Tribune News Service

News Budget for Saturday, May 23, 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 heads to golf course for first time since virus lockdowns<

CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP:BLO — President Donald Trump headed to the golf course for the first time in over two months, engaging in his personal passion as well as attempting to show how the country can return to normal after stay-at-home orders taken against the coronavirus.

Trump arrived at the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Virginia around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. He was spotted earlier wearing a white polo shirt and signature white "Make America Great Again" cap. The White House doesn't always confirm Trump's activities while at his golf courses.

500 by Mark Satter and Ros Krasny. MOVED


^Fate of global economy rests more than ever on finding vaccine<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-ECONOMY:BLO — As sections of the global economy tip-toe toward reopening, it's becoming clearer that a full recovery from the worst slump since the 1930s will be impossible until a vaccine or treatment is found for the deadly coronavirus.

Consumers will stay on edge and companies will be held back as temperature checks and distancing rules are set to remain in workplaces, restaurants, schools, airports, sports stadiums and more.

1100 (with trims) by Enda Curran. MOVED


^Miami mother of drowned autistic boy admits leading him to canal, cops say<

FLA-BOYDEAD:MI — Patricia Ripley, the mother who initially claimed her severely autistic 9-year-old son had been kidnapped, ultimately admitted she was to blame for the child's death at a canal and said "he's going to be in a better place," police said.

The shocking details of her confession emerged Saturday as Miami-Dade homicide detectives booked Ripley, 47, of West Kendall, into jail on a charge of first-degree murder. The arrest came a little more than a day after she reported that Alejandro Ripley had been kidnapped by two robbers who ran her car off the road Thursday night — a report that sparked a frantic statewide manhunt and ended early Friday when his body was found in a pond.

800 by David Ovalle and Charles Rabin in Miami. MOVED


^Firefighter injured in massive blaze at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf<

SF-PIER-FIRE-1ST-LEDE:CC — In the early morning of Saturday, 150 firefighters battled a massive blaze that threatened historical treasures along San Francisco's famous Fisherman's Wharf — an effort that left a firefighter injured and damaged a fire engine.

The fire, reported at 4:15 a.m., quickly tore through a large warehouse at the end of Pier 45. One firefighter who responded to the scene suffered a severe laceration to his hand, said San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Baxter. No other injuries were reported.

350 by Marisa Kendall in San Francisco. MOVED




^Gov. Cuomo allows New Yorkers to gather, even if nonessential<

CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY — Gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed in New York after a lawsuit challenged a directive from Gov. Cuomo that only gave the green light to Memorial Day celebrations and religious services.

The change came Friday evening after the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the governor on behalf of a Brooklyn woman arrested twice outside of City Hall for protesting the statewide coronavirus shutdown.

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


^Trump administration asks Supreme Court to stop release of inmates at risk for COVID-19<

CORONAVIRUS-SCOTUS-INMATES:LA — The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to intervene for the first time in a case related to COVID-19, to block a judge's order that a low-security federal prison in Ohio transfer, release or send home some of its elderly and medically vulnerable inmates.

"The government is currently facing numerous suits challenging conditions of confinement in federal prisons across the nation," Solicitor Gen. Noel Francisco said in an appeal filed Friday evening, and the prisoners' lawyers are seeking to require the wholesale release of inmates from low-security prisons by imposing "a constitutional six-feet-at-all-times rule" for social distancing.

1100 by David G. Savage in Washington. MOVED


^NBA says it is talking with Disney about resuming season in Florida<

^BKN-SEASON-DISNEY:LA—<The NBA confirmed what's been reported on and speculated about for the past week — that the league, along with the players union — are in discussions to restart the NBA season in Orlando, Fla., later this summer.

In a statement Saturday morning, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league and players are engaged in "exploratory conversations" with Walt Disney Co, about restarting the season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site.

In the statement, the NBA referred to the Orlando site as a "campus" that would contain "games, practices and housing."

350 by Dan Woike. (Moved as a sports story.) MOVED


^Businesses hoping to reopen join run on PPE<

CORONAVIRUS-REOPENING-PPE:SH — Nikia Londy's employees are afraid to come back to work.

