BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM

The world at 6 p.m. Times EDT.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Coralie Carlson and Ron Depasquale can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, James Nieves (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 BKC--RUTGERS-FBI INQUIRY, OBIT--LILLY PULITZER

— BKW--FINAL FOUR-CALIFORNIA-LOUISVILLE — 6:30 p.m.

— ACM AWARDS — Will be updated from red carpet and then throughout show. 8 p.m.-11 p.m.

— BKW--FINAL FOUR-CONNECTICUT-NOTRE DAME — Approximately 8:30 p.m.

— TV-MAD MEN-REVIEW — A review of the long-awaited Season 6 premiere of "Mad Men." By Television Writer Frazier Moore. Story will move immediately after show concludes at 11 p.m.

Has moved:

— DENGUE NUMBERS — Dengue fever cases may be nearly 4 times more common than thought, but most are mild. AP photos.

— MONTENEGRO-ELECTION — Both sides claim victory in presidential vote in tiny Montenegro, fueling tensions. AP photos.

— KAYAKER-RIVER RESCUE — Kayaker credited with helping save family of five after SUV crashes into river in Northern Calif.

TOP STORIES

US-AFGHANISTAN

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The top U.S. military official says the U.S. accepts that a diminished but resilient Taliban is likely to remain a military threat in some parts of Afghanistan long after American troops complete their combat mission next year. In an Associated Press interview, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey also says he is cautiously optimistic that the Afghan army will hold its own against the insurgency as Western troops pull back and Afghans assume the lead combat role. By National Security Writer Robert Burns.

AP photos.

AFGHANISTAN-DIPLOMAT KILLED

CHICAGO — The father of a young U.S. diplomat killed in southern Afghanistan says his daughter always had a passion for foreign affairs and was preparing to learn Arabic for an assignment in Algeria. Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old foreign service officer from suburban Chicago, died Saturday when the group she was traveling with was struck by an explosion. By Sophia Tareen.

AP photos.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — A top South Korean national security official says that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. By Hyung-Jin Kim.

AP photos.

— US-SKOREA — A top U.S. military officer says the Pentagon is making moves in case of further North Korea provocations.

— NKOREA-THE WAR CALCULUS — As tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula, one thing remains certain: All sides have good reason to avoid an all-out war.

AIRLINE QUALITY, HFR

WASHINGTON — Airline passengers are getting grumpier, and it's little wonder. Airlines keep shrinking the size of seats to stuff more people onto planes, those empty middle seats that might provide a little more room have vanished, and more people who have bought tickets are being turned away because flights are overbooked. Private researchers who have analyzed federal data on airline performance say consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation surged by one-fifth last year even though other measures such as on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage show airlines are doing a better job. By Joan Lowy. For at 12:01 a.m.

— AIRLINE QUALITY-COMPLAINTS-GLANCE

SERIAL STRANGLING SUSPECT

LOS ANGELES — When cold case detectives caught up with Samuel Little this past fall, he was living in a shelter in Kentucky, his latest arrest a few months earlier for alleged possession of a crack pipe. But the LA investigators wanted him on far more serious charges: The slayings of two women in 1989, both found beaten and strangled to death — victims of what police concluded had been sexually motivated strangulations. Now, as the 72-year-old former boxer and transient awaits trial in Los Angeles, authorities in California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio are scouring their own cold case files for possible ties to Little. By Tami Abdollah.

AP photos.

ZERO TV

LOS ANGELES —A growing number of people have had it with TV. They've had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don't like timing their lives around network show schedules. They're tired of paying $100 or more a month. Many of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV. These "cord-cutters" are watching shows and movies on the Internet. Last month, the Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group "Zero TV" households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007. Winning back the Zero TV crowd will be one of the many issues broadcasters discuss at their national meeting, taking place this week in Las Vegas. By Ryan Nakashima.

AP photos.

