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Tribune News Service

International Budget for Friday, November 22, 2019

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

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


^Benjamin Netanyahu to face trial on charges of bribery and fraud

NETANYAHU:BLO _ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, an unprecedented development that could doom his career and shape the political crisis that’s gripped Israel this past year.

The 70-year-old Netanyahu was indicted in each of the three cases in which he was entangled, the Justice Ministry said in a statement, painting the picture of a leader who abused his position to take gifts from wealthy friends and sacrificed the integrity of his office to win favorable media coverage.

750 by Amy Teibel in Jerusalem. MOVED



^US lawyers urge Prince Andrew to cooperate with Epstein investigators

PRINCEANDREW:DPA _ U.S. lawyers for alleged victims of late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday urged Britain’s Prince Andrew to cooperate with investigators, saying he was “simply not credible” in an interview on his relationship with the financier.

Andrew, 59, announced on Wednesday that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, had approved his plan to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future,” citing the “major disruption” caused by the renewed focus on his ties to Epstein.

550 by Bill Smith in London. MOVED


^Pacific Island referendum could give the world a tiny new country

PAPUANEWGUINEA-BOUGAINVILLE:BLO _ Born out of bloodshed, colonial politics, civil war and the pursuit of mining riches, the independence referendum on the island of Bougainville starting on Saturday has been a long time coming for Barbara Tanne.

Tanne, one of the 300,000 or so people who live on the small group of islands in the South Pacific, has spent the past months criss-crossing remote villages to tell people about the vote, which could result in separation from Papua New Guinea.

“Everybody is saying ‘now is the time’,” said Tanne, 56, from her home town of Buka. “People are positive and they want to see the result, but I’m telling them that we have to be patient, because the next step could take a long while.”

1000 (with trims) by Jason Scott in Canberra, Australia. MOVED



^Fiona Hill warns Republicans of ‘fictional narrative’ at impeachment hearing

IMPEACHMENT:LA _ President Donald Trump‘s former Russia adviser used her opening statement to debunk a conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 presidential election _ one that has been propagated by Rudy Giuliani.

1300 by Los Angeles Times.

Moving later

^Analysis: After Trump impeachment hearings, both sides scramble

IMPEACHMENT-ANALYSIS:LA _ After five grueling days of public testimony by a dozen witnesses, evidence appeared overwhelming in the House impeachment inquiry Thursday that President Donald Trump directed a campaign to get Ukraine’s leader to investigate Democrats in exchange for an Oval Office meeting.

But as Congress left for a long Thanksgiving break, there was no sign that the damaging testimony had swayed Republican lawmakers to support impeaching the president or ultimately convicting him.

1250 by Noah Bierman, Eli Stokols and Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED


^Trump may withhold tax returns and appear on ballot, California Supreme Court rules

CALIF-TRUMP-TAXRETURNS:LA _ President Donald Trump may appear on California’s primary ballot without having to disclose his tax returns, the state’s highest court decided Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court said the requirement that presidential candidates must disclose their tax returns to appear on the March primary ballot violates the California Constitution.

350 by Maura Dolan in San Francisco. MOVED


^Trump signs stopgap spending bill, fending off shutdown for now

CONGRESS-SHUTDOWN-1ST-LEDE:CON _ President Donald Trump signed a monthlong spending bill Thursday, hours before government funding had been set to expire at midnight.

The continuing resolution funds the government through Dec. 20, giving appropriators more time to hash out numerous divides over policy riders and programmatic spending levels. It’s the second time Congress has needed to pass a temporary spending bill since fiscal 2020 began Oct. 1.

The Senate voted 74-20 to clear the measure earlier Thursday.

1050 by Jennifer Shutt in Washington. MOVED


^Democrats leave Trump in suspense on where impeachment goes next

IMPEACHMENT-NEXT:BLO _ Now that House Democrats have wrapped their last scheduled public hearing on Ukraine they have to decide whether to schedule more, or move to the next step toward impeaching President Donald Trump.

“In the coming days, Congress will determine what response is appropriate,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Thursday.

The Democrats head into a recess week trying to figure out if they can meet their tentative target of holding any impeachment vote before the end of the year.

Here are some of the important decisions ahead.

900 by Billy House in Washington. MOVED


^Pence emerges largely unscathed as Sondland, Democrats say he knew of quid pro quo

IMPEACHMENT-PENCE:CON _ Lawmakers and witnesses this week repeatedly brought up Vice President Mike Pence during public impeachment hearings, but President Donald Trump‘s No. 2 has emerged mostly unscathed.

Wednesday was a rough one for Trump, with testimony from a top U.S. diplomat implicating him in a quid pro quo. But no House Democrat during the public sessions has suggested articles of impeachment against Pence.

950 (with trims) by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^Impeachment witness confronts Devin Nunes’ Ukraine argument, calls it a ‘fictional narrative’


“Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country _ and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did,” Fiona Hill testified. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

600 by Kate Irby in Washington. MOVED


^In the Trump impeachment hearings, career diplomats are the unlikely stars


The former Ukrainian ambassador _ along with other foreign service officers _ have been drawn out of the world of classified communiques and secret dossiers and into the glare of the impeachment hearings against President Trump. Their testimonies have been understated and startling, as if unsung bureaucrats in a John Le Carr story battling an administration seeking favors from Ukraine to benefit Trump politically.

1050 by Jeffrey Fleishman. (Moved as an entertainment story.)


^Democrats seek quick subpoena ruling in Trump tax records case

CONGRESS-TRUMP-TAXRETURNS:CON _ House Democrats urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to quickly allow enforcement of a congressional subpoena for eight years of President Donald Trump‘s financial and tax records from accounting firm Mazars USA.

In a court filing, Democrats argue that not only was a lower court ruling correct when it backed House power to get the records, but also that a president doesn’t have a right to stall the production of documents, particularly during an impeachment inquiry.

