Tribune News Service
International Budget for Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Updated at 0100 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EST Tuesday).
Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.
^US spy agencies tracking Russian hack of Ukrainian company Burisma<
USRUSSIA-HACKING-BURISMA:BLO — U.S. spy agencies are tracking a Russian hacking attack against a Ukrainian gas company linked to the impeachment of President Donald Trump, including whether it was done to find damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden's family, according to a senior U.S. official.
The U.S. is reviewing evidence of the hack at Burisma Holdings first disclosed by researchers at security company Area 1, according to Shelby Pierson, the election threats executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
650 by Chris Strohm and Kartikay Mehrotra in Washington. MOVED
^Senate plans to begin impeachment preparations Thursday, start trial next week<
IMPEACHMENT-1ST-LEDE:LA — Following Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that the House would send impeachment articles to the Senate on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would start pretrial proceedings as soon as Thursday, signaling the end of the nearly monthlong standoff between the two over the shape of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
700 by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED
^Asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico get video access to attorneys in US<
IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM-ATTORNEYS:DA — Faced with a rising humanitarian crisis, immigrant rights organizations from both sides of the border on Tuesday launched a pilot program to create a virtual bridge aimed at providing legal aid to thousands of asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico.
The program, Puentes Libres, or Free Bridges, spearheaded by Texas state Sen. Jose Rodriguez and Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada, will help migrants awaiting the outcome of their U.S. asylum cases consult with U.S.-based lawyers via teleconferencing.
950 by Alfredo Corchado in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. MOVED
^Benedict XVI disowns co-authorship of controversial celibacy book<
RELIG-POPE-CELIBACY:DPA — Retired pope Benedict XVI never agreed to appear as the co-author of a controversial book on priestly celibacy, his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, said Tuesday.
It was a remarkable disavowal of a work seen by many as both an attack on Pope Francis' authority and a serious breach of Benedict's promise to remain "hidden to the world" following his retirement in 2013.
In the book, Benedict is presented as arguing against a relaxation of the celibacy rule for priests, wading into a topic on which Francis is due to make a decision within a few weeks.
650 by Alvise Armellini in Vatican City. MOVED
^White House scrambles to assemble Trump's impeachment defense<
IMPEACHMENT-DEFENSE:LA — President Donald Trump's lawyers are scrambling to assemble their legal team and draft opening statements for a Senate impeachment trial that could start within days and will determine whether to remove the president from office.
As the House prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump's lawyers have huddled in the Oval Office with their unpredictable client and sought to finalize who will appear on the president's behalf — and who will advise on the sidelines of only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.
1000 by Chris Megerian and Noah Bierman in Washington. MOVED
^Delta jet returning to LAX for emergency landing dumps fuel on school playground; 20 children treated<
LA-AIRPORT-FUELDUMP-2ND-LEDE:LA — An airplane returning to Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday morning dropped jet fuel onto a school playground, dousing several students at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, officials said.
Delta Flight 89 — a Boeing 777 — had taken off from LAX with 149 passengers on board and was en route to Shanghai when it turned around and headed back to the L.A. airport.
Twenty children and 11 adults were treated for minor injuries at the school.
1250 by Colleen Shalby, Ruben Vives and Andrew Campa in Los Angeles. MOVED
^National Security Agency discovers vulnerability in Microsoft Windows<
CPT-MICROSOFT-NSA-1ST-LEDE:BLO — The National Security Agency announced that it had found a "critical vulnerability" in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating systems that could enable cyber intrusions.
The NSA recognized "the severity of the vulnerability" and disclosed it to Microsoft to expedite the process of fixing it, according to Anne Neuberger, the NSA's director of cybersecurity, speaking to reporters on Tuesday. Microsoft released a patch the same day.
