Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, March 26, 2020


Updated at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 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.


^New weekly jobless claims soar to 3.3 million amid coronavirus outbreak<

CORONAVIRUS-JOBS-1ST-LEDE:LA — The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits soared to unprecedented levels last week as new government data put into stark relief the magnitude of the economic pain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Labor Department said Thursday that nearly 3.3 million people filed for first-time unemployment claims in the week ending last Saturday.

400 by Don Lee in Washington. MOVED


^Pelosi vows quick House approval of $2 trillion coronavirus relief plan, slams GOP for voting against 'workers'<

^CORONAVIRUS-STIMULUS:NY—<The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package approved by the Senate will breeze through the House in a "strong, bipartisan" vote on Friday, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meaning President Donald Trump will likely be able to sign the enormous bill into law by the weekend.

"We will have a victory tomorrow for America's workers," Pelosi, who was celebrating her 80th birthday, told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. "We'll bring the bill to the floor. It will pass. It will pass with strong, bipartisan support."

500 by Dave Goldiner and Chris Sommerfeldt. MOVED


^Feds charge Venezuelan President Maduro, other top officials with narco-terrorism<

USVENEZUELA-MADURO:MI — In a stunning announcement amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department announced Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicol s Maduro and several other government officials have been charged with turning Venezuela into a narco-state by collaborating with a leftist Colombian guerrilla group that exported tons of cocaine to the United States.

An indictment, unveiled at a "virtual" news conference in Washington, D.C., accuses Maduro and other top officials in his socialist regime of conspiring with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC so that Venezuela could be used for narcotics shipments to finance a long-running civil war against the Colombian government.

1950 (with trims) by Jay Weaver and Antonio Maria Delgado in Miami. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED



Also moving as:

USVENEZUELA-MADURO:LA — 350 by Del Quentin Wilber and Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED


^For many Indians in lockdown, the biggest concern isn't coronavirus; it's hunger<

CORONAVIRUS-INDIA:LA — The biggest lockdown in human history — 1.3 billion Indians ordered to stay home to curb the spread of the coronavirus — has unleashed chaos across the country as stranded migrant workers sleep in city streets, police beat curfew-breakers, fruits and vegetables rot in markets, and masses of informal laborers find their livelihoods wiped out.

The first two days of the lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have thrown the lives of some of India's poorest people into disarray. A total shutdown of trains and buses has prevented countless migrant workers from returning to their villages, forcing them into makeshift shelters or open fields where they are subsisting on food handouts, and hand-washing and social distancing are impossible.

1150 (with trims) by Shashank Bengali and Parth M.N. in Mumbai, India. MOVED




^100 in New York die in a single day from coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a somber update on the coronavirus pandemic Thursday as 100 died in the state in the past 24 hours alone and the infection rate keeps soaring above 21,000 in New York City.

Vowing to keep giving New Yorkers straight talk, the Democratic governor said the city and state are still heading into the worst days or weeks of the crisis.

550 by Dave Goldiner in New York. MOVED


^Quarantines at Florida immigration detention centers rise as ICE arrests more migrants<

CORONAVIRUS-IMMIGRANTS-DETENTION:MI — Though federal immigration officials said it would curtail arrests of non-criminals amid the coronavirus pandemic, new non-criminal migrants are still being picked up and taken to South Florida detention centers without being tested for COVID-19, three federal sources confirmed to the Miami Herald.

1550 (with trims) by Monique O. Madan in Miami. MOVED


^Which patient gets the ventilator? Doctors may have tough choices ahead<

CORONAVIRUS-VENTILATORS-TOUGHCHOICES:LA — It's a choice most doctors never thought they would have to make: Who lives and who dies.

But in coming weeks, if COVID-19 continues to surge, such decisions will be inevitable.

The coronavirus will attack so many people's lungs that thousands could show up at hospitals gasping for air and will need to be hooked up to machines that breathe for them. But there won't be enough ventilators for everyone, forcing doctors to make impossible calls about which lives to save.

1650 (with trims) by Soumya Karlamangla, Harriet Ryan, Matt Stiles and Emily Baumgaertner in Los Angeles. MOVED


^California coronavirus surge on par with New York, alarming officials<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF:LA — The number of coronavirus cases in California has surged past 3,000, and officials say the COVID-19 growth rate is such that it could overwhelm hospitals in the coming days and weeks.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump wrote Thursday in a letter to governors that the federal government is working on new standards for categorizing counties as high, medium or low risk for the coronavirus.

