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Tribune News Service

International Budget for Monday, September 28, 2020

Updated at 0330 UTC (8:30 p.m. U.S. EDT Sunday).

Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.


^Azeris, Armenians plunge into war with Russia, Turkey watching<

^ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN:BLO—<Azerbaijan and Armenian forces engaged in fierce clashes Sunday when a decadeslong conflict over disputed land erupted into renewed war involving tanks, artillery and aircraft.

Russia and international organizations including NATO, the European Union and the OSCE called on both sides to halt fighting over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey backed its ally Azerbaijan and said it was ready to offer assistance.

800 by Zulfugar Agayev and Sara Khojoyan. MOVED


^Breonna Taylor’s death shocked the nation. In Louisville, many Black people are far from surprised<

KY-POLICE-DEATH-LOUISVILLE:LA — Before the shops downtown closed due to the coronavirus, then remained shuttered amid protests decrying police brutality, Tawana Bain’s restaurant exuded an air of bustling electricity. The sounds of Louisville college football and basketball games boomed from big screen TVs, and customers gathered in large groups to catch up over bowls of bourbon shrimp and grits.

Now, plywood covers the windows, shrouding the eatery, Encore on 4th, in shadows throughout the day. But prior to 9 p.m. EDT, when the city’s recently introduced curfew kicks in, some of the old, familiar energy returns as Encore serves as a safe space for protesters who have marched through the streets of Louisville for more than 120 days demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.

1600 (with trims) by Kurtis Lee in Louisville, Ky. MOVED


^President Trump paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, NYT says<

^TRUMP-TAXES:BLO—<President Donald Trump paid just $750 in income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, reported losing millions of dollars from his golf courses and has hundreds of millions in debt that will come due in the next few years, according to a report in The New York Times.

Trump paid no income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before he was elected, because he generated large losses that offset any money that he made, according to the Times analysis of at least two decades worth of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

250 by Laura Davison in Washington. MOVED



^Florida’s reported COVID-19 cases surpass 700,000<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA:FL — Newly reported cases of coronavirus infection in Florida were down on Sunday, just two days after the state moved into the third and final phase of its reopening.

Since the pandemic began, Florida has tallied 700,564 COVID-19 cases. Most people have recovered, but 14,202 have died — including 170 nonresidents.

1050 (with trims) by Susannah Bryan in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Health officials warn of ‘alarming’ COVID increase in New York City neighborhoods<

CORONAVIRUS-NY:NY — Coronavirus continues to spread “at an alarming rate” in several New York City neighborhoods, the city health department said Sunday, a day before it is expected to decide whether to shut down private schools and nonessential businesses there.

300 by Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED


^Voicing ‘no confidence’ in Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC principals union calls for state takeover of school reopening<

CORONAVIRUS-NY-SCHOOLS:NY — New York City’s principals and supervisors union on Sunday approved a vote of “no confidence” in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza over their “failure” to ensure safe reopening of schools.

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators called for the state Department of Education to take over the school reopening process.

450 by Clayton Guse and Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED


^Wildfire, climate, virus pose triple-threat to key California tourism, wine industries<

^CORONAVIRUS-CALIF-TOURISM:SA—<SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In San Diego, tourism industry watchers are bracing for a bleak fall after a shut-in summer that has crushed that city’s businesses. Up the coast in Monterey County, once-optimistic wine growers now must contend with the smoky fallout of nearby wildfires and its effect on that county’s multi-million dollar industry.

And in the desert resorts of Southern California’s Coachella Valley, researchers say climate change will devastate that region’s lucrative tourist industry in the decades to come.

Across California, two of the state’s signature industries — tourism and wine — are weathering the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic wildfires and climate change.

850 by Darrell Smith. MOVED



^Belarus protests continue as Macron says Lukashenko must go<

^BELARUS:BLO—<French President Emmanuel Macron said it’s clear that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has to step down, as protests over his disputed reelection continued for a seventh week.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 people joined a protest in Minsk on Sunday, according to Interfax and Minsk-based news website Nasha Niva. Police tried to prevent the rally from swelling to the size seen in some previous weeks by blocking streets and making numerous detentions while central parts of the city have been paralyzed with cordons. As usual during protest rallies, mobile internet was slowed down or disabled in Minsk.

450 by James Regan and Aliaksandr Kudrytski. MOVED


^Macron to stand by Lebanese after ‘betrayal’ by politicians<

^LEBANON-FRANCE:BLO—<President Emmanuel Macron said France wouldn’t abandon the Lebanese people after what he branded a “collective betrayal” by the country’s politicians in failing to form a new government to carry out reforms.

Macron said Lebanon had lost a month during which it could have received international aid as the country faces a deep economic crisis and struggles to recover from a devastating explosion at its main port in Beirut in August.

450 by James Regan. MOVED


^Xi stays course on Xinjiang policies despite international furor<

^CHINA-UIGHURS:BLO—<Chinese President Xi Jinping has doubled down on China’s policies toward Uighurs in the country’s western Xinjiang region despite international condemnation.

