Tribune News Service

News Budget for Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC).




Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.

This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Trump administration unveils COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan<

CORONAVIRUS-US-VACCINE:CON — The Trump administration announced its strategy Wednesday for distributing any eventual COVID-19 vaccine, which requires states and localities to submit plans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Oct. 16.

The 11-page overview and 57-page playbook developed by the departments of Health and Human Services and Defense are intended to assist state, tribal, territorial and other local public health programs. HHS broke down the process into first communicating with local officials to promote the vaccine, distributing it, ensuring the reliability of the supply chain, and monitoring the vaccine's administration.

850 by Sandhya Raman in Washington. MOVED


^Poll highlights key barriers for Trump and Biden in final weeks before election<

CAMPAIGN-POLL:LA — As the presidential race moves into its final seven weeks, with former Vice President Joe Biden holding a lead that remains steady but not conclusive, he and President Donald Trump face contrasting challenges, new data from a University of Southern California Dornsife poll show.

Biden has largely succeeded in uniting his fellow Democrats. But as he tries to build a broad coalition that would include a significant number of independents and moderate Republicans, he faces resistance on ideology. Trump faces a different challenge: Not only is he behind, but a slice of his potential supporters are iffy about voting, the poll finds.

1600 by David Lauter in Washington. MOVED


^Fed signals rates will stay near zero for at least three years<

^FED-RATES-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Open Market Committee "expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy" until it achieves inflation averaging 2% over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2%, the central bank said in a statement Wednesday following a two-day policy meeting.

The statement reflects the central bank's new long-term policy framework in which officials will allow inflation to overshoot their 2% target after periods of under-performance.

700 by Catarina Saraiva and Christopher Condon. MOVED



Also moving as:

FED-RATES:LA — 450 by Don Lee in Washington. MOVED


^White House shows flexibility on coronavirus aid; Pelosi holds firm<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:CON — The Trump administration is willing to consider another $1.5 trillion in relief for the U.S. economy and health care system, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday, including more aid to state and local governments than top GOP officials have been comfortable with to date.

Meadows spoke with President Donald Trump before a CNBC appearance Wednesday, where he said Trump was "encouraged" by the bipartisan Problem Solvers caucus proposal unveiled the previous day.

1200 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED



^Masks may do more than a vaccine to protect against COVID-19, CDC director says<

CORONAVIRUS-CDC-MASKS:WA — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said face masks may do a better job at protecting against COVID-19 than a vaccine — contradicting prior comments from President Donald Trump about the importance of masks.

Dr. Robert Redfield said during a Senate hearing Wednesday that there is "clear scientific evidence" face masks work and that they're "our best defense" against the virus.

500 by Bailey Aldridge. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^COVID-19 cases have plummeted at Notre Dame since a two-week campus shutdown. Can that work for other universities struggling to contain the virus's spread?<

^CMP-CORONAVIRUS-SHUTDOWNS:TB—<While its long-term success remains to be seen, more universities are trying the two-week pause to overcome outbreaks, as opposed to the more dramatic move of permanently sending students home. That also follows recommendations from public health experts, who say turning students loose could seed new infections in the communities where they return.

1250 (with trims) by Elyssa Cherney. MOVED


^COVID-19 hits Latino, Black and Native American wallets harder<

CORONAVIRUS-MINORITIES-IMPACT:CON — The coronavirus has hit people of color harder than white households, causing higher rates of infection, hospitalizations, deaths and, as a new survey has found, financial despair.

Black, Latino and Native American households reported disproportionately high income loss, financial problems and housing insecurity in a poll released Wednesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The poll showed 72% of Latino households, 60% of Black households and 55% of Native American households reported a serious financial problem like using up all of their savings, food insecurity and an inability to pay for housing. For comparison, only 36% of white households said they have faced the same challenges since the pandemic's start.

900 by Jim Saksa and Michael Macagnone in Washington. MOVED


^Rep. Omar, immigration lawyers raise alarm over deportation flight to Somalia with possible COVID-19 passenger<

CORONAVIRUS-DETAINEES-SOMALIA:CON — A deportation flight scheduled for Somalia this week may include passengers with COVID-19 symptoms, according to immigration lawyers, advocates and at least one congressional lawmaker, raising new concerns the United States may be exporting the coronavirus to other countries.

