By David Shepardson and Paul Lienert WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - Surging demand for trucks and SUVs fueled by cheap gasoline is holding back improvements in U.S. fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, a government report due out on Wednesday is expected to show. The disconnect between consumer demand for larger, less efficient vehicles and the Obama administration’s climate goals sets up a clash between the auto industry and federal regulators. Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in a Reuters interview last week the administration will consider automakers' arguments that the shift away from cars makes it harder to hit the 2025 fleet average fuel economy target of 54.5 miles (87.7 km) per gallon. But the landmark agreement announced in France over the weekend, to transform the world's fossil fuel-driven economy in bid to arrest global warming, could make a cut in the target difficult for the U.S. government to accept. "Unfortunately there have been too many decisions that are made - 'Oh, prices went down, it's OK again,'" said Rosekind. said. "No, it's not." Consumers are responding to signals from gas pumps, where a combination of relatively low taxes - federal gasoline taxes have not gone up since 1993 - and oil unleashed by hydraulic fracturing or fracking have pushed U.S. gasoline prices to an average of just over $2 a gallon - the lowest level in six years. In November, fuel efficiency of vehicles purchased fell sharply to 25 mpg - down 0.8 mpg from a peak in August 2014, said University of Michigan researcher Michael Sivak, who tracks fuel efficiency. Nearly 59 percent of U.S. vehicle sales this year have been of sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks or other larger vehicles, up from 54 percent last year, according to industry consultant Autodata Corp. Toyota Motor Corp says within two years its RAV4 SUV will displace the Camry mid-size car as its top-selling model in the United States. Wednesday's report from the Environmental Protection Agency is likely to show that trucks are becoming more efficient, but those gains are largely being offset by the shift in some buyers from cars to trucks. Automotive fuel efficiency rules are a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's climate policy. The administration has said better fuel efficiency will cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of the vehicles sold between 2012 and 2025. That is more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. economy in 2010, the administration has said. The fuel economy rules for 2017-2025 will cost the industry $157.3 billion, according to Obama administration estimates, but would save consumers as much as $488 billion at the pump assuming gas prices average $3.53. However, those goals are at risk. Federal regulators and California are working on a report, due in mid-2016, that will set the terms of bargaining with automakers over whether efficiency standards for a final 2022-2025 period should be eased, stay the same or made tougher. Automakers have met with regulators in recent months for day-long individual meetings to talk about their confidential future product portfolios and discussed how they plan to comply with the fuel efficiency increases. "There is a huge gap looming between government projections and consumer purchases of highly fuel-efficient vehicles," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - the trade association representing major automakers. The industry group is pushing proposals to allow automakers to get greenhouse emissions credits for adding technologies that could help avert crashes. Environmentalists say automakers are not doing enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "They are driving up oil consumption and pollution and putting at risk U.S. compliance with the Paris global warming agreement," said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said he is not betting on relief. "I’m not expecting it to become easier," he said earlier this year. (Writing by David Sherpardson; Editing by Joseph White and Tom Brown)
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These are the issues the Biden administration will be dealing with on the foreign policy front.
- The Telegraph
A Republican congresswoman is facing calls to resign over reports that she helped to spread falsehoods about the Parkland school shooting. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly agreed with a conspiracy theory about the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. Facebook screenshots showed a discussion about why a police officer had not rushed into the building, and someone claimed that the mass shooting was a "false flag planned shooting." Greene replied: “Exactly!" The social media giant later removed the posts after they were reported to them. Cameron Kasky, a former Parkland pupil who co-founded the group Never Again MSD, said: "She should resign. She can apologise. I don’t think anybody will accept it.” The congresswoman was elected in Georgia in November, backed Donald Trump's claims of election fraud, and has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Fred Guttenberg, who's 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in the Parkland shooting, said: "Your feelings on gun laws are irrelevant to your claim that Parkland never happened. You are a fraud who must resign. Be prepared to meet me directly in person to explain your conspiracy theory, and soon." The comments by the politician were first reported by Media Matters for America. In a statement Ms Greene accused Media Matters for America of being "communists' and "fake news". Meanwhile, US Capitol Police were investigating an incident in which a Republican congressman was found carrying a concealed gun while trying to enter the floor of the House of Representatives. Andy Harris, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off a metal detector going through security on his way to the House floor . Metal detectors were installed outside the chamber to beef up security in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan 6.
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“100 million shots in 100 days” won’t be enough to end the pandemic. Can Jeff Zients do better?
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With the Senate poised to begin debate on Donald Trump's impeachment charge, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said some Republican House members might also face consequences over their actions leading up to the riot at the Capitol.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Judge denies release for 26-year-old accused of taking part in the deadly Capitol attacks then returning to Washington on Inauguration Day
- Associated Press
Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.
America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.
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Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- NBC News
A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
- Associated Press
The return to Russia from Germany by opposition leader Alexei Navalny was marked by chaos and popular outrage, and it ended, almost predictably, with his arrest. The Jan. 17 flight from Berlin, where Navalny spent nearly five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning, carried him and his wife, along with a group of journalists documenting the journey. Navalny had prepared his own surprise for his return: A video expose alleging that a lavish “palace” was built for President Vladimir Putin on the Black Sea through an elaborate corruption scheme.
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.
- The Independent
‘There was a protocol breach when the front doors were not held open’
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A woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday.
Qatar has not taken any initiative to solve the problems with Bahrain, despite an agreement to end a rift of more than three years, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said on Thursday. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month at a summit to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties severed in 2017 over accusations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge it denies. The emerging deal followed mediation efforts by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump and Kuwait.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney, told Axios that the lawsuit is likely to fail at fully reinstating deportations because a judge cannot force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove any particular person. * The executive branch has broad authority over immigration enforcement, as was seen in both President Obama and President Trump's administrations. What they're saying: In the announcement of the moratorium on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said the pause on deportations would "allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces." * In Paxton's request for a temporary restraining order, he claims, "Without emergency relief, Texas faces irreparable harm from having to provide costly educational, social, welfare, healthcare, and other services to illegal aliens who remain in Texas because Defendants have ceased removing them."The White House has not yet responded to Axios' request for comment.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- The Independent
‘We’re not packing our bags at 100 million’: Biden press secretary hits back at complaints Covid vaccine plan not enough
‘When we reach that goal, and we’re confident we will, we’re going to build from there,’ says Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary
- The Week
Majority of House GOP reportedly supports removing Liz Cheney from leadership after impeachment vote
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is facing an internal resistance after splitting from her party on former President Donald Trump's impeachment.Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, was one of only a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol riot. More than a majority of GOP House members have since indicated they'd support ousting Cheney from her leadership spot, while at least two other Republicans have lined up to replace her, Politico reports.At least 107 House members — more than half the caucus — privately support removing Cheney from power, multiple GOP sources involved in the effort told Politico. Meanwhile New York Reps. Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin, who defended Trump during both of his impeachments, are reportedly looking to replace her.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have said they don't intend to remove Cheney. But McCarthy also echoed Republicans' reported anger that Cheney voiced her support of impeachment the day before the House vote, giving Democrats time to use her views in their own arguments. "Questions need to be answered," such as the "style in which things were delivered," McCarthy told reporters Thursday.Many other Republicans, including some who voted against impeachment, meanwhile don't want Cheney removed just for "vot[ing] her conscience," as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) put it. Others argue removing Cheney would fly in the face of the party's unification message in the post-Trump era — something Cheney herself is trying to counter by making "making calls to all corners of the conference to hear lawmakers out," Politico reports.More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Nearly 200 National Guard members have reportedly gotten COVID-19 since the Capitol riot