McClatchy-Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, January 16, 2014


Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

News Budget for Thursday, January 16, 2014


Updated at 8 p.m. EST (0100 UTC).




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

This budget is now available on MCT Direct at, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Obama's changes to phone surveillance unlikely to satisfy critics<

OBAMA-NSA:WA _ No matter what President Barack Obama announces Friday when he unveils changes to the federal government's surveillance programs, he won't appease critics on the most important question he faces: what to do with the massive collection and storage of phone records.

Obama is looking to reduce the amount of information the government may collect, a move that will anger those who think that bulk collection helps prevent terrorism but still won't satisfy civil libertarians who think it remains intrusive and unnecessary.

1100 (with trims) by Anita Kumar in Washington. MOVED

^'American Hustle,' 'Gravity' fortify front-runner status with 10 Oscar nominations<

^OSCARS-2ND-LEDE:LA_<"American Hustle" and "Gravity" dominated the Academy Award nominations Thursday morning, earning 10 nominations apiece, while "12 Years a Slave" followed with nine nominations. All three earned nominations for best picture and best director.

The top nominees _ a con-man comedy, a lost-in-space thriller and a harrowing depiction of slavery in America _ have fortified their status as the front-runners for Oscar gold. All three performed well this awards season, earning critics honors as well as taking home the marquee trophies at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday.

"Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Nebraska" each earned six nominations, including best picture. "Her," "Philomena" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" rounded out the roster of nine best picture nominees.

600 by Susan King and Rene Lynch in Los Angeles. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED



^Senate passes spending bill, averts shutdown<

FEDBUDGET:WA _ The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a $1.1 trillion federal spending plan, a peaceful and bipartisan truce after years of bitter feuding over the government's role and reach.

The 72-26 vote sends the bill to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it. It came a day after the House of Representatives also gave the budget strong bipartisan backing.

This burst of partisan cooperation may not last. But for a moment at least it suggested that a Congress facing historically dismal approval ratings has heard its constituents' message: Stop all the partisan battles, find common ground and do your job.

750 (with trims) by David Lightman in Washington. MOVED


Also moving as:

FEDBUDGET:TBW _ 400 by Lisa Mascaro in Washington. MOVED

^Congress gets text of nuclear agreement with Iran<


It sent the document, which lays out how Iran and six world powers will carry out a temporary plan to cap Iran's nuclear program, to a secure room at the Capitol.

500 (with trim) by Paul Richter in Washington. MOVED

^Obamas kick off push to make college more accessible<

CMP-OBAMA-EDUCATION:WA _ America needs to do more to help low-income young people succeed in college, President Barack Obama told a gathering at the White House on Thursday of educational, business and philanthropic leaders, who pledged to take on extra efforts to help more students reap the benefits of a college degree.

"There is this huge cohort of talent we're not tapping," Obama said, citing research that shows that only 30 percent of low-income students enroll in college after high school and, by their mid-20s, only 9 percent earn a bachelor's degree.

750 (with trims) by Renee Schoof in Washington. MOVED


^A big bash is on tap as Michelle Obama turns 50<

MICHELLEOBAMA:WA _ She's musing about becoming a grandmother and not ruling out plastic surgery as she turns 50 on Friday. But Michelle Obama can still "shake a tail feather" and plans to as she celebrates the milestone the next day at the White House.

The invite to "Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert," obtained by a hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, says guests have been told to wear comfortable shoes, practice their dance moves and eat before arriving.

The White House wouldn't divulge details, but it coyly tweeted a picture this week of the first lady and the president cutting the rug in the White House, along with the words "Let's dance."

1050 (with trims) by Lesley Clark in Washington. MOVED


^Bipartisan group in Congress unveils Voting Rights Act amendment<

CONGRESS-VOTINGRIGHTS:WA _ A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday proposed amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark civil rights measure that was hobbled after the Supreme Court determined last year that the law relied on outdated standards for racial discrimination.

