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Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, November 20, 2020

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Updated at 11 p.m. EST (0400 UTC).

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Adds ELN-GA-RECOUNT-KEMP:AT, ELN-MICH-WAYNECOUNTY-LAWSUIT:BLO, POPE-MODEL:LA, IRAN-TANKER:DPA, CORONAVIRUS-UN-VACCINE:DPA, ENV-EVEREST-POLLUTANTS:DPA, CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-TEENS:SJ, CORONAVIRUS-TEXAS:AU, ASIAPACIFIC-TRADE-PACT:DPA, CALIF-SCHOOLSHOOTING:LA, CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:BLO

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Updates CORONAVIRUS-TRUMPJR:NY, ELN-MICH-LAWMAKERS:DTN, ELN-MINN-GOP-DOUBTS:MS, ELN-MICH-WAYNECOUNTY:DTN

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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.

^TOP STORIES<

^Trump election attack falters as Biden pushes ahead on transition<

WHITEHOUSE-TRANSITION:LA _ President Donald Trump falsely insisted again Friday that he won the election even as President-elect Joe Biden met with top Democrats in Congress and pressed forward with his transition, a split screen without parallel in American history.

Biden met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., as his team expressed confidence that Trump's efforts to overturn the election results with unsubstantiated claims of fraud would not succeed.

Trump's efforts suffered a major setback as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, certified his state's election results after a six-day hand recount.

950 by Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED

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^Michigan GOP leaders after White House meeting: 'We will follow the law'<

ELN-MICH-LAWMAKERS-1ST-LEDE:DTN _ Michigan's top two legislative leaders vowed Friday that the presidential candidate with the most votes will win the state's electoral votes after departing a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

With the eyes of the nation on them and criticisms flying from Democrats, seven Michigan lawmakers traveled to meet with Trump for about an hour. The visit came as supporters of the president have moved in recent days to overturn the results of the state's election, which Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 154,000 votes in unofficial returns.

1700 by Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke in Washington. MOVED

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^Wayne County's top lawyer defends election certification as GOP canvasser pushes audit<

ELN-MICH-WAYNECOUNTY-1ST-LEDE:DTN _ Wayne County's top lawyer Friday defended the Board of Canvassers' certification of the county's Nov. 3 election results as legally valid as Republican canvasser Monica Palmer defended her decision to try to rescind her approval Tuesday of the county's votes.

In a memo circulated Friday to canvassers, Wayne County Corporation Counsel Janet Anderson-Davis said canvassers were not able to rescind their votes because the board had concluded the canvass and "because the board voted not to reconsider the motion and because the motion to rescind must be made at a meeting."

950 by Breana Noble and Beth LeBlanc in Farmington Hills, Mich. MOVED

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^Pfizer seeks emergency US approval for COVID-19 vaccine<

^CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-PFIZER-1ST-LEDE:BLO_<Pfizer Inc. filed with U.S. regulators for an emergency-use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, seeking clearance for an experimental shot that's expected to play an important role in an immunization effort to halt the virus.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. drugmaker with its German partner BioNTech SE, is the first to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. An emergency clearance would allow Americans to access the vaccine before it's granted full approval. It is likely to be the first to be made available on a limited basis to health workers and older Americans.

750 by Robert Langreth and Riley Griffin. MOVED

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^'Numbers don't lie': Georgia governor and secretary of state certify election<

ELN-GA-RECOUNT-2ND-LEDE:AT _ Georgia's Republican governor and secretary of state certified election results Friday that showed Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by over 12,000 votes, one of the closest margins in the country.

By making Georgia's presidential results official, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger validated two vote counts: an initial machine count of paper ballots, and a manual recount to audit the outcome. Biden received 12,670 more votes than Trump, according to the certified vote total of machine counts. The recount found a similar the result, with Biden ahead by 12,284 votes.

750 by Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^CORONAVIRUS<

^Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for coronavirus, spokesman says<

CORONAVIRUS-TRUMPJR-1ST-LEDE:NY _ Donald Trump Jr. has tested positive for coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the president's eldest son confirmed the infection that has hammered the White House recently, even infecting the president last month.

The 42-year-old scion _ who frequently makes public appearances without a mask _ is in isolation in his cabin.

"Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result," the spokesman said. "He's been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines."

