Tribune News Service

News Budget for Saturday, October 17, 2020


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.


^Democratic donors fuel record-breaking fundraising in Senate races<

SENATE-DEMOCRATS-FUNDRAISING:LA _ Democrats have a new dilemma as Election Day approaches: They are running out of places to spend their mountains of cash.

Fundraising for the party's Senate candidates _ even some in GOP strongholds _ has so exceeded expectations that party operatives are rushing to rewrite their budgets and expand their reach.

In some cases, the candidates entered their campaigns as major underdogs. Now, Republicans are scrambling to keep up.

1200 (with trims) by Seema Mehta and Evan Halper. MOVED


^Trump returns to Wisconsin for large campaign rally as coronavirus cases hit record levels<

CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-WISCONSIN:TB _ Just five days removed from his White House coronavirus quarantine, President Donald Trump is set to visit Wisconsin this weekend as the state suffers from a record-high surge in coronavirus cases.

Trump originally had planned to hold the Janesville rally two weeks ago, but instead spent the day hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center infected with COVID-19.

Two weeks later, Trump will finally arrive in Wisconsin with polls showing the president falling further behind in the state, trailing by as many as 10 points since his diagnosis stunned the nation.

2000 (with trims) by Bill Ruthhart in Janesville, Wis. MOVED



^'He makes it into a joke': For Philly COVID-19 patients, Trump's cavalier attitude stings<

CORONAVIRUS-PATIENTS-TRUMP:PH _ When President Donald Trump talks about his bout with coronavirus _ and urges Americans to not let the pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 "dominate their lives" _ Jesus Ortiz can hardly bring himself to listen.

Ortiz, 58, was diagnosed in May with COVID-19, and his experience couldn't have been more different from the president's.

1100 (with trims) by Aubrey Whelan in Philadelphia. MOVED


^NY's Cuomo opens movie theaters as coronavirus hot spots cool off but cancels a Brooklyn wedding with 10,000 guests<

CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY _ Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for movie theaters to open outside of New York City on Saturday as he all but declared victory over the coronavirus hot spots that had threatened to spread into a wider flare up.

Cinemas will be permitted to open on Oct. 23 in counties outside the five boroughs that have an overall COVID-19 positivity rate of less than 2% and that have no significant hot spots, Cuomo said at a midtown press conference.

400 by Ellen Moynihan and Dave Goldiner in New York. MOVED


^Connecticut now will qualify for its own travel advisory after seeing largest number of new cases since May 1<

CORONAVIRUS-CONN:HC _ After reporting its largest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day since early May, Connecticut appears to have crossed the threshold at which it will qualify for its own travel advisory next week.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday reported 802 positive results out of 33,048 coronavirus tests, for a rate of 2.4% The state has now recorded a positivity rate of 1.7% over the past week, higher than any previous seven-day stretch since mid-June.

400 by Alex Putterman in Hartford, Conn. MOVED



^Biden or Trump? Autoworkers back their guy<

CAMPAIGN-MICH-AUTOWORKERS:DTN _ Inside General Motors Co.'s Flint Assembly plant, autoworkers are staking out both sides of the aisle _ a reflection of the political division cleaving the Michigan electorate less than 20 days before the election.

Richard Incrocci says he loves his union as he stands in the parking lot of the United Auto Workers Local 598 hall that proudly displays Biden/Harris signs out front. So does his co-worker Lori Welch.

But they are divided over who should sit in the Oval Office the next four years.

1500 Kalea Hall in Flint, Mich. MOVED



^Whitmer kidnap evidence shows accused plotters shooting, threatening, Tasing<

MICH-GOV-PLOT:DTN _ Photos and videos released by federal prosecutors Friday showed members of an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer firing weapons, threatening to kill law-enforcement officers and testing an 800,000-volt Taser that was supposed to be used to subdue Michigan's highest-ranking politician.

The videos and photos are evidence that helped convince a federal magistrate judge to order five of the accused plotters to stand trial following an FBI investigation that revealed a broader plot to kidnap the governor and spark a civil war. In all, 14 people have been charged with crimes in state and federal court.

550 by Robert Snell in Detroit. MOVED


^Why do conspiracy theories about pedophilia hold such sway with some conservatives?<

CONSERVATIVES-CONSPIRACIES:LA _ In modern presidential campaigns, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about pedophilia are now almost as routine as stump speeches, poll results and televised debates.

