(TNS)

Tribune News Service

Newsfeatures Budget for Thursday, March 26, 2020

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Updated at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 UTC).

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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.

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^In times of housing crises, Washington's old squatters' rights law is put to the test<

WASHSTATE-SQUATTERS-LAW:SE — Police entered the Kent home with their guns drawn. Angela Simmons panicked and held up her hands.

Crisis and opportunity had collided to bring Simmons into the Kent home in 2013. In the aftermath of the recession, when foreclosed houses around King County sat empty, Simmons was introduced to an ancient legal principle called adverse possession that resulted in her living in one such abandoned home that she hoped one day would be hers.

Some may think of it as "squatter's rights," but adverse possession, enshrined in 19th-century Washington law and common law going back centuries, theoretically can provide a path to property ownership through moving into an abandoned home without permission, paying taxes on the property and maintaining the place as an owner would. The challenge is to avoid getting caught.

1650 by Sydney Brownstone in Seattle. MOVED

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^WASHINGTON<

^States begin preparations for mail-in voting in presidential election<

VOTEBYMAIL:SH — States have begun reshaping election policies to expand access to mail-in voting.

Election officials in states with restrictive absentee requirements are looking for ways to allow as many voters as possible to use absentee ballots, a safer alternative to in-person voting in a global pandemic. If this crisis continues into November, however, some experts warn that a pivot to voting by mail could strain state resources and disenfranchise certain voters if not handled properly.

U.S. elections have been in flux since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

1650 by Matt Vasilogambros in Washington. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^Fact check: Trump's boast about US, South Korea coronavirus testing misses the mark<

^CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP-TESTING-FACTCHECK:KHN—<Boasting about his administration's response to the coronavirus crisis — and arguing the outbreak would soon be under control — President Donald Trump claimed that recent American efforts to test widely for COVID-19 surpass those of other countries.

"We've done more tests in eight days than South Korea has done in eight weeks," Trump said during a March 24 virtual town hall hosted by Fox News.

Why the comparison with South Korea? South Korea has been heralded globally for its swift response to the pandemic, which appears to have slowed its rate of new infections. Meanwhile, a national shortage of tests has hamstrung American efforts.

With that context, we were curious. Is the president's claim accurate? Has American testing been as robust as his statement indicates?

1250 by Shefali Luthra. MOVED

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^Other states want to 'trade' for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Here's what they're offering<

CORONAVIRUS-KYGOV:LX — We knew the internet was thirsty for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Now it's sending its best trade proposals to nab him.

Like NBA teams that feel like they're one superstar trade away from being a contender, envious citizens from around the country have assembled what they believe to be their state's best offers for a mythical "trade" to bring Beshear to their state.

450 by Josh Moore in Lexington, Ky. MOVED

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^Are vital home health workers now a safety threat?<

HOMEHEALTH-WORKERS:KHN — As a hospice nurse in Seattle, Diane Speer said giving out hugs to patients and family members was a routine part of home visits.

But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she now tells family members to keep their distance.

"There's no touching hands or handshakes," said Speer, who works for Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health. It's "time for a virtual hug."

Hundreds of thousands of health care workers like Speer go into homes around the country to provide vital services for seniors and disabled people. But with rising concerns about the coronavirus and the particular danger it poses for older adults, those workers could be endangering their patients and themselves.

1050 (with trims) by Phil Galewitz. MOVED

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