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Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, March 15, 2019


Updated at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 UTC).






Corrects RKELLY:TB


Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.

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^Trump issues first veto, defying Congress' rebuke of his border emergency order<

TRUMP-VETO-1ST-LEDE:LA _ With the first veto of his presidency, President Donald Trump on Friday defied Congress' bipartisan rejection of his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border and insisted on his power to circumvent the legislative branch to direct billions of dollars for a border wall.

Defiant despite a remarkable rebuke from Republicans as well as Democrats in Congress, Trump signed his veto before television cameras in the Oval Office, flanked by law enforcement officers and the parents of victims of crime and drug addiction.

While Congress likely can't muster the votes to override his veto _ the votes for the resolution in both houses were well short of the two-thirds that would be needed for an override _ the emergency declaration still faces challenges in federal court as an executive power grab.

1200 (with trims) by Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED


^New Zealand's prime minister vows to change gun laws after deadly terror attack<

NEWZEALAND-SHOOTING-2ND-LEDE:DPA _ New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed Saturday to change the country's gun laws, a day after a suspected white supremacist killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

"Today as the country grieves we are seeking answers," she told media in the morning.

650 by Jule Scherer in Wellington, New Zealand. MOVED


^Christchurch attacks follow a trend in violence targeting houses of worship<

RELIG-MASS-SHOOTINGS:LA _ The deadly attacks on Christchurch, New Zealand Muslim worshippers follow an alarming trend over the years of violent targeting of houses of worship. including Tree Of Life Synagogue, Mother Emanuel AME Church, Oak Creek Sikh Temple, Overland Park Jewish Center and Islamic Center of Quebec City.

Jaweed Kaleem

^Attorney General William Barr tries to restore confidence in Justice Department<

BARR:LA _ In his first month in office, Attorney General William Barr has sent a reassuring message to the beleaguered Justice Department _ he wants a return to basics after years of disruptive firings, tweet storms and scandals.

In briefings, Barr has asked detailed questions about cases, suspects and legal arguments. He has wandered his fifth-floor hallway to converse about the law.

And he declined the traditional "clap in" where a newly confirmed attorney general walks through the building and subordinates applaud. Instead, Barr held a three-hour coffee reception in his conference room.

Advisers and associates said the approach reflects Barr's low-key persona, and his top goals of steering the Justice Department out of the line of political fire, boosting public confidence in it, and improving the morale of its 110,000 employees.

1200 (with trims) by Del Quentin Wilber in Washington. MOVED


^College admissions scandal: USC to deny entry to some students involved in alleged scam<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-USC:LA _ USC, reeling from the exposure of a college admissions scheme with deep ties to the university, has announced a variety of measures aimed at addressing the scandal.

In a letter to the campus community Thursday, USC interim President Wanda Austin said the university has launched its own investigation into the scandal and is trying to identity donations made as part of the bribery scheme revealed by an FBI investigation that resulted in dozens of charges against a consultant, wealthy parents and college officials nationwide.

Austin also said USC would "deny admission to applicants in the current admissions cycle who are connected to the alleged scheme."

500 by Los Angeles Times Staff in Los Angeles. MOVED



^Trump claims there's not 'really' a rise in white nationalism after racist gunman kills dozens of Muslims in New Zealand<


"I don't really," the president told reporters in the Oval Office. "I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess. If you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet."

400 by Chris Sommerfeldt. MOVED


^Pompeo dismisses North Korean threat to end nuclear talks<

USNKOREA-NUCLEAR:LA _ Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo sought to downplay a North Korean warning Friday that Kim Jong Un was considering breaking off nuclear talks with the Trump administration and resuming the country's nuclear and missile tests.

Pompeo said that during last month's nuclear summit in Hanoi, Kim had assured President Donald Trump "on multiple occasions" that he would not lift a self-imposed moratorium on the tests.

600 by Tracy Wilkinson and Victoria Kim in Washington. MOVED


^Analysis: 3 things to watch: Kim lets Trump know their 'mysteriously wonderful' chemistry isn't enough<

USKNOREA-ANALYSIS:CON _ President Donald Trump once claimed he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "fell in love." But the dictator he once called "Little Rocket Man" on Friday let him know their "mysteriously wonderful" relationship might not be enough to strike a disarmament pact.

