(TNS)

Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, February 14, 2020

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Updated at 4 p.m. EST (2100 UTC).

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Adds SMUGGLED-IMMIGRANTS:LA, AVENATTI:NY, PARKLAND-MENTALHEALTH:FL, RKELLY:TB

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Corrects ELDERLY-BANKROBBER:FL

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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<

^US, Taliban reach interim deal aimed at eventual troop pullout<

USTALIBAN:BLO — The U.S. and the Taliban have reached agreement on a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan that's intended to lead to a broader accord to end America's longest war.

A senior U.S. official said Friday that the two sides have a deal on the reduction of violence that, if achieved, would be followed by a peace plan allowing the U.S. to start withdrawing forces. The seven-day curb on attacks is expected to begin soon, the official said, without providing details.

550 by Larry Liebert and Nick Wadhams in Washington. MOVED

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^Flush with cash and confident after impeachment, Trump campaign revs up the road show<

TRUMP-CAMPAIGN:LA — Four years after his hostile takeover of the White House, President Donald Trump's second campaign bears little resemblance to the first — he's flush with cash, buoyed by an uptick in poll numbers, and brimming with confidence after surviving investigations, an impeachment and myriad controversies that have helped unite once-wary Republicans behind him.

Unlike his slapdash, anything goes 2016 campaign, Trump now can rely on a massive, professionalized apparatus that has helped raise more than $200 million, deployed eager surrogates to early primary states, and built an extensive field operation and advertising network months before Democrats are likely to choose their nominee.

He also has found new ways to break political taboos, seeking to overshadow Democratic candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire just before they held their nominating contests and playing with voters' already frazzled nerves.

1350 (with trims) by Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED

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^More than 1,700 medical workers in China infected with coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-1ST-LEDE:DPA — More than 1,700 medical workers on the front lines of China's battle with a new coronavirus have been infected, and six have died, medical authorities said on Friday.

The vast majority of the medics — 1,502 out of 1,716 — have fallen ill in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, said Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.

It is the first time China is releasing an official count of infections among medical personnel during the COVID-19 outbreak.

700 by Simina Mistreanu in Beijing. MOVED

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^Prosecution closes in Harvey Weinstein trial: 'Abusive rapist' relied on 'power, manipulation'<

WEINSTEIN:LA — In her closing arguments Friday, the lead prosecutor in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial proclaimed that power, manipulation and abuse — as well as a "lack of human empathy" — are what led the producer to the charges he now faces in Manhattan criminal court.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the jury of seven men and five women that Weinstein had underestimated his accusers.

"He made sure he had contact with the people he was worried about as a little check to make sure that one day, they wouldn't walk out from the shadows and call him exactly what he was: an abusive rapist," she said. "He was wrong."

500 by Laura Newberry and James Queally in New York. MOVED

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^WASHINGTON<

^Andrew McCabe, a former FBI official and target of Trump, won't face criminal charges<

MCCABE:BLO — The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation of Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who was fired after an internal review of his role in disclosing a Clinton Foundation probe to the media.

The department notified McCabe's legal team on Friday that no charges will be brought against him, his lawyers, Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

300 by Chris Strohm in Washington. MOVED

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^Trump claps back at Bill Barr insisting he has 'legal right' to tell him what to do<

^TRUMP-BARR:NY—<President Donald Trump slapped down Attorney General Bill Barr Friday, insisting that he can order the nation's top law enforcement officer to do anything he wants.

Trump and Barr both claim that they have not discussed any criminal cases, apparently including the controversial sentencing of Trump crony Roger Stone.

But the president insists there wouldn't be anything wrong with him telling Barr what to do.

250 by Dave Goldiner. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^5 Senate votes where Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar canceled each other out<

SANDERS-KLOBUCHAR-DIFFERENCES:CON — When Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar arrived as freshmen senators in January 2007, they entered a Senate that was very different from the one in which they serve as 2020 presidential frontrunners.

Back then, the Senate moved legislation on the floor and roll call votes on amendments were not a rarity. The amendment voting records of Sanders, a Vermont independent, and Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, show some substantial differences that they have held in their Senate careers.

550 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED

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^POLITICS<

^Sanders as front-runner raises Democratic jitters in Congress<

SANDERS-CONGRESS:BLO — The muddled Democratic presidential contest is raising jitters among some in the party that their House majority and chances of taking the Senate could be at risk in 2020.

