Morocco quake toll above 2,600 and expected to rise – National & International News – MON 11Sep2023

Morocco quake toll above 2,600, aid in worst-hit areas slow to arrive.

Stellantis reports “progress” in UAW talks to avert auto strike.

Meadows seeks stay after bid to move GA prosecution to federal court fails.


Stellantis reports “progress” in UAW talks to avert automaker strike

Last week, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain warned that he would call a workers’ strike at Ford, GM, and Stellantis if none of them had a tentative contract agreement by the time the current contracts expire at 11:59pm on Thursday. Fain is seeking a 46% pay rise for UAW members over the life of the contract, which is three years.

The union is also seeking an end to an unpopular two-tiered compensation scheme at the companies, as well as the return of traditional defined-benefit pensions for new hires. UAW also wants to ensure that new battery plants for electric vehicles are unionized, since workers currently making internal combustion-powered vehicles will need somewhere to go as the industry transitions to EVs.

Stellantis, which is the parent company of Chrysler, says it has been making progress in talks with union representatives. Fain says all three automakers are waiting till the eleventh hour to make serious offers. Fain called previous offers, which offered between 10%-12% raises, “insulting”.

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Meadows seeks stay after bid to move Georgia election prosecution to federal court fails

Last Friday, a US District Court judge rejected a request from former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to have the criminal charges against him in Georgia moved into federal court. In Georgia, Trump, Meadows and 17 others are charged for criminal conspiracy to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in the state.

Meadows requested that his charges move out of state jurisdiction into federal court, arguing that he was acting “under color” of his duties as a federal employee, when, among other things, he arranged and participated in a call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that call, Trump told Raffensperger he wanted to “find” 11,000-odd votes he needed to reverse his loss, and intimated that Raffensperger would face legal consequences if he didn’t comply. 

Judge Steve Jones rejected Meadow’s argument, saying that arranging this phone call was Meadows acting as part of the Trump campaign rather than as a White House Chief of Staff. Meadows immediately launched an appeal of Jones’ decision. Now, Meadows has asked for a stay of Jones’ ruling, arguing that the federal appeal will not happen until after a possible Oct. 23 trial date in Georgia. 

Last week, Trump announced that he would also be seeking to move his Georgia charges into federal court, with a similar argument to Meadows. If Trump is convicted in federal court and still wins the 2024 Presidential race, he can pardon himself. Presidents cannot pardon people convicted in state courts.

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Morocco quake toll above 2,600, aid in worst-hit areas slow to arrive

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco on Friday. The powerful initial tremor and several aftershocks have devastated entire communities. Even those whose homes weren’t completely destroyed have been sleeping outside, fearing that an aftershock c0uld bring down more already compromised structures.

Rescue and recovery work has been slow and difficult. Even with international volunteers arriving, crumbling or destroyed mountain roads have made it impossible for aid to reach some of the hardest hit areas. In some areas, bringing in heavy equipment like earth movers will be impossible for the foreseeable future. So far, the confirmed death toll has reached 2,600 and will climb higher in the days, weeks and months to come.

The Moroccan government has been criticized for only accepting offers of help from certain countries, namely Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates. Numerous other countries have offered help, but the government says it isn’t yet able to accept help from everywhere. 

A state news agency said that authorities, “have carried out a precise assessment of needs on the ground, given the fact that non-coordination in such situations could be counterproductive”. Following the catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey earlier this year, help immediately began arriving from all over the world and the Turkish government was lambasted for its inability to efficiently coordinate aid. Both Turkish grassroots and international organizations reported having to coordinate amongst themselves.

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