Tribune News Service
News Budget for Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated at 6 p.m. EST (2300 UTC).
Adds ORLANDO-SHOOTING-OFFICER:OS, FLA-JUMBOTRON-OPERATOR:JK, CALIF-WESTHOLLYWOOD:LA, TRUMP-BLOOMBERG:NY, CORONAVIRUS:LA
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.
^Senate invokes War Powers Act in vote to restrain Trump's military actions in Iran<
USIRAN-CONGRESS:LA — President Donald Trump's ability to use military force against Iran would be restricted unless he first received congressional approval, according to a bipartisan resolution approved by the Senate on Thursday.
But Trump is certain to veto the resolution, and it is unlikely that either the House or Senate would have the two-thirds majority needed to override him, making Thursday's vote more of a symbolic rebuke.
700 by Sarah D. Wire in Washington. MOVED
^China fires officials as coronavirus infections jump<
CORONAVIRUS:LA — Political officials were fired and infection cases skyrocketed in China on Thursday, reminding a nation stuck at home and scientists watching worldwide just how little is known about the coronavirus outbreak that has infected at least 60,000 and killed more than 1,300 people.
Chinese health authorities reported 15,152 new cases of COVID-19 — the World Health Organization's new name for the viral disease — overnight.
950 by Alice Su in Beijing. MOVED
^A coronavirus ward? How US hospitals are preparing for this new threat<
^CORONAVIRUS-US-HOSPITALS:LA—<U.S. hospitals are stocking up on gowns and goggles and holding refresher courses in infection control amid a growing outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus that has already killed more than 1,360 people in China.
Since it began spreading last year, the coronavirus now known as COVID-19 has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, caused U.S. officials to strongly advise against travel to China and led some experts to predict a worldwide pandemic.
In the United States, just 14 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus so far, though officials say they expect those numbers to rise. Hundreds of people have already shown up at American health care facilities with symptoms of the virus, forcing staff members to don face masks and put patients in isolation rooms while awaiting test results.
1050 by Soumya Karlamangla. MOVED
^'This isn't going to be easy': 2020 Democrats brace for Super Tuesday delegate slog<
DEMOCRATS-STRATEGY:WA — For the last month, the Democratic presidential candidates have had a straightforward task: Campaign heavily in the small, overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and hope to emerge with momentum.
Things are about to get a whole lot more complicated.
A still-jumbled Democratic primary is entering a new phase, as a suddenly truncated political calendar forces the remaining candidates to figure out how to compete in 18 separate contests over the next three weeks — effectively demanding they transform their local campaigns into national ones.
1350 (with trims) by David Catanese and Alex Roarty in Washington. MOVED
^Harvey Weinstein is 'an innocent man,' defense says at closing argument of New York trial<
WEINSTEIN:LA — In a scathing closing argument, Harvey Weinstein's lead attorney attacked prosecutors and the media Thursday before pleading with a New York jury to make what she described as an unpopular choice, and acquit the mogul of five counts of sexual assault.
As she stood before the jury of seven men and five women, Donna Rotunno asked them to use "New York City common sense" to guide their decision-making and to focus on the evidence presented at trial rather than the maelstrom of negative press Weinstein received between the start of the #MeToo movement in 2017 and his trial.
"You may have had a gut feeling that Harvey Weinstein was guilty," she said. "Throw that gut feeling right out the window."
750 by Laura Newberry and James Queally in New York. MOVED
^Trump seeks to divert more Pentagon money for border wall<
TRUMP-BORDERWALL:LA — President Donald Trump has proposed diverting nearly $4 billion from the Pentagon's current budget to help pay for his border wall. Even Republicans are likely to balk.
500 by David S. Cloud in Washington.
^House votes to remove Equal Rights Amendment deadline, but Senate approval remains unlikely<
ERA-OPPOSITION-1ST-LEDE:LA — House lawmakers voted Thursday to remove the deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, legislation that would enshrine in the Constitution a ban on sex discrimination.
The measure, however, is unlikely to receive approval from the Republican-controlled Senate, and earlier this week took a major hit when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg repeated her view that recent state ratifications came too late.
