News Briefing - Wednesday, November 15th 2023
From US Top News and Analysis
Here's why the UAW's record deals with GM, Ford and Stellantis aren't getting full support
The United Auto Workers (UAW) has secured record contracts for its members with Detroit automakers after contentious talks and labor strikes. However, not all union members are satisfied with the tentative agreements. While the agreements were recommended for ratification by UAW leaders and were expected to pass, support has been narrowing. Several major assembly plants, representing approximately 21% of General Motors' UAW-represented employees, have rejected the pact, along with one of Ford's largest plants. Reasons behind the disapproval vary, including concerns about unequal treatment of veteran and newer workers, retirement benefits, and language in the agreements. There is also lingering distrust in union leadership following past corruption scandals. Some workers believe that the tentative agreements do not go far enough in meeting their needs, citing expectations of higher pay increases, traditional pensions, retiree healthcare for all, and the elimination of "tiers" and a shorter workweek. The UAW reached separate tentative deals with each automaker, so a failure of one agreement does not impact the others.
House passes bill to avoid government shutdown, Senate to vote next
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would prevent a government shutdown. The bill, known as a "laddered" continuing resolution (CR), will fund parts of the government until January 19, 2023, and others until February 2, 2023. It is now expected to pass in the Senate and then go to President Joe Biden for final approval. The bill received broad bipartisan support in the House, with 336 in favor and 95 opposed. However, it is notable that 93 Republicans broke with party leaders and voted against the bill. This vote may signal trouble for House Speaker Mike Johnson within his own party, as ultra-conservatives had previously criticized his predecessor for not taking a harder line on spending bills. Despite reservations, Democrats publicly backed the bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that he and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will move the bill swiftly through the Senate.
China's unfinished property projects are 20 times the size of Country Garden
According to a report from Nomura, the issue of delayed home deliveries in China could become a social issue that puts social stability at risk. The collapsing property sector and credit fallout among property developers have caused delays in construction and left homebuyers waiting for the delivery of their purchased new homes. The report highlights that last year, many homebuyers in China chose not to pay their mortgages due to these delays. The analysts suggest that if the issue of home delivery continues to persist, it could endanger social stability and ultimately require Beijing to provide significant policy support. The Nomura analysts believe that restoring confidence in the property sector and the overall economy hinges on resolving this issue. They estimate that even with a 20% volume growth in new home completions this year, developers will only manage to deliver 48% of the homes pre-sold between 2015 and 2020, leaving 52% still subject to delays.
From BBC News - Home
Suella Braverman accuses PM of betrayal in scathing letter
Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has launched a scathing attack on Rishi Sunak, accusing him of repeatedly failing on key policies and breaking pledges over immigration. Braverman claimed that she had agreed to serve in Sunak’s cabinet on the condition that he made commitments in key areas, including curbs on human rights law to ensure the Rwanda asylum policy was not derailed by legal challenges. However, she alleged that Sunak’s compromises during the passage of the Illegal Migration Act had left the policy “vulnerable” to legal challenges under the European Convention of Human Rights. Braverman’s attack comes on the eve of the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on the lawfulness of the asylum plan.
NHS England promises to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040
The NHS in England has pledged to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040 through improved rates of vaccination and screening. Currently, around 2,600 women in England are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. To achieve the goal of eliminating the cancer, the World Health Organization recommends that vaccination rates reach 90% and screening rates reach 70%. In England, approximately 86% of girls and 81% of boys receive the HPV vaccine, which protects against the human papillomavirus, responsible for 99% of cervical cancers. However, one-third of eligible individuals do not come forward for screening. NHS England plans to expand trials of self-testing screening kits to address this issue. Since the introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2008, cervical cancer rates among vaccinated girls have decreased by 87%, suggesting an impending drop in incidence rates.
The online black market cashing in on weight loss jab hype
An investigation by the BBC has uncovered the illicit sale of semaglutide, a weight loss drug, through social media and in beauty salons across the UK. Semaglutide is an active ingredient in Ozempic, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Demand for the drug surged after it was reported to be a secret weight loss drug favoured by Hollywood stars. The surge in demand led to a global shortage of the drug for diabetes patients in the UK, and prompted an online black market. The BBC found sellers offering semaglutide as a medicine without prescription, with often low-quality or unregulated products being sold. Buyers who were receiving semaglutide had no guarantee as to what they were consuming, as the drug was often being mixed and delivered by amateur sellers without appropriate quality controls in place. Experts warn of the significant health risks associated with using counterfeit drugs outside of the regulated system.
From - RSS Channel - App International Edition
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be broadcast by news outlets, according to the judge presiding over the case. However, Judge Juan Merchan will allow five pool photographers to take still photos in the courtroom before the proceedings officially begin. The media had requested permission to broadcast the arraignment, but the judge rejected the request. Trump's lawyers supported the judge's decision, while the Manhattan District Attorney's office did not take a position. The arraignment is expected to reveal the criminal charges against Trump, which have not yet been made public. The charges stem from an investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to women who alleged affairs with Trump. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyers have vowed to fight the charges.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman provides insight into why former President Donald Trump launched attacks on a judge and his family during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Haberman suggests that Trump's verbal attacks were driven by his frustration and anger regarding the legal charges he was facing. Trump was arraigned on felony charges, and in response, he lashed out at the judge, accusing him of being biased and unfair. Haberman believes that this tactic was an attempt by Trump to delegitimize the legal process and undermine the judge's credibility. She explains that Trump often relies on personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric as a way to deflect from uncomfortable situations or to rally his supporters. By attacking the judge and his family, Trump may have aimed to create a narrative that he was being unfairly targeted and victimized. Haberman's analysis provides insight into the motivations behind Trump's behavior and sheds light on his tactics for influencing public opinion.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first tranche of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The IMF recently approved a four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of around $15.6 billion for Ukraine. This forms part of a $115 billion total support package. The program aims to stabilize fiscal, external, price, and financial conditions in Ukraine, and support economic recovery. It also seeks to enhance governance and strengthen institutions as part of Ukraine's path to EU accession. Additionally, the program will enable Ukraine to implement more ambitious structural reforms. The Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan is the first major conventional financing program approved by the IMF for a country involved in a large-scale war. The risks to the arrangement are considered "exceptionally high," according to the IMF's first deputy managing director. Success depends on securing external financing on concessional terms to close financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.