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    The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • At first glance, this year's edition of the North American International Auto Show might look like any other from the past: Gleaming vehicles, bright lights and flashy displays trying to lure spectators to their offerings. But after traversing Cobo Center's massive exhibition space and ticking off the automakers, you'll notice what's not there: namely BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi or Mazda. Those brands had been mainstays of the Motor City's celebration of the auto industry, which opens to the public on Saturday. But they are pulling out not just from Detroit but shows worldwide because of a bad date for their vehicle launch cycle, a declining bang for their buck, or bigger buzz from solo events or digital campaigns that go straight to consumers. In response, auto shows are retooling to remain relevant: moving their events on the calendar or amping up the customer experience by offering test tracks and collecting data on visitors. Detroit auto show chairman Bill Golling is helming the city's last winter show before NAIAS prepares its move next year to the more weather-friendly month of June. Warmer temperatures will allow for test drives of new vehicles and autonomous and vehicle-to-vehicle technologies, as well as reduced time and costs for setup and teardown. 'We can now give additional time and give that experience to the consumers,' Golling said. 'Not only test drives of the product itself but the technology will be available to test drive it, the autonomy, the connected cars. They can't get that over the internet.' As companies have left, so have automotive reporters. The show had just under 4,600 journalists this year, but normally has more than 5,000, organizers said. As for public attendance, Detroit has drawn around 800,000 for the past several years. Representatives for the auto shows in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago say they don't release attendance figures. A spokesman for the New York show would only say that it has drawn more than a million attendees every year for the past 15 years, and Los Angeles says hundreds of thousands attend annually. Chicago Auto Show General Manager Dave Sloan says attendance is 'pretty consistent,' but BMW and Mercedes-Benz have pulled out of next month's show. He's quick to add that others, such as Jaguar Land Rover, are increasing their show floor space. 'We're concerned about it,' he conceded. 'We're doing everything we can to try and show them that performance.' Those efforts include installing indoor test tracks and outdoor test drives, he said, because 'butts in seats is a great way to show off your vehicles.' Still, the overall trend continues for companies to explore other promotional paths, and 'not just for auto shows but globally in all different industries,' said Sam Abuelsamid, a senior analyst with Navigant Research. 'Big companies are increasingly moving toward getting away from announcing new products, making major announcements ... where they're fighting for attention with 15-20 other companies and (instead) doing standalone events.' Many automakers reject an all-or-nothing proposition. Detroit-based General Motors got good exposure for the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox small SUV outside of any auto show. GM President Mark Reuss said 'it's hard to get the right exposure in the right medium' at an auto show, but he sees a balance. 'I don't think it goes away,' he said of the shows. 'It's important that we're here and doing big things in Detroit.' Luxury makes Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover are skipping the Geneva auto show in March. Volvo said it's continuing to 'move away from traditional auto industry events to focus on bespoke activities to introduce its new cars, technologies and services to media and consumers.' Last year, Volvo unveiled the new model of its V60 wagon — not at an exhibition center, but in the driveway of a home in suburban Stockholm. Björn Annwall, Volvo's senior vice president of strategy, brand and retail, said last year that 'automatic attendance at traditional industry events is no longer viable — we must tailor our communications based on how the options complement our messaging, timing and the nature of the technology we are presenting.' 'We are not saying never to car shows. We expect industry events like the Geneva Motor Show to continue evolving and we may return in future.' Volkswagen officials say it was important to be in Detroit this year, even though its Audi and Porsche were not. 'For us, it's a must,' VW CEO Herbert Diess said. He acknowledged that 'shows are declining' globally, but affirmed the automaker's decision to stick with the Motor City. 'I just had a walkthrough the show — I had a good impression,' he added. 'There's a lot of new product being shown here, so why not?' ___ Associated Press writers David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, and Mike Householder in Detroit contributed to this story.
