Tribune News Service

Business Budget for Friday, March 15, 2019

Updated at 10:10 p.m. EST (0210 UTC)


This budget is now available at www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^California's wildfire threat could be an opportunity for clean-energy microgrids<

^CLEAN-ERERGY-MICROGRIDS:LA—<To the untrained eye, the shipping containers clustered on the outskirts of Borrego Springs, Calif., don't look like an innovative clean-energy technology that could help California cope with wildfires.

But these containers, in the remote desert of eastern San Diego County, are packed with lithium-ion batteries — and they're part of one of the world's most advanced microgrids. It combines solar panels, diesel generators, energy storage and something called an ultracapacitor to power Borrego Springs, even when electricity isn't flowing through the single transmission line that connects the town to the main power grid.

2000 by Sammy Roth. MOVED


^With Fox, Disney will have an even bigger footprint in Hollywood<

^MOVIE-DISNEY-FOX-MERGER:LA—<Walt Disney Co.'s entertainment kingdom is about to get a whole lot bigger thanks to its pending purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, and the rest of Hollywood has only just begun to grapple with the consequences of the company's increasing power.

The long-anticipated $71-billion acquisition will put the X-Men, Homer Simpson, the Avengers, Buzz Lightyear, Kylo Ren and the gang from "Avatar" under the same roof, giving the Burbank company an unprecedented share of film and television franchises.

The deal, expected to close in the coming days, would boost Disney's share of the domestic box office to at least 40 percent and reinforce its stronghold in toys, theme parks and cruise lines. The Mouse House will have an unrivaled say over when and how movies are released.

2200 by Ryan Faughnder in Los Angeles. (Moved as an entertainment story.)


^No job, no food stamps: Would stricter rules let the poor feel 'power of work' or just be 'cruel'?<

FOODSTAMPS-WORK:TB — For at least a decade, most Illinois residents who receive food stamps have been exempt from a federal law that requires them to work or risk losing their benefits.

But a proposal that would make it harder to obtain those exemptions — a move designed to encourage people to find jobs while unemployment is low — has social service agencies in Illinois, like elsewhere, worried that the poor will only plunge deeper into poverty.

2150 by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz in Chicago. MOVED



^Congress requests former Fox News reporter's notebooks regarding Trump's hush money<

^FOXNEWS-CONGRESS:LA—<Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Wednesday requested former Fox News reporter Diana Falzone turn over all documents relating to her reporting on President Trump's "debts and payments to silence women alleging extramarital affairs with him prior to the 2016 presidential election."

The request comes a week after the New Yorker published an investigation on Fox News that disclosed Falzone had reported an article about Trump making hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election in order to keep her quiet about their alleged affair. According to the New Yorker, Fox killed the story because Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox, wanted Trump to win the election.

350 by Stacy Perman. MOVED


^Investigators find new clues pointing to potential cause of 737 Max crashes as FAA details Boeing's fix<

^ETHIOPIA-AIRCRASH-CLUES:SE—<Investigators on the ground near the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max found the plane's jackscrew, a part that moves the horizontal tail of the aircraft, and it indicates that the tail was in an unusual position, according to an aviation safety consultant briefed on the findings.

The consultant, John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems and formerly the top safety official for the Air Line Pilots Association, said that Boeing's new flight control system on the Max — implicated in the preliminary investigation into the earlier crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia — is one of several possible systems that could explain the unusual deflection in the horizontal tail, a control surface that swivels to pitch the plane's nose up or down.

1650 by Dominic Gates, Mike Baker, Paul Roberts and Mike Rosenberg. MOVED


^Jeff Bezos's canoodling scotched the New York Amazon project, Mayor de Blasio suggests<

AMAZON-NEWYORK-DEBLASIO:NY — Mayor de Blasio has found a new explanation for why Amazon pulled out of Long Island City: CEO Jeff Bezos's torrid — and well photographed — affair.