In 2016, Democrats' imagined penchant for child predation was manifested in the made-up charge that Hillary Clinton presided over a child sex-trafficking ring. Adherents of this fiction spun an elaborate online fantasy that the presidential candidate was running such an enterprise from a nonexistent network of tunnels underneath a real-life pizza joint in Washington, D.C.

Now similar fictions are being aimed at Joe Biden, this year's Democratic presidential nominee.

1650 (with trims) by Melissa Healy. MOVED


^Tony-nominated actor Anthony Chisholm dies at 77<

CHISHOLM-OBIT:NY _ Celebrated stage and screen actor Anthony Chisholm has died at age 77.

His talent management company confirmed the news on a social media post. The cause of death is not immediately known.

"The Katz Company is saddened to announce the passing of our longtime friend and client, Tony-Nominee, Anthony Chisholm," a post shared on Instagram Friday evening read.

350 by Muri Assun o. MOVED


^Golden Age actress and singer Rhonda Fleming dies at 97<

FLEMING-OBIT:LA _ Rhonda Fleming, the green-eyed, auburn-haired actress who was known as the Queen of Technicolor during Hollywood's Golden Age and who made a mark as a philanthropist by channeling her wealth and prominence into helping others, has died. She was 97.

Fleming died on Wednesday in a Santa Monica hospital, her assistant, Carla Sapon, told the New York Times.

1000 by Devin Kelly in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Is someone really flying around LAX in a jet pack? Trying to solve an aviation mystery<

^LA-AIRPORT-JETPACK:LA_<LOS ANGELES _ It was an otherwise quiet Sunday night at the Los Angeles International Airport control tower when an American Airlines pilot radioed in with an unbelievable report.

"Tower, American 1997. We just passed a guy in a jet pack," the pilot said.

Minutes later came another report, this time from a pilot approaching LAX in a Jet Blue airliner: "We just saw the guy pass us by in the jet pack."

1200 (with trims) by Richard Winton and Samantha Masunaga. MOVED



^NATO calls any Turkish test of Russian-made S-400 'regrettable'<

NATO-TURKEY:BLO _ The North Atlantic Treaty Organization criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system.

"Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable," NATO said in an emailed statement on Saturday. "It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions."

300 by Jonathan Stearns. MOVED


^New Zealand election brings curtain down on Winston Peters' colorful career<

NEWZEALAND:BLO _ New Zealand's election has probably brought an end to the four-decade political career of Winston Peters, the maverick lawmaker who has held a string of high offices including deputy prime minister in Jacinda Ardern's first government.

With 90% of votes counted, the New Zealand First Party that Peters leads had just 2.6% of the vote, less than the 5% it needs to be returned to parliament. At 75, Peters is unlikely to make another of his fabled political comebacks, while the future of his party is uncertain.

350 by Ainsley Thomson. MOVED


^French prosecutors: Decapitated teacher was targeted over Mohammed images<

FRANCE-TEACHER-BEHEADED-1ST-LEDE:DPA _ French prosecutors on Saturday revealed more details about the brutal murder and decapitation of a 47-year-old history teacher in suburban Paris in what is a suspected Islamist extremist attack.

The alleged perpetrator, who was killed by police shortly after the crime, was born in Moscow in 2002 and was of Russian and Chechen origin. France granted him refugee status earlier this year, prosecutor Jean-Francois Richard told a press conference.

600 by Julia Naue in Paris. MOVED


^Azerbaijan says 13 killed in shelling as conflict escalates<

ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN:BLO _ At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in a missile attack on Azerbaijan's second-largest city of Ganca overnight, the authorities in Baku said.

A residential building was shelled around 1 a.m., the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office said on its website. Search and rescue efforts continued after 13 bodies were pulled from the rubble and two children were still missing. Armenia's Defense Ministry denied firing any missiles toward Azerbaijan.

250 by Zulfugar Agayev and Sara Khojoyan. MOVED


^A royal bubble bursts: Thailand's king faces trouble on 2 continents<

THAILAND-KING-GERMANY:LA _ The scion of one of the world's most privileged families, he wrapped himself in the trappings of royalty, wealth and a comfortable hideaway thousands of miles from his subjects.

For Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the cocoon has come undone with remarkable speed.

Last week in Berlin, the German government faced questions in Parliament over the king's legal status in Bavaria, where he resides. Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said that if the king were making decisions affecting Thailand from German soil, "We would quite clearly not stand for that."

