Tribune News Service

Newsfeatures Budget for Tuesday, September 15 2020

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Updated at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 UTC).


Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT.

This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Experts worry QAnon conspiracies are overshadowing fight against child trafficking<

CHILDTRAFFICKING-QANON:SD — Rallying in the center of Santee's busy shopping district on a recent Saturday, men, women and children waved signs condemning the sexual exploitation of children.

"Standing 4 children" read one, and "End human trafficking" another. They received honks of support as drivers passed by.

There were other signs, though, that raised fears among some child-victim advocates that their long-standing efforts to fight trafficking are being hijacked and radically politicized by backers of conspiracy theories.

The Santee rally included hand-lettered support for "WWG1 WGA," an abbreviated version of the slogan "Where we go one, we go all," adopted by those who ascribe to the belief system known as QAnon.

Similar protests have played out on street corners across the country and other parts of the globe in recent weeks.

While the front-facing message of the hashtag campaign confronts the all-too-real horrors of children being sold for sex and pedophilia, many of the ideas it promotes are rooted in conspiracy theories at the center of QAnon.

2250 by Kristina Davis and Joshua Emerson Smith in San Diego. MOVED



^More people with felony convictions can vote, but roadblocks remain<

FELONS-VOTING:SH — More than ever, Eric Harris is mindful of the elected officials around him: The school board members deciding whether his children will go back to the classroom, the sheriff influencing how officers interact with people like him, and the U.S. president steering the country's coronavirus response.

This year has given Harris lots of reasons to vote. And this year, he can.

With three felonies on his record, the 41-year-old had been barred from voting in Iowa — the last state that had permanently banned people convicted of felonies from voting without the governor's approval — until an executive order from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in early August changed that. "It means a lot to me," Harris said.

Reynolds restored automatic voting rights to most people with felony records after they complete their sentence, including parole or probation; the exceptions are people with homicide convictions, who must file an application. Under the order, an estimated 60,000 additional people now are eligible to vote in the Hawkeye State.

They join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of others with felony convictions who are newly eligible to vote in the general election this year.

2050 by Lindsey Van Ness in Washington. MOVED


^Progressives fret Feinstein won't be tough enough in handling Biden judicial nominees<

FEINSTEIN-JUDICIAL-NOMINEES:LA — Progressives hoping for a Democratic White House and Senate next year are already voicing worries that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who would be next in line to lead the Judiciary Committee, will not commit to pushing a future Biden administration's judicial nominees with the same aggressive tactics used by Republicans under President Donald Trump.

As Judiciary Committee chairman, Feinstein, 87, would wield significant political power if Democrats take control of the Senate. She would be responsible for reviewing and confirming the president's Supreme Court nominees and other judicial appointments.

1050 by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED



^Pennsylvania's blue-collar voters see danger — and back Trump<

CAMPAIGN-PA-BLUECOLLAR-VOTERS:LA — There are no protests over racial injustice or police brutality here, and the only fires or violence Wendy Williams encounters are on television and online. Yet the spotty images of unrest in faraway Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, linger in her mind.

If anything, she'd like President Donald Trump to crack down harder, to follow through on his threats to send more troops to quash the protests. She wishes he didn't say so many inflammatory things, yet resents those who label him a racist.

Trump's racially loaded calls for "law and order" in the face of mostly peaceful protests, and his dire warnings that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will "demolish the suburbs," have alienated some voters in the actual suburbs, where Black and Latino populations are growing and many educated white women are abandoning the Republican Party.

But Trump's appeals to the grievances of white supporters appear to be resonating with voters in down-at-the-heels industrial cities such as Wilkes-Barre, where his campaign hopes for a surge of white working-class voters.

1450 by Noah Bierman in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. MOVED



^Path of the pandemic: How the coronavirus came to Texas<

CORONAVIRUS-TEXAS-PATH:DA — Last winter, when Dr. James Musser read about the new coronavirus circulating in China, he told his group to get ready.

Musser, a top infectious disease expert at Houston Methodist Hospital, wanted a test he could deploy quickly, because he was sure the virus would make its way to Texas. "Houston, like Dallas, has ties to essentially everywhere in the world," he said.

Houston Methodist set up a test for the novel coronavirus in February and deployed it in early March, when the hospital saw its first suspected cases of COVID-19. While Musser had made the test for patients, he also used it to lay the groundwork for an added benefit: reconstructing how the virus arrived in Texas.

1350 by Anna Kuchment and Sue Ambrose in Dallas. MOVED




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