Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, May 21, 2020


Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC).






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.


^Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week<

^CORONAVIRUS-JOBS-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<Millions more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating major job losses are continuing two months after the coronavirus pandemic started shuttering businesses.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 2.44 million in the week ended May 16, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by Connecticut labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure.

850 by Reade Pickert. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED


^Trump plans to exit arms control treaty<

TRUMP-TREATY:LA — The Trump administration says Russia is violating the Open Skies Treaty, and imagery collected during the flights can be obtained from satellites.

950 by Laura King in Washington.

Moving later

^Trump heads to Michigan amid clashes with state officials<

TRUMP-MICH:LA — President Donald Trump is heading to Michigan on Thursday to tour a factory that's churning out ventilators and personal protective equipment for the coronavirus crisis, but his visit to the election-year battleground state was overshadowed by self-inflicted controversies over voting and masks before he left.

He sparked a furious clash with state officials when he threatened Wednesday to withhold federal funding from Michigan because it sent absentee ballots applications to registered voters so they can participate in the November election without exposing themselves to potential infection.

600 by Chris Megerian and Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED


^Lori Loughlin to plead guilty in college admissions scandal, faces 2 months in prison<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-2ND-LEDE:LA — Lori Loughlin, the television actress who for 14 months maintained her innocence in the college admissions scandal, has agreed to plead guilty to fraud and spend two months in federal prison, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

Loughlin was arrested in March 2019 and charged with conspiring with William "Rick" Singer, a Newport Beach consultant at the heart of the scandal, to pass off her two daughters as rowing recruits, all but guaranteeing their admission to the University of Southern California.

Loughlin's husband, Mossimo Giannulli, has agreed to plead guilty to fraud as well, court documents show.

900 by Matthew Ormseth in Los Angeles. MOVED




^Latest data lapse inflated Georgia's virus test count by 57,000<

CORONAVIRUS-GA-DATA-LAPSE:AT — After facing weeks of criticism for not being transparent with data about the coronavirus, Georgia officials on Wednesday acknowledged that a test type that does not measure active cases inflated published test counts by 57,000, or roughly 14% of total tests to date.

1250 (with trims) by Willoughby Mariano And J. Scott Trubey in Atlanta. MOVED


^Coronavirus death toll tops 3,500 in California as most of state moves to reopen<

CORONAVIRUS-CALIF:LA — Coronavirus-linked deaths reached another grim milestone in California this week, topping 3,500, even as officials move to further reopen the state's economy.

The sobering statistic illustrates that although the week has seen glints of optimism that the state is turning the tide in its fight against COVID-19, the disease is still there, and the danger is still real.

850 by Luke Money, Hannah Fry, Leila Miller and Rong-Gong Lin II in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Las Vegas needed help testing for coronavirus; then a crown prince stepped in<

CORONAVIRUS-LASVEGAS-UAE:LA — One of the largest mass coronavirus testing sites in Nevada has opened in Las Vegas, a move that puts the city one step closer to reopening its economy. And it might not have been possible without the donation of more than 200,000 test kits, worth as much as $20 million, from the United Arab Emirates.

Within weeks of the coronavirus reaching Las Vegas, members of the public were clamoring to be tested, and hospitals and laboratories were running out of supplies. Some federal assistance did arrive, but the intervention that changed the state's fortunes was a large donation from Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and ruler of the United Arab Emirates, according to members of Nevada's COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force, a group of business leaders.

1050 by Anna M. Phillips in Washington. MOVED


^As coronavirus deaths pass 100K Trump should lower flags, Pelosi and Schumer say<

CORONAVIRUS-FLAGS:CON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer urged President Donald Trump to lower flags at all public buildings when the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 reaches 100,000.

300 by Chris Cioffi in Washington. MOVED


^Cuomo bars summer school in New York amid spike in coronavirus-linked illness afflicting children<

^CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY—< Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that summer school isn't happening in New York and warned it's "still too early" to say if students will be allowed back into their classrooms in the fall amid an uptick in cases of children developing potentially deadly inflammatory symptoms from coronavirus.

Speaking at a press briefing in Manhattan, Cuomo reported that the State Department of Health is now investigating 157 cases of kids developing inflammatory symptoms synonymous with the Kawasaki disease after contracting COVID-19 — a two-fold increase since last week.

