Kelly Clarkson, Zac Efron to get stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson, actor Zac Efron and British star Benedict Cumberbatch are among celebrities who will be getting a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2021. Shia LaBeouf, Missy Elliott and “American Pie” singer-songwriter Don McLean were also among the 35 stars of film, television and music announced for the honor on Thursday by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the tourist attraction. The late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences” playwright August Wilson will be given stars posthumously. They will join more than 2,600 celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin, Jennifer Aniston, Jimi Hendrix and rapper Snoop Dogg, whose names are inscribed on pink and bronze stars embedded on the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard in a tradition that started in 1960. Ceremonies unveiling the stars on the Walk of Fame were suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The unveilings that were postponed for six unnamed celebrities will be rescheduled at a later date, officials said.

Facebook takes down Trump ads over ‘organized hate’ policy

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Thursday it took down posts and ads run by the re-election campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump for violating its policy against organized hate. The ads showed a red inverted triangle with text asking Facebook users to sign a petition against antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist movement. In a tweet on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said of the symbol: “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive.” The Facebook ads were run on pages belonging to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and also appeared in ads and organic posts on the “Team Trump” page. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” said a Facebook company spokesperson. “The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said in an email. “We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad. The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate.” A spokesman for the ADL said its database was not one of historical Nazi symbols but of those “commonly used by modern extremists and white supremacists in the United States.” He also said that there have been some antifa who have used the red triangle, but that it was not a particularly common symbol used by the group.

Mexico’s foreign ministry says it will monitor U.S. DACA program developments

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it would monitor the continuity of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program in the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Donald Trump’s bid to abolish it. Mexico will also track the renewal process for current DACA participants and any administrative or legal actions that could result from the Supreme Court ruling, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

REFILE-McDonald’s to hire 260,000 staff this summer as restaurants reopen

(Corrects to “summer” from “summers” in headline) June 18 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp said here on Thursday it would hire about 260,000 restaurant staff in the United States this summer, as stores reopen for diners after serving through delivery, drive-thrus and takeaway for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

U.S. Senate votes to confirm McConnell protege to influential appeals court

(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to confirm a federal judge who is a protege of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to an influential appeals court in Washington. Justin Walker, 38, won Senate approval to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit following a mostly party-line 51-42 vote. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican joining Democrats in voting against confirming the appointee of President Donald Trump. Walker is being elevated from the U.S. District Court in Louisville, Kentucky, where he has been a judge since October. Walker, a former academic, is close to McConnell. He was also a vocal ally of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation battle in the Senate in 2018. Several Democratic lawmakers said during a May 6 confirmation hearing that Walker was too inexperienced for the job. The D.C. Circuit is considered the second most powerful court in the country, in part because it handles many high-stakes challenges to federal regulations. Four of the current nine justices on the Supreme Court were previously D.C. Circuit judges. Although based in Kentucky, where he has taught at the University of Louisville’s law school, Walker has Washington ties. He clerked for Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit, where Kavanaugh served for 12 years. He also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Kavanaugh replaced in 2018. After Trump, a Republican, nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Walker frequently appeared on cable TV, including Fox News, talking up the nominee’s conservative credentials. Walker defended his qualifications during last month’s hearing, saying “there is a long and rich tradition of academics being nominated” to federal appellate courts. “We Kentuckians are sorry to lose Judge Justin Walker, but we’re very proud this brilliant and fair jurist will be serving our nation on the D.C. Circuit,” McConnell wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

UPDATE 2-Facebook takes down Trump ads over ‘organized hate’ policy

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Thursday it took down posts and ads run by the re-election campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump for violating its policy against organized hate. The ads showed a red inverted triangle with text asking Facebook users to sign a petition against antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist movement. In a tweet on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said of the symbol: “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive.” The Facebook ads were run on pages belonging to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and also appeared in ads and organic posts on the “Team Trump” page. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” said a Facebook company spokesperson. “The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said in an email. “We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad. The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate.” A spokesman for the ADL said its database was not one of historical Nazi symbols but of those “commonly used by modern extremists and white supremacists in the United States.” He also said that there have been some antifa who have used the red triangle, but that it was not a particularly common symbol used by the group.

