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International Budget for Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Updated at 0320 UTC (11:20 p.m. U.S. EDT Tuesday).

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

^TOP STORIES<

^Turkey says its military will cross Syrian border 'shortly'<

TURKEY-SYRIA:BLO _ A senior Turkish official said on Wednesday that the country's military would cross the Syrian border "shortly," an incursion that's intended to force U.S.-backed Kurdish militants away from Turkish soil.

Troops supported by the Free Syrian Army will cross into Syria to seize areas to the south of the frontier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communications director Fahrettin Altun said in a tweet.

The announcement comes days after President Donald Trump said American troops wouldn't stand in the way of Turkish soldiers when they enter Syria.

250 by Onur Ant in Istanbul. MOVED

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^China's diplomatic squeeze on Taiwan risks backfiring on Xi<

CHINA-TAIWAN:BLO _ Seventy years after the founding of the People's Republic of China, President Xi Jinping is nearing a goal that was only a distant dream for Mao Zedong: getting every country in the world to drop diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

The decision of two Pacific Island states to switch relations to Beijing from Taipei in recent weeks leaves the Republic of China _ the government forced off the mainland by Mao's forces in 1949 _ with just 15 formal diplomatic partners. President Tsai Ing-wen's security council acknowledged last month that the island could lose as many as two more allies this year, as Xi accelerates efforts to isolate her pro-independence party.

900 by Iain Marlow in Hong Kong. MOVED

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^Trio wins Nobel Physics Prize for work on evolution of the universe<

NOBEL-PHYSICS:DPA _ The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics will be shared by a trio of scientists "for contributions to (the) understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth's place in the cosmos," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Tuesday.

One-half of the prize _ worth 9 million kronor ($908,000) _ went to James Peebles, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology" over the past two decades that have enriched modern astronomy's timeline of the universe, from the Big Bang onwards.

650 by Stephen Lowman and Lennart Simonsson in Stockholm. MOVED

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^WORLD NEWS<

^UN warns it may default on salaries by November in a cash crisis<

UN-FUNDING:BLO _ United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the global body is facing its worst cash crisis in about a decade and runs the risk of defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.

Many members are behind on their payments, forcing the U.N. to cut back on travel, purchases of goods and services and conferences, Guterres said.

250 by David Wainer in New York. (Moved as an international story.) MOVED

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^Want to interview cartel hit men or human smugglers? These men and women can make it happen<

MEXICO-TIJUANA-FIXERS:SD _ Margarito Martinez spent 10 nights sleeping inside his white minivan parked outside a Tijuana makeshift shelter last year when a caravan of Central American migrants reached the U.S.-Mexico border.

Inside the shelter, thousands of men, women and children were crammed into a park. When the winter rains came many slept on mud and disease spread throughout the shelter.

Martinez was working. He'd been hired by French journalists to be their eyes and ears in Tijuana.

Whenever the foreign press drops in to cover a big international story _ be it a natural disaster in Southeast Asia, a civil war in Africa, or a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border _ they rely on local guides to show them around town, arrange interviews, scout locations, serve as translators, and sometimes even negotiate interview terms with local cartel bosses.

1300 by Gustavo Solis in Tijuana, Mexico. MOVED

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^American guns are stoking a homicide epidemic in Mexico<

MEXICO-VIOLENCE-GUNS:LA _ The sun had not yet risen when dozens of gunmen stormed into the town of Ocotito in southern Mexico and started shooting.

Salvador Alanis Trujillo tried to fight back, but his shotgun was no match for their assault rifles. So he and his family fled.

This rugged stretch of Guerrero state had always been a little lawless, home to cattle rustlers and highway bandits. But by the time the gunmen seized Ocotito in 2013, the region was overrun with dozens of criminal groups battling for territory.

There was another key difference: The criminals were now packing AR-15s, AK-47s and other weapons of war.

Mexico is in the grips of a deadly arms race.

And the vast majority of guns have been smuggled from the world's largest gun market: the United States.

