The United Auto Workers announced Saturday that President Gary Jones is taking a paid leave of absence amid a federal investigation of corruption within the union.
The UAW said Jones requested the leave, which is effective Sunday. UAW Vice President Rory Gamble will serve as acting president.
"The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission," Jones said in a statement.
The union is in the middle of negotiating new four-year contracts with Detroit automakers.
UAW-represented workers at General Motors Co. recently approved a new contract after a 40-day strike. Union members are scheduled to begin voting Monday on a proposed contract with Ford Motor Co., which Gamble helped negotiate. If Ford workers ratify the agreement, the UAW will begin bargaining with Fiat Chrysler.
The FBI has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years. Ten people have been convicted so far, including union leaders and auto company officials.
Jones has not been charged, but federal agents searched his suburban Detroit home in August in connection with the investigation.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials had conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.
The Detroit News, citing sources familiar with the investigation, said Jones is one of the unnamed union leaders.
A U.N. human rights team is gathering testimony about hundreds of people allegedly injured by Chile's police during street protests in recent weeks.
The team on Friday heard accounts about ruptured eyeballs, broken bones and other serious injuries inflicted by police pellets or the impact of tear gas canisters.
"We are certain" that police have not respected their own guidelines about the appropriate use of force, said Dr. Enrique Morales of Chile's state Medical College.
Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel has disputed such allegations, saying police were instructed "from the first moment" to follow protocols on ensuring public order and safety.
Authorities have also noted that at least 76 police officers have been injured in attacks by protesters.
At least 20 people have died in the protests, which started last month after the government announced a hike in subway fares. The protest movement expanded to include broader grievances over education, health services and growing economic inequality.
Most protests have been peaceful, but there have also been cases of arson and looting.
The mission sent by Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president who is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is investigating allegations of human rights violations during Chile's unrest.
The United Nations team will collect testimonies and reports throughout the country. The team will continue its work until Nov. 22.
On Friday, about 100 people, including doctors and students, spoke for several minutes each to four members of the U.N. mission.
Morales, the doctor, said he and others displayed photographs of patients who had lost not only eyesight but also parts of eyeballs.
The Medical College says its doctors have treated more than 140 people for eye injuries, a statistic that does not include similar injuries recorded at private hospitals.
Chile's National Institute of Human Rights, which is independent of the government, has recorded 1,574 people who were taken to hospitals after being injured in protests. Several hundred of those were shot.
The institute has filed nearly 200 lawsuits against the state, including some related to alleged homicide and sexual assault.
In some cases, security forces have taken women to areas not monitored by security cameras and made them undress, according to María José Guerrero, head of a group called the Observatory against Street Harassment.
More protests are expected in Chile next week.
Anti-government protesters attacked the Hong Kong office of China's official news agency in a show of anger against Beijing after chaos broke out downtown on Saturday, with police firing tear gas to repel gasoline bombs.
Streets in the upscale Causeway Bay shopping area and nearby Victoria Park were clouded in tear gas, sending thousands of protesters fleeing as riot police moved swiftly to stymie the latest rally in the city's 5-month-long push for genuine autonomy.
Police deployed at least two water cannon trucks in the vicinity. They had issued warnings to protesters who occupied the area that they were taking part in an unauthorized rally and were violating a government ban on face masks.
Some protesters stormed Xinhua News Agency's office in the city's Wan Chai neighborhood, smashing windows and the glass entrance door, splashing red ink, spraying graffiti and setting a small fire in the lobby. Graffiti that was sprayed on the wall next to the entrance read "Deport the Chinese communists."
It was the first strike against the Chinese state-run news agency, a day after the ruling Communist Party in Beijing vowed to tighten the grip on the territory.
Protesters have frequently targeted Chinese banks and businesses linked to or that support China. In July, demonstrators threw eggs at China's liaison office in Hong Kong and defaced the Chinese national emblem in a move slammed by Beijing as a direct challenge to its authority.
Protesters accuse China's central government of infringing on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Earlier Saturday, some protesters unearthed a goal post from a soccer field and metal railings to block the entrance to Victoria Park.
Pro-democracy candidates running in this month's district council elections — who can meet with groups of 50 or fewer people without a police permit — held meetings with voters at the park to try get around the rally ban. One candidate was pepper-sprayed in the face and detained after he argued with police.
Pockets of hardcore protesters in full gear quickly regrouped, setting street barriers and thrashing shuttered subway station exits. Protests also spread to the Kowloon district late Saturday.
In multiple places around the city, protesters hurled gasoline bombs at police, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. A number of protesters were detained.
Police said in a statement that some masked rioters had damaged shops, committed arson and placed nails on roads. They also said they halted two approved pro-democracy rallies due to the mayhem.
In one of those rallies, thousands gathered at a public square overlooking the city's harbor to press for the passage of a U.S. bill that could place diplomatic action and economic sanctions on Hong Kong over human rights violations. U.S. lawmakers have passed the bill, which still needs Senate backing.
The chaos Saturday underlined the depth of anger in protests that began in early June over a now-shelved plan to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since swelled into a movement seeking other demands, including direct elections for the city's leaders.
A move last month by Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, to invoke emergency powers to impose a face mask ban was slammed by protesters as crimping their right to assemble.
The increasingly violent unrest, with more than 3,000 people detained since the protests began, has hurt the reputation of one of the world's top financial hubs. The city has slipped into recession for the first time in a decade as it grapples with the turmoil and the impact from the U.S.-China trade war.
