Tribune News Service

News Budget for Wednesday, July 15, 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.


^Police video shows officer pulled gun, swore and touched George Floyd multiple times without explanation<

MINN-POLICE-DEATH:MS — Body-worn camera footage from former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who is charged in the killing George Floyd, showed that Floyd was given no explanation for why he was being questioned before Lane pointed a gun at him, swore at him, physically touched him multiple times, and forced him out of his vehicle into the street.

Lane's video also showed that medics who arrived at the scene did not appear alarmed or rushed in assisting Floyd after taking his pulse, and that about three minutes passed after their arrival before anyone began performing CPR on Floyd, who had been unresponsive for several minutes by then.

650 by Chao Xiong in Minneapolis. MOVED


^California shatters record with more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases in a day<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF:LA — California reported its largest number of new coronavirus infections in a single day Tuesday, hospitalizations hit a new high and deaths approached record levels as the state continued to lose ground in its battle against COVID-19.

The 11,142 cases recorded Tuesday were easily the most confirmed in any one day since the pandemic began, surpassing the previous record of 9,816 on July 9, according to data from The Times' coronavirus tracker.

1000 by Luke Money and Colleen Shalby in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Masks and gowns in short supply, leaving hospital workers exposed<

^CORONAVIRUS-HEALTHWORKERS-PPE:BLO—<American health care workers still face dangerous shortages of personal protective equipment as the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 fills hospitals across the nation and threatens patients and workers in long-term care facilities.

With the virus now surging in many large states, led by Florida and Texas, the nationwide pace of demand for the N95 respirator masks that give health care workers the best protection is 300 million a year, up from 25 million prior to the pandemic, according to Premier Inc., which helps hospitals and other health care providers buy supplies. And it's not just hospitals affected.

900 by John Tozzi. MOVED


^As millions lose health insurance, Trump administration offers little help<

HEALTHCARE-COVERAGE:LA — As millions of people lose jobs in the coronavirus outbreak, jeopardizing their health benefits, the Trump administration and many states are doing little if anything to connect Americans with other insurance coverage.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department hasn't launched any special effort to publicize the availability of Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program or health plans being sold on marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.

And federal officials haven't made any substantial new commitment of money for outreach or to help people enroll in coverage.

1100 (with trims) by Noam N. Levey in Washington. MOVED



^Florida surpasses 300,000 coronavirus cases and adds another 112 deaths<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL — Florida health officials on Wednesday reported 10,181 new COVID-19 cases, putting the state over 300,000 infections since the start of the pandemic.

The latest report is not close to the record of 15,300 cases reached Sunday, but it's still more than Tuesday's list of 9,194 new cases.

Deaths from COVID-19 complications also remain something to watch, as the latest report added 112 fatalities. It's only the third time Florida has added more than 100 deaths to its daily log.

450 by Marc Freeman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.. MOVED


^NY coronavirus deaths top 25,000 as cases surge across US<

CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY — As coronavirus cases surge across the country, New York met a grim benchmark Wednesday as the state reported more than 25,000 people have died from the respiratory illness since the pandemic began.

Another nine people died due to COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the official statewide total to 25,003, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced as he urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant.

450 by Denis Slattery in Albany, N.Y. MOVED


^Women say life is 'like a scary movie' as coronavirus spreads in Fort Worth prison<

CORONAVIRUS-TEXAS-WOMEN-PRISON:FT — Sandra Shoulders feels like she's living in a horror movie.

Every day, prison staff at FMC Carswell, a federal medical prison in Fort Worth, take about a dozen people out of her unit to get tested for COVID-19. Some of them come back; others do not.

When a woman tests positive for the virus, her mattress is dragged from the room she shares with three other people and stacked in what used to be the TV room. Every day, the mountain of mattresses grows. Shoulders tries to avoid walking past it.

The number of cases at the prison has swelled from three to 130 in the past two weeks.

1100 (with trims) by Kaley Johnson in Fort Worth, Texas. MOVED


^White House distances itself from Navarro's screed against Fauci<

^CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP-FAUCI:BLO—<The Trump administration is distancing itself from a senior adviser's critique of Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who has delivered warnings about the coronavirus's resurgence as the president pushes to reopen.

Peter Navarro, the White House's director for the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, wrote an op-ed published in USA Today, criticizing Fauci. Navarro also had earlier sent a similar statement to CBS.

The statement was not signed off on by the White House communications office, according to Alyssa Farah, the White House's director of strategic communications. Navarro was speaking for himself, Farah said Wednesday.

350 by Josh Wingrove. MOVED


^Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt contracts coronavirus <

^CORONAVIRUS-OKLA-GOV:NY—<Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday he is infected with the novel coronavirus, but steadfastly refuses to mandate protective face masks as the state battles a spike in the deadly pandemic.

150 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED


^Chicago 'on the precipice' of returning to tougher COVID-19 restrictions, mayor warns<

CORONAVIRUS-CHICAGO:TB — Mayor Lori Lightfoot sounded a stern warning Wednesday that Chicago is "on the precipice," saying she may soon need to roll back parts of the city's reopening if COVID-19 cases continue to increase, particularly among young people flocking to bars and restaurants.