550 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED


^Pennsylvania nursing home data minimizes the coronavirus devastation in Philadelphia senior centers<

CORONAVIRUS-PA-NURSINGHOMES-DATA:PH — If you accept the state data released this week about the coronavirus's scourge of long-term-care facilities, no staff members at the Philadelphia Nursing Home in Fairmount have gotten the disease — and across the city's 47 nursing homes, fewer than 20 staffers have tested positive.

That would be wonderful news for seniors in those facilities and their loved ones. Staff members who carry the virus without showing symptoms all too often bring the disease into the homes, with deadly results.

But neither of those statements is accurate. In fact, 30 staff members at the Philadelphia Nursing Home alone have tested positive for the virus, according to the city, which owns the 402-bed facility.

950 by Sean Collins Walsh in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Whitmer had authority to extend Michigan's state of emergency, judge says<

CORONAVIRUS-MICH-WHITMER:DTN — A Court of Claims judge ruled Thursday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had the legal authority to extend Michigan's state of emergency under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.

But Judge Cynthia Stephens noted the governor exceeded her authority by trying to extend the emergency under the Emergency Management Act of 1976, which requires legislative authority.

500 by Beth LeBlanc in Lansing, Mich. MOVED


^National Parks reopen without release of plan or infection data<

CORONAVIRUS-NATIONALPARKS:CON — The Interior Department is reopening national parks across the country even as the agency withholds data on COVID-19 cases among its employees.

Last week, some of the most visited national parks, including Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, became the latest among dozens of parks reopening.

900 by Elvina Nawaguna in Washington. MOVED


^Court orders LA business to stop advertising radish paste as coronavirus treatment<

CORONAVIRUS-HERBAL-LAWSUIT:LA — A judge granted an injunction Wednesday that prohibits a nutritional supplement store in Los Angeles from billing radish paste as a treatment capable of warding off the novel coronavirus.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office had sued Insan Healing and its founder, Angela K. Oh, alleging she violated state laws that prohibit false advertising.

250 by Matthew Ormseth in Los Angeles. MOVED



^Mexico City's coronavirus death toll may be 3 times higher than official count, report says<

CORONAVIRUS-MEXICOCITY:LA — At least three times as many people in Mexico City may have died of complications from COVID-19 than have been officially reported, a new report by a Mexican activist group suggests.

Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity says it found 4,577 cases in the Mexican capital in which death certificates linked the coronavirus to fatalities between March 18, when the country's first coronavirus-related death was confirmed, and May 12.

The official number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 deaths in Mexico City during that period was 1,060 — less than one-quarter of the cases cited in the new report.

1000 by Patrick J. McDonnell in Mexico City. MOVED


^Chinese genetics firm's testing in Middle East raises new US tensions<

CORONAVIRUS-USCHINA-MIDEAST:BLO — While the U.S. struggled to come up with enough tests to manage the world's largest coronavirus outbreak, a Chinese genetics company took less than a month to build testing centers thousands of miles away in the Middle East.

By moving swiftly, Shenzhen-based BGI Group won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with traditional U.S. allies including Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Now the U.S. is warning those countries that they may be giving Beijing access to highly prized personal data that will propel economies of the future.

1250 (with trims) by Sylvia Westall and Ivan Levingston in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. MOVED


^Coronavirus in Tijuana: Paramedics risk their lives to help the sick<

^CORONAVIRUS-TIJUANA-PARAMEDICS:LA—<The coronavirus is killing so many people in Tijuana that the morgue has run out of refrigerator space for bodies. As of Tuesday, the Mexican border city had confirmed 392 deaths.

On the front lines of the pandemic in Tijuana is the Mexican Red Cross. Its 13 ambulances handle the majority of emergency calls for the city of 1.8 million people. Lately that has meant as many as 40 coronavirus calls a day.

350 by Marcus Yam and Ruben Vives. MOVED



^Stem cells tested as potential therapy for COVID-19 in trial<

CORONAVIRUS-STEMCELLS:BZ — Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine are participating in a trial of an experimental stem cell therapy for some of the sickest COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators.

The study is one of many going on in Maryland and elsewhere that are testing existing drug therapies, as well as new ones to treat the disease caused by the coronavirus.