The owner of Intriguing Hair, a salon in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood, thought her stylists would be eager to return. But they don't feel safe, she said.

Like other states, Massachusetts has released standards businesses must follow to reopen after two months of quarantine. Among the dozens of requirements, every employee at salons and barbershops must wear face masks and eye protection. Faced with choosing vendors despite knowing little about the equipment, Londy is struggling to procure this safety gear before reopening Monday.

1400 (with trims) by Matt Vasilogambros . MOVED


^As counties reopen, California rushes to build an army of coronavirus 'disease detectives'<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-TRACERS:SA — As California hurries to reopen stores, offices, restaurants and more, another rush is on behind-the-scenes.

State health officials have launched an unprecedented effort to train thousands of front-line, county-level workers to act as a firewall to stop the coronavirus from roaring back this fall.

Commonly known in the public health world as communicable-disease "contact tracers," this ad hoc group will serve as community strike teams in each county, working on tight deadlines to stop individual infections from turning into major outbreaks.

2350 (with trims) by Tony Bizjak and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Pandemic pierces 'illusion of certainty,' Chief Justice Roberts tells graduates<

CORONAVIRUS-ROBERTS:BLO — U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts said the coronavirus pandemic "has pierced our illusion of certainty and control" as he urged his son's high school graduating class in Connecticut to confront the challenges of the era with humility, compassion and courage.

In a seven-minute video recorded at the Supreme Court, Roberts joked about the attire worn by the justices during their recent telephone arguments, lamented the temporary halt of some of their traditions and told the graduates they will be tested like few classes over the past 80 years.

350 by Greg Stohr. MOVED


^Senators eager for football to start, but maybe not as eager as Trump<

CORONAVIRUS-SENATE-FOOTBALL:CON — It's been more than two months since a major American sport has held a contest. March 11 was the day the NBA suspended play indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The NHL followed suit, as did Major League Baseball, postponing opening day while it works on a plan to start the season, possibly without fans in the stands.

But professional and college football are perhaps in the best position of all the leagues, having ended their seasons just before the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up in the United States.

1150 (with trims) by Clyde McGrady in Washington. MOVED



^EU budget hard-liners outline aid plan edging toward compromise<

CORONAVIRUS-EU-BUDGET:BLO —The European Union's budget hard-liners outlined elements of a deal for collectively financing the bloc's response to the coronavirus recession, signaling they may be open to concessions.

In a joint paper, the leaders of Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands — net donors to the EU budget and traditionally skeptical of its expansion — reiterated their opposition to debt mutualization and emphasized that any aid program must have a time limit.

500 by Boris Groendahl, Morten Buttler and Viktoria Dendrinou. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^Boris Johnson gives 'full support' to adviser who broke COVID-19 lockdown<

CORONAVIRUS-BRITAIN:DPA — Pressure is mounting on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to sack his chief adviser, after reports emerged late Friday that he had breached the country's coronavirus travel restrictions.

The Guardian and the Mirror newspapers reported that Dominic Cummings had traveled from London to his parents' home in County Durham while he and his wife had coronavirus symptoms.

Only a week ago the government had put strict measures in place on freedom of movement to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

600 by Christoph Meyer and Annika Burgess in London. MOVED


^Johnson needs UK teachers. His chief aide likes fighting them<

CORONAVIRUS-BRITAIN-SCHOOLS:BLO — Boris Johnson's chief adviser has spent a decade waging war on Britain's teaching unions. Now he needs their help.

The prime minister wants England's schools to partially reopen from June 1 as he eases the coronavirus lockdown, but teachers say their concerns over safety and practicalities should be addressed first.

While other parts of the government's virus response have seen close engagement with labor unions, the tone has been more confrontational on schools as ministers and their supporters in the media attack teachers for their stance.

800 (with trims) by Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson in London. MOVED



^Peter Salk, whose father conquered polio, says coronavirus fight is far from over<

CORONAVIRUS-SALK:SD — He lives in La Jolla Village, near a cove that will be crowded this weekend by sunbathers who are no longer willing to shelter-in-place from the novel coronavirus.