The rise of Bernie Sanders to the top after the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses, and him supplanting former Vice President Joe Biden as front-runner in national polls, has particularly unsettled some of the Democrats running in heavily Republican areas.

They say the Vermont senator's embrace of what he calls democratic socialism and promise of a "Medicare for all" system to replace private insurance will motivate President Donald Trump's voters and turn off the moderates they need to win reelection.

1050 (with trims) by Billy House, Erik Wasson and Laura Litvan in Washington. MOVED

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^Amy Klobuchar's mission in Nevada: 'I have to get people to know me'<

KLOBUCHAR:LA — Amy Klobuchar wants to hire you. How soon can you start?

As the senator and presidential hopeful enjoys an image bounce from her surprise third-place finish in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, she is pouring staff and cash into Nevada, where she faces a daunting challenge to replicate her success in the Granite State.

Her success has come so suddenly that her campaign appears to be somewhat unprepared for the next nominating contest in Nevada, if Klobuchar's unusual public call for new hires on Thursday is any indication.

700 by Matt Pearce in North Las Vegas, Nev. MOVED

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^Ideology and race could shape primaries in newly blue North Carolina districts<

NCAROLINA-PRIMARIES:CON — Democrats are almost guaranteed to pick up two House seats in North Carolina this year, which means that the upcoming primaries will go a long way toward determining who comes to Congress.

In both the newly redrawn 2nd District, which is based in Raleigh, and the redrawn 6th District, which is rooted in Greensboro, Democrats have a good chance of nominating women with strong liberal backing. But the primaries in each district have raised questions about identity politics and ideology and who should represent what are now safe Democratic seats.

1400 (with trims) by Simone Pathe in Washington. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^Michael Avenatti found guilty on all counts in Nike extortion case<

AVENATTI:NY — Michael Avenatti just did it — he tried to extort Nike, a jury ruled Friday.

The jury found the bulldog lawyer guilty of betraying his client and attempting to shake down the shoe giant.

The verdict virtually assures Avenatti's downfall, but he has not yet hit rock bottom. He faces two more trials, one in Manhattan and another in Los Angeles.

500 by Stephen Rex Brown in New York. MOVED

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^With national spotlight dimmed, Parkland students tackle the real struggle: Mental health<

PARKLAND-MENTALHEALTH:FL — In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shootings where 17 people died and 17 were injured, angry outspoken students said "never again." They became instant activists, organizing protests and marches, and the national faces of gun safety advocates on television, in magazines and on social media.

But now that the intensity of their efforts to bring change has slowed and the media spotlight has dimmed, many face the real struggle. Depression, anxiety and severe post-traumatic stress disorder have forced them to drop out of high school or college, or rely on medication and therapy to get them through each day.

1950 (with trims) by Cindy Krischer Goodman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Evidence in trash can linked 6-year-old South Carolina girl's death to neighbor, police say<

SC-MISSING-GIRL:CS — Authorities have linked the death of 6-year-old Faye Swetlik of Cayce with that of a 30-year-old neighbor whose body was found Thursday in the Churchill Heights neighborhood.

Police found evidence in the man's trash can that linked him to Faye's death.

250 by David Travis Bland in Cayce, S.C. MOVED

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^Singer R. Kelly hit with new indictment in Chicago federal court<

RKELLY:TB — Embattled singer R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago adding allegations that he sexually abused another minor victim for four years starting in 1997.

A superseding indictment made public Friday alleged that Kelly sexually abused a girl identified in the charges only as "Minor 6."

350 by Jason Meisner in Chicago. MOVED

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^Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh asks for 1 year, 1 day in prison for fraudulent book scheme<

BALTIMORE-EXMAYOR-1ST-LEDE:BZ — Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has asked for a sentence of one year and one day in prison in relation to her guilty plea in the "Healthy Holly" book scandal that led to her fall from grace and resignation from office last year, with her attorneys arguing she has already suffered greatly.

Prosecutors asked Thursday for Pugh, 69, to be imprisoned for nearly five years.

