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Tribune News Service

News Budget for Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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Updated at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 UTC).

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Adds SEPT11-FDNY-FUND-GOP:NY, CALIF-WILDFIRES-INSURANCE:LA, MINN-ISIS-ARREST:MS, PARKLAND-DEPUTIESFIRED:FL, RUSSIA-PROBE-SUBPOENAS:BLO, BKL-MOORE-IRONS-MARRIAGE:NY, CALIF-WATER-PROJECT:LA, CORONAVIRUS-CDC-TRUMP:LA

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Updates CALIF-WILDFIRES-BOBCAT:LA, MINN-POLICE-DEATH-3RDPRECINCT:MS, AUSTIN-CRANES:AU, WEA-STORMS-WHATWEKNOW:MI

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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 rebukes CDC chief for his cautions on a coronavirus vaccine and masks<

CORONAVIRUS-CDC-TRUMP:LA — President Donald Trump contradicted one of his administration's top scientists and announced Wednesday that widespread distribution of a coronavirus vaccine would begin as early as next month, further rattling the scientific and public health communities and stoking rival Joe Biden's claim that Trump can't be trusted to oversee development of a safe vaccine.

The president's announcement came hours after the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, testified to Congress under oath that large-scale vaccine distribution would not begin until late spring, at the earliest. Trump told reporters he called Redfield, and said the director had misspoken.

950 by Evan Halper, Noah Bierman and Janet Hook in Washington. MOVED

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^Poll highlights key barriers for Trump and Biden in final weeks before election<

CAMPAIGN-POLL:LA — As the presidential race moves into its final seven weeks, with former Vice President Joe Biden holding a lead that remains steady but not conclusive, he and President Donald Trump face contrasting challenges, new data from a University of Southern California Dornsife poll show.

Biden has largely succeeded in uniting his fellow Democrats. But as he tries to build a broad coalition that would include a significant number of independents and moderate Republicans, he faces resistance on ideology. Trump faces a different challenge: Not only is he behind, but a slice of his potential supporters are iffy about voting, the poll finds.

1600 by David Lauter in Washington. MOVED

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^Fed signals rates will stay near zero for at least three years<

^FED-RATES-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Open Market Committee "expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy" until it achieves inflation averaging 2% over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2%, the central bank said in a statement Wednesday following a two-day policy meeting.

The statement reflects the central bank's new long-term policy framework in which officials will allow inflation to overshoot their 2% target after periods of under-performance.

700 by Catarina Saraiva and Christopher Condon. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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Also moving as:

FED-RATES-1ST-LEDE:LA — 950 by Don Lee in Washington. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^White House shows flexibility on coronavirus aid; Pelosi holds firm<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:CON — The Trump administration is willing to consider another $1.5 trillion in relief for the U.S. economy and health care system, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday, including more aid to state and local governments than top GOP officials have been comfortable with to date.

Meadows spoke with President Donald Trump before a CNBC appearance Wednesday, where he said Trump was "encouraged" by the bipartisan Problem Solvers caucus proposal unveiled the previous day.

1200 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED

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^CORONAVIRUS<

^Trump administration unveils COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan<

CORONAVIRUS-US-VACCINE:CON — The Trump administration announced its strategy Wednesday for distributing any eventual COVID-19 vaccine, which requires states and localities to submit plans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Oct. 16.

The 11-page overview and 57-page playbook developed by the departments of Health and Human Services and Defense are intended to assist state, tribal, territorial and other local public health programs. HHS broke down the process into first communicating with local officials to promote the vaccine, distributing it, ensuring the reliability of the supply chain, and monitoring the vaccine's administration.

850 by Sandhya Raman in Washington. MOVED

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^CDC director seeks billions for vaccines, says millions were transferred for HHS ad campaign<

CORONAVIRUS-CDC-VACCINEFUNDS:CON — The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked senators Wednesday for billions of dollars more for COVID-19 vaccine distribution as he addressed allegations of political interference and disclosed that the Trump administration transferred $300 million from the CDC for a public relations campaign.