800 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^EPA partially bans a toxic paint-stripper but leaves workers exposed<

ENV-EPA-CHEMICAL:LA _ The Environmental Protection Agency announced a partial ban Friday on a toxic chemical used to remove paint and varnish, angering groups that have advocated for a complete prohibition of a substance that's been linked to dozens of deaths.

Once the rule takes effect later this year, consumers will no longer be able to buy paint removers containing the chemical methylene chloride. Anyone scanning the shelves of major retailers such as Lowe's and Ace Hardware will discover that it's likely already gone _ many brands committed to phasing it out months ago.

650 by Anna M. Phillips in Washington. MOVED


^Trump to frustrated Jewish Democrats: GOP will welcome you with 'open arms'<

TRUMP-JEWISHVOTERS:CON _ President Donald Trump on Friday claimed Democratic politicians treat Jewish people with "total disrespect," saying his Republican Party would welcome them with "open arms."

He used a morning tweet to claim the so-called "'Jexodus' movement" of offended Democrats out of the party after a freshman congresswoman's recent controversial remarks is fueled by "Total disrespect!" shown to them by Democratic politicians.

450 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^Bill named after Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg puts background checks on bullets<

PARKLAND-AMMUNITION-BILL:WA _ Last month, Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a plan to expand background checks on gun purchases.

Now, Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz are offering a new plan to require universal background checks on ammunition purchases. The bill is named after Guttenberg's daughter Jaime, one of 17 students and staff killed on Valentine's Day last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

700 by Alex Daugherty in Washington. MOVED


^Steve Bannon flexes influence during Brazilian president visit with Trump<

BOLSONARO-BANNON:WA _ Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House adviser and conservative hardliner, will be a special guest of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for dinner on Monday, the eve of the far-right leader's meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Bannon, who Bolsonaro's team has sought out for political guidance, will be among a group of conservative guests joining Bolsonaro at his table for the exclusive event at the Brazilian ambassador's residence, two sources familiar with the meeting said.

400 by Franco Ordonez in Washington. MOVED


^Warren's tech assault propels fringe antitrust view to spotlight<

DEMOCRATS-WARREN-BIGTECH:BLO _ Democratic 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren's call to break up big tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. thrust into the mainstream an emerging movement that favors an aggressive attack on corporate power.

Warren's proposal last week to classify some technology giants as utilities and undo previous industry mergers jolted Silicon Valley. It also hit a nerve among Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who've grown increasingly concerned that curbs on anticompetitive conduct are poorly enforced.

That all but ensures that restraining the power of dominant companies will be a focus of the 2020 campaign as Democrats seek to unseat President Donald Trump. Later this month, presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Julian Castro are set to appear at an Iowa event along with Warren to discuss monopoly power in rural communities.

1200 (with trims) by David McLaughlin in Washington. MOVED



^In Iowa, Beto O'Rourke proves he can still wow a crowd. Can he win votes?<

OROURKE-IOWA:LA _ He dazzled Twitter when he hopped atop a coffee shop counter to make his case. He delighted fans by driving himself in a Dodge minivan from town to town through eastern Iowa. He distracted President Donald Trump with spirited hand gestures.

Beto O'Rourke brought his particular brand of theater to Iowa on Thursday and Friday, and the inaugural visit of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination confirmed one thing: The state of his star power remains strong.

1150 by Evan Halper in Muscatine, Iowa. MOVED

^Beto O'Rourke was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow, America's oldest hacking group<

OROURKE-HACKING:DA _ Beto O'Rourke said Friday his membership in the oldest group of computer hackers as a teenager isn't something he's proud of.

Reuters reported Friday that O'Rourke was part of the Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named for an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse. The group was known for releasing tools that allow ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft Windows. The group is also known for inventing the term "hacktivism" to describe human rights-driven security work.

800 by Matthew Adams in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED



^Pipe bomb mailer Cesar Sayoc expected to plead guilty<


The online court docket for Sayoc's case says, "The pretrial conference scheduled for March 21, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. is now a plea."

300 by David J. Neal. MOVED


^Jury deadlocks on 3 counts against cop who shot at autistic man, acquits on misdemeanor<

MIAMI-SHOOTING-1ST-LEDE:MI _ Testifying in his own defense, North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda insisted he honestly mistook an autistic man holding a silver toy truck for a gunman holding another man hostage. The soft-spoken officer said he had no choice but to fire three bullets, accidentally hitting Charles Kinsey, the supposed hostage.

One sole juror did not believe Aledda.

The other five voted to acquit Aledda of all four charges in a case that garnered international headlines amid intense scrutiny on U.S. police shootings.