MONDAY SPOTLIGHT

BUSING VOICES

BOSTON — Ginnette Powell's journey last fall from her home in Boston's Dorchester section to her old middle school in South Boston covered only two miles. But it was a trip that helped her move on from a painful part of her past. Now 48, Powell tears up when talking about how it took her decades to go back to the place where she never felt safe as a seventh-grader. Raw feelings remain among some Bostonians nearly four decades after a 1974 court desegregation order sparked a school busing crisis that inflamed racial tensions and led to violence. Just this month, officials took action meant to revamp what was left of the old school assignment system. By Bridget Murphy.

AP photos.

MORE ON AFGHANISTAN

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — A fierce battle between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and Taliban militants in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan leaves nearly 20 people dead, including 11 Afghan children killed in an airstrike and an American civilian adviser. The fighting along a main infiltration route from Pakistan is indicative of the surge in hostilities as the spring fighting season gets underway. By Kim Gamel.

AP photos.

— KERRY-AFGHANISTAN — Kerry rails against the "cowardly" terrorists responsible for the attack that killed five Americans in Afghanistan, including a "selfless, idealistic" young diplomat on a mission to donate books to students.

WASHINGTON & POLITICS

IMMIGRATION

WASHINGTON — A raucous debate over the nation's flawed immigration system is about to begin in earnest as senators finalize bipartisan legislation to secure the border, allow tens of thousands of foreign workers into the country, and grant eventual citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living here illegally. A bill that was the product of months of private talks may come out this week, with a difficult road ahead predicted. By Erica Werner.

— IMMIGRATION-NEWS GUIDE

CONGRESS RETURNS

WASHINGTON — Two influential senators, one from each party, are working on an agreement that could expand background checks on firearms sales to include gun shows and online transactions, Senate aides say. If completed, the effort could represent a major breakthrough in the effort by President Barack Obama and his allies to restrict guns following last December's massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn. By Alan Fram.

—BUDGET — Obama's 2014 budget comes out Wednesday, and the White House warns Republicans that a "my way or the highway" approach will spell the GOP's defeat in negotiations. Democrats are told they'll have to bend, too.

INTERNATIONAL

SYRIA

BEIRUT — After weeks of rebel gains in the south, Syria's regime launches a heavy and widespread series of airstrikes that target at least seven cities or regions and kill at least 20. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to neighboring Turkey talks about shared efforts by the two countries to support the Syrian opposition. By Barbara Surk.

— KERRY — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appeals to Turkey's leaders to quickly restore full diplomatic relations with Israel, but Turkey demands that Israel first end all embargoes against the Palestinians.

GULF CRACKDOWN

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — One is a former judge, another is a past president of the lawyers' association in the United Arab Emirates, and there is even a cousin of a UAE ruling sheik among the more than 90 suspects — described by prosecutors as members of an Islamist coup-plot conspiracy. Others portray the ongoing mass trial as part of a widening Arab Spring-induced panic among Western-backed Gulf leaders, who are waging ever-expanding crackdowns against perceived threats ranging from Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood to reformist chatter on social media. By Brian Murphy.

AP photos.

GERMANY-AIRPORT FIASCO

BERLIN — Rabbits scamper over quiet runways. Only the call of a crow disturbs the silence around a gleaming, empty terminal that should be humming with the din of thousands of passengers. Willy Brandt International Airport, named for Germany's famed Cold War leader, was supposed to have been up and running in late 2011, a sign of Berlin's transformation from Cold War confrontation line to world class capital of Europe's economic powerhouse. Instead it has become a symbol of how, even for this technological titan, things can go horribly wrong. By Kirsten Grieshaber.

AP photos.

