Tribune News Service
News Budget for Friday, August 14, 2020
Updated at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 UTC).
Adds CORONAVIRUS-BLACK-DEATHS:PH, CONNCONGRESS-2ND-DROPOUT:HC, CONFEDERATE-STATUE-LAWSUIT:CH, DETROIT-BLIGHT-REMOVAL:DTN, MUS-DEMOCRATIC-CONVENTION:LA, TRUMP-CAMPAIGN-SURVEILLANCE-PLEA:LA, RKELLY:NY, USSYRIA-JOURNALIST:WA, PENTAGON-UFO:NY, JUDGES-SECURITY:CON
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.
^California becomes first state to pass 600,000 coronavirus cases<
CORONAVIRUS-CALIF:LA — California has become the first state in the nation to surpass 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
As of Friday morning, there were more than 603,000 recorded cases. The state also has now reported over 11,000 deaths.
Yet despite the grim numbers, there is growing evidence that the surge in infections and fatalities that began when California reopened its economy in May is beginning to slow.
400 by Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Robert Trump, brother of President Donald Trump hospitalized in New York: White House<
TRUMP-BROTHER:NY — Robert Trump, the younger brother of President Donald Trump, is hospitalized in New York, the White House confirmed Friday.
The president is expected to travel to New York to visit his sibling sources confirmed to both the Daily News and CNN.
400 by Terry Moseley, Rocco Parascandola and Leonard Greene in New York. MOVED
^Trump’s net worth has declined $300 million in the past year<
^TRUMP-WEALTH:BLO—<As the presidential election nears, American voters are sure to be asked if they’re better off financially than they were four years ago.
Donald Trump isn’t. The president’s net worth has declined $300 million in the past year to $2.7 billion, erasing 10% of his fortune since he took office, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The drop marked the sharpest decline since Bloomberg began tracking his fortune in 2015.
950 by Caleb Melby and Tom Maloney. MOVED
^COVID-19 is killing over twice as many Black Americans as whites, new report says<
CORONAVIRUS-BLACK-DEATHS:PH — Black individuals are nearly three times as likely to contract COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from the virus, compared to white individuals, according to a new report by the National Urban League.
Researchers have struggled to measure with precision the race gaps in COVID-19 because much of the early data reported by hospitals did not include information about patients’ race — as of early August, Pennsylvania has reported race data for about half of its cases.
But the National Urban League’s State of Black America report adds to a growing body of research that has found the virus is disproportionately affecting Black and Latino communities — a trend that is largely reflective of deeper health, economic and social inequality.
600 by Sarah Gantz in Phiiladelphia. MOVED
^Hurricane evacuees from South Florida would spread COVID-19 cases by the thousands, new study finds<
^CORONAVIRUS-FLA-EVACUEES:FL—< South Florida residents fleeing the path of a powerful hurricane would almost certainly cause a spike in coronavirus infections across the state and beyond, according to a new study.
And decisions made during a hurricane evacuation could mean a difference of tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases.
500 by Amber Randall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.. MOVED
^Another 228 deaths reported from COVID-19 in Florida; state reports 6,218 new infections<
CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL — Florida reported 228 new deaths Friday, one day after the state crossed a grim marker of more than 9,000 people in the state who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The additional deaths in the state put the total dead at 9,276.
350 by Cindy Krischer Goodman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED
^Detroit teachers plan strike vote over coronavirus safety concerns<
CORONAVIRUS-DETROIT-TEACHERS:DE — Detroit teachers will vote next week on whether to launch a safety strike over concerns they have about returning to classrooms amid COVID-19.
350 by John Wisely in Detroit. MOVED
^Six months into pandemic, Washington state still struggles with COVID-19 data<
CORONAVIRUS-WASHSTATE-DATA:SE — When the state’s top health official announced this week that Washington would revamp how it counts negative COVID-19 test results, he said the change would give officials a more up-to-date snapshot of the disease.
But it also added even more delays to the state’s daily reporting of the positivity rate, a key metric that determines how many of those tested are infected with the virus.
1200 (with trims) by Lewis Kamb in Seattle. MOVED
^Sacramento sheriff refuses to share COVID-19 case information with state oversight board<
CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-SHERIFF:SA — Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is refusing to give COVID-19 testing and case information to an oversight board in charge of monitoring the state’s jails, leaving the public in the dark about how the virus has spread among inmates and staff under his control.