500 by Erin B. Logan in Washington. MOVED
^US seizes boat allegedly carrying Iranian missiles to Yemen<
USIRAN-BOAT:BLO — The U.S. Navy boarded a boat in the Persian Gulf region and seized anti-tank missiles and three surface-to-air missiles it said were of Iranian origin and destined for rebel fighters in Yemen.
Sailors from the USS Normandy boarded the boat — a traditional dhow — on Feb. 9 and seized "150 'Dehlavieh' anti-tank guided missiles, which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian" missiles, according to a statement Thursday from U.S. Central Command.
300 by Bill Faries in Washington. MOVED
^Trump attacks former chief of staff John Kelly over impeachment comments<
TRUMP-KELLY:BLO — Donald Trump lashed out at John Kelly on Thursday after his former chief of staff openly criticized the president over a range of policies and praised a key witness that helped spur his impeachment.
In a pair of tweets, Trump said he couldn't have fired Kelly "fast enough" and that the retired Marine Corps general was in "way over his head" as the top White House aide. The outburst came in response to a report in The Atlantic that Kelly laid out his disagreements with Trump in a speech on Wednesday.
500 by Jordan Fabian in Washington. MOVED
^Greenhouse slash: Trump would gut climate, clean-power research<
ENV-FEDBUDGET:CON — In his State of the Union address last week, President Donald Trump spent one paragraph on the environment and many more touting "energy independence" through oil and natural gas exports.
Then Monday, the White House mirrored the president's remarks in its budget, proposing deep cuts to federal agencies and programs that promote renewable energy, invest in low-carbon transport and study climate change and its ramifications while simultaneously boosting technology for energy sources that are warming the planet, namely natural gas and coal.
While the Trump administration has sought sharp cuts on climate program funding in every budget since 2017, this proposal, which does not include the phrase "climate change," coming on the heels of the president's impeachment acquittal in the Senate, may be its most aggressive slashing of renewable energy research, climate science and disaster preparedness yet.
800 by Benjamin J. Hulac in Washington. MOVED
^Modest GOP foray into climate triggers backlash from the right<
ENV-CLIMATEPLAN-BACKLASH:BLO — House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had barely finished presenting his party's modest plan to fight climate change when conservatives began piling on in opposition.
The free market-group American Energy Alliance dismissed it as a "Republican-led Green New Deal lite" that amounted to a "climate messaging exercise." The Competitive Enterprise Institute called it "bad policy that will not bring any political relief."
The swift blowback illustrates the challenges facing those trying to shed the party's climate-denying reputation that alienates young voters and polls well for Democrats.
450 by Ari Natter in Washington. MOVED
^Gillibrand proposes data protection agency that could enforce its own rules<
GILLIBRAND-DATAPRIVACY:CON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday said she would propose a bill that would create a new federal agency to safeguard Americans' data and equip it with powers to write and enforce regulations.
400 by Gopal Ratnam in Washington. MOVED
^Will black voters get behind a new candidate to take on Trump as Biden struggles?<
DEMOCRATS-BLACKVOTERS:CH — Democrats in two of the country's whitest states have spoken. Now begins the battle for black voters, with the Carolinas on the front lines.
As recently as two months ago, polls suggested that Joe Biden's lead in the African American community was insurmountable, making Barack Obama's vice president the heavy favorite to win the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 and in North Carolina three days later, on Super Tuesday, March 3.
But after Biden's distant fifth place in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary — coming a week after finishing fourth place in Iowa — many pundits and political scientists have begun writing his political obituary.
If Biden continues to fade, where will black voters go?
1600 (with trims) by Tim Funk in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED
^Amy Klobuchar, New Hampshire's surprise finisher, faces big challenges keeping her momentum alive<
KLOBUCHAR:LA — Amy Klobuchar's surprisingly strong third-place showing in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary catapulted the long-shot candidate into the top tier — and a new phase of campaigning that will test her shoestring operation.
The little-known Minnesota senator, counted out and mired at the bottom of the polls for months, on Tuesday managed to beat far more prominent politicians through campaigning hustle, a message of progressive pragmatism and a lean but effective organization.
