By David Shepardson and Bernie Woodall NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of illegally using hidden software to allow excess diesel emissions to go undetected, the result of a probe that stemmed from regulators' investigation of rival Volkswagen AG. FCA shares plummeted as the maximum fine is about $4.6 billion. The EPA action affects 104,000 U.S. trucks and SUVs sold since 2014, about one-sixth the vehicles in the Volkswagen case. The EPA and California Air Resources Board told Fiat Chrysler it believes its undeclared auxiliary emissions control software allowed vehicles to generate excess pollution in violation of the law and each issued notices of violation. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating, Fiat Chrysler said Thursday. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement he is "deeply troubled" by the EPA findings and "will investigate the claims against Fiat Chrysler and stands ready to work with our state and federal partners." Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne angrily rejected the allegations at a hastily-assembled conference call with reporters, saying there was no wrongdoing and the company never attempted to create software to cheat emissions rules by detecting when the vehicle was in test mode. He characterized the dispute as whether the automaker had completely disclosed software that protects the engine, adding the company was planning updated software to address EPA concerns. He said the EPA and the company could have settled the issue in "a more efficient way" without the EPA announcement, and he said "I'm really pissed off" about reports that equate FCA's issues with VW's. "The way that it has been described, I think, has been unfair to FCA, and that is the thing that disturbs me most," Marchionne said. He also suggested regulators had a "belligerent" view of automakers. "We don't belong to a class of criminals," he said. "We're not trying to break the bloody law." The company has no plans to stop selling 2016 U.S. diesel models. EPA has reviews ongoing of other automakers' emissions systems, but it is not clear if they have found any additional wrongdoing. Regulators said FCA failed to disclose engine management software in 104,000 U.S. 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines. The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Cynthia Giles, an EPA official, said Fiat Chrysler had an obligation to disclose the "illegal software" but has not decided whether to label them "defeat devices." The EPA said it found at least eight undisclosed pieces of software that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution. Fiat Chrysler had recalled vehicles for one of the undisclosed software. By contesting the charge, FCA will push the case into the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. It is not clear how Trump’s EPA will handle this or similar issues. Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a critic of federal environmental regulation, to lead EPA. Efraim Levy, analyst with CFRA, said FCA stands to "get a fresh start with the Trump administration." SHARES SLIDE U.S.-listed shares were last down 10 percent, cutting their earlier losses. Milan-listed shares closed down 16 percent, weighing on European stock markets. The EPA announcement comes amid closer scrutiny of automakers after Volkswagen AG admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests in 580,000 U.S. vehicles. In 2015, EPA said it would review all U.S. diesel vehicles following an admission from Volkswagen that it installed software in cars allowing them to emit up to 40 times legally permissible level of pollution. On Wednesday, Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil fines and plead guilty to three felonies for misleading regulators and selling polluting vehicles. Fiat Chrysler could face fines of $44,539 per vehicle if it is proven that it violated emissions rules. European regulators have also raised questions about Fiat Chrysler diesels. Last fall, Germany wrote a letter to the European Commission accusing FCA of using an illegal device to switch off exhaust treatment systems in diesel engines in Fiat and Jeep vehicles sold in Europe. (Reporting by David Shepardson in New York and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Additional reporting by Nick Carey in Chicago, Agnieszka Flak in Milan and Giles Guillaume in Paris; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- Yahoo News
From 26,237 tweets to 281 days spent on the golf course, here are some notable figures from the last four years.
- The Week
President Biden's inaugural address has won some high praise on Fox News.Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Wednesday praised Biden's "great" inaugural address, going as far as to deem it the best he's ever watched in his life."I thought it was a great speech," Wallace said. "I've been listening to these inaugural addresses since 1961 -- John F. Kennedy, 'ask not.' I thought this was the best inaugural address I ever heard."Biden during his first address as president declared that "democracy has prevailed" and urged unity, saying politics "doesn't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path." Wallace noted the speech and the ceremony itself was especially meaningful coming exactly two weeks after a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt Congress' certification of the election results."It was a less an inaugural address and more part sermon, part pep talk," Wallace said.The Fox News anchor also called for those in the media to particularly take note of Biden's comment that "there is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit, and each of us has a duty and a responsibility ... to defend the truth and defeat the lies.""Now he's gotta turn words, rhetoric into reality and action," Wallace added. "But I thought it was a great start." > Fox News's Chris Wallace: "This was the best inaugural address I ever heard." pic.twitter.com/W2tauGp5g5> > -- Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 20, 2021More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Amazon offers Biden help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution Only a sprinkling of Trump supporters showed up at state capitols to protest Biden's inauguration
- Associated Press
China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday. In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. ambassador, Kelly Craft. Others covered by the sanctions include Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro; his top diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell; health and human services secretary, Alex Azar; along with former national security adviser John Bolton and strategist Stephen Bannon.
