Tribune News Service

International Budget for Saturday, May 4, 2019

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

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


^Thailand's enigmatic king to be crowned in first royal coronation in nearly 70 years<

THAILAND-KING:LA — The giant portraits erected in plazas and on street corners across Thailand usually show him as a younger man, clad in a fitted military uniform, his face unlined and hair jet-black.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn is now 66 years old and graying. Yet the official photos have until now represented among the only public signs of the zealously private monarch, who has rarely appeared before his 69 million subjects since assuming the throne when his father died 2 years ago.

That will change when Vajiralongkorn is officially crowned in three days of elaborate ceremonies beginning on Saturday, the first coronation in this Southeast Asian kingdom in nearly seven decades.

1050 (with trims) by Shashank Bengali in Bangkok. MOVED



^3 Palestinians killed in Gaza<

MIDEAST-GAZA:DPA — Three Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Friday, one during protests on the border with Israel and two in Israeli air raids, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

According to the Israeli army, two soldiers were shot and wounded at the border.

250 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. MOVED



^Department of Defense studying military options for Venezuela<

USVENEZUELA-OPTIONS:WA — In the aftermath of a faltering opposition uprising in Venezuela, the Trump administration is looking at imposing new individual sanctions against the Maduro government and also scrambling for ideas that can have a greater impact on the ground, including military options.

The White House is calling for relevant departments to produce more options for the president to consider on Venezuela. The National Security Council is pushing the Defense Department for military ideas, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seeking ways to entice Russia to pull away from Venezuelan leader Nicol s Maduro.

950 by Franco Ordo ez and Tara Copp in Washington. MOVED


^Pro-Trump conservatives challenge possible US military involvement in Venezuela<

USVENEZUELA:WA — For months, hawkish Florida Republicans have dominated the narrative on Venezuela, meeting with President Donald Trump days before the U.S. recognized Juan Guaid as the country's legitimate leader and arguing that the president sees the situation in Venezuela differently than his "America First" desire to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

But as Nicol s Maduro maintains control of the military three days after Guaid declared Operation Liberty underway, Sen. Rick Scott calls for U.S. troops to enter Venezuela and a senior administration official says "it's now or never," other conservative voices close to the president are arguing more forcefully that U.S. military intervention in Venezuela is not the right move.

1150 (with trims) by Alex Daugherty in Washington. MOVED


^Pentagon plans to sends Navy hospital ship to assist Venezuelan refugees<

USVENEZUELA-HUMANITARIAN:LA — The Pentagon planned Friday to send a U.S. Navy hospital ship to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as senior national security officials convened at the Pentagon to discuss military options for pressuring the country's president to step down.

Officials said the Comfort, a 1,000-bed vessel, probably would be sent off the coast of northern Colombia, near enough to treat refugees who have fled Venezuela. An announcement is expected next week.

550 by David S. Cloud in Washington. MOVED


^Trump is awarding the Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods, a golf partner and business ally <

TRUMP-WOODS:BLO — Donald Trump on Monday will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to golfer Tiger Woods in celebration of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history after setbacks due to personal problems and injuries.

But in bestowing the honor, Trump will draw attention to an issue that has dogged him since his election: concerns that he's using his public office to benefit his business.

550 by Shahien Nasiripour in New York. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED


^Graham says Mueller can 'provide testimony' if he thinks Barr lied<

BARR-GRAHAM-MUELLER:WA — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham will give White House special counsel Robert Mueller a chance to tell his side of the story — but that isn't the same as promising to let Mueller testify before his committee, as Democrats are demanding.

The South Carolina Republican sent Mueller a letter Friday inviting him to "provide testimony" if there was "any misrepresentation" in Attorney General William Barr's recollection of conversations the two men had regarding characterizations of Mueller's report on the two-year investigation into possible misconduct by President Donald Trump.

700 by Emma Dumain in Washington. MOVED


^House moves to defend its Trump bank-records subpoenas in court<

HOUSE-BANK-SUBPOENAS:BLO — The House of Representatives moved to defend its subpoenas for Donald Trump's bank records, asking a New York judge to include the legislative body in a lawsuit the president filed against Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. to prevent the disclosures.

Trump, his three eldest children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka — and several of his companies sued Monday, asking a federal judge to block the banks from turning over records related to the president, his family and their businesses. The House wasn't named in the Trump lawsuit, so attorneys for the lawmakers asked U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan on Friday to allow them into the case, according to a court filing.