A reckoning is coming, however.
1000 by Seema Mehta and Janet Hook in Manchester, N.H. MOVED
^After New Hampshire surge, Amy Klobuchar pivots to the West to compete in Nevada<
KLOBUCHAR-NEVADA:MS — Looking to capitalize on the momentum of her third-place finish in New Hampshire, Amy Klobuchar is pivoting to the next presidential contest in Nevada, where she will face new tests of organizational strength in a state with a much more diverse population than any she has campaigned in before.
The Minnesota Democrat exceeded expectations in the first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday, seizing on a strong debate performance to win 20% of the vote, enough to jump ahead of top-tier candidates Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.
900 (with trims) by Torey Van Oot in Minneapolis. MOVED
^Bernie Sanders dominates Democrats in donations from tech workers<
^SANDERS-TECHWORKERS:LA—<Bernie Sanders raised more money in 2019 from employees of the five largest tech companies — which also happen to be the five most valuable companies in the U.S. — than any of his competitors in the Democratic primary field.
The Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist received more than $1 million total in donations from employees of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.
While "tech worker" conjures images of well-paid professionals in fleece vests, a Times analysis of the data showed Sanders receiving much of his support from the companies' blue-collar employees, including Amazon warehouse staffers and Apple store salespeople.
700 by Sam Dean. MOVED
^Bloomberg, Trump escalate feud with personal insults<
TRUMP-BLOOMBERG:NY — In a long-standing feud going back decades, it comes as no surprise that there is no love lost between the two New Yorkers running in the 2020 U.S. presidential race as the latest barrage of insults on Twitter on Thursday
The insulter-in-chief reprised his most effective jibe from the 2016 primary campaign when he dissed Bloomberg on Thursday "as a tiny version of Jeb 'Low Energy' Bush."
Bloomberg wasted little time hitting back at Trump, claiming that some of their shared acquaintances from New York social circles secretly mock him as a "carnival barking clown."
400 by Dave Goldiner in New York. MOVED
^UNITED STATES <
^Phones, electronic devices of those on Kobe Bryant helicopter could hold clues to crash<
CALIF-HELICOPTER-CRASH:LA — With no black box recorder aboard the helicopter that crashed last month in Calabasas, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are turning to the travelers' personal electronics for potential answers.
Investigators hope the passengers' cellphones and the pilot's iPad can help them better understand the chaotic last moments of the flight before the chopper slammed into a hillside in foggy conditions.
950 by Richard Winton in Los Angeles. MOVED
^US prosecutors seek nearly 5-year sentence for former Baltimore mayor<
BALTIMORE-EXMAYOR:BZ — Federal prosecutors told a judge that former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh should receive nearly five years in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion.
Pugh is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27.
"The facts establish that Pugh deliberately engaged in a broad range of criminal acts while serving as Maryland state senator and mayor of Baltimore City," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
650 by Justin Fenton in Baltimore. MOVED
^Double-jeopardy claim for Jussie Smollett could hark back to landmark case against mob hit man<
SMOLLETT-DOUBLEJEOPARDY:TB — At first blush, the criminal cases against Jussie Smollett and Harry "The Hook" Aleman would seem to have little in common.
One involves a minor celebrity who gained international notoriety for allegedly staging a hoax hate crime on himself. The other was a shadowy Outfit enforcer who twice stood trial for the 1972 gangland slaying of a union steward.
But even though Aleman's decidedly more serious case unfolded decades — and worlds — apart from Smollett's, it now provides an intriguing look at the legal pathway prosecutors might use to block Smollett's attempts to get the new charges against him thrown out of court on double-jeopardy grounds.
1400 (with trims) by Megan Crepeau And Jason Meisner in Chicago. MOVED
^SpaceX set to launch another 60 internet Starlink satellites Saturday, taking total constellation to 300<
SPACEX:OS — SpaceX is stepping on the accelerator to get more than 1,500 internet satellites into low-Earth orbit by the end of the year.
