(TNS)

Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, February 14, 2020

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Updated at 11 p.m. EST (0400 UTC).

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Adds CALIF-HOSPITALWORKER-THREAT:SD, IMMIGRANT-GIRL-DETENTION:PH, CORONAVIRUS-QA:KHN, GERMANY-SHOOTING:DPA, HAITI-ORPHANAGE-FIRE:DPA, USEUROPE-TARIFFS:BLO, IRISH-UNITY:BLO, PARKLAND-ANNIVERSARY:MI

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Updates RKELLY:TB, CORONAVIRUS:DPA

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Corrects MEXICO-FEMICIDE:DPA

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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.

^TOP STORIES<

^Trump claims 'legal right' to intervene in Justice Department cases<

TRUMP-BARR:LA — President Donald Trump slapped back Friday at one of his most loyal Cabinet secretaries, a day after Attorney General William Barr took the rare step of rebuking his boss in public, complaining that the president's tweets and public statements on criminal cases were making his job "impossible."

In response, Trump tweeted that he had a "legal right" to ask Barr to intervene in a criminal proceeding, a provocative assertion that raised alarms over whether the Justice Department could remain an impartial law enforcement agency, free from political pressure.

1300 by Noah Bierman and Del Quentin Wilber in Washington. MOVED

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^TRUMP-BARR:NY—<250 by Dave Goldiner. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^US, Taliban reach interim deal aimed at eventual troop pullout<

USTALIBAN-1ST-LEDE:BLO — The U.S. and the Taliban have reached agreement on a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan that's intended to lead to a broader accord to end America's longest war.

A senior U.S. official said Friday that the two sides have a deal on the reduction of violence that, if achieved, would be followed by a peace plan allowing the U.S. to start withdrawing forces. The seven-day curb on attacks is expected to begin soon, the official said, without providing details.

650 by Larry Liebert and Nick Wadhams in Washington. MOVED

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USTALIBAN:LA — 750 by Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED

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^Flush with cash and confident after impeachment, Trump campaign revs up the road show<

TRUMP-CAMPAIGN:LA — Four years after his hostile takeover of the White House, President Donald Trump's second campaign bears little resemblance to the first — he's flush with cash, buoyed by an uptick in poll numbers, and brimming with confidence after surviving investigations, an impeachment and myriad controversies that have helped unite once-wary Republicans behind him.

Unlike his slapdash, anything goes 2016 campaign, Trump now can rely on a massive, professionalized apparatus that has helped raise more than $200 million, deployed eager surrogates to early primary states, and built an extensive field operation and advertising network months before Democrats are likely to choose their nominee.

He also has found new ways to break political taboos, seeking to overshadow Democratic candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire just before they held their nominating contests and playing with voters' already frazzled nerves.

1350 (with trims) by Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED

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^Coronavirus infections reach over 66,000 and death toll tops 1,500 in China<

CORONAVIRUS-2ND-LEDE:DPA — Infections with the virus that causes COVID-19 have reached 66,492 in China, with 1,523 deaths and 11,053 people in critical condition, the country's National Health Commission announced Saturday.

The figures showed a sharp drop in the number of new infections compared to Friday.

However, with 143 new deaths recorded within the last 24-hour interval, fatalities have remained consistent in recent days.

150 by dpa in Beijing. MOVED

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^Prosecution closes in Harvey Weinstein trial: 'Abusive rapist' relied on 'power, manipulation'<

WEINSTEIN:LA — In her closing arguments Friday, the lead prosecutor in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial proclaimed that power, manipulation and abuse — as well as a "lack of human empathy" — are what led the producer to the charges he now faces in Manhattan criminal court.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the jury of seven men and five women that Weinstein had underestimated his accusers.

"He made sure he had contact with the people he was worried about as a little check to make sure that one day, they wouldn't walk out from the shadows and call him exactly what he was: an abusive rapist," she said. "He was wrong."

500 by Laura Newberry and James Queally in New York. MOVED

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^WASHINGTON<

^Former FBI official Andrew McCabe, a target of Trump, won't face criminal charges<

MCCABE-1ST-LEDE:BLO — The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation of Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who was fired after an internal review of his role in disclosing a Clinton Foundation probe to the media.

The department notified McCabe's legal team on Friday that no charges will be brought against him, his lawyers, Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

600 by Chris Strohm in Washington. MOVED

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^White House memo says Trump had authority for Soleimani attack<

USIRAN-MEMO:BLO — The White House delivered its legal justification for the January airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, arguing that President Donald Trump was authorized to take the action under the Constitution and 2002 legislation authorizing the Iraq War.

