Tribune News Service
News Budget for Sunday, September 27, 2020
Updated at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 UTC).
Adds ELN-POSTALSERVICE:BLO, TRUMP-TAXES:BLO, CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-FLA:JK
Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.
This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Democrats focus on health care in opposing Trump court pick<
^SCOTUS-NOMINEE-DEMOCRATS:BLO_<Democrats zeroed in on the risk to Americans’ health care coverage in previewing the tactics they’ll use to oppose the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s new Supreme Court pick.
Regardless, Barrett’s confirmation seems assured given the Republican majority in the Senate. She would replace the most progressive member of the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18. Barrett is a conservative favorite who, at just 48 years old, could be expected to remain on the court for decades.
550 by Michael Riley and Tony Czuczka. MOVED
^Breonna Taylor’s death shocked the nation. In Louisville, many Black people are far from surprised<
KY-POLICE-DEATH-LOUISVILLE:LA _ Before the shops downtown closed due to the coronavirus, then remained shuttered amid protests decrying police brutality, Tawana Bain’s restaurant exuded an air of bustling electricity. The sounds of Louisville college football and basketball games boomed from big screen TVs, and customers gathered in large groups to catch up over bowls of bourbon shrimp and grits.
Now, plywood covers the windows, shrouding the eatery, Encore on 4th, in shadows throughout the day. But prior to 9 p.m. EDT, when the city’s recently introduced curfew kicks in, some of the old, familiar energy returns as Encore serves as a safe space for protesters who have marched through the streets of Louisville for more than 120 days demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
1600 (with trims) by Kurtis Lee in Louisville, Ky. MOVED
^Biden has upper hand over Trump in expectations game for debate<
^CAMPAIGN-DEBATE-EXPECTATIONS:BLO_<Democrat Joe Biden takes the stage at the first presidential debate of 2020 on Tuesday staring at an opponent, in President Donald Trump, who has unwittingly done him a big favor _ lowered expectations for Biden’s performance.
The president has spent months painting Biden as doddering and senile, a move that may have lowered the bar for Biden’s performance in the eyes of many voters who will be seeing him on stage in Cleveland for the first time since the Democratic convention.
An even passable performance by the former vice president might come off looking like a win in a debate that has taken on outsize importance after COVID-19 limited the candidates’ in-person campaigning.
1400 by Justin Sink and Tyler Pager. MOVED
^President Trump paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, NYT says<
^TRUMP-TAXES:BLO_<President Donald Trump paid just $750 in income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, reported losing millions of dollars from his golf courses and has hundreds of millions in debt that will come due in the next few years, according to a report in The New York Times.
Trump paid no income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before he was elected, because he generated large losses that offset any money that he made, according to the Times analysis of at least two decades worth of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
250 by Laura Davison in Washington. MOVED
^Florida’s reported COVID-19 cases surpass 700,000<
CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL _ Newly reported cases of coronavirus infection in Florida were down on Sunday, just two days after the state moved into the third and final phase of its reopening.
Since the pandemic began, Florida has tallied 700,564 COVID-19 cases. Most people have recovered, but 14,202 have died _ including 170 nonresidents.
1050 (with trims) by Susannah Bryan in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED
^Health officials warn of ‘alarming’ COVID increase in New York City neighborhoods<
CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY _ Coronavirus continues to spread “at an alarming rate” in several New York City neighborhoods, the city health department said Sunday, a day before it is expected to decide whether to shut down private schools and nonessential businesses there.
300 by Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED
^Voicing ‘no confidence’ in Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC principals union calls for state takeover of school reopening<
CORONAVIRUS-NY-SCHOOLS:NY _ New York City’s principals and supervisors union on Sunday approved a vote of “no confidence” in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza over their “failure” to ensure safe reopening of schools.
The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators called for the state Department of Education to take over the school reopening process.
