HOUSTON (Reuters) - A strike by U.S. refinery workers that entered its 16th day on Monday could spread if there is no progress in talks this week with plant owners on safe staffing levels, said the lead negotiator for the United Steelworkers union (USW). "The longer that this strike rolls on, the more people that will be affected," said Gary Beevers, USW international vice president, in a telephone interview on Monday. Asked if the lack of progress in talks with lead oil company negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc could result in strikes at more plants, Beevers said: "There certainly will be." About 5,200 workers from 11 plants, including nine refineries accounting for 13 percent of U.S. capacity, were walking picket lines after talks between the USW and Shell Oil Co failed to reach an agreement on a new national contract. Face-to-face negotiations between the two sides are scheduled to resume on Wednesday. Shell said it would need a week to fulfill an information request about the use of contractors by refiners. The USW has said the company is also considering a counterproposal from the union. "We're going to talk about safe staffing one way or the other," Beevers said. For the union, the use of non-union contractors and lack of an industry-wide policy on preventing worker fatigue are key obstacles to safe staffing. A Shell representative was not immediately available to discuss negotiations. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Terry Wade, Steve Orlofsky and Tom Brown)
- Yahoo News
These are the issues the Biden administration will be dealing with on the foreign policy front.
- NBC News
Biden's acting attorney general signed off on reassigning prosecutor who objected to family separations
The incident would have made Wilkinson aware families were being separated long before the Texas pilot program for zero tolerance was known to the public.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- 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.
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.
- Reuters Videos
President Joe Biden signed 15 executive actions on Wednesday hours after he was sworn into office, many aimed at sweeping away former President Donald Trump's policies, including mandating masks on federal property.
- Architectural Digest
“The materials and colors took center stage,” said David Lucas when it came to the design of the home.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Sean Hannity denounces Biden’s first week as ‘disastrous’ before the president completed a full day of work
‘The Biden administration is off to a very rocky start,’ Fox News host says
- Christian Science Monitor
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.
A Nigerian court threw out two blasphemy convictions on Thursday that had caused an international outcry, freeing a teenager from a 10-year prison sentence and ordering a new trial for a man sentenced to death. The two had been convicted in August by a sharia court in Nigeria's northern, mainly Muslim state of Kano. Teenager Omar Farouq was accused of making blasphemous comments during an argument, while Yahaya Aminu Sharif was accused of having shared a blasphemous message on WhatsApp.
- 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 Week
Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
Among the first 17 executive orders President Biden signed Wednesday evening was one hitting "pause" on construction of former President Donald Trump's border wall. "It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall," Biden's order said. "I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall."Biden gave the Pentagon and Homeland Security departments up to a week to stop all border construction, and for the most part, the frantic wall-building Trump had unleashed in his last months in office had stopped by Thursday, The Associated Press reports. The Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it told its contractors to stop installing any additional barriers and do only what's "necessary to safely prepare each site for a suspension of work."Biden gave his administration 60 days to find and review all current contracts and determine which can be canceled, which must be renegotiated, and whether any of the remaining money can be used on other projects. Trump, as of Jan. 15, had spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in wall construction it had contracted out, a Senate Democratic aide told AP. Overall, the Trump administration had secured $16.45 billion for the wall, including $5.8 billion appropriated by Congress and the rest seized from the Treasury and Defense departments. Biden is targeting that latter pot of money.Trump says he built 450 miles of his wall, though almost all of that was replacement for other barriers. His administration signed contracts for constructing 664 miles, the Senate aide told AP. "Trump said the border wall would be 'virtually impenetrable' and paid for by Mexico, which never happened," AP notes. "While the wall is much more formidable than the barriers it replaced, it isn't uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores."More stories from theweek.com Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- The Independent
Infowars founder claimed shooting was 'a giant hoax’ and that grieving parents were actors
- NBC News
Attorneys for Rittenhouse did not object to the changes. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two amid protests last 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.
- The Telegraph
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump's impeachment trial to February to give the former president time to prepare and review his case. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol riot have signaled they want to move quickly to trial as President Joe Biden begins his term, saying a full reckoning is necessary before the country and Congress can move on. But Mr McConnell in a statement on Thursday evening suggested a more expansive timeline that would see the House transmit the article of impeachment next week, on January 28, launching the trial's first phase. After that, the Senate would give the president's defense team and House prosecutors two weeks to file briefs. Arguments in the trial would likely begin in mid-February. "Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake," especially given the unprecedented speed of the House process, Mr McConnell said. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is reviewing the plan and will discuss it with Mr McConnell, a spokesperson said. The two leaders are also negotiating how the new 50-50 Senate will work and how they will balance other priorities. A trial delay could appeal to some Democrats, as it would give the Senate more time to confirm Mr Biden's Cabinet nominees and debate a new round of coronavirus relief. Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a key ally of the president's, told CNN that Democrats would consider a delay "if we are making progress on confirming the very talented, seasoned and diverse team that President Joe Biden has nominated." The ultimate power over timing rests with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who can trigger the start of the trial at any point by sending to the Senate the charge of incitement of an insurrection. The California Democrat has not yet said when she will do that. "It will be soon. I don't think it will be long, but we must do it," Pelosi said Thursday. She said Trump doesn't deserve a "get-out-of-jail card" just because he has left office and Biden and others are calling for national unity. Facing his second impeachment trial in two years, Mr Trump began to assemble his defence team by hiring attorney Butch Bowers to represent him, according to an adviser. Mr Bowers previously served as counsel to former South Carolina Governors Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina helped Mr Trump find Mr Bowers after members of his past legal teams indicated they did not plan to join the new effort. Trump is at a disadvantage compared to his first trial, in which he had the full resources of the White House counsel's office to defend him.
- The Independent
Former police officer who climbed over fences to get into Capitol during riot claims he was there to see art
Regular phone camera roll shows no images from January 6 but ‘deleted’ folder filled with images and videos of officer inside Capitol building during riot
Greece's foreign minister said he hoped Turkey would have a positive approach towards a meeting next week aimed at reviving long-stalled efforts to open negotiations over disputed territorial claims. The neighbouring countries held 60 rounds of talks between 2002 and 2016, but plans last year for discussions to be resumed foundered over a survey vessel sent by Ankara into disputed waters and disagreements over the topics to be covered. He said the exploratory talks, which were halted in March 2016, were not negotiations but aimed to discover whether there was enough convergence for possible future negotiations on just one specific issue.
- NBC News
The teen spent two weeks creating over 40 fake returns in order to obtain over $980,000, police say.
- Associated Press
The supporters of a splinter group in the Nepal Communist Party marched peacefully in the center of Kathmandu as they demanded that Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli reinstate Parliament. Parliament was dissolved on Dec. 20 at the direction of the prime minister and new elections were announced for April 30 and May 10, 2021.