By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Shipping lines will partially shut down 29 West Coast ports for four of the next five days, the companies said on Wednesday, as they postponed the latest round of protracted labor talks with the dockworkers union amid mounting cargo backups at the harbors. The loading and unloading of cargo freighters will be suspended, as operations were last weekend, on Thursday and again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the companies' bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association, said in a statement. Citing chronic slowdowns in freight traffic they blamed the union for instigating, the companies said it made no sense to pay union workers higher holiday and weekend wages "for severely diminished productivity while the backlog of cargo at West Coast ports grows." Union shifts worked this Thursday and next Monday would command premium pay in observance of separate Presidents Day holidays that fall on Lincoln and Washington's birthdays. While vessel operations are suspended, work will continue at management's discretion in the terminal yards, rail hubs and terminal gates during those days for the clearing of cargo containers stacked up at the ports. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 dockworkers, said the shippers were engaging in brinkmanship even as they called off what would have been the first contract bargaining session since last Friday. "This is an effort by the employers to put economic pressure on our members and to gain leverage in contract talks," union President Robert McEllrath said. The two sides said federally mediated talks that were set to resume on Wednesday have now been moved to Thursday. A spokesman for the shippers, Steve Getzug, denied suggestions that management was stonewalling. He said the PMA's board of directors and its negotiating team had been huddling since Tuesday and "needed additional time to prepare for the next round of talks." RIPPLE EFFECT The affected ports handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of Asian imports. Slowdowns at those harbors have rippled through the U.S. commercial supply chain for months, disrupting shipments of a wide range of goods affecting agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and retail. The National Retail Federation, which estimates a full, extended shutdown of the ports could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day, urged the Obama administration to intervene to keep the two sides "at the negotiating table until a deal is done." The White House has said it was monitoring the situation and that it was up to the parties to resolve their own differences. The companies have accused the union of orchestrating work slowdowns since October as a pressure tactic. The union has faulted the carriers themselves for the worsening cargo congestion, pointing to changes in shipping practices cited by port authorities as contributing factors. The freight backups have been most pronounced at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest cargo hubs. The chief executive officer of the Long Beach port, Jon Slangerup, said on Wednesday he understood that the two sides could clinch a deal in "a matter of days," and that the talks were stuck on one last point of contention - the issue of binding arbitration for settling contract disputes. The companies say union negotiators are seeking the right to dismiss any arbitrator who rules against the union at the end of each contract period, a demand management says is aimed at removing arbitrators who have found the union guilty of more than 200 slowdowns or work stoppages. A union spokesman has characterized that assertion as "totally inaccurate." (Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Sandra Maler, Bernard Orr and Ken Wills)
- NBC News
The suspension will last at least 30 days and has been in effect since last week, YouTube said in an email.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden's reverse triangulation
President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Why it matters: Biden is on course for a deeply adversarial relationship with Putin's Russia, but he'll also have to engage with him on critical issues — most urgently, the extension of the New START nuclear treaty, which is due to expire on Feb. 5.Go deeper: Biden's Russia challenge.This story is developing. Please check back for updates.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
Mitch McConnell, the US Senate Republican leader, said on Monday he would agree to a power-sharing agreement with Democrats, dropping demands that had held up the basic organisation and daily work of the 50-50 chamber for days. Democrat Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, and Mr McConnell had been at odds over the Republican's request that Democrats promise to protect the filibuster, which requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation. Mr Schumer has refused to guarantee the filibuster would stay. But in a statement, Mr McConnell cited comments from moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who said they would not favour eliminating the filibuster. "The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate's last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001," Mr McConnell said. "With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent." A spokesman for Mr Schumer, Justin Goodman, said in a statement, "We're glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organising the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people." Some liberal Democrats have suggested killing the filibuster to help advance President Joe Biden's agenda, though Mr Biden has not signaled support for such a move. In recent years, the 60-vote threshold has brought the Senate nearly to a halt on major legislation. With Ms Harris unable to attend every Senate session, the two party leaders have been discussing an arrangement to govern day-to-day operations, similar to one struck the last time the Senate was equally split two decades ago. Senate committees have still not been reorganised under Democratic control. Democrats could unilaterally change the rules to require only a simple majority to approve bills, a move sometimes called the "nuclear option", if all 50 members voted together and Ms Harris provided the tie-breaking vote. By declining to guarantee as part of the deal that the filibuster will be protected, Mr Schumer preserves the threat as leverage in negotiations over Mr Biden's priorities, such as a new round of coronavirus relief.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a man charged in the killing last year of a 24-year-old Indianapolis police officer who was fatally shot as she responded to a domestic violence call. The Marion County Prosecutor's office filed the request Tuesday asking for the death penalty against Elliahs Dorsey, who is charged in the April 9, 2020, killing of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Breann Leath. Leath and three other officers were responding to a domestic violence call involving Dorsey when she was shot to death through the door of an Indianapolis apartment, police said.