The flight, which could take off as early as Wednesday, is expected to carry roughly 90 people, according to advocates who spoke to CQ Roll Call. Most are Somali nationals from Minnesota, which has the biggest Somali immigrant community in the country. Lawyers and advocates fear most are not being adequately tested.

900 (with trims) by Tanvi Misra in Washington. MOVED



^US House probe of 737 MAX finds 'disturbing pattern' of Boeing failures and 'grossly insufficient' FAA oversight<

^CONGRESS-BOEING-MAX:SE—<An intensive investigation by a U.S. House committee into the causes of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes reveals new details documenting what a final report calls "a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing," along with "grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the U.S. House Transportation Committee, signaled in a teleconference briefing that the committee plans to soon propose legislation reforming how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies airplanes as safe to fly.

He called it "mind boggling" that the MAX, which had two crashes that killed 346 people within five months, was originally certified by both Boeing and the FAA as compliant with all safety regulations.

1950 by Dominic Gates. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^Democrats accuse Pompeo, allies of cover-up over IG firing<

CONGRESS-POMPEO-INSPECTOR-GENERAL:CON — House Democrats on Wednesday detailed their suspicions that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a small group of loyalists orchestrated the spring firing of the agency's inspector general, as he was investigating Pompeo's personal conduct, and then attempted a cover-up.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with three top State Department officials close to Pompeo, including Undersecretary for Management Brian Bulatao, was months in the making.

950 by Rachel Oswald in Washington. MOVED


^Controversial HHS official installed by White House taking medical leave of absence<

TRUMP-CAPUTO:CON — The Department of Health and Human Services announced that Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo will take a 60-day medical leave of absence, following a torrid five-month stint that included efforts to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caputo's tenure was capped by a livestreamed Facebook video echoing right-wing conspiracies depicting department scientists as leftists and predicting societal revolts.

600 by Lauren Clason in Washington. MOVED


^William Barr floats theory of foreign mail-vote fraud that experts call impossible<

BARR-MAILVOTING:BLO — Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly floated a conspiracy theory that other countries may distribute counterfeit mail-in ballots to sway the November election. That's virtually impossible, according to election officials, ballot-printing companies and political scientists.

Yet it's a persistent argument from Barr, and it echoes Russian claims designed to undermine trust in the U.S. presidential election.

650 by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Mark Niquette in Washington. MOVED


^Barr pushes 'sedition' charges against racial justice protesters<

BARR-PROTESTERS-SEDITION:NY — Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly wants to charge racial justice protesters with sedition, a harsh move that would dramatically raise the stakes in the Trump administration's crackdown on dissent.

Barr ordered federal prosecutors on a recent conference call to consider charging demonstrators with trying to overthrow the government, not just attacking law enforcement officers or damaging federal buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported.

200 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED


^Florida senators pitch daylight saving time pause<

SENATE-DAYLIGHTSAVINGTIME:CON — Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott want to make sure there is plenty of time for wasting away again in Margaritaville in the sunlight this winter.

If they get their way, revelers in Key West, Florida, where Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band conceived of the mythical Margaritaville, will get to nibble on sponge cake and watch the sun bake one more hour — hopefully in a socially distant manner in this age of coronavirus pandemic protocols.

The senators introduced a bill that would postpone clocks from "falling back" until next year.

500 by Chris Cioffi in Washington. MOVED



^Why are people sending the Biden-Harris campaign $19.08?<

CAMPAIGN-DONATIONS-1908:CON — The notifications wouldn't stop. It had been 24 hours since former Vice President Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate in his quest to win the White House. Soon after, the phone of the Democratic Party's chief fundraiser was buzzing every other minute, alerting him that the campaign had just received another donation of exactly $19.08.

It's not uncommon for campaigns to solicit donations for particular amounts, like $7 or $23, to make the ask stand out, but a number that precise, down to the red cent, was strange.

550 by Clyde McGrady in Washington. MOVED


^Poll shows McConnell up double digits on McGrath in Kentucky Senate race<

KYSENATE-POLL:LX — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has increased his lead over former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath to 12 percentage points, according to a public poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, surveyed 1,164 likely voters between Sept. 10 and 14 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. It found that 53% of voters supported McConnell while 41% of voters supported McGrath.