The remedy authored by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., seeks to rescue Section 5 of the act, which mandates that states with a history of racial discrimination get federal "pre-clearance" from the Justice Department before changing any voting practice or procedure.

In a 5-4 decision last June, the Supreme Court left the pre-clearance requirement in place but struck down the formula used to decide which states are covered, saying it relied on "decades-old data and eradicated practices." The court challenged Congress to come up with a solution.

600 (with trims) by William Douglas in Washington. MOVED


Also moving as:

CONGRESS-VOTINGRIGHTS:TBW _ 450 by Michael A. Memoli in Washington. MOVED

^Kerry makes impassioned plea to Syrian opposition to join peace talks<

^USSYRIA-KERRY:TBW_< Secretary of State John F. Kerry pleaded Thursday with Syrian opposition groups not to drop out of a peace conference scheduled to convene next week to begin the process of setting up a new government for their war-scarred country.

With an umbrella group preparing to vote Friday on whether to attend, Kerry said at an impromptu news conference at the State Department that the Syrian government wouldn't be able to impose new leadership that is against the wishes of the opposition.

He also refuted claims by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad that the goal of the talks set to begin Jan. 22 in Montreux, Switzerland, is to forge an international agreement to eliminate the rebels. The contention, made in a letter conveying the government's decision to attend the gathering, was "revisionism," Kerry said.

400 by Paul Richter in Washington. MOVED

^New rules would let poultry industry rule the roost on plant safety, critics say<

USDA-CHICKENS:WA _ If the Obama administration gives the green light soon, fewer federal inspectors will be present in poultry processing plants and the lines will be allowed to speed up, a change that critics say could be risky for both food and worker safety.

By law, an inspector must check each poultry carcass for defects and visible contamination. The new plan would replace most federal inspectors on poultry processing lines with company workers who would watch for defects as chicken and turkey carcasses zip through. The move would mean more control over the inspection process for companies, enabling them to increase profits by processing birds faster.

1350 (with trims) by Renee Schoof in Washington. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^3 dead after shooting at Indiana supermarket<


Police remained on the scene in Elkhart this morning collecting evidence and have searched the suspected gunman's home two miles away, police said. So far, they have no evidence the shooter knew either of the women he shot, who were 20 and 44, but they believe he planned the shooting in advance, a police spokesman said.

"Obviously there was some type of planning that went into this," said Sgt. Trent Smith of the Indiana State Police. "This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing."

450 by Adam Sege. MOVED

^Subpoenas looming in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bridge scandal<

NJGOV-BRIDGESCANDAL:TBW _ A new investigative committee was preparing subpoenas Thursday for 17 individuals and three organizations as it launched a deeper look into how many employees or appointees of Gov. Chris Christie were involved in ordering lane closures that caused a massive September traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

The names on the list weren't immediately released, but they were expected to include Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, who weeks before the closures sent an email to a close ally of the governor on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the regional agency that controls the bridge. "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," it said.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat and chairman of the new committee, has said he has doubts that Kelly came up with the idea on her own.

650 (with trims) by Joseph Tanfani in Trenton, N.J. MOVED

^Detroit bankruptcy judge denies proposal to pay off debt deal<

DETROIT-BANKRUPTCY:DE _ U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Thursday denied the City of Detroit's proposal to pay off a disastrous debt deal originating in 2005, saying it's "reasonably likely" the city would succeed in challenging the transaction.

The ruling dealt a stunning blow to global banks UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which had agreed to accept $165 million to settle the so-called "swaps" deal.

It represented a major win for Detroit retirees, the city's two pension funds, several European banks and a bond insurer called Ambac Assurance. Because Rhodes denied the deal, they stand to get more money from the city's eventual bankruptcy settlement.

550 by Nathan Bomey in Detroit. MOVED

^Firefighters in California brace for wind gusts, heat<

CALIF-WILDFIRE-1ST-LEDE:LA _ Firefighters battling the Colby fire in Glendora, Calif., were bracing for increasing temperatures and winds expected to increase through the night and into Friday morning.

