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Tribune News Service

International Budget for Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Updated at 0430 UTC (11:30 p.m. U.S. EST).

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


^Protests intensify across India over new citizenship law<

INDIA-CITIZENSHIP:DPA — Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of a number of Indian cities on Monday, just hours after dozens of demonstrators and police officers were injured as protests at university campuses turned violent.

The Citizenship Amendment Act approved last week entitles non-Muslim migrants from three Muslim-majority countries to citizenship if they are facing religious persecution.

Critics say the bill brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government is anti-Muslim, while many in northeastern border states fear an influx of migrants.

600 by Siddhartha Kumar in New Delhi. MOVED


^UK’s Johnson plans Brexit law guarantee in new no-deal threat<

^BRITAIN-JOHNSON:BLO—<Boris Johnson will change the law to guarantee the Brexit transition phase is not extended, setting up a new cliff-edge for a no-deal split with the European Union at the end of next year.

The U.K. prime minister wants to deliver his election promise to ratify a new free-trade agreement with the bloc before the bridging period maintaining the status quo runs out on Dec. 31, 2020.

550 by Tim Ross in London. MOVED



^US urges North Korea to drop ‘hostile’ tone, return to talks<

USNKOREA-NUCLEAR:BLO — President Donald Trump’s top envoy for nuclear talks urged North Korea to drop its “hostile” rhetoric, and warned Pyongyang not to engage in any provocations during the U.S.’s “sacred” Christmas holiday.

300 by Jihye Lee in Seoul, South Korea. MOVED


^Violent clashes erupt in Beirut between Shiite protesters and police<

^LEBANON-PROTEST:DPA—<Violent clashes erupted late Monday between riot police and followers of Hezbollah and the Amal movement in central Beirut after a social media posting critical of the Shiite community and leadership emerged.

The video shows a man insulting the Shiite community in Lebanon, Shiite imams and leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal movement.

600 by Weedah Hamzah in Beirut. MOVED


^The world’s coral reefs are dying. Scientists in the Bahamas are searching for a chance for their survival<

ENV-CORALREEFS-SURVIVAL:TB — Wetsuit still zipped up to his neck from an earlier dive, Ross Cunning stands amid dozens of chunks of coral in the saltwater live well on board the Coral Reef II, the research vessel owned by his employer, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

He’s a research scientist by trade, but his tools at the moment are decidedly low-tech. Cunning has zip ties. He’s got long-line clips, the quick-release fasteners used on deep-sea fishing rigs. Temporarily oblivious to his Bahamian coastal surroundings or the steady rocking of the 80-foot boat, he is attaching the live coral fragments to the rungs of ladderlike structures he and his team made out of PVC pipe and cord.

Metaphorically, the animals are canaries in the climate-change coal mine. Literally, they are staghorn coral, each about 5 inches long, each destined to be moved via the racks to an open-ocean underwater nursery as part of the researcher’s experiment to identify the hardiest, most heat-resistant corals.

5500 (with trims) by Steve Johnson off New Providence, Bahamas. MOVED



^Vulnerable Democrats announce they’ll vote for impeachment<

IMPEACHMENT-1ST-LEDE:CON — Four vulnerable House Democrats have announced they will vote for impeaching President Donald Trump.

Earlier Monday, the House Judiciary Committee released its report on the impeachment inquiry of Trump, setting the stage for a historic week in Washington that will likely see Trump to be the third U.S. president impeached.

1000 by CQ-Roll Call in Washington. MOVED


^Trump braces for historic impeachment, clouding 2020 election<

IMPEACHMENT-ASSESS:BLO — Donald Trump’s likely impeachment this week adds a permanent stain to a presidency plagued by unrelenting turmoil and partisan rancor, while aggravating U.S. political divisions as he starts his fight for reelection.

The House is all but certain to deliver the formal rebuke in a vote on Wednesday, marking the political climax of three years of Democratic furor over Trump’s time in the White House and the end of a frenetic three-month investigation into whether he abused the power of his office.

