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Tribune News Service

News Budget for Tuesday, October 8, 2019


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






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.


^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


^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 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.

600 by Josh Wingrove and Billy House in Washington. MOVED


^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


^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



^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


^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


^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


^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


^Impeachment looms large in House Democrats' town halls over recess<

IMPEACHMENT-DEMOCRATS-TOWNHALLS:CON _ The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has been a central concern at town halls for House Democrats across the country, with both safe and vulnerable members of the caucus fielding questions from Trump's defenders and voters who want him removed from office.

While recent polls suggest that support for impeaching the president has grown over the last three months, Democrats have used feedback at town halls over the two-week October recess to assess how their constituents feel about the matter.

1100 by Griffin Connolly in Washington. MOVED


^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


^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


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


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


^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


^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


^CBP Chief: Harassing journalists 'absolutely unacceptable'<

CBP-JOURNALISTS:CON _ Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it is "absolutely unacceptable" for his officers to stop a journalist "because they're a journalist." He was responding to a question, based in part, on an Oct. 3 incident between Defense One editor Ben Watson and a CBP officer at Dulles International Airport. Defense One's report on the exchange alleged that "A U.S. passport screening official held a Defense One journalist's passport until he received an affirmative answer to this repeated question: 'You write propaganda, right?' " and characterized the officer's actions as harassment.

200 by Graham MacGillivray in Washington. MOVED


^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


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

USCHINA-VISAS-1ST-LEDE: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.

The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. said the moves seriously violate "the basic norms governing international relations," and accused Washington of using human rights as "merely made-up pretexts for its interference" in Beijing's internal affairs.

350 by Shabtai Gold in Washington. MOVED



^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


^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


^John Hickenlooper's Senate fundraising outpaces presidential campaign<

COLOSENATE-HICKENLOOPER:CON _ Democrat John Hickenlooper's latest fundraising numbers show that the former Colorado governor has caught more attention from donors as a top candidate in a critical Senate race than when he was one of two dozen presidential contenders.

Hickenlooper raised $2.1 million in the more than five weeks he has been running to take on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, his campaign announced Tuesday. That's a faster fundraising rate than Hickenlooper posted as a presidential candidate, when four months of effort raised less than $3.2 million.

500 by Bridget Bowman in Washington. MOVED


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

CALIF-VOTER-REGISTRATION:LA _ Californians will be able to register to vote on Election Day at local polling places and voting centers under legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, a potentially significant step toward boosting turnout in key contests next year.

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 as a national story.) MOVED



^Cohen takes starring role in DA's pursuit of Trump's business<

TRUMP-COHEN-DA:BLO _ A team of investigators from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office visited former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in prison about a month ago and asked a broad set of questions about the president's business that went beyond the payments made to silence Stormy Daniels, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Vance's team is planning to follow up with another interview of Cohen this month, the people said. CNN reported that Cohen would be brought from his upstate New York prison to New York City for that meeting.

Though federal prosecutors in New York have closed their campaign-finance investigation that led to Cohen's conviction, Vance's probe shows no sign of letting up.

400 by Greg Farrell and Caleb Melby in New York. MOVED


^Huge swath of Northern California could have power turned off as fire danger rises<

CALIF-WILDFIRES-ELECTRICITY:LA _ In what could be the biggest implementation yet of California's strategy of shutting off power to prevent wildfires, the state's largest utility announced Monday that blackouts were possible later this week in a large swath of the Bay Area and Northern California.

Citing the potential for extremely dry air and steady winds of up to 30 mph, with gusts that experts say could be twice as strong, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it was considering a public safety power shut-off for 29 counties between Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon.

650 by Joseph Serna. MOVED


^Dallas police name 3 suspects in fatal shooting of witness in Guyger case<

DALLAS-POLICE-SHOOTING-WITNESS:DA _ Dallas police officials on Tuesday said at a news conference at Dallas police headquarters that they have three suspects in connection with the shooting death of Joshua Brown, who was a witness in the murder trial of former police officer Amber Guyger.

All three suspects came from Alexandria, La., to purchase drugs from Brown, a police spokesman said. One suspect is in custody, and warrants have been issued for two other suspects.