550 by Meredith Cohn in Baltimore. MOVED


^Coronavirus 'does not spread easily' on contaminated surfaces, CDC says<

^CORONAVIRUS-CDC-SURFACES:NY—<The uncertainty surrounding coronavirus has been a huge source of anxiety throughout this pandemic, as scientists have struggled to uncover not just a treatment for the disease, but also basic facts about its existence.

Though many have been concerned about infection through items like groceries or mail deliveries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently issued updated guidance saying that coronavirus "does not spread easily" from touching surfaces or objects.

200 by Lauren Theisen. MOVED



^Rep. Ratcliffe wins Senate approval to be intelligence director<

RATCLIFFE:CON — The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's choice to lead the nation's intelligence services Thursday.

While Democrats lined up against the confirmation of Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe to be director of national intelligence, they did not fight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's effort to set up a speedy confirmation vote ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

700 (with trims) by Niels Lesniewski and Bridget Bowman in Washington. MOVED


^Flynn judge ordered by appeals court to respond to dismissal bid<

^FLYNN:BLO—<The federal judge who declined to rubber-stamp the Justice Department's request to dismiss the prosecution of President Donald Trump's first national security adviser was ordered by an appeals court to respond to Michael Flynn's petition to have his case thrown out immediately.

Flynn made his emergency filing to the federal appeals court in Washington after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan declined to immediately dismiss his prosecution for lying to federal agents after the Justice Department made its May 7 request.

350 by Chris Dolmetsch. MOVED


^Trump nominee to lead international broadcasting agency advances, despite criminal probe <

SENATE-PACK:CON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a party-line 12-10 vote Thursday, advanced the nomination of Michael Pack to lead the government's international broadcasting operations after an exceptionally heated exchange between the panel's Republicans and Democrats about breaking committee tradition by moving forward with a nominee who is under an active criminal investigation.

President Donald Trump has made confirming Pack, who was first nominated nearly two years ago to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a priority.

550 by Rachel Oswald in Washington. MOVED



^News analysis: Trump's obsession with Obama turns two-way race into a three-way tangle<

^CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-OBAMA-ANALYSIS:LA—<More than three years after leaving the White House, Barack Obama appears to have taken up renewed residency.

Not within its living quarters but, rather, inside President Donald Trump's head.

In a barrage remarkable even by Trump's norm-demolishing standards, the nation's 45th chief executive has spent a good deal of time lately savaging the 44th.

Suddenly, a two-way race has turned into a three-way tangle.

950 by Mark Z. Barabak. MOVED



^NOAA hurricane forecast predicts busy 2020 hurricane season<

WEA-HURRICANE-SEASON:FL — The federal government's hurricane season forecast, released Thursday, predicts an above-average season, offering little hope of a break from strong storms in an already challenging year.

The forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for six to 10 hurricanes, of which three to six could achieve major hurricane strength. A major hurricane is one that reaches at least Category 3 status, which requires winds of at least 111 mph.

350 by David Fleshler in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^FBI: Gunman killed in 'terrorism-related' shooting at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi<

^TEXAS-AIRSTATION-SHOOTING:NY—<The Thursday morning shooting at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi that put the base on lockdown was "terrorism-related," the FBI said.

Security forces responded to calls of an active shooter around 6:15 a.m. CDT and a Corpus Christi spokesperson said the gunman had been "neutralized."

The FBI later clarified that the shooter, who has not been publicly identified, was killed.

250 by Kate Feldman. MOVED


^Michael Cohen has 'so much' to say after release from New York prison amid coronavirus scare<

COHEN:NY — Michael Cohen, the disgraced former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, walked out of a federal prison in upstate New York on Thursday and quickly promised to dish on his former boss — just not right now.

"I am so glad to be home and back with my family," Cohen tweeted after arriving at his Upper East Side home, where he will serve the remainder of his three-year sentence. "There is so much I want to say and intend to say. But now is not the right time."

400 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED


^Baltimore mayor urges Trump to reconsider Memorial Day visit to Fort McHenry with city under stay-at-home order<

BALTIMORE-MAYOR-TRUMP:BZ — Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young is urging President Donald Trump to reconsider his planned visit to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Memorial Day, in light of the stay-at-home order in place in the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"I wish that the President, as our nation's leader, would set a positive example and not travel during this holiday weekend," Young said in a statement Thursday.

