Tribune News Service

News Budget for papers of Sunday, November 22, 2020


Updated at 12 p.m. EST (1700 UTC).


These stories are recommended for weekend release, except where embargoes are noted. Please make sure you are adhering to embargoes on our stories in both your print and online operations.

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^Born into occupation, young Afghans fear the Taliban will crush their freedoms when U.S. troops exit<

USAFGHAN-YOUNGAFGHANS:LA — His hair in a bun, face shadowed by his hoodie, Jawad Sezdah raps with his "homies" about Afghanistan's darkening future.

He and his friends sit in a circle at what they call their club, a second-floor makeshift studio in west Kabul's Pul-e-Surkhta neighborhood. They smoke weed, drink tea and practice freestyle lyrics. A picture of Tupac Shakur is taped on the wall.

But the lives the 22-year-old Kabul University student and others of his generation have forged in the nearly two decades since America invaded their country are at risk as never before. The U.S.-led invasion has brought the trappings of the West and a small degree of its promised freedoms, but many here are fearful those gains are about to evaporate.

They are a generation not so much adrift as stuck between opposing forces.

2050 by David S. Cloud and Stefanie Glinski in Kabul, Afghanistan. MOVED



^Biden promised teachers a raise, but education reforms will be a big lift in pandemic<

BIDEN-EDUCATION:WA — President-elect Joe Biden promised to give teachers a pay raise and direct more money to schools that serve low-income children, but those education reforms will have to take a back seat to emergency needs as schools fight to save teacher jobs and close funding gaps during the pandemic.

Education groups say that more than half a million teachers and school personnel have been laid off and more turmoil is on the horizon unless the federal government steps in with emergency funding. Those critical needs must be addressed first, they said, over the more aspirational parts of Biden's education agenda.

Biden's education plan to "give teachers a raise" and "eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts" relies on expanding the federal education aid provision known as Title I, which he cannot do without Congress.

Additional funding for low-income schools and an increase in teacher compensation will be difficult to achieve, especially if Republicans keep control of the Senate, education experts said.

1600 (with trims) by Francesca Chambers in Washington. MOVED



^'Invisible campaign' and the specter of socialism: Why Cuban Americans fell hard for Trump<

TRUMP-CUBANAMERICANS:MI — Following his surprising victory in 2016, Donald Trump claimed he got 80% of the Cuban American vote in South Florida.

He was exaggerating.

But 2020 was a different story.

Years of courting voters with tough policies toward Cuba and Venezuela, a strong pre-pandemic economy, an unmatched Republican ground game in Miami-Dade and a targeted messaging instilling fear about socialism coming to America helped the president rally Cuban American voters, part of the reason he carried Florida.

Although Trump lost the election, his inroads into the Cuban American community in South Florida suggests trouble ahead for the Democratic Party.

1950 by Nora G mez Torres in Miami. MOVED



^States' mandates on face coverings leave gaps in protection<

CORONAVIRUS-STATES-FACE-COVERINGS:KHN — Brady Bowman, a 19-year-old student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and two friends strolled down 11th Street, all sporting matching neck gaiters branded with the Thomas' English Muffins logo. He had received an entire box of the promotional gaiters.

He thinks they are just more comfortable to wear than a face mask. "Especially a day like today, where it's cold out," he said, with the top of his gaiter pulled down below his chin.

More stylish? Perhaps. More comfortable? Maybe. But as effective? Not necessarily.

As new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge upward heading into winter, many public health experts wonder whether it's time to move beyond the anything-goes approach toward more standardization and higher-quality masks. President-elect Joe Biden reportedly is mulling a national face-covering mandate of some sort, which could not only increase mask-wearing but better define for Americans what sort of face covering would be most protective.

1350 by Markian Hawryluk in Boulder, Colo. MOVED


^Philadelphia's Constitution Center is now the answer authority for a nation in government stress<

CONSTITUTION-CENTER:PH — As the nation has careened down the perilous election road to the precipice of presidential transition, stress levels have spiked at each virus-laden point along the way.