The fight is already casting a cloud over the 2020 election, with fresh fault lines emerging between parties on fundamental questions that strike at the legitimacy of American elections, interference from foreign governments and the limits of presidential powers.

1150 by Justin Sink and Billy House in Washington. MOVED


^Giuliani admits he ‘needed Yovanovitch out of the way’ to dig for dirt in Ukraine on Trump’s political rivals<

^GIULIANI-YOVANOVITCH:NY—<Rudy Giuliani recently admitted he “needed” to get former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch “out of the way” in order to more easily dig for dirt in Ukraine on President Donald Trump’s political rivals, confirming a key allegation at the heart of the impeachment proceedings.

Giuliani, who acted as Trump’s point man in a hunt for compromising information on Joe Biden this past spring, said Yovanovitch posed an obstacle in his push for Ukraine to launch investigations of the former vice president’s family and a debunked right-wing conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

450 by Chris Sommerfeldt. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^Government funding compromise includes Venezuelan aid bill<

USVENEZUELA-AID:MI — A newly negotiated government funding compromise on Capitol Hill includes nearly a half-billion dollars in humanitarian aid to support Venezuelan refugees and codifies sanctions against the regime of embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolas Maduro.

Released Monday ahead of a looming U.S. government shutdown, the $1.4 trillion bipartisan appropriations package includes legislation introduced by a group of 15 U.S. senators to help restore democracy in Venezuela and address what the U.N. has called one of the largest mass migrations in the Western Hemisphere.

750 by David Smiley. MOVED


^Michael Flynn gets sentencing date as judge throws out all challenges<

FLYNN:BLO — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is set to be sentenced for lying to federal agents at the end of January as a judge rejected all arguments to throw out the case.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan also turned down a battery of requests for additional evidence made by Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell earlier this year.

200 by Andrew Harris in Washington. MOVED


^For Congress, it’s not just impeachment week<

CONGRESS-LEGISLATION:CON — Seldom is a massive government funding package almost completely overshadowed on Capitol Hill.

But that is the reality with the House barreling toward the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Both houses have a lot to do before departing for the holidays.

550 by Niels Lesniewski in Washington. MOVED


^California coastal waters rising in acidity at alarming rate, study finds<

ENV-CALIF-WATERS:LA — Waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, scientists found, threatening major fisheries and sounding the alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions.

A new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also made an unexpected connection between acidification and a climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — the same shifting forces that other scientists say have a played a big role in the higher and faster rates of sea level rise hitting California in recent years.

950 by Rosanna Xia in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Lori Loughlin wants FBI reports in college admissions scandal<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-LOUGHLIN:LA — Prosecutors are withholding evidence that would show Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, believed the $500,000 they paid to a college admissions consultant’s charity was a legitimate donation, not bribes that would ensure their daughters were admitted to the University of Southern California as rowers, the couple’s attorneys wrote in a court filing.

The couple’s legal team, led by former Enron prosecutor Sean Berkowitz, is demanding the government turn over FBI reports, known as 302s, that memorialized agents’ interviews with the consultant at the center of the scheme, William “Rick” Singer.

750 by Matthew Ormseth in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Remain in Mexico has a 0.1% asylum grant rate<

IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM:SD — Over the last year, in the name of national security, changes to U.S. asylum policy have made it increasingly difficult for migrants to win asylum cases in the U.S. The latest change has effectively made the majority of non-Mexican migrants ineligible for asylum, according to lawyers and activists.

One policy in particular, called Migrant Protection Protocols or Remain in Mexico, has made it nearly impossible for migrants to receive asylum.

Data show that, as of September, of the more than 47,000 people in the program, fewer than 10,000 had completed their cases. Of that group, 5,085 cases were denied while 4,471 cases were dismissed without a decision being made — mostly on procedural grounds.

Only 11 cases — or 0.1% of all completed cases — resulted in asylum being granted, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

1700 (with trims) by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED


^Family of slain Barnard College student blast police union head, marijuana remarks<

NY-STUDENTSTABBED:NY — The family of slain Barnard student Tessa Majors on Monday blasted the police union official who linked her murder to an attempt to buy marijuana.

