Tribune News Service

International Budget for Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Updated at 0000 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EDT Tuesday).

Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.


^COVID-19 has now killed more Americans than the Vietnam War did<

CORONAVIRUS-US:LA — U.S. coronavirus-related deaths reached a somber milestone Tuesday, surpassing the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

More than 58,300 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. That compares with the National Archives' figure of 58,220 deaths from the Vietnam War, which lasted more than a decade.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 1 million in the U.S. on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins.

650 by Kurtis Lee. MOVED


^Trump halted travel from Europe for 30 days. Officials now say it could be months<

CORONAVIRUS-EUROPE-TRAVEL:WA — Restrictions on travel from Europe to the United States introduced in March by President Donald Trump could last for months, despite his initial statement they would remain in place for 30 days, three senior administration officials told McClatchy.

The protracted timeline has travel industry executives concerned that federal stimulus dollars meant to keep airlines, hotels and tourism businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic might fall short.

650 by Michael Wilner in Washington. MOVED


^US Treasury secretary says no bailout for states with badly managed budgets<

^CORONAVIRUS-STATES-AID:BLO—<Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said states that had poorly managed budgets before the COVID-19 outbreak sent their economies reeling should not be rescued by the federal government.

"This isn't just going to be a federal bailout of the states," Mnuchin said early Tuesday on CNBC. "States that had specifically large expenses because of the coronavirus, like New York and New Jersey, it was the right thing that the federal government gave them money."

He said he approves of local governments using coronavirus funding to enforce public safety through law enforcement, but not for revenue lost because of the economic shutdown or "states that were mismanaged" before the pandemic hit.

300 by Saleha Mohsin. MOVED



^UN agency: Lockdowns could lead to 7 million unintended pregnancies<

CORONAVIRUS-WOMEN-HEALTH:DPA — Lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic could result in 7 million unintended pregnancies, according to data released on Tuesday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Supply chain disruptions could leave 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries without modern contraceptives, the U.N.'s sexual and reproductive health agency said.

250 by dpa at the United Nations. MOVED


^Blast in Syrian town held by Turkish-backed rebels kills 46<

SYRIA-EXPLOSION:DPA — At least 46 people were killed in a blast on Tuesday in a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, a war monitor said.

A booby-trapped fuel tanker exploded on the road to Rajo in the town of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish troops and their allied rebel groups, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

250 by Weedah Hamzah in Beirut. MOVED


^Stressed-out Americans are more worried about money than health<

^CORONAVIRUS-FINANCIAL-WORRIES:BLO—<The coronavirus pandemic is causing Americans to worry more about their finances than health, according to a study by MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer.

Money was the top concern for 52% of full-time U.S. workers, compared with 44% who were most anxious about physical and mental health, according to a survey of 2,367 respondents polled in early April. About 29% of workers are earning less as a result of the pandemic, while 74% said their job status had been affected, or was expected to be.

200 by Lananh Nguyen. MOVED


^No facemask for Mike Pence as he tours Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 testing labs<

CORONAVIRUS-PENCE-MASK-1ST-LEDE:MS — Vice President Mike Pence returned to Minnesota on Tuesday to highlight the Mayo Clinic's coronavirus research and testing efforts, calling them a "whole of Minnesota approach."

But even as he praised Mayo's efforts to combat COVID-19, Pence ignored the clinic's request that all visitors don face masks to prevent transmission. In the face of growing commentary on television and social media as the tour was underway, Mayo officials responded with a tweet:

"Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today." The tweet was later deleted without explanation.

Pence told reporters afterward that the precaution wasn't needed.

1150 by Briana Bierschbach and Jeremy Olson in Minneapolis.

^Democrats cite overcrowding as reopening of national parks is planned<

CORONAVIRUS-NATIONALPARKS:CON — Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee asked Interior Secretary David Bernhardt how his department was responding to alleged overcrowding at national parks and public land sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the department prepares to reopen the entire system.