1150 (with trims) by Talia Richman and Kevin Rector in Baltimore. MOVED

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^Grand jury investigators are 'dead serious' about revealing sexual abuse cover-ups among Jehovah's Witnesses<

^JEHOVAHS-WITNESSES-INVESTIGATION:PH—<The existence of a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into the Witnesses's handling of child sex abuse cases — the first of its kind in the country — was only disclosed a week ago, in a story by USA Today, which was met with a no comment from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

But The Inquirer this week interviewed five ex-Witnesses who have already testified for the grand jury, including Chase, and their recollections paint a portrait of an investigation focused on shattering the wall of silence that has long surrounded the religion's reclusive leaders, and unearthing secretly-maintained records about suspected pedophiles.

1250 (with trims) by David Gambacorta in Philadelphia. MOVED

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^'I'm forever grateful': Teen who fled Honduras amid alleged gang threats is released from federal custody to suburban family amid fight for asylum<

TEEN-IMMIGRANT-RELEASED:TB — After about five months in federal immigration detention, a teenager who had settled in Crystal Lake after escaping alleged gang death threats in her native Honduras was released from custody on bond Thursday as she continues to seek asylum in the U.S.

"I didn't think I was ever getting out. I'm forever grateful," Meydi Guzman Rivas, the Crystal Lake Central High School student, said in Spanish. "It was hard, I was not ready for this. I didn't think this would happen to me."

Holding a bouquet of red and purple flowers, Guzman Rivas embraced school counselor Sara Huser outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in the South Loop. Both women spoke through muffled tears.

650 by Jessica Villagomez and Amanda Marrazzo in Chicago. MOVED

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^Unfair press for the pangolin? Experts fear possible coronavirus links may further threaten this at-risk animal<

CORONAVIRUS-PANGOLIN:TB — Animal enthusiasts across the globe on Saturday will celebrate the ninth annual World Pangolin Day, designated to help protect what is believed to be the most illegally trafficked mammal on Earth.

Yet the festivities come in the wake of some bad press for this already at-risk animal. While research isn't at all conclusive, some scientists in China have preliminarily named the highly poached pangolin as the possible transmitter of coronavirus to humans, potentially linking the rare and enigmatic creature to a public health epidemic that has killed more than a thousand globally and sickened 15 in the United States as of Thursday.

1000 by Angie Leventis Lourgos in Chicago. MOVED

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^Coronavirus fears expose cultural divide over masks in California's San Gabriel Valley<

CORONAVIRUS-MASKS-CULTURE:LA — Marta Ayala and Chong Taing, both residents of Rosemead, Calif., couldn't see the threat of the coronavirus more differently. You can see it on their faces.

While walking out of Superior Grocers supermarket in El Monte, Ayala's face scrunched in annoyance as she spotted an Asian customer wearing a white medical mask coming from the opposite direction. Despite hearing about the fast-spreading illness, to the 64-year-old Mexican immigrant, the mask is an overreaction that just stokes alarm.

"I don't believe in using masks and I don't understand the need," she said. "I know there's a serious disease out there, but who has time to think about that?"

For the 39-year-old Taing, who wears a mask, the item makes as much sense as wearing long-sleeve shirts or sunglasses to protect from the sun.

1100 by Andrew J. Campa in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Ga. sheriff used public office, children's charity to aid campaign<

GA-SHERIFF-CHARITY:AT — The email, sent from a Cobb County, Ga., sheriff's employee to the district attorney's office, sought volunteers for the sheriff's annual Corn Boilin' event to raise money for the Cobb County Youth Museum.

"This is a great opportunity to meet tons of folks and it is for a great cause!" it read.

The great cause was, in fact, Sheriff Neil Warren himself.

1550 (with trims) by Meris Lutz in Atlanta. MOVED

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^No prison time for heartbroken 74-year-old bank robber<

ELDERLY-BANKROBBER-CORRECTION:FL — A 74-year-old bank robber, still mourning his dead wife, was spared jail time Friday morning.

Sandy Hawkins could essentially have his jail record dismissed and the case dropped if he abides by rules for 12 months.

On Nov. 18, Hawkins walked into a Wells Fargo in West Boca and demanded cash. For reasons that he is unsure of, he specifically asked for $1,100. When the teller counted past $2,000, he scolded the teller saying that was too much and the start counting the cash over.

