Workers strike at all 3 Detroit automakers, a new tactic to squeeze companies for better pay
DETROIT (AP) — Nearly one in 10 of America’s unionized auto workers went on strike Friday to pressure Detroit’s three automakers into raising wages in an era of big profits and as the industry begins a costly transition from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles.
By striking simultaneously at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler owner Stellantis for the first time in its history, the United Auto Workers union is trying to inflict a new kind of pain on the companies and claw back some pay and benefits workers gave up in recent decades.
The strikes are limited for now to three assembly plants: a GM factory in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit, and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio.
The workers received support from President Joe Biden, who dispatched aides to Detroit to help resolve the impasse and said the Big 3 automakers should share their “record profits.”
Union President Shawn Fain says workers could strike at more plants if the companies don’t come up with better offers. The workers are seeking across-the-board wage increases of 36% over four years; the companies have countered by offering increases ranging from 17.5% to 20%.
US military orders new interviews on the deadly 2021 Afghan airport attack as criticism persists
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon's Central Command has ordered interviews of roughly two dozen more service members who were at the Kabul airport when suicide bombers attacked during U.S. forces' chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, as criticism persists that the deadly assault could have been stopped.
The interviews, ordered by Gen. Erik Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, were triggered in part by assertions by at least one service member injured in the blast who said he was never interviewed about it and that he might have been able to stop the attackers.
The interviews are meant to see if service members who were not included in the original investigation, have new or different information.
The decision, according to officials, does not reopen the administration’s investigation into the deadly bombing and the withdrawal two years ago. But the additional interviews will likely be seized on by congressional critics, mostly Republican, as proof that the administration bungled the probe into the attack, in addition to mishandling the withdrawal.
Some families of those killed and injured have complained that the Pentagon hasn't been transparent enough about the bombing that killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. servicemen and women.
Hurricane Lee targets New England and eastern Canada with wind, roiling seas and rain
BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) — Fishermen removed lobster traps from the water and residents hauled hundreds of boats ashore — leaving some harbors looking like ghost towns — while utility workers from as far away as Tennessee began taking up positions Friday ahead of Hurricane Lee’s heavy winds, high seas and rain that's expected to span hundreds of miles (kilometers) of land and sea.
The storm is projected to be more than 400 miles (640 kilometers) wide with tropical-storm-force winds when it reaches land, creating worries of power outages in Maine, the nation’s most heavily forested state, where the ground is saturated and trees are weakened from heavy summer rains.
Lee remained a hurricane with 80 mph (128 kph) winds at night as it headed toward New England and eastern Canada with 20-foot (6-meter) ocean swells, strong winds and rain. Forecasters said there would be winds topping 40 mph (64 kph) across the region, with peak winds reaching upward of 65 mph (104 kph), ahead of landfall expected Saturday afternoon .
There was little else to be done but wait and worry, and make final preparations as Lee spun about 300 miles (485 kilometers) southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
In Bar Harbor, there were only two lobster boats in the water compared with 20 to 25 on a normal day. Lobsterman Bruce Young said his 38-foot (12-meter) vessel was transported to the local airport, saying it’s better to be safe than sorry. “There’s going to be huge white rollers coming in on top of 50 to 60 mph winds. It’ll be quite entertaining,” he said.
US: Mexico extradites Ovidio Guzmán López, son of Sinaloa cartel leader 'El Chapo,' to United States
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico extradited Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, to the United States on Friday to face drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” Garland said.
The Mexican government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mexican security forces captured Guzmán López, alias “the Mouse,” in January in Culiacan, capital of Sinaloa state, the cartel’s namesake.
Three years earlier, the government had tried to capture him, but aborted the operation after his cartel allies set off a wave of violence in Culiacan.
Prosecutors seek narrow gag order on Trump in federal election case after ‘inflammatory’ comments
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking an order that would prevent Donald Trump from making “inflammatory” and “intimidating” comments about witnesses, lawyers and other people involved in the criminal case charging the former president with scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Special counsel Jack Smith's team said in a motion filed Friday that such a “narrow, well-defined” order was necessary to preserve the integrity of the case and to avoid prejudicing potential jurors.
Prosecutors had foreshadowed for weeks their concerns about Trump's verbal attacks, but Friday's request marks the first time they have proposed formal action to rein in speech that they say risks tainting the case and causing court workers and witnesses to live in fear of being targeted. The motion lays out what prosecutors say is a pattern of “false and inflammatory” statements about the case as well as comments meant to intimidate or harass people he believes are potential witnesses against him.
“Since the grand jury returned an indictment in this case, the defendant has repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements attacking the citizens of the District of Columbia, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses,” prosecutors wrote. “Through his statements, the defendant threatens to undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool.”