600 by Dina Bass and Alyza Sebenius in Seattle. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED
^Democrats want documents, not just witnesses, at Trump's impeachment trial<
IMPEACHMENT-DOCUMENTS:CON — The high-profile fight over potentially dramatic witness testimony at an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has overshadowed the Senate's possible demand for a different type of revealing cache of new evidence — withheld documents.
Senate Democrats have pushed to include in the trial documents that the Trump administration refused to turn over during the House investigation. But they need at least four Republicans to vote with all Democrats and independents for the Senate to subpoena witnesses or documents, and it's not clear they have those votes.
900 by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED
^'No cameras, no C-Span, no coverage.' Rules will limit access during Trump's trial<
IMPEACHMENT-PRESSRULES:WA — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said Tuesday that there will be restrictions to public and press access during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, including periods when the Senate chamber is cleared of reporters.
The bulk of the trial will be broadcast on television. But during certain periods of debate, the Senate will go into closed session under its impeachment rules, the Missouri Republican told reporters.
600 by Bryan Lowry in Washington. MOVED
^USMCA bill tough vote for Democrats over lack of environmental protections<
USMCA-DEMOCRATS:CON — Sen. Jeff Merkley faced a difficult vote Tuesday as he joined colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to advance the bill that would implement President Donald Trump's new trade deal.
The Oregon Democrat said the pact does not go far enough to protect the environment and address the urgency of climate change.
950 (with trims) by Elvina Nawaguna in Washington. MOVED
^Sen. Tim Kaine has backing for resolution to curb Trump's war powers<
USIRAN-CONGRESS:CON — Sen. Tim Kaine has lined up the votes to adopt a resolution to restrict President Donald Trump's ability to attack Iran, though a vote on the matter this week would fall short absent a procedural agreement with Republican leadership.
The Virginia Democrat announced Tuesday he received support from at least four GOP senators for using the 1973 War Powers Act to adopt a binding resolution ordering the Trump administration to immediately end all unauthorized military hostilities against Iran and its government. Those senators are Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Todd Young of Indiana.
750 (with trims) by Rachel Oswald in Washington. MOVED
^House to vote on military force authorizations this month<
CONGRESS-MILITARYFORCE:CON — House Democratic leaders committed to progressives Tuesday that the House will vote on legislation to prevent funds for unauthorized military force against Iran and to repeal the 2002 authorization of use of military force the week of Jan. 27.
The bills, sponsored by California Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee, respectively, will get separate votes, according to Khanna and Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal.
500 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED
^Ivanka Trump plans White House summit on human trafficking<
IVANKATRUMP-HUMANTRAFFICKING:WA — The White House will host a summit on human trafficking at the end of January marking 20 years since Congress made it a federal crime, amid an uptick in reported cases in recent years.
Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, told McClatchy on Tuesday that her father, President Donald Trump, would attend the summit along with Attorney General Bill Barr, members of Congress, and state and local leaders.
350 by Michael Wilner in Washington. MOVED
^Joe Biden says he'd consider Kamala Harris 'for anything' she wants, including VP<
BIDEN-HARRIS:SA — California Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign is over, but she could still find herself in the White House next year.
In his first California interview, former Vice President Joe Biden said he would consider Harris "for anything" she wants, including vice president.
"She's qualified to be president, and I'd consider her for anything that she would be interested in," Biden said on The Bee's California Nation podcast.
500 by Bryan Anderson in Sparks, Nevada. MOVED
^Giuliani told Ukraine's president he was acting with Trump's 'consent' while pushing for Biden investigation, according to records<
^GIULIANI-TRUMP-UKRAINE:NY—<Rudy Giuliani told then-newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in May that he was acting with President Donald Trump's explicit "consent" while aggressively pushing the European country to open dubious investigations of Joe Biden and other Democrats, according to newly unearthed records.
The ex-New York mayor made the point in a May 10 letter to Zelenskiy that was included in a batch of records from ex-Giuliani associate Lev Parnas released by the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday night — just one day before the chamber was expected to pass along the impeachment articles against Trump to the Senate for trial.