“The remarks by Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins we find deeply inappropriate, as they intentionally or unintentionally direct blame onto Tess, a young woman, for her own murder,” the family of Majors, 18, said in a statement. “We would ask Mr. Mullins not to engage in such irresponsible public speculation, just as the NYPD asked our family not to comment as it conducts the investigation.”

400 by Rocco Parascandola in New York. MOVED


^Giuliani associate Lev Parnas can’t go back to Ukraine because of ‘threats,’ lawyer says<

^GIULIANI-ASSOCIATE:NY—<An associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been implicated in President Donald Trump’s effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine says he can’t go back to the country due to “threats.”

An attorney for Lev Parnas wrote Monday that he was not a flight risk, as the government argued last week.

350 by Stephen Rex Brown. MOVED


^After Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Palm Beach County sheriff drops work-release program<

^EPSTEIN-SHERIFF-1ST-LEDE:FL—<The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on Monday said it has decided to no longer oversee a program that puts inmates on work release — a move that comes months after accusations surfaced that sex offender Jeffrey Epstein had years ago exploited the program.

The program came under fire in August amid allegations that Epstein routinely had “improper sexual contact” with women while he was on work release from the county stockade about a decade ago.

850 by Brooke Baitinger in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^2 former Pa. college students sentenced to probation for attempted Trump tax hack<

^TRUMP-TAX-HACK:PH—<Six days before the 2016 presidential election, two Pennsylvania college students had an idea: They could try to get Donald Trump’s tax returns, which the then-candidate refused to release and which had become an election issue. Andrew Harris and Justin Hiemstra swiped into a school computer lab and tried to download Trump’s filings.

What began as a ploy by two computer-savvy Haverford College kids to get the tax returns the nation was buzzing about ended Monday in federal court in Philadelphia, where U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe said her probationary sentences for Harris and Hiemstra were intended to make an impression on them and “on anyone out in the public” who would seek to “abuse privileges and privacy of others.”

800 by Justine McDaniel in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Vietnamese immigrants rally behind Hong Kong protesters, pushing for democracy in Asia<

^HONGKONG-VIETNAMESE:LA—<Among the Vietnamese diaspora, support for the protesters in Hong Kong has been ongoing and pronounced. Vietnamese around the world have followed the protests via Facebook, with some vacationing in Hong Kong videotaping demonstrators and sharing the footage, often live, on the social media platform to promote the pro-democracy movement. This support is rooted, in part, in the fact that many people who fled South Vietnam during the communist takeover later settled in Hong Kong, which was then still under British rule.

1250 (with trims) by Julia Barajas and Allison Hong in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Naval Academy is also investigating a possible ‘white power’ gesture at Army-Navy game in Philadelphia<

ARMYNAVY-HANDSYMBOL:PH — Following a similar investigation by the Army, the U.S. Naval Academy has announced it is looking into the flashing of a hand gesture considered a possible “white power” symbol at the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia.

350 by Joseph A. Gambardello in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Health officials warn of another measles exposure at LAX<

MED-LAX-MEASLES:LA — Los Angeles County health officials warned Monday that people who were at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this month may have been exposed to measles.

Three people with measles were in LAX Terminals 4 and 5 last Wednesday between 6:50 a.m. and noon. Anyone who was in those terminals during that time may be at risk of developing measles within the next 21 days, according to public health officials.

200 by Soumya Karlamangla in Los Angeles. MOVED



^Boeing halts production on 737 MAX, but no layoffs for employees<

BOEING-RENTON-HALT-1ST-LEDE:SE — Nine months after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 737 MAX, Boeing finally pulled the plug on the jet’s production Monday. The company announced it’s temporarily halting the assembly lines in Renton from January, with no specified timeline for a restart.

However, in a welcome surprise for the 12,000-strong Renton workforce, Boeing said there would be no layoffs.