2250 by Kate Linthicum in Filo De Caballos, Mexico. MOVED

PHOTOS

^Cuba slowly loses a lifeline _ Venezuela<

CUBA-VENEZUELA-FUEL:LA _ In Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of its generous subsidies, fuel was so scarce that many people stopped driving and the government imported thousands of Chinese bicycles.

The crisis trickled down to nearly every aspect of life, bringing blackouts, food shortages, even a vitamin deficiency thought to be the cause of a mysterious neurological condition.

Known as the Special Period, that era of hardship and severe rationing began in 1991. It finally came to a close at the end of the decade, in large part because oil-rich Venezuela and its leftist leadership came to the rescue.

That lifeline has been severely pinched over the last several years as Venezuela sinks deeper into economic and political chaos.

1050 (with trims) by Mimi Whitefield in Havana. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^White House says it will not 'participate' in House impeachment inquiry<

IMPEACHMENT-SONDLAND-2ND-LEDE:LA _ In an extraordinary show of defiance, the White House said Tuesday it would refuse to "participate" in the House impeachment inquiry, setting up a direct constitutional clash between the two co-equal branches of government.

The eight-page letter, sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three committee chairmen, marks a major milestone in the impeachment drama, and came hours after the White House directly intervened to block a U.S. diplomat involved in the scandal from giving a voluntary deposition.

1250 by Noah Bierman, Sarah D. Wire and Alexa Diaz in Washington. MOVED

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^House Republicans ask Trump not to blindside them on impeachment moves<

IMPEACHMENT-HOUSE-GOP:BLO _ Donald Trump blindsided key Republican allies on Tuesday when the White House blocked a diplomat's testimony in the House impeachment probe, and the lawmakers later asked the president to make sure it doesn't happen again, according to people familiar with the matter.

Frustrated that they didn't get a heads-up that Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, would be prevented from appearing on Tuesday, a handful of GOP lawmakers went to the White House to discuss the issue with Trump and senior advisers, one of the people said.

In response, White House officials agreed to improve communication of their impeachment strategy with allies who are on the front lines, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private conversations between Trump and the lawmakers.

600 by Josh Wingrove and Billy House in Washington. MOVED

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^Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch calls LGBTQ workplace discrimination case 'really close'<

SCOTUS-LGBTQ:LA _ The Supreme Court justices sounded closely split Tuesday and a bit uncertain over whether to make it illegal under federal law for companies and public agencies to fire employees solely because they are gay, lesbian or transgender, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch likely the deciding vote.

"This case is really close," said Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's first appointment to the high court, during oral arguments over whether the 1964 federal ban on discrimination on the basis of "sex" applies to LGBTQ people. He told an ACLU lawyer arguing in favor of a transgender woman who was fired: "I'm with you on the text."

But Gorsuch went on to say that it is a matter for Congress, not the court. "It's a question of judicial modesty," he said.

1000 by David G. Savage in Washington. MOVED

PHOTO, GRAPHICS

^African Americans top targets of 2016 Russian info warfare, Senate panel finds<

USRUSSIA-HACKING:CON _ The Senate Intelligence Committee has confirmed the extent of the Russian government's expertise at exploiting racial divisions in America.

Among the key takeaways of the second volume of the committee's study of Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election is the extent to which minorities were targeted.

650 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED

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^Russian trolls orchestrated 2016 clash at Houston Islamic center, new Senate report says<

USRUSSIA-HACKING-TEXAS:DA _ A Senate intelligence committee report issued Tuesday recounts efforts by Russian trolls to orchestrate a clash in Houston between local Muslims and anti-Muslim demonstrators in May 2016 _ one of many instances of Russia trying to stoke unrest in the United States.

750 by Todd J. Gillman in Washington. MOVED

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^Sanders, doctors likely knew about heart attack days before his campaign disclosed it<

SANDERS:BLO _ Bernie Sanders and his doctors likely would have known within hours that the Democratic presidential candidate had a heart attack in Las Vegas last Tuesday, cardiologists say, but his campaign described the incident at first as a fleeting episode of chest pain and waited three days to reveal the more serious diagnosis.