850 by Jason Pohl in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED
^Goodbye to bartenders: Robots could soon make your drink<
^CORONAVIRUS-ROBOT-BARTENDERS:BLO—<While there seems to be a new video every day of maskless youth blithely partying outside (and inside) bars, many people have actually been drinking less during the pandemic. Half of Americans say they aren’t excited at all about heading back to their favorite watering hole — or any bar for that matter.
Indeed, fear of enclosed spaces and sloppy, less-than-socially distanced crowds may change drinking culture for a long time to come. It’s already threatening the future of your friendly bartender.
550 by Breanna T Bradham. MOVED
^Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in deal with prosecutors reviewing Russia probe<
TRUMP-CAMPAIGN-SURVEILLANCE-PLEA:LA — A former FBI attorney plans on pleading guilty to making a false statement in the first legal salvo fired by a federal prosecutor investigating the origins of the U.S. probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The felony charge, filed Friday in Washington’s federal court, is part of a plea deal between the prosecutor, John Durham, and Kevin Clinesmith, 38, an attorney who used to work in the FBI’s office of general counsel.
1100 by Del Quentin Wilber and Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED
Also moving as:
TRUMP-CAMPAIGN-SURVEILLANCE-PLEA:BLO — 550 by Chris Strohm. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED
^GAO says Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments at DHS invalid<
DHS-APPOINTMENTS:CON — The appointments of acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf and his aide, Ken Cuccinelli, were invalid, the Government Accountability Office said Friday.
The GAO said the Department of Homeland Security didn’t follow the proper succession rules in making Wolf the acting secretary and in making Cuccinelli the senior official performing the duties of deputy secretary. The GAO report came at the request of the heads of two House committees.
300 by Randolph Walerius in Washington. MOVED
^On China, Biden may have little choice but to continue Trump’s hard-line policy<
USCHINA-BIDEN:LA — As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris launch their drive for the White House, the essence of their campaign is to be the un-Trump ticket — different from the president in every way possible.
But when it comes to what may be the nation’s biggest foreign policy challenge — China — a Biden administration may well end up closer to Trump’s hard-line approach than to the less confrontational strategy of President Barack Obama.
1450 (with trims) by Don Lee and Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED
^Constituent communications went digital due to COVID-19, and that could stick, report says<
CONGRESS-COMMUNICATIONS:CON — Congress has ramped up email newsletter frequency, videoconferencing and telephone town halls to stay connected to constituents as the coronavirus pandemic transforms daily life. And a new report suggests some of those shifts could be here to stay.
1550 (with trims) by Katherine Tully-McManus in Washington. MOVED
^Trump renews call for Syria’s help to free journalist Austin Tice 8 years since capture<
USSYRIA-JOURNALIST:WA — President Donald Trump on Friday renewed his call for the Syrian government to help find and return Austin Tice, an American journalist who went missing covering the war there in 2012.
Marking the eighth anniversary of his disappearance, Trump said that the administration “will not rest” until Tice is brought home.
400 by Michael Wilner in Washington. MOVED
^Judiciary seeks funding and laws to protect federal judges<
JUDGES-SECURITY:CON — The federal courts will press Congress for legislation and funding for additional safety measures after a gunman attacked the family of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas last month in New Jersey, killing her son and wounding her husband.
The U.S. Judicial Conference, the policymaking body for the federal court system, approved five security-related moves, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said in a news release that the judicial branch will aggressively advocate for the changes.
250 by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED
^Pentagon reportedly forming UFO commission after Trump told Fox host he’d look into it<
PENTAGON-UFO:NY — A week after President Donald Trump told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that he would follow the conspiracy theory-peddling host’s lead on investigating UFOs, CNN is reporting that the Pentagon is forming a UFO task force.
According to that report, the task force is being headed by Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist and will be announced soon. Other entities with sway in Washington have recently pushed for the nation’s intelligence apparatus to address the topic as well.
450 by Brian Niemietz. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED
^’This is what our founders had in mind.’ HBCUs celebrate Kamala Harris’ vice presidential run<
^CAMPAIGN-HARRIS-BLACKCOLLEGES:LA—<When Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate, alumni from the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities and members of Black sororities and fraternities rejoiced.