“Facts prove that the party’s policies on Xinjiang in the new era are completely correct and must be adhered to in the long term,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying during a work meeting held in Beijing on Friday and Saturday.

450 by Bloomberg News. MOVED


^China’s carbon target moves big economies into radical climate consensus<

^ENV-CHINA-CARBON:BLO—<After a week of far-reaching climate promises measured over decades, four of the world’s six largest economies have now proposed ending dates for their carbon emissions.

President Xi Jinping’s surprise announcement at the annual United Nations climate meeting this week committed China to reaching carbon neutrality by 2060. That brings the third-biggest economy by nominal GDP into a loose but vitally important consensus with the second largest (EU), fourth largest (Japan) and fifth largest (California). The end of emissions has been set even if the target dates remain varied — and at least a generation into the future.

1600 (with trims) by Akshat Rathi. MOVED



^Washington judge hits postmaster with election mail injunction<

^ELN-POSTALSERVICE:BLO—<A federal judge in the nation’s capital is the latest to order the Trump administration not to implement policy changes that could delay mail delivery for voters in the November elections.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., issued a preliminary injunction in a case led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and joined by New Jersey and Hawaii, along with New York City and San Francisco. President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have faced multi-state lawsuits alleging the administration is attempting to undermine the U.S. Postal Service ahead of an expected surge in mail-in voting, which the president has frequently claimed without evidence will lead to widespread voter fraud.

300 by Peter Blumberg. MOVED


^Fastest-growing US job failed to lift pay for Black women<

^HEALTHCARE-BLACK-WOMEN:BLO—< A job in home-based health care, America’s quickest-growing industry, felt like a step up the ladder for Shawanna Ferguson when she left her fast-food job a decade ago. But in terms of pay and security, it didn’t turn out to be much of an advance.

It’s taken a public-health emergency to shine a spotlight on the precarious conditions and low pay in this key corner of America’s direct-care economy — a key employer for Black women, in particular — and turn it into an issue for presidential politics.

950 (with trims) by Katia Dmitrieva in Washington. MOVED


^With court battle looming, Trump and Biden compete for Catholic voters<

CAMPAIGN-TRUMP-BIDEN-CATHOLICS:HC — Four years ago, Marge Hansen was deeply skeptical of Republican Donald Trump, dismissing the thrice-married businessman who once boasted about grabbing women “by the p—y” as sharply out-of-step with her own conservative Catholic values.

This year, she’s firmly behind Trump — even though former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, is Catholic.

“I don’t want to date the man, but I do want him to run my country,” said Hansen, a 67-year-old widow from Wilton who considers herself a devout Catholic and regularly attends Latin Mass. “I had been on the fence with him, but the decisions he’s made as president have surprised me in a very pleasant way.”

1450 (with trims) by Daniela Altimari in Hartford, Conn. MOVED


^Democrats focus Pennsylvania campaign on existential threat to health law<

CAMPAIGN-PA-DEMOCRATS-HEALTHCARE:PG — For almost four years, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., had told anyone who will listen — sometimes smaller audiences than he would prefer — that he believes the Affordable Care Act faces existential threats. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, he warned, have attempted to repeal the decade-old health law and chipped away at its coverage and consumer protections.

After the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, Casey suddenly found national attention on his biggest issue as Democrats scramble to illustrate to voters, in the final five-week stretch of the 2020 campaign, the dangers of a third Trump nominee confirmed, which would mean a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.

1600 by Daniel Moore in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^Napa County fire with ‘dangerous rate of spread’ forces evacuations<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-GLASS-2ND-LEDE:LA — A fast-moving fire in Napa County on Sunday forced evacuations north of the town of St. Helena as large swaths of Northern California faced dangerous fire weather.

The Glass fire has burned 1,200 acres about four miles northwest of downtown St. Helena, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and was burning “with a dangerous rate of spread.”

1300 (with trims) by Rong-Gong Lin II and Alex Wigglesworth in San Francisco. MOVED


^Scorching temperatures, smoky skies predicted in Bay Area this week, National Weather Service says<

CALIF-BAYAREA-FORECAST:SJ — Bay Area residents are in for a tough week, with a high-pressure system threatening to keep temperatures in the sweltering range and hold wildfire smoke in the air overhead.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gerry Diaz said hot and dry conditions are expected for much of the area throughout the week, with peak temperatures expected Sunday and Monday.

The forecast raised alarms over the potential for new wildfires as hundreds of firefighters continue to battle blazes across the state. On Sunday, the Glass fire in Napa forced evacuations shortly after it broke out in the morning.

450 by Aldo Toledo in San Jose, Calif. MOVED


^Portland police investigating beating of man at Proud Boys rally<

^PORTLAND-RALLY-ASSAULT:NY—<A man livestreaming a Proud Boys rally in Portland, Oregon, was knocked to the ground and kicked in the face by a protester Saturday, and police have now launched an investigation.

“An investigation into this assault case is underway,” Portland police said Saturday, linking to video of the attack.

250 by Kate Feldman. MOVED


^California mayor, Mexican governor launch war of words over cross-border sewage spills<

CALIF-MEXICO-SEWAGE-SPILLS:SD — The mayor of Imperial Beach and the governor of Baja California are engaged in an ongoing public feud over cross-border sewage spills, which have been a problem for years and resulted in polluting local communities in the United States and making people ill.