The Trump administration memo, which was released Friday by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, was the first official explanation of the president's legal grounds for ordering the strike, which spiked tensions in the Middle East and pushed Washington and Tehran to the brink of war.

700 by Justin Sink in Washington. MOVED

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^5 Senate votes where Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar canceled each other out<

SANDERS-KLOBUCHAR-DIFFERENCES:CON — When Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar arrived as freshmen senators in January 2007, they entered a Senate that was very different from the one in which they serve as 2020 presidential frontrunners.

Back then, the Senate moved legislation on the floor and roll call votes on amendments were not a rarity. The amendment voting records of Sanders, a Vermont independent, and Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, show some substantial differences that they have held in their Senate careers.

550 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED

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^Senators reaffirm support for Ukraine, Zelenskiy at first meeting since impeachment<

USUKRAINE-SENATORS:CON — Let's put our recent past behind us and get this relationship back on track.

That's the essence of what Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy and Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and John Barrasso told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a meeting Friday in Kyiv to reaffirm the two countries' strategic partnership in Eastern Europe.

550 by Griffin Connolly in Washington. MOVED

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^Trump administration raises tariffs to 15% on EU aircraft; booze and wine tariffs to stay at 25%<

USEUROPE-TARIFFS:BLO — The U.S. said Friday it will increase the tariff rate imposed on aircraft imported from the European Union to 15% from 10% on March 18.

The move is part of a long-running spat in which the U.S. has sought to penalize the EU for offering illegal subsidies to Airbus SE that harmed American aircraft maker Boeing Co.

The U.S. trade representative said in the statement Friday that the United States is leaving duties on certain other European goods such as Scotch and French wine at 25%.

450 by Bryce Baschuk, Jenny Leonard and Shawn Donnan in Washington. MOVED

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^POLITICS<

^Sanders as front-runner raises Democratic jitters in Congress<

SANDERS-CONGRESS:BLO — The muddled Democratic presidential contest is raising jitters among some in the party that their House majority and chances of taking the Senate could be at risk in 2020.

The rise of Bernie Sanders to the top after the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses, and him supplanting former Vice President Joe Biden as front-runner in national polls, has particularly unsettled some of the Democrats running in heavily Republican areas.

They say the Vermont senator's embrace of what he calls democratic socialism and promise of a "Medicare for all" system to replace private insurance will motivate President Donald Trump's voters and turn off the moderates they need to win reelection.

1050 (with trims) by Billy House, Erik Wasson and Laura Litvan in Washington. MOVED

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^Amy Klobuchar's mission in Nevada: 'I have to get people to know me'<

KLOBUCHAR:LA — Amy Klobuchar wants to hire you. How soon can you start?

As the senator and presidential hopeful enjoys an image bounce from her surprise third-place finish in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, she is pouring staff and cash into Nevada, where she faces a daunting challenge to replicate her success in the Granite State.

Her success has come so suddenly that her campaign appears to be somewhat unprepared for the next nominating contest in Nevada, if Klobuchar's unusual public call for new hires on Thursday is any indication.

700 by Matt Pearce in North Las Vegas, Nev. MOVED

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^New York Mayor Bill de Blasio endorses Bernie Sanders for president<

DEBLASIO-SANDERS-1ST-LEDE:NY — If you can't beat them, Bern them.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — whose starry-eyed presidential campaign fell apart five months ago — endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination Friday and plans to hit the stump for the left-wing lawmaker this weekend.

In a statement released by the Sanders campaign, de Blasio praised the self-described democratic socialist as a "true progressive leader" who will fight "for working New Yorkers and families across the country."

300 by Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED

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^Ideology and race could shape primaries in newly blue North Carolina districts<

NCAROLINA-PRIMARIES:CON — Democrats are almost guaranteed to pick up two House seats in North Carolina this year, which means that the upcoming primaries will go a long way toward determining who comes to Congress.

In both the newly redrawn 2nd District, which is based in Raleigh, and the redrawn 6th District, which is rooted in Greensboro, Democrats have a good chance of nominating women with strong liberal backing. But the primaries in each district have raised questions about identity politics and ideology and who should represent what are now safe Democratic seats.