  • A wheeled robot named Marty is rolling into nearly 500 grocery stores to alert employees if it encounters spilled granola, squashed tomatoes or a broken jar of mayonnaise. But there could be a human watching from behind its cartoonish googly eyes. Badger Technologies CEO Tim Rowland says its camera-equipped robots stop after detecting a potential spill. But to make sure, humans working in a control center in the Philippines review the imagery before triggering a cleanup message over the loudspeaker. Rowland says 25 of the robots are now operating at certain Giant, Martin's and Stop & Shop stores, with 30 more arriving each week. Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based Giant says it has two robots now working at stores in the state, and plans to expand to all 172 Giant stores by the middle of this year. The chains are all part of Dutch parent company Ahold Delhaize. The robots move around using laser-based 'lidar' sensors and pause when shoppers and their carts veer into their path. The googly eyes are fake, but each robot has eight cameras — some directed down at the floor and others that can see shelves. Rowland said the robots can eventually be repurposed to help monitor a store's inventory. A robot observed Tuesday at a Stop & Shop store in Seekonk, Massachusetts, alerted store associates to a price tag that had fallen in one aisle, and a tiny sprig of herbs in another. After moving along for a few minutes, it returned to the scene of each spill and waited until an employee pushed a button to acknowledge that the debris was picked up. It's not the only robot that U.S. shoppers might spot this year. Walmart and Midwestern supermarket chain Schnucks have deployed robots that help monitor inventory. A union that represents Giant and Stop & Shop workers says it's keeping an eye on Marty. It remains to be seen what the groceries will ultimately use the technology for. UFCW President Marc Perrone said in an emailed statement that the 'aggressive expansion of automation in grocery and retail stores is a direct threat to the millions of American workers who power these industries and the customers they serve.
  • The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown — nearly 60 percent of its workforce — to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won't be paid. With the official start of the tax filing season coming Jan. 28, the Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the disruption in government services caused by the partial shutdown now in its fourth week. There had been growing concern that the shutdown would delay refunds going out because the money wouldn't be available for them from Congress. Last week, the administration said customary shutdown policies will be reversed to make the money available and refund payments on time possible. An IRS document detailing its new shutdown plan shows that 46,052 agency employees will be called back to work, of the total workforce of 80,265. It says the plan will take effect as soon as the Treasury Department issues an official notice. About three-quarters of U.S. taxpayers receive annual refunds, giving them an incentive to file their returns early. Many lower-income people count on refunds as their biggest cash infusion of the year. The issue is politically sensitive. The massive tax law enacted by Republicans in Congress in late 2017, which is President Donald Trump's signature legislative achievement, gave generous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans and more modest reductions to middle- and low-income households. The law is expected to bring lower taxes for 2018 for the great majority of Americans, and the refunds are a big tangible part of that. Trump told supporters on a conference call Tuesday that his administration has been working to minimize the painful impacts of the shutdown. 'People are actually amazed that, with this many people, that government is really working so well. So we're very proud of that,' he said. Angered over employees having to work without pay, the union representing IRS staff sued in federal court last week to challenge any such agency action on constitutional grounds. The Constitution doesn't allow the government to obligate funds that haven't been provided by Congress, and the executive branch 'can't continue to force more and more employees to show up in exchange only for an IOU,' the National Treasury Employees Union said in its lawsuit. On Tuesday, a federal judge rejected the union's challenge, declining to force the government to pay the recalled employees. Some experts question whether the administration has the legal authority to reverse earlier policies to allow the government to issue refunds during a shutdown. __ Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.
