Published: 10:04 pmUpdated: 4:03 pm
Union votes to strike at General Motors’ US plants
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union announced Sunday that its roughly 49,000 workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. would go on strike just before midnight because contentious talks on a new contract had broken down.
About 200 plant-level union leaders voted unanimously in favor of a walkout during a meeting Sunday morning in Detroit. Union leaders said the sides were still far apart on several major issues and they apparently weren’t swayed by a GM offer to make new products at or near two of the four plants it had been planning to close, according to someone briefed on the matter.
“We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most,” union Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement, referring to union concessions that helped GM survive bankruptcy protection in 2009. “Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members.”
It’s still possible that bargainers could return to the table and hammer out an agreement, but union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said at a news conference that it would be unlikely because it is hard to believe they could resolve so many issues before 11:59 p.m.
GM on Friday offered to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit that is slated to close next year, according someone who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because that person wasn’t authorized to disclose details of the negotiations, which hadn’t been released to the public. The automaker also offered to open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where it has a plant that has already stopped making cars. The new factory would be in addition to a proposal to make electric vehicles for a company called Workhorse, the person said.
Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid US-Iran tension
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attack Saturday on key Saudi oil infrastructure. On Sunday, senior U.S. officials again said the American government believes there is no doubt Iran was responsible, saying satellite imagery and other intelligence, show the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.
Iran, meanwhile, called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military bases across the Mideast with their arsenal of ballistic missiles.
The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.
Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.
New York moves to enact statewide flavored e-cig ban
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.
The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on and start being enforced in as soon as two weeks, following a short grace period for retailers, officials said.
In announcing the action, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors that are for sale, like bubble gum and cotton candy.
“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said.
Officials pointed to a significant increase of e-cigarettes by young people, which they said was driven by the flavors.
Aramco attacks show company entanglement in Saudi politics
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The weekend drone attack on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco’s stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner — the Saudi government and its ruling family.
The strikes, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran despite staunch denials by Tehran, led to suspension of more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production, bringing into focus just how vulnerable the company is to Saudi Arabia’s conflicts outside the country’s borders, particularly with regional rival Iran.
That matters greatly because Aramco produces and exports Saudi Arabia’s more than 9.5 million barrels of oil per day to consumers around the world, primarily in Asia.
It also comes as the state-owned company heads toward a partial public sale. To prepare for an initial public offering, the company has recently taken steps to distance itself from the Saudi government, which is controlled by the Al Saud ruling family.
The plan to list part of Aramco is key to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic diversification efforts that are aimed at preparing the kingdom for a future less reliant on oil exports for revenue.
Boris Johnson likens himself to the Hulk in Brexit fight
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to the Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
No millennial bump for Buttigieg, but hints of broad appeal
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Pete Buttigieg would like to turn the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination into a contest about generational change. But there’s one looming problem: He has yet to win over his own.
His lack of any ample base of support, even among his fellow millennials, is a central challenge of the 37-year-old’s long shot bid to rise from mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to the nation’s highest office. He plays well across a broad spectrum of Democratic voters, but in small fragments that have left him an intriguing candidate stuck in single digits in national polls.
“You can put groups of candidates into corners. What corner do you put Pete Buttigieg in?” said J. Ann Selzer, longtime director of the Iowa Poll, produced by The Des Moines Register and its partners. “I think that the combination of characteristics that most define Buttigieg fit him rather uniquely. He appears to be a cluster of one.”
As such, he needs to try to leverage that kind of appeal into votes against a field where candidates with clearer ideological positions, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have more natural core constituencies.
There was hope for Buttigeig in a Register poll in June that showed his overall viability footprint — measuring Iowans listing him as their first or second choice, or merely considering him — closely trailed the survey’s top choices: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders and Warren.
Dem presidential candidates call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment
WASHINGTON (AP) — Several Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday lined up to call for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of a new, uninvestigated, allegation of sexual impropriety when he was in college.
Kavanaugh was confirmed last October after emotional hearings in the Senate over a sexual assault allegation from his high school years. The New York Times now reports that Kavanaugh faced a separate allegation from his time at Yale University and that the FBI did not investigate the claim. The latest claim mirrors one offered during his confirmation process by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken party.
When he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, Kavanaugh denied all allegations of impropriety .
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said after the new report that “Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people.” She tweeted: “He must be impeached.”
A 2020 rival, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, tweeted that “Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
Precarious spot for mobile home owners as investors swoop in
ASPEN, Colorado (AP) — When the time came for her to sell the mobile home park she and her son owned near Aspen, 89-year-old Harriett Noyes had two big offers and an even bigger decision: Take nearly $30 million from a developer who would likely evict her family and friends to build luxury homes, or sell to the county for a fraction of that to preserve affordable housing in one of the most expensive areas in the United States.
She chose family and friends.
“I could see the need for the people to have a place to live, and this was their life and they had homes,” said Noyes, who has lived in the Phillips Mobile Home Park for more than four decades. “I just didn’t have the heart to just jerk it out from under ’em.”
Carved into a red-rock hillside along the banks of the Roaring Fork River in the mountains of western Colorado, the park is one of the last bastions of affordable housing in the area, which takes pride in its world-class skiing and is a veritable playground for the rich and the famous. Noyes and her son Hyrum, 61, sold the 76-acre park to Pitkin County for $6.5 million in 2018 with the promise of upgrades and to keep the community affordable. The deal preserved as affordable housing 35 mobile homes, four cabins and an old ranch house, according to The Aspen Times.
Across the country, mobile home parks are an attractive investment. Tenants own their homes but not the land they sit on, and because the homes aren’t actually easy to move, are at the mercy of landlords, who can increase rents or sell the land out from under them.
450 miles of border wall by next year? In Arizona, it starts
YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — On a dirt road past rows of date trees, just feet from a dry section of Colorado River, a small construction crew is putting up a towering border wall that the government hopes will reduce — for good — the flow of immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
Cicadas buzz and heavy equipment rumbles and beeps before it lowers 30-foot-tall (9-meters-tall) sections of fence into the dirt. “Ahí está!” — “There it is!” — a Spanish-speaking member of the crew says as the men straighten the sections into the ground. Nearby, workers pull dates from palm trees, not far from the cotton fields that cars pass on the drive to the border.
South of Yuma, Arizona, the tall brown bollards rising against a cloudless desert sky will replace much shorter barriers that are meant to keep out cars, but not people.
This 5-mile (8-kilometer) section of fencing is where President Donald Trump’s most salient campaign promise — to build a wall along the entire southern border — is taking shape.
The president and his administration said this week that they plan on building between 450 and 500 miles (724 and 806 kilometers) of fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile (3,218-kilometer) border by the end of 2020, an ambitious undertaking funded by billions of defense dollars that had been earmarked for things like military base schools, target ranges and maintenance facilities.
Violence flares after Hong Kong protesters defy police ban
HONG KONG (AP) — Police fired chemical-laced blue water and tear gas at protesters who lobbed Molotov cocktails outside the Hong Kong government office complex Sunday, as violence flared anew after thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched through downtown in defiance of a police ban.
A mixed crowd of hardcore protesters in black and wearing masks, along with families with children, spilled into the roads of the Causeway Bay shopping belt and marched for over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to the central business district. Some waved U.S. and British flags, while others carried posters reiterating their calls for democratic reforms.
Police had turned down a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold the march, but the demonstrators were undeterred, as they’ve been all summer.
“I feel this is our duty. The government wants to block us with the ban, but I want to say that the people will not be afraid,” said one protester, Winnie Leung, 50.
The march disrupted traffic, and many shops, including the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s largest department stores, closed their doors.