Under Armour says it backs ‘athletes’ and ‘flag’ after divisive Trump remarks

As President Trump picked fights with the sports world, Under Armour drew attention to itself with how it responded.After Trump uninvited Under Armour endorser Stephen Curry to the White House and lashed out at some NFL players, the sportswear brand tw…

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NAFTA negotiators may get tough in Round 3

No more Mr. Nice Guys.

That’s the tone heading into Round 3 of the renegotiation of NAFTA, the trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Talks kickoff Saturday in Ottawa, Canada, and all sides have signaled plans to bring a heavier hand to the negotiations, which have yet to produce much progress on key issues.

American officials have proposed a deeply controversial audit rule. Canadian officials want to resolve a thorny aerospace issue. And Mexican leaders continue to prepare a “plan B” by looking overseas for new trade deals.

Here’s what to look out for:

“Sunset clause”

Trump’s trade team is expected to propose a “sunset clause” to NAFTA, which means the agreement would expire after five years unless all countries decide to sign on for another five years.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross argues that the presidents of the three nations can already withdraw from NAFTA if they give six month’s notice. In 23 years, the provision has never been used.

This new provision would allow leaders to reassess benefits on a timetable, Ross says.

“It would force a systematic reexamination,” of NAFTA, Ross said at an event hosted by Politico on September 14.

Critics say it would cause widespread uncertainty in the business community.

“It’s probably one of the worst ideas that anyone has ever suggested,” says Rick Helfenbein, CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, whose members include Under Armour, Gap and Coach. “Why would you invest in something that could expire in 5 years?”

Mexican and Canadian officials not directly involved in talks have already pushed back on the idea.

Battle for the skies

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear this week: He wants a trade spat between airplane manufacturers Boeing (American) and Bombardier (Canadian) resolved. Boeing sued Bombardier in April, accusing it of unfair trade practices. Bombardier rejects the accusations.

Trudeau said the Canadian government won’t continue to do business with Boeing if it continues to threaten Bombardier.

As Round 3 starts, this dispute could rankle negotiations.

On top of that, Canada wants to address U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber and dairy products.

Mexico’s back up plans

Mexico may be in danger of losing business with the U.S. and Canada if NAFTA negotiations go south. So it’s doubling down on free trade and turning toward allies in Latin America, who are also changing their own tune on trade.

This year, for the first time, 94 percent of goods moved tax-free across borders in the Pacific Alliance, a trading bloc that includes Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Formed in 2011, it accounts for half of all trade in the region and covers about 200 million people.

“We are trading as a group of countries in agreement on free trade,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, said Wednesday evening in New York. Videgaray spoke alongside the presidents of Colombia and Chile, as well as a Peru’s trade minister.

NAFTA’s “scariest part”

At the heart of the reason behind renegotiating is Trump’s desire to end the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and create manufacturing jobs in America.

Trump’s trade team wants to focus automobiles and the “rules of origin” rule, which stipulates that at least 62% of the parts in a car sold in North America must come from one of the three NAFTA countries.

But Ross argues 25-year-old rule is out of date for a auto world that includes Bluetooth speakers, back-up cameras and other electronics.

The outdated rule has allowed car parts from outside NAFTA — mostly from China and Taiwan — to come in and not get taxed, he said. He told CNBC Friday that this trend is the “scariest part” of NAFTA.

Ross wants to not only update the rules, but raise that percentage much higher, though how much is unclear.

Forcing more production in North America is one thing. Forcing more in the U.S. is another, trade experts say.

“I don’t think it will go over very well,” says Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We’re going from the shadow boxing phase in the first rounds of negotiations to really much more serious negotiations.”

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Hurricane Maria: US East Coast warned to monitor storm

After clobbering Caribbean islands through the week, Hurricane Maria could bring “direct impacts” to the U.S. East Coast in the coming days.

“It becoming increasingly likely that some direct impacts will occur along portions of the coast next week,” the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory on Saturday. “Interests in the Bahamas and along the Carolina and Mid-Atlantic coasts should monitor the progress of Maria.”