350 by Caroline Tanner in Washington. MOVED


^Gov. Newsom: Some California businesses could reopen within weeks as state fights coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-REOPENING:LA — California businesses seen as presenting less risk of spreading the coronavirus could open in the near future under a plan Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled Tuesday, the first of several slow steps toward easing the statewide shutdown order.

"We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications," of the current restrictions, Newsom said.

But Newsom's announcement of a four-phase plan did not come with a guaranteed timetable.

1050 by John Myers, Taryn Luna and Phil Willon in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Evangelical church sues Newsom over coronavirus restrictions<

^CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-CHURCH:LA—<A small California evangelical church that was forced to stop meeting for Sunday services because of coronavirus restrictions is suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, arguing the state's public gathering ban violates First Amendment rights to religious freedom.

"Our civil rights are not suspended by a virus," attorney Dean R. Broyles, who is representing the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi and its pastor, said in a statement. "For millions of Californians, their religious faith is truly 'essential' like the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. That's why religious liberty is one of our 'first freedoms' recognized by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights."

1050 (with trims) by Priscella Vega in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Navy destroyer with COVID-19 outbreak bound for San Diego; 1 in 5 on Theodore Roosevelt now have virus<

CORONAVIRUS-NAVY:SD — San Diego will be the next stop for a deployed Navy destroyer experiencing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a Defense Department official said Monday.

The guided-missile destroyer Kidd was conducting counterdrug operations off the Pacific coast of South America last week when sailors began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Monday, 47 sailors have tested positive for the virus, the Navy said.

600 by Andrew Dyer in San Diego. MOVED


^Despite McConnell comment, states can't go bankrupt, only default<

CORONAVIRUS-STATES-DEFAULT:CON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion last week that he'd rather let states go bankrupt than see Congress rescue their coronavirus-decimated budgets raises the question: What would a state bankruptcy look like?

It would first require Congress to amend the federal bankruptcy code, which has never allowed state governments to declare bankruptcy. Municipalities — broadly defined as a town, city, county or other subdivision of a state, like a school district or independent authority — have been allowed to declare bankruptcy since 1937, but for states the only option would be defaulting on their debts.

It's unlikely McConnell will be able to persuade the rest of Congress to go along with amending the bankruptcy code. His comments were met with swift and harsh backlash.

1100 by Jim Saksa in Washington. MOVED


^Treasury plans to reclaim stimulus payments sent to deceased<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF-PAYMENTS:BLO — The U.S. Treasury Department is planning to instruct people whose deceased relatives received coronavirus stimulus payments to return the money to the federal government, according to a department spokesman.

The Treasury is aware that some individuals who have recently died received the $1,200 economic impact payments and plans to issue guidance in the coming days, the spokesman said.

250 by Laura Davison in Washington. MOVED


^White House 'studying' options for second round of rebate checks<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF-CHECKS:CON — Momentum appears to be building for another round of direct payments to households, as lawmakers and the Trump administration start discussions on a new COVID-19 aid package.

"That's something that we're studying very carefully, and I know that people in the House are as well," White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Tuesday.

600 by Jennifer Shutt in Washington. MOVED


^Community steps in with support after Chinese restaurant in Va. is targeted amid coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-RESTAURANT-SUPPORTERS:VP — The owner of a restaurant in Chesapeake says her car was recently vandalized with anti-Chinese graffiti, an attack that apparently fit a national trend of hate attacks during the coronavirus pandemic.

And now customers are stepping up to show their support for the business.

700 by Gordon Rago in Chesapeake, Va. MOVED


^Florida coronavirus cases surpass 32,800 as death toll grows by 83, highest in single day<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA:MI — Florida's Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 708 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total of confirmed cases to 32,846. There were 83 new deaths announced — the highest reported on a single day — bringing the statewide death toll to 1,171.

The 83 new deaths are the most the state has announced in one day since April 14, when 72 deaths were reported.

Besides the high death toll, Tuesday's number of new cases is also the highest the state has seen in the past three days.