During a Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the Health and Human Services Department and the Office of Management and Budget directed the CDC to transfer $300 million to the HHS public affairs office.

950 (with trims) by Andrew Siddons in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^HHS steered $700 million from CDC to fund Warp Speed program<

^CORONAVIRUS-CDC-FUNDS:BLO—<Trump administration officials pulled $700 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key health agency involved in protecting the public from infection, to fund the Operation Warp Speed effort to develop drugs and vaccines, according to people familiar with the matter.

The money came from funds Congress appropriated to the CDC in stimulus legislation earlier this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn't public. The CDC received about $7.5 billion in stimulus funds this year to respond to COVID-19, on top of its annual appropriation.

500 by John Tozzi. MOVED

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^Masks may do more than a vaccine to protect against COVID-19, CDC director says<

CORONAVIRUS-CDC-MASKS:WA — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said face masks may do a better job at protecting against COVID-19 than a vaccine — contradicting prior comments from President Donald Trump about the importance of masks.

Dr. Robert Redfield said during a Senate hearing Wednesday that there is "clear scientific evidence" face masks work and that they're "our best defense" against the virus.

500 by Bailey Aldridge. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^COVID-19 cases have plummeted at Notre Dame since a 2-week campus shutdown. Can that work for other universities struggling to contain the virus's spread?<

^CMP-CORONAVIRUS-SHUTDOWNS:TB—<While its long-term success remains to be seen, more universities are trying the two-week pause to overcome outbreaks, as opposed to the more dramatic move of permanently sending students home. That also follows recommendations from public health experts, who say turning students loose could seed new infections in the communities where they return.

1250 (with trims) by Elyssa Cherney. MOVED

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^COVID-19 hits Latino, Black and Native American wallets harder<

CORONAVIRUS-MINORITIES-IMPACT:CON — The coronavirus has hit people of color harder than white households, causing higher rates of infection, hospitalizations, deaths and, as a new survey has found, financial despair.

Black, Latino and Native American households reported disproportionately high income loss, financial problems and housing insecurity in a poll released Wednesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The poll showed 72% of Latino households, 60% of Black households and 55% of Native American households reported a serious financial problem like using up all of their savings, food insecurity and an inability to pay for housing. For comparison, only 36% of white households said they have faced the same challenges since the pandemic's start.

900 by Jim Saksa and Michael Macagnone in Washington. MOVED

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^Rep. Omar, immigration lawyers raise alarm over deportation flight to Somalia with possible COVID-19 passengers<

CORONAVIRUS-DETAINEES-SOMALIA:CON — A deportation flight scheduled for Somalia this week may include passengers with COVID-19 symptoms, according to immigration lawyers, advocates and at least one congressional lawmaker, raising new concerns the United States may be exporting the coronavirus to other countries.

The flight, which could take off as early as Wednesday, is expected to carry roughly 90 people, according to advocates who spoke to CQ Roll Call. Most are Somali nationals from Minnesota, which has the biggest Somali immigrant community in the country. Lawyers and advocates fear most are not being adequately tested.

900 (with trims) by Tanvi Misra in Washington. MOVED

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^WASHINGTON<

^Family of Vanessa Guillen goes to Congress for introduction of reform bill<

CONGRESS-MILITARY-HARASSMENT:AU — For the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, this month should have been a joyful milestone as they celebrated her 21st birthday back home in Houston.

Instead, the grieving family joined lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday to campaign for legislation many supporters say could have saved the young soldier's life.

Lawmakers for months worked to bring forward the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act, previously known as the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, that seeks to set up third-party groups to investigate and prosecute those accused of sexual misconduct within the military.

950 by Heather Osbourne in Austin, Texas. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^US House probe of 737 MAX finds 'disturbing pattern' of Boeing failures and 'grossly insufficient' FAA oversight<

^CONGRESS-BOEING-MAX:SE—<An intensive investigation by a U.S. House committee into the causes of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes reveals new details documenting what a final report calls "a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing," along with "grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the U.S. House Transportation Committee, signaled in a teleconference briefing that the committee plans to soon propose legislation reforming how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies airplanes as safe to fly.