Forecasters expect “dangerous surf and rip currents” along southeastern U.S. beaches over the next several days.

“Swells from Maria are increasing along the coast of the southeastern United States and are expected to reach the mid-Atlantic coast tonight and on Sunday . … These swells will likely cause dangerous surf and rip currents at the beach through much of next week,” the hurricane center said.

The Category 3 storm is carrying maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and is 245 miles east of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. It is moving at 8 miles (13 kilometers) per hour.

“Maria will move away from the Bahamas into the open waters of the western Atlantic today,” the center said.

The Caribbean gets socked

The storm hit Dominica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory.

It knocked out power in the U.S. commonwealth of more than 3 million people, Puerto RIco Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said. And it could be months before the electricity returns.

At least 15 people are confirmed dead on Dominica, and dozens more remain missing. One person died in the U.S. Virgin Islands, probably from drowning, authorities said. At least six people were killed in Puerto Rico, said Héctor M. Pesquera, the island’s public safety director.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged federal help for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dam weakening in Puerto Rico

On Friday afternoon, people in the northwest part of Puerto Rico were urged to evacuate because of a possible dam breach on the Guajataca River, the National Weather Service said on Twitter

Rosseló told CNN affiliate WAPA radio on Saturday that the Guajataca Dam is still holding, but he is still pleading for residents to evacuate the area.

He said the mandatory curfew remains in effect until further notice, but it will now be from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The governor said the island has a 20-day supply of gasoline and diesel and will install “water oasis” stations around the island. Many roads are impassable and gas stations were destroyed, he said.

Puerto Ricans living without water, communication

As Maria makes its way north, residents of Puerto Rico are beginning to assess the full extent of the storm’s destruction.

Locals in the town of Maunabo, on the southeast coast of the island, could be seen lining up at a freshwater spring near the base of a mountain to fill jugs, tanks and barrels.

The spring is the only source of water in the municipality, and people wait for hours each day to get the water they need to refill toilets, take showers and wash clothes.

“Every house comes here and every day it’s busy from morning to night,” said Hector Labron, a resident of Maunabo. “There’s no water in town.”

Residents also have limited access to cell signal, causing panic among families at home and abroad who have been unable to contact their loved ones.

East of Maunabo, in Humacao, people stop their cars along the side of the road near a cell tower on a hill. It’s the only access to cellphone service for miles.

“We’re trying to communicate to our families in the U.S.,” Jose Flores, who traveled 17 miles to reach the tower, told CNN. “I just got connected to my daughter in Florida, and she will let the rest of the family know I’m fine.”

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Prosecutors asking for 2-year prison sentence for Anthony Weiner

With Anthony Weiner’s sentencing set for Monday, the big question is: Will he go to prison?

In their sentencing memorandum prosecutors are seeking 21-27 months imprisonment for Wiener, the former US congressman and estranged husband of Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Huma Abedin. Prosecutors back up their request by stating, “Weiner, a grown man, a father, and a former lawmaker, willfully and knowingly asked a 15-year old girl to display her body and engage in sexually explicit conduct for him online.”

Weiner, 53, pleaded guilty this May in New York’s Federal District Court to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

His attorneys maintain Weiner is not a sexual predator but a sick man who has made “stunning progress” through counseling. They are asking for probation.

The former New York mayoral candidate is in the midst of a divorce from his wife. It is not known if she will attend his sentencing on Monday.

Lewd messages

The facts of the case, according to the government, begin with the 15-year old girl contacting Weiner in the evening of January 23, 2016, by sending him a direct message on Twitter. Over the next few hours Weiner exchanged messages with her that ranged “from the mundane to the provocative.”

The government states that although Weiner knew he was communicating with a minor the exchanges became “increasingly suggestive,” continuing the next day on Facebook Messenger and then via messaging and photo sharing sites Kik, Confide and Snapchat.

