Biden says he is “confident” a rail strike will be averted; NATO commits to Ukraine; and the Great Barrier Reef is in danger. These stories and more highlight the midday rundown for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.
Biden is “confident” strike will be prevented
“Congress, I think, has to act to prevent it. It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it. The economy is at risk.” President Biden said today. He told reporters he is confident a rail strike will be prevented.
Congress has the power to keep workers working even if contract negotiations between unions and railroads continue to fall flat as they have. Congressional leaders were all in agreement to urgently bring legislation forward.
NATO commits to future Ukraine membership
Some officials say Ukraine’s sought-after status of becoming part of NATO is the reason Russia’s war on Ukraine began. Today, NATO reassured Ukraine and the world of its commitment to one day welcome Ukraine as a member of the world’s largest security alliance.
“So we demonstrate that NATO’s door is open, not only words but in deeds. And that was part of the decision we made in Bucharest. Then we also made a decision on the on the on Ukraine specifically. And we stand by that, too. On membership for Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Russian officials have long pushed back against NATO’s presence along its country’s borders, feeling cornered by a NATO alliance.
Finland and Sweden also have pending memberships.
The announcement from NATO today reaffirming its support for Ukraine along with sending more aid in the ongoing war.
“We need to support Ukraine because what we see is that President Putin is trying to use winter as a weapon of war, which is inflicting a lot of suffering on the Ukrainian people,” Stoltenberg said.
400-500 deaths to build World Cup in Qatar
“What is the honest, realistic total do you think of migrant workers who’ve died from, as a result of what they’re doing for the world cup in totality?” Piers Morgan, host of Piers Morgan Uncensored asked.
Hassan Al-Thawadi of the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Secretary-General responded: “The estimate is around 400. Between 400 and 500 and I don’t have the exact number that’s something that’s being discussed.”
The toll it took to bring the World Cup tournament to Qatar was a costly one for the migrants building the stadiums and structures. A top Qatari official estimates between 400 and 500 people have died.
The country won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup back in 2010. In 2014, construction began. The deaths span across the seven years it took to build the new infrastructure needed to hold such a vast event.
“What I will say is one death is a death too many, plain and simple. And I think every year, the health and safety standards on the sites are improving,” Al-Thawadi said.
Qatar has long been questioned by human rights groups over their ability to host the World Cup given strict migrant labor laws and worker-conditions.
Kroger, Albertsons executives face hearing on merger
Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Senate will hold an antitrust subcommittee hearing on Kroger’s proposed $24.6 billion purchase of rival Albertsons. It will include testimony from each company’s CEO.
The hearing will focus the spotlight on the merger that has sparked opposition from lawmakers, labor unions and consumer groups. Kroger and Albertsons will defend their arguments in favor of a merger that could directly impact tens of millions of Americans.
Frontier airlines discontinues customer service
Frontier airlines has discontinued its customer service helpline as it goes all digital.
A representative for the budget airline said the transition happened earlier this month to ensure expediency and efficiency. They say customers prefer communicating via digital channels.
If changes need to be made to a reservation, customers can go to their website or mobile app. They also have a chatbot service available 24 hours throughout the week. The airline said to offer the lowest fares in the industry, they have to operate as efficiently as possible.
The airline was fined $2.2 million by the DOT earlier this month for “extreme delays” in providing refunds to customers since the beginning of the pandemic. It was the only U.S. airline, among six, that were issued fines.
State attorney fights suspension from DeSantis
“I can tell you it’s been a very troubling record, so the prosecutor state attorney for this district Andrew Warren has put himself publicly above the law,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The state attorney that Gov. DeSantis suspended earlier this year will be in court today fighting to get his job back. The governor suspended Andrew Warren for a pledge the prosecutor made to not enforce certain laws. One of such laws he planned to not enforce is an abortion ban.
The Florida constitution grants a governor the right to remove people from office. Whether that rightfully can be applied to Warren’s removal is the question brought to the court.
Risks to the Great Barrier Reef
Australia is doubling down against a new report that suggests the Great Barrier Reef should be listed as an endangered site. The report says without “great intervention against climate change” the world’s largest coral reef is in danger.