400 by Chabeli Carrazana in Orlando, Fla. MOVED
^Indiana couple quarantine themselves over fears of coronavirus after trip to China<
CORONAVIRUS-SELFQUARANTINE:TB — In China, Ken Zurek of Indiana saw the disruption of the novel coronavirus — bustling cities turned to ghost towns, businesses shuttered, citizens confined to their homes, a world on pause in fear of a quickly-spreading virus.
"What I just experienced? I never want to experience it here," said Zurek, 63, a concrete business owner who traveled last month to China with his wife, Annie, 60, to visit her family and meet their new baby granddaughter. After learning of the virus and cutting their visit short to return home after 10 days, the Zureks decided to quarantine themselves in their Indiana home for about two weeks even though they haven't shown any signs of the virus, like fever and cough.
1200 (with trims) by Kate Thayer in Chicago. MOVED
^Sister of Michigan woman quarantined on Diamond Princess: 'They're just sitting ducks'<
CORONAVIRUS-CRUISESHIP-SISTER:DE — The situation is growing more dire for passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, where the novel coronavirus is spreading and a Sterling Heights, Mich., woman remains quarantined.
"They're just sitting ducks. That's all I can say," said Marci Wulfmeier of Franklin, Mich., whose sister, Myra LaRouche, 72, of Sterling Heights is among the people quarantined on the ship until at least Feb. 19.
1050 (with trims) by Kristen Jordan Shamus in Detroit. MOVED
^LA County district attorney moves to wipe 66,000 marijuana convictions<
LA-MARIJUANA-CONVICTIONS:LA — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey on Thursday announced the dismissal of 66,000 marijuana convictions in the county, a move to undo decades of drug enforcement that disproportionately targeted people of color years after California voters legalized weed.
The top prosecutor this week filed a motion asking a judge to erase 62,000 felony convictions dating back to 1961 and 4,000 misdemeanor convictions in 10 cities across the county. Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta signed the order Tuesday.
600 by Alene Tchekmedyian in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Man charged for allegedly throwing away ashes of Georgia woman's dad, husband<
CREMATEDREMAINS-TRASH:AT — A Lawrenceville man, who faces charges in multiple metro Atlanta counties and several states, now faces even more charges after being indicted in a Cobb County case.
Howboutit Hbi, 45, was indicted last week on four felony charges in connection with an incident in which he's accused of throwing away the cremated remains of a woman's father and husband, according to court records.
450 (with trims) by Zachary Hansen in Atlanta. MOVED
^Convicted sex offender indicted after probe into Jaguars' Jumbotron malfunction<
FLA-JUMBOTRON-OPERATOR:JK — A 49-year-old convicted sex offender and former Jacksonville Jaguars Jumbotron operator was indicted Thursday on a charge of obtaining and possessing child sexual abuse images, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Samuel Arthur Thompson's arrest stems from an investigation into multiple 2018 malfunctions of the Jumbotron screens inside the Jaguars football stadium.
450 by Dan Scanlan in Jacksonville, Fla. MOVED
^Orlando police officer who suffered PTSD after Pulse massacre granted retirement, pension<
ORLANDO-SHOOTING-OFFICER:OS — Police pension board members voted unanimously Thursday to grant disability retirement and a lifelong pension to Orlando police Officer Alison Clarke, who developed post-traumatic stress disorder following the Pulse massacre.
Clarke cried as she embraced her wife and friends after the hearing. Clarke's wife, fellow OPD officer Kate Graumann, let out a deep breath as tears welled in her eyes after the vote.
650 by Tess Sheets in Orlando, Fla. MOVED
^Fighting meth-fueled 'chemsex' in the LGBTQ community, West Hollywood takes a stand<
CALIF-WESTHOLLYWOOD:LA — It was the kind of town hall meeting that could, perhaps, only be held in West Hollywood.
"We're going to talk about sex," City Councilman John Duran warned the crowd, feigning surprise. The topic at the packed town hall Wednesday night was a growing crisis, especially in the LGBTQ community, that health experts say is not talked about enough: "chemsex," or using drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and MDMA to enhance sexual activity and lower inhibitions.