The conditions add another level of difficulty for firefighters already negotiating red flag conditions and steep, winding hills.

The fire had destroyed more than 1,700 acres and at least two homes. At least two people had been injured, including one firefighter who suffered a minor ankle injury.

1100 (with trims) by Ruben Vives, Louis Sahagun and Joseph Serna in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Ohio uses new drug combination to execute killer<

OHIO-EXECUTION:LA _ Convicted murderer and rapist Dennis McGuire took more than 15 minutes to die Thursday, snorting and appearing to gasp as Ohio executed him with a combination of drugs never tried before in the United States.

The process, using a two-drug protocol, is the latest attempt by states seeking a way to execute prisoners in a constitutionally approved manner that avoids cruel and unusual punishment. The issue has been complicated because the manufacturer of a drug previously used made it unavailable for use in capital punishment.

450 by Michael Muskal. MOVED

^86 fraternity brothers at Yale are named in tailgating lawsuit<

CMP-TAILGATE-LAWSUIT:LA _ It was supposed to be just like every other annual Harvard-Yale game: a lively, fierce rivalry coupled with students and alumni cheering and tailgating.

But on Nov. 19, 2011, one tailgate festivity got out of hand: Brendan Ross, a member of the Yale University chapter of fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon who was driving a rented U-Haul truck carrying beer kegs, struck and killed Nancy Barry, 30, of Salem, Mass., and injured Yale student Sarah Short and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach.

Three weeks ago, on Dec. 30, lawyers for the plaintiffs filed two additional lawsuits, suing 86 current and former members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter at the university over the tailgate incident.

600 by Saba Hamedy. MOVED

^EPA report blasts Alaska mine plan<


After completing three years of scientific study, conducting eight hearings and sifting through more than a million public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded Wednesday that the proposed Pebble Mine could destroy up to 94 miles of streams where salmon spawn and migrate and up to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes.

850 (with trims) by Maria L. La Ganga in Seattle. MOVED

^Police officer pleads guilty, apologizes for confrontation with teen soccer referee<

COP-REFEREE:LX _ A Lexington, Ky., police officer pleaded guilty to an amended charge and apologized in open court Thursday to the family of a 13-year-old soccer referee with whom he had a confrontation last year.

Officer Keith Spears, 37, of Stamping Ground, Ky., pleaded guilty in Scott District Court to an amended charge of harassment with no physical contact. He paid $403 in fines and court costs, agreed to make a $750 donation to the Kentucky Soccer Referee Association, and apologized to referee Nathaniel Rase and his parents, Dean and Jennifer Rase.

350 by Greg Kocher in Georgetown, Ky. MOVED

^Dick Shepherd, one of the producers behind 'Breakfast at Tiffany's,' dies at 86<

SHEPHERD-OBIT:LA _ Movie producer Dick Shepherd, whose credits include "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), "The Fugitive Kind" (1960) and "Robin and Marian" (1976), probably saved one of the most popular film songs of all time.

After a test screening of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Paramount executive Marty Rackin said he hated the plaintive ballad, "Moon River," that star Audrey Hepburn sings in the movie. In colorful language, Rackin said the song "has to go."

Shepherd, soft-spoken and known for approaching problems in a quiet manner, rose to his feet and said, in no uncertain terms, "You'll cut that song over my dead body." Rackin backed down, and "Moon River" went on to win the Oscar for best song and Grammy for song of the year.

Shepherd, 86, who also spent time as a studio executive and as an agent, died Tuesday at home in Los Angeles. The cause was kidney failure, said his wife, Patty Shepherd.

700 (with trims) by David Colker in Los Angeles. MOVED



^As trial in 2005 Hariri assassination opens, Lebanese have more current worries<

LEBANON-TRIBUNAL:WA _ After nine years of investigation costing tens of millions of dollars, international prosecutors in The Hague on Thursday began to lay out their case against four Hezbollah members accused in the 2005 car bombing that killed a former prime minister and 21 others in downtown Beirut.