1400 (with trims) by Simone Pathe in Washington. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^ICE plans to deploy more resources in sanctuary cities<

SANCTUARYCITIES-BORDERAGENTS:LA — Federal immigration officials confirmed Friday that border agents and officers, including those in tactical units, will be deployed in Los Angeles and other so-called sanctuary cities to assist in the arrests of immigrants in the country illegally.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed details of the planned deployment that were first reported in The New York Times. The agency referred further questions to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.

850 by Brittny Mejia in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Michael Avenatti convicted on all counts in Nike extortion case<

AVENATTI-1ST-LEDE:NY — Michael Avenatti just did it — he tried to extort Nike, a jury ruled Friday.

The jury found the bulldog lawyer guilty of betraying his client and attempting to shake down the shoe giant.

The verdict virtually assures Avenatti's downfall, but he has not yet hit rock bottom. He faces two more trials, one in Manhattan and another in Los Angeles.

750 by Stephen Rex Brown in New York. MOVED

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^'Smiles through the tears': Parkland community still mourning 2 years after shooting<

PARKLAND-ANNIVERSARY:MI — At a makeshift memorial site filled with flowers and painted rocks outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday afternoon, three young Parkland residents who were in elementary school two years ago sat side by side on a bench and remembered Jaime Guttenberg.

A couple miles up the road at Pine Trails Park, a large photograph of Guttenberg soaring through the air while dancing was on display, one of 17 panels lined up in two rows to honor the 14 students and three adults who were killed in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2018.

Next to each panel was a collage of heart-shaped messages from friends and family.

800 by Aaron Leibowitz in Parkland, Fla. MOVED

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^With national spotlight dimmed, Parkland students tackle the real struggle: Mental health<

PARKLAND-MENTALHEALTH:FL — In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shootings where 17 people died and 17 were injured, angry outspoken students said "never again." They became instant activists, organizing protests and marches, and the national faces of gun safety advocates on television, in magazines and on social media.

But now that the intensity of their efforts to bring change has slowed and the media spotlight has dimmed, many face the real struggle. Depression, anxiety and severe post-traumatic stress disorder have forced them to drop out of high school or college, or rely on medication and therapy to get them through each day.

1950 (with trims) by Cindy Krischer Goodman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Evidence in trash can linked 6-year-old South Carolina girl's death to neighbor, police say<

SC-MISSING-GIRL-1ST-LEDE:CS — The killing of 6-year-old Faye Swetlik of Cayce has been linked with the death of a 30-year-old neighbor whose body was found Thursday in the Churchill Heights neighborhood.

Police found evidence in the man's trash can that linked him to Faye's death, said Sgt. Evan Antley of the Cayce Department of Public Safety. The man was identified as Coty Scott Taylor, 30.

600 by David Travis Bland in Cayce, S.C. MOVED

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^Singer R. Kelly hit with new indictment in Chicago federal court<

RKELLY-1ST-LEDE:TB — Beleaguered singer R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago adding allegations that he sexually abused another minor victim for four years starting in 1997.

A superseding indictment made public Friday alleged Kelly sexually abused a girl identified in the charges only as "Minor 6."

Minor 6 appears to replace another victim in the earlier indictment, an underage girl previously identified as Minor 2.

In addition, the charges seek for the first time forfeiture of all assets of Kelly's production company, Bass Productions Ltd., as well as a company owned by his longtime business manager and co-defendant, Derrel McDavid.

550 by Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau in Chicago. MOVED

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^UC audit prompted by scandal finds flaws with admissions process for athletes, artists<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-AUDIT:LA — The University of California has found significant problems in how campuses track decisions to admit athletes, artists and students who do not meet minimum UC eligibility requirements, according to a review released Friday.

The sweeping audit of UC's nine undergraduate campuses, triggered by the national college admissions scandal, found two cases of possible impropriety. One involves a student admitted as a recruited athlete who did not subsequently appear on the team roster. The other involves how one campus administers its appeals process for admissions decisions.

1100 (with trims) by Teresa Watanabe in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Judge sentences Chinese national to 6 months in jail after Mar-a-Lago incident<

MARALAGO-TRESPASSER:PM — Before County Judge Mark Eissey sentenced Jing Lu on Friday morning, she asked to have a moment to tell her story. This week, a six-person jury agreed the Chinese national was not guilty of trespassing at Mar-a-Lago in December, but that she did resist officers on Worth Avenue when they arrested her.

Jing Lu, who also goes by Lu Jing, was sentenced to six months in jail by Eissey.