The incident has raised questions about the 78-year-old senator's fitness for the stress of the presidency.

Standard practice when a person comes to a doctor with chest pain is a set of tests that can tell if they are suffering a heart attack, say leading heart doctors including a Harvard medical professor. That rapid diagnosis can be performed in minutes.

1100 (with trims) by Wendy Benjaminson, Michelle Fay Cortez and Sahil Kapur in Washington. MOVED

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^Bernie Sanders says he'll scale back campaigning after heart attack<

SANDERS-CAMPAIGN:LA _ Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that he plans to scale back his campaigning after suffering a heart attack last week in Las Vegas.

"I think we're going to change the nature of the campaign a bit," the Vermont senator told reporters outside his home in Burlington after a visit to a cardiologist. "I'll make sure I have the strength to do what I have to do."

Sanders, 78, said he would probably slow his pace of holding three or four rallies a day, at times in multiple states.

350 by Michael Finnegan. MOVED

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^Trump on defense as impeachment gains support, Syria decision gets friendly fire<

TRUMP-ASSESS:CON _ With more and more Americans supporting his impeachment and Republican lawmakers slamming his decision to remove U.S. protection of Kurds in Syria, President Donald Trump is in a defensive crouch.

A Washington Post-Schar School poll released Tuesday shows that a clear majority _ 58% _ of those surveyed support House Democrats' decision to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.

1100 (with trims) by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED

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^Trump's 'prosecutors can't touch me' spurs question of overreach<

TRUMP-TAXRETURNS-STRATEGY:BLO _ Lawyers for President Donald Trump may have overplayed their hand by arguing that neither he nor his businesses can be investigated by a state prosecutor.

On Monday a federal judge savaged the argument, saying it was "repugnant" to the U.S. Constitution. Now a federal appeals court will weigh in on a legal question never previously considered, and experts said Trump's expansive claim of broad presidential immunity probably will be rejected if he continues to assert that the president, his businesses and his associates are immune to even an investigation.

"I don't think there's a chance in the world that the theory the president is putting forth will be accepted," said Stephen Saltzburg, a former official in President Ronald Reagan's Justice Department who now teaches at the George Washington University law school in Washington.

750 by Andrew Harris in Washington. MOVED

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^Here's what Democrats are reportedly considering to protect the whistleblower's identity<

IMPEACHMENT-WHISTLEBLOWER-IDENTITY:LA _ House Democrats are considering additional measures to protect the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint spurred an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to The Washington Post.

To prevent efforts to expose the whistleblower, Democrats are weighing having the individual testify from a remote location and obscuring the person's appearance and voice, three officials told The Post.

350 by Alexa D az in Washington. MOVED

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^Graham opens door for Giuliani to talk about Bidens, Ukrainian 'corruption' in Senate<

IMPEACHMENT-GRAHAM-GIULIANI:CS _ After breaking with ally President Donald Trump Monday on issues involving Turkey, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is now calling for the Senate to investigate the president's personal lawyer's claims into corruption in Ukraine involving the Biden family.

Graham tweeted Tuesday morning that he would be offering former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani a chance to testify about his allegations of corruption in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by the South Carolina Republican.

350 by Emily Bohatch in Columbia, S.C. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^Judge questions keeping Mueller grand jury materials from House<

CONGRESS-MUELLER-GRANDJURY:CON _ A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday appeared ready to give the House Judiciary Committee access to at least some of the secret grand jury materials from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, throughout a two-hour hearing, voiced skepticism about the Justice Department's reasons for opposing the release of materials to the committee as part of an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

900 (with trims) by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED

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^US pledges additional $98 million to Venezuela's Guaido in 'historic' bilateral agreement<

^USVENEZUELA:MI_

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, signed what it called a "historic bilateral agreement" with representatives of Venezuela's Juan Guaido administration.

500 by Jim Wyss. MOVED

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^Justice Department labels GOP claim about Uranium One deal a conspiracy theory<

GOP-URANIUM-CONSPIRACY:WA _ A talking point used by some leading Republicans to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe has been labeled a conspiracy theory by Justice Department prosecutors.