300 by Brian Niemietz in New York. MOVED

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^Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott has tested positive for COVID-19<

CORONAVIRUS-SCOTT:MI _ Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced Friday, making him the second U.S. senator to test positive this week as cases surge across the country.

In a statement, Scott said he was experiencing mild symptoms. He's been in self-quarantine at his home in Naples since Saturday after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive, though he did not register a positive test himself until six days later.

500 by Alex Daugherty and Michelle Marchante in Miami. MOVED

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^Mnuchin, McConnell want to tap unused Fed funds for stimulus<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:BLO _ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin bid to revive stalled stimulus talks with congressional Democrats by proposing the use of untapped Federal Reserve relief funds as part of a new package of aid.

But Mnuchin's plan to shutter a number of the Fed's emergency-lending facilities ran into immediate opposition from Democrats. President-elect Joe Biden's transition team slammed it as "deeply irresponsible," and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the Treasury secretary of trying to hobble the incoming administration.

900 by Erik Wasson and Saleha Mohsin in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:CON _ 750 by David Lerman and Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED

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^COVID-19 in Florida: Second consecutive day of 9,000 new cases<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL _ COVID-19 infections among Floridians are adding up at a level not seen since July as the state on Friday tallied at least 9,000 new cases for the second consecutive day.

The Florida Department of Health reported that 923,418 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.

Friday's data showed 9,085 new infections, which is the same number as the previous day.

250 by Marc Freeman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Texans urged to limit holiday gatherings as state posts second-highest daily case total<

CORONAVIRUS-TEXAS:AU _ The Texas Hospital Association on Friday urged Texans to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small as statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 11,738 new cases Friday, the state's second-highest single-day total of the pandemic. The record was set Thursday, with 12,256 new cases.

750 by Nicole Cobler in Austin, Texas. MOVED

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^North Carolina coronavirus hospitalizations hit new record as officials urge caution at holidays<

CORONAVIRUS-NC:RA _ North Carolina reported another jump in hospitalizations Friday, once again breaking the state record.

There are now 1,571 people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, up from 1,538 Thursday. The state also reported an additional 3,688 cases of coronavirus Friday and 4,979 deaths. The deaths represent an increase of 43 from the day before.

900 by Sophie Kasakove and Drew Jackson in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED

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^Ohio sets new record with 8,808 new coronavirus cases<

CORONAVIRUS-OHIO:OH _ New coronavirus cases hit a new record on Friday as Ohioans headed into their first weekend under Gov. Mike DeWine's mandated statewide overnight curfew.

The state reported 8,808 new cases on Friday, eclipsing the 8,071 record set a week ago.

700 by Rick Rouan in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED

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^CDC report: COVID-19 cases dropped in Kansas counties with mask orders, rose in others<

CORONAVIRUS-KAN-MASKS:KC _ As Kansas counties decide how to respond to Gov. Laura Kelly's new statewide mask order, a new study shows counties that adopted the governor's first mandate this summer experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases.

Among counties with an order, the seven-day rolling average of new cases dropped on average 6% in the month and a half following the mandate. Meanwhile, cases in counties without a mask requirement saw on average a 100% increase.

650 by Jonathan Shorman in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

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^Mexico passes 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, but actual toll much higher<

^CORONAVIRUS-MEXICO:BLO_<Mexico became the fourth country in the world to pass the mark of 100,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, with health authorities acknowledging that the toll is probably magnitudes higher.

With 576 new COVID-19 deaths reported late Thursday, some 100,104 Mexicans have succumbed to the respiratory disease. The North American country added another 4,472 cases for a total of 1,019,543.

Mexico has been plagued by insufficient testing throughout the pandemic, leading to a positivity rate that's stood around 40% _ among the highest in the world. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was slow to impose lockdowns and quick to lift restrictions, saying Mexicans will know how to take care of themselves to prevent infection and spreading.

500 by Dale Quinn. MOVED

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^Who will get the first COVID-19 vaccines? States race to decide<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINES-STATES:LA _ As the first COVID-19 vaccines move toward federal approval, states are racing to finalize plans for who will get the first doses and how they will be distributed _ critical decisions that have taken on new urgency as drugmakers prepare to ship vaccines in just a few weeks.

1250 (with trims) by Noam N. Levey in Washington. MOVED

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^Teens are the youngest volunteers in COVID-19 vaccine trials<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-TEENS:SJ _ Teenagers won't be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine when adults do, because there's not yet proof of safety and efficacy.

