Tribune News Service

International Budget for Sunday, January 12, 2020

Updated at 0100 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EST Saturday).

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


^Iran apologizes to Ukraine over downed passenger flight<

IRAN-PLANECRASH-1ST-LEDE:DPA — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to officially apologize for the accidental downing of a Ukraine International Airlines passenger plane earlier this week.

"(Rouhani) apologized on behalf of the Iranian side for the tragedy that took 176 lives," a statement from Zelenskiy's office read. "The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran fully acknowledges that the tragedy was caused by the erroneous actions of the military of this state."

700 by Farshid Motahari in Tehran. MOVED


^Protesters fill streets in Tehran; Trump says 'world is watching'<

USIRAN-PROTESTS:DPA — Protests were reported late Saturday in several parts of the Iranian capital Tehran over the shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger plane by the Iranian military, according to Iranian media.

Hundreds of people took part in Saturday night protest rallies outside Tehran, Amir Kabir and Sharif, according to news agencies IRNA and Isna. They criticized both the shooting down and the daylong denials by Iranian authorities and the media.

400 by Farshid Motahari, Eliyahu Kamisher and Bill Smith in Tehran. MOVED



^Taiwan's Tsai wins second term in landslide as voters stand up to Beijing<

TAIWAN:BLO — President Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide victory over China-friendly opposition challenger Han Kuo-yu to clinch a second term in Taiwan's presidential election, dealing a blow to Beijing, which has long sought to bring the democratically run island under its control.

Han conceded defeat Saturday evening at his headquarters in the southern city of Kaohsiung. Tsai had a record 7.7 million votes, Taiwan's Central Election Commission said around 8:30 p.m. Han had 5.2 million.

800 by Chinmei Sung, Debby Wu and Peter Martin in Taipei, Taiwan. MOVED


^2 US soldiers killed in explosion in southern Afghanistan<

AFGHANISTAN-SOLDIERS:DPA — Two U.S. service members were killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Saturday, NATO's Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

"The service members were conducting operations as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission," the statement added.

The Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the early morning attack.

250 by Hesamudin Hesam in Kabul, Afghanistan. MOVED


^North Korea says it won't trade nuclear weapons for sanctions lift<

USNKOREA:BLO — North Korea won't rely on the personal relationship between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump as it doesn't intend to trade its nuclear weapons for a lift of sanctions, its state-run media said, citing a Foreign Ministry adviser.

"There will never be such negotiations as that in Vietnam, in which we proposed exchanging a core nuclear facility of the country for the lift of some United Nations sanctions," Kim Kye Gwan was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.

300 by Kanga Kong in Seoul, South Korea. MOVED


^France provisionally pulls retirement age from reform plan<

FRANCE-UNIONS:BLO — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe plans to withdraw "provisionally" an effort to raise the age when workers can retire with full benefits, called the pivot age, he said in a letter Saturday to unions.

The potential compromise comes after Friday's hastily arranged negotiations on how to finance state pensions and as union members marched in Paris and elsewhere in France. Strikes have wreaked havoc on large-city transport systems for the past five weeks.

200 by Alan Katz in Paris. MOVED


^Oman's new sultan to keep Qaboos' 'non-interference' foreign policy<

OMAN-SULTAN:DPA — Oman's new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said promised on Saturday to maintain the foreign policy of his predecessor after he was sworn in as the Gulf state's new ruler following the death of decades-long leader Qaboos bin Said.

"We will keep following late sultan's foreign policy, which is based on peaceful coexistence good neighborhood noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for countries' sovereignty and international cooperation in various fields," Haitham said after he was sworn in.

650 by Amr Mostafa in Muscat, Oman. MOVED


^Whatever Meghan and Harry do, they'll be cashing in<

BRITAIN-ROYALS-ASSESS:BLO — There's a hypocrisy at the heart of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's assertion that they will strive to become "financially independent." No matter what they do, they're likely to be cashing in on their status as A-list members of the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want "space to focus on the next chapter," they said in a bombshell statement this week. It's an effort to cut themselves free of the worst vicissitudes of life as members of the British monarchy, not least the unwanted scrutiny of the country's fearsome tabloid press.

But it's hard to conceive of a path they can plot that doesn't exploit that very "royalness" they want to flee.

850 by Alex Webb. MOVED


^Meghan Markle already has a deal with Disney post-Megxit<

MARKLE-DISNEY:NY — After trading in acting for royalty, Meghan Markle is officially returning to her comfort zone.

The Duchess of Sussex, 38, has already signed a deal with Disney, after announcing Wednesday that she and husband Prince Harry would "work to become financially independent" as they "step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family," after reportedly feeling "driven out," according to The Times Saturday.

The former "Suits" star will reportedly perform a voiceover for an unidentified Disney project that will benefit Elephants Without Borders, which aims to shield the majestic mammals for poaching.

250 by Jami Ganz. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED



^Storm grounds US flights, whips up tornadoes, toasts East<

WEA-WINTER-STORMS-1ST-LEDE:BLO — A massive winter storm is grounding flights in Chicago, whipping up tornadoes and hail across the South, and will likely push record January warmth into New York, Washington and the entire East Coast over the weekend.

At least seven people have died, including three in Alabama, as the storm swept across the southern states, AP reported.

The eastern U.S. was covered with threats from high winds and flooding rains, while areas from Kentucky to Louisiana suffered with snow, ice and even tornadoes, the National Weather Service said.