900 by David Ovalle in Miami. MOVED


^Spa operator brought head of US Chinese Communist Party group to mingle with Trump aides<

TRUMP-SPA-FOUNDER:MI _ South Florida day spa entrepreneur Cindy Yang _ now famous for her Super Bowl party selfie with the president _ used her burgeoning political access to bring Xianqin Qu, a leader from the foreign arm of the Communist Party of China, to an event where she met top Republicans and members of the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump.

Qu is the president of the Florida Chapter of the Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Unification _ a group "directly subordinate" to the Communist Party of China, according to a 2018 U.S. government report. The group's stated purpose is to push for reunification of China and Taiwan, although in recent years members in chapters around the world actively promoted a wide range of policies in harmony with Beijing's agenda abroad.

1250 by Caitlin Ostroff, Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas in Miami. MOVED


^Judge allows cameras at court hearings for R. Kelly on sex abuse charges<

RKELLY-CORRECTION:TB _ A Cook County, Ill., judge has allowed cameras in a Cook County courtroom for hearings in the sex abuse charges facing R. Kelly, a sharp contrast to the secrecy in the R&B superstar's court fight over child support.

In making the ruling Friday, Judge Lawrence Flood, who is presiding over Kelly's case, noted that only two of the four alleged victims had objected to airing their images from the witness stand.

550 by Rosemary Sobol and Megan Crepeau in Chicago. MOVED


^Slain Gambino crime boss Frank Cali possibly lured outside by fake car crash staged by killer<

CRIMEBOSS-HIT:NY _ The cold-blooded killer who gunned down Gambino crime boss Frank (Franky Boy) Cali likely lured his victim outside with a fake car crash _ then blew him away in front of his Staten Island home.

1000 (with trims) by Esha Ray and Rocco Parascandola in New York. MOVED


^Boeing is haunted by a 50-year-old feature of 737 jets<


First introduced in West Germany as a short-hop commuter jet in the early Cold War, the Boeing 737-100 had folding metal stairs attached to the fuselage that passengers climbed to board before airports had jetways. Ground crews hand-lifted heavy luggage into the cargo holds in those days, long before motorized belt loaders were widely available.

That low-to-the-ground design was a plus in 1968, but it has proved to be a constraint that engineers modernizing the 737 have had to work around ever since.

1450 by Ralph Vartabedian. MOVED


^Worker tried to warn others FIU bridge was unsafe. The collapse left him in a coma<

^FLA-BRIDGECOLLAPSE:MI_< When Kevin Hanson noticed that the thin cracks veining a crucial connection in the Florida International University bridge had opened into gaping fissures, he pulled out his phone and snapped a few photographs.

It was March 10, 2018, the day the prefabricated bridge had been raised over a busy commuter road.

Hanson, a worker on the site, passed the photos up the chain of command, his lawyers say.

Three days later, the project's chief engineer reported the cracks to the Florida Department of Transportation, although the engineer said he and his team were "not concerned about it."

In the end, no one gave the order to shut down Southwest Eighth Street.

And so, when the bridge came crashing down on March 15, 2018, one year ago, Hanson was standing on top. 1750 by Monique O. Madan and Nicholas Nehamas in Miami. MOVED


^'I came today to say goodbye': Families of FIU bridge collapse victims observe anniversary<

FLA-BRIDGECOLLAPSE-ANNIVERSARY:MI _ It's been a year since Orlando Duran stood at the corner of Southwest Eighth Street and 109th Avenue.

His 18-year-old daughter, Alexa, was trapped under 950 tons of concrete following the collapse of a pedestrian bridge, which had stretched above idle traffic before crashing down at 1:47 p.m. on March 15, 2018. Five others died in the chain reaction of structural failure that would come to spawn at least 18 lawsuits from victims' families and others against 25 defendants involved in the bridge project.

650 by Martin Vassolo in Miami. MOVED


^How an LA parent's tip uncovered massive college admissions scandal<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-TIP:LA _ A key tip that led to what authorities describe as the largest college admissions cheating scandal ever came from a Los Angeles parent who was under investigation in an unrelated securities case, according to a law enforcement source.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, could not identify the parent but said the subject provided vital information that launched the investigation.

600 by Richard Winton, Matthew Ormseth and Suhauna Hussain in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Former Oakland teacher files $500 billion lawsuit in college admissions cheating scandal<


Jennifer Kay Toy, who previously taught in the Oakland Unified School District, alleges in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court that the actions of those implicated in the scheme prevented her son, Joshua Toy, from being admitted to several colleges ensnared in the scandal.