500 by Cassandra Jaramillo in Dallas. MOVED


^From the bench, Judge Tammy Kemp saw Amber Guyger 'shrinking' after conviction for killing Botham Jean<

DALLAS-POLICE-SHOOTING-JUDGE:DA _ Before the trial of former police officer Amber Guyger began, Judge Tammy Kemp didn't expect the international focus on her courtroom. She expected the proceedings would be covered by local Dallas media, but the crush of attention from around the world caught her by surprise.

The world watched as Guyger, a 31-year-old white former police officer, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean, a black accountant who was in his own apartment when Guyger entered and shot him.

From the bench, Kemp saw Guyger change dramatically after the guilty verdict, she said.

In the beginning of the trial, Guyger was stoic, Kemp said. But after the verdict, she said, Guyger was "a different person."

1050 (with trims) by Dana Branham in Dallas. MOVED


^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


^Amendment 4 law an 'administrative nightmare,' judge says<

FLA-FELONS-VOTING:OS _ Florida's system for restoring the voting rights of up to 1.4 million ex-felons is an "administrative nightmare" a federal judge said Tuesday, but it could still remain in place during the presidential preference primary in March.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle seemed skeptical of how the state was applying a new law requiring ex-felons to pay all fines, fees, restitution and other costs as part of their sentence before being allowed to vote again.

Tuesday's hearing was held for Hinkle to consider whether to issue a preliminary injunction delaying the law while the underlying case moves forward.

900 (with trims) by Gray Rohrer in Tallahassee, Fla. MOVED


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

EPSTEIN-MAXWELL:NY _ Jeffrey Epstein's madam is laying low and avoiding a lawsuit filed by one of his sex trafficking victims, attorneys said Tuesday.

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


^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


^Los Angeles could ban all e-cigarettes and vaping devices<

LA-VAPING:LA _ A Los Angeles city councilman has proposed banning all e-cigarettes and vaping devices in the city _ a measure that would be one of the most extreme steps yet to curb an outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping.

The proposal, introduced at Tuesday's City Council meeting, would prohibit the sale of e-cigarette and vaping devices until they are deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration. Since the FDA has not approved any such devices, the law would essentially ban all of them.

450 by Soumya Karlamangla in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Cyberstalker found guilty of sending threatening messages to Parkland families<

PARKLAND-SHOOTING-CYBERSTALKER:FL _ After less than four hours of deliberation Tuesday, a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale found a 21-year-old man guilty of cyberstalking and making kidnapping threats to survivors and family members of the Parkland massacre.

The jury found Brandon Michael Fleury guilty of one count of transmitting a kidnap threat and three counts of cyberstalking. He now faces up to four years and eight months in federal prison.

450 by Mario Ariza in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


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


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


^Minneapolis mayor not backing down after Trump campaign threatens to sue over cost of rally<

TRUMP-MINNEAPOLIS-1ST-LEDE:MS _ Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will continue to push President Donald Trump's campaign to pay city costs associated with an upcoming Trump rally, despite the campaign's warning that it will take the city to court over the estimated $530,000 bill.

"It's not extortion to expect someone to pay their bills," Frey said in a news conference Tuesday.

Trump plans to rally supporters Thursday evening in the city-owned Target Center.

800 by Miguel Otarola and Jessie Van Berkel in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Court order overturns Tampa ban on conversion therapy, dismays Central Florida LGBTQ advocates<

FLA-CONVERSIONTHERAPY:OS _ LGBTQ activists who lobbied Orlando and Orange County leaders to ban conversion therapy as a treatment to "cure" gay juveniles of their sexual orientation are dismayed by a federal judge's decision to strike down a similar Tampa ordinance.

650 by Stephen Hudak in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


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


300 by Jessica Schladebeck. MOVED


^Road should have been closed before FIU bridge collapse, top state road engineer told NTSB<

FLA-BRIDGECOLLAPSE:MI _ The busy highway under Florida International University's pedestrian bridge, which crumbled in March 2018 and killed six people, should have been closed while crews were trying to repair cracks in a critical support strut, a top engineer with Florida's Department of Transportation told federal investigators.

In a letter to investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board released on Tuesday, Will Watts, the chief engineer for FDOT, wrote that the road should have been "completely closed to traffic if the contractor was undertaking activities that posed a risk to the public. " FIU and its contractor were responsible for asking the state to close Tamiami Trail, he wrote.

800 by Monique O. Madan, Rene Rodriguez and Andres Viglucci in Miami. MOVED


^'A hero': Kansas City mass shooting victim saved friend from gunfire at bar, cousin says<

KANSASCITY-SHOOTING-VICTIM:KC _ In the final hours of his life, Everardo Meza did something he loved: he danced.