But the Australian government disagrees with its consensus, saying every coral reef would be in danger if the world’s temperature increased.
“What I say is, there is no need to single out the Great Barrier Reef in Australia because there is no government taking the risks to coral reefs more seriously than the Australian government,” Australian Environment Minster Tanya Plibersek said.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. 70 million football fields could fit inside of it.
This story has been updated.
KARAH RUCKER: OUR TOP STORY, PRESIDENT BIDEN SPEAKING MOMENTS AGO, ASKING FOR CONGRESS TO INTERVENE BEFORE A RAIL STRIKE DERAILS THE U.S. ECONOMY. THIS IS YOUR MIDDAY UPDATE.
BIDEN “CONFIDENT” STRIKE WILL BE PREVENTED
PRESIDENT BIDEN: “There’s a lot to do, including resolving the train strike, the train, the what we’re doing now and Congress, I think, has to act to prevent it. It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it.”
RUCKER: PRESIDENT BIDEN TOLD REPORTERS HE IS CONFIDENT A RAIL STRIKE WILL BE PREVENTED.
CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO KEEP WORKERS WORKING EVEN IF CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN UNIONS AND RAILROADS CONTINUE TO FALL FLAT AS THEY HAVE.
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ALL IN AGREEMENT TO URGENTLY BRING LEGISLATION FORWARD.
NATO COMMITS TO FUTURE UKRAINE MEMBERSHIP***ADD BITES
SOME OFFICIALS SAY UKRAINE’S SOUGHT-AFTER STATUS OF BECOMING PART OF NATO IS THE REASON RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE EVER BEGAN.
TODAY, NATO REASSURING UKRAINE AND THE WORLD OF ITS COMMITMENT TO ONE DAY WELCOME UKRAINE AS A MEMBER OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST SECURITY ALLIANCE.
JENS STOLTENBERG | NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: “So we demonstrate that NATO’s door is open, not only words but in deeds. And that was part of the decision we made in Bucharest. Then we also made a decision on the on the on Ukraine specifically. And we stand by that, too. On membership for Ukraine.”
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS HAVE LONG PUSHED BACK AGAINST NATO’S PRESENCE ALONG IT’S COUNTRY’S BORDERS,
FEELING CORNERED BY A NATO ALLIANCE.
FINLAND AND SWEDEN ALSO HAVE PENDING MEMBERSHIPS.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM NATO TODAY REAFFIRMING ITS SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE ALONG WITH SENDING MORE AID IN THE ONGOING WAR.
STOLTENBERG: “We need to support Ukraine because what we see is that President Putin is trying to use winter as a weapon of war, which is inflicting a lot of suffering on the Ukrainian people.”
400-500 DEATHS TO BUILD WORLD CUP IN QATAR
PIERS MORGAN | HOST, PIERS MORGAN UNCENSORED: “What is the honest, realistic total do you think of migrant workers who’ve died from, as a result of what they’re doing for the World Cup in totality?
HASSAN AL-THAWADI | QATARI SUPREME COMMITTEE FOR DELIVERY AND LEGACY SECRETARY-GENERAL: “The estimate is around 400. Between 400 and 500 and I don’t have the exact number that’s something that’s being discussed.”
KARAH RUCKER: THE TOLL IT TOOK TO BRING THE WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT TO QATAR WAS A COSTLY ONE FOR THE MIGRANTS BUILDING THE STADIUMS AND STRUCTURES.
AS YOU JUST HEARD — A TOP QATARI OFFICIAL ESTIMATES BETWEEN 400 AND 500 PEOPLE HAVE DIED.
THE COUNTRY WON THE BID TO HOST THE 20-22 WORLD CUP BACK IN 20-10. IN 20-14 CONSTRUCTION BEGAN.
THE DEATHS SPAN ACROSS THE SEVEN YEARS IT TOOK TO BUILD THE NEW INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED TO HOLD SUCH A VAST EVENT.
AL-THAWADI: “What I will say is one death is a death too many, plain and simple and I think every year, the health and safety standards on the sites are improving.”
