Tribune News Service

Newsfeatures Budget for Thursday, June 20, 2019

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Updated at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 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.


^How measles detectives work to contain an outbreak<

^PUBLICHEALTH-INVESTIGATORS:KHN—<On any given day, more than 4,000 people pass through the library at California State University, Los Angeles.

On April 11, one of them had measles. The building has only one entrance, which means that anyone who entered or exited the library within two hours of that person's visit potentially was exposed to one of the most contagious diseases on Earth.

It's the stuff of public health nightmares: Everyone at the library between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day had to be identified, warned and possibly quarantined. Measles is so contagious that up to 90% of people close to an infected person who are not protected by a vaccine or previous case of the disease will become infected. But how could the university figure out who had been in the library during that time frame? And which of those people were vulnerable to infection?

Rooting out answers to such questions is the job of the public health detectives who work at health departments across the country.

1500 by Jenny Gold. MOVED



^New laws help rural black families fight for their land<

BLACKFAMILIES-RURAL-LAND:SH — When Karama Neal's mother passed away in 2010, Neal became one of more than 150 heirs to 160 acres of family land in Arkansas first purchased in 1888 by her great-great-grandfather, Griffin Henry Belk, a former slave.

No one had lived on the property since the 1980s, when Neal's great-uncle died. Neal was excited about being a co-property owner among many. She began looking for family members, until her father, who's an attorney, warned that any one could force a partition sale, often leading to the loss of ownership.

"I stopped that work and looked for a solution," Neal said.

Neal's story is a common one among African American families, especially in the South. Informal successions of property ownership can create diminished claims to inheritance and situations that are ripe for corruption.

1750 (with trims) by April Simpson in Washington. MOVED



^Nunes hired a longtime supporter with little experience to handle 2018 campaign ad buys<

NUNES-ADBUYER:LA — For 13 years, Rep. Devin Nunes relied on a trusted, experienced political consultant, Tim Orman, for his campaign advertising.

But as the California Republican faced what would become his toughest-ever reelection last year, Orman was no longer available. In 2016, he ran the successful campaign of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and became Brand's chief of staff. Government rules limited his ability to continue consulting on campaigns.

Nunes didn't look far for a replacement. He turned to Tal Cloud, a longtime political supporter who also is Orman's brother-in-law. Ultimately, one-fifth of Nunes' campaign budget flowed through Cloud's firm, federal campaign finance records show.

1650 by Sarah D. Wire in Washington. MOVED



^Miracle machine makes heroic rescues — and leaves patients in limbo<

^MED-ECMO:KHN—<The latest miracle machine in modern medicine — whose use has skyrocketed in recent years — is saving people from the brink of death: adults whose lungs have been ravaged by the flu; a trucker who was trapped underwater in a crash; a man whose heart had stopped working for an astonishing seven hours.

But for each adult saved by this machine — dubbed ECMO, for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — another adult hooked up to the equipment dies in the hospital. For those patients, the intervention is a very expensive, labor-intensive and unsuccessful effort to cheat death.

ECMO, the most aggressive form of life support available, pumps blood out of the body, oxygenates it and returns it to the body, keeping a person alive for days, weeks or months, even when their heart or lungs don't work.

Experts caution that as ECMO becomes more available, it is also being used as a last-ditch attempt to buy more time for dying patients with poor chances of survival.

2750 (with trims) by Melissa Bailey. MOVED



^China's most advanced Big Brother experiment is a bureaucratic mess<

CHINA-SOCIALCREDIT:BLO — The city of Suzhou, known as "the Venice of the East" for its web of intricate waterways, captured the imagination of Marco Polo when he journeyed through China more than seven centuries ago.

Today it's drawing attention for another grand project: a sprawling network of databases designed to track the behavior of China's population. Sitting next to Shanghai with an economy larger than Finland's, Suzhou was one of a dozen places chosen in 2018 by President Xi Jinping's government to run a social-credit trial, which can reward or punish citizens for their behavior.

The system collects data on nearly two dozen metrics, including marital status, education level and social security payments. Authorities have given it national awards even as Western politicians like U.S. Vice President Mike Pence lambaste social credit as ushering in an Orwellian dystopia.

But dozens of interviews with the people most affected by the system paint a nuanced picture of the technology in its early stages.

1550 (with trims) by Bloomberg News. MOVED




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