"I think we could all say that unusual things were happening within the Amazon family at that moment in time — and that was said politely. There was clearly some unusual factors happening. We know who the ultimate decision maker is," de Blasio said under questioning about the deal on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

300 by Jillian Jorgensen in New York. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED


^Florida is again the US scam capital, and millennials are the prey<

^SCAMS-FLORIDA:FL—<When it comes to scams, Florida is still No. 1, with millennials — not seniors — in the crosshairs, according to the latest fraud report from the Federal Trade Commission.

With nearly 3 million consumer complaints made to the agency in 2018, the Sunshine State ranked No. 1 for fraud and No. 4 for identity theft, according the latest FTC Data Book, which compiles statistics from complaints made directly to the agency.

400 by Doreen Christensen. MOVED

^San Diego federal jury finds Apple violated 3 Qualcomm patents in iPhones<

^QUALCOMM-APPLE:SD—<A San Diego federal jury on Friday found that certain Apple iPhones infringe on three Qualcomm non-standard essential patents and awarded the chipmaker $31 million in damages.

The jury reached a verdict after an eight-day trial in San Diego federal court before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw. The patents centered on power saving techniques in transmissions between processors, ways to link to the Internet faster after boot up and low power graphics rendering in smartphones.

650 by Mike Freeman. MOVED


^Vanguard supervisor and his brother-in-law stole over $2M from dead Vanguard customers and dormant accounts, feds say<

^CPT-VANGUARD-ESCHEAT:PH—<A former Vanguard supervisor stole more than $2 million by taking money from dead or inactive Vanguard customers' accounts before state treasurers could take custody of the unclaimed money, prosecutors say.

Scott Capps, of Coatesville, Pa., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two years of false tax returns on Thursday before federal Judge Michael M. Baylson in Philadelphia. Federal prosecutors said Capps, a 23-year veteran employee of the Malvern, Pa.-based investment giant, more than tripled his income for 2013 at customers' expense, with help from his brother-in-law and other outside accomplices.

950 by Joseph N. Distefano and Erin Arvedlund. MOVED

^Swollen Mississippi River adds more headaches for grain farmers<

^FARM-HIGHWATER:MS—<High water and strong currents on the lower Mississippi River are squeezing barge traffic and driving up the cost of agricultural shipping.

As the snow melts in the Upper Midwest and flows into the waterway, barge traffic is expected to slow even more, further limiting the movement of grain south and fertilizer north.

850 by Adam Belz. MOVED


^Abbott heart device gets wider audience<

^ABBOTT-HEART-DEVICE:MS—<Abbott Laboratories is celebrating an announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that greatly expands the potential market for one of the company's most promising heart devices — a $25,000 minimally invasive device used to treat mitral regurgitation.

Illinois-based Abbott, which employs thousands of people in Minnesota, announced this week that the FDA has approved its MitraClip device to treat people in whom enlargement of the heart from heart failure warps the mitral valve, allowing blood to flow backward in the heart.

350 by Joe Carlson. MOVED

^EPA bans consumer sale of paint strippers tied to deaths<

^EPA-PAINT-STRIPPER:DE—<A new federal ruling announced Friday bans the consumer sale of paint strippers containing methylene chloride — a chemical linked by safety advocates to dozens of deaths.

An official for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the ruling on an afternoon conference call with the media.

The paint strippers have been manufactured for years and have been used by both professional tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers, but Friday's EPA ruling does not prohibit the chemical's use in workplaces.

850 by Aleanna Siacon. MOVED


^EPA ban on popular toxic paint strippers: What to know<

^EPA-PAINT-STRIPPER-EXPLAINER:DE—<Numerous retailers promised to stop the sale of paint strippers containing methylene chloride even before Friday's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a ban on sales to consumers.

The chemicals popular with do-it-yourselfers and professional paint strippers stayed on the market during years of back-and-forth with federal regulators and pushback from chemical industry interests, who insist the products are safe to use with proper precautions.

1050 by Aleanna Siacon. MOVED



^Elon Musk unveils Tesla's Model Y — and it looks a lot like the Model 3<

AUTO-TESLA-MODELY:LA — Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's latest vehicle Thursday night: the Model Y, calling it a crossover sport utility vehicle based on the Model 3 sedan.

The Los Angeles entrepreneur rolled out the model during a relatively subdued affair at Tesla's L.A. Design Studio in Hawthorne, showing a blue vehicle very similar in appearance to the Model 3 but with a higher roofline and more room in the back.