  • A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash, with accusations that it talks down to men and groups calling for a boycott. But Gillette says it doesn't mind sparking a discussion. Since it debuted Monday, the Internet-only ad has garnered nearly 19 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — a level of buzz that any brand would covet. The two-minute ad from Procter & Gamble's razor brand shows men and boys engaging in bullying and sexual harassment and encourages men to 'say the right thing' and 'act the right way.' Taking on bullying, sexual harassment and toxic masculinity is a big task for a razor brand. Many critics took to social media saying it was insulting to men and laden with stereotypes. The uproar comes as Gillette battles upstarts like Harry's, Dollar Shave Club and others for millennial dollars. Gillette controlled about 70 percent of the U.S. market a decade ago. Last year, its market share dropped to below 50 percent, according to Euromonitor Allen Adamson, co-founder of branding firm Metaforce, called the ad a 'hail Mary' pass from the 117-year-old company. But he added that online buzz, whether positive or negative, rarely makes a long-term difference for a marketer since memory fades quickly. 'Getting noticed and getting buzz is no easy task, and they've managed to break through,' Adamson said. 'Most advertisers advertise, and no one notices because there is so much noise in the marketplace, so just getting noticed Is a big win, especially for low-interest category like a razor.' On the flip side, it probably won't sell many razors either, he said. Gillette's ad echoes other attempts by major advertisers to take on social issues. Pepsi pulled an ad in 2017 showing Kendall Jenner giving a cop a Pepsi during a protest and apologized after an outcry that it trivialized 'Black Lives Matter' and other protest movements. Nike polarized the nation with an ad featuring ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick who started a wave of protests among NFL players of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. Sales weren't affected in either of those cases. When controversy does affect sales, it is usually over something more substantive than an ad. Lululemon saw sales tumble in 2013 after a string of PR disasters including manufacturing problems that caused their pricey yoga pants to become see through and fat-shaming comments from their founder. But even that was short lived. Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, said that much like Nike's Kaepernick ad, Gillette likely knew the ad would garner online debate. 'Nike knew what they were getting themselves into,' Torossian said. The ad with Kapernick was 'making a lot of noise, and it can't be a surprise to (Gillette) that this is making a lot of noise.' P&G, one of the world's largest advertisers, is known for its anthemic spots that appeal to emotions during the Olympics and other events, often aimed at women, such as the tear-jerking 'Thank You Mom' Olympics branding campaign and Always 'Like a Girl' 2014 Super Bowl ad. Pankaj Bhalla, North America brand director on Gillette says the controversy was not the intended goal of the ad, which is part of a larger campaign that takes a look at redefining Gillette's longtime tagline 'The Best a Man Can Get,' in different ways. Another online ad features one-handed NFL rookie Shaquem Griffin. While he doesn't want to lose sales or a boycott over the ad, 'we would not discourage conversation or discussion because of that,' he said. 'Our ultimate aim is to groom the next generation of men, and if any of this helps even in a little way we'll consider that a success,' he said. Larry Chiagouris, marketing professor at Pace University, is skeptical. 'Treating people with respect, who can argue with that, but they're kind of late to the party here, that's the biggest problem,' he said. 'It's gratuitous and self-serving.
