Review Category : Business

TPP countries agree to keep trade deal alive without US

iStock/Thinkstock(HANOI, Vietnam) — Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have decided to revive their controversial trade deal without the United States.

This comes after Trump signed an executive order in January withdrawing the U.S. from the trade agreement. But the 11 remaining countries met in Hanoi, Vietnam, this weekend to get the deal back on the table — and they agreed to keep the door open for the U.S.

But the Trump-appointed trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, said the U.S. would not return to the TPP.

“The United States pulled out of the TPP, and it’s not going to change that decision,” Lighthizer said at a news conference.

“I believe at some point there will be a series of bilateral agreements with partners in this part of the world,” he added. “Bilateral negotiations are better for the United States.”

The bid to resuscitate the TPP, which would’ve covered 40 percent of the global economy, was led by trade ministers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand, according to the BBC.

The remaining 11 countries pushing on with the deal are Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

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AT&T workers begin weekend strike

AT&T(NEW YORK) — More than 20,000 AT&T employees went on strike Friday afternoon as part of a weekend protest to demand more protections for staffers in retail and call centers.

Among those on the three-day strike include call-center employees, retail workers and technicians. The Communications Workers of America union said landline workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut, and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada would also join, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In March, landline workers picked for one day in California and Nevada to protest plans to replace U.S. call-center jobs with overseas contractors.

This comes at a difficult time for AT&T, which announced in April that it would stop giving investors annual revenue estimates in part because shoppers were waiting longer to buy new smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Trump signs $110 billion arms deal in Saudi Arabia

ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the initial day of his first foreign trip since taking office.

“That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump said. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.

The agreement commits Saudi Arabia to buying military equipment from the U.S. and to hiring American companies to build such equipment in Saudi Arabia, according to Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser. The deal includes tanks and helicopters for border security, ships for coastal security, intelligence-gathering aircraft, a missile-defense radar system and cybersecurity tools, according to the State Department.

In a joint press appearance on Saturday with the Saudi foreign minister, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the pact as a “historic moment in U.S.-Saudi relations.” He also expressed an openness to talks with Iran.

“I’ve never shut off the phone to anyone that wants to talk or have a productive conversation,” he said. “At this point, I have no plans to call my counterpart in Iran, although in all likelihood we will talk at the right time.”

Tillerson said the pact sends a “very strong message to our common enemies” on trying to disrupt “violent extremist messaging” and “financing of terrorism.” He also said the deal “lowers the cost to the American people of providing security in this region.”

The Trump administration has been working to finalize the deal over the past several months. White House press secretary Sean Spicer called the deal “huge news for U.S. companies and American workers who will benefit” in a tweet on Saturday morning.

Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner personally called the president of Lockheed Martin, a major supplier of U.S. military equipment, in order to negotiate a lower price for the radar system, according to the New York Times.

“This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats. Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on U.S. military forces,” the State Department said in a statement.

A White House official added that in addition to demonstrating the U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia “and our Gulf partners,” it also expands “opportunities for American companies in the region, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base.”

Lockheed Martin President Marillyn Hewson praised the deal as one that will bolster the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and “strengthen the cause of peace in the region.”

“At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Hewson said in a statement. “We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the U.S. and in the Kingdom.”

The arms deal includes military sales to Saudi Arabia of $110 billion immediately and $350 billion total over the next decade, according to a White House official. The two countries also agreed to a joint vision statement, private-sector agreements and defense cooperation agreements.

Trump’s first overseas trip since the election also includes planned stops at the Vatican and Israel.

The trip comes as controversy swirls in the U.S. around the investigation into potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, which could distract from the president’s diplomatic mission.

In response to a question about reports that a current White House official is caught up in the investigation, Tillerson said “I do not have any information or knowledge regarding the person of interest.”

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Man subdued after incident on American Airlines flight to Honolulu

American Airlines(HONOLULU) — A man who had been arrested at LAX airport early Friday morning was later subdued after causing a “disturbance” that alarmed flight attendants and an off-duty officer on an American Airlines flight to Honolulu.

American Airlines said in a statement that law enforcement met the plane upon landing in Honolulu following a “disturbance” on the flight. The plane was escorted by two F-22 fighter jets for the duration of the flight following the disturbance, U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement.

Special Agents of the FBI Honolulu Field Office and local police responded ahead of the flight’s arrival and took a passenger into custody. The Department of Homeland Security is continuing to monitor all flights “out of an abundance of caution,” it said.

About halfway through the flight, the passenger, identified as 25-year-old Anil Uskanil, was headed towards the front of the plane. He had a blanket over his head and was mumbling, witnesses said.

