Tribune News Service
News Budget for Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Updated at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 UTC).
Adds USGERMANY-TROOPS:LA, CORONAVIRUS-SENSES:NY, RELIG-SAUDI-HAJJ:DPA, CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL, TRUMP-FOXNEWS:NY
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.
^House panel grills Bezos, Zuckerberg and other tech chiefs over antitrust concerns<
CONGRESS-TECHCOMPANIES-1ST-LEDE:LA — Several titans of Big Tech appeared virtually before members of Congress on Wednesday, as the House antitrust subcommittee continued its investigation of concentration across the digital realm.
The chief executives of four of the most prominent technology firms in the world — Google's Sundar Pichai, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Apple's Tim Cook — were prepared for questions about their business practices and market dominance. Though their companies represent new-age innovations, including search engines, smartphones and social media, the criticisms they face bring to mind those lodged by "trustbusters" against late 19th-century industrial barons.
1250 by Brian Contreras in Washington. MOVED
^US to bring 6,400 troops home from Germany, move others elsewhere in Europe<
USGERMANY-TROOPS:LA — The Pentagon said Wednesday it would withdraw nearly 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany, carrying out an order from President Donald Trump to punish Berlin for failing to meet NATO defense spending targets.
About 6,400 soldiers and other military personnel would be sent back to the U.S., while 5,600 personnel would be shifted to Belgium and Italy, a move Defense Secretary Mark Esper said was aimed at bolstering the Pentagon's ability to deter Russia from threatening U.S. allies in Eastern Europe.
650 by David S. Cloud in Washington. MOVED
^Trump, Mnuchin push short-term aid package<
CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:CON — With prospects dim for a broader $1 trillion-plus COVID-19 relief package by the end of the week, President Donald Trump and his top negotiators are talking about a narrow package focused on continuing expanded unemployment benefits and preventing evictions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been leading negotiations on the part of the Trump administration with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said a short-term bill could be on the table.
700 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED
^Federal officers to withdraw from downtown Portland, governor says<
PORTLAND-FEDAGENTS:SE — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday said that the federal government has agreed to a "phased withdrawal of federal officers" that have been deployed at the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland amid nightly protests.
Brown said that the Oregon State Police will provide protection and security for the exterior of the courthouse with the Federal Protective Service. Beginning Thursday "all Customs and Border Protection and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers will leave downtown Portland, and shortly thereafter will be going home."
350 by Hal Bernton in Portland, Oregon. MOVED
^Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert reportedly tests positive for coronavirus<
CORONAVIRUS-GOHMERT:AU — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning at the White House, according to multiple news reports.
Gohmert, who was scheduled to fly to Texas on Wednesday morning with President Donald Trump, tested positive ahead of his trip, Politico first reported, citing anonymous sources.
300 by Nicole Cobler in Austin, Texas. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED
^US created a data disaster with its uneven COVID-19 response<
^CORONAVIRUS-DATA:BLO—<More than a month into a resurgence of the novel coronavirus that has besieged Sun Belt states, flooded hospitals and strained public-health infrastructure, the U.S. still lacks a complete picture of the on-the-ground reality.
That's no surprise to public-health experts following the country's response, since the U.S. doesn't have an accessible, real-time system to track the virus's spread. At times, even the federal government has had to rely on third-party databases.
The gap is due to decades of neglect of technological infrastructure, exacerbated by the country's sprawling size and a state-by-state approach to collecting public health data. It has left not only government officials hunting for reliable data, but kept the public in the dark as well.
1000 (with trims) by Emma Court. MOVED
^Florida reports 217 more people have died from COVID-19, the highest of pandemic<
CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL — Florida added 217 deaths to its COVID-19 reporting on Wednesday, setting another high mark for the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes one day after the state added 191 fatalities to the toll caused by disease complications. The state has reported 998 deaths over the last seven days, or an average of almost 143 deaths per day.
1000 by Marc Freeman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED
^California won't conquer the coronavirus, and fully reopen, until it can protect essential workers<
CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-WORKERS:LA — Five months into the pandemic, it's becoming increasingly clear that California is not going to conquer the coronavirus until it dramatically improves safety measures for essential workers at the epicenter of the health crisis.
