Iraq forces clash with gunmen in Syria border area
BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces battled gunmen trying to infiltrate the country from neighboring Syria on Monday, while attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital killed more than 20 people, officials said.
Twenty sport utility vehicles and more than two dozen motorcycles carrying gunmen tried to enter Iraq in Anbar province, but Iraqi border forces turned them back after a two-hour clash, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement. It gave no details about casualties or the identities of the armed men.
Iraq has been seized by violence that has taken on sectarian overtones, and many fear that the civil war in neighboring Syria will only intensify those divisions. Some militant Sunnis linked to al-Qaida have flocked to the rebel cause in Syria, fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces and the Shiites backing his government.
Major bombings in Iraq have become an almost daily occurrence, and on Monday three improvised explosive devices detonated in Baghdad, killing nine people, three of them members of the Sunni Awakening movement, according to medical and security officials.
—Duraid Adnan, The New York Times
Chrysler to recall 5,600 vehicles; NHTSA investigates Hyundai
Chrysler will recall about 4,200 cars and pickups in the United States and 1,400 in Canada because the 8-speed automatic transmission could fail, while in a separate action the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether a Hyundai recall earlier this year should have covered more vehicles.
The Chrysler recall affects some 2013 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with a V6 engine, either all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive and the 8-speed automatic transmission, according to a report the automaker filed with the safety agency Thursday.
The 8-speed transmission’s output shaft may fracture, resulting in a loss of power, the automaker said, adding that it learned of the problem because of warranty claims on the transmission made by its manufacturer, ZF Group. Chrysler said it would inspect and test the transmission and if necessary “replace their transmission assemblies.”
The automaker said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.
—Christopher Jensen, The New York Times
Eastern states press Mi
WASHINGTON — In a battle that pits the East Coast against the Midwest over the winds that carry dirty air from coal plants, the governors of eight Northeastern states plan to petition the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to force tighter air pollution regulations on nine Rust Belt and Appalachian states.
The East Coast states, including New York and Connecticut, have for more than 15 years been subject to stricter air pollution requirements than many other parts of the country. Their governors have long criticized the Appalachian and Rust Belt states, including Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, for their more lenient rules on pollution from coal-fired power plants, factories and tailpipes — allowing those economies to profit from cheap energy while their belched soot and smog are carried on the prevailing winds that blow across the United States.
All the governors on the petition are Democrats. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has not signed it.
The petition comes the day before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments to determine the fate of a related EPA regulation known as the “good neighbor” rule. The regulation, officially called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, would force states with coal pollution that wafts across state lines to rein in soot and smog, either by installing costly pollution control technology or by shutting the power plants.
Even if the regulation is upheld, the Eastern governors are seeking stronger constraints on pollution from the Midwest and Rust Belt states.
—Coral Davenport, The New York Times
Tech giants call for surveillance curbs
Eight prominent technology companies, bruised by revelations of government spying on their customers’ data and scrambling to repair the damage to their reputations, are mounting a public campaign to urge President Barack Obama and Congress to set new limits on government surveillance.
On Monday, the companies, led by Google and Microsoft, presented a plan to regulate online spying and urged the United States to lead a worldwide effort to restrict it. They accompanied it with an open letter, in the form of full-page ads in national newspapers, including The New York Times, and a website detailing their concerns.
It is the broadest and strongest effort by the companies, often archrivals, to speak with one voice to pressure the government. The tech industry, whose billionaire founders and executives are highly sought as political donors, forms a powerful interest group that is increasingly flexing its muscle in Washington.
“It’s now in their business and economic interest to protect their users’ privacy and to aggressively push for changes,” said Trevor Timm, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The NSA mass-surveillance programs exist for a simple reason: cooperation with the tech and telecom companies. If the tech companies no longer want to cooperate, they have a lot of leverage to force significant reform.”
The political push by the technology companies opens a third front in their battle against government surveillance, which has escalated with recent revelations about government spying without the companies’ knowledge. The companies have also been making technical changes to try to thwart spying and have been waging a public-relations campaign to convince users that they are protecting their privacy.
—Edward Wyatt and Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times