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Map: Axios VisualsPresident-elect Joe Biden is calling to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is nearly double the current $7.25. The move would be the first change to the federal minimum wage since 2009. Why it matters: The pandemic exposed the ugly ways in which America treats low-wage employees — even when they're doing essential jobs. Raising the federal minimum wage would put more money into the pockets of many of these same essential workers who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What to watch: $15 an hour would have a massive impact in smaller cities and in the middle of the country. * Lots of larger metros, including San Francisco and New York, already have $15 or higher minimum hourly wages. In those places, the cost of living is so high that $15 feels more like $12 (see map above). * But in smaller cities, where the minimum wage is much closer to $7.25 and the median wage is closer to $15, the federal bump would make a huge difference.All told, "hiking the national minimum to $15 an hour by 2025 would lift 1.3 million workers above wages that put them below the poverty line," CBS reports, citing an analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. * Yes, but: The CBO also estimates that the hike could cost $1.3 million jobs, as small businesses unable to pay their workers $15 an hour lay people off or go out of business.Go deeper: Government minimum wage hikes pay off for low-wage workersBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Independent
‘What happened?’: QAnon followers left upset and angry as conspiracy theory’s ‘storm’ fails to materialise
Followers of QAnon have been left upset and angry in the wake of the apparent collapse of the conspiracy theory. Followers had hoped for mass arrests of their enemies and the final proof that their faith in the unknown person named Q and Donald Trump had not been misplaced. The baseless QAnon theory suggests, without any evidence, that argued that a group of powerful, Satan-worshipping people running a cannibalistic child sexual abuse ring.
Incoming U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden should quickly fulfill campaign promises to launch an immigration plan, including giving dual nationality to Mexicans working in the United States, Mexico's president said on Wednesday. Immigration has become a priority issue for Biden, who is planning to roll back his predecessor's harsh measures and enact sweeping reforms that would put 11 million people living illegally in the U.S on a path to citizenship. "I hope that today or in the coming days he presents the migration plan," Lopez Obrador said.
- LA Times
Thousands of pro-Trump crowds have gathered since he took office. No state has had more than California
Despite its reputation as a leader of resistance, California saw more pro-Trump crowds than any other state during the president's term in office.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- The Week
President Trump's last big batch of pardons will get most of the attention, but he also issued an executive order in his last few hours in office that seeks to free all current and former hires from the ethics agreements they signed to work in his administration. Trump revoked his January 2017 "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees" order, the White House announced early Wednesday, so "employees and former employees subject to the commitments in Executive Order 13770 will not be subject to those commitments after noon January 20, 2021."Those commitments included not lobbying the federal agencies they served under for five years after leaving government. The executive order, Yashar Ali notes, was the backbone of Trump's "drain the swamp" pledge.> Forget about draining the swamp...President Trump just filled it up.> > He has revoked his own executive order (13770) which had the following provisions (among others). > > The drain the swamp stuff was all smoke and mirrors anyway but here's Trump walking back his own EO... pic.twitter.com/ZvuW0CwszQ> > — Yashar Ali (@yashar) January 20, 2021President-elect Joe Biden takes office at noon on Wednesday, and presumably he could just issue a new executive order reversing Trump's.Norm Eisen, "ethics czar" to former President Barack Obama, said in a Politico column Tuesday that Obama's clear ethics rules led to "arguably the most scandal-free presidency in memory," but "Trump greatly watered down the standards with scandalous results" and "Biden has done the opposite, restoring the Obama rules and expanding them."Biden's planned executive order, Eisen wrote, "restores the fundamentals of the Obama plan, closing loopholes Trump opened—but going further, including new crackdowns on special interest influence. If implemented rigorously (always a big if) Biden's plan promises to go further to 'drain the swamp' than either of his predecessors."More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Amazon offers Biden help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution Only a sprinkling of Trump supporters showed up at state capitols to protest Biden's inauguration
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies. Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What they're saying: The actions are the first of many, Psaki said in a news release, as Biden works "to address the four crises that he's laid out" — COVID-19, the economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change. * "In the coming days and weeks we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the President-elect's promises to the American people," Psaki said, "including revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing the Mexico City policy." Highlights * Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement * Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief * An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit * Rejoining the World Health Organization * Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions * Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries * Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge * An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymakingGo deeper: See the full listSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Germany on Wednesday nominated Christian Schmidt, a former government minister and lawmaker, to be the new international High Representative in Bosnia, whose office oversees the implementation of the country's 1995 peace accord. "The German government has a great interest in the development of Bosnia...and supports the country's prospective membership in the European Union." The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was set up as part of the Dayton peace accords that ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war to supervise the reconstruction of a country torn apart by the ethnic conflict, in which 100,000 people died.
- NBC News
Patrick Edward McCaughey allegedly told the officer, “Come on man, you are going to get squished, just go home.”
