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Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Updated at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 UTC).

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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.

^TOP STORIES<

^5 things to watch for in the Democratic debate tonight<

DEMOCRATS-DEBATE-5THINGS:LA — A lot has happened since the Democratic presidential candidates last clashed on the debate stage. Former Vice President Joe Biden has taken some blows. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's support has surged. Ten candidates who were on the stage back in July have either dropped out or been cut from the debate because of poor polling and fundraising.

That is just how the Democratic National Committee wants it. Party leaders wanted an early set of debates open to even obscure candidates, then a steady process of winnowing the herd.

Here are five things we will be watching:

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^10 Democratic candidates enter debate with different strategies and goals<

DEMOCRATS-DEBATE:LA — Thursday's Democrats debate in Houston could be less of a free-for-all than the previous two. There will still be 10 podiums, but the stage will be mostly free of fringe candidates with little to lose.

It is the first time voters will get to see all the top-tier candidates on the stage at once.

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^WASHINGTON<

^White House keeping foreign aid spending on a tight leash<

FOREIGNAID-APPORTION:CON — The White House is slowly releasing its previous hold on State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funds that lapse after Sept. 30, according to sources familiar with the move. But the agencies still could face difficulty spending it all before the deadline.

The Office of Management and Budget has required that the remaining funds in 10 accounts be "apportioned," or parceled out, in one-quarter increments on the first four Sundays in September. Last month, the White House considered permanently canceling the funding, but President Donald Trump balked after pushback from top GOP officials on Capitol Hill as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The new apportionment is a change requested by State officials, according to a senior administration official. It provides more flexibility than an earlier apportionment allowing State and USAID to obligate roughly 2% of the remaining funds per day for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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^POLITICS<

^Elizabeth Warren's new plan? Get the rich to pay for better Social Security benefits<

WARREN-SOCIALSECURITY:LA — Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling for the wealthy to pay for an overhaul of Social Security that would boost the annual payment to retirees by $2,400 and extend the program's solvency by two decades.

"We need to get our priorities straight," the Massachusetts senator and White House hopeful wrote in a post published Thursday morning on Medium, in which Warren unveiled her proposal. "We should be increasing Social Security benefits and asking the richest Americans to contribute their fair share to the program."

Warren targets individual earners making more than $250,000 per year, and families with incomes exceeding $400,000, with the bill. Each dollar they earn beyond that threshold — both salary and investment returns — would be taxed at 14.8%. On wage income, the new levy would be split evenly between employee and employer.

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^10 candidates didn't make the Democratic debate. Here's what they're doing instead<

DEMOCRATS-DEBATE-OTHERCANDIDATES:LA — Marianne Williamson won't be on the debate stage when Democratic presidential candidates face off on Thursday. But she's stepping onto her own stage afterward to tell voters "what she would have said, and what should have been asked."

The self-help author, one of 10 candidates who failed to qualify for the Houston event, will be "live post-debate" from Beverly Hills, her campaign announced this week. After the debate watch party it is hosting, her campaign will livestream her commentary for fans not in Beverly Hills.

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^UNITED STATES <

^Some recent Conception passengers didn't know about emergency escape hatch<

CALIF-BOATFIRE-SAFETY:LA — Months ago, Truth Aquatics owner Glen Fritzler spoke to Ralph A. Clevenger, who creates visual content for the company, about making a safety video that would play while passengers boarded his dive boats.

The video settles briefly on a person opening the Conception's escape hatch. It's located underneath a counter in the dining area where passengers stop by to sign the manifest and bears a red sign with the words "emergency exit" and "keep clear."

Clevenger, a photographer, finished the video the day before a fire on the Conception last week killed 34 people in the worst maritime disaster in modern California history.

Passenger knowledge of a safety plan aboard the vessel now plays a central part in a criminal investigation that is examining why no one sleeping below deck was able to escape. Law enforcement sources have told the Los Angeles Times that a preliminary investigation found signs of serious safety lapses aboard the Conception, including the possibility that passengers did not receive thorough safety briefings.

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^Odds of tropical depression formation strengthen to 70% by weekend as wave moves over Bahamas, toward Florida<

WEA-TROPICALSYSTEM:OS — A tropical wave over the southeastern and central Bahamas is highly likely to form into a tropical depression or possibly Tropical Storm Humberto in the next 48 hours as its projected cut across Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The system has a 70% chance of forming into a tropical depression in the next 48 hours and an 80% chance of doing so in the next five days, the NHC said.

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GRAPHIC

^More states allowing gun seizures amid plague of mass shootings<

^GUNS-REDFLAG-LAWS:CON—<Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine knows he's in for a challenge.

DeWine, a Republican trying to push gun control proposals through a Legislature where the GOP holds supermajorities in both chambers, saw his predecessor, John Kasich, try the same thing without success.

"No one said this is going to be particularly easy," DeWine said in a phone interview.

As the deaths mount from high-profile mass shootings, like those last month in Texas and Ohio, the public is pressuring elected officials across the country to act. Proposals to tighten easy access to guns in the U.S. are popular, and gun control advocates say it's a factor that separates the U.S. from other developed countries that see far fewer gun deaths per year. National polls consistently show 60% or more of respondents favor stricter laws.

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^Another young Southern California pastor advocating for mental health dies by suicide<

PASTOR-SUICIDE:LA — On Monday afternoon, Jarrid Wilson, a pastor at a Riverside megachurch and the founder of a mental health advocacy group, took to Twitter.

"Loving Jesus doesn't always cure suicidal thoughts," Wilson wrote. "Loving Jesus doesn't always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure anxiety. But that doesn't mean Jesus doesn't offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that."

That night, Wilson, 30, killed himself, according to Harvest Christian Fellowship, where he was an associate pastor.

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

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NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

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^TODAY'S TOP NEWSFEATURES<

^A delicate message from Bahamas to fend off Dorian tourism crisis: Most of us are fine<

BAHAMAS-TOURISM:MI — In the quaint tropical village of Harbour Island where American celebrities own vacation homes, locals drive golf carts and 18th-century houses overlook the harbor, the hotels are unscathed, the restaurants are open and the white and pink sand beaches are still pristine.

Some 90 nautical miles to the southwest in Nassau, the Bahamas' capital, the cruise ships are in port and tourists are out sightseeing. But Sandra Kem, a tour operator, says business has plummeted by half since Hurricane Dorian's Category 5 winds and rains roared through the northwest Bahamas last week, devastating two of the archipelago's more popular tourist destinations: the Abacos and Grand Bahama.

With crews still combing through the storm wreckage, trying to account for the missing and the dead, and evacuees wondering how long the recovery and rebuilding will take, those in areas unscathed by the storm want visitors to know that the best way they can help is by visiting the Bahamas.

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^US punishes Syria with sanctions — but allies like Jordan also pay a price<

USSYRIA-SANCTIONS-JORDAN:LA — Hamdi Tabaa, 83, a Jordanian business leader who once served as the nation's trade minister, walked into a meeting called by U.S. Embassy officials in Amman.

It was early March, and Tabaa and his colleagues at the Jordanian Businessmen Association were expecting a friendly visit. Commerce between Jordan and the U.S. was on the rise; Tabaa figured the officials wanted to expand an already existing Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Instead, the Americans made a presentation that featured a warning, one they would repeat to Jordan's Ministry of Industry and Trade, its Chamber of Commerce, and other governmental and private institutions. It focused on the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act, a piece of sanctions legislation that has been kicking around Washington for years without being passed by the Senate. In its current manifestation, it would sanction any foreigner who does business with Syria.

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