1100 by Hailey Branson-Potts in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Victoria's Secret added new safety measures; models say it's not enough<
VICTORIASSECRET-MODELS:BLO — In the spring of last year, Victoria's Secret imposed official rules to protect its lingerie models for the first time in its four-decade history.
The Harvey Weinstein scandal was at that point almost two years old, and the #MeToo movement that would follow was fostering something of a cultural rejection of the underwear maker's dated vision of female beauty, accelerating the 75% collapse in the stock price of its parent company L Brands Inc. from a 2015 peak. Management could no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the perils its models faced on the job — being alone with photographers or executives who wielded power over their careers, feeling pressure to bare more of their bodies or participate in private photo shoots.
The question is whether the rules go far enough to make a difference.
1750 by Jordyn Holman and Kim Bhasin in New York. MOVED
^DNA on cigarillo left where WWII vet, 97, was beaten and robbed leads to arrest: cops<
BEATING-DNA-CIGARILLO:OS — DNA taken from a cigarillo tip found where a 97-year-old Lake County, Fla., World War II veteran was beaten and robbed of $400 led to the arrest Wednesday of a suspect, according to authorities and court documents.
In a phone call made from jail earlier while being held in an unrelated case, Kevin Eugene Leeks told the person he was talking to, "We gotta take advantage of these veterans ," according to a probable-cause affidavit.
400 by Jerry Fallstrom in Orlando, Fla. MOVED
^These Pakistani students want out of coronavirus-stricken Wuhan. Their government says no<
CORONAVIRUS-PAKISTANI-STUDENTS:LA — On Thursday, for the first time in a week, 26-year-old Abdullah left his small dorm room at the Wuhan University of Technology in China to buy fruit and spices to cook the food of his native Pakistan.
As Wuhan is gripped by the coronavirus outbreak, Abdullah and hundreds of Pakistani students are locked down on their campuses, barred by university officials from leaving for days at a time, phone and WeChat messages their only link to the dire situation outside their doors.
While more than 20 countries have evacuated their nationals from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak that has sickened more than 60,000 people worldwide since December, Pakistan has resisted calls to bring home several hundred increasingly worried citizens, many of them students.
For Prime Minister Imran Khan, the decision hinges on health as well as politics.
1000 by Shashank Bengali and Aoun Sahi in Islamabad, Pakistan. MOVED
NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.
^TODAY'S TOP NEWSFEATURES<
^The halfway underground homes of 'Parasite' are real spaces of desperation and dreams<
SKOREA-PARASITE-SEMIBASEMENTS:LA — For nine years, South Korean poet Shin Hyun-rim and her daughter resided in a netherworld seven steps below the street.
In the heart of Seoul, a stone's throw from the presidential residence and skyscrapers housing the likes of Samsung, Shin and her daughter lived in a banjiha — a semi-basement apartment with scant sunlight and dirt-cheap rent, that for many South Koreans is a last resort, a rite of passage or a low slung pit stop on the way to something better.
The halfway underground banjiha home figures prominently in South Korean director Bong Joon Ho's dark comedy "Parasite," a stark depiction of the rock-bottom existence the movie's Kim family tries to claw out of.
1150 (with trims) by Victoria Kim in Seoul, South Korea. MOVED
^San Francisco bans most cars from Market Street. Will other cities follow?<
CITIES-STREETS-CARS:LA — As California cities move to reclaim their streets from automobile domination, Market Street in San Francisco is the most ambitious effort so far.
Lined by skyscrapers, landmark buildings, tech powerhouses and ornate street lamps, Market cuts through the heart of San Francisco and has long had the traffic jams that come with the prime real estate. Generations ago, many of the city's streetcar and cable car lines were pulled out to make way for the mighty automobile.
A few weeks ago, there was a dramatic shift when San Francisco banned private cars on the busiest section of Market Street.
"There is a generational transformation that has occurred here," said Malcolm A. Heinicke, chairman of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board of directors. "You have people who are really looking at having a city where they're not driving."
It's part of a growing trend across North America.
1600 (with trims) by Rong-Gong Lin II in San Francisco. MOVED
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