The civil disobedience has posed a big challenge for Beijing, which vowed Friday to prevent foreign powers from sowing acts of "separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage" in Hong Kong.
In a Communist Party document released after its Central Committee meeting this past week, Beijing said it would "establish and strengthen a legal system and enforcement mechanism" to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China, has tried to enact anti-subversion legislation before, only to have the measure shelved amid formidable public opposition. Beijing may be indicating it is preparing to take matters into its own hands by having the National People's Congress issue a legal interpretation forcing the enactment of such legislation.
Actress and activist Jane Fonda spent a night in a local jail after her fourth arrest in as many weeks while participating in a climate change demonstration on Capitol Hill.
The 81-year-old Oscar winner was among more than 40 people arrested Friday while sitting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. A spokesman for Fire Drill Fridays, Ira Arlook, says Fonda was the only one who spent the night in jail, her first as part of the ongoing demonstration.
Arlook says Fonda appeared in Superior Court about 1 p.m. Saturday and was released.
Fonda has said she plans to get arrested every Friday as she advocates for reducing the use of fossil fuels. A rally with speakers on various climate-related topics precedes the civil disobedience.
Bristling at Elizabeth Warren's suggestions that he's a milquetoast moderate with small ideas, presidential candidate Joe Biden countered Saturday that he offers a "bold" vision for the country and warned that Democratic primary voters should not get distracted by the party's increasingly tense battle over ideological labels.
It was a departure from Biden's usual campaign speech and signaled perhaps a new phase of Democrats' search for a nominee to take on President Donald Trump, with Warren, the leading progressive candidate, and Biden, the top choice for most moderates and establishment liberals, ratcheting up the intensity three months ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
"The vision I have for this country, there's nothing small about it. It is like going to the moon," Biden told supporters in Des Moines, as he hit the high points of a policy slate that would increase the federal government's spending and scope on everything from health care to the climate crisis.
Without naming Warren, the former vice president said his ideas — such as a "public option" to compete alongside private health insurance, as opposed to Warren's "Medicare-for-All" plan run altogether by the government — actually set the progressive standard in 2020 for a simple reason: They're more achievable.
"I'm not promising anything crazy," Biden said. "But it's a vision — a vision of how we can get things done."
With reporters afterward, Biden zeroed in on Warren's estimated $20 trillion price tag for the first decade of single-payer insurance. "Getting that plan through, even in a Democratic Congress," Biden predicted, "would be difficult."
Biden's latest volleys came barely 12 hours after Warren used Iowa Democrats' annual fundraising gala to draw sharp distinctions in the Democratic field, though she, like Biden, avoided naming opponents.
"Anyone who comes on this stage and tells you to dream small and give up early is not going to lead our party to victory," the Massachusetts senator told thousands of voters sporting t-shirts and waving signs as their preferred candidates took turns on center stage at a downtown Des Moines arena Friday night.
Even if "some people in our party don't want to admit it," Warren argued, the nation is in "a time of crisis" not just because of Trump's divisiveness but more so because of an economic and political system rigged against the working class. "If the most we can promise is 'business as usual' after Donald Trump," Warren said, "then Democrats will lose."
The senator doubled-down Saturday, insisting in Vinson, Iowa, that sweeping plans are good politics and perhaps necessary to upend Trump. "We need big ideas to inspire people, to get them to turn out for the caucuses, to turn out and vote," Warren said.
Asked hours later, after an event in Dubuque, if she was suggesting candidates like Biden weren't being ambitious enough, Warren responded: "Nope. I'm just out here talking about what I'm running on."
"I'm talking about my vision for what it means to build an America going forward that doesn't just work for a thin slice at the top, but an America that works for everyone," she said.
Still, at the very least, Biden's reaction suggests frustration over Warren's apparent momentum, even as he and his aides maintain that his philosophical approach will be successful among both Democratic primary voters and the general electorate.
Biden's proposals, to be clear, put him to the left of recent Democratic nominees, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. But on most points, he falls short of the proposals on the left flank that Warren and her fellow progressive, Sen. Bernie Sanders, have set.
Rather than obliterate private insurance, Biden touts a government plan to compete alongside private firms. Rather than government covering all four-year college tuition, Biden pushes two years a taxpayer-paid tuition. On climate, he backs most long-term goals of the left's "Green New Deal," but on a longer timeline and with an initially less aggressive crackdown on the fossil fuel industry.
"It's made to look like 'Well, Biden is coming off with some moderate proposal,'" Biden said Saturday. "There's nothing moderate about making sure everyone has health care. There's nothing moderate about getting to net-zero emissions. There's nothing moderate about fundamentally changing the school system in America so we can effectively complete in the 20th century."
The difference in his proposals, Biden argued: "I tell you straight up how we're going to pay for it and how much it's going to cost and how it's going to get done."
The dynamics Biden faces were crystallized as young climate activists interrupted him and chided him for not doing enough to take on the oil and gas industry. "Let her speak," the candidate said as his supporters tried to drown out one of the activists.
Yet as the small group chanted, sang and ultimately departed, Biden grew more frustrated.
"If you'll notice, they left before I answered her question," he said. "This is what is going on that's wrong with our party right now. Everything is taken in contexts that are not accurate."
As his voice calmed, he sought again to widen his appeal.
"The way we win is we unify, we come together as Democrats," he said. "We all have basically the same hopes and dreams. The question is, practically, how we get there. But it's not a lack of vision."