From farming communities to urban centers and suburbs, workers in retail, manufacturing, agriculture and logistics are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 outbreaks, and state and local officials are struggling to control the infections even as the outlook in more prosperous communities has improved.
1100 by Rong-Gong Lin II and Anita Chabria in San Francisco. MOVED
^Scientists figure out why coronavirus can rob the senses of smell and taste<
^CORONAVIRUS-SENSES:NY—<New research has revealed why many people infected with the coronavirus temporarily lose their sense of smell, and the result is not what scientists assumed.
The loss of taste and smell has proven to be the most distinctive symptom of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2. One-quarter to half of patients report ageusia and anosmia, as the two are respectively known, a symptom at least 20 times more likely to predict a positive test than signs such as fever and cough, according to Forbes.
400 by Theresa Braine. MOVED
^The COVID-19 downturn triggers jump in Medicaid enrollment<
^CORONAVIRUS-MEDICAID:KHN—<Reversing a three-year decline, the number of people covered by Medicaid nationwide rose markedly this spring as the impact of the recession caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 began to take hold.
Yet, the growth in participation in the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people was less than many analysts predicted. One possible factor tempering enrollment: People with concerns about catching the coronavirus avoided seeking care and figured they didn't need the coverage.
Program sign-ups are widely expected to accelerate through the summer, reflecting the higher number of unemployed.
1000 by Phil Galewitz. MOVED
^Trump says he never raised Taliban bounties in talks with Putin<
USRUSSIA-BOUNTIES-TRUMP:BLO — President Donald Trump says he hasn't discussed reports that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite having numerous phone calls as recently as last week.
"I have never discussed it with him," Trump told Axios in a video clip posted on Twitter Wednesday. Trump said he didn't raise the matter in last Thursday's discussion. "That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that's an issue that many people said was fake news."
350 by Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington. MOVED
^Congress still playing catch-up on accessibility, despite progress, 30 years after ADA<
CONGRESS-ADA:CON — Thirty years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and 25 years after Congress decided to apply those standards to itself, significant advancements have been made in accessibility in and around the historic buildings. But challenges remain for people navigating Capitol Hill in person and in the digital space.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 26 percent of adults in the United States have some type of disability, but representation in Congress is far below that and the institution is still playing catch-up in providing accommodations mandated by the ADA for equitable access to daily life, as well as the government.
1900 (with trims) by Katherine Tully-McManus in Washington. MOVED
^Trump says Fox News 'totally forgot who got them where they are'<
^TRUMP-FOXNEWS:NY—<President Donald Trump lashed out at Fox News on Wednesday, accusing the cable channel of being ungrateful.
"I was on Air Force One flying to the Great State of Texas, where I just landed. It is AMAZING in watching Fox News," the president tweeted. "How different they are from four years ago. Not even watchable. They totally forgot who got them where they are!"
550 by Brian Niemietz. MOVED
^UNITED STATES <
^Puerto Rico's power grid fails hours ahead of potential arrival of tropical storm<
PUERTORICO-GRID:MI — A day before potential Tropical Storm Isaias was expected to bring rains and winds to Puerto Rico, at least 400,000 customers throughout the island were left without power.
The outage affected multiple municipalities — from cities in the metropolitan area such as San Juan and Guaynabo to the mountainous towns of Jayuya and Naranjito to the coastal town of Cabo Rojo in the southwest.
But even on Wednesday morning, hours before the storm was expected to be felt across the island and people and officials prepared for its effects, an internal spat within Puerto Rico's bankrupt electric utility company dominated early headlines.
800 by Syra Ortiz-Blanes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. MOVED
^Tropical Storm Isaias will likely form Wednesday<
WEA-STORM:FL — The disturbance now called Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine has not yet become Tropical Storm Isaias, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday public advisory.
The storm still lacks a well-defined center of circulation, but it is still expected to become a tropical storm Wednesday or Wednesday night, Senior Hurricane Specialist Daniel Brown wrote in the latest forecast discussion describing the meteorological conditions of the storm.
850 by Brett Clarkson, David Fleshler and Brooke Baitinger in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED
^'She had a great career. She had it all,' says friend of retired Manhattan fashion exec killed in Maine shark attack<
MAINE-SHARKATTACK-VICTIM:NY — The Manhattan fashion executive killed by a great white shark in Maine retired from her successful career four years ago and hoped to spend her days staying active and spending time with her family, a longtime colleague told the Daily News.
