Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, November 20, 2020


Updated at 4 p.m. EST (2100 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.


^Pfizer seeks emergency US approval for COVID-19 vaccine<

^CORONAVIRUS-VACCINE-PFIZER-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<Pfizer Inc. filed with U.S. regulators for an emergency-use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, seeking clearance for an experimental shot that's expected to play an important role in an immunization effort to halt the virus.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. drugmaker with its German partner BioNTech SE, is the first to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. An emergency clearance would allow Americans to access the vaccine before it's granted full approval. It is likely to be the first to be made available on a limited basis to health workers and older Americans.

750 by Robert Langreth and Riley Griffin. MOVED


^Trump again pushes false claims while Biden steps up transition moves<

WHITEHOUSE-TRANSITION:LA — President Donald Trump again pushed false election fraud claims Friday while President-elect Joe Biden met with Democratic leaders in Congress.

1000 by Chris Megerian in Washington.

Moving later

^Georgia recount shows 'verdict of the people,' says elections head<

ELN-GA-RECOUNT:AT — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said "numbers don't lie" as he plans to certify Georgia's election results Friday that showed Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump.

Biden was ahead of Trump by over 12,000 votes in both machine counts and a manual recount of paper ballots.

"Like other Republicans, I'm disappointed our candidate didn't win," Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol. "Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don't lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people."

400 by Mark Niesse in Atlanta. MOVED


^Michigan lawmakers can't intervene in presidential result, Biden adviser says<

ELN-MICH-LAWMAKERS-BIDEN-CORRECTION:DTN — Bob Bauer, a legal adviser for President-elect Joe Biden's campaign, said Friday it's "not possible" for the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature to redirect the state's electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

During a briefing for Biden's campaign, Bauer blasted the Republican president for holding a meeting with the Republican leaders of the Michigan House and Senate on Friday afternoon as the state prepares to certify its election results as early as Monday.

"It's an abuse of office," Bauer told reporters. "It's an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It's absolutely appalling."

1000 (with trims) Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke in Detroit. MOVED


^Certification vote depended on audit guarantee, Michigan GOP canvasser says<

ELN-MICH-WAYNECOUNTY:DTN — Wayne County Canvasser Monica Palmer defended her actions Friday amid intense scrutiny over her decision to decline certification, then certify and then attempt to rescind her vote on the final certification of roughly 878,000 votes in Michigan's largest county.

Her comments come three days after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked and then certified the county's Nov. 3 election results during a six-hour public meeting that included allegations of racism directed toward the Republican canvassers.

550 Breana Noble and Beth LeBlanc in Farmington Hills, Mich. MOVED



^Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott has tested positive for COVID-19<

CORONAVIRUS-SCOTT:MI — Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced Friday, making him the second U.S. senator to test positive this week as cases surge across the country.

In a statement, Scott said he was experiencing mild symptoms. He's been in self-quarantine at his home in Naples since Saturday after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive, though he did not register a positive test himself until six days later.

500 by Alex Daugherty and Michelle Marchante in Miami. MOVED


^Pressure for 'targeted' coronavirus relief bill grows as time dwindles<

CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF:CON — House lawmakers left Washington on Friday for Thanksgiving recess with no sign of progress on a new coronavirus relief package.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and President-elect Joe Biden were meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, later Friday to talk about their agenda. Publicly, their position has been that Republicans ought to drop their opposition to a $2 trillion-plus aid bill in the lame-duck session.

750 by David Lerman and Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED


^Mexico passes 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, but actual toll much higher<

^CORONAVIRUS-MEXICO:BLO—<Mexico became the fourth country in the world to pass the mark of 100,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, with health authorities acknowledging that the toll is probably magnitudes higher.

With 576 new COVID-19 deaths reported late Thursday, some 100,104 Mexicans have succumbed to the respiratory disease. The North American country added another 4,472 cases for a total of 1,019,543.

Mexico has been plagued by insufficient testing throughout the pandemic, leading to a positivity rate that's stood around 40% — among the highest in the world. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was slow to impose lockdowns and quick to lift restrictions, saying Mexicans will know how to take care of themselves to prevent infection and spreading.

500 by Dale Quinn. MOVED


^Who will get the first COVID-19 vaccines? States race to decide<

CORONAVIRUS-VACCINES-STATES:LA — As the first COVID-19 vaccines move toward federal approval, states are racing to finalize plans for who will get the first doses and how they will be distributed — critical decisions that have taken on new urgency as drugmakers prepare to ship vaccines in just a few weeks.

1250 (with trims) by Noam N. Levey in Washington. MOVED


^Maryland reports 2,353 coronavirus cases and second-most deaths since June<

CORONAVIRUS-MD:BZ — Cases and deaths are rising across the state as Maryland reported 2,353 new coronavirus cases Friday and 25 deaths tied to COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

The state has reported 2,000 or more new cases in five of the past seven days — a number not seen before this period. Friday's case total was the second-highest daily total during the pandemic, behind just Thursday's 2,910.

