached its contract to sell cookware, bedding and other items exclusively at Macy's when she inked the deal with Penney. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

AP photo.

NATURAL GAS VEHICLES

Natural gas is quickly gaining popularity as the cleaner, cheaper fuel of choice for truck fleets, buses and taxis. The consumer market is tougher to crack, but it's making inroads there as well. Ford sold 11,600 natural gas vehicles in 2012, more than tripling sales in just two years. To be more than a niche market, however, these vehicles have two big obstacles to overcome: A high price and a scarcity of public places to refuel them. By Dee-Ann Durbin.

AP photo.

WASHINGTON

INSURGENT ATTACKS-ERRORS

WASHINGTON — The U.S.-led military command in Afghanistan says it will no longer publish figures on Taliban attacks. This comes a week after the coalition acknowledged that it had incorrectly heralded a 7 percent drop in Taliban attacks last year when in fact there had been no decline, a fact first reported by The Associated Press. By National Security Writer Robert Burns.

AP photo

BRENNAN-CIA

WASHINGTON — John Brennan is one step closer to becoming director of the CIA, with the Senate Intelligence Committee voting to approve President Obama's pick to lead the spy agency. The vote sets the nomination up for consideration by the full Senate. By Richard Lardner.

AP photos.

US-IRAQ-FUNDING, HFR

WASHINGTON — Ten years and $60 billion in taxpayer-supported rebuilding money later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to reconstruct Iraq were worth the cost. In a final report, the conclusion by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction is all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes. For release at 12:01 a.m.

AP photos.

INTERNATIONAL

UN-NORTH KOREA

UNITED NATIONS — A U.S.-China draft resolution aimed at reining in North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program will impose some of the toughest sanctions ever ordered by the United Nations, in a move that infuriates the regime and is certain to inflame tensions on the Korean Peninsula. By Edith M. Lederer and Ron DePasquale.

AP photos.

SYRIA-NORTHERN STANDOFF

MAARET AL-NUMAN, Syria — The rebels' capture of this strategic city was a key success in their advances in northern Syria against regime forces. But it's so far proven an incomplete victory. Maaret al-Numan remains a shell of a city. One major reason: Rebels have been unable to take a large regime military base on the edge of the city. By Steve Negus.

AP photos.

GAZA-MARATHON

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The United Nations cancels plans for a Gaza marathon after the Palestinian territory's militant Hamas rulers ban women from participating. It is the latest attempt by the Islamic group to limit the freedoms of women and further strains a delicate relationship with the United Nations. By Ibrahim Barzak and Diaa Hadid.

AP photos.

SPORTS

IDITAROD

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Imagine standing on a sled behind a team of 16 dogs, traveling mile after desolate mile in the Alaska wilderness without any sign of other human life. All of a sudden, lights shine off in the distance. For the next few weeks, mushers on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race look to 26 checkpoints — some villages, some just ghost towns — not only as places to eat, rest and recharge, but a chance to interact with someone other than their dogs. By Mark Thiessen and Rachel D'Oro.

AP photos, video, interactive.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— EGYPT — Egyptian president considers giving military full control of restive city amid clashes.

— KENYA-ELECTION — In Kenya, decision on rejected ballots indicates presidential runoff is likely.

— FRAGILE POWER GRID — An Associated Press analysis of utility spending and reliability nationwide found that electric customers are spending 43 percent more than they did in 2002 to build and maintain local electric infrastructure. AP photos, interactive.

— MISSING SKIER — A 17-year-old skier who tried to take a backcountry shortcut survived two nights in the wild by building a shelter, drinking from a stream and walking toward the sound of snowmobiles during the day. AP photos.

— COLLEGE-HATE INCIDENT — Two students are being investigated for possible involvement in racist graffiti at Oberlin College; unclear whether it was a prank or genuine bigotry, police say. AP photos.

— TITLE IX-CHEERLEADING — Judge says cheerleading is not a sport; under Title IX, Conn. university must keep volleyball.

— KARAOKE BAR KILLING — Taiwan gang enforcer gets life in prison plus 32 to 85 years in Las Vegas karaoke bar slaying.

— RUSSIA-BOLSHOI ATTACK — Russian police have detained a man in the January acid attack on the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet and searched both the suspect's home and that of one of the theater's dance stars. AP photos.

— BRITAIN-BELATED BIEBER — Justin Bieber apologizes for late arrival at London show after delay sparks wrath of fans. AP photos.

— MUSIC-JIMI HENDRIX — Jimi Hendrix at 70: New studio album offers different take on enduring rock 'n' roll icon.

___

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