- The Week
The CEO of MyPillow will no longer be able to use his Twitter. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been permanently banned from Twitter for "repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy," the company told CNN. While Twitter didn't specify what tweet prompted Lindell's final suspension, he has in recent weeks been pushing false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Twitter's Civic Integrity Policy states that users may not use the platform "for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes," including by posting "false or misleading information about the procedures or circumstances around participation in" elections. Under this policy, five or more strikes will lead to a permanent suspension. Lindell, who visited former President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this month and was seen with notes referencing "martial law," also could soon be hit with a potential defamation lawsuit for his election claims. Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to sue the MyPillow boss over his promotion of a false conspiracy theory that the company's machines were used to change the outcome of the presidential race. Dominion on Monday sued Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who also promoted the false claims. Lindell told The New York Times he would "welcome" a lawsuit from Dominion. Twitter's suspension of Lindell comes after the company earlier this month permanently banned Trump due to the "risk of further incitement of violence" following the deadly Capitol riot. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has defended the decision, while at the same time saying that "a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation." More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden's reverse triangulation
- The Independent
Biden news – live: 200m more Covid vaccine doses on order as only 5 GOP senators back Trump impeachment trial
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All Guard members who test positive are quarantined and won't return to their home states until they're fully recovered.
- NBC News
Brittney Gilliam had taken her family for a "Sunday funday" when officers with guns drawn ordered her and the four underage girls with her to exit the car.
- The Week
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will have his work cut out for him as he tries to maneuver through the 50-50 upper chamber. To pass most legislation, he'll need to work with Republicans to get things done, but that won't be easy, especially after he rigorously campaigned against a few of them in recent election cycles, CNN reports. Take, for example, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who ultimately won a hard fought re-election campaign last year against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. Despite the victory, Collins appears to have taken Schumer's efforts to unseat her personally. "What this campaign taught me about Chuck Schumer is that he will say or do anything in order to win," she told CNN. "It was a deceitful, despicable campaign that he ran." Collins is generally considered one of the more bipartisan voices in the Senate and has crossed the aisle not infrequently throughout her tenure, but those words don't make her sound like someone who's excited to help hand Schumer easy wins. Read more at CNN. Susan Collins doesn't sound like she's keen on cutting lots of deals https://t.co/YHgj2ydgN6 — Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) January 26, 2021 The only way governing with the filibuster can ever work is if Republicans are willing to engage in good faith negotiations. Even SUSAN COLLINS is explicitly stating she’s a partisan who has no interest in working with Democrats. — Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden's reverse triangulation
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday temporarily blocked a move by new U.S. President Joe Biden to halt the deportation of many immigrants for a 100-day period, a swift legal setback for his ambitious immigration agenda. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump in the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the policy nationwide for 14 days following a legal challenge by Texas. The Biden administration is expected to appeal the ruling, which halts the deportation freeze while both parties submit briefs on the matter.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities have detained the Iranian and Chinese crewmembers of two tankers that were seized for illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters, an official said Tuesday. “MT Freya did the oil spilling,” Pramandita said.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voted in favor of a resolution declaring the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. The point of order resolution was put forward by McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, and effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted against it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned. However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump. “I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.” Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction. “I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.” McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer. An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again. “Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trial. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Biden to explore use of emergency executive powers to fight climate change, he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night.Driving the news: Schumer said it "might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency," and noted, "Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president ... that he could do without legislation."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Schumer added, "Now, [President] Trump used this emergency for a stupid wall which wasn't an emergency. But if there ever was an emergency, climate is one."Why it matters: Via Bloomberg, "Declaring a climate emergency could unlock new powers for Biden, including the ability to redirect funding for clean energy projects, shut down crude oil exports, suspend offshore drilling and curtail the movement of fossil fuels on pipelines, trains, and ships."Yes, but: Use of emergency powers would face near-certain litigation.Where it stands: Schumer also said Democrats are looking at ways to move climate-related efforts via the budget reconciliation process, which enables some spending- and revenue-related policy measures to move via simple majority. * He flagged his proposal to spur electric vehicle purchases via discounts for consumers who trade in gasoline-powered cars and funding for charging infrastructure.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Yahoo News Video
Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments and antagonized Australia's Jewish community.
- NBC News
The eight other current and former police officers were indicted in what authorities described as a long-term scheme to steal overtime money.
- The Week
With former President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial looming, several Republicans in the upper chamber are reportedly rallying around the argument that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional. As The Dispatch and Politico note, scholars in legal circles that span the political spectrum generally disagree, and Trump himself suggested ex-presidents could be tried a year ago. Per The Washington Post, when Trump was impeached for the first time, he complained that Congress should be going after former President Barack Obama instead over comments he made about health care. "We should impeach him for that," Trump said. "Why aren't we impeaching him?" Some of his staunchest allies in Congress concurred, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who stated explicitly in 2019 that former presidents are subject to impeachment. Gaetz didn't change his mind this time around, though he made the case Trump's actions aren't impeachment-worthy. Regardless, the comments raise questions about the sincerity of the argument. Can’t overstate the importance of reporters conveying that this position was fabricated rapidly to give Republican senators dishonest cover to acquit Trump. Clearly evident in the genesis of the talking point. https://t.co/pC0nmIADoP — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden's reverse triangulation