The exchanges continued into February, the government states, even though Weiner knew the girl was a high school student who was getting her learner’s permit.

The government’s memorandum goes on to state that in February 2016 Weiner and the girl participated in three video chat sessions on Skype, during which she “made clear that she was … in fact, only 15 years old.” During several of these chats Weiner “”used graphic and obscene language” to ask the girl “to display her naked body and touch herself,” prosecutors say.

Weiner also sent her pornography, prosecutors say.

A career collapses

This was all happening under a veil of secrecy, even though Weiner’s personal and professional life had been collapsing around him for half a decade.

In June 2011 Weiner was forced to resign from Congress after a lewd picture appeared on his Twitter page. He originally said he was hacked but soon after admitted he had lied but that his marriage to Abedin was intact. His resignation came after photos were released publicly of Weiner in various stages of undress.

Six months later Abedin gave birth to their only child. In July of 2013, two months after Weiner announced he was running for mayor of New York City, a gossip website published screen shots of sexual conversations Weiner had with a woman the previous year.

Abedin joined Weiner for the first time during a press conference, saying that although her husband had made some “horrible mistakes” …”what I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him…we are moving forward.”

Weiner’s mayoral campaign imploded after he admitted to having more lewd conversations with women he met on the Internet. In May of this year, Abedin filed for divorce.

“I knew this was as morally wrong, as it was unlawful,” Weiner said at his guilty plea in May. “This fall, I came to grips for the first time with the depths of my sickness. I had hit bottom.”

‘A product of sickness’

In their voluminous, 219-page sentencing document, Weiner’s lawyers call his crime “a product of sickness.”

“Anthony had already repeatedly been ruined by scandals in which his ‘confidential’ adult counterparts reported their explicit encounters to the tabloids,” they write. “And yet he compulsively responded to this teenage stranger too, under his own name as always, with his self-destructive behavior…”

The defense maintains that Weiner is not a sexual predator. His attorneys say that results of a psychosexual evaluation determined that “Anthony has no abnormal sexual interest in teenagers. His numerous other fantasy sexting partners were adults. He never sought out teenagers on the Internet.”

The defense also argues that the girl was the aggressor in their texting and that Weiner “responded to the victim’s request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager but in spite of it. He responded as a weak man, at the bottom of a self-destructive spiral, and with an addict’s self-serving delusion that the communications were all just Internet fantasy.”

Weiner’s attorneys say he has finally received counseling for his issues. “The stunning progress he has made is indisputable, testified to by the professionals who have treated him,” they say.

But prosecutors argue Weiner’s pattern of behavior “suggests a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control warranting a meaningful incarceratory sentence.”

A prison sentence would “promote respect for the law and serve as a deterrent to others who are considering a (similar) path,” they say.

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‘You don’t need it all the way’ and other things Trump said about ‘the wall’ on Friday

President Donald Trump ensured a crowd in Alabama Friday night that “the wall is happening.”

While speaking on behalf of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, Trump touted his proposal for a wall on the United States’ southern border.

Here’s some of the more notable comments the President made during his speech regarding the construction of the wall:

Transparent

Criticizing the inability to see across the border that comes with a concrete wall, Trump said the new design needs to be transparent.

“If you can’t have vision through it, you don’t know whose on the other side,” he said.

“You need to have a great wall, but it has to be see-through,” Trump said. “We’re looking at different samples already of see-through walls. And, I think also, to be honest with you, a see-through wall would look better.”

“I’m going to out and look at them personally, going to pick the right one,” he added.

Not a full wall

Trump noted that a wall extending across the entire border is not necessary.

“You don’t need it all the way,” Trump said, adding, “We are going to have as much wall as we need.”

“You have a lot of natural barriers, et cetera. Somebody said, ‘Well, what are you going to do, you going to build that wall in the middle of the river? … That nobody can go in? Are you going to build that wall on the mountain?’ I said, ‘You don’t need the wall on the mountain. You have a mountain which is a wall.’ But we are going to build a wall. It is coming along great,” Trump said.