- The Week
President Trump has spent the last few days asking his friends, aides, and associates if they would like pardons — even those who are not facing any charges, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.In one case, the official said, Trump offered a pardon to a person who declined the chance at clemency, saying they weren't in any legal trouble and hadn't committed any crimes. "Trump's response was, 'Yeah, well, but you never know. They're going to come after us all. Maybe it's not a bad idea. Just let me know,'" the official recounted.Trump has taken a great interest in pardoning people, the Post reports, even calling families to personally let them know he granted a pardon. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump was talked out of pardoning himself, family members, and controversial figures like Rudy Giuliani. An aide said there was also a brief discussion about possibly issuing pardons related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but that idea went nowhere.While Trump has held a few ceremonial events in recent weeks, journalists have been kept away from the White House, largely because the president is "just not in a place where they would go well," one official told the Post. Trump is constantly flip-flopping, another administration official said, talking about his future but uncertain of where he will be. "He goes between, 'Well, I'm going to go to Florida and play golf, and life is honestly better,' and then in the next moment, it's like, 'But don't you think there's a chance to stay?'" the official said. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Only a sprinkling of Trump supporters showed up at state capitols to protest Biden's inauguration QAnon believers are realizing their entire conspiracy was a hoax as Biden is sworn in
Reflecting both the man and the times, President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.'s inaugural address needs as much reality as poetry. What to watch ... The president-elect will do both, sources tell me: Biden’s biography equips him not just to deliver a great speech, but also to start putting the public sector back in good working order.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * That includes a federal mask mandate, vaccine mobilization and other practical steps that make up his 100-day plan to, as he put it in December, "change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better."A test for this unusual inaugural address is whether Biden can combine prose poetry with his “Here’s the deal” common touch. * The country wants both, his advisers believe — to be elevated as in presidencies of old, and to be reassured that Biden is grounded in the grim reality so many Americans are feeling, including his warning of the "dark winter" ahead.Rahm Emanuel — former Chicago mayor and President Obama's first chief of staff — told me Biden faces a "(d) all of the above" presidency: * He has the civil and social strife of Lincoln, JFK and LBJ ... Wilson's pandemic ... FDR's economic depths ... and Truman's cold war with Russia. * Biden's speech will connect America's crises, including racial equity and justice.Mike Barnicle writes in a Daily Beast column, "Why Joe Biden Will Be Our Most American President" (subscription): * "Joe Biden arrives now to tell America the truth."What's next: After the festivities, Biden will take 15 "Day One Executive Actions," getting a head start on reversing Trump policies. * Go deeper: Fact sheet 1, Executive Actions ... Fact sheet 2, Agency Actions.👀 What to watch ... Full schedule.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Architectural Digest
Store your stemware and sauvignon blanc in styleOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Inauguration Day is a time of great expectancy and transformation. There are reports of at least 12 National Guard members being removed from the inauguration patrol duties. There are 25,000 troops in D.C. to protect attendees at the inauguration after the deadly and unprecedented Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
- Yahoo News Video
President Joe Biden delivered his inaugural address to the nation on Wednesday.
- The Telegraph
South Korean president under fire for saying adoptive parents should be able to 'change' their child
Children’s rights groups in South Korea have condemned comments by President Moon Jae-in suggesting that adoptive parents who do not get along with a child should be able to “change” it for another one. Mr Moon was responding to a question at a press conference on Monday about the government’s efforts to prevent child abuse in light of the death late last year of a 16-month-old girl, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive parents. The case has provoked outrage in South Korea, with the adopted mother of Jung-in charged with murder on January 13. The woman, identified only by her family name, Jang, was originally charged with fatal child abuse and neglect in December. Commenting on the case, Mr Moon said, “Even after adoption, the adoptive parents need to check if the adoption is working out for them. So there should be measures allowing them to cancel the adoption or, if they still want to adopt a child, then they should be able to change the child." The press conference, which was being broadcast live on national television, triggered an immediate response, with critics saying the president was suggesting that children were “goods” that could be returned for a refund. Groups representing adoptees and parents who have given homes to children staged a protest in front of the presidential Blue House the same day, demanding an apology from the president and changes to the system of adoptions in Korea. “Mr Moon’s comments are no different from those of adoption agencies, who treat adoption as a business," Jeon Young-soon, head of an association of parents, told The Korea Herald. Na Kyung-won, a member of the opposition People Power Party, also condemned the president’s comments, saying, “For adopted children, the horrific ordeal is being abandoned again by their adoptive parents. Mr Moon has made a serious error." A petition has also been started on the president’s website, stating, “Adoption is not like shopping for a child. When people have made up their minds to care for a child for his or her whole life, they adopt the child with love that is beyond comparison”. Government officials insist the president’s comments have been misunderstood and taken out of context. South Korea traditionally has low levels of domestic adoption, in part due to the importance of blood relations and the stigma attached to children born out of wedlock. Many Korean children find adoptive parents overseas.
- NBC News
The charges say he was one of the first to enter the building, through a door that was opened by a small group that got in by breaking a window.