They said Trump's rhetoric has already had an impact, noting how jurors in the trial of a man convicted of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol recently sent a note conveying concern that he might have information about their identity.
Hawaii officials say DNA tests drop Maui fire death count to 97
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Authorities in Hawaii have adjusted the number of deaths from the deadly Maui wildfire down to at least 97 people.
Officials previously said they believed at least 115 people had died in the fire, but further testing showed they had multiple DNA samples from some of the victims. The number of those who are missing also fell from 41 to 31, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said.
John Byrd, laboratory director with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said during a news conference Friday afternoon that the current number of dead should be considered a minimum, because it’s possible that toll could rise.
Determining the death toll from the Aug. 8 wildfire in Lahaina has been especially complicated because of the damage caused by the fire and the chaos as people tried to escape, officials said. In some cases, animal remains were inadvertently collected along with human remains.
So far, 74 of the deceased have been positively identified, Pelletier said.
New Mexico governor amends order suspending right to carry firearms to focus on parks, playgrounds
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday narrowed an order that broadly suspended the right to carry firearms in and around Albuquerque to apply only to public parks and playgrounds where children and their families gather.
The governor’s announcement came days after a federal judge blocked part of the order with criticism mounting over the Democratic governor’s action and legal challenges by gun-rights advocates.
Gunfire and violent crime in Albuquerque have continued unabated in the week since Lujan Grisham issued the temporary public health order, she said at a news conference Friday, adding that she will continue to pursue a "framework that will pass legal muster” to rein in gun violence.
“Last night, we saw violent crime move through the city that resulted in a gun injury, two car hijackings and a kidnapping with suspects not yet in custody," said Lujan Grisham, appearing in Albuquerque alongside leading Democratic state legislators and her administration's secretary of public safety. "We have a very serious situation in our communities that requires serious, immediate results.”
She said the temporary order “is amended to be focused now (on) no open or concealed carry in public parks or playgrounds, where we know we’ve got high risk of kids and families.”
Kansas will no longer change trans people's birth certificates to reflect their gender identities
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will no longer change transgender people's birth certificates to reflect their gender identities, the state health department said Friday, citing a new law that prevents the state from legally recognizing those identities.
The decision from the state Department of Health and Environment makes Kansas one of a handful of states that won't change transgender people's birth certificates. It already was among the few states that don't change the gender marker on transgender people's driver's licenses.
Those decisions reverse policies that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's administration set when she took office in 2019. They came in response to court filings by conservative Republican state Attorney General Kris Kobach to enforce the new state law. Enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature over Kelly's veto, it took effect July 1 and defines male and female based only on the sex assigned to a person at birth.
Jaelynn Abegg, a 38-year-old Wichita resident, said her heart breaks for fellow transgender Kansas residents who won't be able to experience the joy she felt when her new birth certificate, affirming her female identity, arrived in the mail in 2021. She said the change gave her “a feeling completeness.”
“This is something that I’ve been grappling with my entire life. As far back as I can remember, I have wished that I was that I was a woman,” Abegg said. “And being able to embrace that and take that for myself has been has been life changing.”
Outrage boils in Seattle and in India over death of a student and an officer's callous remarks
SEATTLE (AP) — Outrage grew Friday over a Seattle police officer's remark that the life of a young woman killed by a speeding patrol car had “limited value." Diplomats from India are asking for an investigation following the death of the Indian graduate student as people in Seattle protested the officer's callous jokes caught on bodycam video.
The footage released this week shows Officer Daniel Auderer, vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, joking with the rank-and-file police union’s president after a different officer's speeding police car on Jan. 23 slammed into Jaahnavi Kandula at a crosswalk.
Protesters on Thursday evening gathered at the Seattle intersection where the 23-year-old graduate student was fatally struck by Officer Kevin Dave's SUV. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal review of the crash.
Auderer responded to the crash to evaluate whether Dave was impaired, The Seattle Times reported. Dave had been driving 74 mph (119 kph) in a 25 mph (40 kph) zone on the way to an overdose call.
Later, Auderer left his body-worn camera on as he called Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan to report what happened. In a recording released by the police department on Monday, Auderer laughs and suggests Kandula’s life had “limited value” and the city should just write a check for $11,000.
Kim Jong Un arrives at city near Vladivostok where he's expected to visit Russia's Pacific fleet
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived Saturday at a Russian city near the far eastern port of Vladivostok where he’s expected to see Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
The visit follows Kim’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny spaceport on Wednesday and his visit Friday to an aircraft-making plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The U.S. and it allies are concerned that Kim’s visit is focused on providing Moscow with weapons for its war in Ukraine in a possible arms-for-technology deal.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was to travel to the far eastern port city of Vladivostok to see Russia’s Pacific fleet, while his official media back home said Saturday that he was “deeply impressed” by a factory producing the most advanced Russian warplanes.
The Associated Press