While the mayor consistently has cautioned the city is far from free of the grip of the pandemic, she struck a particularly dire tone at a morning news conference.

550 by John Byrne in Chicago. MOVED


^At least 36 students at one Illinois high school test positive for COVID-19; infections traced to three sports camps<

^CORONAVIRUS-ILL-HIGHSCHOOL:TB—<At least 36 students at Lake Zurich High School, in suburban Chicago, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Lake County, Ill., health officials who say they have traced the infections to three summer athletic camps and "recent social gatherings."

The county said Wednesday there had been health screenings at the camps, which opened July 6, and several students had been turned away because of COVID-19 symptoms.

350 by Chicago Tribune staff. MOVED



^US hits Guyana with visa restrictions, calls for President Granger to 'step aside'<

^USGUYANA:MI—<The Trump administration announced visa sanctions Wednesday on members of Guyana's ruling government and called for President David Granger to "step aside" so the country could begin its transition four months after its disputed March 2 elections.

"The Granger government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside," U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said during a morning press briefing.

800 by Jacqueline Charles. MOVED



^'Trump is a singular danger': The president faces unprecedented opposition — from his own party<

^CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-GOP-CRITICS:LA—<"I am ashamed to this day for voting for him."

"Donald J. Trump has broken my faith in the Republican Party."

"He's a pathological liar."

The pained testimony of more than a dozen Republican voters — who go on to explain why they plan to vote for Democrat Joe Biden — filled an ad that ran on Fox News last weekend. In the 60-second spot, one man concludes, "It's OK to change your mind. We did."

The message could've come from a Democratic playbook. But it was created by Republican Voters Against Trump, one of several GOP groups aiming to deny the president a second term by encouraging just enough disaffected Republican voters that it is in the best interest of the nation to support Biden.

1650 (with trims) by Seema Mehta. MOVED



^Trump opens new attack on Biden, suggesting he'll endanger lives<

^CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-AD:BLO—<President Donald Trump has opened a new attack on Democrat Joe Biden, suggesting that his policies will endanger Americans' lives.

The Trump campaign released a new television ad on Wednesday, with a phone ringing at a presumably abandoned police desk, followed by images of burning buildings, with the narrator saying that "the radical left wing's agenda: take over our cities, defund the police." The 30-second spot ends with the narrator asking "Who will be there to answer the call when your children aren't safe?"

550 by Mario Parker. MOVED



^In Atlanta, Trump touts looser environmental rules to jolt economy by speeding up road projects<

TRUMP-ATLANTA:DA — President Donald Trump visited Atlanta on Wednesday to tout streamlined environmental rules meant to speed construction of roads, bridges and highways at a time when the economy badly needs a jolt.

Trump spent only about 90 minutes in Atlanta — just long enough to visit a UPS hub facility in Hapeville, adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He discussed infrastructure initiatives, announcing streamlined environmental rules to speed approval of road, bridge and highway projects.

1850 by Todd J. Gillman in Atlanta. MOVED


^Trump plans new legal challenges to subpoena for tax returns<

TRUMP-RECORDS-NY:NY — Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's effort to get hold of President Donald Trump's taxes appears far from over, despite a historic Supreme Court ruling.

150 by Stephen Rex Brown in New York. MOVED


^George Floyd's family sues city and Minneapolis officers, citing 'reckless disregard' of civil rights<

MINN-POLICE-DEATH-FAMILY:MS — The family of George Floyd is suing the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved in his death, citing a failure in proper police training and a racist departmental culture that led to a "reckless disregard" of Floyd's civil rights.

350 by Randy Furst in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Suspect in Secoriea Turner's death turns himself in to police<

ATLANTA-GIRLKILLED:AT — A teen accused of felony murder in the shooting death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner walked into Atlanta police headquarters to turn himself in Wednesday afternoon.

Julian Conley, 19, who is also charged with aggravated assault in the child's death, reported to the police headquarters at 4:30 p.m. along with his attorney Jackie Patterson.

400 by Asia Simone Burns and Zachary Hansen in Atlanta. MOVED


^Court document alleges Kansas Rep. Watkins lied to detective in vote fraud case<

CONGRESS-WATKINS:WA — Prosecutors allege Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins lied to a Shawnee County Sheriff's detective on Feb. 10, according to court documents that reveal fresh details about the illegal voting case against him.

A criminal complaint accuses Watkins of providing the detective, Stephanie Dicken, information "knowing that such information is false and intending to influence, impede or obstruct" the detective's duty.

700 by Jonathan Shorman and Bryan Lowry in Topeka, Kan. MOVED


^Federal judge halts execution of man whose lawyers argue suffers from dementia<

FEDERAL-EXECUTION:NY — A federal judge on Wednesday halted the execution of a man who's said to suffer from Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Wesley Ira Purkey was scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday evening at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, but U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued an injunction prohibiting the federal Bureau of Prisons from going forward with the execution.