650 by Pamela Wood in Baltimore. MOVED


^Lori Loughlin always insisted she was innocent in admissions scandal. Why change now?<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-EXPLAINER:LA — From the beginning of the college admissions scandal, actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have maintained they did nothing wrong.

While other key figures in the scandal, including "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty and apologized, the couple's attorneys assailed the prosecution's case. They alleged the government had coerced its key witness and the scheme's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, into fabricating evidence; and they argued the government had contorted a legal, if unsavory, facet of the college applicant process — that donating money to a school will boost your child's chances of admission — into a criminal conspiracy.

950 by Matthew Ormseth in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Conservative Florida Supreme Court reverses itself again on death penalty legal issue<

FLA-DEATHPENALTY:MI — Harry Franklin Phillips, a convict who shot a Miami parole officer to death in 1982, was hoping to get his death sentence reversed by convincing the courts that he is intellectually disabled.

But the Florida Supreme Court, backtracking on its own case decided only years ago, on Thursday ruled that Phillips isn't ineligible, the court's latest reversal in how sentences in major cases are meted out.

650 by David Ovalle in Miami. MOVED


^With the anniversary of Jennifer Farber Dulos' disappearance days away, the search for the missing mother has a renewed focus — a $3 million mansion<

MISSINGMOTHER:HC — As the one-year anniversary of Jennifer Farber Dulos' disappearance approaches, state police efforts to find the missing New Canaan mother have turned to an abandoned $3 million home in Avon where she once lived with her husband, Fotis Dulos.

State police's renewed interest in the property — just 1.5 miles from the Jefferson Crossing home where Fotis Dulos took his own life after being charged in his estranged wife's murder — followed Courant questioning as to whether the sprawling grounds had ever been searched.

1450 (with trims) by Dave Altimari in Hartford, Conn. MOVED


^Ronan Farrow's critics are circling. Here's what you should know about his media war<

^FARROW:LA—<Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, author of the hit 2019 book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," has come under scrutiny this week after The New York Times published a scathing critique of his Pulitzer Prize-winning methods.

On Sunday, New York Times media columnist Ben Smith pondered, "Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?," characterizing Farrow's renowned reporting as flawed and self-serving "resistance journalism."

The column focuses in part on "Catch and Kill," which explores Farrow's investigation into convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, as well as plots allegedly waged by Weinstein and NBC to bury Farrow's findings.

1300 by Christi Carras. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED


^Don't hug or kiss birds in your backyard. A 28-state salmonella outbreak is sickening kids<

BIRDS-SALMONELLA:MI — An unusual salmonella outbreak has hit 28 states, running coast-to-coast with no true center, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak doesn't involve food, but backyard birds such as chicks and ducklings. Of the 44 sickened people interviewed so far, the CDC said, 38 have had contact with such feathery animals.

350 by David J. Neal in Miami. MOVED


^Trump Doral announces 250 furloughs will now become permanent layoffs<

TRUMP-DORAL-LAYOFFS:MI — Trump National Doral Miami, President Donald J. Trump's Miami-Dade resort hotel and golf course, has announced 250 workers who were originally furloughed indefinitely will now be permanently laid off.

150 by Rob Wile in Miami. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^Michigan man accused of killing animals because 'he likes' it hit with 125 wildlife charges<

MICH-ANIMALABUSE:NY — A Michigan man accused of killing wolves, bald eagles and other animals "because he likes to do it" has been hit with more than 100 wildlife charges.

Kurt Duncan pleaded not guilty to all 125 misdemeanor counts during an arraignment in Chippewa County district court this week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.

The Pickford resident is accused of illegally harvesting 18 wolves over the past 18 months and killing and disposing of three bald eagles.

250 by Jessica Schladebeck. MOVED



^China proposes law giving Beijing more power to crack down on opposition in Hong Kong<

CHINA-CONGRESS-HONGKONG:LA — Plans by Beijing to impose new national security legislation in Hong Kong are likely to incite protesters at a time when China is attempting to tighten its grip and stem dissent from again exploding in the former British colony.