1350 by Samantha Masunaga And Russ Mitchell in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Slingshot effect? What happens when a car hits a pothole<

^AUTO-POTHOLES:DE—<Hitting a pothole can turn a swell day into a lousy one, sometimes requiring a costly and unexpected trip to the repair shop.

We asked one expert — Jennifer Bastiaan — to weigh in on what these craters can do to an automobile. Bastiaan is an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Mich., with a Ph.D. in mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Her teaching and research focus is on ground vehicle systems.

650 by Eric D. Lawrence. MOVED


^Could Tesla's shift to online sales mean the end of your friendly local car dealer?<

^AUTO-DEALERSHIPS:TB—<For traditional car dealerships, surviving in the digital age will take more than a good slogan.

When Tesla recently announced it was shifting all sales online and winding down its stores, the electric vehicle manufacturer sent shock waves through the auto industry, signaling perhaps the beginning of the end for your friendly local car dealer.

No more low-budget TV commercials, no more kicking the tires, no more giant inflatable tube men beckoning from lots with unbeatable deals.

1300 by Robert Channick in Downers Grove, Ill. MOVED


^How Cadillac is remaking itself in Detroit<

^AUTO-CADILLAC-REMAKE:DE—<Cadillac's New York offices are on the road — literally.

The brand emptied the final contents of its Cadillac House in the upscale SoHo neighborhood in Manhattan for good and is shipping them to Michigan now, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said this week.

Separately, Cadillac said that as it rolls out the new XT6 midsized SUV to dealerships later this year, it will be the first Cadillac to debut a new torque-based badging system that will distinguish for customers the power differences across the lineup.

600 by Jamie L. Lareau. MOVED


^Give wiper blades a cleaning, but be sure to replace regularly<

^AUTO-WIPER-BLADES:MCT—<A good set of windshield wiper blades is imperative to safe driving. Unfortunately, most car owners don't think about replacing them until they drive through a downpour and realize that they can barely see the road in front of them.

Wiper blades can deteriorate quickly, so replacing them every few months is good practice. You'll keep your windshield free of streaks, won't get frustrated by spots of water in your line of vision and won't be annoyed by the torturous squeaking sounds that can't be muffled, no matter how loud you crank the AC/DC.

550 by Marco Buscaglia. MOVED



^Auto review: When you absolutely must reach a bucket list automotive event, the Infiniti QX80 proves a good choice<

^AUTO-QX80-REVIEW:MCT—<Redesigned for the 2018 model year, the QX80 retains its expressive, bold exterior design and incredibly tall overall height. Its boxy look lends the vehicle an enormous appearance, yet it doesn't feel as immense inside, where its leather-lined cabin offers three rows and room for seven with the second-row captain's chairs and enormous center console.

For 2019, Infiniti has added a new top-of-the-line Limited trim level, which enhances the exterior's LED headlights and fog lamps with standard adaptive lighting with headlamps washers, an optional feature on lesser models. There are also extra bits of stainless steel and chrome trim, not to mention an Infiniti spotlight that shines its logo on the ground as you approach the vehicle. Nice.

1050 (with trims) by Larry Printz in Amelia Island, Fla. MOVED


^Auto review: The 2019 Nissan Kicks adds another new choice in the small crossover market<

^AUTO-KICKS-REVIEW:PHI—<2019 Nissan Kicks SV: A long test in a new Kia Soul-fighter.

Price: $21,425 as tested, including $545 for two-tone paint. Standard items include blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and Sirius XM.

Conventional wisdom: Motor Trend likes the "strong value, clever interior, kickin' stereo," but not "no AWD, seat comfort, noisy at speed."

Marketer's pitch: "Own your moment."

Reality: It takes more than a moment to grow on you, but it's still a little Soul-less.

What's new: The whole Kicks, front to back. The little crossover replaced the Juke for the 2018 model year (which is the model year I tested).

