Tribune News Service

International Budget for Friday, March 15, 2019

Updated at 0000 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EDT Thursday).

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


^Theresa May wins UK Parliament's backing for her plan to delay Brexit<

BRITAIN-EU:BLO — U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May enjoyed a rare good day in Parliament, fighting off her opponents and winning the endorsement of British politicians to seek to delay Brexit day.

The result on Thursday means her Brexit plan — which has twice been rejected by huge majorities in the House of Commons — is still in play.

300 by Tim Ross in London. MOVED



^Venezuela's inflation worse than Zimbabwe, Iran, amid grinding economic crisis<

VENEZUELA:MI — Reeling amid power blackouts and water shortages, Venezuelans could be forgiven for missing the latest economic report.

On Thursday, the opposition-controlled congress confirmed that the country is still trapped in a hyper-inflationary spiral that has made life a misery for the vast majority.

Year-on-year inflation as of February is running 2.3 million percent by their calculations.

650 by Jim Wyss in Bogota, Colombia. MOVED


^Black boxes from crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight arrive in Paris<

ETHIOPIA-PLANECRASH:DPA — The black boxes recovered from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa have arrived in Paris for analysis, French authorities said Thursday.

They will be examined by France's air accident investigation body, the Bureau des Enquetes et Analyses, or BEA.

The BEA said Ethiopian authorities requested its assistance for the analysis of the two boxes — the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

300 by Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. MOVED


^5 of the 6 most violent cities in the world are in Mexico, report says<

MEXICO-VIOLENCE:LA — Tijuana was the most violent city in the world in 2018, according a new report by a Mexican nonprofit group that ranked cities based on their homicide rates. The report by the Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that five out of six of the world's most violent municipalities were in Mexico, where homicides have risen to historic levels in recent years amid a military-led war against criminal groups.

750 by Kate Linthicum in Mexico City. MOVED


^The people of Mosul, Iraq, find there's life after Islamic State, but it isn't easy<

IRAQ-MOSUL:LA — In the biblical book of Jonah, God wants to destroy the city of Nineveh because of its wickedness, but ultimately relents and spares it.

Today, what was once Nineveh is the eastern half of the Iraqi city of Mosul, where a version of the biblical story has played out again. In the siege that drove Islamic State militants from Mosul, the east side was largely spared.

The west side is an entirely different story.

If it were possible to stand at the center of the Tigris River where it bisects this ancient city, once the crown jewel of Islamic State's conquests, the view might bring to mind an oft-repeated cliche: Mosul has become a tale of two cities.

1550 (with trims) by Nabih Bulos in Mosul, Iraq. MOVED



^GOP-controlled Senate rebukes Trump with vote to rescind border emergency declaration<

TRUMP-EMERGENCY-SENATE-1ST-LEDE:LA — Several Senate Republicans on Thursday joined Democrats to vote against President Donald Trump's border emergency declaration, a stinging rebuke of the White House's decision to circumvent Congress to deliver on the president's campaign pledge to build a wall.

Twelve Republicans defected to vote with all Democrats in support of a resolution to terminate the president's Feb. 15 declaration.

Minutes after the measure passed, Trump tweeted, "VETO!"

800 by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED


^Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to faking racist, homophobic attack on himself<

SMOLLETT:TB — "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Thursday in Cook County court to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a phony attack and claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.

500 by Megan Crepeau in Chicago. MOVED


^USC's role in yet another scandal prompts anger, disappointment among its community<

^CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-USC:LA—<The largest college admissions scandal in U.S. history stretches from La Jolla to Cape Cod, but its epicenter is Southern California and the private university here coveted by so many children of privilege and their families.

Of the 32 parents named in the FBI affidavit unsealed this week in U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday, more than half stand accused of conspiring to bribe their children's way into USC. Other universities, including Georgetown, Stanford, the University of San Diego and Yale, were also ensnared in the criminal enterprise run by consultant William "Rick" Singer, but the misconduct alleged involving USC dwarfs all other schools.

1450 (with trims) by Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Beto O'Rourke joins presidential race: Can excitement carry him to the White House?<

OROURKE-1ST-LEDE:LA — Beto O'Rourke entered the presidential race Thursday as one of the least credentialed, least experienced candidates in a crowded Democratic pack but also one of those generating the most buzz.

