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Crisis response is one way to sum up Hawaii Gov. David Ige's eight years in office. He faced a volcanic eruption that destroyed 700 homes, protests blocking construction of a cutting-edge multibillion-dollar telescope and a false alert about an incoming ballistic missile. During the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism shut down and Hawaii’s unemployment rate soared above 22%. Ige will hand over leadership of the state to his successor, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, on Dec. 5. Ige says that the job can be stressful but it's the best one he could ever have because "what we do matters to people every single day."

AP
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Germany’s socially liberal government is moving ahead with plans to ease the rules for obtaining citizenship in the European Union’s most populous country, a drive that is being assailed by the conservative opposition. Chancellor OIaf Scholz said in a video message Saturday that Germany has long since become “the country of hope” for many, and it’s a good thing when people who have put down roots in the country decide to take citizenship. He said that “Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men.” The overhaul of citizenship rules is one of a series of modernizing reforms that Scholz's three-party coalition agreed to tackle when it took office last December,

AP
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Long-time reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim has been sworn in as Malaysia’s prime minister. It’s a victory for the political reformers who have been locked in a battle for days with Malay nationalists after a divisive general election produced a hung Parliament. Malaysia’s king named 75-year-old Anwar as the nation’s 10th leader, saying he was satisfied that Anwar is the candidate who is likely to have majority support. Anwar vowed at his first news conference to heal a racially divided nation, fight corruption and revive an economy struggling with rising costs of living. He said his Alliance of Hope will form a unity government with two smaller blocs. Anwar said his government will call for a vote of confidence in him when Parliament reconvenes Dec. 19.

AP
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Russian lawmakers have given their final approval to a bill that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. The new bill expands a ban on what authorities call “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. That legislation, often dubbed the “gay propaganda” law, bans the depiction of homosexuality to those under the age of 18. It was adopted by the Kremlin in 2013 in an effort to promote “traditional values” in Russia. The new bill outlaws all advertising, media and online resources books, films and theater productions deemed to contain such “propaganda,” a concept loosely defined in the bill.

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Consumers could quickly start seeing higher gas prices and shortages of some of their favorite groceries if railroads aren’t able to agree on contracts with al 12 of their unions ahead of next month’s deadline after the latest rejection vote Monday. Congress may ultimately have to step in to protect the economy. Monday’s votes by the two biggest railroad unions follows the decision by three other unions to reject their deals with the railroads that the Biden administration helped broker before the original strike deadline in September. Seven other smaller unions have approved the five-year deals that include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses. But all 12 must approve the contracts to prevent a strike.

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A growing number of homeowners say they are being blindsided by recent foreclosure actions on their homes over second loans that were taken out more than a decade ago. Collectors say the loans were defaulted on years ago and the money is legally owed. Some homeowners believed their second loans were rolled in with their first mortgage payments or forgiven. Now they’re being told the loans weren’t dead after all. Instead, they’re what critics call “zombie debt.” Attorneys for homeowners say the loans are typically owned by purchasers of troubled mortgages and are being pursued now because home values have increased and there’s more equity in them.