300 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED
^Judge rules that Epstein documents in New York court case will stay under seal — for now<
EPSTEIN-DOCUMENTS:MI — Who helped the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse scores of young women?
Although Epstein was found dead in a New York City jail last summer, a list of names of wealthy and well-connected people who may have helped him commit his crimes lives on. The possible enablers could be named in a batch of sealed court documents filed in a civil lawsuit between one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who is said to have procured him vulnerable, underage victims.
Now a federal judge has decided that some of those documents will remain sealed — for now.
700 by Nicholas Nehamas in Miami. MOVED
^Despite Texas governor's ban, one county says refugees are welcome<
TEXAS-REFUGEES:FT — Tarrant County officials don't want to make this part of the state off limits to refugees.
So county commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to let refugees resettle in Tarrant County, despite Gov. Greg Abbott's recent decision not to allow refugees to resettle in Texas for the next fiscal year.
"I think we, as a state, are big enough — our hearts are big enough — to accept refugees and assist them in their resettlement in this country," Commissioner Roy Brooks said.
600 by Anna M. Tinsley in Fort Worth, Texas. MOVED
^Indiana man sparked Secret Service investigation as he shouted outside Mar-a-Lago<
MARALAGO-INCIDENT:MI — The man who sparked a U.S. Secret Service investigation last week when he attempted to enter Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private Palm Beach club and primary residence, is a 34-year-old from Indiana, according to a heavily redacted incident report released Tuesday by Palm Beach police. The man has not been charged with a crime.
The Miami Herald is not publishing the man's name out of concern for privacy regarding mental health.
750 by Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas in Miami. MOVED
^Amorous giant tortoise from San Diego is saving his species from extinction<
ENV-TORTOISE-MATING:SD — A giant tortoise from the San Diego Zoo has created his own Galapagos Islands following — literally.
The love life of Diego, a playboy tortoise, has gained him a place in the national spotlight.
Diego came to the San Diego Zoo as a young adult in the early 1930s when several land tortoises from the Galapagos Islands were shipped to U.S. zoos. In the mid-1970s, Diego was sent back to the Galapagos to assist in a breeding program to save the area's dwindling population of the gentle giants.
550 by Diane Bell in San Diego. MOVED
^Commentary: Misty Copeland shouldn't have to fight ballet's racist past alone<
^BALLET-RACISM-COMMENTARY:LA—<Some days, you just want to invite Misty Copeland over and offer her a spa day — or better, organize a rally for her and make sure she knows that you get why she objects to Russian dancers wearing blackface. Copeland is a brilliant dancer who is black; she should enjoy dancing, being the first female African American principal at American Ballet Theatre and representing diversity in ballet — but she shouldn't have to fight ballet's racist past all by herself.
Yet on Instagram and Twitter, Copeland — who was discovered at 13 in Los Angeles — has been valiantly trying to offer her experience as a woman of color and a dancer to make people understand why a photo of two Bolshoi dancers in full-out blackface is offensive. And for this, she gets hate, trolls and lots of grief.
750 by Jennifer Fisher. MOVED
^Commentary: California's first attempt to pass anti-immigrant laws dates back to the gold rush<
^CALIF-IMMIGRANTS-COMMENTARY:LA—<California was not always the progressive state we know today, where political leaders praise diversity and file lawsuits defending immigrants. Its history is filled with clashes over race and identity, including a little-known episode just after its birth.
On Sept. 14, 1850, five days after California gained statehood, John Charles Fremont introduced a bill in Congress. Fremont, one of California's first two U.S. senators, wanted to regulate the gold rush. His proposal required the thousands of prospectors who had been swarming California for the previous two years to buy federal mining permits. But the permits would be available only to citizens.
A shockingly frank Senate debate revealed the true purpose of this clause: denying people of certain races and nationalities their chance to strike it rich.
