Tribune News Service

International Budget for Thursday, February 13, 2020

Updated at 0100 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EST Wednesday).

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


^In aftermath of New Hampshire results, a scramble for black votes<

DEMOCRATS-BLACKVOTERS:LA — What's one thing Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar all have in common, other than the fact they each had a good showing in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary?

They all come from mostly white states and have little history of electoral success with black voters. They now have only a few weeks to try to change that.

With the continued decline of Joe Biden's candidacy, which endured a miserably bad night in New Hampshire, African Americans, a crucial Democratic constituency, may now be up for grabs to an extent that has not been true in a Democratic primary in many years.

1250 (with trims) by Janet Hook in Manchester, N.H. MOVED


^Will black voters save Joe Biden?<

BIDEN:LA — Von Miller knows that Joe Biden is counting on folks like him, a black Democratic voter in South Carolina, to help salvage his presidential campaign after crushing defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Yet Miller still can't decide whether the former vice president has earned his vote.

The 45-year-old middle school teacher in Columbia said he values Biden's decades of experience in Washington and thinks he has the clout to push his policies through Congress. But Miller cannot shake the feeling that Biden lacks the oomph to beat President Donald Trump and that he's coasting on the coattails of his relationship with former President Barack Obama.

1600 (with trims) by Jenny Jarvie in Columbia, S.C. MOVED


^Justice Department roiled by resignations in Roger Stone case<

STONE-JUSTICEDEPARTMENT:LA — Top Justice Department officials came under fire Wednesday for jettisoning a recommendation by career prosecutors that Roger Stone, a longtime confidante of President Donald Trump, receive a stiff prison sentence.

Democrats called for investigations into the reversal, which led four career prosecutors Tuesday to dramatically withdraw from the case. Former federal prosecutors said the department appeared to have either botched its oversight of the prosecution or abandoned decades of independence to help a friend of Trump's.

Either way, they said, the Justice Department suffered a serious blow to its reputation.

800 by Del Quentin Wilber in Washington. MOVED


^Economic toll mounts as world hunts for vaccine against coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS:DPA — There are four vaccine candidates for the coronavirus that has killed hundreds in China and testing could start within months, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said Wednesday.

Human trials for one or two of the most promising vaccine candidates could be launched in three or four months, Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference in Geneva. However, it will take a year to a year and a half until a vaccine becomes available for wider use, the U.N. scientist said.

700 by Simina Mistrineau and Albert Otti in Beijing. MOVED



^Pope Francis refuses to open door to married priests in the Amazon<

RELIG-POPE-MARRIEDPRIESTS:DPA — Pope Francis did not endorse a proposal to let married men serve as priests in the Amazon region, in what would have been a special exception to a long-standing celibacy rule for clergy.

The exception, albeit limited to the Amazon region, would have likely enraged traditionalists, who already see Francis' papacy as too liberal.

In an October summit known as a synod, Amazon bishops called for admitting married men into the priesthood only in their region, to make up for an acute lack of clergy in remote rainforest areas.

500 by Alvise Armellini in Vatican City. MOVED


^Coronavirus outbreak spurs hoarding in Asia<

CORONAVIRUS-ASIA-HOARDING:LA — On Friday evening, supermarkets in Taipei put out their usual stocks of toilet paper, stacked floor to ceiling in brick-sized packets stuffed into bags decorated with colorful cartoon characters.

By Monday, just barren racks — and bewildered shoppers — were left.

In Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, shoppers are stockpiling toilet paper, hand sanitizers, rice, instant noodles, cured meats, sanitary napkins and other products as fears over the new strain of coronavirus from China continue to ripple across Asia.

1200 by Shashank Bengali in Singapore and Ralph Jennings in Taipei, Taiwan. MOVED


^Fewer options abroad for fleeing Venezuelans<

VENEZUELA-MIGRANTS:LA — Countries across Latin America and the Caribbean are making it increasingly difficult for the millions of people fleeing Venezuela to find sanctuary abroad.

New visa and passport requirements have spurred unauthorized border crossings as more migrants "turn to dangerous and irregular migration channels," according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington.