He was among dozens of people having a good time Saturday night at Tequila KC, a bar near 10th Street and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

Known to loved ones as "Ever," Meza talked to Celeste Trevino that evening. She liked him. He introduced her to some of his family members. The two danced.

500 by Luke Nozicka in Kansas City, Kan. MOVED


^Authorities say Central Florida man strangled, drowned 4 kids after killing their mother<

FLA-FAMILYSLAIN:OS _ The Central Florida man who was found with the body of his wife in the back of his vehicle, and who led authorities to the bodies of her four children has now been charged in all five of their deaths.

400 by Richard Tribou in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Bartender won't face charge for serving man ahead of bloody rampage at Cowboys watch party in Plano<

TEXAS-SHOOTING-BARTENDER:DA _ The bartender who served alcohol to a man who later opened fire on a Dallas Cowboys watch party in Plano, killing eight people before a police officer killed him, won't face a criminal charge.

A Collin County grand jury declined to indict 27-year-old Lindsey Glass last month on a misdemeanor count of selling alcohol to certain persons, her attorneys said late Monday. She had been arrested on the charge earlier this year.

In a written statement, Glass's attorneys Scott Palmer and Rebekah Perlstein said their client was relieved by the grand jury's decision.

500 by Tom Steele in Dallas. MOVED


^Greyhound said Texas man was kicked off bus for being unruly; now says that wasn't true<

BUS-LAWSUIT:FT _ Greyhound Bus Lines says its statement that an Arlington, Texas, man was kicked off a bus in the middle of the night because he was being "unruly" was false and has issued an apology to the man.

Mohammad Reza Sardari said he was forced off a bus in 2017 because he is Middle Eastern, according to a 2018 lawsuit he filed against Greyhound. Sardari said he was discriminated against and assaulted by fellow passengers after the bus driver looked at his ticket and saw his name was Mohammad.

650 by Kaley Johnson in Fort Worth, Texas. MOVED


^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


^Gunman in Georgia standoff wanted on terroristic threat charges in Nebraska<

STANDOFF-TERRORTHREATS:AT _ A man involved in a standoff with U.S. Marshals and Clayton County police Tuesday was wanted in Nebraska after allegedly threatening to kill his girlfriend and shoot up a Walmart, officials said.

Timothy James O'Neil was arrested after the standoff, which lasted more than two hours at a home on Bimini Drive in Forest Park, according to U.S. Marshals spokesman Inspector Eric Heinze.

350 by Asia Simone Burns in Atlanta. MOVED


^Florida man pours beer into alligator's mouth, encourages it to bite him, officials say<

FLA-GATOR-BEER:OS _ Two Florida men were arrested and jailed after one of them caught an alligator and the other poured beer into its mouth and encouraged the reptile to bite him, wildlife officials said, according to news reports.

The attack was caught on video. The gator was later let go, according to the report.

100 by Tiffini Theisen in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Minnesota police: Man points out his Trump bumper sticker vs. woman's for Warren, flashes loaded gun<

MINN-BUMPERSTICKERS-GUN:MS _ A man is in jail and accused of flashing a loaded handgun at another driver in Moorhead, Minn., after pointing out his Donald Trump bumper sticker vs. hers for presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren.

300 by Paul Walsh in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Chicago police misused placards to park for free near Bears, Cubs games, probe finds<

CHICAGO-POLICE-FREEPARKING:TB _ Chicago police officers improperly used department-issued placards to park illegally with their personal vehicles in police station parking lots so they or their friends and relatives could attend Cubs and Bears games, an investigation by the city's government watchdog found.

Officers also regularly parked their cars in a tow-away zone along a narrow street near City Hall, creating potential safety hazards by blocking fire lanes and emergency exits, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's office reported Tuesday.

650 by Jeremy Gorner in Chicago. MOVED


^Reality TV star wins bid to fly big US flag in North Carolina, but must pay big fines<

NC-GIANTFLAG:CH _ A CNBC reality TV star has won the right to keep flying a giant U.S. flag over his RV dealership in North Carolina, but the victory came at a cost: thousands of dollars of fines.

450 by Mark Price in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED


^Bag full of reptiles stolen out of San Jose parking garage<

REPTILES-STOLEN:SJ _ Five beloved reptiles went missing in a reported snake theft in San Jose on Sunday.

