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By: Associated Press
February 21, 2018 Updated: February 21, 2018 at 10:11 pm


Tribune News Service

International Budget for Thursday, February 22, 2018

Updated at 0405 UTC (11:05 p.m. U.S. EST Wednesday).

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


^Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott 'fraudulent' presidential election<

VENEZUELA-ELECTION:MI _ Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may be running virtually unopposed in the April 22 presidential race.

On Wednesday, the coalition of opposition parties known as the MUD said it wouldn't be fielding a candidate in the snap elections it considers fraudulent.

250 by Jim Wyss in Bogota, Colombia. MOVED



^Explosion on tourist ferry injures 18 people in Mexico<

MEXICO-FERRY:DPA _ An explosion on a ferry docked in the Mexican tourist resort of Playa del Carmen injured 18 people on Wednesday, municipal authorities said.

Fifteen of the victims were Mexican and three were Canadian nationals. They were taken to hospital, although none of them was reported to be in serious condition.

100 by Carmen Pena and Andrea Sosa Cabrios in Mexico City. MOVED


^'America's Pastor': Evangelist Billy Graham dead at 99<

GRAHAM-OBIT-1ST-LEDE:CH _ Billy Graham, the Charlotte-born preacher whose pioneering talent for combining old-time religion and modern media made him the most famous evangelist in American history, died Wednesday at his home in Montreat.

Son Franklin Graham, in a memo to the staff at the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), said the elder Graham, who was 99, died at 7:46 a.m. "due to complications of his advanced age."

3550 by Tim Funk in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED



Also moving as:

GRAHAM-OBIT:LA _ 2650 by William Lobdell and Russell Chandler. MOVED


^Trump backs arming educators in meeting with school shooting survivors<

TRUMP-SHOOTINGS:WA _ President Donald Trump embraced arming educators to stop mass shootings as students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., pleaded with him to make America's schools safer.

The suggestion, along with others calling for a ban on assault-type weapons and instituting airport-like security perimeters at schools, dominated an emotionally wrenching meeting with surviving students and parents of school mass shootings Wednesday afternoon at the White House.

1650 (with trims) by Anita Kumar in Washington. MOVED



Also moving as:

TRUMP-SHOOTINGS:TBW _ 1000 (with trims) by Christi Parsons in Washington. MOVED


^Is this nationwide network of students organized enough to take on the gun lobby?<

SHOOTINGS-ACTIVISM:WA _ In an unprecedented manner, high school students have taken the lead in calling for increased gun regulation, including through a lie-in at the White House, a rally in front of a state capitol, classroom walkouts and three upcoming nationwide protests.

Spurred by the most recent mass shooting, last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, the nation is apparently witnessing the beginning stages of a movement. This time it's #NeverAgain and #Enough instead of #MeToo, and led by high school students with a plethora of inspiration and passion.

1500 by Kate Irby in Washington. MOVED


^Video delays misled cops at Stoneman Douglas shooting<

FLA-SCHOOLSHOOTING:FL. _ Nearly a half-hour after Nikolas Cruz dropped his rifle and fled Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police thought they were seeing him live on security cameras, still in the building. They were actually seeing images tape-delayed.

The Broward School District's security cameras did not provide real-time video for police, complicating their efforts to track and pin down the shooter, The South Florida Sun Sentinel has learned.

"He went from the third floor to the second floor They're monitoring him on camera," an officer said on radio transmissions recorded by Broadcastify, an audio streaming web site, at 2:54 p.m. In fact, Cruz was already long gone _ he had escaped the school's freshman building 26 minutes earlier, a timeline released by the Broward Sheriff's Office shows.

950 (with trims) by Lisa J. Huriash, Stephen Hobbs and Megan O'Matz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Conspiracy theories about Florida school shooting survivors have gone mainstream<


1. After a gunman killed 17 students and faculty at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last week, the students have launched a movement that began in their liberal enclave and snowballed on social media across a generation fed up with mass shootings.

2. The angry young people giving interviews on national television are not students at all but "crisis actors" who travel from tragedy to tragedy and pretend to be victims, and the students have not organized the protests on their own but are agents of Democratic donor George Soros, the liberal media or the anti-Trump FBI.

900 by Matt Pearce. MOVED


^Stoneman Douglas students demand change as thousands rally at Capitol<

FLA-SCHOOLSHOOTING-CAPITOL-2ND-LEDE:FL _ As thousands of students rallied outside the Florida Capitol, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students took their call for gun control reform inside Wednesday, just one week after they lost 14 friends and three mentors in a mass shooting.