700 by Julia Barajas. MOVED


^Venezuela moves US oil executives to a harsher jail after Trump hosts opposition leader<

USVENEZUELA-WORKERS:LA — A few days before Thanksgiving, Tomeu Vadell received a phone call summoning him to Venezuela for a hastily convened budget meeting of the Citgo oil firm that had employed him for more than 30 years. He would zip down and be back home in Lake Charles, La., in time for the holiday, his family recalls him saying.

That was more than two years ago. Vadell and five other executives for the Houston-based oil conglomerate have been held in Venezuelan prisons ever since.

1350 (with trims) by Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED



^Democrats in Congress brace for long primary fight<

DEMOCRATS-2020:CON — After divided presidential results in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats in Congress said Wednesday they were bracing for a lengthy primary fight, which some worried could hurt voter enthusiasm in November.

One Democratic strategist Wednesday summed up the Democrats' views this way: "Everybody's kind of wary but it's not a full-blown panic."

1200 by Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin in Washington. MOVED


^White House quietly trims dozens of national security experts<

WHITEHOUSE-NSC:LA — Long before national security adviser Robert O'Brien had security guards escort Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump's impeachment case, and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an ethics lawyer, out of the White House, O'Brien had dismissed or transferred about 70 people, or about one-third of those employed by or temporarily assigned to the NSC, according to senior administration officials.

1550 by Noah Bierman in Washington. MOVED

^Senate votes to begin debate on resolution limiting Trump's war powers on Iran<

USIRAN-CONGRESS:CON — The Senate on Wednesday narrowly voted to begin debate on a resolution that would block President Donald Trump from carrying out attacks on Iran.

All Democrats present plus eight Republicans voted 51-45 in favor of beginning debate on the resolution from Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, which would require the immediate cessation of "hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized" by Congress.

700 by Rachel Oswald in Washington. MOVED


^House action on Equal Rights Amendment sets up legal fights<

HOUSE-ERA:CON — The House will attempt to revive the Equal Rights Amendment later this week, with a vote to remove the 1982 deadline for state ratification and reopen the process for amending the Constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sex. But removing the deadline won't clear a path for the 28th Amendment. Hurdles, including the Republican-led Senate, a lawsuit from GOP state attorneys general and opposition from the current Justice Department, remain.

1250 (with trims) by Katherine Tully-McManus in Washington. MOVED


^Iowa Democratic Party chairman resigns as caucus chaos drags on with recanvass of results<

IOWA-CAUCUS-DEMOCRATIC-CHAIRMAN:NY — The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party announced Wednesday he's resigning so his constituents can "begin looking forward" — starting with a recanvass this weekend of results from the state's botched caucus.

Troy Price, who has apologized for the embarrassing fallout from Iowa's still-undecided Feb. 3 caucus, said in a statement it's untenable for him to remain in his position as the party scrambles to figure out who won the first-in-the-nation presidential contest.

400 by Chris Sommerfeldt. MOVED


^2 police officers shot in Baltimore; dead suspect is identified<

BALTIMORE-SHOOTING-2ND-LEDE:BZ — Two police officers assigned to the U.S. Marshals task force were shot and wounded Wednesday in Northeast Baltimore while trying to arrest a former corrections officer wanted for attempted murder in Pennsylvania.

The man, identified by two state law enforcement officials as Michael Marullo, was shot and killed.

1000 (with trims) by Jessica Anderson and Tim Prudente in Baltimore. MOVED


^Jury acquits Chinese woman on Mar-a-Lago trespass charge, but convicts on resisting cop<

MARALAGO-INCIDENT:FL — In a Mar-a-Lago trespassing case, a jury Wednesday acquitted a woman from China who claimed she was innocently sightseeing on President Donald Trump's property two months ago.

But Lu Jing was found guilty of a second misdemeanor charge, resisting a police officer without violence during her arrest on Worth Avenue.

300 by Marc Freeman in Miami. MOVED


^US denies 'egregious misconduct' in Michael Flynn prosecution<

FLYNN-PROSECUTION:BLO — Federal prosecutors denied former national security adviser Michael Flynn's claim that "egregious misconduct" by the government warranted dismissal of a charge that he lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

250 by Erik Larson in New York. MOVED


^Families of 3 Connecticut students sue to block transgender athletes from girls sports<

CONN-TRANSGENDER-ATHLETES-1ST-LEDE:HC — The families of three female high school runners have taken another step toward trying to prevent transgender athletes from participating in girls sports in Connecticut. Months after filing a federal Title IX discrimination complaint, the families filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday.