Brian Gundy, who runs the Campbell-based educational snake business For Goodness Snakes, packed up at about 4:15 p.m. after a routine presentation at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San Jose.

It was Gundy's 67th birthday, and his plans for the rest of the day involved a reptile-free dinner celebration with family. But first, the longtime snake aficionado filed a police report and posted Craigslist ads in the hope of finding snakes Piper, Shorty, Whitey, Bob and 12-year-old lizard Stretch, who he said were taken as he was loading his car.

400 by Fiona Kelliher in San Jose, Calif. MOVED


^Federal court hears arguments in challenge to the University of Texas' removal of Confederate statues<

CMP-TEXAS-STATUES:AU _ Judges for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Tuesday morning in the latest effort to counter the University of Texas' removal of several Confederate statues.

In 2017, after violent white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., UT President Gregory L. Fenves authorized the removal of statues of Confederate figures _ Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan _ along with Gov. James Stephen Hogg from the UT South Mall.

700 by Lara Korte in Austin, Texas. MOVED


^No joking matter: Woman posing as Lisa Lampanelli shows up at comedian's Conn. house, police say<


A Pennsylvania woman posed as Lampanelli and tried to get into her beach-side house while Lampanelli was out of state, police said Tuesday.

350 by Christine Dempsey in Hartford, Conn. (Moved as an entertainment story.)


^NC man charged in machete attack on neighbor after their dogs fought<

DOGFIGHT-NEIGHBORS-MACHETE:CH _ A Lincoln County man is accused of slashing his neighbor in the head with a machete during an argument stemming from their dogs clashing in a fight.

The injured man was taken to Atrium Health Lincoln after deputies found him with a laceration on his head Monday, according to a news release by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

150 by Joe Marusak in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED


^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


^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


^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



^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


^Report: Wildfires threaten California's progress in cutting greenhouse gases<

ENV-CALIF-CLIMATE-WILDFIRES:LA _ The wildfires that raged last year from Paradise to Malibu made for California's deadliest, most destructive fire season on record.

But the eruption of blazes marked another distinction for California, as one of the worst for the climate. In 2018, fires released more than 45 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere _ the most in a decade and trailing only slightly behind 2008, when the state was also stricken by two of the largest wildfires in modern history.

1250 (with trims) by Tony Barboza in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Most pregnant women don't get recommended flu, whooping cough vaccines<


Yet only about 55% of pregnant women reported getting a flu or whooping cough (Tdap) vaccination last year, while just over a third of them got both recommended shots, according to the latest federal report on the perennial problem, issued Tuesday.

350 by Marie McCullough. MOVED


^Congenital syphilis continues to rise at an alarming rate<

MED-CONGENITAL-SYPHILIS:KHN _ One of the nation's most preventable diseases is killing newborns in ever-increasing numbers.

Nationwide, 1,306 infants acquired syphilis from their mother in 2018, a 40% rise over 2017, according to federal data released Tuesday. Seventy-eight of those babies were stillborn, and 16 died after birth.

1500 (with trims) by Anna Maria Barry-Jester. MOVED


^Alaska Natives and fishermen sue EPA for reversing Pebble Mine decision<

ENV-PEBBLEMINE-LAWSUIT:LA _ Trump administration officials broke the law when they reversed course and gave a green light to a proposed copper and gold mine near Alaska's Bristol Bay, mining opponents said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Alaska Native, commercial fishing and economic development organizations said the Environmental Protection Agency's decision July 30 to step aside and let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determine whether to permit the Pebble Mine was "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion" and illegal.

300 by Richard Read in Seattle. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT _ Nation and world news briefs.



^Unpatriotic? Whistleblowers have been speaking up, and suffering the consequences, from the beginning<

WHISTLEBLOWERS:LA _ It was 1777. The Revolutionary War was raging, and a small band of officers and seamen in the Continental Navy faced a dangerous dilemma.

Their commodore was one of the most powerful men in colonial America. But his subordinates had seen him engage in "barbarous" mistreatment _ torture, in their eyes _ of captured British sailors.

Eleven years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the 10 worried sailors became the new republic's first whistleblowers, reporting what they had witnessed to the Continental Congress _ and getting legal protection to shield them from retribution.

The lonely individual speaking truth to power is an enduring American archetype.

1350 (with trims) by Laura King in Washington. MOVED


^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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