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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two Washington D.C.-based automaker groups are slamming President Donald Trump's decision to launch an investigation into auto imports, which could lead to tariffs on foreign-made vehicles."To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. If these tariffs are imposed, consumers are going to take a big hit," said John Bozella, President of Global Automakers, a trade group representing foreign manufacturers doing business in the U.S. "This course of action will undermine the health and competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry."The legal mechanism for the investigation "has rarely been used and traditionally has not focused on finished products," said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for Auto Alliance, a group that represents foreign automakers like Volkswagen and BMW in addition to U.S. manufacturers like GM and Ford."We are confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk to the U.S.," Bergquist said.Trump ordered the investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows the president to restrict imports that threaten U.S. national security, including levying tariffs on foreign goods which excessively displace domestic goods or cause substantial unemployment."Big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough," Trump tweeted in the hours before the announcement, which came amid reports that North American Free Trade Agreement talks between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. have stalled over auto manufacturing rules.According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency will lead the investigation, "there is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry."According to the department, over the past two decades, passenger vehicle imports have grown from 32 percent of cars sold nationwide to 48 percent, while employment in motor vehicle production has declined.Since he first appeared on the campaign trail, Trump has bemoaned the loss of auto manufacturing jobs, and promised in his State of the Union address to "get the Motor City revving its engines once again."The investigation "will consider whether the decline of domestic automobile and automotive parts production threatens to weaken the internal economy of the United States," the Commerce Department said.Mexico, Canada, Japan, Germany an South Korea are among the biggest exporters of cars to the U.S.But automakers' advocates argue that domestic production remains strong."Contrary to the assumption underlying the investigation on import vehicles, the U.S. auto industry is thriving," Bozella said."Last year, 13 domestic and international automakers manufactured nearly 12 million vehicles in the U.S. The auto sector remains the leading exporter of manufactured goods in our country," Bergquist said. "During the last 25 years, 15 new manufacturing plants have been launched in the U.S. – resulting in the creation of an additional 50,000 direct and 350,000 indirect auto jobs throughout America – and new plants are on the way.""We urge the Administration to support policies that remove barriers to free trade and we will continue to work with them and provide input to achieve that goal," she said.This isn't the administration's first foray into a Section 232 investigation.In March, Trump used his Section 232 authority to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum — another hotly contested policy move.
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  • Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Facebook and Twitter will now only allow verified advertisers to post political ads, and users will be able to see who paid for and how much was spent on the ads.The new rules are the latest efforts from the social media platforms to be more transparent ahead of the U.S. midterm elections after the FBI found that Russians used Facebook ads in their attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.Facebook’s new regulations went into effect Thursday and Twitter says they’ll start enforcing the new rules later this summer. Facebook’s restrictions cover all political ads as well as “issue ads,” which cover certain ads across a broad range of topics which initially include health, education, immigration, abortion and civil rights.Advertisers placing a political ad or an “issue ad” on Facebook in the U.S. will have to verify their identity and location through a newly-created process. Ad buyers will have to provide a U.S. issued ID, a physical mailing address and list which candidate or organization they represent.All the issue and political ads will have a clear label saying "Paid for by" and the name of the verified user. Clicking on the label will bring users to the full Facebook political ad archive which provides more information such as how much was spent on the ads and how many people they reached, broken down by demographics and location.Anyone visiting the archive can see and search ads with political or issue content an advertiser has run in the U.S. for up to seven years.For now, this archive can only be searched manually with keywords so people can’t search for ads being used in a particular area or targeting a particular group.But Facebook has promised to make the technology, known as an “application programming interface” available to some as yet unnamed academic researchers which would allow them to access all the data and do their own automated searches. This will allow researchers to analyze the archive and determine which ads were targeted at specific demographics and locations.So what qualifies as a political or issue ad?Much of the ads used to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election concentrated on issues rather than mentioning political candidates directly.Facebook has worked with the Comparative Agendas Project, an international organization that investigates trends in policy-making, to build a list of 20 issues, including health, education, abortion and guns.