US News Roundup: Los Angeles wildfire; GM appeals direct to employees and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 12-10-2019 19:14 IST | Created: 12-10-2019 18:27 IST
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
A fierce, wind-driven wildfire swept through foothills and canyons along the northern edge of Los Angeles on Friday, engulfing homes, closing roads and devouring acres of dry brush and chaparral as 100,000 residents were forced to flee. At least one death was attributed to the fire, a man who authorities said suffered a heart attack while trying to battle encroaching flames on his property rather than heeding evacuation orders.
Shepard Smith exits Fox News after 23 years
Shepard Smith, chief news anchor and breaking new managing editor at Fox, will leave the network, Fox News Media said on Friday. "Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged. Under our agreement, I won't be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future," Smith said on his Friday show.
GM appeals direct to employees as strike losses pile up
General Motors Co took the unusual step of appealing directly to employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out the terms of its latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike. While emphasizing GM's commitment to the collective bargaining process, the letter, signed by Executive Vice-President for Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson, circumvents United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership and points to frustration at a lack of progress on ending a conflict that has already cost the company more than $1 billion.
In California, food spoils, businesses close as power outages imposed
A California dentist canceled dozens of appointments and supermarkets tried to save rotting food on Thursday as electricity was cut to over 600,000 homes and workplaces in a second day of planned power outages to cut wildfire risks. Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) imposed the unprecedented shutoffs as gale-force winds and dry weather continued to pose a critical fire threat in northern California.
Trump urges appeals court to shield tax returns from N.Y. prosecutors
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged a federal appeals court to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his tax returns, arguing that he was immune from criminal investigation as a sitting president. In a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, Trump said there was "broad bipartisan agreement, for decades if not centuries, that a sitting president cannot be subjected to criminal process."
Trump says acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan is stepping down
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was stepping down and a new acting chief of the agency would be named next week. McAleenan became the fourth person to lead the agency under Trump in April after the Republican president asked for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch. Lev Parnas, one of the two associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, served as a translator for lawyers representing oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Parnas was arrested on Thursday along with the other Florida businessman, Igor Fruman, on unrelated charges that included illegally funneling $325,000 to a political action committee supporting pro-Trump candidates.
California bans private prisons and immigration detention centers
California moved to end the use of private, for-profit lockups in America's largest state prison system as well as in federal immigration detention centers in the state under a measure signed into law on Friday by Governor Gavin Newsom. The new law bars the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from entering into or renewing a contract with a private company to run a state prison after Jan. 1, 2020, unless needed to meet court-ordered inmate housing limits. It will ban California from incarcerating anyone in privately run facilities altogether from 2028.
Judge blocks Trump immigration rule, calls it 'repugnant to American Dream'
A U.S. federal judge in New York on Friday temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would deny residency to aspiring immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance, calling it "repugnant to the American Dream." The rule, finalized in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible "public charge," applying to anyone who might in the future need temporary government help such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing aid. Previously it applied to immigrants who would be primarily dependent on the government.
Ex-envoy tells impeachment inquiry Trump ousted her based on 'false claims'
The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on Friday told a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that Trump ousted her based on "unfounded and false claims" after she had come under attack by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, spent more than nine hours in a closed-door meeting with House members and staff. She had been expected to appear last week, but was told not to by the State Department at the behest of the White House, according to Democratic House members. Lawmakers then issued a subpoena for her appearance and she complied.