450 by Clayton Guse and Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED
^Wildfire, climate, virus pose triple-threat to key California tourism, wine industries<
^CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-TOURISM:SA_<SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ In San Diego, tourism industry watchers are bracing for a bleak fall after a shut-in summer that has crushed that city’s businesses. Up the coast in Monterey County, once-optimistic wine growers now must contend with the smoky fallout of nearby wildfires and its effect on that county’s multi-million dollar industry.
And in the desert resorts of Southern California’s Coachella Valley, researchers say climate change will devastate that region’s lucrative tourist industry in the decades to come.
Across California, two of the state’s signature industries _ tourism and wine _ are weathering the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic wildfires and climate change.
850 by Darrell Smith. MOVED
^Pelosi Says Democrats will make new aid ‘proffer’ to Mnuchin<
^CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:BLO_<Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there’s a chance she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can still reach a deal on a coronavirus stimulus package, and that Democrats will unveil a new “proffer” shortly.
“I trust Secretary Mnuchin to represent something that can reach a solution, and I believe we come to an agreement,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
She added that if a deal isn’t struck soon, Democrats might vote on a House-only version of a coronavirus relief package, including funds for airlines and restaurants, and more Paycheck Protection Program funding.
350 by Billy House. MOVED
^Biden says voters won’t accept GOP ‘abuse of power’ in pushing Barrett’s confirmation<
SCOTUS-NOMINEE-BIDEN:LA _ Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden declared Sunday that voters “are not going to stand for this abuse of power” if President Donald Trump’s Senate Republican allies push through the election-season confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
As Senate Republicans vowed to swiftly secure Barrett’s confirmation, their Democratic counterparts acknowledged they had little hope of blocking Trump’s choice _ but made it clear they wanted the president and Republicans who back him to pay a price at the polls.
600 by Laura King in Washington. MOVED
^Washington judge hits postmaster with election mail injunction<
^ELN-POSTALSERVICE:BLO_<A federal judge in the nation’s capital is the latest to order the Trump administration not to implement policy changes that could delay mail delivery for voters in the November elections.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., issued a preliminary injunction in a case led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and joined by New Jersey and Hawaii, along with New York City and San Francisco. President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have faced multi-state lawsuits alleging the administration is attempting to undermine the U.S. Postal Service ahead of an expected surge in mail-in voting, which the president has frequently claimed without evidence will lead to widespread voter fraud.
300 by Peter Blumberg. MOVED
^Fastest-growing US job failed to lift pay for Black women<
^HEALTHCARE-BLACK-WOMEN:BLO_< A job in home-based health care, America’s quickest-growing industry, felt like a step up the ladder for Shawanna Ferguson when she left her fast-food job a decade ago. But in terms of pay and security, it didn’t turn out to be much of an advance.
It’s taken a public-health emergency to shine a spotlight on the precarious conditions and low pay in this key corner of America’s direct-care economy _ a key employer for Black women, in particular _ and turn it into an issue for presidential politics.
950 (with trims) by Katia Dmitrieva in Washington. MOVED
^With court battle looming, Trump and Biden compete for Catholic voters<
CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-BIDEN-CATHOLICS:HC _ Four years ago, Marge Hansen was deeply skeptical of Republican Donald Trump, dismissing the thrice-married businessman who once boasted about grabbing women “by the p—y” as sharply out-of-step with her own conservative Catholic values.
This year, she’s firmly behind Trump _ even though former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, is Catholic.
“I don’t want to date the man, but I do want him to run my country,” said Hansen, a 67-year-old widow from Wilton who considers herself a devout Catholic and regularly attends Latin Mass. “I had been on the fence with him, but the decisions he’s made as president have surprised me in a very pleasant way.”