What started in hopefulness and determination _ and an eight-hour bus ride _ turned into frustration and a sense that real reform will come not in meetings, but at the ballot box.

1150 by Dan Sweeney in Tallahassee, Fla. MOVED



Also moving as:

FLA-SCHOOLSHOOTING-CAPITOL:MI _ 1650 (with trims) by Mary Ellen Klas and Elizabeth Koh in Tallahassee, Fla. MOVED


^Broward County school cops will add firepower: 'Rifles from this point forward'<


Broward's top cop on Wednesday said that deputies assigned to school campuses will now be allowed to carry rifles on school grounds.

"Rifles from this point forward," Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, adding: "We need to be able to defeat any threat on campus."

The announcement comes as authorities are reviewing the law-enforcement response to the worst school shooting in Florida history. Last week, former student Nikolas Cruz _ armed with an AR-15 and extra ammunition _ walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and mowed down dozens of people, killing 17 and wounding 15 others.

550 by Charles Rabin and David Ovalle in Miami. MOVED


^Rubio is jeered as CNN town hall meeting about Florida school shooting turns angry<

FLA-SCHOOLSHOOTING-TOWNHALL-1ST-LEDE:FL _ A massive town hall quickly turned into searing television Wednesday night as a grieving father of a girl killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School angrily confronted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., over his opposition to gun control.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime, 14, was among the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas on Feb 14, make his position clear from the moment he got the microphone. "I'm pissed," he said. "Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak."

Six and a half minutes of dramatic back and forth between Guttenberg and Rubio at "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action," a two-hour town hall organized and televised by CNN. The network said 7,000 people were at the BB&T Center for the event.

950 (with trims) by Anthony Man and Larry Barszewski in Sunrise, Fla. MOVED


^Mueller files sealed new charges in Manafort, Gates case<

USRUSSIA-HACKING-MANAFORT:BLO _ U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has filed new charges in the case against onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former deputy, Rick Gates, according to a sealed court filing.

The filing in Washington federal court doesn't specify the nature of the charges, or whether it expanded the case against both men or added others.

200 by Andrew Harris and David Voreacos in Washington. MOVED


^Trump calls for investigation into Obama administration's handling of Russian meddling<

USRUSSIA-HACKING-TRUMP:NY _ It's all Obama's fault.

President Donald Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday to open an investigation into the Obama administration's handling of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation? Why didn't Obama do something about the meddling?" Trump wrote.

550 by Denis Slattery. MOVED

^White House: 'No' chance Ivanka Trump meets with North Korean officials<

USNKOREA-IVANKATRUMP:CON _ Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House's official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president's daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, "No."

300 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED


^China sets goal of rapidly surpassing US as artificial intelligence race heats up<

USCHINA-AI:WA _ When a Google computer program beat the world's best player of an ancient Chinese board game last May, it might have seemed like an incremental milestone.

But for some, the success of the program known as AlphaGo marked more than a man-vs.-machine clash. It set up a broader race between China and the United States over artificial intelligence, a competition that could mold the future of humankind just as the widespread arrival of electricity did in the last century.

1650 by Tim Johnson in Washington. MOVED


^Trump takes in Australian refugees he never wanted ahead of prime minister's visit<

TRUMP-AUSTRALIA-REFUGEES:WA _ A year ago, President Donald Trump told Australia's prime minister that he didn't want his refugees, saying they would become terrorists.

That was then, this is now. A steady group of refugees from the Middle East and South Asia previously housed in Australian detention camps have been quietly arriving in the United States over the last several weeks and resettled in American communities.

The arrival of a new group of about 30 refugees just this week, according to the Australia-based Refugee Action Coalition, comes on the cusp of a highly anticipated visit Friday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. It was Turnbull who Trump blasted last year in what became an infamous phone call in which Trump showed he wasn't afraid to attack even our staunchest allies in ways most saved for adversaries.

700 by Franco Ordonez in Washington. MOVED


^Melania Trump's parents are legal permanent residents of the US<

MELANIATRUMP-PARENTS:NY _ The parents of first lady Melania Trump are now legal permanent residents of the United States _ a status they likely achieved through "chain migration," a process President Donald Trump has derided and proposed ending, experts on immigration say.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs have obtained their green cards, though their attorney has declined to indicate how or when they did so, The Washington Post reported.