Harris is one of their own, a Howard University graduate who joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority when she was a student on the HBCU’s campus in Washington, D.C.
Now the 55-year-old Brentwood resident is poised to become the first Black woman and first Indian American vice president in U.S. history.
“It’s a galvanizing moment, a solidarity moment for HBCUs and African American Greek organizations,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. “There’s a spirit of excitement in the air.”
1150 (with trims) by Tyrone Beason and Kurtis Lee. MOVED
^Convention speeches are an art. How Biden and Trump can get it right, virtually<
^CAMPAIGN-CONVENTION-SPEECHES-COMMENTARY:LA—<The impresarios of the Democratic and Republican national conventions are facing the same theatrical problem that playwrights, stand-up comics and concert singers have been grappling with since the pandemic darkened our stages: how to simulate the look, sound and feel of live performance.
Creative minds have been searching desperately for solutions on interactive platforms such as Zoom. But none has been able to figure out how to make virtual attendance seem like the real in-person deal.
1700 (with trims) by Charles McNulty. MOVED
^President Trump to campaign in Minnesota, Wisconsin next week<
CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-EVENTS:MS — President Donald Trump will campaign for re-election in Mankato, Minn., on Monday as he starts a tour of battleground states on the same day that Democrats kick off their national convention.
250 by Patrick Condon in Minneapolis. MOVED
^John Legend, Billie Eilish among stacked lineup for Democratic National Convention<
^MUS-DEMOCRATIC-CONVENTION:LA—<The Democratic National Convention might just be the hottest music festival of 2020.
On Friday, organizers unveiled a star-studded lineup for next week’s virtual event, which will feature performances from John Legend, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Porter, Common, the Chicks and more. Musical guests will appear at all four nights of the convention, which takes place Aug.17-20.
250 by Christi Carras. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED
^Trump probe not limited to Stormy Daniels payment, DA says<
^TRUMP-RECORDS-NY:BLO—<Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. made his clearest statement yet that a grand jury probe into Donald Trump goes beyond investigating 2016 payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Vance on Friday again urged U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to reject Trump’s latest challenge to a subpoena seeking his tax filings and other records from the president’s accountants at Mazars USA. The case is back before Marrero after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that he’s immune from state criminal investigation.
300 by Bob Van Voris. MOVED
^Grim milestone for St. Louis: 15 child homicides in 2020 tops all of last year<
STLOUIS-VIOLENCE-CHILDRENKILLED:SL — Bertha Wherry looked at the curb Thursday where her 14-year-old great-nephew died after he was shot in the head one night earlier, and she cried furious tears for a “respectful kid” who longed to leave the city.
“He didn’t do nothing to nobody,” Wherry said, her voice breaking. “I don’t feel it was right. I tried to protect (him) as best I could.”
600 by Rachel Rice in St. Louis. MOVED
^A congressional candidate was arrested on domestic violence charges just days ago — but GOP insiders knew of the allegations for months<
CONNCONGRESS-2ND-DROPOUT:HC — The arrest of Connecticut congressional candidate Thomas Gilmer on the eve of this week’s Republican primary threw the race into disarray. But details of his alleged violent domestic assault were known in Republican circles for more than two months before anyone contacted authorities.
Gilmer’s primary opponent, Justin Anderson, spent weeks showing a graphic video of the alleged attack to his fellow Republicans as he worked to defeat the party-backed Gilmer. The state party chairman, J.R. Romano, acknowledged he knew about the allegations as early as May.
1900 (with trims) by Daniela Altimari in Hartford, Conn. MOVED
^Is California ready for a mail-in election? Democrats are worried about two ‘wild cards'<
^CALIF-MAILVOTING:WA—<California Democrats are worried about two major “wild cards” for the state’s biggest-ever mail-in voting election: changes to the U.S. Postal Service and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
So far, California election officials aren’t seeing the kind of postal delays that could result in voting delays even with the crush on the Postal Service in the coronavirus outbreak.
But California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wrote in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that he is “gravely concerned” about national reports of USPS slowdowns so close to Election Day and changes in delivery protocol DeJoy has implemented to cut costs.
1200 (with trims) by Kate Irby. MOVED
^Lake fire raises concern as wildfire season heats up<
CALIF-WILDFIRES-CONCERNS:LA — A pillar of smoke and ash rose into the sky over Lake Hughes like an erupting volcano. Firefighters hustled to save nearby structures as flames swirled and feasted on dry brush and timber.