But teen volunteers such as San Jose's Allyson Eisenman are bringing it within closer reach, participating in a Kaiser study that could accelerate the vaccine's potential use in young people.

800 by Lisa M. Krieger in San Jose, Calif. MOVED

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^Biden meets with Schumer, Pelosi to discuss stimulus spending<

BIDEN-DEMOCRATS-SPENDING:BLO _ President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday in Delaware, as lawmakers negotiate spending bills to avert a government shutdown and provide coronavirus relief.

The incoming president signaled he would look to strengthen the relationship between the White House and Democratic lawmakers, which collapsed under President Donald Trump.

400 by Justin Sink in Washington. MOVED

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^Maryland reports 2,353 coronavirus cases and second-most deaths since June<

CORONAVIRUS-MD:BZ _ Cases and deaths are rising across the state as Maryland reported 2,353 new coronavirus cases Friday and 25 deaths tied to COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

The state has reported 2,000 or more new cases in five of the past seven days _ a number not seen before this period. Friday's case total was the second-highest daily total during the pandemic, behind just Thursday's 2,910.

250 by Ben Leonard in Baltimore. MOVED

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^WASHINGTON<

^War hero Scott O'Grady gets Trump's nod for defense post, squares off with critics<

DEFENSE-NOMINEE:DA _ President Donald Trump has nominated Texan Scott O'Grady, who once campaigned for state Senate, for assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

Following his nomination, the Dallas resident known for his career as a fighter pilot and war hero quickly came under fire on social media.

450 by Elizabeth Thompson in Washington. MOVED

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^Ivanka Trump distances self from dad's election fraud claims as her own legal jeopardy grows<

IVANKATRUMP-LEGAL:SJ _ Ivanka Trump is among a growing number of President Donald Trump's close advisers who want nothing to do with his legal efforts to subvert the results of the Nov. 3 election, according to a new report.

These advisers may publicly act as though they believe Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani can pull some kind of courtroom miracle to prove widely debunked claims of election fraud, Axios reported.

650 by Martha Ross. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^Farm support holds for Trump, but Biden may find inroads<

BIDEN-TRUMP-FARMERS:CON _ President Donald Trump tenaciously courted farmers and ranchers with an anti-regulatory agenda and a confrontational trade approach that opened some markets.

But he also relied on billions in federal aid to compensate them for retaliatory tariffs and a pandemic that took a deep gouge out of the economy.

Despite the mixed performance, Trump's policies on trade, regulation and other areas maintained his popularity in rural and farm communities, winning their support in the Nov. 3 election.

Joe Biden nevertheless has a chance to do as president what he didn't manage as a candidate: make inroads by distinguishing his performance from Trump's in ways that are important to a rural constituency.

1250 (with trims) by Ellyn Ferguson in Washington. MOVED

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^After Trump's embrace, Saudi Arabia may find Biden is not so bad<

USSAUDI-BIDEN:BLO _ Under Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia got all the attention it could have wanted from the U.S. _ and more. While a Biden presidency looks certain to end the love-fest, the kingdom's leaders may not mind as much as one might think.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, are set to lose much of what they gained during Trump's four years in office, including hastily approved weapons sales, the easing of pressure over human rights abuses, and not least a back-channel via the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

But the good times came with something less beneficial: an erratic, sometimes unpredictable U.S. foreign policy in which Washington inflamed tensions with Iran and talked tough but never responded forcefully to cruise-missile strikes on Saudi oil facilities.

900 (with trims) by Nick Wadhams and Vivian Nereim in Washington. MOVED

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^Biden team announces hires for incoming administration<

BIDEN-PERSONNEL:CON _ President-elect Joe Biden has picked a Senate and White House veteran with experience inside and outside government to be the administration's chief liaison with Congress.

Louisa Terrell, who has been overseeing legislative affairs for the transition team, will formally become the director of legislative affairs office at the White House when Biden takes office in January.

300 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED

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^Earmarks are likely coming back next year, House Democratic leader says<

CONGRESS-EARMARKS:CON _ House Democratic leaders are proceeding with plans to bring back earmarks for the 117th Congress, according to Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer.

Hoyer, D-Md., said in an interview that sometime after the Appropriations Committee's new chairwoman is elected the week of Nov. 30, she will begin soliciting House lawmakers to "ask for congressional initiatives for their districts and their states."