1350 by Shashank Bengali and Erik Kirschbaum in Singapore. MOVED




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


^Making money off masks, chain store spawned by COVID-19 hopes to go out of business<

CORONAVIRUS-STORE:KHN _ Darcy Velasquez, 42, and her mother, Roberta Truax, were walking recently in the Park Meadows mall about 15 miles south of downtown Denver, looking for Christmas gifts for Velasquez's two children, when they spotted a store with a display of rhinestone-studded masks.

It's an immutable truth of fashion: Sparkles can go a long way with a 9-year-old.

The store is called COVID-19 Essentials. And it may well be the country's first retail chain dedicated solely to an infectious disease.

With many U.S. stores closing during the coronavirus pandemic, especially inside malls, the owners of this chain have seized on the empty space, as well as the world's growing acceptance that wearing masks is a reality that may last well into 2021, if not longer. Masks have evolved from a utilitarian, anything-you-can-find-that-works product into another way to express one's personality, political leanings or sports fandom.

And the owners of COVID-19 Essentials are betting that Americans are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Not that the COVID-19 Essentials owners want their products to be in demand forever.

1300 by Markian Hawryluk in Lone Tree, Colo.. MOVED


^Trump lost these supporters after dual crises struck. It could cost him a second term<

CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-EXSUPPORTERS:WA _ Jay Copan is careful to explain why he's supporting a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in 44 years.

The breaking point didn't come with President Donald Trump's tweets or slander of a man Copan admired, John McCain. The 69-year-old retiree has long detested Trump _ he considers the Republican a terrible role model for his six grandchildren _ but even as recently as the spring he begrudgingly acknowledged that he was still open to backing the president, just as he did in 2016.

It was watching the "clown show" press briefings during the early days of the pandemic _ and subsequent "unbelievable" response to the death of George Floyd _ that convinced Copan that Trump's presidency was unsalvageable.

A lot has gone wrong for Trump this year.

But the most intractable of his problems might be people like Copan.

1900 by Alex Roarty in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED


^Repeal Obamacare? Once GOP dogma, it's now the party's albatross<

HEALTHCARE-POLITICS:LA _ Contempt for the Affordable Care Act _ Obamacare _ was so central to Sen. Joni Ernst's 2014 election campaign that the Iowa Republican, in a TV ad promising she'd "unload" on the law, pulled out a handgun and fired repeatedly. "Give me a shot," she asked voters.

Six years later, the first-term senator is battling for reelection, and she's holstered her gun.

Ernst is not alone. Earlier this month, she joined fellow Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dan Sullivan of Alaska _ two other would-be assassins of the 10-year-old health care law who are now fighting for their political survival _ in breaking with their party to support Obamacare on the Senate floor. They voted with Democrats on a measure opposing a Republican-backed case against the law that's now before the Supreme Court.

As that vote showed, endangered Republicans are frantically trying to pivot away from the "repeal Obamacare" slogans that served them well for much of the last decade. Those are now a liability amid a jump in public support for the health care law.

1400 by Evan Halper and Janet Hook in Washington. MOVED


^Signature errors could disenfranchise a record number of voters in the election<

^ELECTION-MAILBALLOTS-SIGNATURES:LA_<A record number of Americans are expected to vote by mail in the November general election because of the pandemic _ and a record number may have their ballots rejected over signature issues.

In nearly 40 states, election officials check the signatures on the ballot envelopes that voters send back against the ones on file _ usually from voter registration forms or motor vehicle departments. A handful of states require voters to fill out their ballot in front of a witness, who must also sign.

If a signature doesn't appear to match, or the necessary signatures are missing, what happens next depends on the state _ and even the county _ a voter lives in. Some states require county election officials to give the voter a chance to verify their identity or fix a mistake; others don't, and their ballots are tossed out.

1150 by Arit John. MOVED


^COVID-19 stalks Montana town already saddled with asbestos disease<

MONT-LIBBY:KHN _ Frank Fahland has spent most days since the pandemic began at the site of his dream house, working to finish a 15-year labor of love while keeping away from town and the people closest to him.

Like thousands of people from Libby and Lincoln County in the far northwestern corner of Montana, the 61-year-old Fahland has scarred lungs after years of breathing in asbestos fibers from dust and soil contaminated by the town's now-defunct plant that produced vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation and gardening.

Fahland's condition makes him more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

He's not alone in taking such precautions. Lincoln County has one of the nation's highest asbestos mortality rates. At least 400 people have died from asbestos-related diseases, which can include asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. At least 1 in 10 people in Libby have an asbestos-related illness, said Miles Miller, a physician assistant at the Center for Asbestos Related Disease.

1150 by Nate Hegyi in Libby, Mont. MOVED




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