Tribune News Service
International Budget for Saturday, October 17, 2020
Updated at 0000 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EDT Friday).
Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.
^Mexico stunned by ex-defense chief's arrest in Los Angeles<
USMEXICO-EXOFFICIAL:LA — He was the stern-faced chief of Mexico's armed forces, leading the battle against the nation's powerful drug cartels.
In 2016, he denounced the traffickers who ambushed a military convoy, killing six soldiers, as "sick, insane beasts."
Former Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos — who served as Mexico's defense minister from 2012 to 2018 under ex-President Enrique Pe a Nieto — was arrested late Thursday in Los Angeles.
850 by Patrick J. McDonnell in Mexico City. MOVED
^Teacher beheaded outside Paris in 'terrorist attack'; suspect killed by police<
FRANCE-TEACHER-BEHEADED-1ST-LEDE:DPA — The brutal killing of a history teacher in a town outside Paris was described by French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday as a "terrorist attack."
The man was found decapitated in public in the town of Conflans Saint-Honorine, in the Yvelines department northwest of Paris, broadcaster BFMTV reported.
The suspect was shot and killed by police in the neighboring town of Eragny.
350 by Julia Naue in Paris. MOVED
^Even some supporters are disappointed that COVID-19 bout didn't humble Trump<
^CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP-SUPPORTERS:LA—<President Donald Trump's access to state-of-the-art treatment and his nonchalance — encapsulated in a tweet advising "don't be afraid of the virus" — have been particular sources of resentment for some of the families of the 217,000 people who have died.
In hospital rooms across the country, patients are starting to ask if they too can receive the same treatment as the president. Families of those who died have started wondering if more could have been done.
The COVID-19 outbreak at the White House has refocused attention on how Trump has dealt with the pandemic — his biggest political liability.
1050 (with trims) by Jaweed Kaleem. MOVED
^COVID-19 cases extend 'troubling' US surge, signaling more deaths<
^CORONAVIRUS-US:BLO—<The number of daily COVID-19 cases is continuing its steady climb as temperatures begin to dip across the U.S., students return to classrooms and more people stay indoors where the virus spreads easily.
While far fewer people are ending up hospitalized with the illness than during the pandemic's surge in March and April, many more deaths are expected to be added to almost 218,000 already reported nationally as cases spike, experts said.
750 by Kristen V. Brown and Jonathan Levin. MOVED
^Coronavirus trounces both teams in ill-fated hockey game<
^CORONAVIRUS-HOCKEYGAME:LA—<They ranged in age from 19 to 53, weekend warriors who likely grew up playing hockey on ponds, in youth leagues and on high school teams. Even as adults, they couldn't leave the ice behind. Yet despite their combined athleticism and skill, they were no match for the coronavirus.
Their fateful match-up occurred on June 16 in Tampa, Fla. For 60 minutes, the 22 men took turns grunting, sweating, spitting and checking their way up and down the ice in a bid to reach a hard rubber puck and control its trajectory with a stick.
Five days later, 14 of 22 players had developed symptoms of COVID-19. A 15th person, a staffer at the ice rink, also became ill. Thirteen of these 15 people went on to test positive for a coronavirus infection. The other two were not tested.
1050 (with trims) by Melissa Healy. MOVED
^Scientists defend trial questioning remdesivir's COVID-19 benefits<
^CORONAVIRUS-DRUG:BLO—<Scientists defended a World Health Organization trial showing that the antiviral treatment remdesivir doesn't save the lives of COVID-19 patients after drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. criticized the findings.
Remdesivir, which U.S. President Donald Trump received when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, failed to reduce mortality in a global trial sponsored by the agency, called Solidarity. Gilead said the data have "not undergone rigorous review."
500 by Jason Gale and John Lauerman. MOVED
^Trump's closing argument heavy on pleas, insults and contempt<
CAMPAIGN-TRUMP:LA — Sinking in the polls, strapped for cash and facing a potential tidal wave of Democratic early voting as coronavirus cases have soared, President Donald Trump has found new culprits to blame for his political woes — his own supporters, Cabinet members and even fellow Republicans.
In appearances this week, he has vented his frustrations with suburban women, a critical voting bloc that polls suggest he has lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, mixing an uncharacteristic personal plea with raw resentment and a curious claim of achievement.
1250 by Eli Stokols and Noah Bierman in Washington. MOVED
^In reversal, Trump administration approves wildfire relief funding for California<
CALIF-WILDFIRES-FUNDS-1ST-LEDE:LA — After initially rejecting a state request for funds to help with six wildfires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday reversed itself and said money would be available for Californians, the governor's office announced.
"Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
FEMA had rejected the state's request earlier this week, for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state.