He called it "mind boggling" that the MAX, which had two crashes that killed 346 people within five months, was originally certified by both Boeing and the FAA as compliant with all safety regulations.

1950 by Dominic Gates. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^Democrats accuse Pompeo, allies of cover-up over IG firing<

CONGRESS-POMPEO-INSPECTOR-GENERAL:CON — House Democrats on Wednesday detailed their suspicions that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a small group of loyalists orchestrated the spring firing of the agency's inspector general, as he was investigating Pompeo's personal conduct, and then attempted a cover-up.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with three top State Department officials close to Pompeo, including Undersecretary for Management Brian Bulatao, was months in the making.

950 by Rachel Oswald in Washington. MOVED

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^Controversial HHS official installed by White House taking medical leave of absence<

TRUMP-CAPUTO:CON — The Department of Health and Human Services announced that Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo will take a 60-day medical leave of absence, following a torrid five-month stint that included efforts to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caputo's tenure was capped by a livestreamed Facebook video echoing right-wing conspiracies depicting department scientists as leftists and predicting societal revolts.

600 by Lauren Clason in Washington. MOVED

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^Senate Homeland panel authorizes subpoenas in Russia probe<

RUSSIA-PROBE-SUBPOENAS:BLO — The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voted Wednesday on party lines to back subpoenas of about 40 people in its probe of the FBI's Russia investigation and the Obama administration's actions.

Sen. Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican who leads the panel, dismissed Democrats' accusations that he's engaging in a politically motivated probe aimed at influencing the 2020 election less than 50 days away.

350 by Steven T. Dennis in Washington. MOVED

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^William Barr floats theory of foreign mail-vote fraud that experts call impossible<

BARR-MAILVOTING:BLO — Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly floated a conspiracy theory that other countries may distribute counterfeit mail-in ballots to sway the November election. That's virtually impossible, according to election officials, ballot-printing companies and political scientists.

Yet it's a persistent argument from Barr, and it echoes Russian claims designed to undermine trust in the U.S. presidential election.

650 by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Mark Niquette in Washington. MOVED

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^Barr pushes 'sedition' charges against racial justice protesters<

BARR-PROTESTERS-SEDITION:NY — Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly wants to charge racial justice protesters with sedition, a harsh move that would dramatically raise the stakes in the Trump administration's crackdown on dissent.

Barr ordered federal prosecutors on a recent conference call to consider charging demonstrators with trying to overthrow the government, not just attacking law enforcement officers or damaging federal buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported.

200 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED

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^Florida senators pitch daylight saving time pause<

SENATE-DAYLIGHTSAVINGTIME:CON — Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott want to make sure there is plenty of time for wasting away again in Margaritaville in the sunlight this winter.

If they get their way, revelers in Key West, Florida, where Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band conceived of the mythical Margaritaville, will get to nibble on sponge cake and watch the sun bake one more hour — hopefully in a socially distant manner in this age of coronavirus pandemic protocols.

The senators introduced a bill that would postpone clocks from "falling back" until next year.

500 by Chris Cioffi in Washington. MOVED

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^POLITICS<

^Why are people sending the Biden-Harris campaign $19.08?<

CAMPAIGN-DONATIONS-1908:CON — The notifications wouldn't stop. It had been 24 hours since former Vice President Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate in his quest to win the White House. Soon after, the phone of the Democratic Party's chief fundraiser was buzzing every other minute, alerting him that the campaign had just received another donation of exactly $19.08.

It's not uncommon for campaigns to solicit donations for particular amounts, like $7 or $23, to make the ask stand out, but a number that precise, down to the red cent, was strange.

550 by Clyde McGrady in Washington. MOVED

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^Poll shows McConnell up double digits on McGrath in Kentucky Senate race<

KYSENATE-POLL:LX — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has increased his lead over former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath to 12 percentage points, according to a public poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, surveyed 1,164 likely voters between Sept. 10 and 14 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. It found that 53% of voters supported McConnell while 41% of voters supported McGrath.