Want your pre-pandemic pay back? Work for it, Meritor tells staff

NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) – Meritor Inc employees and executives who saw their salaries slashed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic can recoup lost pay for this year as long as the company meets new performance targets, the trucking parts supplier said this week. The Troy, Michigan-based company is one of the first to roll out such a plan after imposing pay cuts of up to 60% for its top brass and staff. It shut down production at most of its manufacturing plants in March amid a global freight downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some compensation experts said Meritor’s move could offer a template for companies that are looking to incentivize staff as the pandemic’s economic fallout eases. Meritor’s plan allows executives and employees to recoup compensation they lost because of this year’s pandemic-induced pay cuts, if the company hits certain liquidity and cost reduction targets, according to a regulatory filing published on Tuesday. The announcement follows an earlier move by Meritor to partially reverse the pay cuts. On June 2, the company said that pay cuts of 50% to 60% it had unveiled on March 25, in the wake of the pandemic, would be reduced to 10% to 20%. About 20% of 1,000 companies surveyed by consulting firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co cut employee pay in response to the pandemic. The vast majority of those planned to reverse the pay cuts subject to market conditions, according to the survey. Companies have to toe a thin line between rewarding executives and keeping investors, who have suffered losses, happy. Meritor’s shares are down 23% year-to-date, compared to a 4% drop in the S&P 500 Index. Marc Hodak, a partner at Farient Advisors LLC, said shareholders may support the incentive program should Meritor’s shares improve. Socially conscious investors, however, are likely to protest the move on the basis that the pay of already well-compensated executives should not be shielded, he said. Meritor declined to give further details on the plan. Meritor employed 9,100 people as of the end of last year. In June, the company began laying off 8% of its global salaried workforce. It also laid off some hourly workers. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Aurora Ellis)

New French coronavirus deaths steady, infections creep up

PARIS (Reuters) – The number of people who died from coronavirus infection in France rose by 28 to 29,603 on Thursday, the same increase as Wednesday, but the number of new confirmed cases crept up again to reach a five-day high. Those cases rose by 467, at 158,641, a figure above the daily average of 440 seen over the last seven days. Since the beginning of the month of June, that average stands at 383. If probable cases in nursing homes are taken in account, the total reaches 194,675, according Reuters calculations, the 11th highest in the world on that basis. Nursing homes deaths are now only reported on a weekly basis on Tuesday in France, which leads to a spike reported fatalities on that day. France’s death toll is the fifth-highest in the world. The ministry said that the number of people in hospital for COVID-19 infections fell by 142 to 10,125 and the number of people in intensive care fell by 20 to 752. Both numbers have been on a downtrend for about 10 weeks.

Canada’s Co-op Refinery reaches tentative deal with Unifor to end labor dispute

(Reuters) – Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC), western Canada’s third-largest oil refinery, said on Thursday it reached a tentative deal with the country’s largest private sector union, potentially ending a months-long labor dispute. The deal offered to Unifor 594, the union representing CRC’s workers, includes monetary offer along with a return-to-work agreement, according to the refinery’s statement. Federated Cooperatives Ltd, which owns and operates CRC refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan, and the refinery workers have been locked in a dispute for months after the management locked out 800 employees on Dec. 5 over pensions-related disagreement. “The labour disruption has been a difficult process for everyone involved, but we are hopeful that the membership will ratify the deal, and our employees will return to work soon,” said Gil Le Dressay, vice president of refinery operations at CRC. Unifor 594 will hold a ratification vote to finalize the deal and if it’s agreed upon, CRC will begin the process of getting the employees back to work.

UPDATE 1-Hertz seeks bankruptcy loan after suspending stock sale – WSJ

(Reuters) – Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N) is in talks for a bankruptcy loan of up to $1 billion to fund its business reorganization after suspending its plan to sell new shares, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The car rental firm suspended its plan to sell up to $500 million in new shares on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raised objections to the sale. (on.wsj.com/3fCTqL7) Hertz won a bankruptcy court approval last week to sell its stock and raise capital by taking advantage of a strong rally in its stock since filing for bankruptcy last month. The company had warned that its shares would be eventually “worthless”, but the stock sale could benefit creditors seeking to recover more of their claims during the bankruptcy process. Hertz did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.