The former three-term Texas congressman is well-positioned at a time when Democrats are desperate for a new approach, fresh ideas and an infusion of charisma. The candidate whose signature achievement was galvanizing Democrats behind a Senate campaign he ultimately lost will quickly test how willing the party's voters are to eschew political pedigree and policy experience for optimism and eloquent energy.

1350 by Evan Halper in Washington. MOVED


^Roger Stone set to stand trial on Nov. 5 in Russia investigation<

STONE-1ST-LEDE:LA — As a self-described Republican dirty trickster, Roger Stone spent decades gleefully and gratuitously inspiring ire among his critics and opponents.

Now the former political adviser to President Trump is struggling to stay in the good graces of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson while awaiting trial in the Russia investigation.

He appeared to get a reprieve Thursday when he returned to Jackson's courtroom for a status conference. There were no fireworks over whether Stone had violated her gag order with the release of his book "The Myth of Russian Collusion."

750 by Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED


^Democrats confront Commerce Secretary Ross, saying he lied about census question<

CENSUS-CITIZENSHIP:LA — House Democrats accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a contentious face-off Thursday of having lied to Congress about his role in a Trump administration effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Confronted by Democrats for the first time since they won control of the House, Ross reiterated testimony he gave last year that the question was added to the draft census form at the request of the Justice Department. Democrats cited calls, emails and depositions showing that he worked with White House officials to add the question.

550 by Sarah D. Wire in Washington. MOVED


^Trump acknowledges 'zero tolerance' immigration policy 'hurts people'<

TRUMP:CON — President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted his immigration policies are "hurting people," and signaled he mulled Boeing's export business before he bowed to pressure and grounded two models of its 737 airliners after a second deadly crash.

The president's comments came in response to an Irish reporter in town with his country's prime minister for annual St. Patrick's Day festivities at the Capitol and White House. That reporter asked Trump in the Oval Office if he sees his own immigration policies as "cruel."

550 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^'Too complex to fly'? Trump riff on planes shows aversion to technological change and science<

BOEING-PLANES-TRUMP:LA — He has demanded "goddamned steam" to power the Navy's aircraft carriers and prefers a wall to drones and other technology to secure the country's southern border.

He has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and repeatedly, wrongly, pointed to occasional wintry weather as proof that he's right.

And this week, amid a safety scare involving Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes, President Donald Trump complained that modern jets are "too complex to fly." He added: "I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better."

The president, a septuagenarian who tweets yet doesn't email, text or use computers, and openly marvels at the invention of the wheel, is not shy about his old-school attitude toward technology. That backward-looking approach is at the core of his nostalgia-based appeal to voters longing for a supposedly better, simpler era of American greatness.

1400 (with trims) by Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED


^House Republicans join Democrats to demand the full Mueller report from Justice Department<

USRUSSIA-HACKING-CONGRESS:CON — House Republicans united with their Democratic counterparts to pass a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice release to Congress, and then to the public the full report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Mueller is reportedly close to completing a nearly two-year probe into Russian interference during the 2016 election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The non-binding resolution, offered by House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and several other Democratic chairs, passed 420-0 on Thursday.

400 by Griffin Connolly in Washington. MOVED


^Nadler moving carefully on obstruction probe<

CONGRESS-TRUMP-PROBE:CON — Documents requested from key associates of Donald Trump as part of the House Judiciary Committee's investigation into obstruction of justice and corruption are beginning to trickle in, the top Democrat on the committee indicated Thursday.

About half of the 81 people and entities connected to Trump who received letters and document requests in February from Chairman Jerrold Nadler have been in touch with the New York Democrat's staff about complying with the committee's probe.

500 by Griffin Connolly in Washington. MOVED


^Progressive Democrats hope Omar clash will reset debate in Congress over Israel<

CONGRESS-DEMOCRATS-ISRAEL:LA — As clumsy and offensive as Rep. Ilhan Omar's remarks were when she questioned the patriotism of pro-Israel members of Congress, some Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning Mideast peace advocates say the episode could nevertheless open the door to a more robust debate about U.S. foreign policy and rekindle interest in the plight of Palestinians, particularly among younger Democrats.

Others worry that the political backlash could end up stifling debate by making politicians afraid to discuss or even question U.S. policy on Israel.

1050 (with trims) by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED


^Creation of panel disputing climate change causes White House infighting<

WHITEHOUSE-CLIMATECHANGE:CON — Plans to create a White House panel to dispute established climate science are facing sharp opposition from within the building, according to an official familiar with the matter and an administration adviser.

