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With plant closures looming, GM, Fiat Chrysler warn workers auto industry facing tough future

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With plant closures hanging over the start of contract negotiations, General Motors chief Mary Barra on Tuesday warned the United Auto Workers union that the industry is facing a difficult road ahead.

Barra opened talks with labor at the traditional handshake ceremony, emphasizing that the company must be prepared to change to be better positioned for the future.

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“In a transforming industry, if we want our company to grow — and grow jobs — we can’t keep doing things the same way,” she said.

GM has drawn the wrath of the UAW and President Donald Trump over plans to halt production at four US plants including a major one in Lordstown, Ohio, a state that could be key to Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.

GM is attempting to sell that plant to a startup company proposing to build electric trucks.

“I have made it clear publicly and in many conversations with elected officials — including President Trump — that we are committed to investing in and growing jobs in the US,” Barra said.

But she cautioned that, in addition to challenges of changing technology, “we continue to operate in a very uncertain trade environment in a long-lead industry.”

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After launching contract negotiations with Ford on Monday, UAW president Gary Jones opened talks Tuesday with GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

Mark Stewart, FCA’s chief operating officer in North America, had a similar message for workers about the need for the industry to prepare for a future that will be dominated by electric and self-driving vehicles.

“Our operational flexibility, the flexibility of our competitive cost structure we created together, are needed to continue to fund these investments with electrification and the future of all of our company,” Stewart told labor leaders, according to media reports.

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Jones repeated the message he delivered to Ford, saying the union expects to make economic gains and share in profits in the contracts it will sign this coming fall.

“When you needed us, we were there, and we expect no less in return,” he noted.

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‘Always speaks as if he might be wired’: MSNBC analyst busts Trump’s suspicious ‘no quid pro quo’ call to Sondland

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough reacted to EU ambassador Gordon Sondland's description of a criminal enterprise operating out of the White House.

Panelists on "Morning Joe" agreed the ambassador's testimony outlined an extortion scheme directed by Trump against Ukraine that undermined U.S. foreign policy to personally benefit the president.

"You listen to (House Democratic counsel) Daniel Goldman, an organized crime prosecutor, he began to elicit evidence that will build a narrative that whether or not Republicans are ultimately publicly persuaded by it, they will know to be the truth," said former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. "This was a vintage mob operation with Trump not putting his fingers too directly on things but sending out his lieutenant Rudy Giuliani, who Sondland told us they all knew that when they took Rudy Giuliani's orders, he was speaking for the president, and it's clear now to all of us how this worked and that it really was a bribery scam."

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As government prepares to seize more land for a border wall, some Texas landowners prepare to fight

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In Laredo, border landowners are receiving letters from the federal government, requesting permission to enter their land for surveying. "Hell no, we're not signing anything," one recipient said.

When David Acevedo attended a meeting with officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Webb County last month, he thought he would come away with more information about the Trump administration’s border security plans.

But Acevedo, whose family owns 180 acres of land near the Rio Grande in south Laredo, said the meeting only produced more questions about how the administration was going to move forward with plans it had for the swath of land that’s been in his family for generations.

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Clint Eastwood seeks to restore Atlanta bomb hero’s legacy

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Clint Eastwood's new film restores the "hero" status of the security guard whose life was ripped apart by claims he bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the director and stars said Wednesday.

"Richard Jewell" dramatizes the story of the innocent man who found himself at the center of a terror investigation and devastating media storm following the blast at the Summer Games which led to two deaths and wounded over 100 people.

The former cop was initially hailed as a hero after he spotted the pipe bomb at Centennial Olympic Park, helping saving hundreds more from harm, but was soon identified by journalists as an FBI suspect.

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