450 by Bob Van Voris in New York. MOVED


^House committee renews ethics inquiries into Collins, Hunter and Schweikert<

CONGRESS-ETHICS:CON — House Ethics Committee investigations into Republicans Chris Collins of New York, Duncan Hunter of California and David Schweikert of Arizona were reauthorized for the 116th Congress this week.

The Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize investigative subcommittees looking into the three lawmakers, but the panel agreed to a Justice Department request to put its probes into Collins and Hunter on hold as they battle criminal indictments.

450 by Katherine Tully-McManus in Washington. MOVED


^House Democrats give Barr final warning before contempt proceedings<

BARR:CON — The top House Judiciary Committee Democrat has delivered a final warning to Attorney General William Barr to comply with a subpoena for the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence or else face contempt of Congress proceedings.

In a letter to Barr on Friday, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler gave the Justice Department a 9 a.m. Monday deadline to respond to his letter affirming that it will comply with the subpoena — which called for Barr to supply the full Mueller report and underlying evidence to Congress by May 1 — or negotiate in good faith with the committee to reach a "reasonable accommodation."

750 by Griffin Connolly in Washington. MOVED


^Trump spoke with Putin about Mueller report, Sanders says<

TRUMP-PUTIN:BLO — President Donald Trump discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's report with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a more than hourlong phone conversation on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Sanders told reporters at the White House that the two leaders "very, very briefly" discussed Mueller's report, which detailed a Kremlin-directed scheme to interfere in the 2016 election on Trump's behalf. Mueller didn't find evidence that Trump or any of his associates conspired with the Russian effort.

450 by Justin Sink in Washington. MOVED


^Trump administration lawyers derided for legal attack to void entire health care law<

TRUMP-HEALTHCARE:LA — The Trump administration is urging a conservative U.S. appeals court to cancel Medicaid coverage for 12 million Americans, insurance subsidies for 10 million more and the protections for 133 million people against preexisting conditions.

But it's the legal rationale being advanced by the administration that is many raising eyebrows: Justice Department attorneys are claiming that a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act is exactly what the Democratic-controlled Congress of 2010 and the Republican-controlled Congress of 2017 would have wanted.

1100 by David G. Savage in Washington. MOVED


^The economy is thriving — but that may not be enough to get Trump reelected<

ECONOMY-POLITICS:LA — After a sluggish start this year that had sparked fears of recession, the American economy has taken a sweeping turn for the better: Consumer spending has picked up, stocks are back at record levels and the outlook for trade has brightened along with the global economy.

Confirmation of the good news came Friday with the latest monthly jobs numbers.

The news bolstered President Donald Trump, for whom a strong economy provides a necessary — but perhaps not sufficient — basis for reelection.

1300 by Don Lee and David Lauter in Washington. MOVED


^Biden campaign juggernaut forces other Democrats to recalibrate<

DEMOCRATS-2020-BIDEN:BLO — Joe Biden's entry in the Democratic nomination race has reset the contest and put rival candidates at risk of getting overwhelmed and overshadowed early in the campaign.

The 76-year-old former vice president jumped in last week with a show of strength in polls and fundraising. That's left the other 19 Democrats in a bind. Most are still introducing themselves to the country and a sudden shift to attacks could turn off voters well before the first primary votes are cast.

What's clear is the campaign has moved to a new phase and the candidates no longer have the luxury of building a following at their own pace, with the first actual nominating contest still 10 months away. Biden is moving quickly to try and establish an air of inevitability for his candidacy to push Democratic voters into coalescing behind a smaller field.

1100 (with trims) by Sahil Kapur and John McCormick in Washington. MOVED


^Trump already forging campaign path to rebuild 2016 electoral map<

TRUMP-ELECTORALMAP:CON — First Michigan. Then Wisconsin. And now Florida. President Donald Trump is already on a narrow electoral path to a second term, largely of his own creation.

He will follow recent reelection rallies in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Green Bay, Wis., with one near Panama City, Fla., on May 8. All three are medium-sized towns in key battleground states, all of which backed Trump in 2016. Trump's travels show his campaign team is eyeing a 2020 electoral map that closely mirrors the one that put him in office.

Trump narrowly won Michigan over Hillary Clinton by less than half a percentage point, Wisconsin by less than a point and Florida by 1 point. But recent polls from each state suggest he is chasing the Democratic front-runners 17 months from Election Day.