Peter Salk's favorite stores and restaurants also are nearby. Many are beginning to reopen now that the pandemic is on the decline in San Diego County.

But after two months of hunkering down at home, the 76-year-old Salk won't be venturing beyond his front porch during the long Memorial Day weekend.

1150 by Gary Robbins in San Deigo. MOVED



^Jeff Sessions fires back at Trump in spat over Alabama Senate seat<

ALASENATE-SESSIONS:BLO — Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to Twitter to fire back at the president and his latest attempt to tip an Alabama Senate runoff election.

Sessions took on Trump directly in a string of tweets late Friday and Saturday, saying he was right to recuse himself in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He also called the president's favored candidate in the race a "coward."

400 by Alan Levin. MOVED



^SpaceX is poised for defining moment with first humans on rocket<

SPACEX:BLO — Elon Musk is about to face his biggest test after almost two decades as a space entrepreneur: launching human beings into orbit.

If the weather holds and there are no technical issues, a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 4:33 p.m. on May 27. Two NASA astronauts — Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — will be on board, with a docking at the International Space Station scheduled for 19 hours later.

1200 (with trims) by Dana Hull and Julie Johnsson. MOVED


^Ryan Leaf, NFL bust and current ESPN college football analyst, arrested on domestic battery charge<

FBN-LEAF-ARREST:NY — Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery on Friday in Palm Springs, Calif. Leaf was released late Friday night from Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility on $5,000 bail. He is due back in court on Sept. 25 to answer to the charges.

Leaf was arrested early afternoon on Friday by Palm Desert cops. It is unclear who the victim is in the case.

Leaf, 44, one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, has dealt with a slew of drug, legal problems and mental health issues since flaming out of the league by the time he was 25.

350 by Charles McDonald. (Moved as a sports story.) MOVED


^Bay Area heat wave on the way<

WEA-SF-HEAT:CC — Summer doesn't officially begin for another month. But this weekend and into early next week, it's going to feel a lot like summertime in the Bay Area.

After a string of mild temperatures recently and even a few rainy days, Northern California is about to heat up and dry out, with temperatures in the Bay Area expected to climb from the 80s on Saturday to the 90s on Memorial Day to 100 degrees in a few inland areas by Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters say.

750 by Paul Rogers in San Francisco. MOVED


^Ex-Chicago cop who kidnapped, robbed drug dealers ordered released from prison 6 years early due to COVID-19 threat<

CHICAGO-EXCOP-RELEASED:TB — Corrupt Chicago narcotics cop Glenn Lewellen, convicted of teaming up with a vicious gang member to kidnap and rob other drug dealers, has been ordered released from prison more than six years early due to the threat of coronavirus.

Lewellen, 64, was sentenced in 2013 to 18 years in prison for his conviction on federal narcotics conspiracy charges. Prosecutors said Lewellen conspired with Saul Rodriguez, the officer's paid confidential informant, in eight robberies and kidnappings between 1998 and 2006.

750 by Jason Meisner in Chicago. MOVED



^Pakistan recovers crucial flight-data recorder of crashed Airbus<

PAKISTAN-CRASH:BLO — Pakistan officials said Saturday they retrieved the flight-data recorder of the Airbus SE A320 jet that crashed into a residential neighborhood of Karachi, killing all but two people on board.

The search is still on for the voice recorder, said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, spokesman of the Civil Aviation Authority. The two recorders make up the so-called black box and store details of a plane's path as well as its mechanical systems and computers.

1000 by Faseeh Mangi, Ismail Dilawar and Khalid Qayum. MOVED


^Moscow dashes hopes for new Open Skies treaty<

RUSSIA:DPA — Russia does not see any chance of a new agreement in the event of the U.S. withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows signatories to conduct unarmed observation flights over one another's territory.

"There are no prospects for a new agreement to replace the treaty," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state television on Saturday. "We don't need such prospects either."