550 by Daniel Desrochers in Lexington, Ky. MOVED

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^Will 'biblical conservative' Bob Good make Virginia's 5th District safer GOP terrain, or more in play?<

CONGRESS-VA-5TH-GOOD:CON — The late-summer sun was just beginning to cast shadows on the white pillars of the Buckingham County courthouse, near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, when House hopeful Bob Good stood before a crowd of supporters last week and promised to "not stand idly by" against the threat of urban rioters.

"We can't say it couldn't happen here," the Virginia Republican said. "It can happen here. But we won't let it happen here."

The talking point is one of several that Good, 55, a self-described "bright-red biblical conservative" has borrowed from the campaign of President Donald Trump as he vies to represent Virginia's sprawling 5th District and bring "Judeo-Christian values" to Washington.

1450 (with trims) by Stephanie Akin in Buckingham, Va. MOVED

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^With big political rallies, Kemp defies own coronavirus rules<

GA-KEMP-RALLYRULES:AT — Hours after Gov. Brian Kemp appeared at a campaign rally full of hundreds of unmasked Georgians crammed in close quarters outside a Forsyth County barn, he renewed a coronavirus order that bans gatherings larger than 50 people.

The governor has vented at local authorities for failing to enforce the state's coronavirus guidelines, encased in an order that stretches across 51 pages. But critics say his appearance at crowded campaign events shows he's flouting the restrictions, too.

950 (with trims) by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES <

^Bobcat fire threatens multiple fronts, from observatory to foothill neighborhoods<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-BOBCAT-1ST-LEDE:LA — The Bobcat fire continued to be a threat on several fronts Tuesday, expanding to the northeast while all eyes remained on the southern foothill communities and the Mount Wilson Observatory to the west.

The blaze in the Angeles National Forest has charred 44,393 acres and remained at 3% containment Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire jumped Highway 2 on Tuesday evening and started a spot fire that has burned nearly 1,000 acres.

700 (with trims) by Hayley Smith in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^As smoke continues to shroud LA County, residents worry about long-term exposure<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-AIRQUALITY:LA — Smoke from the Bobcat and El Dorado fires continues to blanket Southern California, prompting the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue its 10th straight day of advisories.

Some residents of Los Angeles County, growing weary of the thick, hazy air, say they're at wit's end.

700 by Hayley Smith in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Rules proposed by California insurance commissioner offer discount for reducing wildfire risks<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-INSURANCE:LA — After multiple years of insurers dropping homeowners' policies in areas hard-hit by wildfires, the California insurance commissioner is pushing for regulations that would offset rising premiums with discounts for mitigating wildfire risks.

On Oct. 19, the Department of Insurance will host an investigatory hearing where homeowners, industry experts and insurance providers, among others, can give their input into regulations Commissioner Ricardo Lara plans to initiate that would probably accelerate premium increases for some homeowners while giving them a chance to learn how their property's risk is calculated and opportunities to reduce it, Lara's office said.

750 by Joseph Serna in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Her daughter is in prison, suicidal. Her grandmother fled a fire. 'Too much tragedy'<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-FAMILYTRAGEDIES:LA — Tracey Aldrich and her mother, Deborah, were forced out of their rural Northern California homes by fire last Tuesday, but that's not their biggest concern.

At night, before she falls asleep, Tracey Aldrich loses control of her thoughts, and they turn to her daughter Keiana, she said. She wonders how badly she is hurt, or if she is in pain, or even aware that anyone cares.

Nearly three weeks ago, Keiana Aldrich, 25, an inmate at the California Institution for Women, allegedly slashed her neck and wrists with razor blades then swallowed two of them. No one on the outside has spoken to her since, and prison officials have denied her attorney a phone call.

1550 (with trims) by Anita Chabria in Oroville, Calif. MOVED

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^In hate-filled speech, Giuliani lashes out at Black Lives Matter, NYC schools chancellor<

GIULIANI:NY — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani painted a grim picture of the city's future — attacking everyone from his successor Bill de Blasio to participants in the Black Lives Matter movement — in a divisive and racially charged speech in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday.

