Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, March 14, 2019


Updated at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 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.


^USC's role in yet another scandal prompts anger, disappointment among its community<

^CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-USC:LA—<The largest college admissions scandal in U.S. history stretches from La Jolla to Cape Cod, but its epicenter is Southern California and the private university here coveted by so many children of privilege and their families.

Of the 32 parents named in the FBI affidavit unsealed this week in U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday, more than half stand accused of conspiring to bribe their children's way into USC. Other universities, including Georgetown, Stanford, the University of San Diego and Yale, were also ensnared in the criminal enterprise run by consultant William "Rick" Singer, but the misconduct alleged involving USC dwarfs all other schools.

1450 (with trims) by Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Roger Stone faces angry judge over gag order<

STONE:LA — As a self-described Republican dirty trickster, Roger Stone spent decades gleefully and gratuitously inspiring ire among his critics and opponents.

Now the former political adviser to President Trump is struggling to stay out of jail while awaiting trial in the Russia investigation.

Stone is due back in federal court on Thursday to face U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing his case and appears to be running out of patience with him.

650 by Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED


^Senate set to vote on Trump's border emergency<

TRUMP-EMERGENCY-SENATE:LA — Senators are poised to reject on Thursday President Donald Trump's declaration of an emergency on the southern border.

800 by the Los Angeles Times in Washington

Moving later


^'Too complex to fly'? Trump riff on planes shows aversion to technological change and science<

BOEING-PLANES-TRUMP:LA — He has demanded "goddamned steam" to power the Navy's aircraft carriers and prefers a wall to drones and other technology to secure the country's southern border.

He has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and repeatedly, wrongly, pointed to occasional wintry weather as proof that he's right.

And this week, amid a safety scare involving Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes, President Donald Trump complained that modern jets are "too complex to fly." He added: "I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better."

The president, a septuagenarian who tweets yet doesn't email, text or use computers, and openly marvels at the invention of the wheel, is not shy about his old-school attitude toward technology. That backward-looking approach is at the core of his nostalgia-based appeal to voters longing for a supposedly better, simpler era of American greatness.

1400 (with trims) by Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED


^No caucus, no problem? Some freshman Democrats avoid ideological groups<

HOUSE-DEMOCRATS-CAUCUS:CON — Joining a caucus with like-minded colleagues is a typical ritual for House freshmen, a chance to form alliances with lawmakers in similar wings of their respective parties.

But it's not for everyone. A handful of freshman Democrats have opted not to join any of the party's ideological groups: the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, and the centrist New Democrat Coalition.

And for some, that's a point of pride.

Asked at a Democratic women's event last week how she decides when to side with President Donald Trump, Rep. Abby Finkenauer said her northeast Iowa district comes first. To prove her point, she noted that she hasn't joined any of the three caucuses.

"I am an Iowa Democrat," Finkenauer said.

900 (with trims) by Bridget Bowman in Washington. MOVED



^Beto O'Rourke joins the presidential race: Can excitement carry him to the White House?<

OROURKE:LA — Beto O'Rourke entered the presidential race Thursday — among the least credentialed, least experienced candidates in a crowded Democratic pack, but also among those generating the most buzz.

The former three-term Texas congressman is well-positioned at a time Democrats are desperate for a new approach, fresh ideas and an infusion of charisma. The candidate whose signature achievement was galvanizing Democrats behind a Senate campaign he ultimately lost will quickly test how willing the party's voters are to eschew political pedigree and policy experience for optimism and eloquent energy.

1200 by Evan Halper in Washington. MOVED



^Will children at center of college admissions scandal pay a price along with their parents?<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-STUDENTS:LA — Their parents face criminal charges, with federal prosecutors alleging massive fraud to get them into some of America's most elite schools.

But it's still unclear what is going to happen to the children who were the beneficiaries of what prosecutors called the largest college admissions scam ever uncovered.

700 by Alene Tchekmedyian in Los Angeles. MOVED


^A lingering question in the college admissions scandal: Why?<

^CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-WHY:LA—<According to federal prosecutors, parents paid anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars to ensure their offspring got accepted to schools they probably weren't qualified to attend.

One of the big questions: Why?

"There is such pressure around students and parents around college admissions," said Robert Franek, the editor-in-chief of the Princeton Review. "People are hung up on perception and brand."

850 by Jessica Roy in Los Angeles. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^Arizona ranchers who supported Trump's barrier along the border are losing faith<

BORDER-RANCHERS:LA — When Donald Trump was elected president, rancher John Ladd said smuggling traffic on his ranch immediately dipped, and he slept soundly for the first time in years.

Ladd, 63, a fourth-generation cattle rancher, had voted for Trump and his promise to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. But the wall hasn't been constructed, the respite didn't last, and Ladd, along with other vocal southern Arizona ranchers, has lost faith in the Border Patrol's barrier plans.

The first stretch of new fence planned for construction by the Trump administration is not slated for the Arizona desert but for Texas and is mired in environmental and land disputes. Even if that project moves forward and is expanded to Arizona, Ladd and some other ranchers now doubt it will stop smugglers unless the Border Patrol changes its policies and deploys agents closer to the new barriers.

1600 by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Naco, Ariz. MOVED


^Can Republicans make up any ground in New England in 2020?<

GOP-2020-NEWENGLAND:CON — The prospects for a Republican rebirth in New England in 2020 are dim.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only New England Republican left in Congress, is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year.

She doesn't have an opponent yet, but even if she survives, there are few opportunities for her party to make gains. In neighboring New Hampshire, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen could be a top GOP Senate target in a state Hillary Clinton carried by less than half a point, but she doesn't have an obvious challenger.

Democrats control all 21 of the region's House districts. Only two present realistic pickup opportunities for Republicans, and in a presidential year, both start out leaning toward Democrats.

1250 (with trims) by Simone Pathe in Washington. MOVED




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