By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Negotiators for shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports remain far from a deal with union dockworkers after seven months of contract talks, the companies said on Wednesday, again blaming the union for waterfront cargo slowdowns. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) statement came a day before the companies were slated to resume face-to-face bargaining with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing 20,000 West Coast dockworkers in the talks. The two sides huddled separately on Wednesday, two days after the union furnished the companies a counter-offer to a new set of proposals delivered by management last week. "We are awaiting their reply, and perhaps they will have a response to all or part of our proposal" when talks resume, union spokesman Craig Merrilees said. Ninety union delegates from all 29 ports met on Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco and voted unanimously to endorse their negotiating team. Both sides had said ahead of the union caucus that they were making progress, albeit slowly. The two parties have strictly abided by a news blackout on details of their talks or the issues at stake. But on Wednesday the PMA issued a short communique denying any "statements and rumors that our negotiations are 'close' to a final contract." "Even after seven months of negotiations, we remain far apart on several issues, and the union slowdowns continue to disrupt the movement of cargo through the ports," the PMA said. Management has repeatedly accused the union of trying to gain bargaining leverage by orchestrating chronic cargo backups plaguing several West Coast ports since mid-October, most notably at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach - the nation's two busiest container cargo hubs. Union officials dispute this. They point instead to other factors port officials cite as the main causes of gridlock. Chief among them is a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo from ports to warehouses, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to third-party equipment-leasing companies. Port officials also point to record import levels, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes all at once. The port slowdowns, coming just after the peak holiday shipping season, have nevertheless rippled through the commercial supply chain. On a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, FedEx Corp executives blamed West Coast port labor tensions for cargo backups they said have caused retail inventory shortages. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
- 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
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him." Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do." No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly. "The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out." "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but could face pushback from the courts.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.The big picture: U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, issued a temporary restraining order blocking the policy for 14 days. * Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration last week, claiming the freeze "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security, per a press release from Paxton’s office. * "The issues implicated by that Agreement are of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to addressing the merits," Tipton wrote in his Tuesday order. * Tipton also said Texas has provided evidence that the freeze would result in "millions of dollars of damage" by spurring an increase in spending on public services for unauthorized immigrants, according to the judge’s order.What they're saying: "Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON," Paxton tweeted. "Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze." * Neither DHS nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement immediately responded to Axios' request for comment.Of note: Former President Trump was frequently met with injunctions for his immigration policies.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- 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 governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
- 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.
- Associated Press
Israel's military chief Tuesday warned the Biden administration against rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, even if it toughens its terms, adding he's ordered his forces to step up preparations for possible offensive action against Iran during the coming year. The comments by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi came as Israel and Iran both seek to put pressure on President Joe Biden ahead of his expected announcement on his approach for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- 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 governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday for the first time since taking office and raised concerns about Russian activities including the treatment of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the White House said. A White House statement said the two leaders agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete the extension of the New START arms control treaty between the United States and Russia by Feb. 5, when the current pact expires. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced the phone call between the two leaders at her daily briefing.
- The Telegraph
An Iranian-American has been sentenced by Iran to 10 years in prison on spying charges, despite his family alleging he never had a trial or an opportunity to defend himself, becoming the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West. A family spokesman confirmed the sentencing of Emad Shargi. Iran's judiciary acknowledged the sentence without naming him or saying how many years in prison he'd face. Mr Shargi's case represents the first to land publicly on the administration of Joe Biden. Mr Biden has expressed a willingness to re-enter the nuclear deal, but has said he wants Iran to return to the limits of the deal first. Iran has demanded the US first lift sanctions. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili claimed Mr Shargi had been freed on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country. While saying he had no information on the details of Mr Shargi's arrest, the family spokesman said he was cleared of all charges in December 2019, only to be convicted in absentia later. "He was called to court one day in late November 2020 and simply shown a judgment finding him guilty, having never been presented any evidence, given an opportunity to respond or being put on trial," the spokesman said. The US State Department said it was "aware of the reports that Iran has detained another US citizen." Mr Esmaili, speaking to journalists Tuesday, said Mr Shargi had been convicted on espionage charges and of providing military information to foreign countries.
- Associated Press
Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm.
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.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Gov. Newsom needs to do a better job communicating California's statewide COVID restrictions with the public, and with other state officials.
- Yahoo News Video
Former President Donald Trump opened an office in Florida on Monday that will handle his duties as a former U.S. president and seek to further his administration's agenda.
- The Week
Capitol Police chief apologizes for riot 'failings,' acknowledges 'we knew that there was a strong potential for violence'
The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has offered an apology to lawmakers following a deadly attack on the Capitol building, acknowledging the department "should have been more prepared." Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, apologized to Congress during a closed-door briefing on Tuesday for "our failings" during the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead earlier this month, The New York Times reports. "On January 6th, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours," Pittman said, according to remarks obtained by the Times. "We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on January 6th. I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the Department." Supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building as lawmakers met to certify President Biden's election win. Pittman told Congress that Capitol Police "should have been more prepared for this attack" and that prior to the riot, "we knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target." "The Department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough," Pittman acknowledged, also praising the officers who "performed valiantly" during the attack as "heroes." The apology from Pittman, who the Times notes wasn't serving as acting chief when the Capitol attack occurred, comes as CNN reports that Capitol Police officers are discussing potentially holding a no-confidence vote against department leaders who were working on the day of the pro-Trump riot. A source told CNN, "The rank-and-file of this department has no faith in any of our chiefs, especially the ones in that were here on January 6th." More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued on Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations.
- The Independent
Newsmax said it already had enough correspondents at White House