In brief | Nation & World | 2-16-14


Syria peace talks end in doubt on 6th day of negotiations in Geneva

GENEVA — U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi ended direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition Saturday without finding a way of breaking the impasse in peace talks.

Saturday’s talks, which lasted less than 30 minutes, left the future of the negotiating process in doubt and no date was set for a third session.

Brahimi told a news conference that both sides agreed that the agenda for the next round should focus on four points: ending the violence and terrorism, creating a transitional governing body, building national institutions, and reconciliation.

To avoid losing another week or more before resuming discussions, Brahimi said he proposed that the first day should be reserved for talks on ending violence and combating terrorism, the main thrust of the government’s stance, and the second for talking about how to create a transitional body, as the opposition and Western powers insist.

“Unfortunately the government has refused, which raises the suspicion of the opposition that in fact the government doesn’t want to discuss the TGB (transitional governing body) at all,” Brahimi said.

Fla. man guilty of lesser counts in music shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 47-year-old software developer was convicted Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers after an argument about loud music, but jurors couldn’t agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder.

After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations over four days, a mistrial was declared on the murder charge that Michael Dunn faced in the fatal shooting of one of the black teens.

The 12 jurors found him guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of firing into an occupied car.

Dunn was charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis, of Marietta, Ga., in 2012 after they got into an argument over loud music that was coming from the parked SUV Davis was in outside a Jacksonville convenience store. Dunn, who is white, had described the music to his fiancee as “thug music.”

Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Davis’ parents each left the courtroom in tears.

Dunn claimed he acted in self-defense, testifying he thought he saw a firearm pointed at him from the SUV as Davis yelled insults at him and the argument escalated. No weapon was found in the SUV. Three friends of Davis also were in the vehicle.

Prosecutors contended that Dunn opened fire because he felt disrespected by Davis.

UAW effort to organize VW plant fails

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The failure of the United Auto Workers to unionize employees at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee underscores a cultural disconnect between a labor-friendly German company and anti-union sentiment in the South.

The multiyear effort to organize Volkswagen’s only U.S. plant was defeated on a 712-626 vote Friday night amid heavy campaigning on both sides.

Workers voting against the union said while they remain open to the creation of a German-style “works council” at the plant, they were unwilling to risk the future of the Volkswagen factory that opened to great fanfare on the site of a former Army ammunition plant in 2011.

“Come on, this is Chattanooga, Tennessee,” said worker Mike Jarvis, who was among the group in the plant that organized to fight the UAW. “It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to us.”

Jarvis, who hangs doors, trunk lids and hoods on cars said workers also were worried about the union’s historical impact on Detroit automakers and the many plants that have been closed in the North, he said.

By wire sources