950 (with trims) by Michelle Marchante in Miami. MOVED


^Florida's governor consults Trump in Washington before announcement on state reopening<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA-GOV:MI — President Donald Trump has said throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic that the governor in his home state of Florida has made the toughest decisions about how to run the state on his own, even though the two have spoken regularly ahead of big announcements.

But before starting to lift a prolonged, government-mandated shutdown in Florida — a statewide stay-at-home order is expiring Thursday at midnight — Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled Tuesday to Washington to meet face-to-face with his state's most powerful resident.

850 by David Smiley and Francesca Chambers. MOVED


^New York making plans for socially distant subway when coronavirus lockdown relaxes<

CORONAVIRUS-NY-TRANSIT:NY — MTA officials are scrambling to ensure New York's subway system doesn't turn into a rolling petri dish for a new wave of coronavirus infections once state officials begin easing lockdown measures.

With nearly 6 million daily commuters pre-pandemic and not enough space to sneeze — let alone stand several feet apart — there's a growing concern that a return to regular work life will make some straphangers super-spreaders.

1200 (with trims) by Kerry Burke, Michael Gartland and Clayton Guse in New York. MOVED


^Virus began spreading in Texas detention center as positive immigrants were quickly transferred in from Northeast<

CORONAVIRUS-IMMIGRANTS-TEXAS:DA — The number of immigrants at the Prairieland Detention Center southwest of Dallas who are ill with COVID-19 has risen to three dozen in a rapid spread of the contagion that immigrant families say is linked to transfers from Pennsylvania.

1450 (with trims) by Dianne Solis in Dallas. MOVED


^Texas A&M researchers to test tuberculosis vaccine in fight against coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE:AU — Researchers at Texas A&M University are hopeful a vaccine used to fight tuberculosis and bladder cancer will prove effective in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Depending on the results of a trial, it could prevent infection altogether.

650 by Lara Korte in Austin, Texas. MOVED


^CDC now recommends social distancing for dogs, cats, other animals<

CORONAVIRUS-PETS:MS — The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that cats, dogs and other animals keep the same social distancing as recommended for humans.

The recommendation was made after a small number of animals — including dogs and cats — were reported to test positive for COVID-19 after they had had close contact with a person who had the disease.

250 by Connie Nelson. MOVED


^Duke reports possible 1st case of virus that causes COVID-19 detected in a dog<

CORONAVIRUS-DOG:RA — Duke Health said Monday night it has detected the virus that causes COVID-19 in a family's pet dog, possibly the first time the virus has been confirmed in a dog.

350 by Mark Schultz in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED


^Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden, says he'd be 'a real president, not just someone who plays one on TV'<

^BIDEN-CLINTON-1ST-LEDE:NY—<Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday, praising him as a clear-eyed and duly experienced politician who can become "a real president."

Clinton, who lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump, announced the unsurprising endorsement during a virtual town hall event with Biden.

300 by Chris Sommerfeldt. MOVED


^House not coming back to Washington next week after all, Hoyer says<

HOUSE-RETURN:CON — The House will not come back to Washington next week, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, reversing an announcement he made on a Democratic Caucus conference call the previous day.

The change of course comes as members expressed concern about returning to Washington while some areas in the region are developing into coronavirus hot spots.

250 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED


^Appeals court grapples with House power to sue over Trump moves<

COURT-CONGRESS-SUBPOENAS:CON — A federal appeals court in Washington appeared poised Tuesday to allow the House to use the federal courts to enforce a committee subpoena or rein in a president who spent money without congressional appropriations.

The two House lawsuits at issue pit the chamber against the Trump administration over presidential decisions from more than a year ago: an order for former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, and February 2019 moves to spend money on construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

750 by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED


^Shalala's late stock report shows hundreds of previously unreported transactions<

SHALALA-STOCKS:CON — Rep. Donna Shalala was an active stock market trader well into her first year in Congress, purchasing individual securities as late as June 2019 and reporting more than 500 transactions in her tardy periodic transaction report.

Last week, Shalala's spokesperson, Carlos Condarco, said she failed to report "roughly a half-dozen transactions." When asked about Shalala's 556 unreported transactions, Condarco said he was not clear when he first spoke to Roll Call.