“We're also working with third parties with respect to how we define the issues, that's obviously going to be subject to ongoing feedback,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook director of product management, in a call with reporters on Thursday. “Some of these, as you can imagine will be difficult to nail down, there will be mistakes that we will make in this process, which is why we're going to hold ourselves accountable”.Not all the ads related to these issues will be defined as political and fall under the new regulations."For instance, on the topic of education -- ads regarding points of view on student loan policies would require a label, but advertisements on a particular university for student enrollment would not," said Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global politics and government outreach director.Facebook says it will use a program to identify ads from non-verified users to detect whether or not they are political in nature.They also promise to hire 3,000 to 4,000 new employees to help personally vet these ads.Facebook users can also report any ad they deem to contain political content by clicking a link on the corner of the ad and these will be then be reviewed by a team. If the ad is deemed to be political or an issue ad, it will be taken down until the advertiser passes the verification process.Twitter will require a similar verification process.“In addition, we will not allow foreign nationals to target political ads to people wh
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  • Jacopo Raule/GC Images(NEW YORK) -- Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein will turn himself into New York City police Friday to face criminal charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, sources familiar with the case told ABC News.Weinstein has been under criminal investigation in connection with the allegations of two women, Lucia Evans and actress Paz de la Huerta.It’s not clear what charges Weinstein will face but Evans told The New Yorker Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 while de la Huerta told Vanity Fair he raped her in 2010.Both accusations are within the statute of limitations in New York given the nature of the alleged crimes.Weinstein’s case was recently presented to a grand jury by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which declined to comment. Weinstein’s defense attorney Benjamin Brafman also declined to comment, as did the NYPD.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Airports across the country are expected to serve a record number of summer travelers this year, but if all goes to plan for airline and security officials, you may not even notice.Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing many of the largest domestic airlines, projected on Wednesday that 246.1 million people will board U.S. commercial flights between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2018. That increase would be up 3.7 percent from last year’s record 237.3 million passengers.The announcement follows the Transportation Security Administration's own historic projection of 243 million passengers and crew to pass through security checkpoints nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day.TSA is hoping to minimize the impact on their checkpoints by adding another 1,000 officers at screening areas, the agency announced last week. The agency has already added 600 since the beginning of the year.“TSA screens over 2 million passengers on an average day throughout the year and expects to screen over 2.6 million a day during peak periods of the busy summer travel season,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said last week.Airlines are also increasing their capacity this summer. Adding more flights and larger aircraft to their routes, airlines are adding 116,000 seats per day to accommodate the 96,000 additional daily passengers they expect to carry during this period, Airlines for America said.The surge in summer air travel during the last two years is generally credited to a stronger economy and lower air fares, despite rising costs for airlines in 2017.According to Airlines for America, cost increases were led by fuel, up 23.3 percent, and labor, up 6.8 percent. With a 7 percent year over year growth in revenues, the nine publicly traded U.S. passenger airlines have seen an overall drop in profitability.Despite the decrease in profitability, air fares continue to be low, largely driven by the introduction of low-cost carriers to the market.The price of domestic air travel fell 12.5 percent from 2014 to 2017, according to the trade group.
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  • WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating allegations of sexual abuse against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, a source familiar with the probe confirmed to ABC News.The New York Police Department, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, New York Attorney General’s Office, Los Angeles Police Department and U.K. authorities have previously acknowledged investigations of allegations by dozens of women, which Weinstein denies.Federal prosecutors rarely investigate individual sex assault allegations but, in general, there are federal statutes that cover sex trafficking, child exploitation or use of interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity. If Weinstein was found to have lured women across state lines for an illicit purpose, federal prosecutors could bring a case.Manhattan federal prosecutors were already investigating Weinstein in connection with potentially questionable financial transactions tied to a charity.The existence of the federal investigation was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the Journal that he has met with federal prosecutors in Manhattan “in an attempt to dissuade them from proceeding” and will continue to meet with them in coming weeks, the paper reported. “Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts,” Brafman told the Journal.
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