It’s unclear how far towards the front of the plane he made it. Some eyewitnesses told ABC News that he tried to push his way through first class to the bathrooms, but was blocked by the beverage cart and a passenger.

Earlier on Friday, a source at the TSA told ABC News that the passenger was waiting for the bathroom near the cockpit when a flight attendant asked him to sit down. He had a laptop with him and appeared to try the cockpit door before he was subdued, the source said. American Airlines has stated that he was “moving towards the cockpit.” After the disturbance, Uskanil was escorted back to his seat, where he was restrained with duct tape, according to witnesses. At no time during the incident was there any violence or significant struggle, witnesses said.

LAX Police told ABC News that at 2:45 a.m. they received a radio call of a passenger moving through a Terminal 5 security door, which led to the airfield ramp. Uskanil, a ticketed passenger on an American Airlines flight who had passed through TSA security, was detained after being spotted. Police determined he had been drinking, but did not meet criteria for public drunkenness. Uskanil was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, cited, given a pending court date, then released from custody.

American Airlines says Uskanil then went back thru a TSA checkpoint in Terminal 4 where his flight to Honolulu was leaving from and boarded the flight. The airline also says that he had bought his ticket for the Honolulu flight shortly after midnight at the airport ticket counter.

Law enforcement is now responding to analyze a suspicious item associated with Uskanil, a source told ABC News.

Flight 31 from Los Angeles landed safely at 11:35 a.m. local time, according to American Airlines. All passengers are off the plane and safe, and operations at the airport have resumed as normal.

A total of 181 passengers and six crew members were on board, according to the airline.

The incident is under investigation. Halting of all ground movements on the airfield as the flight came in caused a 30-minute backlog, the Department of Transportation said in a statement. The DOT expected the backlog to be resolved by the end of peak travel in the afternoon.

Further details were not immediately available.

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Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hobbyists who buy new drones no longer have to register the aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to an appeals court decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit cited a law passed by Congress in 2012 that states the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

In 2015, the FAA issued the Registration Rule, requiring all drone owners to register their model aircrafts, defined by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act as “an unmanned aircraft…flown for hobby or recreational purposes.”

The court ruled in favor of John Taylor, a model aircraft hobbyist from the Washington, D.C.-area, who filed petitions challenging the FAA’s rule.

“Aviation safety is obviously an important goal, and the Registration Rule may well help further that goal to some degree,” according to the decision by the three-judge panel, adding that Congress is “always free to repeal or amend its 2012 prohibition on FAA rules regarding model aircraft.”

In a statement, the FAA said it was “carefully reviewing” the decision.

“The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats,” the statement said. “We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

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Man subdued after trying to breach cockpit on American Airlines flight to Honolulu, source says

American Airlines(HONOLULU) — A man was subdued after he allegedly tried to breach the cockpit of an American Airlines flight to Honolulu, a source familiar with the situation told ABC News.

American Airlines said in a statement that law enforcement met the plane upon landing in Honolulu following a “disturbance” on the flight. The plane was escorted by two F-22 fighter jets for the duration of the flight following the disturbance, U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement.

A source at the TSA told ABC News that the man was waiting for the bathroom near the cockpit when a flight attendant asked him to sit down. He had a laptop with him and appeared to try the cockpit door before he was subdued, the source said.

The man has been detained, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. The DHS is continuing to monitor all flights “out of an abundance of caution,” it said.

DHS Statement: pic.twitter.com/lrZAYL4D6h

— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) May 19, 2017

Law enforcement is now responding to analyze a suspicious item associated with the man, a source told ABC News.

Flight 31 from Los Angeles landed safely at 11:35 a.m. local time, according to American Airlines. All passengers are off the plane and safe, and operations at the airport have resumed as normal.

A total of 181 passengers and six crew members were on board, according to the airline.

The incident is under investigation.

Further details were not immediately available.

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US stocks close higher as investors shake off turmoil in Washington

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street had a second straight day of gains as investors shrugged off worries about political turmoil in Washington, D.C.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 141.82 (+0.69 percent) to finish at 20,804.84.

The Nasdaq gained 28.57 (+0.47 percent) to close at 6,083.70 while the S&P 500 finished at 2,381.73, up 16.01 (+0.68 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 2 percent higher with prices over $50 per barrel.

President Trump: Wednesday was the worst day of the year for stocks after reports President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to stop the investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Investors worried the focus was turning away from the administration’s pro-business agenda, but their concerns were eased after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to the investigation.

Winners and Losers: A weak earnings report from Foot Locker Retail, Inc. caused the footwear retailer to slump about 17 percent.

Shares of Deere & Company soared 7 percent after beating analysts’ earnings expectations and boosting revenue guidance for the year.