The Trump administration is considering establishing a cohort of scientists at the National Security Council, led by Princeton physicist and climate change denier William Happer, to challenge established scientific conclusions of the severity of climate change and humanity's contributions to it.

450 by Benjamin Hulac in Washington. MOVED


^Trump fails again in effort to duck 'Apprentice' defamation suit<

^TRUMP-APPRENTICE-LAWSUIT:LA—<A New York appellate court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump's attempt to block the defamation suit of an Orange County, Calif., woman who says he lied during the 2016 campaign about sexually assaulting her at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The court's 3-to-2 ruling enables Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice," to press forward toward a Manhattan trial of her allegation that Trump defamed her by branding her a liar in the weeks before he was elected president.

600 by Michael Finnegan. MOVED



Also moving as:

TRUMP-APPRENTICE-LAWSUIT:NY — 300 by Stephen Rex Brown in New York. MOVED


^Hallmark cuts Lori Loughlin from all projects amid college admissions scandal<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-LOUGHLIN:LA — Hallmark has severed ties with actress Lori Loughlin after she was arrested for her alleged participation in an elaborate scheme aimed at getting students into elite colleges.

"We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations," the company said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. "We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin and have stopped development of all productions that air on the Crown Media Family Network channels involving Lori Loughlin including 'Garage Sale Mysteries,' an independent third party production."

450 by Ashley Lee in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Lori Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade dropped by Sephora amid college admissions scandal<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-SEPHORA:LA — Sephora has ended its brand partnership with social-media influencer Olivia Jade Giannulli, the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, in wake of a college admissions scandal enveloping her and her parents.

Giannulli, who goes by Olivia Jade online, fronted a cosmetics collaboration for the Paris-based cosmetics company that included a bronzer palette.

600 by Nardine Saad in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Connecticut Supreme Court says Sandy Hook families can sue gun manufacturer Remington<

CONN-SCHOOLSHOOTING-LAWSUIT:HC — The Connecticut Supreme Court Thursday narrowly reversed a ruling by a lower court judge dismissing a lawsuit by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting against gun manufacturer Remington, allowing the case to proceed.

By a 4-3 decision the court has remanded the landmark gun case back to Bridgeport Superior Court and possibly created a path that other mass shooting victims can follow to get around the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, known as PLCAA, which has protected the manufacturers of the AR-15 from lawsuits.

850 by Dave Altimari in Hartford, Conn. MOVED


^US Navy veteran held in Iran is sentenced to 10 years, lawyers say<

^USIRAN-PRISONER:LA—<Lawyers representing the family of an American citizen from San Diego detained in Iran said Thursday that the Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and for disclosing private information by posting a photo on Instagram of a woman he was visiting.

Michael White, 46, was detained in Mashhad, a religious city in eastern Iran, last July after traveling there to visit the woman. It was his third time visiting her in the Islamic Republic, said Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for his family.

650 by Melissa Etehad. MOVED

^Cops eye link to Gene Gotti in hit that whacked Gambino crime boss, sources say<

CRIMEBOSS-HIT:NY — Gene Gotti, released from prison six months ago after serving 29 years for dealing heroin, may be under the watchful eye of authorities looking for links to the brutal execution of a reputed Gambino gangster, sources told the New York Daily News on Thursday.

Cops are chasing down several theories over who was behind the assassination of Frank "Franky Boy" Cali, an alleged Gambino boss — including whether Gotti, the younger brother of late Gambino godfather John Gotti, is now looking to claw back his stake in the family business.

600 by Esha Ray and Rocco Parascandola in New York. MOVED


^Jeffrey Epstein prosecutor was previously rebuked for handling of a child sex case<

EPSTEIN-SEXABUSE-PROSECUTOR:MI — Nine months before cutting a covert plea deal with sex trafficking suspect Jeffrey Epstein, Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta was notified that the lead prosecutor in Epstein's case had concealed information in another underage sex crimes case, the Miami Herald has learned.

The prosecutor, A. Marie Villafana, was harshly rebuked by a federal judge in January 2007 for what he called her "intentional and/or serious lapse in judgment" when she failed to explicitly inform him that the defendant, a Texas man who traveled to Florida to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, had a prior history of predatory behavior with minors, court records show.

1950 by Julie K. Brown in Miami. MOVED


^Cindy Yang opposed crackdown on potential foreign money at Trump fundraisers, ex-boss says<

TRUMP-SPA-FOUNDER:MI — When South Florida day spa entrepreneur Cindy Yang started volunteering as a fundraiser for an Asian-American GOP political group, she was a whiz-bang event organizer with an entrepreneurial gift for making connections.