"National security is the bedrock underpinning the stability of the country," said Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for China's National People's Congress, which began its annual meeting Thursday. "Safeguarding national security serves the fundamental interest of all Chinese, our Hong Kong compatriots included."

The decision sent shockwaves through Hong Kong, where past calls for national security legislation were shelved after mass protests.

900 by Alice Su in Beijing. MOVED



^As California beaches reopen, seawall construction becomes legislative battleground<

ENV-CALIF-SEALEVEL:LA — California's beaches may feel off-limits right now, but the coronavirus has not stopped the sea from rising. With every tide and storm, this slow-moving disaster continues to creep closer to shore — toppling bluffs, eroding beaches and threatening homes and major infrastructure.

Also on the rise is a heated battle over what gets saved — and who actually benefits — along the California coast.

1350 by Rosanna Xia in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Climate change helped produce San Diego's huge ocean heat wave in 2018, researchers find<

ENV-SANDIEGO-OCEAN:SD — University of California, San Diego researchers have confirmed that climate change helped produce the historic 43-day ocean heat wave that drew big crowds to San Diego beaches during the summer of 2018.

The finding was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, in a paper that says the phenomenon could not be solely attributed to natural variations in the weather.

400 by Gary Robbins in San Diego. MOVED


^California hospitals saw sharp drop in heart attacks during COVID-19 shutdown<

MED-CALIF-HOSPITALS-HEARTATTACKS:SA — For years it's been one of the leading causes of death, a critical condition plaguing nearly every corner of the country. Every hour, seven people die from heart disease in the state but since the new coronavirus pandemic, some Northern California hospitals are admitting fewer heart attack patients than before.

The trend, an unexpected byproduct of COVID-19, is one of the main findings in a new study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente who measured the change in hospital admissions for heart attacks.

800 by Michael Finch II in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Sea turtle nesting in Florida: Loggerheads, leatherbacks off to strong start<

ENV-FLA-SEATURTLES:OS — Some wonders of nature continue happening despite the global pandemic, and sea turtle nesting season is no exception. In Florida, those turtles are off to a strong start.

Along 13 miles of Brevard County's Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, UCF's Marine Turtle Research Group has logged 1,752 loggerhead nests, 29 leatherback nests and three green turtle nests. That represents a leatherback count higher than a full typical year — and the season continues until July.

650 by Patrick Connolly in Orlando, Fla. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^She sought freedom from prison. Nothing but the coronavirus could get her out<

CORONAVIRUS-NC-PRISONER:RA — Faye Brown was a quiet, stoic woman who rose each morning in a Raleigh prison, pulled on a pair of dress slacks and walked out the gates to catch a city bus — her routine for years.

At age 67, she had earned enough trust to work each day as a teacher and hair stylist at Sherill's school of cosmetology, carrying a pair of scissors though she was serving a life sentence for murder and bank robbery.

At the end of each day, she caught the bus back to prison, where the younger inmates considered her a grandmother — an older, wiser prisoner who loved peppermint candy and held a vain hope she would be free one day.

She came close in 2009, but was stopped by the North Carolina Supreme Court the next year. On May 8, however, Brown kept her promise, technically. She died in a Raleigh hospital from COVID-19 complications.

1300 by Josh Shaffer in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED


^Coronavirus threatens China's Belt and Road. What happens when it wants half a trillion dollars back?<

CORONAVIRUS-CHINA-INITIATIVE:LA — When Chinese engineers flew home in January for the Lunar New Year, few in Africa would have imagined that a coronavirus outbreak was about to ground planes, upend supply lines and freeze work on dozens of Chinese-built roads, railways, ports and power stations.

Many of the engineers haven't returned. Construction sites fell silent. And now the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a global recession that threatens the colossal international loan program that is a symbol of China's growing prestige and a centerpiece of President Xi Jinping's reign.

The Belt and Road Initiative — China's effort to finance nearly half a trillion dollars in new infrastructure across Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America — took flight during a period of global expansion and easy travel that has now slammed into a sober reckoning.

Beijing faces mounting calls to reschedule loans for shipping hubs, electrical plants and transport links that look unsustainable as economies struggle and globalization slows.

1600 by Shashank Bengali and Neha Wadekar in Nairobi, Kenya. MOVED




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