550 by Daniel Desrochers in Lexington, Ky. MOVED


^Will 'biblical conservative' Bob Good make Virginia's 5th District safer GOP terrain, or more in play?<

CONGRESS-VA-5TH-GOOD:CON — The late-summer sun was just beginning to cast shadows on the white pillars of the Buckingham County courthouse, near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, when House hopeful Bob Good stood before a crowd of supporters last week and promised to "not stand idly by" against the threat of urban rioters.

"We can't say it couldn't happen here," the Virginia Republican said. "It can happen here. But we won't let it happen here."

The talking point is one of several that Good, 55, a self-described "bright-red biblical conservative" has borrowed from the campaign of President Donald Trump as he vies to represent Virginia's sprawling 5th District and bring "Judeo-Christian values" to Washington.

1450 (with trims) by Stephanie Akin in Buckingham, Va. MOVED


^With big political rallies, Kemp defies own coronavirus rules<

GA-KEMP-RALLYRULES:AT — Hours after Gov. Brian Kemp appeared at a campaign rally full of hundreds of unmasked Georgians crammed in close quarters outside a Forsyth County barn, he renewed a coronavirus order that bans gatherings larger than 50 people.

The governor has vented at local authorities for failing to enforce the state's coronavirus guidelines, encased in an order that stretches across 51 pages. But critics say his appearance at crowded campaign events shows he's flouting the restrictions, too.

950 (with trims) by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED



^New evacuations as Bobcat fire jumps north, firefighters battle at famed observatory<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-BOBCAT:LA — The Bobcat fire continued shapeshifting overnight, expanding to the northeast, while all eyes remain on the southern foothill communities and the Mount Wilson Observatory to the west.

The blaze in the Angeles National Forest has charred 44,393 acres and remained at 3% containment Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire jumped the 2 Freeway on Tuesday evening and ignited a spot fire that has burned nearly 1,000 acres.

700 by Hayley Smith in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Her daughter is in prison, suicidal. Her grandmother fled a fire. 'Too much tragedy'<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-FAMILYTRAGEDIES:LA — Tracey Aldrich and her mother, Deborah, were forced out of their rural Northern California homes by fire last Tuesday, but that's not their biggest concern.

At night, before she falls asleep, Tracey Aldrich loses control of her thoughts, and they turn to her daughter Keiana, she said. She wonders how badly she is hurt, or if she is in pain, or even aware that anyone cares.

Nearly three weeks ago, Keiana Aldrich, 25, an inmate at the California Institution for Women, allegedly slashed her neck and wrists with razor blades then swallowed two of them. No one on the outside has spoken to her since, and prison officials have denied her attorney a phone call.

1550 (with trims) by Anita Chabria in Oroville, Calif. MOVED


^In hate-filled speech, Giuliani lashes out at Black Lives Matter, NYC schools chancellor<

GIULIANI:NY — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani painted a grim picture of the city's future — attacking everyone from his successor Bill de Blasio to participants in the Black Lives Matter movement — in a divisive and racially charged speech in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday.

Cast as a speech on restoring safety to a city reeling from a surge in violent crime, the event was light on policy and heavy on personal attacks.

650 by Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED


^Sheriff's combative response to shocking deputy attack sparks new alarms, criticism<

LA-DEPUTIES-SHOT-RESPONSE:LA — The attack was every police officer's worst nightmare: A gunman walks up to a marked patrol car, shooting the two people inside at close range because of the uniforms on their backs.

Surveillance video of the brazen deed near a Compton Metro station provoked wide outrage from presidential candidates to ordinary citizens.

But the agency's response to the attack has raised alarms from some activists, lawmakers and sheriff's watchdogs, who question whether the aggressive rhetoric is inflaming rather than easing tensions at a moment when community groups are protesting several controversial shootings by deputies amid a national discussion over policing and race.

1500 (with trims) by Alene Tchekmedyian in Los Angeles. MOVED


^16 hospitalized after crane collision in Austin, medics say<

AUSTIN-CRANES:AU — Diane Stewart, a Mueller resident, is used to the occasional construction noise coming from the site near her Austin apartment. But on Wednesday, she heard something that made her pause.

"It sounded like pipes falling. It was a loud crash, it made me turn," Stewart said.

What Stewart heard was the collision of two construction cranes near Dell Children's Medical Center.

When medics arrived at the scene, they tended to 22 people, with 16 being taken to a hospital.