1100 by Steve Inskeep. MOVED
^Will Bunch: American progressives should support the uprising in Iran — even if Trump does, too<
^BUNCH-COLUMN:PH—<Over the last 10 days or so, the world has been roiled by a conflict involving a powerful nation that — after a generation of cultural change — took a sudden lurch toward religious fundamentalism at the end of the 1970s and has never really looked back. Its current regime stays in power with a toxic mix of lies to the citizenry and intolerance toward political dissent and independent journalism. Since the start of the 21st century, its increased military adventurism and support for corrupt dictatorships has radically destabilized the Middle East. In 2020, its ruler's recklessness and desperation to survive nearly caused a catastrophic war.
But enough about the United States
1500 by Will Bunch. MOVED
^Eli Lake: Trump's latest plan for Iran is regime disruption<
^LAKE-COLUMN:BLO—<Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani earlier this month, his administration has argued the attack has two main benefits. Taking out Soleimani helped to prevent a series of attacks he was planning, officials say, and his death will deter Iran from further escalations against the U.S. in Iraq and the region.
For a handful of Trump's advisers, however, there is a third strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption. Trump and top U.S. officials have said repeatedly that the U.S. does not seek regime change in Iran, but they have also in recent days cheered on Iranian protesters who have flooded the streets blaming their country's supreme leader for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet.
900 by Eli Lake. MOVED
^Noah Smith: American leadership needed to fight climate change<
^SMITH-COLUMN:BLO—<As it becomes more apparent that climate change is a true worldwide emergency, there's a mounting need for a big policy push to curb greenhouse emissions. But that leaves the question of which policy steps would be most effective.
Despite having high per-capita emissions, the U.S. is actually responsible for only about a seventh of the global total carbon output. U.S. emissions from power-generation are falling as the country transitions away from coal, even as China adds more coal-fired plants. Meanwhile, poor countries are eager to begin or accelerate their own industrialization. For the U.S. to help fix this global problem, it will need to employ solutions that have a worldwide impact — researching and disseminating new technologies, subsidizing companies to scale up these technologies and make them cost-effective, paying other countries to use renewable energy and taxing the products of those nations that increase their use of dirty fuels.
900 by Noah Smith. MOVED
^Editorial: The Oscars are still so white. And male<
^OSCARS-EDITORIAL:LA—<Once upon a time in Hollywood, there was a slate of Oscar nominations populated by directors and performers of reasonably diverse ethnic backgrounds and genders. Alas, that was in 2018. And again in 2019. But the fairy tale did not come true again on Monday, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 2020 Academy Awards, which amounted to #Oscarsprettymuchwhiteandmale.
500 by The Times Editorial Board. MOVED
^Editorial: The Iranian people are not the enemy<
^USIRAN-PROTESTS-EDITORIAL:MS—<Protests are continuing in Iran. But increasingly the focus of Iranian ire is the theocracy itself after the government belatedly admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 on board.
That the mood could shift so quickly among the massive crowds grieving Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, seemed to surprise Iranian officials. Yet those who've been paying attention to the protest movement in Iran know that it was hitting critical mass before the Soleimani killing and the retaliatory Iranian airstrike against U.S. bases in Iraq.
550 by Editorial Board. MOVED
^Editorial: The China trade truce and return of the Export-Import Bank: Wins for Midwest farmers and factories<
^USCHINA-TRADE-EDITORIAL:TB—<On Wednesday, the United States and China are expected to sign off on the first phase of a trade agreement that plants some relationship certainty in the ground. Yes, this will be good for Midwest farmers.
We're describing it as a trade deal, but it's as much a temporary cessation of hostilities as it is the dawning of a new era. We'll take it. Global trade is enormously important to the Midwest's farmers and manufacturers. Trade disruptions are costly. Speaking of which, there's other news to celebrate: The Export-Import Bank is back in full operation after a long period in political limbo.
700 by The Editorial Board. MOVED
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