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Americans celebrate Labour Day weekend to honour US workers and their contributions to the country’s economy

Many union members now work for local, state and federal governments in white-collar jobs, not in the gritty factories where the labor movement began

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FILE - A Cincinnati Police officer stands beneath a Labor Day fireworks display as part of the city's Riverfest celebration on the Ohio River, Sept. 6, 2015. Image source: VOA

September 3, 2016: Americans are celebrating the Labor Day weekend, culminating in the Monday holiday honoring U.S. workers and their contributions to the country’s economy.

The holiday has also come to signal the unofficial end of summer in the United States. Most workers have the holiday off and often celebrate over the weekend with family picnics and vacations. In some communities, Labor Day is the last day before the school year starts for students.

Many people on the East Coast may see their holiday plans dampened by Hurricane Hermine, which crossed into Florida from the Gulf of Mexico on Friday and began moving into Georgia and the Carolinas.

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The storm has caused weather alerts and precautionary closures along much of the Atlantic Coast, including in New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio said city beaches will be closed for swimming Sunday — and possibly through Tuesday — because of potentially dangerous riptides.

“The number one thing I want to say New Yorkers is: The riptides are extremely dangerous. This is my number one message,” he said.

Labor Day in the U.S., held the first Monday in September, became an official holiday in 1894 after a push by the nation’s labor unions. For decades, cities used the occasion to stage large parades honoring unionized factory workers.

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Labor unions have seen their membership fall steadily in the past 30 years with the growth of technology and the globalization of the world economy. However, workers’ benefits —which the unions fought for decades ago — are now customary in most U.S. workplaces, including five-day work weeks, health care insurance and vacations paid for by employers.

Many union members now work for local, state and federal governments in white-collar jobs, not in the gritty factories where the labor movement began. (VOA)

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US Accuses Huawei CEO of Lying About China Ties

Huawei, the world's largest maker of telecommunications network equipment, is a leader in 5G technology

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US, Huawei CEO, China Ties
FILE - A woman stands at the booth of Huawei featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China, Sept. 28, 2018. VOA

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused the head of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies of lying about his company’s relationship with the government in Beijing.

Pompeo said in a CNBC interview Thursday that Huawei “is tied not only to China but to the Chinese Communist Party.” He added, “The existence of those connections puts American information that crosses those networks at risk.”

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment, is a leader in 5G technology. It has been trying to win contracts to build a global network that would make the internet much faster.

Last week, the U.S. government banned American companies from doing business with Huawei, escalating a heated trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

US, Huawei CEO, China Ties
FILE – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference in London, May 8, 2019. VOA

CEO Ren Zhengfei has maintained his company would not share secret user information. Huawei denies it is controlled by Beijing. The company also says it does not work with the Chinese government, an assertion Pompeo dismisses.

“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said of Huawei. “He is required by Chinese law to do that,” Pompeo added. “The Huawei CEO on that at least isn’t telling the American people the truth, nor the world.”

Pompeo confirmed a recent New York Times report that China was using a high-tech surveillance system as part of a policing effort that could track and subdue members of ethnic groups, including Muslim Uighurs.

The United States alleged earlier this month that Beijing had confined significantly more than a million minority Muslims in “concentration camps.”

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Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankia said Tuesday in a Fox News interview there were training centers for those convicted of minor offenses. Pompeo responded that the facilities were actually “authoritarian re-education institutions.” (VOA)