450 by Chris Marquette in Washington. MOVED


^Chance for Congress to fix public health gaps could close fast<

CONGRESS-HEALTHCARE:CON — Some lawmakers are seeking to overhaul programs that hindered the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the window for Congress to revamp the country's approach to preparing for global health crises may be narrow.

Congress' response to the novel coronavirus has so far focused on ways to blunt its economic and health effects, but lawmakers also want future legislation to ensure greater domestic control of the medical supply chain or provide additional public health funds.

Lawmakers also hope to prevent a possible second wave of the virus next fall or winter from devastating the nation's economy.

750 by Mary Ellen McIntire in Washington. MOVED


^Mail in, drop off or come inside: Voters in Maryland choose successor to late Rep. Elijah Cummings<

MARYLAND-PRIMARY-1ST-LEDE:BZ — A trickle of voters made their way Tuesday to cast ballots at three polling places as the Baltimore area's 7th Congressional District chose a successor to the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in an unusual election that is the first in Maryland since the coronavirus pandemic.

The special election between Democrat Kweisi Mfume and Republican Kim Klacik was conducted largely by mail because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

1300 (with trims) by Jeff Barker in Baltimore. MOVED



^NTSB: Lives could have been saved in Mo. tour boat sinking if Coast Guard followed guidance<

MO-TOURBOAT:KC — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that lives could have been saved when a duck boat capsized in a thunderstorm on Table Rock Lake if the U.S. Coast Guard had followed safety recommendations from 18 years ago.

NTSB investigators discussed with board members their nearly two-year investigation into a 2018 disaster near Branson when a Ride the Ducks tour vessel sank, killing 17 of the 31 people on board.

600 by Steve Vockrodt in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED


^Another transgender woman killed in Puerto Rico — the third in 8 days<

^PUERTORICO-TRANSGENDER-DEATHS:NY—<The transgender and gender non-conforming community in Puerto Rico is mourning the death of another murder victim — the third in just over one week.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 31-year-old Pen lope D az Ram rez was killed April 13 at the Bayamon correctional complex. Her death, which was reported Monday, took place just eight days after two other women were found dead inside a charred Hyundai Elantra on April 21 in the city of Humacao.

400 by Muri Assun o. MOVED



^Commentary: Michael Bloomberg: If Trump won't lead the world, others must<

^CORONAVIRUS-BLOOMBERG-TRUMP-COMMENTARY:BLO—<The gravest emergency to confront the U.S. in decades has fallen on the watch of a uniquely unfit president. At a time when the world should be looking to the White House for wisdom and leadership, it finds only Donald Trump's characteristic blend of incompetence and dishonesty. His musings last week about killing the virus by ingesting disinfectant were a gift to comedians, but as always with Trump, the joke is on us.

700 by Michael R. Bloomberg. MOVED


^Commentary: Catholic bishops should be wary of seeming to endorse Trump<

^TRUMP-BISHOPS-COMMENTARY:LA—<Some leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States have been on the phone with President Donald Trump in recent days. The encounters seem to promise political dividends for the president, and that could be a problem for the church.

On April 17, Trump spoke with leaders of various faiths about when public worship might resume following the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the participants in that call were Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.

Catholic prelates also joined a call with Trump last Saturday in which Catholic education was discussed. According to the Catholic publication Crux, Trump took advantage of the call to declare that he was the best president in the "history of the Catholic Church."

800 by Michael McGough. MOVED



^France abandons soccer season even as other European leagues hold out hope<

^SOC-FRANCE:LA—<France's Ligue 1 became the second major European soccer league to abandon its season because of the COVID-19 outbreak when the country's prime minister announced on Tuesday that all sporting events would be banned until September.

France is scheduled to lift a nationwide lockdown May 11 and first- and second-division teams were hoping to return to training shortly afterward, targeting a mid-June resumption of their seasons. But Prime Minister Edouard Philippe ended that speculation.

550 by Kevin Baxter. MOVED




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