"She had a great career. She had it all," Julie Dimperio Holowach's longtime boss and colleague Karen Murray told The News.
The 63-year-old Manhattanite was vacationing in Maine and swimming in the Casco Bay off Bailey Island Monday afternoon when the shark mauled her in front of her daughter.
350 by John Annese in New York. MOVED
^Muslim pilgrims begin curtailed Hajj in Saudi Arabia<
RELIG-SAUDI-HAJJ:DPA — Muslim pilgrims started performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, although Islam's largest gathering has been significantly curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A few thousand people are taking part, a fraction of the usually 2.5 million people from all over the world who usually gather annually in the holy city of Mecca.
400 by Nehal El-Sherif in Amman, Jordan. MOVED
^US allies, rivals move to crack down on foes and lock in gains in case Trump loses<
US-ALLIES-HUMANRIGHTS:LA — Members of Saad Jabri's family are missing.
The former Saudi intelligence officer, along with U.S. congressional lawmakers and human rights groups, say Saudi Arabia's ruling royal dynasty is holding the Jabri relatives hostage to lure the family patriarch back to the desert kingdom from his self-imposed exile in Canada. Jabri is said to have incriminating information about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Critics call it the latest crackdown by the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, who apparently feels empowered in part by a Trump administration that has shown little interest in condemning authoritarian regimes or advocating for human rights. President Donald Trump essentially whitewashed the crown prince's involvement in the gruesome murder of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist two years ago.
1150 (with trims) by Tracy Wilkinson in Washington. MOVED
^SCIENCE, MEDICINE, ENVIRONMENT<
^Meet Perseverance, JPL's newest Mars rover<
^SCI-NASA-MARS-ROVER:LA—<NASA's newest Mars rover is called Perseverance, and it has already lived up to the name.
Weighing in at just over a ton and loaded with the most sophisticated instruments ever sent to the red planet, the six-wheeled vehicle has already survived a hurdle no previous rover has had to face: a global pandemic.
After overcoming months of uncertainty, Perseverance is at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, awaiting the start of the 309-million-mile journey that will take it to an ancient lake bed that may contain evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Despite the unprecedented challenges, the $2.4-billion space robot is expected to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as early as Thursday — right on schedule.
1550 (with trims) by Deborah Netburn. MOVED
NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.
^TODAY'S TOP NEWSFEATURES<
^Analysis: Trump stirs old racial hatred, but this time feels different<
^CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-RACE-ANALYSIS:LA—<Seemingly every time President Donald Trump speaks about race or what it means to be an American, he sparks outrage.
His purposeful use of divisive and inflammatory language to energize his political base isn't new in American politics, though. It's part of a legacy of racism going back to the country's founding, when the authors of the Constitution gave slaveholders immense political power while allowing them to treat enslaved Africans as less than human.
"It taps into this racial resentment toward Black people that is deep-seated," said Pearl Dowe, a professor of political science and African American studies at Emory University in Atlanta. "Politicians use it because it works."
Trump's tactics served him well in 2016, but they feel out of step in an election year that has seen a dramatic shift in the public's attitudes about race.
1500 by Tyrone Beason. MOVED
^For local Native Americans, a reckoning over hurtful images goes way beyond one South Philadelphia statue<
NATIVEAMERICANS-SYMBOLS:PH — When Stephanie Mach leaves her Philadelphia home, she often passes the Swann Memorial Fountain, with its three bronze Native American figures, in the heart of Logan Square.
What many people don't know — but she does, as a scholar and activist of Din , or Navajo, descent — is that the square's namesake, James Logan, was not just a colonial statesman and Philadelphia mayor. He was an architect of the infamous "Walking Purchase," a scheme in which he and others swindled the original Lenape inhabitants out of perhaps a million acres of land in 1737.
As Philly officials begin renovation of Columbus Square, native peoples protest against honoring the explorer
Across the United States, the Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police violence have also ignited new discussions and demands over the use of Native images, symbols and mascots, and the future of monuments to men who harmed and killed indigenous people.
1950 by Jeff Gammage in Philadelphia. MOVED
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