In our news wrap Wednesday, General Motors and United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal to end a month-long strike. Union leaders meet Thursday to vote on the deal, which UAW said won major gains for some 49,000 workers. Also, the U.S. special envoy on Iran says the withdrawal from northeast Syria does not undermine efforts to pressure Iran.
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In the day's other news: General Motors and United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal to end a month-long strike. Terms of the four-year contract were not released, but the UAW said it won major gains for some 49,000 workers. The union had demanded higher wages, better pay for new hires, and a promise to build more vehicles inside the U.S. Union leaders meet tomorrow to vote on the deal.
The U.S. special envoy on Iran says the withdrawal from Northeast Syria doesn't undermine efforts to pressure Iran. At a hearing today, senators from both sides warned the pullout will aid the Syrian regime and its Iranian allies.
But Brian Hook disagreed:
President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
I gave a speech a couple of weeks ago looking at the sort of history of the regime.
The president's decision with respect to Syria is not going to change our Iran strategy or the efficacy of it. Iran doesn't have the money that it used to, to support Assad and support its proxies. So Iran is going to face a dilemma. They can either support guns in Syria or prioritize the needs of their own people at home.
President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year, and has imposed a wide range of economic sanctions.
There were signs today of a possible new Brexit deal may be close. Britain and the European held talks through the night and into the day. The chief E.U. negotiator reported good progress. The leaders of France and Germany said an agreement could be sealed at an E.U. summit tomorrow.
Spain is enduring a third night of street violence over Catalonia's push for independence. In Barcelona, thousands turned out and battled riot police this evening. Protesters set fires and threw rocks and bottles.
The violence began Monday after nine separatist leaders were convicted of sedition and sent to prison.
In Hong Kong, chief executive leader Carrie Lam criticized votes in the U.S. Congress backing pro-democracy demonstrators. She warned it could — quote — "hurt American interests in Hong Kong," and she noted there are more than 1,400 American businesses and 85,000 U.S. citizens in the city.
Carrie Lam (through translator):
I don't need foreign parliaments to tell us how important Hong Kong's human rights, freedoms and judiciary are, because these are the core values of Hong Kong, which every Hong Kong person will try their best to safeguard.
Earlier, pro-democracy lawmakers jeered and blocked Lam as she tried to give an annual speech. She eventually spoke via video link and insisted Hong Kong is still a — quote — "very free society."
Also today, a leading protest organizer was attacked by unknown assailants with hammers. Supporters charged it was part of a campaign of political terror.
Chinese tech giant Huawei has reported a double-digit gain in sales, in the face of U.S. sanctions. The company said today that sales for the year were up 24 percent through September. President Trump says Huawei is a security risk, and, last May, he limited its access to U.S. technology. So far, though, he has delayed enforcing those sanctions.
Back in this country, New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill aimed at President Trump's use of his pardon power. It will let the state prosecute people even after they receive pardons for federal crimes. The goal is to ensure that the president cannot use pardons to derail state investigations of his associates.
Jury selection began today in Cleveland in the first federal trial stemming from the opioid epidemic. Two Ohio counties are suing six drugmakers and distributors. Some 2,000 other suits are still pending. Today's proceedings come amid reports that three of the companies are offering a settlement of $18 billion over 18 years.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 22 points to close below 27002. The Nasdaq fell 24 points, and the S&P 500 slipped six.