600 by Jennifer Shutt in Washington. MOVED

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^House Democrats: Trump's hold on WHO funding skirted federal budget law<

CONGRESS-USWHO:CON _ House Democrats on Friday accused the White House of abusing its powers in withholding funding from the World Health Organization, likening the move to a freeze that administration officials put on military aid to Ukraine last year.

Several House committees released documents obtained from the Office of Management and Budget, showing that the budget office put a temporary hold on funds destined for the WHO beginning Aug. 19, 2020.

700 by Paul M. Krawzak in Washington. MOVED

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^Crapo poised for starring role in economic, health care policy<

SENATE-FINANCE-CRAPO:CON _ The most powerful committee in Congress hasn't had a top Republican not named Charles E. Grassley or Orrin G. Hatch in two decades.

That's about to change in January when a Harvard Law School-trained attorney from Idaho Falls is expected to take the Senate Finance gavel _ or the ranking member slot in an evenly divided Senate, depending on the Georgia runoffs.

Either way, Michael D. Crapo will be at the center of economic and health care policymaking in a pivotal year, as a new administration takes office amid the devastation of COVID-19.

1500 (with trims) by Doug Sword and Lauren Clason in Washington. MOVED

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^POLITICS<

^Trump accused in lawsuit of 'pressure' to undo Michigan vote<

ELN-MICH-WAYNECOUNTY-LAWSUIT:BLO _ President Donald Trump and his campaign were accused in a lawsuit of threatening to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of predominantly Black voters in Detroit by pressuring local officials to refuse to certify Joe Biden as the election winner in Michigan's Wayne County.

The complaint was filed late Friday by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

300 by Robert Burnson. MOVED

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^Why Gov. Kemp formalized Georgia's election despite Trump's pushback<

ELN-GA-RECOUNT-KEMP:AT _ When Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state's 16 presidential electors, he not only brought Georgia one step closer to ending a tumultuous vote-counting process but he also defied calls from President Donald Trump and his allies to delay the decision.

The governor announced his move by also venting frustration at an "unacceptable" tallying process that found thousands of ballots in four counties that had previously gone uncounted.

Kemp, a former secretary of state, expanded on his remarks in an interview Friday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shortly before he certified the electors.

650 by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^Trump campaign lawsuit is 'assault' on Pennsylvania law, judge told<

^ELN-PA-TRUMP-LAWSUIT:BLO_<President Donald Trump's bid for an injunction blocking Pennsylvania from certifying its election result unless it tosses out tens of thousands of ballots is a "stunning request" to cancel the votes of 6.8 million people, the state's top elections official told a judge.

The injunction, which Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said "does not even try" to meet the legal standard for such relief, can't be granted because the Trump campaign hasn't demonstrated that it's likely to succeed in the case, which is based on a "gripe" about state law, Boockvar said. She made the argument in a brief filed Friday in federal court in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

450 by Erik Larson. MOVED

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^Minnesota GOP claims election 'abnormalities' without evidence<

ELN-MINN-GOP-DOUBTS-1ST-LEDE:MS _ Election officials on Friday swiftly rejected claims by Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan that "extreme data abnormalities" might have influenced the state's Nov. 3 election after her examples proved to be nothing more than instances of high voter turnout.

"The bottom line is you can't just throw out conjecture and guesswork without real evidence," said Risikat Adesaogun, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Secretary of State's office.

1100 by Stephen Montemayor in Minneapolis. MOVED

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^White House chief of staff Mark Meadows rules out one option for his political future<

MEADOWS:RA _ White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who represented North Carolina in the U.S House, said Friday he would not run for U.S. Senate in 2022.

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, has said he would not run for a fourth term in 2022, creating an open U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina for the first time since 2004 that is likely to attract a crowd of candidates.

300 by Brian Murphy in Washington. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed 2 during Kenosha protests, bailed out of jail after attorneys post $2 million<

WIS-PROTEST-KILLINGS-BAIL:TB _ Kyle Rittenhouse was released from jail in Wisconsin on Friday afternoon after his attorneys posted $2 million bail, setting the teenager free as he awaits trial for fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during summer protests in Kenosha, police said.

His release came over the objections of family members and lawyers for two of the men he shot. They had asked for higher bail and voiced concerns Rittenhouse would flee, which his lawyers have said he would not.