Cast as a speech on restoring safety to a city reeling from a surge in violent crime, the event was light on policy and heavy on personal attacks.

650 by Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED

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^Minnesota man was 'soldier' in ISIS suicide unit, feds say<

MINN-ISIS-ARREST:MS — A St. Louis Park man who abandoned his family while vacationing in Morocco has been charged by federal authorities five years later with joining an ISIS battalion trained to carry out suicide attacks in Europe.

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 23, was indicted in U.S. District Court on a charge of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

850 by Paul Walsh in Minneapolis. MOVED

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^Ohio secretary of state appealing order to permit more than one ballot drop box per county<

OHIO-BALLOTBOXES:OH — A Franklin County judge issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday permitting the installation of more than one ballot drop box per county ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

In handing down his decision, however, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye stayed his order pending a promised appeal from Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose within 24 hours.

650 by Randy Ludlow in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED

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^Sheriff's combative response to shocking deputy attack sparks new alarms, criticism<

LA-DEPUTIES-SHOT-RESPONSE:LA — The attack was every police officer's worst nightmare: A gunman walks up to a marked patrol car, shooting the two people inside at close range because of the uniforms on their backs.

Surveillance video of the brazen deed near a Compton Metro station provoked wide outrage from presidential candidates to ordinary citizens.

But the agency's response to the attack has raised alarms from some activists, lawmakers and sheriff's watchdogs, who question whether the aggressive rhetoric is inflaming rather than easing tensions at a moment when community groups are protesting several controversial shootings by deputies amid a national discussion over policing and race.

1500 (with trims) by Alene Tchekmedyian in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^16 hospitalized after fleeing Austin crane collision<

AUSTIN-CRANES-1ST-LEDE:AU — Diane Stewart is used to the occasional construction noise coming from the work site near her Mueller neighborhood apartment in East Austin. But on Wednesday morning, she heard something that made her pause.

"It sounded like pipes falling. It was a loud crash; it made me turn," Stewart said.

What Stewart heard was two construction cranes colliding, causing dozens of people beneath the cranes to flee.

900 by Kelsey Bradshaw and Nicole Cobler in Austin, Texas. MOVED

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^NTSB records show dramatic moments as flames swept Conception dive boat<

CALIF-BOATFIRE:LA — Late on the eve of Labor Day 2019, as the crew of the Conception buttoned up the 75-foot dive boat, one of the galley hands plugged in his cellphone and saw sparks fly from the socket, just before he headed to bed.

He later told investigators that "while still in a sleep-like state, he had heard a pop and then a crackle downstairs," followed by another crew member yelling, "Fire! Fire!" — according to National Transportation Safety Board records released Wednesday.

1050 by Kim Christensen and Richard Winton in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Man on death row for murdering Dallas cop will instead spend life in prison, court rules<

TEXAS-DEATHROW-RESENTENCE:DA — A man who had been sentenced to die for murdering a Dallas police officer in 2005 will instead spend the rest of his life in prison because he is intellectually disabled, Texas' Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Juan Lizcano, 43, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2007 for shooting Dallas officer Brian Jackson. The 28-year-old officer had been responding to a domestic disturbance in Old East Dallas about Lizcano and his ex-girlfriend.

550 by Dana Branham in Dallas. MOVED

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^Visitor to Chicago comes to the aid of man shot in drive-by at train station<

CHICAGO-VISITOR-SHOOTING:TB — Troy Laird used a water bottle from a friend to wash his bloody hands outside the Morse "L" station in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood.

The glass door of the station was shattered from a drive-by shooting that killed a man Tuesday night. Inside was Laird's T-shirt he had used to try to save the man's life.

"I was compressing one of his bullet wounds while a cop was giving chest compressions," Laird said. "I've never been around gunshots that close in the city."

Told the victim, Joel Jenkins, later died at a hospital, he said, "I suspected as much." He was the same age as Laird, 26.