950 by Hannah Winston in West Palm Beach, Fla. MOVED

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^Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh asks for 1 year, 1 day in prison for fraudulent book scheme<

BALTIMORE-EXMAYOR-1ST-LEDE:BZ — Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has asked for a sentence of one year and one day in prison in relation to her guilty plea in the "Healthy Holly" book scandal that led to her fall from grace and resignation from office last year, with her attorneys arguing she has already suffered greatly.

Prosecutors asked Thursday for Pugh, 69, to be imprisoned for nearly five years.

1150 (with trims) by Talia Richman and Kevin Rector in Baltimore. MOVED

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^Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office can keep private lawyers in Jussie Smollett probe, judge rules<

SMOLLETT-LAWYERS:TB — Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office can continue to use private lawyers to represent it in the special prosecutor's investigation of the Jussie Smollett matter, a judge ruled Friday.

In addition, Judge Michael Toomin issued a broad shutdown of Sheila O'Brien, the retired appellate judge who tried to challenge Foxx's use of outside attorneys — saying she could no longer file any paperwork in the Smollett case without his explicit permission.

550 by Megan Crepeau in Chicago. MOVED

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^Grand jury investigators are 'dead serious' about revealing sexual abuse cover-ups among Jehovah's Witnesses<

^JEHOVAHS-WITNESSES-INVESTIGATION:PH—<The existence of a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into the Witnesses's handling of child sex abuse cases — the first of its kind in the country — was only disclosed a week ago, in a story by USA Today, which was met with a no comment from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

But The Inquirer this week interviewed five ex-Witnesses who have already testified for the grand jury, including Chase, and their recollections paint a portrait of an investigation focused on shattering the wall of silence that has long surrounded the religion's reclusive leaders, and unearthing secretly-maintained records about suspected pedophiles.

1250 (with trims) by David Gambacorta in Philadelphia. MOVED

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^'I'm forever grateful': Teen who fled Honduras amid alleged gang threats is released from federal custody to suburban family amid fight for asylum<

TEEN-IMMIGRANT-RELEASED:TB — After about five months in federal immigration detention, a teenager who had settled in Crystal Lake after escaping alleged gang death threats in her native Honduras was released from custody on bond Thursday as she continues to seek asylum in the U.S.

"I didn't think I was ever getting out. I'm forever grateful," Meydi Guzman Rivas, the Crystal Lake Central High School student, said in Spanish. "It was hard, I was not ready for this. I didn't think this would happen to me."

Holding a bouquet of red and purple flowers, Guzman Rivas embraced school counselor Sara Huser outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in the South Loop. Both women spoke through muffled tears.

650 by Jessica Villagomez and Amanda Marrazzo in Chicago. MOVED

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^Unfair press for the pangolin? Experts fear possible coronavirus links may further threaten this at-risk animal<

CORONAVIRUS-PANGOLIN:TB — Animal enthusiasts across the globe on Saturday will celebrate the ninth annual World Pangolin Day, designated to help protect what is believed to be the most illegally trafficked mammal on Earth.

Yet the festivities come in the wake of some bad press for this already at-risk animal. While research isn't at all conclusive, some scientists in China have preliminarily named the highly poached pangolin as the possible transmitter of coronavirus to humans, potentially linking the rare and enigmatic creature to a public health epidemic that has killed more than a thousand globally and sickened 15 in the United States as of Thursday.

1000 by Angie Leventis Lourgos in Chicago. MOVED

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^Coronavirus fears expose cultural divide over masks in California's San Gabriel Valley<

CORONAVIRUS-MASKS-CULTURE:LA — Marta Ayala and Chong Taing, both residents of Rosemead, Calif., couldn't see the threat of the coronavirus more differently. You can see it on their faces.

While walking out of Superior Grocers supermarket in El Monte, Ayala's face scrunched in annoyance as she spotted an Asian customer wearing a white medical mask coming from the opposite direction. Despite hearing about the fast-spreading illness, to the 64-year-old Mexican immigrant, the mask is an overreaction that just stokes alarm.

"I don't believe in using masks and I don't understand the need," she said. "I know there's a serious disease out there, but who has time to think about that?"

For the 39-year-old Taing, who wears a mask, the item makes as much sense as wearing long-sleeve shirts or sunglasses to protect from the sun.

1100 by Andrew J. Campa in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Facts vs. fears: Five things to help weigh your coronavirus risk<

CORONAVIRUS-QA:KHN — The news about the novel coronavirus in China grows more urgent daily. The number of related deaths is now greater than 1,300, while tens of thousands of people have been infected — most of them in China. People returning to the U.S. from China are quarantined for 14 days. It can be frightening to think about the threat, but public health officials in this country constantly remind people that the risk of the disease here is low.

