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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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What slowdown? Amazon seeks to hire 33,000 people

In the latest sign of how it's prospering while others are faltering during the pandemic, Amazon said Wednesday it is seeking to bring aboard 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months.

Pandemic adds risk to already dangerous job of firefighting

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Jon Paul was leery entering his first wildfire camp of the year late last month to fight three lightning-caused fires scorching parts of a Northern California forest that hadn’t burned in 40 years.

Thousands in Belarus form ‘lines of solidarity’ in protest

MINSK, Belarus – Crowds of protesters in Belarus swarmed the streets and thousands of workers rallied outside industrial plants Thursday to denounce a police crackdown on demonstrations over a disputed election that extended the 26-year rule of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

At Wal-Mart, Obama touts steps on solar power

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Calling it the right thing to do for America's bottom line, President Barack Obama announced new steps Friday by companies, local governments and his own administration to deploy solar technology, showcasing steps to combat climate change that don't require consent from a disinclined Congress. Framed by rows of clothing and patio supplies at a Wal-Mart in California, Obama said more than 300 companies and state and local governments have pledged to use solar energy. It's a good move for the country, he said, adding that solar energy is cheaper and easier to use than ever before.

Strike looms at East and Gulf Coast ports

BOSTON (AP) — Weeks after a critical West Coast port complex was crippled by a few hundred striking workers, the East Coast is bracing for a possible walkout numbering thousands that could close 15 ports from Massachusetts to Texas. The latest talks between shipping companies and dockworkers broke down Tuesday, less than two weeks before the contract expires Dec. 29, leading to worries a strike was inevitable.

Right-to-work law gives Michigan unions new task

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Now that Michigan has become a right-to-work state, unions in this stronghold of organized labor confront a new and urgent problem: convincing members to continue paying for their services instead of taking them for free. Brushing aside protests from thousands of labor supporters, the Republican-controlled state House approved measures Tuesday making it illegal to require that nonunion workers pay fees to unions for negotiating wage contracts and other services. The Senate did likewise last week, and Gov. Rick Snyder swiftly signed the bills into law.

Solid evidence elusive in right-to-work debate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder says one reason he supports right-to-work legislation in Michigan is the economic boost a similar law has given Indiana, although officials have provided no conclusive evidence that the policy by itself has drawn new businesses to the state next door. It's an example of the flurry of claims supporters and opponents were making as the Michigan Legislature prepared to reconvene Tuesday for what could be final votes on right-to-work bills that have inspired fierce protests from unions and their Democratic allies, including President Barack Obama. Lansing authorities were bracing for an onslaught of demonstrators, increasing police presence and planning road closings and parking restrictions around the Capitol.

Evidence elusive in Michigan right-to-work debate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder says one reason he supports right-to-work legislation in Michigan is the economic boost a similar law has given Indiana, although officials have provided no conclusive evidence that the policy by itself has drawn new businesses to the state next door. It's an example of the flurry of claims supporters and opponents were making as the Michigan Legislature prepared to reconvene Tuesday for what could be final votes on right-to-work bills that have inspired fierce protests from unions and their Democratic allies, including President Barack Obama. Lansing authorities were bracing for an onslaught of demonstrators, increasing police presence and planning road closings and parking restrictions around the Capitol.

Small-bore proposals to help avert fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sure the rich may have to pay more in taxes. But a "fiscal cliff" budget deal could mean pain for nearly everyone else, too: higher airline ticket prices, for example, an end to Saturday mail delivery, fewer food stamps and lower farm subsidies. Each of those changes would make some powerful constituency angry. And even if approved, they would be only a drop in the bucket toward reducing future deficits by trillions of dollars.

Rubble cleanup a massive task in NY, NJ

NEW YORK (AP) — Just a few months ago, the parking lot at Jacob Riis Park on New York City's Rockaway seashore was filled with happy beachgoers. Now, it is home to a mountain of misery from Superstorm Sandy — a growing pile of garbage containing everything from mangled appliances, splintered plywood and sodden drywall to shreds of clothing and family photos. The seagull-pecked pile, at least two stories high, three quarters of a mile long, and fed by an endless caravan of dump trucks, is just part of a staggering round-the-clock operation along hundreds of miles of coastline to clear away the mangled mess of homes, cars and boats so the rebuilding can begin.

Fight intensifies over NW coal exports

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — The progressive college town of Bellingham, Wash., is known for its stunning scenery, access to the outdoors and eclectic mix of aging hippies, students and other residents. But lately it's turned into a battleground in the debate over whether the Pacific Northwest should become the hub for exporting U.S. coal to Asia. Five ports proposed for Washington and Oregon could ship as much as 140 million tons of coal, mostly from the Rockies, where it could travel by rail through communities such as Spokane, Seattle and Eugene, Ore., before being loaded onto ships bound for Asia.

Obama: New jobs growth part of ‘real progress’

HILLIARD, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama is hailing another month of job growth but declaring "we've got more work to do." Falling just four days before Tuesday's election, the government's latest employment snapshot shows U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October. It also shows hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought.

US may soon become world’s top oil producer

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer. Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.

US affirms steep tariffs on China solar panels

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration upheld steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels Wednesday, finding that improper trade practices have undermined an American solar industry that the largest U.S. manufacturer says is in the midst of collapse. In one of the largest trade cases the U.S. has pursued against the Asian superpower, the Commerce Department said China's government is subsidizing companies that are flooding the U.S. market with low-cost products — a tactic known as "dumping." To counteract those price cuts, the U.S. government imposed tariffs ranging from 18 percent to nearly 250 percent.

Aggressive Romney spars with Obama in first debate

DENVER (AP) — In a showdown at close quarters, an aggressive Mitt Romney sparred with President Barack Obama in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. "The status quo is not going to cut it," declared the Republican challenger. Democrat Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to "double down" on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago — and of evasiveness when it came to prescriptions for tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more.

Romney decries military cuts; Obama talking jobs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama pledged to create many more jobs and "make the middle class secure again" in a campaign-closing appeal on Thursday — more than five weeks before Election Day — to voters already casting ballots in large numbers. Republican Mitt Romney, focusing on threats beyond American shores, accused the commander in chief of backing dangerous cuts in defense spending.

Obama, Romney campaign in each other’s shadow

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigned in each other's shadow for a third straight day, hunting for votes already beginning to be cast and arguing over who would be the better job creator. The president rallied voters in Virginia Beach while Romney told veterans in Springfield, to the north, that across-the-board defense spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January under a deal Obama made with Congress are "a kind of a gun-to-your-head opportunity."