Auto group seeks federal help with chip shortage – National & International News – TUE 6Apr2021

The auto industry is seeking help from the government to relieve chip shortages that have disrupted production.

Auto group seeks gov’t help with chip shortage. Minn. police chief: Chauvin violated policy. Kenya threatens refugee camp closures. Yellen touts global min. corporate tax.


Auto group seeks federal help with chip shortage

The Alliance for Auto Innovation (AAI), a US auto industry group, warned yesterday that the global shortage of semiconductors could result in 1.28 million fewer vehicles being assembled  this year and disrupt production for another six months. The group’s membership includes nearly all major automakers with factories in the US including GM, Ford, VW, Toyota and Hyundai.

The AAI called on the US government for help in addressing the shortage. Specifically, they want the Department of Commerce to set aside funding in a proposed bill to expand US semiconductor production to supply the auto sector.

In February, President Biden ordered several federal agencies to address the chip crisis. Biden is asking for legislation with $37 billion in funding to boost chip manufacturing in the US.

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Floyd trial: Police chief says Chauvin violated policy

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand yesterday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer charged for the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd. Arradondo fired Chauvin and three other officers connected with Floyd’s death the day after the incident, and later publicly referred to Floyd’s death as a “murder”.

In his testimony, Arrandondo was adamant that Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd violated department policy. He also told the court that, “to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned-out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy”. Asked whether the knee on Floyd’s neck was a department-trained technique, Arradondo answered that it was not. Department policy does allow for “light to medium pressure” on the neck to restrain a suspect, but Arradondo confirmed that this was more than light-to medium. “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” he said.

Arradondo’s testimony followed Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who pronounced Floyd dead. Langenfeld said it was “more likely than the other possibilities” that Floyd’s cardiac arrest was caused by asphyxia. The county medical examiner had previously ruled Floyd’s death a homicide. The report listed cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression”. The coroner listed the fentanyl and methamphetamines in Floyd’s system under “other significant conditions” rather than cause of death.

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Kenya threatens to close refugee camps, home to 400,000

Kenya has delivered an ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), giving the agency two weeks to come up with a plan to close two refuge camps in the country. Otherwise, the government says it will close the Dadaab and Kakuma camps and expel their combined 410,000 inhabitants from the country.

The refugees in the two camps hail from more than a dozen countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Many of the camps’ inhabitants have lived there for over 20 years and consider them their home. A whole generation of young people born in the camps have never known any other home. The camp’s inhabitants have pursued educations and careers in Kenya that would not be available to them in their countries of origin.

Kenya has enjoyed relative stability in recent decades compared to its neighbors. The government previously tried to close the camps in 2016, claiming that they had been infiltrated by Islamic militants. Terrorism experts believe that Kenya has exaggerated these claims and that the refugees do not present a security threat. Critics believe it is more likely that the Kenyan government has threatened to close the camps to extort money from the international community.

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Treas. Sec. touts global minimum corporate tax rate

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling for an international agreement on a global minimum tax rate for corporations. Yellen says the proposal would end a “global race to the bottom” in which nations continually underbid one another to lure foreign businesses. Working with other G20 countries, Yellen hopes to level the global corporate playing field.

Yellen’s statements follow President Biden’s proposal of an infrastructure bill that would see US corporate tax rates rise from 21% to 28% (still well below the 2017 rate of 35%). Critics of Yellen’s proposal say that the Biden administration is trying to ensure that corporations have no low-tax havens to flee to. US firms currently pay roughly 13% on offshore earnings, and Biden wants to raise the global minimum tax rate to 21%.

At this rate, some countries could raise more capital for infrastructure and services upgrades, while still offering a lower tax rate than countries like the US. But some libertarian thinktanks argue raising corporate taxes will only ultimately hurt workers in the US and abroad.

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