400 by Eileen Kelley in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Chicago teacher suspended as district investigates whether Latina student told to 'go back to your country'<

TEACHER-ANTHEM-1ST-LEDE:TB — A Senn High School teacher accused of telling a Latina student to "go back to your country" during an assembly last month has been removed from the classroom as Chicago Public Schools investigates whether the teacher violated the district's anti-discrimination policy, according to officials.

In a letter sent to parents Thursday, Senn Principal Mary Beck said that "new information came to light" as the district's Office of Student Protections and Title IX opened an investigation, prompting it "to remove this individual from working in our school."

750 by Elyssa Cherney in Chicago. MOVED

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^Kobe Bryant tribute expected to be restricted, with no outdoor viewing outside Staples Center<

BRYANT-MEMORIAL:LA — Officials have not released details about the Feb. 24 memorial for Kobe Bryant and others killed in a helicopter crash last month, but it appears the event at Staples Center will be restricted to those who have tickets.

250 by Richard Winton in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^'It's incredible luck': Two tourists survive being run over by Porsche in Fort Lauderdale<

FLA-TOURISTS-PORSCHE:FL — Two tourists had just arrived from Norway and spent the night on Fort Lauderdale beach when the unthinkable happened: They stumbled onto State Road A1A and an oncoming Porsche ran over them.

300 by Eileen Kelley in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^26 immigrants found locked in tractor-trailer after being smuggled across the border<

SMUGGLED-IMMIGRANTS:LA — Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national after 26 immigrants were found in the back of a locked tractor-trailer he was driving near the Salton Sea, authorities said.

All of the passengers, including two juveniles, also were arrested, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

200 by Luke Money in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^THE WORLD<

^US-China bickering threatens to hobble world's virus fight<

CORONAVIRUS-USCHINA:BLO — The U.S. says China won't let its health workers help fight the virus. Beijing says they're welcome to come. The World Health Organization says nothing has been decided.

The confusion surrounding a planned WHO mission of experts to China shows how lingering mistrust between the world's biggest economies could hamper efforts to combat a pathogen quickly spreading across the globe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the world's preeminent public health agency, has often played a key role coordinating and funding global efforts to contain past outbreaks, including of Ebola.

1050 (with trims) by Iain Marlow, Dandan Li and Peter Martin in Hong Kong. MOVED

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

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NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later

^TOP WEEKEND STORIES<

^It's words, not bullets, for the 'bear whisperer' of the Eastern Sierra<

BEAR-WHISPERER:LA — Steve Searles is not really a cop, not really a civilian; he lives in limbo between those two worlds.

And, man, does he live. Think of him as the Serpico of the Sierra, a little snarly and gruff and frayed around the edges — a ponytailed ex-surfer turned mountain man. A bit of a hillbilly intellectual without much formal schooling.

There are lots of contradictions to this 60-year-old wildlife officer, lots of ironies and surprising qualities that make him more than another town character.

Searles has carved out a niche and a career as Mammoth Lakes' "bear whisperer," a protector of the wild things that roam the night: the ubiquitous bears, deer, coyotes and all manner of high-country cat. He protects the residents and the 2.5 million annual visitors too, though they have the numerical advantage. They also have guns and cars warm beds and cozy, muffin-scented kitchens.

The wildlife sense this. They want decent food and cozy cabins too. Sometimes, they help themselves.

2600 by Chris Erskine in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. MOVED

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^What it's like to be a Democrat in Trump Country<

PA-TRUMPCOUNTRY-DEMOCRATS:PH — His name appears on the bumpers of trucks parked outside the dollar store, and on political signs spiked into the snow where the grass meets gravel roads. On a large mural outside a dog-grooming business, President Donald Trump flashes a 6-foot smile.

Fulton County is Trump Country. In the 2016 election, he received 84% of the vote, making it the "reddest" of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. And it has only gotten redder — except for Michael Purnell.

Purnell, 57, was a lifelong Republican who grew up and worked on a dairy farm in nearby Wells Tannery. His family had always been conservative, he said. He watched the 2016 election unfold as many others did elsewhere in the country: He couldn't fathom Trump winning the GOP nomination, let alone the presidency.

When Trump won, Purnell became a Democrat.

1150 (with trims) by Jason Nark in McConnellsburg, Pa. MOVED

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