1050 (with trims) by Paige Fry in Chicago. MOVED

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^'Absolutely surreal.' Florida Panhandle hit with severe flooding from Hurricane Sally<

WEA-SALLY:MI — A last-minute eastern wobble brought the Category 2 winds of Hurricane Sally — and two feet of rain — to the Florida Panhandle overnight.

Although the storm made landfall in Alabama early Wednesday, it brought hurricane and tropical storm force winds from Pensacola to Panama City. The hurricane flooded dozens of roads, left more than 10,000 people without power and even led to water cutoffs in some places.

More than 500 people were in need of evacuation from Okaloosa County Wednesday morning, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported, as storm surge and heavy rains drenched the region.

"Absolutely surreal to see so much of the city underwater from storm surge," The Weather Channel's Chris Bruin tweeted from downtown Pensacola.

300 by Alex Harris and Michelle Marchante. MOVED

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^Hurricane Teddy keeps strengthening, on track to Bermuda. Two depressions may also form<

WEA-STORMS-WHATWEKNOW-1ST-LEDE:MI — A strengthened Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama early Wednesday, battering the area with heavy rain and winds over 100 mph. Trouble may also be coming for Bermuda, which is forecast to be in the path of a powerful Hurricane Teddy early next week.

Hurricanes Sally and Teddy aren't the only systems on the National Hurricane Center's radar. A strengthening Hurricane Paulette is still roaming around the Atlantic. So is Tropical Storm Vicky. Forecasters are also monitoring three disturbances, two of which are forecast to turn into tropical depressions later this week. Here's what to know.

850 by Michelle Marchante and Alex Harris in Miami. MOVED

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^Big Ten football is coming back in October with at least 8 games in 9 weeks — and 'significant medical protocols'<

FBC-BIGTEN-1ST-LEDE:TB — For a while there, it looked as if Big Ten football would produce only one score this fall: 11-3.

As in, 11 schools voted to postpone fall sports and three (Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa) dissented.

But after weeks of criticism and cajoling from the likes of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Iowa football parents, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and President Donald Trump, the Big Ten crossed the 1-yard line — as Trump alluded to in a tweet.

The conference announced its restart Wednesday, declaring a unanimous vote to start playing Oct. 23-24 with a slate of at least eight games in nine weeks and a conference title game Dec. 19.

1100 by Teddy Greenstein in Chicago. MOVED

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^NY Republicans rebuke Trump administration for defunding FDNY 9/11 program as rest of GOP silent<

SEPT11-FDNY-FUND-GOP:NY — Most of New York's congressional Republicans broke party ranks this week and condemned the Trump administration for stripping millions of dollars from the FDNY's 9/11 health care program — even as GOP leaders and lawmakers from other states remained conspicuously silent.

As first reported by the New York Daily News last week, the Treasury Department has over the past four years siphoned about $3.7 million from the FDNY's World Trade Center Health Program, which covers medical services for New York firefighters and other first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

900 by Michael McAuliff and Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED

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^Former Texas police officer indicted in 2019 fatal shooting of woman whose dog ran at him<

TEXAS-POLICE-SHOOTING:DA — A former Arlington police officer has been indicted in the 2019 fatal shooting of 30-year-old Margarita "Maggie" Victoria Brooks.

Ravinder Singh was charged with criminally negligent homicide for fatally shooting Brooks when, police said, he was aiming at a dog.

600 by Nataly Keomoungkhoun and Dana Branham in Dallas. MOVED

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^Deputy shot in Michigan; gunman barricaded in residence<

MICH-DEPUTYSHOT:DE — A Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputy was shot Wednesday afternoon after responding with a partner to reports of a neighbor dispute at a residence in Superior Township, northeast of Ypsilanti, a spokesman said.

The deputy, whom sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said has worked for the department "for quite some time," was stable at a local hospital. The gunman was barricaded inside the residence as of about 4 p.m. Eastern.