The 17-year-old's release was funded by donations sought by his attorneys, who appealed to the political right, where Rittenhouse is popular. Those lawyers also are seeking to overturn Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

850 by Dan Hinkel in Chicago. MOVED

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^Friend who bought gun for Kyle Rittenhouse told police teen predicted life behind bars after shooting 3 during Kenosha protests<

WIS-PROTEST-KILLINGS:TB _ Kyle Rittenhouse predicted he would spend the rest of his life in prison after shooting three people during chaotic demonstrations in Kenosha over the summer, a close friend told police hours after the gunfire.

Dominick Black, now 19, told investigators that Rittenhouse fled to the back room of a local business after Kenosha police rebuffed his attempt to turn himself in. Black said he met Rittenhouse there and tried to calm him down after he fatally shot two men and wounded another.

The interview was recorded Aug. 26 at the Antioch police station, where Rittenhouse turned himself in shortly after the shooting. Rittenhouse, his mother and two sisters also sat for interviews with Kenosha detectives that night.

1100 by Stacy St. Clair, Christy Gutowski and Dan Hinkel in Chicago. MOVED

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^Michigan, Wisconsin men denied bond in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot<

MICHIGAN-GOV-PLOT:DTN _ A federal judge overseeing the case of a Waterford man charged in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined an appeal Thursday to set bail as his case proceeds.

And in Wisconsin state court on Thursday another alleged plotter was denied bond as the government readies its case to extradite the man to Michigan.

550 James David Dickson in Detroit. MOVED

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^One prosecutor tried to put Epstein away for decades. Powerful men maneuvered to stop her<

EPSTEIN-PROSECUTION:MI _ When Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty in state court in June 2008 to two sex solicitation charges, which came with an 18-month sentence but avoided tougher federal sex crimes charges as part of a deal with the feds, colleagues of the federal prosecutor who had led the investigation flooded her with congratulations.

But Ann Marie Villafa a was in no mood to celebrate.

"After all the hell they put me through, I don't feel like celebrating 18 months," Villafa a wrote to one colleague about Epstein's sentence. "He should be spending 18 years in jail."

That's according to a report from the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility. A summary of the report was issued last week. The fuller document was obtained by the Miami Herald and its parent, McClatchy.

2200 by Kevin G. Hall and Ben Wieder in Miami. MOVED

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^Deadly fire ravages Eastern Sierra town, then rains douse it, sheriff says<

CALIF-NEV-WILDFIRES:LA _ The wind-blown blaze that destroyed much of an Eastern Sierra town and killed an elderly woman Tuesday jumped from home to home so fast that people were unable to save possessions before frantically evacuating, residents and authorities said Friday.

Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun said the fire started with a spark of unknown origin behind Mountain View BBQ in Walker, a town of about 1,000 people on the California-Nevada border.

500 by Anita Chabria in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Appeals court strikes down Boca Raton's ban on anti-gay conversion therapy<

FLA-CONVERSION-THERAPY:FL _ A federal appeals court struck down Boca Raton's ban on conversion therapy for gay adolescents struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, calling the ban an infringement on the First Amendment rights of the teens and the counselors who try to treat them.

Licensed family therapists Robert Otto and Judy Hamilton sued the city for the right to talk to their juvenile clients about conversion if the clients had "unwanted" attraction to members of the same gender or "confusion" about their gender identity.

The city's ordinance prohibited conversion therapy as harmful to the health and emotional development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other youth. A district court upheld the law, but Otto and Hamilton appealed, backed by religious-liberty advocates at Liberty Counsel.

450 by Rafael Olmeda in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Detroit archbishop to lead national Catholic group on Joe Biden and abortion<

RELIG-BISHOPS-BIDEN-ABORTION:DE _ The head of the Catholic Church in Detroit has been chosen to lead a new national group that seeks to guide how Catholics should respond to President-elect Joe Biden and the contentious issue of abortion.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, was named this week the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on the last day of their annual fall meeting.

Archbishop Jos Gomez of Los Angeles, who named Vigneron, struck a conservative tone in his remarks in emphasizing abortion and by saying Biden supports policies that "attack some fundamental values we hold dear."

1350 by Niraj Warikoo in Detroit. MOVED

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^Killings of young victims, many unsolved, form chilling pattern in Atlanta metro area<

ATLANTA-VIOLENCE-YOUNGVICTIMS:AT _ A child is cut down in a drive-by shooting. A teenager on his bicycle is hit by a car and killed, but the driver leaves the scene. An 8-year-old girl in a car with her family is shot dead when armed protesters open fire on their vehicle.