1450 (with trims) by Daniela Altimari in Hartford, Conn. MOVED
^Trump campaign stop sets stage for fierce battleground in Jacksonville area<
CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-FLA:JK _ When Air Force One landed on the runway at Cecil Airport, it left no doubt the Jacksonville area will be a battleground for Republicans and Democrats trying to swing Florida in the clash between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump’s campaign rally at Cecil Airport marked the first personal appearance of a presidential candidate in Jacksonville this election season, though Trump and Biden have been warring on the airwaves with ads coming so often that they sometimes appear back to back on television screens.
1050 (with trims) by David Bauerlein and Andrew Pantazi in Jacksonville, Fla. MOVED
^Democrats focus Pennsylvania campaign on existential threat to health law<
CAMPAIGN-PA-DEMOCRATS-HEALTHCARE:PG _ For almost four years, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., had told anyone who will listen _ sometimes smaller audiences than he would prefer _ that he believes the Affordable Care Act faces existential threats. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, he warned, have attempted to repeal the decade-old health law and chipped away at its coverage and consumer protections.
After the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, Casey suddenly found national attention on his biggest issue as Democrats scramble to illustrate to voters, in the final five-week stretch of the 2020 campaign, the dangers of a third Trump nominee confirmed, which would mean a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.
1600 by Daniel Moore in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED
^In nasty tweet, President Trump calls for pre-debate drug test for Joe Biden<
^CAMPAIGN-DEBATE-TRUMP:NY_<President Donald Trump repeated his calls for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to take a drug test before their upcoming debate, continuing a nasty line of attack on his opponent.
“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”
150 by Shant Shahrigian. MOVED
^Dwayne Johnson endorses Biden and Harris. Why the Rock’s video shouldn’t surprise us<
^CAMPAIGN-BIDEN-JOHNSON:LA_<After briefly flirting with the idea of a 2020 presidential run himself, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, his first time publicly backing a political candidate.
“Now this is something that I’ve certainly not done in the past, so I’m going to go big,” he said in a video posted to Instagram. “You guys know me, if I go, I go big!”
350 by Sonaiya Kelley. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED
^Battle lines quickly drawn in Georgia over Barrett’s nomination<
SCOTUS-NOMINEE-GA:AT _ Top Georgia U.S. Senate candidates raced to draw battle lines over President Donald Trump’s push to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before Election Day, as Republicans quickly endorsed her appointment and Democrats blasted the rushed process.
Trump’s nomination of Barrett, a favorite of many conservative advocacy groups, capped a momentous week in Georgia politics marked by polls showing a deadlocked race and a Friday visit by Trump that underscored the lengths Republicans have gone to play defense in the state.
850 by Greg Bluestein and Tamar Hallerman in Atlanta. MOVED
^Poll: Majority of Minnesotans want Senate to hold off on Supreme Court pick<
SCOTUS-NOMINEE-MINN:MS _ A majority of likely Minnesota voters want the U.S. Senate to wait until after the November election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, results of a new Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll show.
Just 39% of those polled said the U.S. Senate should take up the nominee ahead of the election, while 55% said lawmakers should wait. Another 6% said they were unsure.
750 (with trims) by Torey Van Oot in Minneapolis. MOVED
^Minnesota poll: Tina Smith leads Jason Lewis in Senate race<
MINNSENATE-POLL:MS _ Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith holds a lead over Republican challenger Jason Lewis in her bid for a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, according to a new Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll.
With Election Day less than six weeks away, Minnesota voters said they prefer Smith by an eight-point margin, 49% to 41%. But 10% of voters remain undecided.
650 by Torey Van Oot in Minneapolis. MOVED
^Napa County fire with ‘dangerous rate of spread’ forces evacuations<
CALIF-WILDFIRES-GLASS-2ND-LEDE:LA _ A fast-moving fire in Napa County on Sunday forced evacuations north of the town of St. Helena as large swaths of Northern California faced dangerous fire weather.
The Glass fire has burned 1,200 acres about four miles northwest of downtown St. Helena, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and was burning “with a dangerous rate of spread.”