250 by David Jesse and Miriam Marini in Detroit. MOVED

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^Air Force Academy general's fight against racism still resonates<

CMP-AIRFORCE-RACISM:GT — A month into his tenure as Air Force Academy superintendent and before Black Lives Matter sparked a nationwide discussion on the treatment of minorities, Lt. Gen Jay Silveria pulled his 4,000 cadets and hundreds of officers, civilian professors and airmen into cavernous Mitchell Hall.

A racial slur had been written on a white board at the academy's Preparatory School.

"At the time I was so hurt by a racial incident at the Air Force Academy," Silveria, who will retire this month after 35 years in uniform, told The Gazette in an interview this week.

1250 (with trims) by Tom Roeder in Colorado Springs, Colo. MOVED

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^Second Parkland cop who was fired after school shooting will get his job back<

PARKLAND-DEPUTIESFIRED:FL — A Broward sheriff's deputy who was fired for taking cover behind his truck and then driving away from the Parkland school massacre should be reinstated with back pay, an arbitrator has ruled.

With this week's ruling, Deputy Josh Stambaugh is now the second fired deputy in recent months to have an arbitrator rule they should get their job back after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

700 by Eileen Kelley in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^One name is left on the hurricane list, and it's only September. Why so many storms?<

WEA-HURRICANE-SEASON:MI — There's only one name left on the National Hurricane Center's alphabetical list of storm names. After Wilfred, it's time for names left untouched since 2005: the Greek alphabet.

And with a good two months left in the formal hurricane season, it's likely that Tropical Storm Alpha might make an appearance somewhere in the Atlantic before the season ends on Nov. 30. Although, as anyone around for the 2005 storm season remembers, the final storm of that season — Tropical Storm Zeta — actually petered out on Jan. 6, 2006.

1050 by Alex Harris in Miami. MOVED

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^1 in 10 young American adults thinks Jewish people caused the Holocaust, survey finds<

^HOLOCAUST-YOUNGADULTS:RA—<About 1 in 10 young adults in America think Jewish people caused the Holocaust, a new survey finds.

And 10% of people in that age group say they don't believe that the Holocaust happened or aren't sure that it took place, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said in results published Wednesday.

350 by Simone Jasper. MOVED

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^City says deal for temporary 3rd Precinct site for Minneapolis police is off<

MINN-POLICE-DEATH-3RDPRECINCT-1ST-LEDE:MS — Amid protests, vandalism and criticism from the City Council, a deal to find a temporary home for the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct fell apart this week.

Moments before a City Council committee was set to discuss a $1.2 million annual lease for a temporary base Wednesday, the city announced that negotiations had ended.

850 by Liz Navratil in Minneapolis. MOVED

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^WNBA great Maya Moore marries Jonathan Irons, the man she helped free from prison<

^BKL-MOORE-IRONS-MARRIAGE:NY—< It was a slam dunk.

Maya Moore has married Jonathan Irons, the man she helped free from prison earlier this year after a wrongful conviction.

The all-time WNBA great paused her career with the Minnesota Lynx before the 2019 season to work for Irons' freedom. Irons walked out of prison July 2.

Moore, 31, told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that the couple married "a couple months ago" in a small, socially-distanced ceremony.

Moore first met Irons when she was 18 and part of a prison ministry program in Jefferson City, Mo.

350 by Joseph Wilkinson. (Moved as a sports story.) MOVED

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^Tyrannosaurus skeleton worth several million dollars headed to auction<

TREX-AUCTION:NY — Sold to the eccentric theme park operator!

One of the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons is headed to the auction block.

Christie's announced Wednesday it would be selling "STAN," a 67 million-year-old fossil, in early October.

200 by David Matthews in New York. MOVED

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^THE WORLD<

^Libya prime minister plans to resign by end of October<

^LIBYA:BLO—<Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj announced Wednesday that he intends to step down by the end of October and make way for a new government to unite the North African state divided by war and foreign military interventions.

Al-Sarraj, who leads the Tripoli-based government recognized by the United Nations, led the defense of the capital with Turkish military assistance against an offensive by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, who's backed by Egypt, Russian mercenaries and the United Arab Emirates. Both sides agreed to a truce in August that's split the country between rival administrations and their foreign backers.