But while Sunni Muslims remain furious about the murder of their most prominent political figure, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, there were few signs here that the country is fixated on what is unfolding at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon so far away.

1150 (with trims) by Mitchell Prothero in Beirut. MOVED

^Egypt's referendum appears to be big winner amid light turnout<

EGYPT:LA _ In a lopsided margin reminiscent of elections held during ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak's decades of rule, unofficial results Thursday indicated that Egypt's new constitution was approved by nearly 98 percent of voters.

The military-backed interim government had campaigned vigorously for approval of the rewritten charter, casting it as a mandate on its six months in power. The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, had called for a boycott of the two-day vote.

650 (with trims) by Laura King in Cairo. MOVED

^Israel, Jordan leaders hold high-level, low-profile meeting<


Netanyahu's visit to Amman was not announced ahead of time, and was publicly reported from Jordan only after it ended.

King Abdullah's talks with Netanyahu follow separate meetings held recently with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Thursday's meeting addressed Jordan's wish to see the peace talks make tangible progress that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people while protecting Jordan's interests, according to Petra.

300 by Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem. MOVED

^Pope feels `shame' of scandals; Vatican grilled on abuse<

RELIG-VATICAN-ABUSE:DPA _ Pope Francis on Thursday railed against the scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church in recent years, while United Nations experts grilled Vatican envoys about child sexual abuse by clergy.

In Geneva, a Vatican delegation appeared before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, to face the most intense public questioning to date about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and alleged coverups.

"The best interests of the child have been sacrificed, and precedence has been given to the interests of the members of the clergy," said Committee Vice Chairperson Sara De Jesus Oviedo Fierro.

In response, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the church had developed new policies and Catholic non-governmental groups had set up educational programs against sexual abuse.

800 (with trims) by Albert Otti and Alvise Armellini in Geneva. MOVED

^Mexican forces in Michoacan increase arrests, patrols<


The troop buildup has so far deterred the region's vigilante "self-defense" groups from broadening their fight against the powerful Knights Templar drug cartel and helped President Enrique Pena Nieto avert a domestic disaster.

But the risk of violence remained high Thursday in the agricultural region known as Tierra Caliente, or Hot Land. Late Wednesday, shots were fired at the office of the federal prosecutor in the city of Apatzingan, according to the news service Quadratin. A 25-year-old window washer was injured.

Many residents in Michoacan interpreted

450 by Richard Fausset in Nuevo Italia, Mexico. MOVED

^Bombing at Pakistani mosque observing evening prayers kills 6<

PAKISTAN-BOMBING:LA _ A bomb ripped through a crowded mosque where evening prayers were being held Thursday, killing six people and wounding 60 others, officials said. The dead included two children.

The explosion occurred in the main prayer hall of a sprawling Islamic seminary near a military cantonment on the outskirts of Peshawar, a provincial capital in northwest Pakistan, said police official Najeebur Rehman. Two people were killed instantly while four others died of their injuries at a hospital, Rehman said.

350 by Zulfiqar Ali and Shashank Bengali in Peshawar, Pakistan. MOVED

^Catalan lawmakers approve referendum on independence from Spain<

SPAIN:DPA _ Catalan lawmakers on Thursday voted in favor of holding a referendum on independence from Spain, raising the prospect of confrontation with the Spanish government which is opposed to any such vote.

Eighty-seven Catalan parliamentarians voted in favor of requesting the referendum, with 43 voting against and three abstaining. The result fell just short of the two-thirds majority that supporters had hoped for.

The Spanish parliament, which has the constitutional right to veto the independence vote, is very likely to deny Catalonia's request. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's governing conservatives and the Socialist opposition party are opposed to the referendum.