350 by Brian K. Sullivan. MOVED


^Puerto Rico hit by another magnitude 5.9 earthquake<

PUERTORICO-QUAKE:BLO — Puerto Rico was hit by a series of new earthquakes on Saturday including one which measured 5.9 on the Richter scale, according to the United States Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and no tsunami warning was issued.

250 by Katharina Rosskopf. MOVED


^Impeachment trial adds to a long list of Trump's legal headaches<

TRUMP-LEGALCASES:BLO — President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial comes amid a long list of federal court cases that threaten to generate more trouble for him during the election year.

The impeachment trial starts as soon as next week, while the court cases are running on separate tracks. House committees are seeking his financial records, a New York prosecutor wants his income tax returns, and public officials and private watchdogs say he's unlawfully profiting from foreign government business.

1350 by Andrew Harris in Washington. MOVED


^Trump's homeless czar went undercover in Fresno. Now he's making plans for California<

CALIF-TRUMP-HOMELESS:WA — Before President Donald Trump picked him to reshape the nation's programs for the homeless, Robert Marbut Jr. had already built a complicated legacy as a consultant in California cities and across the country.

In Fresno, Marbut left a lasting impression when he "embedded" in camps and recommended policies that some worried downplayed the importance of providing shelter to homeless people. Fresno rejected his major recommendations.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., where officials took most of his suggestions, he's remembered as helping provide a shelter for homeless people, but one that many found too strict.

1550 (with trims) by Kate Irby and Manuela Tobias in Washington. MOVED


^Freshman national security Democrats seize political moment<

HOUSE-DEMOCRATS-NATIONALSECURITY:CON — In the hours after the targeted killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and with concern rapidly mounting about the potential for a direct military confrontation with Iran, several high-profile House liberals announced plans to constrain President Donald Trump's ability to wage war.

But it was a lesser-known and more moderate freshman — Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst who did three tours in Iraq focusing on the country's Iranian-backed Shiite militias — whom Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately tapped as the face of Democrats' arguments for putting guardrails on Trump's Iran strategy.

The choice of Slotkin demonstrates the growing influence of a handful of freshman Democrats with experience in the military, Pentagon, State Department, CIA, National Security Council and the like.

1550 (with trims) by Andrew Clevenger in Washington. MOVED


^Bernie Sanders enjoys newly found frontrunner status in Iowa<

SANDERS-IOWA:BLO — Bernie Sanders was riding high on Saturday in Iowa, enjoying his first taste of Iowa front-runner status in the 2020 campaign.

Fresh off an Iowa poll that put the Vermont senator at 20% support in Iowa and a narrow lead, Sanders greeted a crowd in Newton, Iowa, on what he called a "nice Vermont day" — sunny and 19 degrees.

Just three months ago, Sanders was recovering from a heart attack that many expected to slow, if not end, his second presidential run.

"I would not be here asking for your support if I did not have the strength" to win, he told supporters after a speech mostly devoted to Medicare for All. He also took questions on a variety of topics from climate change to the tensions in Iran.

700 by Emma Kinery. MOVED


^Can Amy Klobuchar capitalize on the Iowa debate?<

KLOBUCHAR-DEBATE:MS — Barring an early impeachment trial in the Senate, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota could have a vital shot Tuesday at making tangible gains in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, Klobuchar will share the stage at Drake University in Des Moines with only five other rivals who made the final cut. The slimmer field offers a chance for more airtime and a longer look from voters still making up their minds about the senator, deemed by some pundits to have the most to gain from the encounter.

450 by Stephen Montemayor in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Ivanka Trump to visit Atlanta facilities that fight sex trafficking<

IVANKATRUMP-ATLANTA:AT — Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, plans to travel to Georgia next week to highlight and advance the administration's work against human trafficking.

She intends to tour two facilities on Tuesday that help survivors in downtown Atlanta. Along for the tour will be Gov. Brian Kemp, first lady Marty Kemp, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and other Trump administration officials, according to the White House.

300 by Joshua Sharpe in Atlanta. MOVED


^Drinking deaths double in 2 decades with faster rate for women<

HEALTH-ALCOHOL-DEATHS:BLO — Deaths from boozing and bingeing more than doubled in the past two decades, as alcohol consumption per person rose 8%, with sharp increases in the rate for women and the middle-aged.

Men were three-quarters of the total but fatalities for women rose at a faster rate: 85% versus 39% for males, according to 1999-2017 research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

500 by Steve Geimann in Washington. MOVED


^Mayo Clinic research solves deadly Amish medical mystery<

MED-AMISH-DEATHS:MS — Research led by Mayo Clinic has solved a 2-decade-old mystery about why so many otherwise healthy children and young people in Amish communities have been dying from sudden unexplained cardiac deaths.

Examining the DNA of four Amish siblings who suffered cardiac deaths while playing or exercising, researchers found they all had a duplication of specific genetic material that put them at risk.

450 by Jeremy Olson. MOVED


^Greenhouse gases from oil and gas projected to continue to increase<

ENV-GREENHOUSE-GASES:OH — The fracking boom across the country has resulted in greenhouse gas emissions steadily climbing each year since the United States has become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world.

As a result of the boom, there are plans over the next five years to build or extend 157 petroleum and natural gas drilling sites and chemical manufacturing and refinery plants across the country, according to federal records.

That expansion will result in greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. totaling 990.5 million tons per year by 2025, according to a study by the Environmental Integrity Project

600 by Beth Burger in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED




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