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^Belarusian protest leader charged with endangering national security<

BELARUS:DPA — Belarusian protest leader Maria Kalesnikava, taken into custody in Belarus last week, has been charged with endangering national security, the country's investigative agency announced on Wednesday.

She faces up to five years in prison under the charge in accordance with Belarusian law.

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^Venezuela's Maduro accused of committing crimes against humanity in damning UN report<

VENEZUELA-MADURO-1ST-LEDE:MI — The Venezuelan regime led by Nicolas Maduro has committed "egregious violations" since 2014 "amounting to crimes against humanity," a United Nations report published Wednesday says.

The report by the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, which is investigating human rights violations, found several examples of extrajudicial killings, politically motivated detentions, torture and forced disappearances.

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^Barbados wants to ditch the Queen: Caribbean nation seeks full sovereignty<

^BARBADOS-QUEEN:MI—<The island-nation of Barbados, which has long prided itself on being the most "English" of Britain's former colonies in the Caribbean, is saying goodbye to the Queen.

The Caribbean nation announced Tuesday that it will be taking steps to drop Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain as its head of state and to become a republic by next year, when it marks its 55th anniversary of independence from British rule.

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^SCIENCE, MEDICINE, ENVIRONMENT<

^California water company withdraws desalination proposal as battle over environmental justice heats up<

CALIF-WATER-PROJECT:LA — Amid mounting controversy and concerns over environmental justice, California American Water on Wednesday withdrew its application for a desalination project in the small Monterey Bay town of Marina.

The proposal had become one of the most fraught issues to come before the California Coastal Commission, which was set to vote Thursday. The decision would have been the first major test of the commission's new power to review not only harm to the environment when making decisions but also harm to underrepresented communities.

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^Endangered wildlife, habitat burned in Washington's wildfires<

ENV-WASH-WILDFIRES-ENDANGERED:SE — Entire wildlife areas have been destroyed and endangered populations of animals gravely depleted by wildfires burning in Eastern Washington.

Much of the area burned east of the mountains included shrub-steppe habitat. The assemblage of sage and other plants is critical to the survival of the pygmy rabbit, sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse.

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^Key cannabis chemical may help prevent colon cancer, researchers say<

MED-COLONCANCER-CANNABIS:CS — A chemical in marijuana may be able to help prevent colon cancer, according to a new study from top University of South Carolina researchers.

The study, published in iScience, found that mice injected with THC and a cancer-causing chemical did not develop cancer. Mice in a control group were injected with the carcinogen but no THC, causing them to develop cancer.

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

^<

NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

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^TODAY'S TOP NEWSFEATURES<

^COVID-19 exodus fills vacation towns with new medical pressures<

^CORONAVIRUS-VACATION-TOWNS:KHN—<The staff at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is accustomed to the number of patients tripling or even quadrupling each summer when wealthy Manhattanites flee the city for the Hamptons. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended everything.

The 125-bed hospital on the southern coast of Long Island has seen a huge upswing in demand for obstetrics and delivery services. The pandemic has families who once planned to deliver babies in New York or other big cities migrating to the Hamptons for the near term.

From the shores of Long Island to the resorts of the Rocky Mountains, traditional vacation destinations have seen a major influx of affluent people relocating to wait out the pandemic. But now as summer vacation season has ended, many families realize that working from home and attending school online can be done anywhere they can tether to the internet, and those with means are increasingly waiting it out in the poshest destinations.

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^2020 hurricane hunting evolves with new technology in light of COVID-19 safety concerns<

WEA-HURRICANE-HUNTING:OS — When the hurricane hunter aircraft collected data for Hurricane Laura in August, most of the meteorologists analyzing it weren't on board. That's something new for 2020. They now work thousands of miles away in their own homes interpreting the data thanks to new software developed out of necessity in a COVID-19 world.

Systems on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's P-3 aircraft communicate with researchers, meteorologists and modelers on the ground in real time to produce accurate forecast updates. Usually, about three or four researchers from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, keep track of those systems to make sure no errors occur, like a drop in satellite connection.

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