Civic and political life have been shaking at strong, magnitude 7 intensity.

Good times for the National Constitution Center.

When norms and laws and rules of behavior as sketched out in the nation's founding documents are questioned and attacked and ignored, there are few places to turn for answers to the most basic questions.

Can he actually do that? What do they think they're doing? There's got to be a law, right?

In that atmosphere — and, indeed, since the last presidential election — the NCC has thrived.

1050 by Stephan Salisbury in Philadelphia. MOVED



^Singapore's Red Ants are here to remind — and occasionally shame — you about wearing a mask<

CORONAVIRUS-SINGAPORE-REDANTS:LA — Wearing red polo shirts with "SAFE DISTANCING AMBASSADOR" emblazoned on the back, Rugayah Noordin and Fiona Tay made their rounds in an upscale mall. Infractions abounded. A maskless man at his laptop in a coffee shop. Two high school students lingering too long sans masks. A bare-faced woman buying eyeglasses.

One could almost read the ambassadors' minds: What is it with these people?

"Mask up," they ordered.

The offenders hung their heads in shame. The ambassadors walked on, shooting out stern glances and inducing low-grade panic among shoppers, diners and store employees.

Such is the intimidating power of those nicknamed Singapore's Red Ants or Red Army — thousands of vermillion shirt-wearing public servants in sensible shoes tasked with roaming the city-state's air-conditioned shopping centers, sweltering parks and crowded open-air food courts to remind people to cover up, space apart and limit groups to five people or fewer.

1450 by David Pierson in Singapore. MOVED




These stories moved earlier in the week and remain suitable for publication.


^Venezuelan insurgent describes how betrayal in ranks produced failure, summary executions<

^VENEZUELA-INSURGENT:MI—<More than four dozen men who set out in motorboats on the first day of May from Colombia as part of a botched coup known as Operation Gideon, a doomed attempt at ousting Venezuelan strongman Nicol s Maduro, were betrayed by five companions who sold the exact landing coordinates shortly before departure, says a high-ranking insurgent.

In an exclusive interview, the man involved in Gideon broke his silence to detail events that led to the capture of 47 Venezuelans and two Americans, and the execution of six Gideon participants.

The Maduro regime knew precisely where the first boat would arrive and soldiers were waiting for the would-be liberators as they attempted their landing, said the man who goes by the nom de guerre Cacique, noting the mission had been compromised.

2000 by Antonio Maria Delgado, Kevin G. Hall and Shirsho Dasgupta. MOVED


^Comet tails and a Trojan horse: One laboratory's hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine<

^CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-LAB:LA—<Early in the pandemic, Chris Parks needed a gene and $1 million.

Commuting from his home in Boonton, New Jersey, to his laboratory in Brooklyn, New York, he tuned to the local news. Death counts seemed to have replaced traffic reports. More people were dying of COVID-19 in all five boroughs of New York City.

When he reached his office at IAVI, once known as the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, on the eighth floor of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, his fellow scientists wanted to know: Would they be working on a COVID-19 vaccine?

Parks didn't have an immediate answer. He needed a go-ahead from the senior leadership.

And the $1 million — just to get started.

Developing a vaccine is a gamble. Efforts fall short. A virus can disappear.

But Parks knew this was different. The December outbreak in Wuhan, China, alarmed him. Then came news from Thailand, Japan, Korea — and Seattle. One day he pulled out an old textbook, "Fields Virology," as if he needed to be reminded of where this was headed.

2500 by Thomas Curwen. MOVED


^Double lung transplants at are allowing seriously ill patients to survive COVID-19's 'bomb blast'<

CORONAVIRUS-LUNG-TRANSPLANTS:TB — At a dark moment over the summer, Rodney Wegg was forced to consider removing his wife from life support.

After testing positive for COVID-19 in July, Kari Wegg, a previously healthy nurse, worsened until she was placed on a ventilator and given a grim outlook for survival.

"Give me some more time," Wegg's doctor told her husband, offering him and their two sons a glimmer of hope.