650 by Hannah Fry. MOVED


^Just miles from USC and the admissions scandal, these students sell food for college money<


"Esquiii-te! Come and get your esquiii-te!"

She and some of her East Los Angeles College classmates were selling sliced corn with mayonnaise, butter and cheese at $3 a cup to raise money for their club, Puente, a program that helps students transfer to four-year universities.

Puentistas hustle year-round to sell tamales, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and coffee with pan dulce to pay for trips to visit colleges across California, mentorship and group activities, and graduation caps and gowns.

Most students are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and the overnight journeys they take in vans and buses to places like they University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Santa Barbara are life changing. It's often the first time many of the students have visited a college campus and begun to imagine what life might be like if one day a university accepted them.

1250 (with trims) by Esmeralda Bermudez in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Donald Trump Jr. mocks college admission scandal, despite his past at Penn<

CMP-ADMISSIONS-FRAUD-DONALDTRUMPJR:PHI _ When news broke of the nationwide college admissions scandal charging well-to-do Hollywood celebrities and CEOs of cheating and bribing their unqualified children's way into top universities, Donald Trump Jr. was quick to mock the accused.

But critics suggest the University of Pennsylvania alumnus seemed to look past his own family history.

600 by Oona Goodin-Smith in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Sacramento cops arrested Golden State Killer suspect in 1996, then let him go<

CALIF-SERIALKILLER:SA _ When authorities arrested Joseph James DeAngelo last April, they said the suspected Golden State Killer had never before been on their radar as a suspect.

But DeAngelo, a former police officer, had been arrested 22 years earlier and held in the Sacramento County Jail for 3 1/2 hours on unrelated charges before being released and sent on his way, The Sacramento Bee has learned.

950 by Sam Stanton in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Mother of girl found dead in duffel bag is extradited to California from Texas<

DUFFELBAG-BODY:LA _ The mother of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, whose body was found in a duffel bag along a trail in Hacienda Heights last week, was extradited Thursday from Texas to California to answer questions about her daughter's slaying.

Taquesta Graham, 28, a former Long Beach resident, is being held without bail on a warrant unrelated to her daughter's death at the Los Angeles County sheriff's Norwalk station.

Graham has not been charged and it is not clear what role, if any, she played in her daughter's death.

550 by Hannah Fry and Richard Winton in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Parkland shooter talked of demons, asked where he was when arrested<

PARKLAND-CRUZ:FL _ The Parkland school shooter claimed to hear voices when police arrested him for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.

In body-camera footage released Friday afternoon, he rambled about voices and demons as police had him pinned to the ground.

250 by Rafael Olmeda in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Grandmother admits helping daughter destroy evidence of 3-year-old's death<

GRANDMOTHER-DEATH:LA _ An Oxnard, Calif., grandmother admitted to helping her daughter and her granddaughter's father conceal evidence of a 3-year-old girl's death, the Ventura County district attorney's office announced Thursday.

Maria De Jesus Lopez, 45, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence after the death of Kimberly Lopez.

Prosecutors said the woman lent the couple her car and gave them money to travel to Tijuana and destroy Kimberly's remains. For 15 months afterward, she helped them hide the death from authorities, prosecutors said.

450 by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Body dug up behind Queens home may be tied to barber shop murder, 40 years ago<

NY-BODY-BACKYARD:NY _ The skeletal remains unearthed in the backyard of a Queens home may be connected to a murder at a Queens barber shop, officials said Thursday.

NYPD Chief of Department Dermot Shea said a lot still needs to be done, but his investigators are narrowing down the timeline on what led to a body being buried in the rear of a Richmond Hill home more than four decades ago.

"The genesis of the (investigation) was essentially a woman coming forward to us," Shea said during a press conference at police headquarters. "She recalls now that a little over 40 years ago she was present at this house and gave us information regarding the presence of a body that was buried in plastic bags in the back yard."

300 by Rocco Parascandola and Thomas Tracy in New York. MOVED


^Chicago transit worker stabbed when he's used as human shield during fight at train station, police say<

CHICAGO-STABBING:TB _ A Chicago Transit Authority worker was stabbed in the chest when a fight broke out at the Roosevelt station on the Red Line early Friday, according to Chicago police.