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


^De Blasio expected to announce 2020 presidential run next week, sources say<

DEBLASIO:NY — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce he's running for president next week, according to three sources with knowledge of the plans.

The 2020 announcement could come as early as de Blasio's birthday on Wednesday, when he'll turn 58, said one source. The kickoff was initially expected this week but was pushed back, according to another source.

400 by Anna Sanders in New York. MOVED


^2020 candidate Jay Inslee's ambitious climate plan: 100 percent renewable energy by 2035<

^INSLEE-CLIMATE:LA—<Washington Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled an ambitious proposal Friday to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, a move likely to add pressure on his Democratic presidential rivals to detail their own plans to slow climate change.

His proposal would require an immediate transformation of the American economy and make the U.S. a world leader in the fight against climate change, an extraordinary move that many climate experts believe is necessary in order to limit the most devastating consequences of global warming over the next century.

800 by Matt Pearce. MOVED


^Minneapolis agrees to pay $20 million in death of woman killed by cop<

MINN-POLICE-SHOOTING:MS — The city of Minneapolis will pay the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond $20 million to settle a lawsuit over her July 15, 2017, shooting death by a Minneapolis police officer, city officials announced Friday.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced the agreement solemnly at a hastily organized news conference Friday. The deal requires the family to donate $2 million of its settlement to the Minneapolis Foundation's Fund for Safe Communities, a program set up to fight gun violence in the city, Frey said.

450 by Andy Mannix in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Gray whales starving to death in the Pacific, and scientists want to know why<

ENV-GRAYWHALES-STARVING:LA — From Baja California to Puget Sound, scientists are seeing signs that gray whales are in distress. And they have no idea why.

Thirty-one dead gray whales have been spotted along the West Coast since January, the most for this time of year since 2000, when 86 whales died. Dozens more have shown visible signs of malnourishment, and sightings of mother-calf pairs are down sharply.

900 (with trims) by Leila Miller in Los Angeles. MOVED


^How bamboo-eating pandas trick their bodies into thinking they are carnivores<

^SCI-PANDAS-DIET:LA—<On the outside, giant pandas look like herbivores. They spend nearly all of their waking hours eating bamboo.

But on the inside, they're built like carnivores. About half of the calories they eat come from protein, according to a new study.

That puts the giant panda diet on a par with wolves, feral cats and other animals that depend on meat to survive, the study authors said. A typical herbivore, on the other hand, gets less than a quarter of its calories from protein.

650 by Leila Miller. MOVED



^She hated 'From Justin to Kelly.' But Kelly Clarkson is ready to act again in 'UglyDolls'<

^MOVIE-UGLYDOLLS-CLARKSON:LA—<The movie was "From Justin to Kelly," a Fox musical costarring Clarkson and her "Idol" runner-up, Justin Guarini, as two 20-somethings who fall in love on spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 2003 release grossed an embarrassing $4.9 million in theaters, scored just 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and, according to Wikipedia, "is often regarded as one of the worst movies ever made."

Even though the movie bombed, Clarkson continued to receive offers to star in films. She turned them all down — save for a "seven-line" cameo in the 2017 animated film "The Star" — to focus on her real passion, singing.

But when the filmmakers behind STX's "UglyDolls" approached her about playing the lead character in a movie based on the popular misshapen kids' toys, she decided to reverse her no-acting stance. In the film, out this weekend, Clarkson voices Moxy, an UglyDoll who's told she's too unattractive to be given to kids who prefer more perfect-looking toys.

1650 by Amy Kaufman. MOVED


^Kumail Nanjiani in the driver's seat with 'Stuber'<

^MOVIE-SNEAKS-STUBER:LA—<With his first leading role in a studio movie, Kumail Nanjiani is taking a new step forward in his career. Except he had to think hard about whether it felt too much like where he had been before.

In "Stuber," Nanjiani plays a man named Stu who works in a sporting goods store and moonlights as an Uber driver. (Hence the nickname "Stuber," which his jerk of a boss calls him.) When he picks up Vic (Dave Bautista), a police detective who just had corrective eye surgery, Stu suddenly finds himself drawn into far more than a typical fare. Soon the two are tracking murderers and drug dealers together, involved in shootouts and car chases, all in a sensible electric car.

700 by Mark Olsen. MOVED


^Writer-director Andrea Berloff imagines a female-fronted mob with 'The Kitchen'<

^MOVIE-SNEAKS-KITCHEN:LA—<When "Straight Outta Compton" co-writer Andrea Berloff was tapped to direct "The Kitchen," a female-driven mob drama for Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema division, the assignment came just as it seemed she'd hit a glass ceiling. It was a personal come-to-Jesus moment.