Renovations

Trump referenced parts of a wall that are already built and said they were working to renovate those areas.

“We have the wall up there now, and we’re renovating it already,” Trump said they are making it, “pristine,” “perfect,” and “just as good as new.”

“Though, we may go a little higher than that. But, that’s OK,” Trump added.

Stopping drugs

One of the goals of the wall, Trump reiterated, is to curb the flow of drugs into the country.

“They take drugs, literally, and they throw it. A hundred pounds of drugs, they throw it over the wall. They have catapults. They throw it over the wall, and it lands and it hit somebody on the head. You don’t even know they’re there. Believe it or not, this is the kind of stuff that happens,” Trump said.

Responding to reports about a wall

Trump also set the record straight that he still intended to build a wall, despite what might be reported in the media.

“Well every once in a while you hear, ‘Well, you know, he doesn’t really want to build the wall,’ I say, ‘Excuse me?’ That is the great thing about Twitter,” Trump said. “You know, when the press is dishonest, which is most of the time, and when they say, like, I don’t want to build a wall, I can tweet that was a false story.”

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California cities want Big Oil to pay for costs of climate change

Coastal cities in California that are vulnerable to flooding caused by climate change are fighting back against Big Oil.

San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits this week demanding that ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell pay billions to cover the costs of sea walls and other protections against rising sea levels.

The aggressive strategy from the Bay Area makes San Francisco and Oakland the first major U.S. cities to attempt to shift the costs of climate change from the public to fossil fuel companies.

San Francisco and Oakland fear that billions of dollars of property in low-lying areas will be swamped by rising sea levels that scientists blame on climate change.

“These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement announcing the lawsuits, which were filed in Superior Court in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

In San Francisco, which is surrounded by water on three sides, at least $10 billion of public property and $39 billion of private property is at risk from rising sea levels, the lawsuit estimates. Oakland warns that rising sea levels will “disproportionately impact and endanger” low-income people and minorities, as well as the city’s airport.

These concerns have been heightened by the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria on parts of the United States and Caribbean in recent weeks.

As CNN has reported, the consensus among scientists is that the consequences of climate change — rising sea levels and warming oceans — made these hurricanes worse than they would have been in the past. That’s because rising sea levels make storm surges from hurricanes worse, while warming waters help intensify the storms themselves.

The San Francisco lawsuit alleges that leading oil companies for decades ignored scientists who “warned them in stark terms that fossil fuel usage would cause global warming” that poses “‘catastrophic’ harm.”

Worse, Exxon and other oil companies have been accused of downplaying these risks to the public.

Comparing Big Oil to tobacco companies, San Francisco and Oakland argue that oil companies engaged in an “organized campaign to deceive consumers about the dangers of massive fossil fuel production.”

That argument may be strengthened by a recent Harvard study. The research found that for nearly 40 years Exxon publicly raised doubt about the dangers of climate change even as scientists inside the oil company acknowledged the growing threat. “We conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public,” the peer-reviewed study said.

Exxon has dismissed that Harvard study as “inaccurate and preposterous” and claims it was “paid for, written and published by activists.”

Exxon,BP and ConocoPhillips did not provide comments in response to the California lawsuits.

Chevron, which is based in San Ramon, California, said it “welcomes serious attempts to address the issue of climate change, but these suits do not do that.”

Shell reiterated that it has “long recognized the climate challenge.” However, the company said this complex issue should be addressed through policy and cultural change, “not by the courts.”

The American Petroleum Industry, a lobbying group, said in a statement that the natural gas and oil industry “will continue to play a leading role in driving down U.S. greenhouse gas and other emissions.”

But some California cities fear it may be too late to avoid the consequences of climate change.

“The global warming-induced sea level from past fossil fuel usage,” the San Francisco lawsuit said, “is an irreversible condition on any relevant time scale: it will last hundreds or even thousands of years.”

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