Tribune News Service
News Budget for Thursday, April 11, 2019
Updated at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 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.
^WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces U.S. computer-hacking charge after arrest in London<
ASSANGE:LA — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been indicted in connection with a computer hacking conspiracy, the Justice Department said Thursday shortly after British police arrested him at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Prosecutors accused Assange of working with Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst at the time, to crack a password and access classified materials that were then leaked. The goal, prosecutors said, was to make it more difficult to track the source of the leaked information.
300 by Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED
^Will the Senate change tradition to ease the way for GOP legislation?<
^SENATE-FILIBUSTER-BLUNT:WA—< A top GOP senator wants to make it easier to debate legislation — an historic step that would smooth the path for Republican-authored initiatives. Floating the controversial idea is Sen. Roy Blunt, the Rules Committee chairman who just engineered a successful drive to change Senate rules and tradition to make it easier to approve President Donald Trump’s nominees more quickly. It now takes 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster and begin debating a bill. The Senate has 53 Republicans. Blunt would lower the number needed to proceed to 51.
That idea is chilling to many Democrats, who since Trump became president have seen the GOP-controlled Senate require 51, instead of 60 votes, to limit debate on Supreme Court nominees. And last week, it chopped the debate time allowed for prospective federal district judges from 30 hours to two, a change championed by Blunt.
Those moves allowed Trump Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to win confirmation — which may not have happened if 60 votes had been needed to limit debate. Gorsuch was confirmed with 54 yes votes and Kavanaugh by a 50-48 margin.
Now Blunt, a Missouri Republican, is trying to apply the 51-vote rule to legislation.
1100 by Lindsay Wise and David Lightman in Washington. MOVED
^Supreme Court revisits cakes and gay marriage<
SCOTUS-WEDDINGCAKE:LA — Wedding cakes and same-sex marriages are back before the Supreme Court, and this time the justices are being asked to rule broadly that the First Amendment’s protection of the “free exercise” of religion shields conservative Christians from state civil rights laws.
An Oregon couple who were fined $135,000 for refusing to make a cake for the marriage of two women have asked the justices to take their case. If the court does so, the new conservative majority could significantly change the law on religious liberty and LGBTQ rights. The justices could announce as early as Monday whether they will hear the case.
For nearly three decades, the court has followed a rule set down in a 1990 decision written by a conservative hero, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Rejecting a claim brought by Native Americans who smoked peyote as part of a religious ceremony, Scalia said that the Constitution’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion did not provide a shield against a “neutral and generally applicable law.” In the peyote case, two men had been fired for using an illegal drug.
1150 (with trims) by David G. Savage in Washington. MOVED
^Memorial for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle to take place at Staples Center arena<
NIPSEYHUSSLE-MEMORIAL:LA — There will be extensive security presence at Staples Center on Thursday at a memorial for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle as well as a procession from the memorial through the streets of South L.A. Hussle was fatally shot outside his store March 31. A memorial several days later ended in violence, with several people injured, including two women who suffered gunshot wounds.
By Los Angeles Times
^Blue states fear exodus of rich taxpayers, but study finds no sign — yet<
BLUESTATES-AFFLUENT:SJ. — The new federal tax law’s cap on deducting state and local income taxes has caused much hand-wringing in high-tax states like California that rely heavily on their richest taxpayers. But a study this week found no sign — yet — that its making the wealthy flee to lower-tax states like Nevada.
The Moody’s Investors Service report, citing U.S. Census Bureau and IRS data, found that migration from the five states, including California, where the state and local tax deduction represented the largest share of federal adjusted gross income was in line with national trends. And it was less than from 2005 to 2007, before the last economic downturn.
“Job opportunities and demographic trends, more so than tax rates, influence relocation from one state to another,” said Marcia Van Wagner, a vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s. But she added that the deduction cap “will be widely felt for the first time this tax season, and could spur some out-migration from high-tax states.”
950 (with trims) by John Woolfolk in San Jose, Calif. MOVED
NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.
^TODAY’S TOP NEWSFEATURES<
^A haven for farmworkers has its funding withdrawn when asylum-seekers began to arrive<
FARMWORKERS-SHELTER:LA — The Our Lady of Guadalupe Shelter doesn’t seem like much, but for the migrant farmworkers who descend on this impoverished desert town, it’s a welcome retreat from the fields and dirt parking lots they once called home.
In this renovated grape packing plant in the eastern Coachella Valley, farmworkers rise before the sun, wipe thin foam mattress pads with a rag sprayed with disinfectant and rest their folded black cots against the walls of what used to be the walk-in refrigerator.
Outside, illuminated by a half moon, they rummage through metal lockers that will store their lives for the next several months.
The shelter was started a little over a year ago, thanks in large part to hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad. It was her way of meeting a dire need for the farmworkers.
But late last year, she grew concerned about asylum-seekers being welcomed there.
Fearing that the focus had shifted away from the farmworkers, and that the new migrants could draw immigration enforcement to the shelter, Ingebrand-Pohlad decided in November not to renew her contribution.
1650 by Brittny Mejia in Mecca, Calif. MOVED
^Elite hospitals plunge into unproven stem cell treatments<
MED-STEMCELLS-TREATMENTS:KHN — The online video seems to promise everything an arthritis patient could want.
The six-minute segment mimics a morning talk show, using a polished TV host to interview guests around a coffee table. Dr. Adam Pourcho extols the benefits of stem cells and “regenerative medicine” for healing joints without surgery. Pourcho, a sports medicine specialist, says he has used platelet injections to treat his own knee pain, as well as a tendon injury in his elbow. Extending his arm, he says, “It’s completely healed.”
The video’s cheerleading tone mimics the infomercials used to promote stem cell clinics, several of which have recently gotten into hot water with federal regulators. But the marketing video wasn’t filmed by a little-known operator.
It was sponsored by Swedish Medical Center, the largest nonprofit health provider in the Seattle area.
Swedish is one of a growing number of respected hospitals and health systems that have entered the lucrative business of stem cells and related therapies, including platelet injections.
2300 (with trims) by Liz Szabo. MOVED
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