Amid Mueller's lengthy and controversial probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, vocal GOP leaders such as Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., pushed an alternative narrative.

The Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation might have conspired with Russia, they argued, giving the foreign nation a stake in U.S. uranium production and the Clintons a financial windfall.

It became known as the Uranium One conspiracy.

650 by Kevin G. Hall in Washington. MOVED

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^US sees drop in migrants caught, blocked at southern border<

BORDER-CROSSINGS:BLO _ The number of people apprehended or turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border fell for the fourth consecutive month in September as the Trump administration pushes to curb crossings, though numbers remain higher than in recent years.

U.S. officials apprehended or denied entrance to roughly 52,000 migrants in September, down from about 64,000 in August.

150 by Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink in Washington. MOVED

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^CBP Chief: Harassing journalists 'absolutely unacceptable'<

^CBP-JOURNALISTS:CON_

200 by Graham MacGillivray in Washington. MOVED

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^US to put visa limits on Chinese officials over abuse of Muslim minorities<

USCHINA-VISAS:DPA _ The United States announced Tuesday it will restrict visas to Chinese officials over human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.

The move comes a day after the blacklisting of 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations on similar grounds.

250 by dpa in Washington. MOVED

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^Analysis: Mostly smoke, and little fire, from Republicans to Democrats on impeachment<

IMPEACHMENT-ANALYSIS:CON _ Republicans are publicly celebrating impeachment as a political boon and trying to hold House Democrats' feet to the fire with television ads and protests. But without credible challengers, it's little more than expensive hot air.

Last week, President Donald Trump's campaign manager bragged about turning up the heat on a freshman Democrat who supports an impeachment inquiry, and the Republican National Committee is on television targeting a dozen Democratic members for supporting one. But in most instances, there's a lot of smoke and little fire, considering Republicans are still searching for credible candidates in many of the districts.

600 by Nathan L. Gonzales in Washington. MOVED

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^Couple sentenced to 1 month in prison for paying to rig daughter's college entrance exams<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD:LA _ A couple who splits their time between New York City and Colorado were sentenced Tuesday to one month in prison each for conspiring to fix their daughter's college entrance exams, a scam they decided was worth the $125,000 cost if it boosted her prospects of getting into Duke University, her mother's alma mater.

In choosing to incarcerate Gregory and Marcia Abbott for a month, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani stopped short of the eight-month penalty prosecutors had requested. But she also wasn't swayed by appeals from the Abbotts and their attorneys to spare the couple prison altogether.

1150 by Matthew Ormseth. MOVED

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^Chelsea terrorist bomber convicted of all charges in 2016 gunfight with NJ police<

NY-TERRORPLOT:NY _ A New Jersey jury convicted an Afghani immigrant of attempted murder Tuesday for a 2016 Garden State gunfight with police that left him bleeding and under arrest.

Defendant Ahmad Khan Rahimi sat silently after the guilty verdicts were delivered inside an Elizabeth, N.J., courthouse to end the jury's second day of deliberations. The jury rejected the defense contention that the naturalized U.S. citizen acted in self-defense during the gunfight.

200 by Larry McShane in New York. MOVED

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^Whereabouts of Ghislaine Maxwell a mystery, attorney for Jeffrey Epstein victim says<

^EPSTEIN-MAXWELL:NY_

Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly played a critical role luring underage girls into the multimillionaire's scheme, has not yet been served with a lawsuit filed by Jennifer Araoz, her attorney Dan Kaiser said.

Private investigators have been unable to find the British socialite long linked to Epstein. Maxwell's attorneys have refused to accept service of the suit on her behalf, Kaiser said.

400 by Stephen Rex Brown in New York. MOVED

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^Children's book author found dead alongside wife, three kids inside Massachusetts home<

^AUTHOR-FAMILYDEAD:NY_

The family of five were all found dead from apparent gunshot wounds inside their Abington condo after a concerned relative called 911 on Monday around 7:30 a.m. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz identified the victims in a press release as Joseph Zaccardi, his 40-year-old wife, Deirdre Zaccardi, and their three children _ 11-year-old Alexis and 9-year-old twins Nathaniel and Kathryn Zaccardi.