"I reached a point where I thought, 'Well, I think this is it. I think this is as [much] as I'm going to get a chance to achieve,'" says Berloff, who received an Oscar nod for her work on "Compton." "I definitely felt like I was losing out on opportunities and not being afforded the respect my work had merited. I was incredibly frustrated and didn't quite know where to put that energy."

950 by Sonaiya Kelley. MOVED


^NRA's Wayne LaPierre says Oliver North is extorting him<

NRA:NY — National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre claims that former Iran-Contra figure and NRA President Oliver North is extorting him.

The bombshell allegation was revealed Thursday in a letter released to NRA board members, The Wall Street Journal reported.

LaPierre, who also serves as executive vice president of the gun-rights group, claims to have refused to give in to the blackmail demand.

300 by Storm Gifford. MOVED



^Daniel Jacobs hopes judges don't take center stage against Canelo Alvarez<

BOX-HERNANDEZ-COLUMN:LA — Daniel Jacobs was a spectator the last time Glenn Feldman, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld judged a boxing match of this magnitude.

That was in September, when Canelo Alvarez was officially awarded a split-decision victory in his rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

The Ocean's Three will reassemble Saturday, as the same judges who declared Alvarez the winner over Golovkin were appointed by the Nevada Athletic Commission for Jacobs' showdown with the popular Mexican gladiator at T-Mobile Arena.

950 by Dylan Hernandez in Las Vegas. MOVED


^Dick Jerardi: And the Kentucky Derby winner is <

^RAC-JERADI-COLUMN:PHI—<Now that Justify has dispensed with the last of the Kentucky Derby caveats, by proving rather decisively that a horse that did not race as a 2-year-old can indeed win at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May, we can concentrate on the factors that really matter.

Which horse is fastest and, more importantly, is likely to be the most comfortable during Saturday's race? This year, the answer, I was pretty sure, was the same horse — Omaha Beach, the horse that was going to be my pick.

900 by Dick Jerardi. MOVED


^From the clever to the cliche, how every 2019 Kentucky Derby horse got its name<

^RAC-KENTUCKYDERBY-NAMES:LX—<Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire who wrote about the reigns of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius and Nero. His name is famous, and now adorns a racehorse who will try to earn racing's greatest crown on Saturday.

Vekoma is also running Saturday, and he's named after a Dutch roller coaster company. Roller coasters, says his owner, mirror the huge ups and crashing downs of the horse racing industry.

What's in a name? Quite a lot, if you're a racehorse heading to the Kentucky Derby.

800 by Linda Blackford. MOVED


^Horse racing industry fights for survival in wake of deaths and scrutiny<

RAC-DEATHS-SCRUTINY:LA — Trainer Bob Baffert was standing on the front stretch at Santa Anita Park doing an interview for a local television station while horses worked out in the background.

Baffert was selling a "good story" about one of his top horses, Roadster, who will be running in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. He was trying to mitigate the public's reaction to 21 horses dying during either racing or training at Santa Anita since Dec. 26.

1750 by John Cherwa in Los Angeles. MOVED


^John Clay: More than ever, horse racing needs an exciting and safe Kentucky Derby<

RAC-CLAY-COLUMN:LX — For two minutes early Saturday evening an entire industry will hold its collective breath, not just to see what happens in its premier event, but what it fears might happen

The industry is horse racing and the event is the Kentucky Derby.

For the 145th time, our annual spectacle of spring will take place again on the historic dirt oval at Churchill Downs before 150,000-or-so fans in attendance and a worldwide television audience, all watching to see someone's dream come true.

This year is different, however.

650 by John Clay in Louisville, Ky. MOVED


^Five things to consider before the gates open on Kentucky Derby 145<

RAC-KENTUCKYDERBY-5THINGS:LX — Even before the original morning-line favorite scratched, many racing observers believed the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby to be almost anyone's race.

A few days ago, trainer Bob Baffert, who has won five Derbys and two Triple Crowns, commented about how nice it was to come in with a horse that wasn't the favorite because it seemed the pressure was on someone else.

But with Omaha Beach's departure, Baffert wakes up Saturday morning with the new morning-line favorite, Game Winner at 9-2, and both second choices in Roadster and Improbable at 5-1.

1300 by Jared Peck in Louisville, Ky. MOVED




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