Nation/World


In brief: UAW, GM reach tentative agreement

SATURDAY, SEPT. 17, 2011

Detroit – General Motors Co. and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract late Friday.

Details weren’t immediately released, but the union said the contract will ensure that laid-off workers will be hired back. The union said the contract also will improve health care benefits and profit-sharing plans. GM says a vote is expected in the next week to 10 days.

The contract covers 48,500 GM workers in the U.S. GM was the first of the Detroit Three to reach an agreement with the UAW. Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. are still negotiating.

County may avoid bankruptcy

Birmingham, Ala. – A preliminary deal approved Friday with Wall Street bankers would allow Alabama’s most populous county to avoid the embarrassment of filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. But to help bail their local government out of $3 billion in sewer debt, residents could see tax increases, service reductions and decades of sewer rate hikes.

Even though Jefferson County commissioners approved the deal and some creditors also have agreed, bankruptcy still remains possible since the Legislature must hold a special session to approve the final elements of the agreement.

Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, who oversees county finances, said there was no certainty that legislators would approve the mix of local tax hikes, budget changes and other legislation that could be required. “It’s a problem,” he said.

Student charged in fatal stabbing

Bowie, Md. – A 19-year-old Maryland college student was charged Friday with fatally stabbing her roommate inside their dormitory-style apartment after the two women argued about music playing from an iPod, police said.

The death of Dominique Frazier, 18, rattled the campus of Bowie State University, a small, historically black school in the Washington suburbs.

Fellow students described growing friction and fights between Frazier and her roommate, Alexis Simpson, who was charged with murder and assault Friday.

The latest confrontation occurred Thursday night after Simpson shut off an iPod belonging to Frazier as the women and other students were preparing for a school-sponsored comedy show, according to police charging documents. The iPod had been playing music from inside the women’s shared bathroom.

Police said Frazier emerged from her bedroom, and the two began arguing in the hallway. Simpson produced from her bedroom what other students said appeared to be a knife and began making swinging motions at Frazier, who clutched at her bleeding throat, staggered into the hallway and collapsed, police said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

“I didn’t mean to do it, you all don’t know what I’ve been thru (sic), you all jumped me,” Simpson said, according to a Maryland State Police statement.


 

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