Their perseverance paid off when, months later, Wegg, a 48-year-old neonatal intensive care unit nurse, awoke as the sixth COVID-19 patient at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to receive a groundbreaking lung transplant surgery, free of the disease and breathing with two new lungs.

1900 by Madeline Buckley in Chicago. MOVED


^A consequence of the coronavirus pandemic for these Baltimore activists? Freezers full of dead birds<

BIRDS-ACTIVISTS:BZ — The Ziploc bags are tucked into a shoe box in Aaron Heinsman's freezer, near pouches of frozen vegetables and a cauliflower pizza crust.

Inside are birds. Hundreds of them. Common yellowthroats and American woodcocks and ovenbirds, avian ice cubes tightly sealed in plastic.

Each met a devastating end in Baltimore City during this year's migration season, at the hands of glass buildings they didn't see coming. The birds are collected by Lights Out Baltimore — a group that advocates for making area buildings "bird-safe," and collects data on bird collisions along the way.

And frozen they will remain — at least for the time being. Normally, the frosty songbirds would be bound for a museum collection or a laboratory. But because of COVID-19 Heinsman and the group's other bird-gathering volunteers have nowhere to take them.

1350 by Christine Condon in Baltimore. MOVED


^In liberal California, Black Lives Matter protests in some towns see 'scary' backlash<

CALIF-BLACKLIVES-BACKLASH:LA — Pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonz lez knew that "livable, lovable Lodi," as locals call it, had a problem when men carrying a noose and baseball bats with American flags attached shouted racial slurs at him in September as he helped lead a peaceful protest in this San Joaquin Valley town.

What surprised him was that to some, the problem was him.

"I feel like I am in Alabama prior to the civil rights (movement)," said Rabell-Gonz lez, an Afro-Caribbean Lutheran minister who in past months has planned some of the first racial justice marches to ever take place in this agricultural outpost made famous by a Creedence Clearwater Revival song about a man stuck where he's not appreciated.

Though large protests have filled streets in Los Angeles and other cities since a Minneapolis policeman killed George Floyd in May, freshly minted organizers such as Rabell-Gonz lez are pushing for change in rural communities, often confronting challenges their urban counterparts never encounter.

In some Northern California towns, small numbers of protesters have staged events in places where public dissent is uncommon and sometimes unwelcome — resulting in attacks, online doxxing and harassment.

1850 by Anita Chabria in Lodi, Calif. MOVED


^Portland's anarchists say they support racial justice. Black activists want nothing to do with them<

PORTLAND-ANARCHISTS:LA — The day after President-elect Joe Biden delivered his victory speech, telling the nation it was time to heal and unite, a clandestine Twitter account — @safePDXprotest — summoned Portland anarchists.

The 50 or so people who showed up — nearly all of them white — looked like ninjas as they put on balaclavas, hoods and scarves. Some carried gas masks.

The call to action had declared "No Masters" — leaders, in the parlance of 19th-century European anarchists — but the crowd huddled around one young man as he lambasted liberals for celebrating the defeat of President Donald Trump while capitalism and the political system remained entrenched.

Then the anarchists marched into the upscale neighborhood, intent on destruction.

For months, Portland has been a significant face of the Black Lives Matter movement, in part because of the national attention that self-described anarchists brought to nightly protests throughout the summer.

The election of Biden has only antagonized the anarchists — and exposed their differences with the Black activists they claim to support.

1500 by Richard Read in Portland, Ore. MOVED


^Ohio State ice core collection at risk of being damaged or lost<

SCI-ICECORE-COLLECTION:OH — The history of the world is carefully documented and kept in a freezer at Ohio State University.

The university has a rare collection of ice cores from remote tropical glaciers that were painstakingly drilled, extracted and returned to a frozen storage facility in Columbus from 16 different countries. If the cores — each a few inches in diameter and a few feet long — were lined up they would stretch about 4.5 miles long.

But the samples are in danger of being lost. The university's freezers are past their life span and researchers are out of room.

1100 by Beth Burger in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED




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