450 by Megan Cerullo in New York. MOVED



^'Black Panther' is a powerful force at the box office everywhere _ including Africa<


Released by Walt Disney Co., "Black Panther" scored the largest box office debuts ever in West Africa and East Africa, generating about $400,000 and $300,000, respectively. In South Africa, "Black Panther" had the third-highest opening ($1.4 million), coming in behind the two most recent "Fast and Furious" movies. Big-screen company Imax Corp. said its theaters in Kenya and Nigeria had their biggest results ever this weekend.

950 by Ryan Faughnder. MOVED


^'How to Get Away with Murder' star Karla Souza alleges she was raped, 'violently attacked' by director<


The "How to Get Away with Murder" star spoke to CNN en Espa ol Tuesday, sharing that she was raped by a director while filming in her native Mexico early in her career, People reported.

250 by Nicole Bitette. MOVED


^'Black Panther' breakout Letitia Wright is just getting started<

^MOVIE-BLACKPANTHER-WRIGHT:LA_<"My voice is all gone," said Letitia Wright. "I sound like a hoarse-y man."

While the sentiment was a bit of an exaggeration, Wright was beginning to go hoarse after a week of nonstop press for Marvel's highly anticipated "Black Panther."

In the film (now playing in theaters), Wright shines as Shuri, King T'Challa's 16-year-old sister and the princess of the fictional African country of Wakanda. (With a short, asymmetrical haircut and delicate features, the 24-year-old convincingly passes for a teenager.)

"People her age are not usually put in charge of things," Wright said of Shuri. "You have to look to the adults all the time."

1050 by Sonaiya Kelley. MOVED



^Ann McFeatters: It's time to start paying attention to Russia investigation<

^MCFEATTERS-COLUMN:MCT_< It's time to start paying serious attention to the Russia investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller clearly is on a trail of corruption, election meddling, possibly money laundering and obstruction of justice. We don't know whether it will lead to Donald Trump or not, but it already has ensnared his former associates.

750 by Ann McFeatters in Washington. MOVED

^Commentary: US schools help spur a cash-less society<


U.S. consumers have been slow to adopt financial technology. Strict federal regulations are at least partly to blame, which is why states have been taking the lead and working together apart from Washington to help fintech companies take root.

750 by Jonathan Butcher. MOVED



^Mark Zeigler: Gazing into North Korea through the Olympic rings<

OLY-ZEIGLER-COLUMN:SD _ The Korean New Year is celebrated on the second new moon of the winter solstice, which was last Friday. Offices closed. Shops closed. Restaurants closed.

The tradition is for Koreans to return to their hometown and visit with family for three days to pay homage to their ancestors, and in recent years an estimated 36 million of South Korea's 51 million people have. Except for the thousands who came south from North Korea before the border closed in the 1950s. Who can't.

1200 by Mark Zeigler in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED


^Chip Scoggins: US-Canada women's hockey rivalry never gets old, just more intense<

OLY-SCOGGINS-COLUMN:MS _ The heart eventually mends, but the memory never goes away. Never, ever.

Athletes don't detach themselves from soul-stabbing losses, and certainly not ones such as the U.S. women's hockey team experienced four years ago in Sochi when they had a gold medal ripped from their fingers in the cruelest way imaginable.

They came so close to Olympic gold that they could hear the first few notes of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and then, whoa Canada.

700 by Chip Scoggins in Gangneung, South Korea. MOVED


^Jessie Diggins propels US to first gold in cross-country skiing history<

OLY-SKI-USWOMEN-1ST-LEDE:MS _ She knew the deepest recesses of the pain cave were waiting for her, somewhere in the final snow-covered corner of the Olympic course. So Jessie Diggins did what she always does: she put her head down, dug in hard and skied right toward it.

Diggins was tearing through the final meters of the women's team sprint Wednesday night, in a frantic chase with Sweden's Stina Nilsson for the Olympic gold medal.

1100 by Rachel Blount in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED


^Czech Republic eliminates US in men's hockey<

OLY-HKO-US-CZECH:LA _ When the U.S. men's hockey team looks back on the 2018 Winter Olympics, the key phrase might be "missed opportunities."

The Americans came up short again on Wednesday, seeing their improbable medal run come to an end with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Pyeonechang, South Korea.

300 by David Wharton in Gangneung, South Korea. MOVED

^Olympic Athletes of Russia reach men's hockey semifinals after rout of Norway<

OLY-HKO-RUSSIA-NORWAY:LA _ The Olympic Athletes of Russia, considered the favorite to win gold before the men's Olympic hockey tournament began, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1 rout of Norway on Wednesday at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Eleven players had at least one point, including many whose names are familiar to fans of NHL teams.

