Tribune News Service

News Budget for Saturday, April 6, 2019


Updated at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 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.


^Senate Democrats gingerly avoid endorsements in packed 2020 race<

^DEMOCRATS-2020-SENATE:BLO—< The proliferation of Democratic senators running for president is making for some awkward moments in the clubby chamber.

"Could they all be president? Could I endorse them all?" joked Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. "If there were one or two or three maybe you would feel pressure to get behind a friend. But when you have so many people running, it makes a lot of sense to say a lot of nice things about everybody."

With a few exceptions, Senate endorsements don't sway many voters. But they do open the door to donor networks and provide a roster of well-known surrogates who can help rally voters in primary states.

1200 (with trims) by Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis in Washington. MOVED


^Some wealthy parents cut deals, others fight on in college admissions scandal <

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD:LA In a busy week in the college admissions scandal, some accused parents have decided to cooperate with prosecutors.

One couple who balked, however, were indicted with an added charge of money laundering, indicating that the government is ready to wield more charges as leverage.

800 by Matthew Ormseth in Boston. MOVED



^Fritz Hollings, senator who fought hunger and excessive government spending, dies at 97<

HOLLINGS-OBIT:BLO Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, who helped smooth integration in South Carolina before spending 38 years in the U.S. Senate as an advocate for impoverished Americans and a voice for restraint in government spending, died Saturday at age 97.

1000 by Laurence Arnold and Bill Arthur in Washington. MOVED



^LAPD to scrap some crime data programs after criticism<

^LAPD-BLACK-DRIVERS:LA—<Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore plans to end a program that uses data to identify individuals who are most likely to commit violent crimes, bowing to criticism included in an audit and by privacy groups.

650 (with trim) by Mark Puente. MOVED


^South Florida teacher faces suspension for showing videos with nudes<

^TEACHER-VIDEOS-NUDES:FL—<The pictures displayed by a high school art teacher showed nudity, for sure. The question is whether they were artistic or obscene.

Brenda Fischer, a veteran teacher at Western High School in Davie, Fla., faces a three-day suspension for showing her students a video with nude models in positions that some students described as suggestive.

500 by Scott Travis. MOVED

^Sydney Brenner, genetics expert and Nobel laureate, dies at 92<

^BRENNER-OBIT:SD—<Sydney Brenner, a scientist who helped decipher the genetic code, discover how its information is put to use, and laid the groundwork for DNA sequencing technology, died Friday. He was 92.

950 by Bradley J. Fikes. MOVED



^A new president-elect in tiny Slovakia may point to a push against corruption and right-wing populism<

^SLOVAKIA:LA—<When crusading lawyer Zuzana Caputova last week became the first woman elected president of Slovakia, one of her first gestures was both poignant and pointedly symbolic.

She made a pilgrimage to a makeshift shrine memorializing journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, who were killed nearly 14 months ago in what authorities have alleged was a brazen hit ordered by one of the Central European country's richest businessmen.

Caputova's March 30 election victory was widely viewed as having been spurred not only by public anger over the young couple's deaths, but also by the pervasive corruption that Kuciak had worked so doggedly to document.

950 by Laura King. MOVED



^Trump's threat roils Calexico, where a border closing could spell disaster <

ABCARIAN-COLUMN:LA A giant inflatable baby Trump floated over the crowd of protesters who gathered Friday morning here at the Mexican border, next to the new outlet mall that was supposed to bring salvation to this economically depressed city.

They were mad about President Donald Trump's threat to close the border, but the purpose of the march was to demonstrate unity with Mexicali, Calexico's sister city across the border.

1200 by Robin Abcarian in Calexico, Calif. MOVED



These stories moved earlier in the week and remain suitable for weekend use.

^Kirstjen Nielsen has hung on as Homeland Security secretary, but at what price?<

NIELSEN:LA — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen put down her pen, stood up and hugged the officials from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, thanking them for their work on what she hailed as a "historic" pact to target unauthorized migration.