800 by Kelsey Bradshaw and Nicole Cobler in Austin, Texas. MOVED


^Visitor to Chicago comes to the aid of man shot in drive-by at train station<

CHICAGO-VISITOR-SHOOTING:TB — Troy Laird used a water bottle from a friend to wash his bloody hands outside the Morse "L" station in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood.

The glass door of the station was shattered from a drive-by shooting that killed a man Tuesday night. Inside was Laird's T-shirt he had used to try to save the man's life.

"I was compressing one of his bullet wounds while a cop was giving chest compressions," Laird said. "I've never been around gunshots that close in the city."

Told the victim, Joel Jenkins, later died at a hospital, he said, "I suspected as much." He was the same age as Laird, 26.

1050 (with trims) by Paige Fry in Chicago. MOVED


^'Absolutely surreal.' Florida Panhandle hit with severe flooding from Hurricane Sally<

^WEA-SALLY:MI—<A last-minute eastern wobble brought the Category 2 winds of Hurricane Sally — and two feet of rain — to the Florida Panhandle overnight.

Although the storm made landfall in Alabama early Wednesday, it brought hurricane and tropical storm force winds from Pensacola to Panama City. The hurricane flooded dozens of roads, left more than 10,000 people without power and even led to water cutoffs in some places.

More than 500 people were in need of evacuation from Okaloosa County Wednesday morning, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported, as storm surge and heavy rains drenched the region.

"Absolutely surreal to see so much of the city underwater from storm surge," The Weather Channel's Chris Bruin tweeted from downtown Pensacola.

300 by Alex Harris and Michelle Marchante. MOVED


^Hurricane Teddy keeps strengthening, on track to Bermuda. Two depressions may also form<

WEA-STORMS-WHATWEKNOW:MI — A strengthened Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama early Wednesday, battering the area with heavy rain and winds over 100 mph. Trouble may also be coming for Bermuda, which is forecast to be in the path of a powerful Hurricane Teddy early next week.

Hurricanes Sally and Teddy aren't the only systems on the National Hurricane Center's radar. A strengthening Hurricane Paulette is still roaming around the Atlantic. So is Tropical Storm Vicky. Forecasters are also monitoring three disturbances, two of which are forecast to turn into tropical depressions later this week.

Here's what to know.

850 by Michelle Marchante and Alex Harris in Miami. MOVED


^Big Ten football is coming back in October with 8 games in 8 weeks — and 'significant medical protocols'<

FBC-BIGTEN:TB — For a while there, it looked as if Big Ten football would produce only one score this fall: 11-3.

As in, 11 schools voted to postpone fall sports and three (Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa) dissented.

But after weeks of criticism and cajoling from the likes of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Iowa football parents, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and President Donald Trump, the Big Ten crossed the 1-yard line — as Trump alluded to in a tweet.

The conference announced its restart Wednesday, declaring a unanimous vote an intention to start playing Oct. 23-24 with a slate of eight games over eight weeks and a conference title game Dec. 19.

900 by Teddy Greenstein in Chicago. (Moved as a sports story.) MOVED


^Deputy shot in Michigan; gunman barricaded in residence<

MICH-DEPUTYSHOT:DE — A Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputy was shot Wednesday afternoon after responding with a partner to reports of a neighbor dispute at a residence in Superior Township, northeast of Ypsilanti, a spokesman said.

The deputy, whom sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said has worked for the department "for quite some time," was stable at a local hospital. The gunman was barricaded inside the residence as of about 4 p.m. Eastern.

250 by David Jesse and Miriam Marini in Detroit. MOVED


^Air Force Academy general's fight against racism still resonates<

CMP-AIRFORCE-RACISM:GT — A month into his tenure as Air Force Academy superintendent and before Black Lives Matter sparked a nationwide discussion on the treatment of minorities, Lt. Gen Jay Silveria pulled his 4,000 cadets and hundreds of officers, civilian professors and airmen into cavernous Mitchell Hall.

A racial slur had been written on a white board at the academy's Preparatory School.

"At the time I was so hurt by a racial incident at the Air Force Academy," Silveria, who will retire this month after 35 years in uniform, told The Gazette in an interview this week.

