HOUSTON (Reuters) - The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years could spread if talks over improved safety conditions do not resume soon, United Steelworkers union (USW) International President Leo Gerard said on Tuesday. A total of 6,550 USW members are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of U.S. capacity. Union members work at more than 200 oil terminals, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the U.S. The USW has said it is seeking to retain safety provisions from previous contracts and tighten fatigue standards for workers, as well as win back daily maintenance jobs now done by non-union contractors. "(The strike spreading) depends on what happens in the next round of negotiations and that those negotiations resume fairly quickly," Gerard in a telephone news conference from Atlanta. Gerard, who is attending the AFL-CIO winter conference in Atlanta, said no date has been set for resuming negotiations. A Shell spokesman also said a resumption of talks had not been scheduled as of Tuesday morning. Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc [RDSa.L], is the lead oil company negotiator. Talks broke off on Friday, after which the USW ordered workers at three Motiva refineries, including the nation's largest, which are co-owned by Shell, to walk off their jobs on Saturday and Sunday. Sources familiar with the talks told Reuters on Monday that face-to-face negotiations may not resume this week. That was a change from the weekend, when sources said meetings might resume by the middle of this week. Gerard also said a "handful" of USW members have crossed picket lines to return to their jobs at refineries and other plants. Tesoro Corp, which owns three West Coast refineries where workers are on strike, said some workers have returned to their jobs at all three plants. It declined to say exactly how many workers have returned to their jobs. Gerard said fires or explosions have occurred every eight days on average since an April 2010 blast at Tesoro's refinery in Anacortes, Washington, which claimed the lives of seven workers. "From 2010 to now, there have been 27 people who have been killed," Gerard said, referring to deaths from accidents at refineries. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alan Crosby)
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The inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was splashed across the front pages of newspapers in the United States and around the world on Thursday, a day after they were sworn into office.
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Biden's acting attorney general signed off on reassigning prosecutor who objected to family separations
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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.
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Facing federal charges that could land them in prison, some of the defendants charged with participating in the attack at the U.S. Capitol are preparing to shift the blame onto other participants — or to former President Donald Trump.
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Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained 863 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square. Riot police were deployed to most of the protesting cities, with local media reporting violent detentions in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. OVD-Info, a citizen project that collects information on protesters’ detentions, reported over 863 arrests across Russia by Saturday afternoon. The protests were triggered by the arrest of Mr Navalny who returned to Russia last Sunday for the first time since he was poisoned and airlifted to Germany for treatment.
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On the Senate floor on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday.
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Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted an apparent missile or drone attack over its capital, Riyadh, amid the kingdom's yearslong war against neighboring Yemen's Houthi rebels. Saudi state TV quoted authorities in the kingdom acknowledging the interception. The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh.
With the dawn of the Biden administration comes Cholleti Vinay Reddy, the country’s first Indian American presidential speechwriter. Reddy’s roots originate from Pothireddypeta, a rural village in the Indian state of Telangana, whose residents have been celebrating his latest milestone: Biden’s inaugural address. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Reddy is believed to have acquired his political acumen from his grandfather, Tirupathi, who served as the village sarpanch (head) for 30 years.
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Alexei Navalny is back in Russia and calling for protests against Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. But his sway with the Russian public remains modest.
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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.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday expressed his "disappointment" with President Biden's executive order to rescind permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, in a readout of the president's first official call with a foreign leader.Why it matters: The prime minister has long backed the pipeline meant to carry crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. Biden, however, campaigned on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: In a news conference earlier Friday, Trudeau said: “We have so much alignment — not just me and President Biden, but Canadians and President Biden." He added, "I’m very much looking forward to working with President Biden,” per the New York Times. * On the call, however, Trudeau "raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline," according to the readout. * "The Prime Minister underscored the important economic and energy security benefits of our bilateral energy relationship as well as his support for energy workers."The big picture: The pipeline project originally came with an $8 billion price tag and was expected to carry roughly 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada through Nebraska, per The Washington Post. * Though President Obama rejected the pipeline, President Trump gave it the green light once in office. * Lawsuits slowed construction on the project throughout Trump's administration. * Two Native American communities sued the government over the pipeline last year, charging the government did not consult with tribes on the pipeline's proposed path, which crosses tribal lands. * Its permit repeal is one of several "critical first steps to address the climate crisis, create good union jobs, and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies," according to the Biden administration.In their Friday call, the two leaders discussed collaborating on COVID vaccines and the flow of critical medical supplies, efforts to work with Indigenous people and plans to address climate change through cross-border clean electricity transmission and net-zero emissions. * "Both leaders have made combating climate change, defending human rights and strengthening international institutions central to their platforms," the Times writes. * "The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to multilateral institutions and alliance," per the readout.Flashback: In 2017, Trudeau touted the Keystone XL pipeline, saying: "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there. The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely and sustainably." Go deeper: Biden talks climate in calls with foreign leadersBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
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.
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After an unexplained delay, the Pentagon announced plans Thursday to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are suspected of involvement in deadly bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2003. A senior military legal official approved non-capital charges that include conspiracy, murder and terrorism for the three men, who have been in U.S. custody for 17 years for their alleged roles in the deadly bombing of Bali nightclubs in 2002 and a year later of a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. The timing of the charges, which had been submitted under President Donald Trump but not finalized, caught attorneys for the men by surprise and would seem to be in conflict with President Joe Biden's intention to close the detention center.
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‘We’re a National Guard family’: Jill Biden visits Capitol troops with cookies after some were forced to stay in garage
"The National Guard always holds a special place in the hearts of all the Bidens. So thank you,” Dr Biden says
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Donald Trump's impeachment trial will be delayed for two weeks after Senate leaders on Friday agreed a deal that will give President Biden time to begin his legislative agenda. House Democrats had on Friday vowed to send an article of impeachment charging Mr Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate next week, setting on course the second Senate trial for Mr Trump, the only US president to be impeached twice, and the first to face trial after leaving office. But Senate leaders agreed on Friday evening to delay the trial to give Mr Biden time to install his new cabinet and prepare key legislation. Democrats in the House, led by Nancy Pelosi, still intend to deliver the charge on Monday but Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, said the proceedings would pause until the week of February 8. The extra time will also allow the prosecution and defence teams time to exchange written legal arguments. Mr Schumer said: “During that period, the Senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as cabinet nominations and the Covid relief bill, which would provide relief for millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic.” Earlier, Democrats had effectively rejected a request from Republicans to delay the start of proceedings to give Mr Trump time to prepare his defence. Mr Schumer had declined to give a timetable for the proceedings but the chamber's rules dictate that the trial must begin very soon after the article of impeachment arrives. "There will be a trial," Mr Schumer said. "It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial".
Hungary cannot lift restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until it can carry out a mass inoculation of the people, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday. Orban said the best approach was to authorise the use of several vaccines as competition would force manufacturers to speed up shipments. "We don't need explanations, we need vaccines," Orban said, adding that he hoped Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who is in Moscow for talks on Friday, can secure a deal to buy Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
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At a White House press conference Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci made several remarks about what it was like working with the Trump administration, saying that his transparency got him “in trouble sometimes.” He said that now, however, it's “somewhat of a liberating feeling” to base his statements on science without fear of a backlash from President Biden.