The lawsuit seeks to reverse a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rule that allows high school athletes to compete in sports corresponding with their gender identity. If successful, the lawsuit would require athletes to compete based on their birth sex and could result in changes to state record books.

1050 by Dan Brechlin and Shawn McFarland in Hartford, Conn. MOVED


^Judge restores immigrant-detention hotline featured in 'Orange Is the New Black'<

IMMIGRATION-HOTLINE:LA — A federal judge this week demanded that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement temporarily restore a national toll-free hotline for detained immigrants that was shut down two weeks after being featured on the television show "Orange Is the New Black."

Freedom for Immigrants, which ran the confidential hotline, sued the Department of Homeland Security in January, contending that the termination was an act of retaliation and a violation of free speech.

1000 by Andrea Castillo in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Vaping giant Juul bought ad space on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network websites, new lawsuit claims<

JUUL-LAWSUIT-ADS:NY — Juul Labs used Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Seventeen magazine to hawk its vaping products, despite the company's insistence that it never marketed to kids, a new lawsuit claims.

The suit filed Wednesday by the Massachusetts attorney general presents some of the most blunt evidence yet that the company was targeting kids in 2015 and early 2016 as it rolled out its tobacco-based electronic cigarettes.

600 by Nancy Dillon. MOVED


^New York Gov. Cuomo to meet with Trump over expedited traveler program ban<

NY-GLOBALENTRY:NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss the Department of Homeland Security's decision to ban New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that expedite border crossings.

DHS last week prohibited New York residents from signing up for four Trusted Traveler programs that allow low-risk travelers such as truckers to quickly cross borders in response to the state's "Green Light Law" that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

450 by Denis Slattery in Albany, N.Y. MOVED


^Inside a Philadelphia lab, scientists race to design a coronavirus vaccine<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-LAB:PH — Faraz Zaidi and Daniel Park peered at a series of small, black blots that appeared on a clear sheet of plastic — confirming they had created a type of protein that, until January, was unknown to science.

It was a signal alerting them to the presence of the microscopic "spikes" on a coronavirus — the infectious microbe that, at last count, had killed more than 1,000 people in China.

Health officials worldwide have attempted to quell the outbreak by restricting travel, isolating infected people and quarantining others who were exposed to someone with the infection. But from the moment the Chinese government published the genetic code for the new virus in January, scientists such as Zaidi and Park have been racing to develop a more potent safeguard: a vaccine.

900 by Tom Avril in Philadelphia. MOVED

^Jeffrey Epstein company ripped us off, Virgin Islands attorney general says<

^EPSTEIN-ESTATE:WA—<Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George ratcheted up pressure on the executors of Jeffrey Epstein's estate, amending the civil enforcement action she brought last month to name the disgraced financier's lawyers as co-defendants.

George filed the court documents Monday and Tuesday, and made them public Tuesday night, also telling Epstein's lawyers she intends to fight his estate's involvement in creating a compensation fund for victims.

550 by Kevin G. Hall. MOVED


^Surge in Minnesota drug seizures reflects influence of Mexican cartels<

MINN-DRUGSEIZURES:MS — Minnesota law enforcement saw surges in meth, cocaine and heroin seizures last year, more evidence that drug cartels are operating a thriving network from Mexico to the Midwest.

The state's task forces, called the Violent Crime Enforcement Teams, impounded 1,706 pounds of meth last year, a 49% increase from 2018 and 625% rise over the past five years, according to data released by the Department of Public Safety this week.

500 by Andy Mannix in Minneapolis. MOVED



^How Oscar-winner 'Parasite' reveals gold spoon and dirt spoon class divide in South Korea<

^MOVIE-PARASITE-SKOREA:SA—<The invisible, indelible boundary drawn by smell depicts the severe inequality in South Korea through two families in the Oscar-winning film "Parasite." But the movie dives more into the country's social problems, running deep and wide.