450 by Anita Chabria, Alex Wigglesworth, Priscella Vega and Chris Megerian in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Deborah Birx, AIDS researcher, takes a prominent role in coronavirus messaging for Trump administration<

CORONAVIRUS-BIRX:LA — When the urgent phone call came last month, respected HIV researcher Deborah Birx was meeting with African officials and activists from around the world at a Johannesburg conference to help determine how U.S. AIDS relief funding would be doled out.

It was the White House calling.

Birx was on the next flight out, headed home to Washington to become coordinator of the Trump administration's new corornavirus task force.

1500 (with trims) by Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED


^Chicago's Lakefront Trail, adjoining parks and beaches closed to public, officials say<

CORONAVIRUS-CHICAGO-CLOSEDSPACES:TB — Chicago's Lakefront Trail, adjoining parks and beaches are closed, as well as The 606 trail, Chicago aldermen said in messages to constituents and social media posts.

"Starting today, all of Chicago's lakefront with its adjoining parks will be closed to the public until further notice. In addition, all fieldhouses, all playlots, all school playgrounds, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the 606 Trail are now closed to the public," Alderman James Cappleman, 46th, said in a letter to constituents.

It was unclear whether Mayor Lori Lightfoot would close all other city parks as well.

800 by Gregory Pratt and John Byrne in Chicago. MOVED


^NYC nurse dies as medical staff overwhelmed with coronavirus cases<

CORONAVIRUS-NY-NURSE-DEATH:NY — A nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital who had treated coronavirus patients has died from the rapidly spreading disease, officials said Thursday.

Kious Jordan Kelly, a nursing manager at Mount Sinai West on 10th Ave. near 58th St., was hospitalized on March 17 and died Tuesday, NBC reported.

200 by Thomas Tracy in New York. MOVED


^Army lab fights coronavirus and its own demons<

CORONAVIRUS-ARMY-LAB:CON — The Army's Fort Detrick, home to a leading biological research facility, has gained newfound attention because the Trump administration has tapped the lab to help develop a vaccine, treatments and testing equipment for the novel coronavirus.

But the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, is under a cloud.

Some of its work was shut down last year over safety lapses, and those projects are only slowly restarting. Meanwhile, most of its Pentagon funding has been frozen because of what the Defense Department acquisition chief Ellen Lord, in a Feb. 29 letter to lawmakers, called "potential financial mismanagement."

1300 (with trims) by John M. Donnelly in Washington. MOVED


^San Diego-based Navy ship confines crew amid soaring COVID-19 cases<

CORONAVIRUS-NAVYSHIP:SD — The crew of the San Diego-based amphibious transport dock Somerset have been ordered to remain on board the ship as the Navy announced Wednesday that six more San Diego-based sailors have tested positive for COVID-19.

450 by Andrew Dyer in San Diego. MOVED


^California lawmakers struggle to conduct business amid COVID-19 lockdown<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-LAWMAKER-QA:KHN — The weekend before California shuttered its Capitol building, Senate leader Toni Atkins spent hours on the phone — taking the roles of a student learning from epidemiologists and a legislator discussing with colleagues how the country's most populous state should respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Like many lawmakers from New York to Washington state, Atkins and her fellow Sacramento legislators find themselves in uncharted territory.

950 by Samantha Young in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Duke says it has found a way to safely reuse masks worn when treating COVID-19 patients<

CORONAVIRUS-REUSE-MASKS:RA — Duke Health says it will stretch its supply of specialized masks used by health care workers treating coronavirus patients by decontaminating and reusing them.

Duke will use aerosolized hydrogen peroxide to treat N95 masks at its three hospitals in Durham and Raleigh. The gas permeates the masks to kill germs, including viruses, without harming the material, Duke says.

400 by Richard Stradling in Durham, N.C. MOVED


^As virus spreads, this college wants students to return and clean their dorm rooms<

CORONAVIRUS-COLLEGE-CLEANROOMS:LA — As colleges across California shuttered their campuses and sent most students home last week, one campus in the Bay Area is requiring its students to return — amid a pandemic — and clean out their dorm rooms.

700 by Susanne Rust in Menlo Park, Calif. MOVED


^Peeps cease production two weeks before Easter due to the coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-PEEPS:PH — Two weeks before Easter, the production lines for Peeps have stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak. But don't expect a shortage on store shelves if you're looking to celebrate the holiday at home.

A hefty supply of the popular marshmallow candies has already shipped to retailers from their factories in Bethlehem, Pa., and Philadelphia, according to Just Born, the family-owned confectionery company that makes Peeps, as well as Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales, Teenee Beanee jelly beans, and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews.