250 by Ben Leonard in Baltimore. MOVED



^Farm support holds for Trump, but Biden may find inroads<

BIDEN-TRUMP-FARMERS:CON — President Donald Trump tenaciously courted farmers and ranchers with an anti-regulatory agenda and a confrontational trade approach that opened some markets.

But he also relied on billions in federal aid to compensate them for retaliatory tariffs and a pandemic that took a deep gouge out of the economy.

Despite the mixed performance, Trump's policies on trade, regulation and other areas maintained his popularity in rural and farm communities, winning their support in the Nov. 3 election.

Joe Biden nevertheless has a chance to do as president what he didn't manage as a candidate: make inroads by distinguishing his performance from Trump's in ways that are important to a rural constituency.

1250 (with trims) by Ellyn Ferguson in Washington. MOVED


^After Trump's embrace, Saudi Arabia may find Biden is not so bad<

USSAUDI-BIDEN:BLO — Under Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia got all the attention it could have wanted from the U.S. — and more. While a Biden presidency looks certain to end the love-fest, the kingdom's leaders may not mind as much as one might think.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, are set to lose much of what they gained during Trump's four years in office, including hastily approved weapons sales, the easing of pressure over human rights abuses, and not least a back-channel via the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

But the good times came with something less beneficial: an erratic, sometimes unpredictable U.S. foreign policy in which Washington inflamed tensions with Iran and talked tough but never responded forcefully to cruise-missile strikes on Saudi oil facilities.

900 (with trims) by Nick Wadhams and Vivian Nereim in Washington. MOVED


^Biden team announces hires for incoming administration<

BIDEN-PERSONNEL:CON — President-elect Joe Biden has picked a Senate and White House veteran with experience inside and outside government to be the administration's chief liaison with Congress.

Louisa Terrell, who has been overseeing legislative affairs for the transition team, will formally become the director of legislative affairs office at the White House when Biden takes office in January.

300 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED


^Earmarks are likely coming back next year, House Democratic leader says<

CONGRESS-EARMARKS:CON — House Democratic leaders are proceeding with plans to bring back earmarks for the 117th Congress, according to Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer.

Hoyer, D-Md., said in an interview that sometime after the Appropriations Committee's new chairwoman is elected the week of Nov. 30, she will begin soliciting House lawmakers to "ask for congressional initiatives for their districts and their states."

600 by Jennifer Shutt in Washington. MOVED


^Crapo poised for starring role in economic, health care policy<

SENATE-FINANCE-CRAPO:CON — The most powerful committee in Congress hasn't had a top Republican not named Charles E. Grassley or Orrin G. Hatch in two decades.

That's about to change in January when a Harvard Law School-trained attorney from Idaho Falls is expected to take the Senate Finance gavel — or the ranking member slot in an evenly divided Senate, depending on the Georgia runoffs.

Either way, Michael D. Crapo will be at the center of economic and health care policymaking in a pivotal year, as a new administration takes office amid the devastation of COVID-19.

1500 (with trims) by Doug Sword and Lauren Clason in Washington. MOVED



^Friend who bought gun for Kyle Rittenhouse told police teen predicted life behind bars after shooting 3 during Kenosha protests<

WIS-PROTEST-KILLINGS:TB — Kyle Rittenhouse predicted he would spend the rest of his life in prison after shooting three people during chaotic demonstrations in Kenosha over the summer, a close friend told police hours after the gunfire.

Dominick Black, now 19, told investigators that Rittenhouse fled to the back room of a local business after Kenosha police rebuffed his attempt to turn himself in. Black said he met Rittenhouse there and tried to calm him down after he fatally shot two men and wounded another.

The interview was recorded Aug. 26 at the Antioch police station, where Rittenhouse turned himself in shortly after the shooting. Rittenhouse, his mother and two sisters also sat for interviews with Kenosha detectives that night.

1100 by Stacy St. Clair, Christy Gutowski and Dan Hinkel in Chicago. MOVED


^Michigan, Wisconsin men denied bond in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot<

MICHIGAN-GOV-PLOT:DTN — A federal judge overseeing the case of a Waterford man charged in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined an appeal Thursday to set bail as his case proceeds.

And in Wisconsin state court on Thursday another alleged plotter was denied bond as the government readies its case to extradite the man to Michigan.

550 James David Dickson in Detroit. MOVED


^Detroit archbishop to lead national Catholic group on Joe Biden and abortion<

RELIG-BISHOPS-BIDEN-ABORTION:DE — The head of the Catholic Church in Detroit has been chosen to lead a new national group that seeks to guide how Catholics should respond to President-elect Joe Biden and the contentious issue of abortion.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, was named this week the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on the last day of their annual fall meeting.

Archbishop Jos Gomez of Los Angeles, who named Vigneron, struck a conservative tone in his remarks in emphasizing abortion and by saying Biden supports policies that "attack some fundamental values we hold dear."