Mexican Gov. Jaime Bonilla has held three separate news conferences this month demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing into the U.S.

650 by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED



^’Star Wars’ star John Boyega, other Hollywood stars know diversity needs to be more than a ticked box<

^HOLLYWOOD-DIVERSITY:TB—<As an industry, Hollywood has been saying the right things when it comes to improving diversity. But diversity alone isn’t enough if the workplace remains a hostile environment for Black people and other people of color. Without meaningful cultural change, movie studios and TV networks are only engaging in surface-level efforts and giving the appearance of inclusion without addressing the messier reality that racism is endemic to the way Hollywood does business.

John Boyega spoke to this in a recent interview, describing his “Star Wars” experience as a bait-and-switch that allowed Disney to disingenuously pat itself on the back.

“What I would say to Disney,” Boyega told British GQ, “is do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed aside.”

2050 (with trims) by Nina Metz. MOVED


^Denzel Washington’s son, John David, is becoming a star in his own right<

^MOVIE-TENET-WASHINGTON:MS—<While most of the world has been mastering sourdough bread or learning to knit, John David Washington has been COVIDing by promoting the year’s biggest movie and making another one, entirely in secret.

Washington holed up in a swank room at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons hotel two weeks ago to do interviews for “Tenet,” which was supposed to lead the charge of the movies’ return to theaters when it opened Sept. 3. But, with many theaters still closed and many moviegoers reluctant to return, its $20 million opening was low by the nine-digit standards of director Christopher Nolan, whose blockbusters include “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk.”

Which is why Washington was at the Four Seasons, in the rare position of doing interviews for a movie that already opened but needs his help.

850 by Chris Hewitt. MOVED


^Patti Smith talks Jerry Garcia, R.E.M., cat litter and awakening from yesterday<

^MUS-PATTISMITH-QA:SJ—<Patti Smith has been an important part of the soundtrack of my life for decades.

So, I was thrilled when the opportunity to interview this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer finally came my way.

We spent the better part of an hour on the phone, chatting about everything from the Jerry Garcia and Michael Stipe to mopping the floor and other household chores.

In other words, it was basically everything I had hoped it would be.

1900 by Jim Harrington. MOVED



^Commentary: Retired military leaders shouldn’t endorse presidential candidates. America is divided enough<

^CAMPAIGN-MILITARY-ENDORSEMENTS-COMMENTARY:LA—<Two weeks ago, 235 retired generals and admirals signed an “open letter” supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. The letter is disgraceful and runs counter to military norms. Unfortunately, a second group is likely to respond in kind with a similar statement in support of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Every presidential election year, candidates seek to embezzle the high trust Americans place in the U.S. military, abetted by a growing group of retired generals and admirals with the wrong stuff. But let’s start with the right stuff.

850 by ML Cavanaugh. MOVED


^Commentary: If it weren’t for the color of my skin, I’d still be a US diplomat<

^DIPLOMAT-RACISM-COMMENTARY:LA—<My first day working on the consular line at the U.S. State Department in Juarez, Mexico, I was subjected to a strange look followed by an unexpected question. I had just finished interviewing a visa applicant and was handing him back his paperwork when he asked: “Where are you from?”

“I’m from the United States,” I responded, earnestly explaining that all of the consular officers conducting interviews were American. Still seeming confused, he shrugged, thanked me and left.

I wondered who the visa applicant thought would interview him. In retrospect, after months of interviewing applicants, it occurred to me he might have been expecting a white person to greet him from behind the consulate counter in 2018 instead of me: a diplomat with black skin, an Afro and a nose ring.

950 by Tianna Spears. MOVED


^Commentary: ‘Safe injection sites’ aren’t safe, effective or wise. Just ask Canadians<

^INJECTIONSITES-HERITAGE-COMMENTARY:MCT—<If you’ve never heard of “safe injection sites” — public facilities for drug users to consume heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine under the supervision of medical staff — you probably will soon. In cities such as Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, drug legalization activists have launched a campaign to create such sites.

When challenged, activists point to Canada, which they have long cited as a model of enlightened drug policies. In their policy proposals and campaign literature, drug legalization advocates argue that safe injection sites in Canada — particularly the Insite facility in Vancouver, British Columbia — have prevented overdose deaths and saved lives.

They should ask a few Canadians.

800 by Christopher F. Rufo. MOVED


^Fabiola Santiago: With little US travel to Cuba, Trump’s election-time rum, cigar sanctions are meaningless<

^SANTIAGO-COLUMN:MI—<Let’s call President Donald Trump’s election-time economic sanctions against Cuba what they truly are: a political play to run up the margins of his Cuban American vote in Florida.

No hotel stays. No bringing home all the rum and cigars you can carry, Trump has mandated.

But with little U.S. travel to the island in the era of COVID-19, his prohibitions are meaningless. There isn’t much revenue to take away from the Cuban government when people aren’t going there anyway.

850 by Fabiola Santiago. MOVED




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