300 by Erin McCarthy in Philadelphia. MOVED



^China bans entry of foreigners in move to curb the spread of virus<

CORONAVIRUS-CHINA-1ST-LEDE:DPA — China said it will suspend the entry of foreign nationals holding valid visas and resident permits in a move to curb the number of imported cases of the coronavirus.

The ban becomes effective on Saturday, according to a statement posted late Thursday on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

300 by Simina Mistreanu in Beijing. MOVED


^G-20 leaders commit to 'whatever it takes' to overcome coronavirus pandemic<

^CORONAVIRUS-G20:BLO—<Leaders from the Group of 20 nations on Thursday said they were injecting more than $5 trillion into the global economy and committed to do "whatever it takes" to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout.

"The virus respects no borders," they said in a joint statement after an extraordinary G-20 leaders' summit convened virtually amid the outbreak. "We are strongly committed to presenting a united front against this common threat."

650 by Jihye Lee and Vivian Nereim. MOVED


^In Mexico, coronavirus 'will go from the rich to the poor and the poor will pay'<

^CORONAVIRUS-MEXICO:DA—<Fears are strong in Mexican border cities that the poor will pay the price for wealthier Mexicans who brought the coronavirus home after foreign travel.

Initial cases in the big border states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas show that the majority of those infected traveled back to Mexico from venues like Spain and New York, coronavirus hot spots.

"It seems like it will go from the rich to the poor and the poor will pay," said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a Mexican-born political scientist at George Mason University who lived in Brownsville for several years. "They have less ability to get medical attention"

1000 (with trims) by Dianne Solis and Alfredo Corchado. MOVED



^Pregnant women with coronavirus infection can pass it to their babies, study finds<

^CORONAVIRUS-PREGNANCY:LA—<A study of 33 pregnant women in China who were infected with the new coronavirus found that three of them gave birth to babies with COVID-19.

All three infants survived after receiving treatment for their symptoms, doctors reported Thursday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

200 by Karen Kaplan. MOVED



^Lori Loughlin, co-defendants ask judge to toss charges in college admissions scandal<

^CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD:LA—<Lori Loughlin and 13 other parents charged in the college admissions scandal asked a judge on Wednesday to dismiss the fraud, bribery and money laundering charges lodged against them, arguing that federal prosecutors in Boston violated their rights and broke judicial rules by withholding for 16 months notes taken by the scam's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer.

The motion marked the first time Loughlin and her co-defendants have asked a judge to toss the charges, the first round of which were unsealed a year ago.

1100 (with trims) by Matthew Ormseth. MOVED


^California needs nurses. So why is the state about to give up 10,000 prospects?<

CALIF-NURSING-STUDENTS:LA — Amid a frantic scramble to open hospitals and increase the number of health care workers, California nursing schools are warning state officials that an estimated 10,000 nursing students are in jeopardy of not graduating, meaning they will be unable help evaluate and treat patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under state rules, nursing students must spend a substantial part of their clinical education in hospitals, but they are barred from doing so now because of hospital lockdown orders. Unless the state loosens its rules, students set to graduate in coming months will find it impossible to become a licensed nurse.

1250 (with trims) by Melody Gutierrez and Nina Agrawal in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^In times of housing crises, Washington's old squatters' rights law is put to the test<

WASHSTATE-SQUATTERS-LAW:SE — Police entered the Kent home with their guns drawn. Angela Simmons panicked and held up her hands.

Crisis and opportunity had collided to bring Simmons into the Kent home in 2013. In the aftermath of the recession, when foreclosed houses around King County sat empty, Simmons was introduced to an ancient legal principle called adverse possession that resulted in her living in one such abandoned home that she hoped one day would be hers.

Some may think of it as "squatter's rights," but adverse possession, enshrined in 19th-century Washington law and common law going back centuries, theoretically can provide a path to property ownership through moving into an abandoned home without permission, paying taxes on the property and maintaining the place as an owner would. The challenge is to avoid getting caught.

1650 by Sydney Brownstone in Seattle. MOVED


^States begin preparations for mail-in voting in presidential election<

VOTEBYMAIL:SH — States have begun reshaping election policies to expand access to mail-in voting.

Election officials in states with restrictive absentee requirements are looking for ways to allow as many voters as possible to use absentee ballots, a safer alternative to in-person voting in a global pandemic. If this crisis continues into November, however, some experts warn that a pivot to voting by mail could strain state resources and disenfranchise certain voters if not handled properly.

U.S. elections have been in flux since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

1650 by Matt Vasilogambros in Washington. MOVED




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