Vistra Energy Corp is reportedly in talks to acquire electric company Dynegy Inc. Shares of the power producers were up about 2 percent and 26 percent higher respectively.

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Yale dean placed on leave after calling people ‘white trash’ on Yelp

eterspiro/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, CT) — A Yale University dean has been placed on leave after writing controversial remarks on her Yelp reviews of local businesses, including calling people who dined at one restaurant “white trash.”

Screenshots obtained by Yale Daily News on Saturday afternoon reveal several controversial reviews posted using the Yelp account of June Chu, dean of Pierson College.

In an email to the Pierson community obtained by ABC News, Head of College Stephen Davis said Chu has been placed on leave and will not be participating in commencement activities or working with students through the end of the academic year.

In one review for a Japanese Restaurant written seven months ago, Chu wrote that going to the restaurant is the “perfect night out for you” if you are “white trash.”

“This establishment is definitely not authentic by any stretch of any imagination and perfect for those low class folks who believe this is a real night out,” she wrote.

Chu often stated plainly in her reviews that she was “Asian.”

In another review posted three months ago for a Mochi eatery, Chu made additional controversial statements while complaining about the quality and price of the dessert.

“Remember: I am Asian,” Chu wrote. “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.”

In a review written for an Asian fusion restaurant last month, Chu wrote that she is “Chinese American” and typically hates going out to dinner for Chinese food.

“This is not your typical greasy trashy Chinese joint — and I love it,” Chu wrote.

In a review for a burrito restaurant, Chu mentioned that she complained that the rice was not done to the staff, saying, “I am Asian, I know rice.”

The most recent review, written last week, praised a movie theater for not having “sketchy crowds” despite it being located in the city of New Haven, where the university is located.

Chu apologized for her reviews in an email to the residential college community on Saturday, the Yale Daily News reported.

“I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another,” Chu wrote. “My remarks were wrong. There are no two ways about it. Not only were they insensitive in matters related to class and race; they demean the values to which I hold myself and which I offer as a member of this community.”

Davis said that he originally thought Chu had only written two Yelp reviews that contained “inappropriate and unacceptable language pertaining to matters of class and race” and had asked the community to envision “a way forward.”

“I found out that she was in fact responsible for multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern,” he wrote. “The additional posts that surfaced compounded the harm of the initial two, and they also further damaged my trust and confidence in Dean Chu’s accountability to me and ability to lead the students of Pierson College.”

Chu did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Trump intends to renegotiate NAFTA as early as August

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The White House has formally told Congress that the Trump administration plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, starting a countdown clock until talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico can begin in August.

“NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not. Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards,” reads a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to Congressional leadership on Thursday. “I am pleased to notify the Congress that the President intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”

The letter begins a 90-day window before beginning formal negotiations as early as August 16.

“The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities under NAFTA,” the letter reads.

Trump made renegotiation of NAFTA a staple of his presidential campaign last year, asserting that the United States was at a disadvantage in trade with its northern and southern neighbors. Trump blamed lopsided trade relationships around the globe for the loss of manufacturing jobs and lackluster economic growth.

NAFTA was signed under President Bill Clinton in 1993. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the pact if negotiations are unsuccessful.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso said Mexico welcomes the negotiations and that his nation has been kept informed and will approach the process constructively.

“We understand that this is a 25-year-old agreement,” he said at a State Department summit on drug cartels with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday. “The world has changed.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan also acknowledged the letter and his intention to work with the Trump team.

“I welcome the administration’s effort to improve and update NAFTA for the 21st century economy,” Ryan said in a statement. “Congress looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration to achieve the best deal possible for American workers and our economy.”

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Classic Disney animation art headed to auction

Walt Disney Studios(NEW YORK) — A collection of original art from Walt Disney Studios will soon be open for public auction.

Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the movie memorabilia auction, “An Important Animation Art Collection, The Property of a Gentleman” in New York City on June 5.

The sale will feature more than 290 original Disney animation drawings, storyboards, posters, concept art and celluloids, according to Bonhams’ press release.

The collection was amassed over 25 years by a private collector who acquired the art through auctions and dealers. It is comprised of multiple titles and items from more than 60 years of Disney animation, Bonhams said.

The collector released his collection to Bonhams for sale in order to share the work with the next generation, Bonhams told ABC News.

The artwork includes images of character favorites like Cinderella, Pinocchio, Bambi and Mickey Mouse.

Villians like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty in 1959 and the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 are also available for purchase.

Some of the items, such as a celluloid of Snow White, are estimated to be worth between $25,000 an $30,000.

The collection will be on preview at Bonhams Los Angeles from May 19-21 and then will be on display at Bonhams New York from June 2-5.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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