Within hours, President Donald Trump had accused the Northern Triangle countries of doing "nothing" and threatened not only to cancel aid to all three, but also to close the U.S.-Mexico border entirely.

For Nielsen, that incident last week was only the latest example of being publicly undercut by the president.

Fifteen months into her tenure as head of the government's third-largest department, Nielsen embodies a paradox: She has succeeded in holding onto her job, defying numerous reports that Trump had decided to fire her, but has done so by becoming the public face of controversial policies that haven't worked as planned — and in some cases have backfired.

1700 by Molly O'Toole in Washington. MOVED


^For Democrats, all paths to the White House run through the House of Sharpton<

DEMOCRATS-SHARPTON:LA — A glimpse at the guest list for the Rev. Al Sharpton's confab here this week would surely astonish any New Yorker arriving in a time machine from the 1980s. Every major Democrat who has launched a White House bid has cleared their schedule to get in front of Sharpton.

Few things once seemed more improbable, save perhaps for the White House being occupied by Donald Trump, who once competed with Sharpton for screaming tabloid headlines and airtime on what was then a nascent medium known as "trash TV."

But today, Sharpton's approval is sought by political candidates far and near.

1550 (with trims) by Evan Halper in New York. MOVED


^California's emergency alert system has been a disaster. A statewide fix is planned<

CALIF-EMERGENCY-ALERTS:LA — In Mendocino County, emergency staffers waited for a supervisor to show up before they warned residents of a growing fire siege in 2017.

In Santa Barbara County, officials hesitated to issue blanket evacuation orders before mudslides ripped through Montecito in 2018 because they worried they might trigger a panic.

And in Butte County in November, whole neighborhoods in Paradise were never told to evacuate as the Camp fire swept toward town.

In each case, local emergency preparedness agencies failed to adequately warn communities that death was approaching.

Experts say the failures point to an approach to emergency management — administered by individual counties — that has proved outdated in an era of massive, fast-moving wildfires and other extreme weather events.

In the wake of an unprecedented number of wildfire and mudslide deaths over the last two years — as well as demands from lawmakers — Cal OES has for the first time proposed a standard set of emergency alert protocols for counties throughout the state.

1250 (with trims) by Joseph Serna in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Medicaid expansion boosts hospital bottom lines — and prices<

MEDICAID-HOSPITALS:KHN — The Medicaid expansion promoted by the Affordable Care Act was a boon for St. Mary's Medical Center, the largest hospital in western Colorado. Since 2014, the number of uninsured patients it served dropped by more than half, saving the nonprofit hospital more than $3 million a year.

But the Grand Junction hospital's prices did not go down.

"St. Mary's is still way too costly," said Mike Stahl, CEO of Hilltop Community Resources, which provides insurance to about half of its nearly 600 employees and their families in western Colorado. "We are not seeing the decreases in our overall health bills that I believe the community overall should be feeling."

Stahl and other employers in Colorado hoped that as hospitals saved millions of dollars in charity care from the Medicaid expansion, it would lead to a curb in consumer and employer health costs and insurance premiums.

A new state report found that didn't happen.

1250 by Phil Galewitz. MOVED

^A Trump mutiny? Republican prospects warily eye 2020 presidential run<

TRUMP-2020-GOP:LA — Steve Scheffler, who represents Iowa on the Republican National Committee, has a warning for anyone in the party hoping to deny President Donald Trump the 2020 GOP nomination.

"We want to protect the integrity of the caucuses and give people the ability to make their case," he said, referring to the balloting that kicks off the election season next February. But, Scheffler went on, there will be zero tolerance for any Republican who comes to Iowa and "starts bashing the president and his policies."

"That," he said, "will be dealt with."

As Trump looks ahead to his reelection bid, the president enjoys a vise grip on the GOP and its machinery, as well as overwhelming support among Republican voters, with a sky-scraping 90 percent approval rating. Even harsh critics see little chance Trump will be denied his party's nomination, barring a dramatic change in fortune.