Still, scientists have more questions than answers about important issues surrounding the coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19. Here's some help in understanding the unknowns and evaluating the risks.

1550 by Liz Szabo in Washington. MOVED

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^Florida man slashes stepdaughter and daughter with a machete, police say<

MACHETE-ATTACK:FL — Two girls, 10 and 17, were slashed with a machete Friday morning and the younger girl's father was taken into custody after fleeing from the home where the attacks happened, Lauderhill police said.

300 by Wayne K. Roustan in Lauderhill, Fla. MOVED

^13 guns seized from San Diego hospital staffer's home after he allegedly threatened workplace<

CALIF-HOSPITALWORKER-THREAT:SD — A Rady Children's Hospital staffer was placed on leave earlier this month and police seized 13 guns from his home after he reportedly told co-workers he would "shoot the place up" and "kill us all," according to court documents obtained Friday.

A search of the staffer's home last week also turned up 136,000 rounds of ammunition. The 54-year-old was taken for psychiatric evaluation last week and placed on a three-day hold, police confirmed Friday. He was not arrested, but police are investigating.

600 by Teri Figueroa in San Diego. MOVED

^Ga. sheriff used public office, children's charity to aid campaign<

GA-SHERIFF-CHARITY:AT — The email, sent from a Cobb County, Ga., sheriff's employee to the district attorney's office, sought volunteers for the sheriff's annual Corn Boilin' event to raise money for the Cobb County Youth Museum.

"This is a great opportunity to meet tons of folks and it is for a great cause!" it read.

The great cause was, in fact, Sheriff Neil Warren himself.

1550 (with trims) by Meris Lutz in Atlanta. MOVED

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^No prison time for heartbroken 74-year-old bank robber<

ELDERLY-BANKROBBER-CORRECTION:FL — A 74-year-old bank robber, still mourning his dead wife, was spared jail time Friday morning.

Sandy Hawkins could essentially have his jail record dismissed and the case dropped if he abides by rules for 12 months.

On Nov. 18, Hawkins walked into a Wells Fargo in West Boca and demanded cash. For reasons that he is unsure of, he specifically asked for $1,100. When the teller counted past $2,000, he scolded the teller saying that was too much and the start counting the cash over.

400 by Eileen Kelley in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Chicago teacher suspended as district investigates whether Latina student told to 'go back to your country'<

TEACHER-ANTHEM-1ST-LEDE:TB — A Senn High School teacher accused of telling a Latina student to "go back to your country" during an assembly last month has been removed from the classroom as Chicago Public Schools investigates whether the teacher violated the district's anti-discrimination policy, according to officials.

In a letter sent to parents Thursday, Senn Principal Mary Beck said that "new information came to light" as the district's Office of Student Protections and Title IX opened an investigation, prompting it "to remove this individual from working in our school."

750 by Elyssa Cherney in Chicago. MOVED

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^Detained Guatemalan girl, 7, wins court appeal — but she and father still can't leave together<

IMMIGRANT-GIRL-DETENTION:PH — A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who has spent a record 233 days at the Berks County immigrant detention center has won an important legal appeal — but not one allowing her and her father to leave the facility together.

600 by Jeff Gammage in Philadelphia. MOVED

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^Kobe Bryant tribute expected to be restricted, with no outdoor viewing outside Staples Center<

BRYANT-MEMORIAL:LA — Officials have not released details about the Feb. 24 memorial for Kobe Bryant and others killed in a helicopter crash last month, but it appears the event at Staples Center will be restricted to those who have tickets.

250 by Richard Winton in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^'It's incredible luck': Two tourists survive being run over by Porsche in Fort Lauderdale<

FLA-TOURISTS-PORSCHE:FL — Two tourists had just arrived from Norway and spent the night on Fort Lauderdale beach when the unthinkable happened: They stumbled onto State Road A1A and an oncoming Porsche ran over them.

300 by Eileen Kelley in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^26 immigrants found locked in tractor-trailer after being smuggled across the border<

SMUGGLED-IMMIGRANTS:LA — Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national after 26 immigrants were found in the back of a locked tractor-trailer he was driving near the Salton Sea, authorities said.

All of the passengers, including two juveniles, also were arrested, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

200 by Luke Money in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^THE WORLD<

^'We are furious': Mexican women take to streets to protest femicide<

MEXICO-FEMICIDE-CORRECTION:DPA — Women in at least 10 Mexican cities took to the streets Friday in a show of anger over femicide and gender-based violence in the country that was prompted by the gruesome killing of a young woman in the capital.