1300 (with trims) by Rong-Gong Lin II and Alex Wigglesworth in San Francisco. MOVED
^Scorching temperatures, smoky skies predicted in Bay Area this week, National Weather Service says<
CALIF-BAYAREA-FORECAST:SJ _ Bay Area residents are in for a tough week, with a high-pressure system threatening to keep temperatures in the sweltering range and hold wildfire smoke in the air overhead.
National Weather Service meteorologist Gerry Diaz said hot and dry conditions are expected for much of the area throughout the week, with peak temperatures expected Sunday and Monday.
The forecast raised alarms over the potential for new wildfires as hundreds of firefighters continue to battle blazes across the state. On Sunday, the Glass fire in Napa forced evacuations shortly after it broke out in the morning.
450 by Aldo Toledo in San Jose, Calif. MOVED
^Police arrest more than 100 people in Ocean City during unauthorized ‘H2oi’ car rally<
MD-CARRALLY-ARRESTS:BZ _ Police arrested more than 100 people during an unauthorized motor rally in Ocean City this weekend. Videos filmed at the scene show angry encounters between officers and throngs of attendees.
Officers from neighboring jurisdictions came to assist Ocean City Police with crowd control at the rally, known by participants as H2oi. They included the Worcester County Sheriff, Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police.
More than 100 people were arrested and charged with criminal and traffic offenses, the police department said in a Sunday morning news release.
750 by Christina Tkacik and Ulysses Munoz in Baltimore. MOVED
^Portland police investigating beating of man at Proud Boys rally<
^PORTLAND-RALLY-ASSAULT:NY_<A man livestreaming a Proud Boys rally in Portland, Oregon, was knocked to the ground and kicked in the face by a protester Saturday, and police have now launched an investigation.
“An investigation into this assault case is underway,” Portland police said Saturday, linking to video of the attack.
250 by Kate Feldman. MOVED
^California mayor, Mexican governor launch war of words over cross-border sewage spills<
CALIF-MEXICO-SEWAGE-SPILLS:SD _ The mayor of Imperial Beach and the governor of Baja California are engaged in an ongoing public feud over cross-border sewage spills, which have been a problem for years and resulted in polluting local communities in the United States and making people ill.
Mexican Gov. Jaime Bonilla has held three separate news conferences this month demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing into the U.S.
650 by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED
^Black, Seattle-based ATF agent who won lawsuit naming Nazi-tattooed colleague now alleges smear campaign, claims retaliation<
ATF-LAWSUIT:SE _ An African American senior supervisory agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who last year was paid $450,000 to settle a race-based discrimination lawsuit involving a fellow agent with a Nazi-themed tattoo has sued the agency again, alleging a smear campaign and retaliation that went unanswered by her bosses.
Cheryl Bishop, a former ATF K-9 handler and now a senior supervisory special agent based in Seattle, claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that, three days after a report of the government’s settlement appeared in The Seattle Times on Nov. 18, 2019, the supervisor at the heart of the lawsuit _ Bradford Devlin, the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Eugene, Oregon, office _ sent an email to 150 people in the agency defending and reiterating many of the racist tropes and allegations against Bishop that got him in trouble in the first place.
1150 by Mike Carter in Seattle. MOVED
^Azeris, Armenians plunge into war with Russia, Turkey watching<
^ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN:BLO_<Azerbaijan and Armenian forces engaged in fierce clashes Sunday when a decadeslong conflict over disputed land erupted into renewed war involving tanks, artillery and aircraft.
Russia and international organizations including NATO, the European Union and the OSCE called on both sides to halt fighting over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey backed its ally Azerbaijan and said it was ready to offer assistance.
800 by Zulfugar Agayev and Sara Khojoyan. MOVED
^Belarus protests continue as Macron says Lukashenko must go<
^BELARUS:BLO_<French President Emmanuel Macron said it’s clear that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has to step down, as protests over his disputed reelection continued for a seventh week.
