Driving a public car
NEW YORK, May 27 (UPI) -- The United Auto Workers' deal with General Motors Corp. opens the door for U.S. government control of the company, industry analysts said.
The previous option left the union with 39 percent of a restructured GM, but the option rank and file will vote on Wednesday gives the union 17.5 percent, which allows for a vastly different outcomes for both the government and creditors, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The likely outcome is the government would end up with 70 percent of GM, up from a previous 50 percent, the Times said.
While the government's control escalates, a broad swath of decision-making will also be seen through a potential conflict of interest. Everything from hiring decisions to fuel emission standards to dividend payments will have divided goals, as the government seeks to return GM to a profitable enterprise and protect public interests simultaneously.
So far, the government has vowed to be a hands-off automaker, allowing industry professionals to run the show. "No one is going to put U.S. government employees on the GM board," a source close the negotiations told the Times.
But political pressure will likely escalate as well, as the company makes critical decisions on which plants and dealerships to close and which to keep open, the newspaper said.
S. Korea joins PSI, North irate
PYONGYANG, North Korea, May 27 (UPI) -- North Korea said Wednesday South Korea's decision to fully participate in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative is a "declaration of war" against it.
The reaction comes in the wake of the North's claims this week of a second nuclear test and subsequent short-range missile firings.
The North's permanent military mission to the North-South joint security area said in a statement, carried by the Korean Central News Agency, it no longer is bound to the Korean War armistice and will militarily respond to any foreign attempt to inspect its ships, Yonhap news agency reported.
Calling South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's government a "group of traitors," the statement said "our revolutionary forces will consider (the PSI participation) … as a declaration of war against us."
The armistice refers to the agreement which ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
The PSI decision, coming in the wake of the North's latest aggressive posture, is part of South Korea's effort to upgrade its participation in the U.S., led international campaign to disrupt the traffic of weapons of mass destruction, Voice of America reported. In the past, Seoul had refrained from taking such steps in order not to upset the North.
The PSI initiative requires dozens of nations involved in it to share intelligence and coordinate naval operations to deter transportation of nuclear and other illegal arms, the VOA said.
In the United States, the White House said President Barack Obama welcomed South Korea's decision.
Pakistan police building attack kills many
LAHORE, Pakistan, May 27 (UPI) -- Suicide attackers in a van set off an explosion Wednesday in a busy area of Lahore, Pakistan, killing several people and injuring dozens more, authorities said.
The government-run Associated Press of Pakistan new agency said the attack occurred at the Rescue building near the post office in Pakistan's second largest city and was carried out by five people riding a van.
Some reports gave a much higher death toll.
The news agency said the attackers broke through the barrier of the two-story building and opened fire. Simultaneously, they rammed the van with about 220 pounds of explosives into the building, destroying the structure adjacent to Pakistan's security agencies which were badly damaged, the report said.
The New York Times said the blast area is also near the offices of Lahore's police chief and the Inter-Services Intelligence, the country's national intelligence agency.
The Pakistani news agency quoted police as saying at least 40 police officers were on duty at the time of the blast and they made up most of the dead.
An emergency was declared throughout the city, which is the capital of Punjab province. One suspect was arrested at the site but no other details were available.
Timesonline, quoting authorities, said the attackers also lobbed grenades before the explosion. One witness said machine-gun toting attackers fired indiscriminately.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, police suspect Islamic militants, seeking retaliation for the military campaign against the Taliban in Pakistan's northwest Swat Valley region, may be responsible.
CNN reported it was in Lahore in March when gunmen attacked a bus carrying members of the Sri Lankan national cricket team for a match. The bus driver and six police officers died in that attack which also injured eight members of the team.
Death toll rises to 180 from Cyclone Aila
NEW DELHI, May 27 (UPI) -- The death toll from a cyclone that struck India and Bangladesh this week has risen to 180, officials from the two countries said Wednesday.
In Bangladesh, officials blame the cyclone Aila for 111 deaths and more than 6,600 injuries, CNN reported. In India, an emergency official reported the number of storm-related deaths rose to 69 Wednesday.
Cyclone Aila swept away nearly 180,000 homes and affected the lives of more than 3.3 million people, the official said. The cyclone made landfall Monday.
Indian officials said about 20 people died in cyclone-triggered landslides Tuesday in a rugged region of West Bengal.
Obama to offer 100-day recovery update
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., May 27 (UPI) -- Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada provided the backdrop Wednesday for a 100-day review of how America is doing under the two-year economic recovery plan.
President Barack Obama was to highlight progress the country has made since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act during a visit to the base, the White House daily calendar said.
Obama also was to release a report from Vice President Joe Biden's recovery act oversight group, providing a glimpse of projects already started under the auspices of the act.
After a joint visit to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan planned to announce ARRA investments in Native American housing and community development during a public appearance in Billings, Mont.