200 by dpa staff in Moscow. MOVED


^Xi says China won't return to planned economy, urges cooperation<

CHINA-ECONOMY:BLO — Chinese President Xi Jinping said he won't let the world's second-largest economy return to its days as a planned economy, pushing back against U.S. criticism that the nation has failed to deliver on promised reforms.

"We've come to the understanding that we should not ignore the blindness of the market, nor should we return to the old path of a planned economy," Xi told political advisers gathered in Beijing for their annual legislative sessions on Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. He reiterated the government's stance that markets should play a "decisive role" in the economy.

300 by Bloomberg News. MOVED




These stories moved earlier in the week and remain suitable for publication.


^California's prisons and jails have emptied thousands into a world changed by coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-RELEASED-INMATES:LA — In short order, the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a sweeping and historic emptying of California's overcrowded prisons and jails, as officials have dramatically lowered the number of people held in custody to avert deadly outbreaks.

State data show California's prisons have released about 3,500 inmates while the daily jail population across 58 counties is down by 20,000 from late February.

The exodus is having a profound and still-evolving effect: Those leaving custody enter a vastly different world in which a collapsed economy, scant job opportunities and the closure of many government offices have compounded the challenges of getting lives back on track.

2400 by Matt Hamilton, James Queally and Alene Tchekmedyian in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Trump's push to reopen from virus repels some Republican supporters<

CORONAVIRUS-REOPENINGS-REPUBLICANS:BLO — Donald Trump has acknowledged his push to reopen the U.S. economy before the coronavirus outbreak abates may cost more American lives. It may also cost him votes.

Shawna Wilson, a school librarian in Fort Worth, Texas, said she's always been a reliable voter for Republican presidential candidates, including Trump in 2016. No longer.

"I am not voting for him," Wilson, 47, said in an interview. "This disaster with our response and lack of clear guidance on reopening was the final straw."

Wilson's change of allegiance shows the political challenge for Trump as he pushes to restart the economy even as the death toll from the pandemic continues to mount. For every Republican voter who tells pollsters they fear keeping the country closed too long, there's another like Wilson who raises alarm about going back too soon.

1450 by Mario Parker and Vincent Del Giudice. MOVED


^Free money: Amid the coronavirus, a monthly paycheck from the feds doesn't seem crazy<

UNIVERSAL-BASIC-INCOME:LA — The notion of the federal government handing out free money used to be a liberal dream and a conservative nightmare. No more.

The coronavirus outbreak, which plunged the nation into an economic free fall, has created an opening for governments and nonprofits to experiment with giving money directly to Americans, with no strings attached.

1200 by Seema Mehta in Los Angeles. MOVED


^How a company misappropriated Native American culture to sell health insurance<

^INSURANCE-SCHEME:KHN—<Jill Goodridge was shopping for affordable health insurance when a friend told her about O'NA HealthCare, a low-cost alternative to commercial insurance.

The self-described "health care cooperative" promised a shield against catastrophic claims. Its name suggested an affiliation with a Native American tribe.

The company promises 24/7 telemedicine and holistic dental care on its website. It says it provides more nontraditional options than "any other health care plan."

It struck Goodridge as innovative. She signed up for a high-deductible plan, paying more than $9,000 in premiums and fees over 13 months, she said. Yet she could not get O'NA to cover her family's medical bills.

A yearlong investigation by the state insurance agency prompted by her complaint concluded she was right, uncovering a business scheme operating in the gray areas of insurance regulation and tribal law to appeal to patients looking to save money on health care.

1900 by Fred Schulte. MOVED


^'Last responders' seek to expand postmortem COVID-19 testing in unexplained deaths<

DISEASE-DETECTIVES:KHN — Examining dead bodies and probing for a cause of death is rarely seen as a heroic or glamorous job. Rather, as the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, all eyes have been on the medical workers and public health disease detectives fighting on the front lines — and sometimes giving their lives — to bring the novel coronavirus under control.

But as the crusade to test for the coronavirus and trace cases continues, medical examiners and coroners play a vital — if often unsung — role. These "last responders" are typically called on to investigate and determine the cause of deaths that are unexpected or unnatural, including deaths that occur at home.

1050 by Michelle Andrews. MOVED




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