Between 50,000 and 100,000 people joined a protest in Minsk on Sunday, according to Interfax and Minsk-based news website Nasha Niva. Police tried to prevent the rally from swelling to the size seen in some previous weeks by blocking streets and making numerous detentions while central parts of the city have been paralyzed with cordons. As usual during protest rallies, mobile internet was slowed down or disabled in Minsk.
450 by James Regan and Aliaksandr Kudrytski. MOVED
^Macron to stand by Lebanese after ‘betrayal’ by politicians<
^LEBANON-FRANCE:BLO_<President Emmanuel Macron said France wouldn’t abandon the Lebanese people after what he branded a “collective betrayal” by the country’s politicians in failing to form a new government to carry out reforms.
Macron said Lebanon had lost a month during which it could have received international aid as the country faces a deep economic crisis and struggles to recover from a devastating explosion at its main port in Beirut in August.
450 by James Regan. MOVED
^Xi stays course on Xinjiang policies despite international furor<
^CHINA-UIGHURS:BLO_<Chinese President Xi Jinping has doubled down on China’s policies toward Uighurs in the country’s western Xinjiang region despite international condemnation.
“Facts prove that the party’s policies on Xinjiang in the new era are completely correct and must be adhered to in the long term,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying during a work meeting held in Beijing on Friday and Saturday.
450 by Bloomberg News. MOVED
^SCIENCE, MEDICINE, ENVIRONMENT<
^China’s carbon target moves big economies into radical climate consensus<
^ENV-CHINA-CARBON:BLO_<LONDON _ After a week of far-reaching climate promises measured over decades, four of the world’s six largest economies have now proposed ending dates for their carbon emissions.
President Xi Jinping’s surprise announcement at the annual United Nations climate meeting this week committed China to reaching carbon neutrality by 2060. That brings the third-biggest economy by nominal GDP into a loose but vitally important consensus with the second largest (EU), fourth largest (Japan) and fifth largest (California). The end of emissions has been set even if the target dates remain varied _ and at least a generation into the future.
1600 (with trims) by Akshat Rathi. MOVED
^TODAY’S TOP NEWSFEATURES<
^Worst-case election scenario: A Pennsylvania counting meltdown<
ELECTION-PA-BALLOTS:BLO _ It’s the morning after the Nov. 3 election, and the world doesn’t know who won the U.S. presidency because there are hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots in the pivotal state of Pennsylvania that won’t be counted for days as lawyers descend to battle over the votes.
That’s the worst-case election scenario emerging if the race is so close that a single state will determine whether President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden has the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House.
In 2000, the race came down to fewer than 600 votes in Florida. This year, with a record number of mail-in votes expected to be cast because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania is perhaps most at risk for a post-election meltdown because of a confluence of factors, according to experts in election administration and law.
1650 by Mark Niquette in Washington. MOVED
^Local health officials worry CDC has ‘lost its soul'<
HEALTHOFFICIALS-CDC:SH _ As Dr. Mark Wilson prepared to release advice in July that middle schools and high schools in Birmingham, Alabama, should not open for in-person learning this fall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its position and issued the opposite recommendation.
Wilson, chief health officer for Birmingham and the surrounding county, stuck to his at-home schooling decision, but now without support from what had long been regarded as the nation’s most esteemed public health authority.
The agency’s revised advice came on the heels of President Donald Trump’s vigorous call for a full, face-to-face school reopening.
Since the pandemic began, a string of messages from the Trump administration, many lacking scientific evidence, have confounded the work of state and local public health authorities who have the already challenging job of convincing people to abide by restrictions that many find not only onerous but also economically punishing.
Now, as Election Day approaches, conflicting public health recommendations from the CDC along with less transparency with and communication to local public health officials is causing a growing number of them to ignore the agency and follow their own judgments.
1800 by Christine Vestal and Michael Ollove in Washington. MOVED
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