1350 by Niraj Warikoo in Detroit. MOVED


^Killings of young victims, many unsolved, form chilling pattern in Atlanta metro area<

ATLANTA-VIOLENCE-YOUNGVICTIMS:AT — A child is cut down in a drive-by shooting. A teenager on his bicycle is hit by a car and killed, but the driver leaves the scene. An 8-year-old girl in a car with her family is shot dead when armed protesters open fire on their vehicle.

These are just a few stories from recent months across metro Atlanta that illustrate an unnerving pattern: fatal incidents involving young victims with no one to hold accountable.

900 by Henri Hollis in Atlanta. MOVED


^With Baltimore close to the 300-homicide mark again, leaders mull new approaches amid some signs of improvement<

BALTIMORE-VIOLENCE:BZ — The grim bench mark has been arriving each year around this time, landing in Baltimore as the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches. For the sixth straight year, Baltimore is on pace to record at least 300 homicides, leaving the city's political, civic and law enforcement leaders again searching for ways to reduce the rate of violence, which not even a pandemic could stop.

1250 (with trims) by Phil Davis and Phillip Jackson in Baltimore. MOVED


^Texas board OKs sex education policy update, but rejects push to acknowledge LGBTQ students<

TEXAS-SEX-EDUCATION:DA — New Texas sex education standards that include teaching about birth control, not just abstinence, starting in middle school, won final approval Friday from the State Board of Education.

While overhauling the sex education curriculum, as part of revamping health standards for the first time in two decades, the board rejected a push to acknowledge LGBTQ students.

1150 by Alex Briseno in Austin, Texas. MOVED



^Mexico's president gives the military sweeping new powers — and protections<

MEXICO-MILITARY:LA — As a candidate for president, Andr s Manuel L pez Obrador denounced Mexico's armed forces and the "mafia of power" that he said controlled them. He accused soldiers of human rights abuses in the country's bloody drug war and publicly clashed with Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, then secretary of defense.

But after taking office, L pez Obrador changed his tune, embracing the same military leaders he had once bashed.

After Cienfuegos was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport last month and charged with drug trafficking, the president rushed to his defense, threatening to withhold security cooperation with the United States unless charges were dropped. U.S. authorities caved this week and returned the 72-year-old retired general to Mexico.

It was an unprecedented gift for the nation's insular but increasingly powerful armed forces.

1400 by Kate Linthicum and Patrick J. McDonnell in Mexico City. MOVED



^Choked, strangled and drowned. How balloons and plastic bags are killing marine animals<

^ENV-PLASTICS-MARINE-LIFE:MI—<In Florida, a critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle was entangled in a plastic bag that had become filled with sand. The plastic bag had wrapped around the turtle's neck, which likely led it to drown or suffocate.

In another Florida case, a recently hatched sea turtle was found with two plastic balloons in its gastrointestinal tract, causing a blockage that potentially led to the animal's death.

Balloons, plastic bags, recreational fishing line and food wrappers are killing thousands of marine animals as they eat plastic items that later perforate internal organs, or become entangled and drown, Oceana said in a new report.

500 by Adriana Brasileiro. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^Born into occupation, young Afghans fear the Taliban will crush their freedoms when US troops exit<

USAFGHAN-YOUNGAFGHANS:LA — His hair in a bun, face shadowed by his hoodie, Jawad Sezdah raps with his "homies" about Afghanistan's darkening future.

He and his friends sit in a circle at what they call their club, a second-floor makeshift studio in west Kabul's Pul-e-Surkhta neighborhood. They smoke weed, drink tea and practice freestyle lyrics. A picture of Tupac Shakur is taped on the wall.

But the lives the 22-year-old Kabul University student and others of his generation have forged in the nearly two decades since America invaded their country are at risk as never before. The U.S.-led invasion has brought the trappings of the West and a small degree of its promised freedoms, but many here are fearful those gains are about to evaporate.

They are a generation not so much adrift as stuck between opposing forces.

2050 by David S. Cloud and Stefanie Glinski in Kabul, Afghanistan. MOVED


^States' mandates on face coverings leave gaps in protection<

CORONAVIRUS-STATES-FACE-COVERINGS:KHN — Brady Bowman, a 19-year-old student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and two friends strolled down 11th Street, all sporting matching neck gaiters branded with the Thomas' English Muffins logo. He had received an entire box of the promotional gaiters.

He thinks they are just more comfortable to wear than a face mask. "Especially a day like today, where it's cold out," he said, with the top of his gaiter pulled down below his chin.

More stylish? Perhaps. More comfortable? Maybe. But as effective? Not necessarily.

As new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge upward heading into winter, many public health experts wonder whether it's time to move beyond the anything-goes approach toward more standardization and higher-quality masks. President-elect Joe Biden reportedly is mulling a national face-covering mandate of some sort, which could not only increase mask-wearing but better define for Americans what sort of face covering would be most protective.

1350 by Markian Hawryluk in Boulder, Colo. MOVED




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