These are just a few stories from recent months across metro Atlanta that illustrate an unnerving pattern: fatal incidents involving young victims with no one to hold accountable.

900 by Henri Hollis in Atlanta. MOVED

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^Parents of Saugus High School shooting victims file wrongful death lawsuits<

CALIF-SCHOOLSHOOTING:LA _ The parents of the two Saugus High School students who were killed during a shooting by a classmate last year have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the school district.

In separate lawsuits filed Monday, days after the one-year anniversary of the teens' deaths, the parents of Dominic Blackwell, 14, and Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, allege that the William S. Hart Union High School District failed to take actions that could have prevented the tragedy.

The families are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and asking the district to make safety changes.

500 by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^With Baltimore close to the 300-homicide mark again, leaders mull new approaches amid some signs of improvement<

BALTIMORE-VIOLENCE:BZ _ The grim bench mark has been arriving each year around this time, landing in Baltimore as the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches. For the sixth straight year, Baltimore is on pace to record at least 300 homicides, leaving the city's political, civic and law enforcement leaders again searching for ways to reduce the rate of violence, which not even a pandemic could stop.

1250 (with trims) by Phil Davis and Phillip Jackson in Baltimore. MOVED

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^Texas board OKs sex education policy update, but rejects push to acknowledge LGBTQ students<

TEXAS-SEX-EDUCATION:DA _ New Texas sex education standards that include teaching about birth control, not just abstinence, starting in middle school, won final approval Friday from the State Board of Education.

While overhauling the sex education curriculum, as part of revamping health standards for the first time in two decades, the board rejected a push to acknowledge LGBTQ students.

1150 by Alex Briseno in Austin, Texas. MOVED

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^Cuomo wins Emmy for his COVID-19 briefings, says he shares honor with New Yorkers and journalists<

TV-EMMYS-CUOMO:NY _ And this year's award for heartfelt tragi-drama goes to Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, the governor of New York, basked in the glow of an Emmy on Friday after learning he would receive the International Emmy Founders Award for his COVID-19-focused press briefings.

Cuomo became a national sensation for his sober, sometimes funny, sometimes sad briefings as the coronavirus swept through the nation.

250 by Michael Gartland in New York. MOVED

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^THE WORLD<

^Mexico's president gives the military sweeping new powers _ and protections<

MEXICO-MILITARY:LA _ As a candidate for president, Andr s Manuel L pez Obrador denounced Mexico's armed forces and the "mafia of power" that he said controlled them. He accused soldiers of human rights abuses in the country's bloody drug war and publicly clashed with Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, then secretary of defense.

But after taking office, L pez Obrador changed his tune, embracing the same military leaders he had once bashed.

After Cienfuegos was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport last month and charged with drug trafficking, the president rushed to his defense, threatening to withhold security cooperation with the United States unless charges were dropped. U.S. authorities caved this week and returned the 72-year-old retired general to Mexico.

It was an unprecedented gift for the nation's insular but increasingly powerful armed forces.

1400 by Kate Linthicum and Patrick J. McDonnell in Mexico City. MOVED

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^At summit, China's Xi is keen on US-led trade pact ditched by Trump<

ASIAPACIFIC-TRADE-PACT:DPA _ Chinese President Xi Jinping told Asia-Pacific leaders _ including U.S. President Donald Trump _ on Friday that Beijing will "give positive consideration to the idea of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)."

The CPTPP is the revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade deal promoted by the U.S. during the 2008-2016 Obama administration.

500 by Simon Roughneen in Bangkok. MOVED

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^Germany marks 75 years since Nuremberg Trials held Nazis to account<

GERMANY-NUREMBERG-ANNIVERSARY:DPA _ Friday marks 75 years since the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials, a judicial marathon that held Nazi officers to account for the atrocities of World War II and paved the way for future war criminals to be tried under international law.

Germany commemorated the anniversary with an event in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, in which President Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave a speech.

"The main war crimes trial in Nuremberg was a revolution. It not only wrote legal history, it wrote world history," Steinmeier said, according to a transcript of his speech made available ahead of the event.