100 by Tribune Staff in Chicago. MOVED


^Jeff Bezos's canoodling scotched the New York Amazon project, Mayor de Blasio suggests<

AMAZON-NEWYORK-DEBLASIO:NY _ Mayor de Blasio has found a new explanation for why Amazon pulled out of Long Island City: CEO Jeff Bezos's torrid _ and well photographed _ affair.

"I think we could all say that unusual things were happening within the Amazon family at that moment in time _ and that was said politely. There was clearly some unusual factors happening. We know who the ultimate decision maker is," de Blasio said under questioning about the deal on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

300 by Jillian Jorgensen in New York. MOVED


^Ohio man arrested in sextortion case targeting Florida student via Snapchat<

SEXTORTION-SNAPCHAT:OS _ An Ohio man was arrested Wednesday after he extorted a University of Central Florida student with her sexually explicit photos and posted them online, an arrest affidavit said.

250 by David Harris in Orlando, Fla. MOVED



^US changes its B2 visa policy for Cuban citizens<


B2 visas cover visits by relatives, for tourism and travel for medical purposes.

150 by David J. Neal. MOVED


^Orange crush of visitors: Will California's wildflowers survive the crowds?<

ENV-CALIF-SUPERBLOOM:LA _ In the hills of Lake Elsinore, children carried drooping apricot-colored poppies while panting dogs ran alongside them, their paws tainted orange.

Girls braided flowers into their hair and nature photographers juggled tripods and cameras, waiting for the lighting to be just right in Walker Canyon.

Throngs of visitors are trooping to the fields in Riverside County and elsewhere as Southern California revels in a super bloom of wildflowers, thanks to an unusually wet winter.

"It's better than going to Disneyland," said Randy Solis, a patrol officer with the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency, who was stationed at a trailhead last weekend in the Temescal Mountains, where the hills were carpeted in Day-Glo orange poppies.

950 (with trims) by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in Lake Elsinore, Calif. MOVED


^The ocean absorbs billions of tons of carbon every year, and the process is accelerating, study shows<


The analysis found the oceans are absorbing about 31 percent of the carbon humans are spewing into the world. For context, the weight of the carbon seeping into the ocean each year, on average for the period of study, is roughly equivalent to 2.6 billion Volkswagen Beetle cars.

950 (with trims) by Evan Bush in Seattle. MOVED


^Eating eggs and cholesterol linked to higher risk of heart disease and death, study finds<


A new Northwestern Medicine report found that adults who consumed more eggs and cholesterol were at a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

350 by Ella Torres. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT _ Nation and world news briefs.



^Pilot lived a mysterious double life. Then a plane crash exposed aliases, falsehoods and questions<

CALIF-PLANECRASH-PILOT:LA _ Jordan Aaron was the president of a Carson City sushi restaurant who once ran for justice of the peace in Arizona. Antonio Pastini was the brash ex-Chicago cop who befriended a brothel mogul and spun yarns of a bare-knuckled youth in the Windy City that read like a cross between "Goodfellas" and "The Outsiders."

They were one and the same person.

He used two names and two Social Security numbers. He kept different driver's licenses and bank accounts under the two names, an ex-wife alleged. The ex-wife _ one of four _ said in court filings that he kept multiple identities to hide money, and she hinted that he had "trouble with the law."

But he might have lived out his days simply as Tony Pastini, the garrulous retired cop, had his twin-engine Cessna not plummeted 7,800 feet on Feb. 3 into an Orange County, Calif., suburb, killing him and four people who were on the ground.

1650 by Matthew Ormseth in Reno, Nev. MOVED


^For these California fire survivors, hope grows amid the ashes of Paradise<

CALIF-WILDFIRE-REBUILD:LA _ Inside the Brennans' house on the northern edge of town, it's almost as if the fire never happened.

There's electricity, filtered water and satellite TV. The mail comes every day but Sunday, and the garbage is picked up every week.

But when family members look out the window at a neighborhood of charred rubble and twisted metal, they're sometimes overcome by a profound loneliness.

"I feel like I've been left behind," said Elaine Brennan.

Months after California's most devastating wildfire killed 85 people and leveled the town of Paradise, many former residents find the thought of returning here unbearable. But others, whose homes escaped destruction, have come back to a life of surreal contrasts.

The stories of those who are returning to Paradise, those who would like to return and those who refuse to return are complicated by income, age and mental health.

1600 by Laura Newberry in Paradise, Calif. MOVED




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