By Steve Gorman and Lisa Baertlein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crippling cargo backups at U.S. West Coast ports dragged on into a third month amid industry reports on Thursday of prolonged shipment delays for goods ranging from yoga apparel and rice to NBA bobblehead collectibles and frozen french fries. Cargo that normally takes two to three days to flow through the affected ports, accounting for nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent of imports from Asia, now faces lag times of up to two weeks, the National Retail Federation said. The congestion has been most pronounced at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest cargo hubs, where marine officials reported 11 ships anchored on Thursday waiting for berths to open. The number of freighters kept waiting outside the two ports has fluctuated from about eight to 18 on any given day since the slowdown began there around mid-October, said port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield. Smaller backups have hit other West Coast ports, including Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state. The slowdowns have coincided with prolonged labor talks between 20,000 dockworkers and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines at 29 West Coast ports. Their latest contract expired June 30. Management has accused the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of orchestrating some slowdowns on the docks to bolster its leverage at the bargaining table. Union officials deny organizing protest delays but acknowledge individual dockworkers may have acted out of frustration over the pace of contract talks. They point to other factors that port officials cite as the main reasons for gridlock. Chief among them has been a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo containers from the ports, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to equipment-leasing companies. Union and port officials also cite record import levels at the peak cargo season, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes. BOBBLEHEADS, YOGA WEAR AND RICE Port slowdowns have rippled through the commercial supply chain. Vancouver-based retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc blamed West Coast port congestion for its lower sales forecasts on Thursday. The yoga wear seller said about 1 million of its garments were stuck in port, delaying shipments to stores for up to 10 days. Similar shipment lags were reported by Ann Inc and Ascena Retail Group Inc, parent companies of women's apparel chains Ann Taylor and the Loft, and Lane Bryant and Justice, respectively. Even professional sports have felt the pinch. The Oakland-based Golden State Warriors earlier this month had to hand out vouchers to 10,000 basketball fans after shipments of the team's Sarunas Marciulionis bobblehead figures were delayed for weeks. Exports have been squeezed as well. Among the hardest hit are Washington state apple growers, who posted a record harvest of 150 million cartons this year but have been thwarted in selling as much of their surplus as hoped to Asian markets. Port delay-related apple losses since October have run in the tens of millions of dollars, according to Mark Powers, an executive of the Northwest Horticultural Council. Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp said its Japan outlets are among that country's eateries grappling with a french-fried potato shortage blamed on port backups. Most U.S.-processed frozen french fries bound for Japan and other Asian countries are shipped in refrigerated containers through Seattle-Tacoma, said John Toaspern, chief marketing officer for the U.S. Potato Board. Japan is the biggest Asian market for U.S.-made frozen potato products, importing $336 million worth last year. Toaspern said port jams have at least doubled transit times for french fry shipments to Japan from two to four weeks. Container shipments of California-grown rice bound for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have likewise been delayed two weeks or more at the height of growers' winter shipping season. "You start running short on warehouse space. It's a mess," said Tim Johnson, head of the California Rice Commission. Container shipments of corn and soybeans also were being held up, forcing the Illinois-based Prairie Creek Grain Company to offer some Asian customers discounts of up to 6 percent. A roughly $700 discount per $12,000 container of soybeans is the difference between making a profit and breaking even, said Robert Briscoe, Prairie Creek president. (Additional reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; and Solarina Ho and Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
- The Independent
Controversial congresswoman previously said the Republican party belong to former president
After the third-grader's classroom incident, a social worker connected the family to a local food bank.
A Florida daycare is under fire after giving a 7-month-old baby away to a stranger. When Trinity McCoggle arrived at the Orient Road Child Development Center on January 25 to pick up her 7-month-old son, Adonis, she was left distraught when told her baby had been accidentally given to someone assumed to be the child’s parent, ABC2 News reports. Describing what happened, McCoggle said the daycare worker “went to the back to get him, and when she came back, she said, He’s not here.”
- Business Insider
Donald Trump Jr. gives fiery CPAC speech full of grievances against anti-Trump Republicans, big tech, and the mainstream media
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- Charlotte Observer
This is the shocking story of the alleged sexual abuses that led to the January arrest of Sandra Hiler — aka Charlotte piano teacher Keiko Aloe — as told by her 21-year-old daughter.
- Miami Herald
Visitors hiking the Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park earlier this month spotted an unfamiliar snake. It turned out to be a brand new invasive species.
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- Miami Herald
Two commercial fisherman from the mainland were jailed Thursday after police said they were caught in the Keys with a haul of illegal seafood that started with 100 undersized wrung lobster tails.
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz rants about comedians, late-night TV, and mask-wearing before shouting at people to 'just have fun' in wild CPAC speech
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Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner and other 'life experience' shaped him into a better actor
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- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The House is expected to pass a stimulus deal with $1,400 checks on Friday.
- Miami Herald
A United Airlines flight out of Southwest Florida International Airport ran into some trouble Monday afternoon, but it had nothing to do with mechanical issues or lack of face masks.
Prince Harry knew he and Meghan Markle had something 'pretty special' by their second date. Here's a complete timeline of their relationship.
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- Business Insider
Ted Cruz's colleagues mocked him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room: 'Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!'
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- Business Insider
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she's too old, as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
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Asian Man in Critical Condition After Being Stabbed in the Back With a Butcher Knife in NY Chinatown
An Asian man is in critical condition after getting stabbed by a butcher knife in New York's Chinatown on Thursday evening. The 36-year-old local resident was attacked around 6:15 p.m. near the federal courthouse, near the corner of Worth Street and Baxter street next to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, reports PIX11. Call came in at 6:20 for report of a stabbing at Baxter Street and Worth Street.
- NBC News
Family members told officers the man and woman were quarantining in their home in the St. Louis area.
Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler is out as owner of WNBA team, and the new owners include former star player who retired to fight for social justice
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- The Week
Husband of Hitler-quoting GOP congresswoman parked his militia-stickered truck outside Capitol Jan. 6
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R), the husband of freshman U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), acknowledged Thursday that his pickup truck was parked in a restricted area outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, but he said the "Three Percenter" militia sticker on the back window doesn't mean anything. "Army friend gave me decal," Miller told The Daily Beast in an email late Thursday. "Thought it was a cool decal. Took it off because of negative pub." He said he "never was member" of the militia and "didn't know anything about 3% till fake news started this fake story and read about them." Online sleuths had linked him to the truck visible in footage from a CBS News report, earlier Thursday. The #Sedition3PTruck with government plates parked in a restricted zone from 1:02. #SeditionHunters #Sedition3P Source: https://t.co/DubmxJhjSZ pic.twitter.com/INCs6geEYg — Phoenix on Wheels (@phoenixonwheels) February 25, 2021 The Three Percenters, founded in 2008, are a "radical militia group" implicated in leading the Jan. 6 siege along with the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other far-right extremist groups, the FBI said in an affidavit filed in the case against alleged rioter Robert Gieswein. Their name comes from the apocryphal claim that only 3 percent of U.S. colonists fought in the Revolutionary War, and they fashion themselves as the same kind of tyranny-stomping "patriots." Miller's wife, Mary Miller, is most famous for favorably quoting Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at a "Moms for America" rally outside the Capitol on Jan. 5. "Hitler was right on one thing: whoever has the youth has the future," she told the rally, apologizing later when video of her comments went viral but insisting that "some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs." More stories from theweek.comJosh Hawley, Senator NoJournalist Tim O'Brien, who's seen Trump's taxes, thinks Trump's accountant will now flip in D.A. inquiryGOP lawmakers reportedly cite 'public health emergency' in skipping votes, despite speaking at CPAC