1050 by Andrew J. Campa and Joseph Serna in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Texas legal battles over voting could have an effect on election<
ELECTION-TEXAS-VOTING:LA — When retired elementary school teacher Marilyn Wolfe and her husband tried to drop off their completed ballots at a county office outside Houston a week ago, they were turned away.
Wolfe, 82, said a clerk explained to them and several other couples trying to deliver ballots that they had requested and received by mail that the completed ballots could not be accepted at the site — one of a dozen in the county — because of an order from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor's last-minute proclamation had limited each of the state's 254 counties, including Houston's Democrat-led Harris County, the nation's third largest by population, to a single ballot drop site.
A federal judge overruled Abbott that day, but by the next day the state had successfully appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
"We were just totally flabbergasted," Wolfe said.
1600 (with trims) by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston. MOVED
^New book by former Trump aide alleges early racist comments<
TRUMP-RES-BOOK:LA — Nearly four decades ago, after erecting his eponymous skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, Donald Trump would sit behind his rosewood desk and muse about working in an even more powerful office.
"These politicians don't know anything," he said. "Maybe I should run for president. Wouldn't that be something?"
Barbara Res, a longtime executive in Trump's real estate company, brushed off the idea right up until he was elected president. Now that he's in the final weeks of his reelection campaign, Res has written a new book titled "Tower of Lies" urging Americans not to give him a second term.
1200 by Noah Bierman and Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED
^US deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion in 2020 fiscal year<
DEFICIT:CON — The coronavirus relief spending blowout and recession pushed the federal deficit to a record-busting $3.1 trillion in fiscal 2020, three times the previous year's budget shortfall, the Trump administration said Friday.
The previous year's deficit was $984 billion, by comparison. The administration projected a $1.1 trillion deficit for fiscal 2020 in February.
400 by Paul M. Krawzak in Washington. MOVED
^States seek more federal funds as Medicaid enrollment grows<
MEDICAID-FUNDS:CON — The number of Americans on Medicaid continues to rise as people lose their insurance during the economic downturn, but policy experts disagree on how much additional funding states facing higher costs may need.
National enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program jumped by 4 million between February and June, an increase of almost 6 percent, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data released recently.
Record unemployment levels have shifted individuals from employer-sponsored or other coverage to Medicaid, the nation's program for low-income individuals.
1300 (with trims) by Sandhya Raman in Washington. MOVED
^Ex-Congressman Duncan Hunter to serve prison sentence at West Texas camp<
HUNTER:CON — Former Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was convicted of misusing campaign funds, will serve his 11-month federal prison sentence at Federal Correctional Institute La Tuna in Anthony, Texas, according to his attorney Devin Burstein.
The California Republican will report to the federal prison's adjacent minimum-security satellite camp on Jan. 4, 2021.
400 by Chris Marquette in Washington. MOVED
^Majority of voters tilt toward Biden on healthcare, poll finds<
^CAMPAIGN-HEALTHCARE-POLL:KHN—<At least half of voters prefer former Vice President Joe Biden's approach to health care over President Donald Trump's, suggesting voter concern about lowering costs and managing the pandemic could sway the outcome of this election, a new poll shows.
The findings, from Kaiser Family Foundation's monthly tracking poll, signal that voters do not trust assurances from the president that he will protect people with preexisting conditions from being penalized by insurance companies if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.
550 by Emmarie Huetteman. MOVED
^Biden's audience on ABC tops NBC's Trump event in the duel of town halls<
^TV-CAMPAIGN-TOWNHALLS-RATINGS:LA—<Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden edged out President Donald Trump in the duel of the network town halls on Thursday.
Nielsen data showed that Biden's event on ABC, running from 8 to 10 p.m EDT, averaged 13.9 million viewers. Trump, whose event aired from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern, attracted an average of 13.06 million viewers across the NBC broadcast network and cable channels MSNBC and CNBC. In the hour where the two candidates were head to head, Biden led Trump as well with 14.1 million viewers.
The numbers are not likely to please Trump, who often touts his ability to draw large TV audiences.
550 by Stephen Battaglio. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED
^Jeff Van Drew has been winning South Jersey elections for decades. Can he do it as a Republican?<
NJCONGRESS-2ND:PH — On a rain-drenched Columbus Day morning, Jeff Van Drew stood beneath a tent emblazoned with an Italian flag and spoke about his wife, Ricarda, and her parents. The Villanis, he said, saw America as the land of opportunity for immigrant families.
"Today is about cherishing your heritage, cherishing the people who came here and worked so hard so we can all have the opportunities they had," he told about 50 business and community leaders at the Sons of Italy lodge here.
Van Drew, who is fighting to keep his seat in Congress, has attended Columbus Day events like this one for years. The growing debate over whether to take down monuments to the Italian explorer or rethink the holiday named after him wasn't going to change that.