250 by Helene Elliott in Gangneung, South Korea. MOVED

^Lindsey Vonn takes bronze in women's downhill; Italy's Goggia wins gold<

OLY-SKI-DOWNHILL-WOMEN:LA _ Some of the greatest athletes in the history ended their careers with spectacular performances that encapsulated their genius, such as when Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his last game or Ted Williams homered in his final at-bat.

Others departed in embarrassment, if not downright disgrace. Muhammad Ali was defeated by the painfully mediocre Trevor Berbick. Zinedine Zidane headbutted his way out of a World Cup final.

850 by Dylan Hernandez in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED


^Canada edges Finland, 1-0, to reach men's hockey semifinals<

OLY-HKO-CANADA-FINLAND:LA _ Backup goaltender Kevin Poulin made 15 saves in relief of injured starter Ben Scrivens on Wednesday night as Canada held on for a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Finland at Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Canada, which relied on its wealth of NHL stars to win the last two men's Olympic hockey tournaments, will face Germany in the semifinals on Friday. Germany was a surprise winner over Sweden, advancing on a goal by Patrick Reimer one minute and 30 seconds into overtime.

400 by Helene Elliott in Gangneung, South Korea. MOVED

^Mark Zeigler: Wait, did the US just win gold in cross-country skiing?<

OLY-ZEIGLER-COLUMN:SD _ In the same sprint free relay where Norway cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen became the most decorated athlete in Winter Olympics history, the U.S. women won the gold medal.

It's hard to say which is the more impressive feat.

A Norwegian woman winning 14 cross-country medals, or the U.S. women winning their first.

"I'm just so happy that we can finally get this monkey off our back," said American Kikkan Randall, 35, the only mother on the U.S. team, competing in her final race of her fifth Olympics.

1000 by Mark Zeigler in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED


^Chip Scoggins: At Olympics, it's finally a day for Minnesota success<

OLY-SCOGGINS-COLUMN:MS _ Take that, Norway.

You might be running laps around everyone else in the medal count, but you can't have all the Olympic fun.

Minnesota stole some of your spotlight on Wednesday. You Betcha.

In the morning, Lindsey Vonn became the oldest woman (33) to win an Olympic Alpine medal by taking bronze in the downhill.

(Sorry, Colorado, she may live there now, but she was born in Minnesota so we're still claiming her as one of ours.)

700 by Chip Scoggins in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED


^Elliot Almond: American women fall on hard times at Olympic ice rink<

OLY-ALMOND-COLUMN:SJ _ The first fall came seconds into the women's figure skating competition Wednesday.

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell tumbled to the ice in the second half of a planned combination jump.

It went downhill from there for America's Olympians, who sit ninth, 10th and 11th heading into the free skate Friday. The U.S. trio had the worst team showing in an Olympic women's short program since it was included 42 years ago.

900 by Elliott Almond in Gangneung, South Korea. MOVED

^Phil Rosenthal: Bradie Tennell's fall lends insight into the rise of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir<


For those still obsessed with their hair and outfits, figure skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir's take on Bradie Tennell's short program to open NBC's prime-time Olympics broadcast Tuesday bears consideration.

Just as their sport blends precision with artistry, Lipinski and Weir were blade sharp yet feeling and expressive.

950 by Phil Rosenthal. MOVED

^Olympics' new big air snowboarding takes extreme sports to the extreme _ and the athletes are scared<


They know it doesn't make sense to fly down a ramp and launch themselves off a steep jump, spinning and twisting through the air, coming down with a thud on hard-packed snow.

That's where fear comes into play.

With big air snowboarding making its Olympic debut at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the riders vying for gold this week can make what they do look graceful and, at times, utterly natural.

1050 by David Wharton. MOVED


^American figure skater Mirai Nagasu embraces her Japanese roots<

OLY-FIG-NAGASU-JAPAN:LA _ On property of the First United Methodist Church in San Gabriel, Calif., stands a modest-sized house that serves as a Japanese school classroom. Notices to the parents of students are posted on a whiteboard near the front door.

For several days, a picture of Mirai Nagasu has been taped alongside a couple of class schedules. A message in black erasable marker explained why.

"Mirai Nagasu, who is at the Pyeongchang Olympics as a figure skater, is a graduate of Kodomo No Ie," it read in Japanese. "Please cheer her on!"

850 by Dylan Hernandez in Pyeongchang, South Korea. MOVED




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