450 by Jessica Schladebeck. MOVED

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^Virginia student who said she did 'cocaine with the devil' before murdering roommate pleads guilty<

^ROOMMATE-MURDERED:NY_

300 by Jessica Schladebeck. MOVED

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^Feinstein secures nearly $20 million to help stop Tijuana sewage from flowing into US<

USMEXICO-BORDER-SEWAGE:SD _ The Senate approved almost $20 million in funding to address sewage flows along the border.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who secured language in three different appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year, called the spills that send millions of gallons of raw sewage from Tijuana to San Diego "unacceptable."

The sewage flows have routinely closed San Diego County beaches for decades.

250 by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED

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^Californians can register to vote on Election Day at any polling place under new law<

^CALIF-VOTER-REGISTRATION:LA_

The new law provides for a significant expansion of so-called conditional voter registration, which allows a new voter to cast a ballot that is counted after eligibility is determined during the 30-day vote-counting period after an election. That process began in last year's statewide election, but registration was only available in county elections offices. Starting next year, voters can register on Election Day anywhere ballots are cast.

500 by John Myers in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED

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^BUSINESS<

^Republican senators tell Microsoft Huawei threat is 'real and urgent'<

USCHINA-HUAWEI-MICROSOFT:BLO _ Five Republican senators told Microsoft Corp. that the threat from Huawei Technologies Co. is "real and urgent," after one of Microsoft's top executives complained the government hadn't been open about why U.S. companies shouldn't do business with the blacklisted Chinese telecommunications firm.

U.S. Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Mike Braun and Josh Hawley sent a letter dated Monday to Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith with what they described as evidence of Huawei's wrongful behavior. The letter details several allegations of "espionage activities" and "technology theft and economic warfare."

350 by Dina Bass in Seattle. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^ENTERTAINMENT<

^From 'Joker' to 'Hustlers' to 'Parasite,' filmmakers explore the gap between the haves and have-nots<

^MOVIE-ECONOMIC-INEQUALITY:LA_

Scratch beneath the surface of genre, though, and you'll find that these films share a common preoccupation. In different ways, each tackles issues of economic disparity, exploring the gulf between society's haves and have-nots that has widened dramatically since the 2008 financial crisis. While steering clear of overt partisan politics, their depiction of individuals, families and entire societies buffeted and warped by the impacts of wealth inequality wouldn't be out of place in a stump speech on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.

1250 by Josh Rottenberg. MOVED

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^Commentary: How 'Joker' mirrors our fascination with monsters, now in the Trump years<

^MOVIE-JOKER-COMMENTARY:TB_

Scorsese wasn't entirely wrong, or entirely fair.

1000 by Christopher Borrelli. MOVED

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^SPORTS<

^Olympic athletes earn the right to market themselves during 2020 Games<

^OLY-2020-MARKETING:LA_

Before every Games, athletes would complain about a regulation that prevented them from marketing themselves at a time when they could reap the biggest profits.

Now the controversial Rule 40 is changing.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced it is following the International Olympic Committee's lead in relaxing the long-standing regulation for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

250 by David Wharton. MOVED

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^Warriors coach Steve Kerr stays out of China-NBA debate<

^BKN-WARRIORS-KERR-CHINA:SJ_

Kerr, arguably the most socially conscious coach in professional sports, hesitated Monday night to jump into the international debate created by Morey's tweet about China that also compromised the NBA's massive business interests in that country.

When asked if he had a reaction to Morey's tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters in their ongoing battle with the Chinese government, Kerr took a pass.

500 by Jon Becker. MOVED

^Mike Sielski: Sixers have a chance to show some guts about the NBA and China. They're passing it up.<

BKN-SIELSKI-COLUMN:PH _ So if the 76ers want to show everyone that they have some principles and guts, that they're more than just cheap progressive posers tapping into the woke zeitgeist for some easy money and good PR, here's what they'll do.

1050 by Mike Sielski in Philadelphia. MOVED

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