1350 (with trims) by Allison Steele and Amy S. Rosenberg in Hammonton, N.J. MOVED
^Supreme Court to consider Trump effort to exclude undocumented residents from census count<
SCOTUS-CENSUS-IMMIGRANTS:LA — The Supreme Court said Friday it will give President Donald Trump another chance to exclude "unlawful" immigrants from the 2020 census count in a case that targets the political power of states with large immigrant populations.
The justices agreed to hear a special argument on Nov. 30 to decide for a second time whether the census should consider citizenship or immigration status of residents. By then, Justice Amy Coney Barrett may be seated as the new ninth justice.
250 by David G. Savage in Washington. MOVED
^Maryland Gov. Hogan's vote for president? Ronald Reagan<
MDGOV-ELECTION-REAGAN:BZ — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has demonstrated that he's no ally of President Donald Trump, cast a write-in vote for the late President Ronald Reagan in this fall's election.
The Republican governor voted last week by sending off his ballot through the U.S. Postal Service, his spokesman, Mike Ricci, said Friday.
400 by Pamela Wood in Baltimore. MOVED
^Tyler Perry aims to get more than 250,000 Black Florida residents voting in new election effort<
ELECTION-FLA-PERRY:MI — As Election Day comes closer and more initiatives are popping up to get as many voters to the polls as possible, Tyler Perry is throwing his hat in the ring with a new campaign that is aiming to get hundreds of thousands of Black Florida residents voting.
Tyler Perry and the Equal Ground Education Fund have teamed up to launch "Souls to the Polls," a socially distanced voting campaign that aims to educate and increase turnout of Black voters in Florida.
400 by Devoun Cetoute in Miami. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED
^Jimmy Kimmel blasts Trump's town hall and NBC's 'sneaky move'<
^TV-CAMPAIGN-TOWNHALLS-KIMMEL:LA—<NBC faced a backlash before, during and after airing a town hall Thursday with President Donald Trump, which Jimmy Kimmel swiftly skewered on his late-night program.
On Thursday's episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the comedian slammed his rival network for pulling "a very sneaky move after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate" and Joe Biden scheduled a town hall with ABC, which broadcasts Kimmel's talk show.
500 by Christi Carras. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED
^California Republicans defend 'unauthorized' ballot boxes as subpoenas are issued<
CALIF-BALLOT-BOXES:LA — California officials on Friday said that the state Republican Party has agreed to no longer deploy "unstaffed, unsecured, unofficial and unauthorized" private ballot boxes and that subpoenas have been issued in an investigation into how the containers have been used in at least three counties.
"The California Republican Party can conduct valid collection activities, but they have to play by the rules and follow state law," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told reporters.
1200 by Sarah Parvini, John Myers and Stephanie Lai in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Whitmer kidnapping suspects will stand trial, federal judge says<
MICH-GOV-PLOT:DTN — A federal magistrate judge Friday ordered five men to stand trial on allegations they plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The move by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens followed two days of testimony about a broad plot by men accused of holding anti-government views to kidnap the governor as retribution for stay-at-home orders imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
750 Robert Snell and George Hunter in Grand Rapids, Mich. MOVED
^California taxpayers, not company, will pay for massive Exide toxic cleanup, under plan OK'd by court<
ENV-CALIF-LEAD-CLEANUP:LA — A bankruptcy court ruled Friday that Exide Technologies may abandon its shuttered battery recycling plant in Vernon, leaving a massive cleanup of lead and other toxic pollutants at the site and in surrounding neighborhoods to California taxpayers.
The decision by Chief Judge Christopher Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Delaware, made over the objections of California officials and community members, marks the latest chapter in a decades-long history of government failures to protect the public from brain-damaging lead, cancer-causing arsenic and other pollutants from the facility.
1600 by Tony Barboza in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Michigan to ban open carry of guns at polling places, other spots on Election Day<
MICH-GUNS-ELECTIONDAY:DE — People will not be allowed to openly carry firearms at polling places, clerks offices or locations where absentee ballots are counted, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday.
500 by Dave Boucher in Detroit. MOVED
^Fact check: No, the WHO didn't change its lockdown stance or 'admit' Trump was right<
^TRUMP-WHO-FACTCHECK:KHN—<On Monday, President Donald Trump claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) "admitted" he was correct that using lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 was more damaging than the illness.
In a post on Twitter, Trump wrote: "The World Health Organization just admitted that I was right. Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. Open up your states, Democrat governors. Open up New York. A long battle, but they finally did the right thing!"
But did the WHO change its stance on lockdowns or concede anything to Trump, as he said it did? Briefly, no.
1250 by Victoria Knight. MOVED
^Georgia man charged with killing actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, star of many Spike Lee movies<
^BYRD-KILLING:NY—<A man has been charged in the shooting death of Thomas Jefferson Byrd, a popular actor who was gunned down near his home in Atlanta earlier this month.
