Tribune News Service

International Budget for Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Updated at 0430 UTC (11:30 p.m. U.S. EST Monday).

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


^US goes after Venezuelan oil company with sanctions<

^USVENEZUELA-SANCTIONS-1ST-LEDE:LA—<Ramping up pressure to unseat the government of President Nicolas Maduro, the Trump administration Monday took the long-awaited step of sanctioning Venezuela's oil company, that country's lifeline, saying it will divert revenue to the party of his chief opponent, Juan Guaido.

The U.S. will seize $7 billion in Venezuelan assets, administration officials said.

350 by Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED



Also moving as:

USVENEZUELA-SANCTIONS:BLO — 500 by Saleha Mohsin in Washington. MOVED



USVENEZUELA-SANCTIONS:WA — 800 by Franco Ordonez and Alex Daugherty in Washington. MOVED



^Peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan appears closer than ever. What could that look like?<

USAFGHAN:LA — Seventeen years after the U.S. military-led invasion of Afghanistan — after the deaths of more than 2,400 American troops, tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police and untold numbers of civilians — the prospect of a truce with the Taliban appears to be inching closer to reality.

Six days of talks in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar ended over the weekend with a commitment by U.S. and Taliban negotiators to reconvene soon and the outlines of a deal under which all 14,000 U.S. troops would depart Afghanistan within 18 months.

1150 by Shashank Bengali, Sultan Faizy and Aoun Sahi in Kabul, Afghanistan. MOVED


^May backs plan to scrap Brexit backstop in struggle for a deal<

BRITAIN-EU:BLO — Prime Minister Theresa May is backing a plan to ditch the most contentious part of her Brexit deal as she searches for a compromise all sides can support, with time running out before the U.K. leaves the European Union.

In a dramatic meeting on Monday, May effectively abandoned the agreement she's spent the past 18 months negotiating with the EU and threw the weight of her government behind a move to re-write the deal.

250 by Tim Ross, Kitty Donaldson and Robert Hutton in London. MOVED


^Toll from Brazil dam rupture rises to 60 dead, 292 missing<

BRAZIL-DAM:DPA — The confirmed number of deaths after a mining dam burst in Brazil has risen to 60, with 292 people still missing, according to firefighters on Monday.

100 in Buenos Aires. MOVED

^Tijuana medical examiner's office overwhelmed by bodies<

^MEXICO-BODIES:SD—<The smell is what hits you first within a block of Baja California's Medical Examiner office in Tijuana.

It's the unmistakable odor of rotting corpses, and a grim indication of a city overwhelmed by unprecedented levels of violence.

Officials in Tijuana's medical examiner's office, an agency known as SEMEFO, have asked the state government for additional funding after operating for several months at nearly double its capacity for cadavers, on the heels of last year's record violence.

650 by Wendy Fry in San Diego. MOVED



^Shutdown damage will persist long after US government reopens<

SHUTDOWN-EFFECTS:BLO — The government may be reopening, but the consequences of the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history are likely to linger for national parks, forests, the federal workforce and cutting-edge scientific research. Some may even be permanent.

Many fire crews missed their window for controlled burns to prevent wildfires. Irreplaceable relics may have been damaged in unguarded national parks. Science experiments were abandoned. And a generation of talent may now think twice about signing up for government, while workers returning to a month of unopened emails and missed meetings will have to decide which of their priorities to sacrifice this year.

And there's the threat it could happen all over again.

1650 by Christopher Flavelle and Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington. MOVED


^Matt Whitaker says Mueller's 'close' to being done in first major sign of Trump-Russia probe nearing end<

^USRUSSIA-HACKING-WHITAKER:NY—<Special counsel Robert Mueller is "close" to wrapping up his investigation into the Trump campaign's potential role in the Russian government's attack on the 2016 election, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday.

While speculation has been widespread that Mueller's probe is nearing an end, Whitaker's comment marks the first time a senior Justice Department official has publicly affirmed it.

250 by Chris Sommerfeldt. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^Pelosi and Trump agree on Feb. 5 for rescheduled State of the Union<

STATEUNION:CON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump have agreed that he will hold his State of the Union address in the House chamber on Feb. 5.

Pelosi sent Trump a letter Monday formally inviting him to deliver the address next Tuesday, which she noted was the date they agreed to in a conversation.

200 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED


^US plans suspension of nuclear treaty with Russia, official says<

USRUSSIA-NUCLEAR:BLO — The U.S. plans to suspend its obligations under a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty with Russia after a deadline passes this weekend and the Trump administration inches closer to full withdrawal from a pillar of Cold War diplomacy, a White House official said Monday.

Unless Russia destroys all its ground-launched cruise missiles known as 9M729s, associated equipment and launchers by Feb. 2, the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, according to the official.

500 by Margaret Talev in Washington. MOVED


^Barr says he wouldn't fire Mueller without cause or allow a cover-up<

ATTORNEYGENERAL-NOMINEE:BLO — Donald Trump's attorney general nominee William Barr told senators he would resign if the president ordered him to fire special counsel Robert Mueller without good cause or claimed executive privilege to cover up a crime.

But Barr wouldn't promise to answer a potential subpoena for Mueller's report from the House Judiciary Committee.

450 by Billy House and Steven T. Dennis in Washington. MOVED


^Justice Department charges Chinese telecom giant Huawei with fraud<

USCHINA-HUAWEI-1ST-LEDE:LA — The Justice Department fired a legal broadside Monday at Chinese telecom giant Huawei, alleging in two criminal indictments that the company engaged in a long-running scheme to deceive banks and the U.S. government about its activities in Iran and tried to steal sensitive information from T-Mobile.