750 by Scott Sturgis. MOVED


^Auto review: Beefy 2019 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X designed for the highway or the trail<

^AUTO-TITANXD-REVIEW:FT—<The first version of the new generation of Nissan's full-size Titan pickup arrived for 2016, much bigger and bolder than its predecessor and sporting a whopper of a Cummins diesel engine, a first for the Titan.

A few months later, a smaller, lighter version of the new Titan arrived, with a choice of V-6 or V-8 gasoline engines, using a different chassis that's 14.7 inches shorter than that of the XD. Both the XD and the smaller Titan half-ton (1500) models come in three configurations: Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab.

1600 by G. Chambers Williams III. MOVED




Find here a daily Wall Street roundup graphic featuring Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq data.

The 1-column x 4-inch graphic, Wall Street, will be posted by 6:30 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday.

To find the graphic, visit the Graphics section of TribuneNewsService.com.

Those with questions regarding the graphic should contact the graphics team at 312-222-4131 or tydavis@tribpub.com.


^Consumer Confidential: While campaigning, Trump said he'd be a consumer champion. Guess what's happened<

^CNS-CONFIDENTIAL:LA—<We all probably suspected since President Trump took office that he'd go easier than his predecessor on businesses that abused, misled or defrauded consumers. But to see the hard facts makes it painfully clear that Trump has little if any interest in watching our backs.

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau still has hundreds of dedicated staff members who want to enforce the law," said Chris Peterson, director of financial services for the Consumer Federation of America and author of one of this week's reports.

"The one thing that's changed is the political leadership," he told me, "and that leadership has signaled that it's going to be less aggressive in holding businesses accountable for their practices."

1050 by David Lazarus. MOVED


^Michael Hiltzik: Can you trust investment executives who were snared in the college cheating scandal?<

^HILTZIK-COLUMN:LA—<We're often told that trust is a hard quality to develop, and the easiest of all to lose.

That notion is about to be put to the test by the college admission scandal, in which investment executives, doctors and at least one high-profile lawyer stand accused of having committed bribery and fraud to get their kids into college.

The question sure to be asked by their clients and patients is whether their alleged willingness to bend the rules in the admissions case says anything about their trustworthiness in general.

1650 by Michael Hiltzik. MOVED


^Jon Talton: Bad dog: When the regulatory watchdog gets captured by big business<

^TALTON-COLUMN:SE—<On Tuesday, it was Wells Fargo's turn in the barrel — again — as Chief Executive Tim Sloan was the rhetorical pi ata for members of the House Financial Services Committee.

The big bank, you will recall, opened millions of fake accounts for customers while scamming them with unneeded fees and products. Lawmakers of both parties were skeptical that the bank had made progress in moving beyond its scandals.

But why should it, really? Although Wells settled allegations for $1 billion, its net income was more than $6 billion last year alone. Cost of doing business. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a key regulator, expressed "disappointment" in Wells Fargo. But what is it going to do? Not much with Donald Trump in the White House.

950 by Jon Talton. MOVED


These features regularly move on Friday:


^Motormouth: Accelerator lab is not setting off car's warning indicators<

^AUTO-MOTORMOUTH-QA:TB—<Every time I drive my Prius past the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, the red triangle warning indicator lights up. This also happens to my wife in her Prius. Is this damaging the electronic components?

650 by Bob Weber. MOVED


^Under the Hood: LED replacements causing trouble with taillights, turn indicators<

^AUTO-HOOD:MCT—<I thought it would be a cool idea to upgrade my tail, stop and turn lights with LED replacements so they'd be brighter. The first set of LED bulbs I tried didn't get bright enough when the brakes were pressed so I returned them. The second set is OK except the ones for my turn signals flash really fast. Is this normal or OK? I can try a third set, but's a pain to remove my lenses to change the bulbs. Suggestions, please.

600 by Brad Bergholdt. MOVED


^The Week Ahead: Winding down the wind-down<

^WEEKAHEAD:MI—<The Federal Reserve's interest rate proclamations deserve the attention they receive, but that's not what the investment markets will be listening for in the week ahead.

The central bank's regularly scheduled interest rate setting meeting concludes on Wednesday with a statement and press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell. For the first time this year the Fed will release its updated economic projections for the years ahead.

350 by Tom Hudson. MOVED



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