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Tribune News Service

International Budget for Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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

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


^Trump blasts French president at NATO summit planned to show unity

NATO-1ST-LEDE:LA _ President Donald Trump unexpectedly launched a verbal assault at the United States’ oldest ally Tuesday, slamming French President Emmanuel Macron’s warnings about the decline of the NATO military alliance as “insulting,” “very, very nasty” and “very disrespectful.”

Trump sought to smooth over his disagreement with Macron when the two later spoke with reporters, saying they had made progress on resolving differences over trade and security strategy.

But Macron held his ground, pointing his finger toward Trump, who responded with sour expressions and a renewal of his threat to impose tariffs on French wine and other products.

1450 (with trims) by Noah Bierman in London. MOVED


^House impeachment report finds ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Trump abused office

IMPEACHMENT-1ST-LEDE:LA _ Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released the report of their two-month investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine on Tuesday, concluding that “the evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming.”

Not only did Trump improperly pressure Ukraine in an effort to extract political favors, the report says, but he also obstructed the congressional investigation of his actions.

“It would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began,” the report says.

1000 by Sarah D. Wire and Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED



^Analysis: Broken bromance: Trump and Macron clash in lengthy bickerfest at NATO summit


President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron clashed Tuesday in a remarkable question-and-answer session with reporters that was broadcast around the globe. From U.S.-French trade to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria and the Islamic State’s posture there to a clear disagreement about the role of NATO, the two leaders who once wooed one another jousted and interrupted one another for nearly 45 minutes during an alliance meeting in London.

950 by John T. Bennett. MOVED


^Iranian official rejects protest death toll, says ‘far fewer’ killed

IRAN:DPA _ Iranian judicial spokesman Gholam Hossein Ismaili rejected information published abroad about the death toll from recent protests, in remarks published on the country’s semi-official news agency.

“Far fewer people have been killed,” he told Fars on Tuesday.

On Monday, Amnesty International stated that 208 people had been killed in the recent protests that have roiled Iran since mid-November, when the government announced it was raising fuel prices and rationing fuel amid a severe economic crisis triggered by U.S. sanctions.

250 in Berlin. MOVED



^Deutsche Bank must turn over Trump’s financial records to Congress, appeals court rules

TRUMP-FINANCIALRECORDS-1ST-LEDE:NY _ President Donald Trump lost a bid Tuesday to block congressional committees from obtaining financial records from Deutsche Bank, his longtime lender.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the subpoenas from the House’s Financial Services Committee and Intelligence Committee were well within Congress’ authority. The committee also served subpoenas seeking Trump-related records from Capital One Bank.

500 by Stephen Rex Brown. MOVED


^House Judiciary Committee retakes center stage in impeachment inquiry

IMPEACHMENT-JUDICIARY:CON _ The House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing Wednesday in a push to impeach President Donald Trump will be more about the members of the committee than the witnesses, and what it reveals about where the process is headed in the next two weeks.

Four constitutional law experts will appear to discuss the meaning of the Constitution’s impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But members from both sides are poised to use the testimony to highlight their concerns with the president’s behavior or their concerns with the impeachment process.

1100 by Todd Ruger in Washington. MOVED


^Trump: Democrats’ impeachment push ‘unpatriotic’


Additionally, he dubbed the inquiry an unpatriotic “hoax” and said again it will hurt Democrats come Election Day.

“It’s having a reverse effect, which some people thought it might have. I didn’t know. But I can tell you the districts where I won, and then they had an election in between mine, they had an election and other people got in, Democrats got in, those districts are leaning very big toward me,” Trump contended during a lengthy question-and-answer sessions in the British capital.

500 by CQ-Roll Call. MOVED


^Sen. Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race


In an email to supporters, Harris blamed her campaign’s end on a lack of money.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete,” she wrote.

850 by Melanie Mason and Michael Finnegan. MOVED


^Democrats value diversity, but the presidential field is increasingly white

DEMOCRATS-2020-DIVERSITY:LA _ Kamala Harris’ abrupt exit from the presidential race Tuesday underscored how in this election cycle, where Democrats have placed a particularly high value on diversity and inclusion, they are left with a slate of presidential candidates dominated by white men.

The California senator was the only black woman in the contest, and her frank talk about racial justice was a major theme for a Democratic electorate that is increasingly nonwhite. But what started out as a campaign that looked like it would reflect the diversity of America is settling into one increasingly without minority voices at the top.

750 by Evan Halper and Janet Hook in Washington. MOVED


^Arrests ruled unlawful in human smuggling case against Marines

MARINES-ARRESTED:SD _ Military prosecutors dropped human trafficking and drug charges against most of the two dozen Marines recently arrested in front of their Camp Pendleton battalion, days after a court ruled those arrests were an unlawful violation of their rights, Marine Corps officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Marines’ cases will be dealt with administratively, outside the military court system, according to a 1st Marine Division statement. Many of them will be discharged from the Marines.

700 by Andrew Dyer in Camp Pendleton, Calif. MOVED


^Sexual assault lawsuits piling up against Jeffrey Epstein’s estate

EPSTEIN:NY _ Nine alleged victims have joined the growing list of women suing the estate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in jail over the summer while awaiting a trial on sex trafficking charges.

The sexual abuse suffered includes fondling, molestation and rape, and began as early as 1985 and involved girls as young as 13, according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

250 by Leonard Greene in New York. MOVED



^’The Irishman’ earns first major best picture prize from the National Board of Review


The award for the sprawling drama, which stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, gives a boost to Netflix in its ongoing effort to land its first-ever Oscar for best picture.

But in what has thus far been a fairly wide open Oscar race, the critics organization spread its love to other top contenders as well.

800 by Josh Rottenberg in Los Angeles. MOVED



^Editorial: In rare bipartisan move, Trump and Congress support democracy advocates in Hong Kong


We were equally pleased when _ after expressing concerns that doing so might threaten a U.S.-China trade deal _ the president announced that he had signed the bill into law, along with another bill that prohibits the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd-control munitions to the Hong Kong police.

750 by Dallas Morning News Editorial. MOVED


^Will Bunch: Reagan’s forgotten Iran-Contra escape may reveal more about Trump’s fate than Watergate


“I had hoped there would not be discovery of an impeachable offense,” the Speaker of the House said at one point. “I didn’t want to focus on such a divisive subject.”

If that scenario sounds familiar, it sounds doubly familiar to those of us who were around and plugged into politics around 1986-87, when a scandal called the Iran-Contra affair nearly toppled the 40th presidency of Ronald Reagan _ until abruptly, it didn’t.

1600 by Will Bunch. MOVED


^Commentary: Why China won’t let Hong Kong become another Tiananmen


I’ve never had a succinct answer to this question _ until now. Next time I’m asked, I’ll say, “I may be obsessed with 1989, but China’s top leaders are even more obsessed with it.” The events of that time still reverberate in Beijing’s response to the protests racking Hong Kong now.

700 by Jeffrey Wasserstrom. MOVED


^Commentary: In Shanghai, a Jehovah’s Witness finds freedom _ and space to question her beliefs


My role was to preach about the end of the world, Armageddon, which I knew was imminent, and to wait for the paradise on Earth that God promised would follow.

Of course, only God knew when the apocalypse would come, so it helped to keep busy in the meantime.

1200 by Amber Scorah. MOVED


^Commentary: Ugly sweater do’s and don’ts


That’s because what’s really ugly is the way sheep are punched, kicked, beaten and shorn bloody for wool.

650 by Paula Moore. MOVED




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