1250 by Mark Z. Barabak and Eli Stokols in Des Moines, Iowa. (Moved as a politics story.) MOVED


^San Francisco could become the first US city to eliminate new HIV infections<

^SANFRANCISCO-HIV:LA—<San Francisco is on course to be the first in the country to eliminate new HIV infections — or at least come close. President Donald Trump pledged in his State of the Union speech that the U.S. will "eliminate the HIV epidemic within 10 years." The city is in position to get there first.

1650 (with trim) by Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco. MOVED


^Census Bureau says Arabs and Persians are white, but many disagree<

^CENSUS-RACE:LA—<Samira Damavandi knows that when she fills out her 2020 census form, she will be counted. But it pains her that, in some way, she will also be forgotten.

When asked to mark her race, Damavandi will encounter options for white, black, Asian, American Indian and Native Hawaiian — but nothing that she believes represents her family's Iranian heritage. She will either have to choose white, or identify as "some other race."

"It erases the community," she said.

1800 (with trim) by Sarah Parvini and Ellis Simani. MOVED


^The decline of salmon adds to the struggle of Puget Sound's orcas<

^ENV-ORCAS-FOODSUPPLY:SE—<Decadelong cycles of more and less productive ocean conditions for salmon and other sea life are breaking down. The cycles of change are quicker. Novel conditions in the Pacific are the new normal.

"It used to be up, or down. Now, it is sideways," said physiological ecologist Brian Beckman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

That's bad news for endangered orcas that rely on salmon for food. When salmon decline, orcas suffer.

3850 (with trims) by Lynda V. Mapes. MOVED


^Going to school where dozens died nearby<

^SCHOOLS-NEARBY-VIOLENCE:LA—<While much of the recent national conversation on campus violence has focused on mass shootings, schools also deal with other physical and psychological harms that thousands of students experience directly or indirectly near campuses.

In Los Angeles County, at least one homicide occurred within a mile of 89 percent of public high school campuses, according to a Times analysis of data from 2014 through 2018. There were at least 50 homicides within a mile of 15 campuses during those years.

The effects of that violence can be devastating and costly.

1950 (with trims) by Sonali Kohli and Iris Lee. MOVED


^A killing near school hits home<

^SCHOOLS-NEARBY-VIOLENCE-FRIENDS:LA—< Brigitte Green hasn't entered her son's bedroom since she replaced his doorknob with a lock.

That was the day she returned home from the hospital without him.

Her son, Monyae Ikeyli Jackson, was 15. As he and three friends walked from a party early last May 13, they were gunned down. Two survived. Monyae and La'marrion Upchurch, also 15, were killed.

The deaths shook local schools and shattered friends. They left Green grieving while she tries to keep the rest of her family going.

1250 by Sonali Kohli in Los Angeles. MOVED


^K-pop's K-porn problem: Growing scandal highlights South Korea's spy-cam epidemic<

SKOREA-KPOP-SCANDAL:LA — It started a few years ago with a small group of young men texting each other evidence of their sexual exploits — photographs and videos allegedly made without consent of the women who appeared in them.

It might have ended there, too, if some of the participants were not stars of the multibillion-dollar South Korean music industry known as K-pop.

Some of its biggest names have been implicated in an evolving police investigation that has shaken the country.

The growing scandal has tarnished K-pop with allegations of bribery, police corruption, prostitution and drug-dealing.

But above all, it has turned a spotlight on another national industry: illicit sex videos filmed or distributed without consent and widely consumed through a thriving black market.

1300 (with trims) by Victoria Kim in Seoul, South Korea. MOVED


^For many Latinos, memories of Vicks VapoRub are as strong as the scent of eucalyptus<

^VICKS-VAPORUB-LATINOS:LA—<They call it Bibaporru, Beep Vaporu, El Bic, El Bix, El Vickisito.

And many think of the sticky, stinky menthol goop as their own, even though it's used around the world.

In the Latino community, Vicks VapoRub inspires a curious, nostalgic devotion — for its many nicknames and uses far more creative than relief for the common cold and muscle pain.

1450 (with trim) by Esmeralda Bermudez. MOVED




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