The 70-year-old victim, who worked with director Spike Lee on multiple films, was found with several gunshot wounds to his back on the morning of Oct. 3, authorities said.
250 by Nelson Oliveira. MOVED
^With dry La Ni a conditions, persistent Western drought looms large in winter outlook<
WEA-WEST-DROUGHT:LA — The forecast looks warm and continued dry this winter in California and the Southwest, which raises the disturbing prospect of a perpetual fire season.
More than 45% of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought right now, especially in the West. With a La Ni a climate pattern well-established and expected to persist, the drought may expand and intensify in the southern part of the country during the winter ahead, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted.
850 by Paul Duginski in Los Angeles. MOVED
^A new coronavirus fear? Strain seen in swine has potential to jump to humans, study finds<
SCI-SWINE-VIRUS:RA — An emerging coronavirus strain that causes gastrointestinal illness in swine — and is especially dangerous to baby pigs — could wreck the pork industry and has the potential to jump species and infect humans, a University of North Carolina study has found.
The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at a virus called swine acute diarrhea syndrome, or SADS-CoV, that began to infect swine herds in China in 2016, causing diarrhea and vomiting.
450 by Martha Quillin in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED
^As jobs vanished, immigrants left California. The question is how many<
^WRK-IMMIGRANTS-CALIF:LA—<The elderly couple could no longer hold on, so they picked up and left Los Angeles in July — returning to Mexico, a country they had not visited for years.
The husband, Dante, did landscaping and gardening, but work had dried up since the start of the pandemic. Typically, he earned about $120 a week, while his wife, beset with health problems, had been too ill to hold a job.
The decision by the couple to return to Mexico is a testament to how severely the coronavirus has upended the economy, and in particular the lives of immigrants, who often work in low-paying jobs, have little savings and might not be eligible for all the assistance doled out to citizens, even if they have documentation.
2200 by Laurence Darmiento. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED
^David Byrne reveals 'how the trick is done' in HBO's 'American Utopia'<
^MOVIE-AMERICAN-UTOPIA-BYRNE:LA—<In at least one way, David Byrne was well prepared for quarantine.
From last October to this past February, the former Talking Heads frontman performed six nights a week on Broadway as the star of "American Utopia," a theatricalized version of a touring concert he'd taken on the road behind his 2018 album of the same name.
Which meant that for about four months this longtime habitue of New York's cultural scene essentially had no nightlife.
"Actors in shows can't meet people for dinner, they can't go out and see other shows or see music," he said the other day. "You go to work at 6 o'clock, you come back home. Your life really changes."
So when "American Utopia" closed in February (with plans to return to Broadway in the fall), Byrne, 68, was looking forward to reconnecting with the city and with his friends.
Then the coronavirus shut down every place he might've met them.
Yet the joy of togetherness undeniably suffuses a filmed rendition of "American Utopia" that premieres Saturday on HBO.
1850 by Mikael Wood. MOVED
^Review: 'American Utopia' is a once-in-a-lifetime adaptation of David Byrne's Broadway show<
^AMERICAN-UTOPIA-MOVIE-REVIEW:LA—<Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
You may find yourself living in a unchanging space. And you may find yourself hanging by a thread. And you may find yourself watching "David Byrne's American Utopia." And you may ask yourself, "Well how can I watch this on a continuous loop?"
700 by Glenn Whipp. MOVED
^For its former members, leaving the NXIVM cult left lasting scars. Literally<
^TV-VOW:LA—<If you've watched "The Vow," the HBO docuseries following disaffected members of NXIVM, as they extricate themselves from the alleged cult and speak out against its leader, Keith Raniere, then you might be wondering how seemingly intelligent people got involved in such a dubious operation.
Weren't they freaked out by the color-coded sashes that members wore to denote their rank? What about the outlandish claims about Raniere's supposed intelligence or the midnight volleyball games he insisted on playing? Was anything really worth moving to the suburbs of Albany, New York, where the group was based?
Sarah Edmondson and Mark Vicente, two of the primary subjects of "The Vow," which concludes its run on HBO Sunday, say they never planned to join a cult.
1550 by Meredith Blake. MOVED
^ 'No one raised a finger' to stop R. Kelly jail beating, singer's lawyers say<
RKELLY:TB — A convicted gang member accused of beating singer R. Kelly in his jail cell was allowed to roam "a great distance" at the federal jail in downtown Chicago and no one "lifted a finger" to ward off the attack, Kelly's lawyers alleged in a court filing Friday.
Kelly's attorneys want to question Jeremiah Shane Farmer under oath about the August attack as part of their ongoing efforts to have Kelly released on bond pending trial on sexual abuse-related charges.
400 by Jason Meisner in Chicago. MOVED
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