NATIONAL

LILLY PULITZER

MIAMI — Lilly Pulitzer hosted parties in her bare feet and wasn't afraid to get a little messy — just as long as she looked good and had fun, too. In the late 1950s, the Palm Beach socialite had time to spare and a wealthy husband who owned citrus groves, so she opened an orange juice stand just off the island's main shopping street. Pulitzer needed to hide all the juice stains on her clothes, though. Instead of just putting on an apron, she asked her seamstress to make some sleeveless dresses in colorful fruit prints, and a fashion staple was born. Pulitzer died at her home at age 81. By Jennifer Kay.

AP photos.

GAS DRILLING-UNLIKELY PARTNERS

PITTSBURGH — Like a marriage the in-laws don't approve of, a new plan to strengthen standards for fracking is creating unusual divisions among environmentalists and supporters of the oil and gas industry. At first glance, it's hard to fathom all the angst over the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development. Environmental groups, foundations, and major oil and gas companies came together to support stringent measures to protect air and water from pollution in the Appalachian region, and they invited other groups to join in and help clean up the new boom in fracking. Not everyone was flattered by the invitation. By Kevin Begos.

MUD SEASON

MONTPELIER, Vt. — It's known in northern New England as the fifth season: mud. But the time of year when the thawing winter landscape turns dirt roads into mucky seas and paved highways into frosty roller coasters sprinkled with potholes doesn't get featured on tourist calendars. Many hotels offer rock-bottom mud-season rates to lure people in in the spring. And even many artists have paid cultural homage to the purgatory that begins in late March and can last into May. By Wilson Ring.

AP photos.

POPE

THE FRANCIS FACTOR

NEW YORK — For decades, the Society of Jesus has faced the same struggles to find priests that have plagued the wider Roman Catholic Church. One priest who evaluates Jesuit applicants says he usually heard from five a week, or fewer. Then, last month, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the first Jesuit elected pope. The number of queries jumped to four or five each day. Jesuits have only started absorbing the novelty of one of their own leading the church. Most were so shocked, they used Google to confirm the connection before they dared to celebrate. But members of the order have also started thinking ahead, to the potential impact of this pontificate on their many ministries, colleges and overall future. By Religion Writer Rachel Zoll.

AP photos.

— VATICAN-POPE — Pope Francis honors the late John Paul II ahead of installation as bishop of Rome.

ENTERTAINMENT

ACM AWARDS

LAS VEGAS— More than a few people have suggested to the producers of the Academy of Country Music Awards that they extend the broadcast delay for the show — just in case. With Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan co-hosting, everyone expects the unexpected — and several off-color, unscripted moments — as country music's biggest cut-ups collide on stage. By Music Writer Chris Talbott.

AP photos.

SPORTS

BKC--RUTGERS-FBI INQUIRY

The FBI is investigating whether a former Rutgers basketball employee tried to extort the university before he made videos that showed ex-coach Mike Rice abusing and berating players with gay slurs, the AP is told. Eric Murdock left the basketball program last year and later provided the video to university officials and ESPN. By Geoff Mulvihill.

AP photos.

BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP

ATLANTA — Rick Pitino is looking to complete the circle — the coach who won a national title at one bluegrass school, now is trying to bring one home for Louisville. Michigan is hoping to escape the shadow of Fab Five on Monday night with a championship at a school where football is king. By National Writer Paul Newberry.

AP photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— CARIBBEAN-ATLANTIC ROWERS — 4 men attempting trans-Atlantic rowing trip rescued when boat capsizes after 73 days at sea.

— EGYPT — A mob attacks several hundred Christians protesting against Egypt's Islamist government after the funeral of four Christians killed in sectarian clashes over the weekend.

— BOX OFFICE — 'Evil Dead' rises again with $26M box-office stake; 'Croods,' 'G.I. Joe' each do $21.1M.

— PAY PHONE TIME MACHINE — Hello, New York City? It's 1993 calling. It wants you to remember what it used to be like.

— BUCKWILD DEATH-FUNERAL — Family, friends and fans gather in camouflage in West Virginia for the funeral for "BUCKWILD" reality TV star Shain Gandee.

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