Feminist groups were holding rallies across the Mexico City and in cities including Juarez, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Veracruz to draw attention to the increasingly brutal killings of women and the way the cases are handled by the government and the media.

500 by Friederike Heine and Andrea Sosa Cabrios in Mexico City. MOVED

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^One dead, several injured in shooting at Berlin Tempodrom event site<

GERMANY-SHOOTING:DPA — One person died and several were injured late Friday in a shooting near a popular Berlin event location, rescuers said.

Three of the injured had made their own way to hospital, a spokesman for the fire department said.

Heavily armed police were seen around the Tempodrom hall, which was cordoned off. Police were looking for several suspects.

100 by dpa in Berlin. MOVED

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^A united Ireland? Sinn Fein's win brings it only one step closer<

IRISH-UNITY:BLO — Following an unexpected election triumph, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald wasted little time in calling for a united Ireland, demanding a referendum on reunification within five years.

Meanwhile, one of her successful candidates regaled his celebrating supporters with the iconic "Up the RA" slogan, referring to the Irish Republican Army, the terror group that fought in the name of uniting Ireland. Another broke into a rousing rebel song commemorating the IRA's fight with British forces in Dublin.

So nearly a century after its partition, is Ireland's wave of nationalist fervor leading inexorably to a movement to unite one of the last divided countries in Europe? Well, not quite.

900 by Dara Doyle in Dublin. MOVED

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^At least 15 children die in fire at Haiti orphanage<

HAITI-ORPHANAGE-FIRE:DPA — At least 15 children died in a fire at an orphanage in Haiti, local media reported Friday.

Emergency services reportedly took more than an hour to reach the blaze in the Kenscoff area south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

The United Nations children's fund UNICEF said there were babies and young children among the dead.

250 by dpa. MOVED

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^US-China bickering threatens to hobble world's virus fight<

CORONAVIRUS-USCHINA:BLO — The U.S. says China won't let its health workers help fight the virus. Beijing says they're welcome to come. The World Health Organization says nothing has been decided.

The confusion surrounding a planned WHO mission of experts to China shows how lingering mistrust between the world's biggest economies could hamper efforts to combat a pathogen quickly spreading across the globe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the world's preeminent public health agency, has often played a key role coordinating and funding global efforts to contain past outbreaks, including of Ebola.

1050 (with trims) by Iain Marlow, Dandan Li and Peter Martin in Hong Kong. MOVED

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

^<

NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

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^TOP WEEKEND STORIES<

^It's words, not bullets, for the 'bear whisperer' of the Eastern Sierra<

BEAR-WHISPERER:LA — Steve Searles is not really a cop, not really a civilian; he lives in limbo between those two worlds.

And, man, does he live. Think of him as the Serpico of the Sierra, a little snarly and gruff and frayed around the edges — a ponytailed ex-surfer turned mountain man. A bit of a hillbilly intellectual without much formal schooling.

There are lots of contradictions to this 60-year-old wildlife officer, lots of ironies and surprising qualities that make him more than another town character.

Searles has carved out a niche and a career as Mammoth Lakes' "bear whisperer," a protector of the wild things that roam the night: the ubiquitous bears, deer, coyotes and all manner of high-country cat. He protects the residents and the 2.5 million annual visitors too, though they have the numerical advantage. They also have guns and cars warm beds and cozy, muffin-scented kitchens.

The wildlife sense this. They want decent food and cozy cabins too. Sometimes, they help themselves.

2600 by Chris Erskine in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. MOVED

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^What it's like to be a Democrat in Trump Country<

PA-TRUMPCOUNTRY-DEMOCRATS:PH — His name appears on the bumpers of trucks parked outside the dollar store, and on political signs spiked into the snow where the grass meets gravel roads. On a large mural outside a dog-grooming business, President Donald Trump flashes a 6-foot smile.

Fulton County is Trump Country. In the 2016 election, he received 84% of the vote, making it the "reddest" of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. And it has only gotten redder — except for Michael Purnell.

Purnell, 57, was a lifelong Republican who grew up and worked on a dairy farm in nearby Wells Tannery. His family had always been conservative, he said. He watched the 2016 election unfold as many others did elsewhere in the country: He couldn't fathom Trump winning the GOP nomination, let alone the presidency.

When Trump won, Purnell became a Democrat.

1150 (with trims) by Jason Nark in McConnellsburg, Pa. MOVED

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