350 by Irena Guettel and Rachel More in Nuremberg, Germany. MOVED

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^UN chief calls for solidarity in vaccine distribution ahead of G20<

CORONAVIRUS-UN-VACCINE:DPA _ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for solidarity among major economic powers, as he pushed for the fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

Speaking ahead of the G20 leaders' summit in Saudi Arabia, Guterres said the recent breakthroughs on vaccines "offer a ray of hope."

"But that ray of hope needs to reach everyone," he added. "Solidarity is indeed survival."

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^Vatican looks into 'like' on pope's Instagram account of bikini-wearing model<

POPE-MODEL:LA _ Who are we to judge?

The Vatican says it is investigating how Pope Francis' official Instagram account came to "like" an Instagram post of a curvaceous Brazilian model given to wearing thong bikinis and striking suggestive poses. A Vatican official insists that the like did not originate from the Holy See, the Associated Press reported Friday.

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^Iran detains Panama-flagged oil tanker, arrests crew members<

IRAN-TANKER:DPA _ Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has detained a Panama-flagged oil tanker that the elite military force said was carrying 300,000 liters of illegal oil.

The 10 foreign crew members were arrested, and the case has been handed over to prosecutors in the port city of Parsian, a Revolutionary Guard spokesman said Friday, the Fars news agency reported.

150 by dpa in Tehran, Iran. MOVED

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^SCIENCE, MEDICINE, ENVIRONMENT<

^Scientists find plastic fibers in snow samples from Mount Everest<

ENV-EVEREST-POLLUTANTS:DPA _ Scientists have identified the highest instance of microplastics ever found on Earth, near the summit of Mount Everest.

The pollutants polyester, acrylic, nylon and polypropylene fibers were found in 19 high-elevation ice and water samples collected from the Everest region, including the so-called death zone, in 2019.

250 by dpa staff in Kathmandu, Nepal. MOVED

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^Choked, strangled and drowned. How balloons and plastic bags are killing marine animals<

^ENV-PLASTICS-MARINE-LIFE:MI_<In Florida, a critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle was entangled in a plastic bag that had become filled with sand. The plastic bag had wrapped around the turtle's neck, which likely led it to drown or suffocate.

In another Florida case, a recently hatched sea turtle was found with two plastic balloons in its gastrointestinal tract, causing a blockage that potentially led to the animal's death.

Balloons, plastic bags, recreational fishing line and food wrappers are killing thousands of marine animals as they eat plastic items that later perforate internal organs, or become entangled and drown, Oceana said in a new report.

500 by Adriana Brasileiro. MOVED

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

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NEWSBRIEFS:MCT _ Nation and world news briefs.

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^TOP WEEKEND STORIES<

^Born into occupation, young Afghans fear the Taliban will crush their freedoms when US troops exit<

USAFGHAN-YOUNGAFGHANS:LA _ His hair in a bun, face shadowed by his hoodie, Jawad Sezdah raps with his "homies" about Afghanistan's darkening future.

He and his friends sit in a circle at what they call their club, a second-floor makeshift studio in west Kabul's Pul-e-Surkhta neighborhood. They smoke weed, drink tea and practice freestyle lyrics. A picture of Tupac Shakur is taped on the wall.

But the lives the 22-year-old Kabul University student and others of his generation have forged in the nearly two decades since America invaded their country are at risk as never before. The U.S.-led invasion has brought the trappings of the West and a small degree of its promised freedoms, but many here are fearful those gains are about to evaporate.

They are a generation not so much adrift as stuck between opposing forces.

2050 by David S. Cloud and Stefanie Glinski in Kabul, Afghanistan. MOVED

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^States' mandates on face coverings leave gaps in protection<

CORONAVIRUS-STATES-FACE-COVERINGS:KHN _ Brady Bowman, a 19-year-old student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and two friends strolled down 11th Street, all sporting matching neck gaiters branded with the Thomas' English Muffins logo. He had received an entire box of the promotional gaiters.

He thinks they are just more comfortable to wear than a face mask. "Especially a day like today, where it's cold out," he said, with the top of his gaiter pulled down below his chin.

More stylish? Perhaps. More comfortable? Maybe. But as effective? Not necessarily.

As new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge upward heading into winter, many public health experts wonder whether it's time to move beyond the anything-goes approach toward more standardization and higher-quality masks. President-elect Joe Biden reportedly is mulling a national face-covering mandate of some sort, which could not only increase mask-wearing but better define for Americans what sort of face covering would be most protective.

1350 by Markian Hawryluk in Boulder, Colo. MOVED

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