But Yang, a political novice, seemed to have a tenuous grasp of laws that prevent foreign money from entering U.S. elections, said Cliff Li, executive director of the National Committee of Asian American Republicans. He said a "messy" New York fundraiser for President Donald Trump in 2017 led him to worry that his group could be used to worm foreign money into the president's re-election campaign.

Shortly after that, Li imposed a new rule to bar anyone with the committee from bringing foreign nationals to political fundraisers and said the group should focus more on policy.

Yang quit her fundraising position in response.

1200 by Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, Caitlin Ostroff and Alex Daugherty in Miami. MOVED


^Arizona ranchers who supported Trump's barrier along the border are losing faith<

BORDER-RANCHERS:LA — When Donald Trump was elected president, rancher John Ladd said smuggling traffic on his ranch immediately dipped, and he slept soundly for the first time in years.

Ladd, 63, a fourth-generation cattle rancher, had voted for Trump and his promise to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. But the wall hasn't been constructed, the respite didn't last, and Ladd, along with other vocal southern Arizona ranchers, has lost faith in the Border Patrol's barrier plans.

The first stretch of new fence planned for construction by the Trump administration is not slated for the Arizona desert but for Texas and is mired in environmental and land disputes. Even if that project moves forward and is expanded to Arizona, Ladd and some other ranchers now doubt it will stop smugglers unless the Border Patrol changes its policies and deploys agents closer to the new barriers.

1600 by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Naco, Ariz. MOVED



^Pennsylvania artisan was known for his classic cast-iron fireplace designs. He says Chinese copies are killing him <

SMALLBIZ-CHINA-COUNTERFEIT:PH — J. Del Conner's biggest headache is currently out of stock, but the Berks County renaissance man fears more could be en route, via cargo ships from China.

Conner, 69, designs and sells cast-iron firebacks, large plates that are propped up inside fireplaces to protect the bricks and radiate heat. Conner started Pennsylvania Firebacks in 1979 in Philadelphia, and at his peak was selling 1,000 a year at $300 to $900 apiece, depending on size and intricacy of design.

800 by Jason Nark in Hamburg, Pa. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED



^Meet the female Kiwi comedy duo killing rom-com cliches in Netflix's 'The Breaker Upperers'<

^VID-BREAKER-UPPERERS:LA—<For New Zealander comedy collaborators Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek, it all started with an idea, a friendship, and one magical ingredient: Celine Dion.

Van Beek was making coffee one morning when she conjured the idea for "The Breaker Upperers," the duo's homegrown hit comedy film now on Netflix: Two BFFs run a service helping clients "consciously, forcibly, and irreversibly uncouple" from the partners they can't bring themselves to dump.

"I thought, 'Who's the funniest person I know in New Zealand?'" said Van Beek last year at the South by Southwest Film Festival, where "The Breaker Upperers" premiered. "And I rang Madeleine."

The two first met as teenagers at a comedy improv competition when Sami was 14 and Van Beek was 17. Both came up in New Zealand's comedy and theater scene, appearing in Kiwi crossover film hits "Eagle vs. Shark" and, later, "What We Do In the Shadows" for Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

1750 by Jen Yamato. MOVED



^UFC star Conor McGregor sued by fan after allegedly smashing phone<

MMA-UFC-MCGREGOR:MI — Conor McGregor was arrested this week after a fan said the star fighter smashed and stole his camera phone outside an iconic Miami Beach hotel. Now, the fan is suing the colorful mixed martial artist.

Ahmed Abdirzak filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade on Thursday accusing McGregor of "battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress."

Miami Beach police officers arrested McGregor, 30, Monday on charges of strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief, both felonies.

450 by David Ovalle in Miami. MOVED


^Another horse dies at Santa Anita, one day after the main track reopens<

RAC-SANTAANITA-DEATHS:LA — Santa Anita Park suffered a 22nd horse fatality since Dec. 22 on Thursday, just one day after the main track was reopened for training. The horse suffered a severe injury and was euthanized. A track spokesman said a "major corporate announcement" was expected.

Princess Lili B broke both front legs at the conclusion of a half-mile workout, as first reported by Brad Free of the Daily Racing Form and confirmed by the Los Angeles Times. Training will continue on the track, Free reported.

300 by Eric Sondheimer in Los Angeles. MOVED




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