1250 (with trims) by Tom Roeder in Colorado Springs, Colo. MOVED


^One name is left on the hurricane list, and it's only September. Why so many storms?<

WEA-HURRICANE-SEASON:MI — There's only one name left on the National Hurricane Center's alphabetical list of storm names. After Wilfred, it's time for names left untouched since 2005: the Greek alphabet.

And with a good two months left in the formal hurricane season, it's likely that Tropical Storm Alpha might make an appearance somewhere in the Atlantic before the season ends on Nov. 30. Although, as anyone around for the 2005 storm season remembers, the final storm of that season — Tropical Storm Zeta — actually petered out on Jan. 6, 2006.

1050 by Alex Harris in Miami. MOVED


^1 in 10 young American adults thinks Jewish people caused the Holocaust, survey finds<

^HOLOCAUST-YOUNGADULTS:RA—<About 1 in 10 young adults in America think Jewish people caused the Holocaust, a new survey finds.

And 10% of people in that age group say they don't believe that the Holocaust happened or aren't sure that it took place, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said in results published Wednesday.

350 by Simone Jasper. MOVED


^City says deal for temporary 3rd Precinct site for Minneapolis police is off<

MINN-POLICE-DEATH-3RDPRECINCT:MS — A plan to temporarily house Minneapolis's 3rd Police Precinct in a warehouse has fallen apart, the city confirmed Wednesday.

The city's elected leaders had been debating whether to temporarily house the officers in a warehouse about a half mile from their former station, which burned in the riots that followed George Floyd's death.

200 by Liz Navratil in Minneapolis. MOVED



^Belarusian protest leader charged with endangering national security<

BELARUS:DPA — Belarusian protest leader Maria Kalesnikava, taken into custody in Belarus last week, has been charged with endangering national security, the country's investigative agency announced on Wednesday.

She faces up to five years in prison under the charge in accordance with Belarusian law.

450 by Peter Spinella in Moscow. MOVED


^Venezuela's Maduro accused of committing crimes against humanity in damning UN report<

VENEZUELA-MADURO:MI — The Venezuelan regime lead by Nicolas Maduro was accused of committing "egregious violations" since 2014 "amounting to crimes against humanity," in a United Nations report published Wednesday.

The report by a U.N. mission investigating human rights violations in Venezuela, found several examples of extrajudicial killings, politically motivated detentions, torture and forced disappearances.

400 by Nora Gamez Torres. MOVED



^Endangered wildlife, habitat burned in Washington's wildfires<

ENV-WASH-WILDFIRES-ENDANGERED:SE — Entire wildlife areas have been destroyed and endangered populations of animals gravely depleted by wildfires burning in Eastern Washington.

Much of the area burned east of the mountains included shrub-steppe habitat. The assemblage of sage and other plants is critical to the survival of the pygmy rabbit, sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse.

900 by Lynda V. Mapes in Seattle. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^COVID-19 exodus fills vacation towns with new medical pressures<

^CORONAVIRUS-VACATION-TOWNS:KHN—<The staff at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is accustomed to the number of patients tripling or even quadrupling each summer when wealthy Manhattanites flee the city for the Hamptons. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended everything.

The 125-bed hospital on the southern coast of Long Island has seen a huge upswing in demand for obstetrics and delivery services. The pandemic has families who once planned to deliver babies in New York or other big cities migrating to the Hamptons for the near term.

From the shores of Long Island to the resorts of the Rocky Mountains, traditional vacation destinations have seen a major influx of affluent people relocating to wait out the pandemic. But now as summer vacation season has ended, many families realize that working from home and attending school online can be done anywhere they can tether to the internet, and those with means are increasingly waiting it out in the poshest destinations.

1450 by Markian Hawryluk and Katheryn Houghton and Michelle Andrews. MOVED


^2020 hurricane hunting evolves with new technology in light of COVID-19 safety concerns<

WEA-HURRICANE-HUNTING:OS — When the hurricane hunter aircraft collected data for Hurricane Laura in August, most of the meteorologists analyzing it weren't on board. That's something new for 2020. They now work thousands of miles away in their own homes interpreting the data thanks to new software developed out of necessity in a COVID-19 world.

Systems on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's P-3 aircraft communicate with researchers, meteorologists and modelers on the ground in real time to produce accurate forecast updates. Usually, about three or four researchers from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, keep track of those systems to make sure no errors occur, like a drop in satellite connection.

1150 by Joe Mario Pedersen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED




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