  • When her paychecks dried up because of the partial government shutdown, Cheryl Inzunza Blum sought out a side job that has become a popular option in the current economy: She rented out a room on Airbnb. Other government workers are driving for Uber, relying on word-of-mouth and social networks to find handyman work and looking for traditional temp gigs to help pay the bills during the longest shutdown in U.S. history. The hundreds of thousands of out-of-work government employees have more options than in past shutdowns given the rise of the so-called 'gig economy' that has made an entire workforce out of people doing home vacation rentals and driving for companies like Uber, Lyft and Postmates. Blum decided to capitalize on the busy winter travel season in Arizona to help make ends meet after she stopped getting paid for her government contract work as a lawyer in immigration court in Tucson. She says she has no choice but to continue to work unpaid because she has clients who are depending on her, some of whom are detained or have court hearings. But she also has bills: her Arizona state bar dues, malpractice insurance and a more than $500 phone bill for the past two months because she uses her phone so heavily for work. Blum bills the government for her work, but the office that pays her hasn't processed any paychecks to her since before the shutdown began. So she's been tapping every source she can to keep herself afloat — even her high school- and college-aged children — and is even thinking about driving for Uber and Lyft as well. 'So after working in court all day I'm going to go home and get the room super clean because they're arriving this evening,' she said of her Airbnb renters. 'I have a young man who's visiting town to do some biking, and he's going to come tomorrow and stay a week,' she added. 'I'm thrilled because that means immediate money. Once they check in, the next day there's some money in my account.' The shutdown is occurring against the backdrop of a strong economy that has millions of open jobs, along with ample opportunities to pick up Uber and Lyft shifts. The Labor Department reported that employers posted 6.9 million jobs in November, the latest figures available. That's not far from the record high of 7.3 million reached in August. Roughly 8,700 Uber driver positions are advertised nationwide on the SnagAJob website, while Lyft advertises about 3,000. But the gig economy doesn't pay all that well — something the furloughed government workers are finding out. Pay for such workers has declined over the past two years, and they are earning a growing share of their income elsewhere, a recent study found. Most Americans who earn income through online platforms do so for only a few months each year, according to the study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. Chris George, 48, of Hemet, California, is furloughed from his job as a forestry technician supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture forest service. He's been driving for Lyft but has only been averaging about $10 for every hour he drives. Paying for gas then eats into whatever money he has made. He just got word that he'll be getting $450 in weekly unemployment benefits, but hadn't received any money as of Monday. In the meantime, he's taking handyman or other odd jobs wherever he can. 'I've just been doing side jobs when they come along,' he said Monday. 'I had two last week, and I don't know what this week's going to bring.' George Jankowski is among those hunting around for cash. He's getting a $100 weekly unemployment check, but that's barely enough to pay for food and gas, he said. On Monday, he made $30 helping a friend move out of a third-floor apartment in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jankowski is furloughed from a USDA call center and does not expect to get back pay because his job is part-time and hourly. Jankowski, an Air Force veteran, calls the situation 'grueling.' 'It's embarrassing to ask for money to pay bills or ask to borrow money to, you know, eat,' he said. Some employers were looking at the shutdown as a way to recruit, at least temporarily. Missy Koefod of the Atlanta-based cocktail-mixer manufacturer 18.21 Bitters said the company needs temporary help in the kitchen, retail store and getting ready for a trade show, and decided to put out the word to furloughed federal workers on social media that they were hiring. 'I can't imagine not getting paid for a couple of weeks,' Koefod said. American Labor Services, a staffing agency that employs 500 people a week in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, sent out an appeal to furloughed federal workers on Monday, asking them to get in touch for clerical or light-industrial work. 'Some might not realize that they could get something temporary, it could last for a short period,' said Ben Kaplan, the company's president and CEO. Israel Diaz sought out an Uber job and applied to be a security guard after he was furloughed from his Treasury Department job in Kansas City. He said federal work has become increasingly demoralizing and that he and many of his co-workers are considering quitting. 'In the old days, you work for the federal government, you get benefits, great,' said Diaz, a Republican and Marine Corps veteran. 'Now, it's not even worth it.' ___ Associated Press writers Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Chris Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging senators to vote against a Democratic resolution that would maintain sanctions on companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Mnuchin met with Republican senators behind closed doors Tuesday in the hours before a planned Senate vote on the sanctions resolution. The measure would block a Treasury Department move to lift penalties against the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal and two other companies connected to Deripaska. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mnuchin said, 'We have been tougher on Russia with more sanctions than any other administration.' He said the sanctions 'shouldn't be a political issue.' The Treasury Department says the Russian companies have committed to separating from Deripaska, who will remain blacklisted as part of an array of measures announced in early April that targeted tycoons close to the Kremlin. It also warns that the sanctions could upset global aluminum markets. The vote comes as Democrats have questioned President Donald Trump's Russian ties and questioned whether his administration is being too soft on Russia. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who introduced the resolution and called for a vote on it, called the Treasury Department decision 'sanctions relief for President (Vladimir) Putin's trusted agents.' Congress has 30 days to block the move to terminate the sanctions. Democratic House leaders have also criticized the move and are considering a similar vote. The new Democratic chairmen of seven committees called Mnuchin in for a classified briefing last week on the easing of the sanctions. At issue is a December announcement from the Treasury Department that the U.S. would lift sanctions on the three companies — Rusal, EN+ Group and the Russian power company JSC EuroSibEnergo. EN+ Group is a holding company that owns nearly 50 percent of Rusal. In a letter asking Mnuchin for a briefing, the committee chairmen said the sanctions deal appears to allow Deripaska to keep 'significant ownership' of one of the companies. They did not elaborate. The Treasury Department maintains that the companies have committed to diminish Deripaska's ownership and sever his control. In a statement released ahead of the House briefing, Mnuchin reiterated that Deripaska remains under sanctions, 'his property and interests remain blocked, and any companies he controls are also sanctioned.' Treasury added that if the companies remained under sanctions, the Russian government might move to nationalize the company, thus shutting it out from any outside control. Democrats have asked for an extension of the 30-day timeline because the sanctions announcement came just before a holiday recess and the start of the government shutdown. Mnuchin said after his Senate meeting Tuesday that they will see how the Senate vote goes. 'Our view is that we have great responsibility in managing the sanctions programs all over the world, and we take those responsibilities very seriously at Treasury,' Mnuchin said.
  • The U.S. Forest Service has built a new corral for wild horses in Northern California, which could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter. The agency acknowledged in court filings in a potentially precedent-setting legal battle that it built the pen for mustangs gathered in the fall on national forest land along the California-Nevada border because of restrictions on such sales at other federal holding facilities. The agency denies claims by horse advocates it has made up its mind to sell the more than 250 horses for slaughter. But it also says it may have no choice because of the high cost of housing the animals and continued ecological impacts it claims overpopulated herds are having on federal rangeland. 'While slaughtering wild horses does not present a pleasant picture, the reality of this dire situation is not pleasant,' Justice Department lawyers representing the agency wrote in its most recent filing last month. 'The Forest Service is taking a step to reduce what is universally recognized as a natural catastrophe.' Horse advocates have been suing the government for two decades over mustang roundups that private ranchers say are necessary to curb growing herds that reduce the forage on federal lands they lease for cattle and sheep grazing across the U.S. West. The region holds roughly 90,000 wild horses. A sharp reduction in demand in recent years for a federal program that offers the horses for adoption to the public has left little room in existing corrals. Horse advocates argue the mustangs are federally protected and that taxpayers subsidize the livestock grazing on U.S. land. A hearing is scheduled Jan. 31 in federal court in San Francisco on a motion filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and American Wild Horse Campaign seeking an injunction to block the sale of the horses captured in the Modoc National Forest in October and November for possible slaughter. The new pen is in the forest, about 170 miles (273 kilometers) northwest of Reno. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen announced late last year she would postpone any sales for slaughter until at least Feb. 18. The protection groups say it would be the first time in nearly a half-century the government has sold mustangs 'without limitation,' or for any purpose, including slaughter. Horse slaughterhouses are prohibited in the U.S. but legal in many other countries, including Canada, Mexico and parts of Europe where horse meat is considered a delicacy. The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burros Act that President Nixon signed into law in 1971 prohibits the inhumane destruction of wild horses. Congress approved an appropriations amendment in 2004 that allows the Forest Service, under its parent Agriculture Department, to sell horses without limitations if they're over age 10 and have been offered for adoption three times unsuccessfully. But in most years since then, Congress has specifically prohibited the Bureau of Land Management, under the Interior Department, from using any appropriations for such purposes. President Donald Trump proposed allowing such sales in his 2017 budget, but Congress refused to go along. The Forest Service normally holds the horses it gathers at pens belonging to the BLM, which manages 385,000 square miles (997,000 square kilometers) of public lands in the West. With few exceptions, lawsuits have targeted the bureau because it captures the vast majority of the horses. BLM lands hold an estimated 83,000 wild horses, while national forests managed by the Forest Service hold about 8,000. The Forest Service gathered 932 horses in the Modoc National Forest late last year and shipped about 260 to the new corral, while placing about 650 at a BLM facility in nearby Susanville, California. Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in the December filings 'BLM is not permitted to humanely destroy healthy, unadopted horses or conduct any sale that could ultimately result in their destruction, which includes any Forest Service horse in BLM custody.' 'What has changed is that the Modoc now has its own short-term holding facility ... which is not subject to congressional restrictions,' they wrote about the corral, which currently can hold up to 300 horses but has room for expansion to accommodate as many as 1,500. They said local ranchers 'generally support these sales' because of the horses' economic impact on leased grazing land. The attorneys also said the opponents' assertion the horses will be slaughtered 'is only speculative, not concrete and imminent.' Horse advocates say the government can't have it both ways. 'It cannot both argue it is harmed by plaintiffs' delay in bringing this action because of all the time and resources it has expended to allow the sale of horses without limitation, yet also insist to the court that it has not yet made any such decision,' their lawyers wrote Jan. 8. 'In short, the record and defendants' own statements make clear that the decision to sell horses without limitation is final and judicially reviewable.' ____ This story has been corrected to show the new corral is the first built by the U.S. Forest Service in California.
  • Much of the stated opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the European Union centered on the 'backstop.' The provision was designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU. After Brexit, the border will be the U.K.'s only land frontier with the EU. A look at the issue: WHAT'S WRONG WITH A BORDER? During the decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as 'the Troubles,' a border with roadblocks and checkpoints teemed with soldiers and paramilitaries. About 3,700 people were killed in a conflict between Irish nationalists and U.K. unionists from 1968 to 1998, when the Good Friday accord led to a power-sharing arrangement that quelled much of the bloodshed and made the border all but disappear. Since both Britain and Ireland are currently part of the European Union with its single market, people and goods flow freely between Ireland and Northern Ireland., with no need for customs checks. Brexit could disrupt that easy movement, upending lives and businesses, and undercutting a fragile peace process. ___ WHAT WAS MAY'S PROPOSAL? The proposed withdrawal agreement included a 'backstop' provision to keep a hard border from returning by keeping the U.K. in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The agreement gave Britain and the EU until 2022 to reach a new permanent trade deal and stated the 'backstop' would come into effect only if they failed to do so. ___ WHY DID CRITICS OPPOSE IT? Politicians favoring Brexit complained that Britain wouldn't be able to get out of the backstop unilaterally; the deal required the mutual agreement of both sides. That meant it could remain in place indefinitely and keep the U.K. bound to EU customs regulations. Critics argued such a scenario would derail Britain's efforts to strike other international trade deals. Lawmakers who want to remain close to the EU disliked it, too, because Britain would be subject to customs and trade rules over which it had no say. May's political allies from Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party, also objected because the backstop treated Northern Ireland differently from other parts of the U.K. The party said that frayed the bond between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country.

News

  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been twice what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • After a dramatic ending to a sentencing hearing on Monday, Channel 2 Action News has learned former Mayor Kasim Reed’s top aide, Katrina Taylor Parks, made nearly a dozen recordings related to the bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall. As a judge read the sentence against Park on Monday, she passed out and was taken out of court on a stretcher.  In August, Parks pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a city vendor in exchange for city work.  In court, prosecutors reveled parks took $15,000 in cash and gifts over an 18-month period starting in 2013 and lied to FBI about it at least twice. Why experts say those recordings were not enough to keep her out of prison, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. [READ MORE: Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history] Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday seeking aide. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. Channel 2's Tom Jones has the full interview with Pastor Bryant on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines