Iran warns against US-led efforts to extend arms embargo
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s U.N. ambassador says he believes a U.S. resolution to extend an arms embargo against his country will be defeated and is warning it would be “a very, very big mistake” if the Trump administration then tries to re-impose U.N. sanctions. Ambassador Majid Ravanchi says restoring U.N. sanctions will end the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and release Tehran from all its commitments. He told reporters: “If that happens, Iran will not be under constraint as to what course of action it should take” and added “all options for Iran will be open.” Lifting the arms embargo is part of the U.N. 2015 Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear agreement.
ASEAN virus fund, sea feud in spotlight in virtual summit
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders are holding an annual summit by video to show unity and discuss a regional emergency fund to tame the crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. The long-divisive South China Sea tensions are also in the spotlight. The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations linked up online due to travel restrictions and health risks, which have delayed dozens of meetings and shut out the ceremonial spectacles, group handshakes and photo-ops that have been the trademark of the bloc’s annual summits. Vietnam, the current chair, had planned face-to-face meetings, but most member states assessed it was still too risky for leaders to travel. A high-priority project is an COVID-19 fund to help member states purchase medical supplies and protective suits.
UNICEF: Millions of Yemeni children may starve amid pandemic
CAIRO (AP) — The U.N. children’s agency says that millions of Yemeni children could be pushed to the brink of starvation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the war-torn Arab country amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian aid funding. UNICEF on Friday released a new report, “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19.” It says the number of malnourished Yemeni children could reach 2.4 million by the end of the year. Yemen’s devastated health infrastructure is unprepared to battle the coronavirus after five years of war between a Saudi-led military coalition and the country’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The war, which has mostly stalemated, has also triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Data privacy, other measures qualify for California ballot
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California voters will weigh in this November on whether to expand a landmark data privacy law, alter a decades-old law that limits property taxes on businesses and exempt ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft from a new state labor law. They are among 11 measures Secretary of State Alex Padilla certified on Thursday for the Nov. 3 ballot. Two are constitutional amendments that would overturn the state’s ban on affirmative action and another to restore the voting rights of people with felony convictions who are on parole. A referendum will ask voters to decide whether the state should eliminate cash bail.
Mueller report witness to be sentenced on child sex charges
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A Lebanese American businessman who was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and who helped broker the release of American hostages is slated to receive at least a 10-year prison sentence on child sex charges. George Nader pleaded guilty in January to bringing a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic to the U.S. 20 years ago to engage in sexual activity. He also admitted possessing child pornography. Nader’s name appears more than 100 times in the Mueller report. Also, in the 1990s, Nader served as a broker to facilitate the release of U.S. hostages held in the Middle East. The convictions carry a 10-year mandatory minimum.
House passes sweeping police overhaul after Floyd’s death
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a far-reaching policing overhaul from Democrats. It was a vote heavy with emotion and symbolism as they sought to address the global outcry over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans. But Congress is divided and chances for it becoming law are dim. A Senate Republican effort collapsed this week. President Donald Trump’s administration says he will veto the Democratic bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with lawmakers on the Capitol steps to challenge Congress to not let the deaths be in vain. It’s exactly one month since Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked a global reckoning over police tactics and racial injustice.
Police: Missing girls were never at Milwaukee home set afire
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee police say two missing teenage girls were never at a Milwaukee house that was set on fire during unrest that saw three people shot and 10 police officers and a firefighter injured as a large unruly crowd gathered at the scene of the investigation. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd Tuesday night as tensions rose and rumors spread online about the girls, ages 13 and 15. Police said during interviews the girls denied ever being at the house or knowing anyone who lived there, and there was no evidence human trafficking occurred at the house. Both girls have been found and are with their families. Police say two 14-year-old children and a 24-year-old man were shot during the unrest, but not by police.
Trump wants federal hiring to focus on skills over degrees
WASHINGTON (AP) — A job applicants’ skills could soon take priority over a college degree for federal workers. President Donald Trump is preparing to direct the federal government to overhaul its hiring practices. That’s the word from Trump administration and industry officials. Trump is set to sign an executive order on Friday outlining this new direction for the federal government, which is the nation’s largest employer. The White House isn’t eliminating degree requirements altogether but instead will stress skills in jobs where having a degree is less important. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, says the shift will help diversify and improve the workforce.
Fed stops big banks from buying back stock, caps dividends
NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Reserve says a worst-case scenario for the U.S. economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic would cause the nation’s 34 largest banks to collectively lose roughly $700 billion. To bolster the banks ahead such a potentially damaging recession, the Fed ordered them to suspend buybacks of their own stock and cap dividend payouts until Sept. 30. The moves came as the central bank unveiled its latest “stress tests,’” which are designed to gauge the resiliency of the nation’s largest banks. The annual tests change every year, and passing the tests is a requirement for the banks to start buying back shares or paying out dividends.
Verizon joins ad boycott of Facebook over hateful content
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Verizon is joining an escalating movement to siphon advertising away from Facebook in an effort to pressure the company into doing more to prevent racist and violent information from being shared on its social networking service. The decision announced Thursday by one of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies is part of an boycott organized by civil rights and other advocacy groups under the rallying cry of “#StopHateforProfit.” The protest was spurred by last month’s killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Facebook says it is in talks with the boycott organizers in an effort to become a “force for good.”