550 by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED


^Florida GOP fundraisers, donor get federal subpoenas in probe of Giuliani associates

GIULIANI-ASSOCIATES-SUBPOENAS:MI _ A prominent Florida lobbying company, a GOP fundraiser in Tallahassee and a donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were subpoenaed in recent weeks by federal prosecutors in New York investigating two South Florida businessmen whose work for President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney has placed them near the center of a congressional impeachment inquiry.

Ballard Partners, a powerhouse company founded in Tallahassee by Republican lobbyist and Trump confidant Brian Ballard, was subpoenaed recently by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York investigating Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, naturalized citizens accused of funneling illegal foreign money into U.S. campaigns.

900 (with trims) by David Smiley in Miami. MOVED


^Google admits its ‘dark skin’ face scan project violated internal policy, leading to overhaul

GOOGLE-FACIAL-RECOGNITION:NY _ Google is working to save face.

The tech giant admitted it’s making changes after a New York Daily News investigation found its facial recognition field research project targeted homeless people, cash-strapped college students and subjects with “darker” skin.

Google said an internal investigation prompted by the Daily News’ expose last month uncovered policy violations among the third-party contractors who worked out of its offices.

The violations led the company to halt and overhaul the project.

700 by Ginger Adams Otis and Nancy Dillon. MOVED


^In a tweet, Trump tells Navy not to boot Gallagher from SEALs

TRUMP-NAVY-SEAL:SD _ President Donald Trump appeared to upend a Navy SEAL administrative board days before it started Thursday tweeting that the Navy will not strip a decorated SEAL of his coveted trident pin in the wake of his court-martial conviction for posing with the corpse of an enemy combatant.

In a tweet, Trump said “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

600 by Andrew Dyer in San Diego. MOVED


^Immigration lawyers throughout the US are banding together to fight Trump‘s asylum restrictions

IMMIGRATION-LAWYERS:SD _ Immigration lawyers from all over the country are joining forces to help asylum seekers navigate the Trump administration’s controversial Migrant Protection Protocols program.

The program, which was first implemented in San Diego back in January, forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their asylum cases are completed _ a process that can take up to a year. By sending migrants back to Mexico, the program drastically changed long-standing asylum policy and made it more difficult for lawyers to represent asylum seekers in immigration courts.

Immigration lawyers are using private Facebook groups to help each other win asylum cases under this new policy.

800 by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED


^Remain in Mexico faces growing scrutiny in the House and Senate

IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM-MEXICO:SD _ The Trump administration’s controversial asylum policy, Migrant Protection Protocols, faces mounting criticism from Senate and House representatives concerned by reports that migrants in the program have been robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted in Mexico.

The program, commonly known as Remain in Mexico, forces asylum-seekers to wait for their immigration court cases in Mexico. More than 55,000 asylum-seekers have been sent back through this program.

700 by Gustavo Solis in San Diego. MOVED



^Kroger to try a new approach: Growing produce inside the grocery store


The Seattle grocery chain’s parent company, Kroger, has partnered with German vertical-farming startup Infarm to hydroponically grow cilantro, kale and crystal lettuce right near the produce aisles of two Quality Food Centers in Kirkland and Bellevue, Wash.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates nearly 2,500 grocery stores in 31 states under some two dozen brands, is testing the idea in the Pacific Northwest because “the market itself is fun and innovative.”

750 by Keerthi Vedantam in Seattle. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^San Diego’s Bumble Bee files for bankruptcy, aims to sell company to Taiwan’s FCF Co.

BUMBLE-BEE-BK:SD _ Bumble Bee Foods has agreed to sell its assets to Taiwan-baseed FCF Co. Ltd. for $925 million, a move sparked by significant legal challenges faced by the company.

Bumble Bee, one of North America‘s largest branded seafood companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Thursday to help pave the way for the proposed sale.

450 by Mike Freeman in San Diego. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED



^Trudy Rubin: Hong Kong crisis has become a crucial test of future US-China relations

RUBIN-COLUMN:PH _ Impeachment proceedings have overshadowed another riveting drama half a world away: ongoing pro-democracy protests in this iconic city.

Peaceful marches of millions of Hong Kong citizens have given way to violent student protests as Beijing continues to curb the city’s freedoms. Meantime, an almost unanimous vote in Congress passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act this week to support the protesters, as Beijing fumes and a reluctant President Trump prepares to sign it.

How these protests end _ whether in disaster or compromise _ will resonate far beyond Hong Kong’s 7.4 million people. Although Hong Kong is a part of China, it is becoming a worrying symbol of Beijing’s attitude toward the rest of the world.

850 by Trudy Rubin in Hong Kong. MOVED


^Commentary: Why does U.S. diplomacy require all these people? They’re essential to relationships and effectiveness in a complex world


But the hearings have also highlighted another critical question: Why does the United States need diplomats and ambassadors?

900 by Ivo Daalder. MOVED


^Commentary: We need the full truth about the CIA’s torture program


Yet to this day, the full 6,700-page report produced by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence detailing the CIA’s post-Sept. 11 program of detention, torture and other abuse of detainees remains secret after years of litigation.

650 by Hina Shamsi. MOVED


^Will Bunch: Impeachment‘s hidden messages about immigration and what it means to be American


To save himself, Sondland fell back on the ultimate American story: immigration.

1400 by Will Bunch. MOVED


^Commentary: California has the most polluted national parks in the country. That’s unacceptable


More than a century later, California has nine national parks _ the most of any state _ spread across 6 million acres. From the foggy redwoods in the north to the desert Joshua trees in the south, these parks have long stood apart: Their air pollution levels are the worst in the national park system.

900 by Jon Waterman. MOVED




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