If the explosive blaze that crews battled in the the Angeles National Forest on Wednesday night is any indication, officials say Southern California has entered a new chapter of the 2020 fire season.
“We’re getting to the most critical part after a long, hot, dry summer,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Darrell Osby said Thursday.
850 by Joseph Serna in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Tropical Storm Josephine steers into the upper Atlantic, 2nd system emerges off North Carolina<
WEA-JOSEPHINE:OS — Tropical Storm Josephine’s western journey is expected to begin its northbound turn Friday to the upper Atlantic, while a second system with medium chances of developing emerged off North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Josephine saw some weakening of its maximum sustained winds, which decreased from 45 to 40 mph Friday morning, but still has tropical-storm force winds extending out 80 miles.
500 by Joe Mario Pedersen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED
^R. Kelly’s manager threatened to shoot up movie theater to prevent screening of tell-all docuseries<
RKELLY:NY — R. Kelly’s manager threatened to shoot up a Manhattan theater to prevent a screening of the tell-all docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” that was attended by a number of the disgraced rapper’s accusers, Manhattan prosecutors said Friday.
Donnell Russell, 45, called an employee of NeueHouse theater in Madison Square on Dec. 4, 2018, and said there was a person in the building with a gun prepared to shoot up the screening, prosecutors said.
450 by Molly Crane-Newman in New York. MOVED
^Last Detroit house demolished in $265M blight-removal effort<
DETROIT-BLIGHT-REMOVAL:DTN — For nearly a decade, Stephenie Lee has been fearful and embarrassed over the burned-out house across from her eastside rental.
On Friday morning, it took mere minutes for a demolition team to topple it down.
The property on Waveney off Cadieux was the final house of 15,084 knocked down with $265 million in federal Hardest Hit Fund dollars in Detroit since spring 2014.
1050 (with trims) by Christine Ferretti in Detroit. MOVED
^Woman sues to block NC Confederate statue removal, claiming civil rights violation<
CONFEDERATE-STATUE-LAWSUIT:CH — A woman whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy has filed a federal lawsuit to block the removal of a Confederate soldier statue from outside the Gaston County Courthouse.
550 by Joe Marusak in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED
NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.
^TOP WEEKEND STORIES<
^’I’ve now dipped into the pie.’ Will COVID-19 change Americans’ views of the social safety net?<
SOCIAL-SAFETY-NET:LA — If you had posed the scenario to him as a hypothetical a few months ago — “Your company will be hemorrhaging cash, and you’ll turn to Uncle Sam for emergency funds” — Jim Brady would’ve confidently dismissed it.
“Never,” he said, “did I think I would need government help.”
Brady, 69, started AToN Center, a luxury rehab facility, with his wife more than a decade ago and built it into a booming enterprise.
But this spring, as the coronavirus charted its deadly path across the country, Brady confronted steep losses and possible layoffs. So he decided to apply for a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the government’s initiative to help small businesses survive the pandemic, and received just over $800,000.
As the pandemic presses into its six month and an expanding cohort of Americans personally benefit from their slice of the government’s $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, some political scientists, historians and experts believe that the COVID-19-era could shift the national discourse about the role Americans want government to play in their lives and ultimately lead to an expanded social safety net.
2300 (with trims) by Marisa Gerber in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Nurses and doctors sick with COVID-19 feel pressured to get back to work<
^CORONAVIRUS-HEALTHWORKERS-INFECTED:KHN—<The first call in early April was from the testing center, informing the nurse she was positive for COVID-19 and should quarantine for two weeks.
The second call, less than 20 minutes later, was from her employer, as the hospital informed her she could return to her job within two days.
Guidance from public health experts has evolved as they have learned more about the coronavirus, but one message has remained consistent: If you feel sick, stay home.
Yet hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities have flouted that simple guidance, pressuring workers who contract COVID-19 to return to work sooner than public health standards suggest it’s safe for them, their colleagues or their patients. Some employers have failed to provide adequate paid leave, if any at all, so employees felt they had to return to work — even with coughs and possibly infectious — rather than forfeit the paycheck they need to feed their families.
1600 by Emmarie Huetteman. MOVED
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