RUCKER: QATAR HAS LONG BEEN QUESTIONED BY HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS OVER THEIR ABILITY TO HOST THE WORLD CUP GIVEN STRICT MIGRANT LABOR LAWS AND WORKER-CONDITIONS.
KROGER, ALBERTSONS EXECS FACE HEARING ON MERGER
THIS AFTERNOON, THE U.S. SENATE WILL HOLD AN ANTITRUST SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON KROGER’S PROPOSED $24.6 BILLION PURCHASE OF RIVAL ALBERTSONS. IT WILL INCLUDE TESTIMONY FROM EACH COMPANY’S CEO.
THE HEARING WILL FOCUS THE SPOTLIGHT ON THE MERGER THAT HAS SPARKED OPPOSITION FROM LAWMAKERS, LABOR UNIONS AND CONSUMER GROUPS.
KROGER AND ALBERTSONS WILL FLESH OUT, AND DEFEND THEIR ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF A MERGER THAT COULD DIRECTLY IMPACT TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.
FRONTIER AIRLINES DISCONTINUES CUSTOMER SERVICE
FRONTIER AIRLINES HAS DISCONTINUED ITS CUSTOMER SERVICE HELPLINE AS IT GOES ALL DIGITAL.
A REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE BUDGET AIRLINE SAID THE TRANSITION HAPPENED EARLIER THIS MONTH TO ENSURE EXPEDIENCY AND EFFICIENCY. THEY SAY CUSTOMERS PREFER COMMUNICATING VIA DIGITAL CHANNELS.
IF CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TO A RESERVATION, CUSTOMERS CAN GO TO THEIR WEBSITE OR MOBILE APP. THEY ALSO HAVE A CHATBOT SERVICE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS THROUGHOUT THE WEEK.
THE AIRLINE SAID TO OFFER THE LOWEST FARES IN THE INDUSTRY, THEY HAVE TO OPERATE AS EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE.
THE AIRLINE WAS FINED $2.2 MILLION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EARLIER THIS MONTH FOR “EXTREME DELAYS” IN PROVIDING REFUNDS TO CUSTOMERS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. IT WAS THE ONLY US AIRLINE AMONG SIX THAT WERE ISSUED FINES.
ATTORNEY GENERAL FIGHTS SUSPENSION FROM DESANTIS
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): “I can tell you it’s been a very troubling record, so the prosecutor state attorney for this district Andrew Warren has put himself publicly above the law.”
THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THAT FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS SUSPENDED EARLIER THIS YEAR, WILL BE IN COURT TODAY FIGHTING TO GET HIS JOB BACK.
THE GOVERNOR SUSPENDED ANDREW WARREN FOR A PLEDGE THE PROSECUTOR MADE TO NOT ENFORCE CERTAIN LAWS. ONE OF SUCH LAWS HE PLANNED TO NOT ENFORCE IS AN ABORTION BAN.
THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION GRANTS A GOVERNOR THE RIGHT TO REMOVE PEOPLE FROM OFFICE…WHETHER THAT RIGHTFULLY CAN BE APPLIED TO WARREN’S REMOVAL IS THE QUESTION BROUGHT TO THE COURT.
RISKS TO THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
AUSTRALIA IS DOUBLING DOWN AGAINST A NEW REPORT THAT SUGGESTS THE GREAT BARRIER REEF SHOULD BE LISTED AS AN ENDANGERED SITE.
THE REPORT SAYS WITHOUT “GREAT INTERVENTION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE” THE WORLD’S LARGEST CORAL REEF IS IN DANGER.
BUT THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DISAGREES WITH ITS CONSENSUS, SAYING EVERY CORAL REEF WOULD BE IN DANGER IF THE WORLD’S TEMPERATURE INCREASED.
TANYA PLIBERSEK | AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: “What I say is, there is no need to single out the Great Barrier Reef in Australia because there is no Government taking the risks to coral reefs more seriously than the Australian Government.”
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF IS THE LARGEST LIVING STRUCTURE ON THE PLANET. YOU COULD FIT 70 MILLION FOOTBALL FIELDS INSIDE OF IT.