The news comes just a day after the federal government carried out its first execution in 17 years: Daniel Lewis Lee died by lethal injection Tuesday evening at the same federal prison.

300 by Muri Assun o. MOVED


^Barr directs prosecutors to seek death penalty in case of alleged MS-13 gang member<

BARR-GANGMEMBER:NY — The U.S. attorney general has directed Brooklyn prosecutors to seek the death penalty in the case of an alleged MS-13 gang member charged in the murders of two teenage girls and five other people, authorities said.

650 (with trims) by Molly Crane-Newman in New York. MOVED


^Socialite sentenced to 5 weeks in prison in college admissions scandal<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD:LA — A Newport Beach socialite who admitted paying $9,000 for a conspirator to take her son's online courses at Georgetown University, was sentenced Wednesday to five weeks in prison.

Karen Littlefair was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs to pay a $209,000 fine and serve 300 hours of community service.

650 by Matthew Ormseth in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Ivanka Trump plugs Goya products, in possible violation of federal law<

^IVANKATRUMP-GOYA:NY—<President Donald Trump says he's a Goya guy — and Ivanka tambien.

The first family lined up dramatically behind the Latino food products giant after its CEO sparked progressive boycott threats by effusively praising Trump in a White House visit.

First daughter Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself posing with a can of the company's iconic black beans.

"If it's Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno," Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter.

Federal law prohibits White House officials like Ivanka Trump from using "their Government positions to suggest that the agency or any part of the executive branch endorses an organization, product, service, or person."

250 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED


^Former fed drug informant linked to 'House of Death' in Mexico charged in South Florida<

MIAMI-DRUG-STING:MI — A notorious government informant in the long-running war on drugs now faces drug charges himself after being snared by one of the oldest tricks in the book — a sting.

The undercover operation unfolded at a Hialeah home and at La Carreta and Dunkin' Donuts in Miramar, leading to the arrest of Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez-Peyro during what prosecutors say was an attempt to buy five kilos of cocaine for $120,000 from someone who used to be in his line of work, a confidential source for the feds.

550 by Jay Weaver in Miami.

^70% of Superfund sites are within a mile of public housing, report finds<

^SUPERFUND-PUBLICHOUSING:PH—<Seventy percent of the country's most environmentally contaminated sites are within one mile of federally assisted housing, according to a report by the nonprofit Shriver Center on Poverty Law.

That constitutes roughly 77,000 families living in public housing and homes paid for with vouchers at or near one of the nation's polluted Superfund sites designated for cleanup by the federal government, according to the report released last month. These households, the report noted, are disproportionately in low-income communities of color.

1300 (with trims) by Michaelle Bond. MOVED


^Florida man arrested after spray painting 'I can't breathe' on 100 stop signs<

FLA-VANDALISM-ARREST:OS — A Florida man was arrested after reportedly spraying anti-racism messages on 100 stop signs.

Zachary Kato, 32, was arrested Saturday and faces a charge of criminal mischief, according to Volusia County Jail records.

400 by Joe Mario Pedersen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED



^China to sanction US in retaliation for legislation on Hong Kong<

USCHINA:DPA — China says it will impose sanctions in retaliation for U.S. legislation ending Hong Kong's special trade status with the United States, in the growing escalation between the world's two largest economies.

China "firmly opposes and strongly condemns" the U.S. for signing the Hong Kong Autonomy Act into law, a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website said on Wednesday.

China will impose sanctions on U.S. personnel and entities, the statement added.

600 by dpa staff in Beijing and Washington. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^What if there's no video? Family of unarmed man killed by KC police seeks answers<

KC-POLICE-KILLING:KC — What if there had been a public video?

Donnie Sanders' family has been asking the question since March, when the 47-year-old man was fatally shot by a Kansas City police officer who believed he was armed.

The day after his death, the Kansas City Police Department announced Sanders was not carrying a weapon.

In recent weeks, Sanders' family joined protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

They listened to the crowd chant Sanders' name alongside those of other Black men killed by police in Kansas City: Ryan Stokes, Cameron Lamb and Terrance Bridges.

As they watch the names of officers involved in previous police shootings play out across headlines and listen to the most recent updates on attempts at indictments against other officers, they wonder if justice as they see it is possible.

1950 by Anna Spoerre in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED


^Fact check: Azar says federal law had preexisting conditions covered before ACA. Really?<

HEALTHCARE-AZAR-FACTCHECK:KHN — One of the most popular features of the Affordable Care Act is its guarantee of insurance coverage — at no greater cost — for people with preexisting health conditions.

Thus, even as the Trump administration argues before the Supreme Court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be declared invalid, the president and his administration officials maintain that regardless of what happens to the ACA, they will protect people who have had health problems in the past.

Speaking to a "virtual health summit" sponsored by the political newspaper The Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar answered a question about the case, Texas v. Azar, by pointing out "it's in statute already in HIPAA that preexisting conditions are covered," implying that if the ACA were declared unconstitutional, those protections would remain in place for everyone.

Umm not so much.

1000 by Julie Rovner. MOVED




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