The South Korean film won big Sunday at the 92nd Academy Awards, including becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture. Bong Joon-ho, who won best director and best original screenplay, became the first Korean filmmaker to win those prizes. Fans were jubilant on Twitter and Instagram.

"Parasite" stunned the audience with an adrenaline-inducing plot that weaves between two families at a house of jaw-dropping aesthetics. One family owns the house, the other works in it. The film highlights the reality of the class divide on housing, job and education in South Korea — "notorious problems that the South Korean government and society could not resolve for many years," said June Hee Kwon, assistant professor at Sacramento State University's Asian Studies program.

750 Theodora Yu. MOVED


^Ben Schwartz talks starring role in new 'Sonic the Hedgehog' movie<

^MOVIE-SONIC-SCHWARTZ:NY—<Ben Schwartz was up to speed on Sonic the Hedgehog long before he voiced the lightning-quick character in a new movie.

The comedian grew up playing the Sonic video games on SEGA Genesis with friends from Public School 24 in the Bronx during the early 1990s, so it was a dream come true when the chance to star in the upcoming "Sonic the Hedgehog" flick presented itself.

"We would go after school, we would watch 'Disney Afternoon,' and then when that was over, we would play Genesis," Schwartz, 38, recalled recently.

550 by Peter Sblendorio. MOVED


^From '1917' to, yes, 'Parasite,' video games are even influencing prestige movies<

^VIDEOGAMES-MOVIE-PRESTIGE:LA—<A video game has yet to win an Academy Award, but that doesn't mean the influence of the interactive medium wasn't felt at this year's Oscars. Consider that two of the awards season's most talked-about films — Oscar's big winner "Parasite" and the World War I quest film "1917" — show the ascendancy of interactive entertainment.

That is no slight.

While "1917" has occasionally been derided as a video game, largely due to its free-flowing, often third-person camera, the rise of games as a cultural force is also having a more subtle narrative impact as generations weaned on interactive entertainment begin to more regularly mold our content, either by creating it or by choosing what to consume.

1850 by Todd Martens. MOVED


^OP-ED <

^Commentary: Here's what happens to the asylum seekers the US turns away<

^IMMIGRANTS-ASYLUM-COMMENTARY:LA—<In June 1939, about 900 Jewish refugees sailed close to Florida on the St. Louis in hopes of finding protection in the United States. U.S. authorities refused to let the ship dock. Desperate passengers sent cables to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who never responded.

A State Department telegram stated that the passengers must "await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible in the United States." Nearly all the passengers had already been refused admission to Cuba. Canada rejected them too. They had no choice but to return to Europe, where 254 of the passengers were eventually killed in the Holocaust.

Eighty years later, a modern version of this tragedy takes place daily at our southern border.

900 by Elora Mukherjee. MOVED


^Trudy Rubin: In worst Syrian refugee crisis ever, will anyone help?<

^RUBIN-COLUMN:PH—<The most urgent Syrian refugee crisis of the entire nine-year civil war has exploded since mid-December with the potential to further destabilize Europe, or create islands of human misery from which jihadis can recruit.

Approximately 900,000 desperate men, women and children, have flooded towards the Turkish border, two-thirds of them since December, as Russian and Syrian warplanes repeatedly bomb hospitals and other civilian sites, as well as fleeing families on the road — war crimes that an indifferent world is ignoring.

900 by Trudy Rubin. MOVED


^Editorial: Virulent lies: In China, the coronavirus outbreak has exposed the authoritarian regime's greatest weakness<

^CORONAVIRUS-CHINA-EDITORIAL:NY—<After days out of the public eye, President Xi Jinping has reappeared in videos designed to project confidence in his government's handling of a virus, Covid-19, that has killed more than 1,000 people in China.

The world isn't buying it, and neither should the Chinese people.

250 by Daily News Editorial Board. MOVED



^Two Ohio State football players charged with rape, kidnapping<

FBC-OHIOSTATE-PLAYERS-CHARGED:OH — Two defensive players for the Ohio State University football team have been charged with rape, accusing them of participating in the sexual assault of a woman.

450 by Jim Woods in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED




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