200 in Barcelona, Spain. MOVED

^Human Rights Watch: 'Appalling crimes' by both sides in South Sudan<

SOUTHSUDAN:LA _ Both sides in South Sudan's new war have committed "appalling crimes," according to a Human Rights Watch report Thursday, offering a grim picture of massacres, ethnic killings and looting of humanitarian aid.

The organization said a credible independent investigation was required, calling on the African Union to broaden its planned inquiry into atrocities to make it "truly independent and credible." It also called for United Nations sanctions against individuals found to be responsible for crimes.

850 (with trims) by Robyn Dixon in Johannesburg. MOVED

^North Korea to South: Stop slander and war games or face 'holocaust'<

NKOREA:LA _ As the Lunar New Year and annual U.S.-South Korea war games approach, North Korea's erratic leader has issued both an appeal for a moratorium on "slander" between the Korean governments and a warning that the military exercises could provoke "unimaginable holocaust."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year threatened to wage nuclear war against the South and its U.S. backers over the exercises, sharpening tensions in the region with a declaration that Pyongyang was no longer bound by the 60-year-old truce that ended fighting in the Korean War.

500 by Carol J. Williams. MOVED


^LGBT health inequity persists; NIH research lags<


Because of that, health inequities in that population continued unabated, according to the study published Wednesday in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The findings showed there were 628 NIH-funded studies of LGBT health between 1989 and 2011, representing only one-half of 1 percent of all NIH-funded studies. The majority of the LGBT studies focused on HIV/AIDS and other sexual health matters. When those studies were excluded, there were only 113 LGBT-related studies, or 0.1 percent of NIH-funded studies during the time period.

750 by Michael A. Fuoco in Pittsburgh. MOVED

^Tomb of previously unknown pharaoh found<

SCI-LOSTTOMB:PH _ University of Pennsylvania archaeologists say they have found the tomb of a previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh who ruled more than 3,600 years ago, the first discovery of what they predict could be more than a dozen tombs from a forgotten dynasty.

The tomb, found last week, was heavily looted, but hieroglyphs on the chamber walls clearly identified it as belonging to a ruler named Woseribre Senebkay, the Penn team announced Wednesday in conjunction with the Egyptian government.

The researchers already have begun excavating several nearby sites that appear to be from the same dynasty, at the site of the ancient city of Abydos, more than 300 miles south of Cairo, said Josef Wegner, a Penn associate professor of Egyptology.

500 by Tom Avril in Philadelphia. MOVED

^Study: Prozac during adolescence protects against despair in adulthood<


Adult mice and rats who were administered Prozac for a stretch of mid-adolescence responded to daunting social and physical challenges with less despair than animals who passed their teen years unmedicated, a team of researchers found. But, even as adults long separated from their antidepressant days, the Prozac veterans reacted to stressful situations with greater anxiety than did the adult Prozac virgins.

The latest research, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, offers evidence that treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor _ an SSRI antidepressant _ has long-lived effects on the developing brain.

750 by Melissa Healy. MOVED

^Researchers debunk 'obesity paradox' for people with diabetes<


"We found no evidence of lower mortality among patients with diabetes who were overweight or obese at diagnosis, as compared with their normal-weight counterparts, or of an obesity paradox," the research team reported in a study that appears in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

What they did find will be pretty disheartening to those with a body mass index outside the 22.5-to-24.9 range, which is considered the higher end of "normal" weight.

750 (with trims) by Karen Kaplan. MOVED

^Overweight people who drink diet drinks consume more food calories, study says<


550 by Mary MacVean. MOVED

^Heavy drinking in middle age speeds cognitive decline, study finds<


Compared with men who drank no more than 11/2 drinks per day on average (up to 19.9 grams of alcohol daily), those who daily drank 36 grams or more of alcohol during a 10-year stretch of their late 40s, 50s and early 60s experienced 2.4 more years of overall cognitive decline in the decade that followed.

550 by Melissa Healy. MOVED



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