1650 (with trims) by Dominic Gates and Paul Roberts in Seattle. MOVED


^Despite all the buzz around fake meat, real stuff still pays off<

MEAT:BLO — Imitation meat may be all the rage at the moment, but producers of the real stuff are doing just fine.

Sure, vegan burger maker Beyond Meat Inc. stole the headlines this year with a wildly successful market debut and a dizzying 200% gain. But conventional beef companies Minerva SA and JBS SA aren’t too far behind. Even U.S. meat suppliers like Tyson Foods Inc., hamstrung by the China trade war, have posted their biggest stock gains in years.

650 by Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker in Chicago. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^Intel spends $2 billion for Israeli AI chipmaker<

^CPT-INTEL-HABANA:SJ—<Intel is putting its money where its mouth is when its comes to the market for artificial intelligence by saying its has reached a deal to acquire AI chip technology developer Habana Labs for $2 billion.

Intel announced the acquisition early Monday morning, saying that Habana will help it make progress in the market for AI chips used in cloud-computing systems in corporate data centers.

200 by Rex Crum. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^Instagram ads for Cuba tourism. Are Facebook and Google breaking the U.S. embargo?<

^CUBA-SOCIALMEDIA:MI—<Even as President Donald Trump was ratcheting up sanctions on the Cuban government because of its support for the Nicol s Maduro regime in Venezuela, a U.S. company representing Cuban tourism was showing photos of pristine Cuban beaches and inviting tourists to visit a place where visitors “can run or rest.”

But U.S. laws ban tourist trips to Cuba. So is this legal? It’s hard to say.

850 by Mario J. Pent n. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED



^Harvey Weinstein whines he’s been ‘forgotten.’ 23 women assure him quite the opposite<

^WEINSTEIN:LA—<Former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has developed a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most reviled alleged sexual predators, accused by more than 90 women of sexual harassment, assault and/or rape. But according to him, he deserves credit for advancing women’s careers.

“I feel like the forgotten man,” the 67-year-old told the New York Post in a recent interview in which he was characterized as whining and “clueless.”

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!”

Weinstein’s comments, made just weeks before his upcoming rape trial, sparked immediate backlash, including a formal statement signed by 23 of his accusers. Their brief open letter rejects his latest claims and assures the producer that he’ll be remembered forever — but not for the reasons he’d hoped.

700 by Christi Carras. MOVED


^After ‘Rise of Skywalker’ and Baby Yoda, Kathleen Kennedy’s plan for ‘Star Wars’ and beyond<

^MOVIE-STARWARS-KENNEDY:LA—<Rob Bredow, head of Lucasfilm’s visual effects division Industrial Light & Magic, came to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in early 2018 with a bold idea for filming Jon Favreau’s upcoming TV series, “The Mandalorian.”

The filmmakers wanted to use what they’d been calling the “stage of the future”: a set wrapped in LED screens to create the virtual backgrounds for the show.

The company had used the technique previously to create the Millennium Falcon’s Kessel Run in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” but never at the scale Bredow was proposing.

Kennedy, however, recalled her days working on Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” which was greenlighted before they were even certain that visual effects technology could create a believable Tyrannosaurus rex.

“She said, ‘There have been a few times in my career where there have been these kinds of moments. Go for it,'” Bredow recalled in the cafeteria of Lucasfilm’s San Francisco headquarters. “She, and we, are looking for those opportunities to break new ground.”

1850 by Ryan Faughnder in San Francisco. MOVED



^Lakers’ LeBron James on load management: ‘If I’m healthy, I play'<

^BKN-LAKERS-JAMES:LA—<LeBron James sat in the corner closest to the door of the visiting locker room at State Farm Arena, his feet in buckets of ice, as a swarm of reporters with recorders, cellphones and video cameras talked to him about what had just happened on the court.

One question, though, seemed to annoy him more than any other. It’s the question rival scouts and executives have been asking more often as the Los Angeles Lakers continue to run through the NBA without much pushback.

Are they going too hard too soon? Shouldn’t they be resting LeBron James?

1000 by Dan Woike in Atlanta. MOVED




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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point