Federal prosecutors also charged Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company's powerful founder, with bank and wire fraud. Meng was detained in Canada last month on a provisional arrest warrant, and the U.S. government is seeking her extradition.

The filing of criminal charges against Huawei marks a significant escalation in the Trump administration's campaign to halt the telecommunications behemoth's global expansion over concerns that its equipment and software could pose a national security threat to the U.S. and its allies.

950 (with trims) by Del Quentin Wilber and David S. Cloud in Washington. MOVED


^Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz lacks 'guts' to be president, Trump says<

SCHULTZ-TRUMP:CON — President Donald Trump sharply criticized Howard Schultz over the coffee mogul's exploration of an independent 2020 presidential bid by challenging his intelligence.

550 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^Ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen agrees to testify before House intelligence panel after legal team shake up<

COHEN:NY — Michael Cohen has agreed to back-to-back congressional testimony and has found a new legal team.

The prison-bound former personal attorney to President Donald Trump will testify behind closed doors before at least two congressional committees next month — and he has hired new lawyers to represent him in those proceedings, a representative said Monday.

400 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED


^At El Chapo trial, prosecution rests after kingpin waves at 'Narcos' actor<

^ELCHAPO-1ST-LEDE:NY—<First he smiled and waved at the "Narcos" actor who plays him on TV, then he waived his right to testify in his own defense.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman put an end to heated speculation Monday and revealed he won't take the witness stand to counter testimony from 56 prosecution witnesses claiming he was the ruthless ringleader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

650 by Molly Crane-Newman and Nancy Dillon in New York. MOVED


^Florida man allegedly stole $200K for woman he met on adult website before killing his parents and brother<

FLA-FAMILYKILLED:OS — A Chuluota man killed his parents and brother after he was kicked out of his home and accused of stealing $200,000 from his family to send to a woman he had met on a porn website, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say Grant Amato, 29, shot and killed his father Chad Amato, 59; mother, Margaret Ann Amato, 61; and brother Cody Amato, 31, in their rural Seminole County home Friday morning. He faces three counts of first-degree murder.

1000 by Michael Williams in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Shark attacks down worldwide and 'nosedive' in Florida waters, researchers say<

SHARK-ATTACKS:MI — Looks like it's safe to get back in the water.

Shark attacks, still rare despite movie plot lines and one fatal attack this year off Cape Cod, declined dramatically worldwide in 2018 and plummeted by nearly half in Florida waters, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File, an annual report released Monday morning.

The steep drop, a statistical anomaly, suggests swimmers may be getting better at heeding warnings, research director Gavin Naylor said in a statement.

450 by Jenny Staletovich in Miami. MOVED


^Sept. 11 defense lawyers threaten hearing boycott over FBI interview of paralegal<

GUANTANAMO-SEPT11:MI — The attorney for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of the Sept. 11 plot, on Monday threatened to refuse to participate in this week's pretrial hearing, saying he was disturbed by the FBI questioning a former 9/11 defense team paralegal at an Army base in Texas.

Defense attorney David Nevin said the questioning by federal agents raised a new challenge to attorney-client confidentiality in the terrorism trial.

700 by Carol Rosenberg at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. MOVED


^SeaWorld whale Kayla, 30, dies; cause is a mystery<

SEAWORLD-WHALE:OS — A 30-year-old whale at SeaWorld died Monday after becoming ill over the weekend, the theme park said.

It could take several weeks before SeaWorld finds out Kayla's cause of death.

SeaWorld is monitoring the five other orcas that live in the Orlando park.

550 by Gabrielle Russon in Orlando, Fla. MOVED

^Obesity, climate change and hunger must be fought as one, health experts declare<

^SCI-OBESITY-CLIMATECHANGE:LA—<Maybe, when it comes to finding a way out of a global crisis of obesity, we're just thinking too small.

Maybe the steps needed to reverse a pandemic of unhealthy weight gain are the same as those needed to solve two other crises of human health: malnutrition and climate change.

So instead of trying to tackle each of these problems individually, public health experts recommend that we lash the three together.

1300 (with trims) by Melissa Healy. MOVED



^Michael Jackson's fans fight back against Sundance documentary 'Leaving Neverland'<

^MOVIE-SUNDANCE-JACKSON-DOCUMENTARY:LA—<Nearly 10 years after his death, the Michael Jackson brand is stronger than ever.

Jackson's digital catalog shows no signs of fatigue. A number of unannounced deals are in the works from his estate, and in October performances of a Jackson musical, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," are set to begin in Chicago before it bows on Broadway.

But here at the Sundance Film Festival, where the two-part docu-series "Leaving Neverland" premiered Friday to a packed audience at Park City's historic Egyptian Theater, Jackson's brand has already experienced a significant blow.

Directed by British documentarian Dan Reed, the project unpacks in explicit detail the allegations of two adult men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say they suffered years of sexual abuse at Jackson's hands when they were boys.

2100 by Amy Kaufman and Gerrick D. Kennedy in Park City, Utah. MOVED


^Remembering Michel Legrand, whose love songs always told a story<

^LEGRAND-APPRECIATION:LA—<Michel Legrand loved a good love song.

For this French composer and pianist, who died Saturday in Paris at age 86, romance was an inexhaustible subject in the lush and sentimental music he wrote for movies and for the pop stars who turned many of his songs into standards.

And by romance, I don't mean mere flirtation or infatuation; I mean l'amour of the full-on heaving-chest variety. With his enveloping arrangements and his dramatic melodies — sung over the decades by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra — Legrand summoned the feeling of being swept away by love.

650 by Mikael Wood. MOVED




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