GM reverses course says strikers will keep health coverage

DETROIT — General Motors now says striking workers will get company-paid health insurance, nine days after saying coverage would be cut off.The company says in an email to the United Auto Workers union that it will keep benefits in place due to significant confusion among members. The letter says employee health and well-being are GM’s top priorities.Workers howled and politicians criticized GM after the company said it would end benefits the day after the strike began Sept. 16.It’s standard procedure for health care costs to shift to the union in a strike. The United Auto Workers’ website says the union would pick up the cost of premiums.The strike by about 49,000 factory workers has shut down production at more than 30 GM factories. Talks continued Thursday.The Associated Press

Building a Telegraph air force at the Royal International Air Tattoo

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the defence budget, and how many planes and ships the UK can afford.To try and shed some more light on the subject, The Telegraph sent its Defence and Security correspondent, Dominic Nicholls, on a mission:  to build his very own Telegraph Air Force.So where does one go to do their Air Force shopping?The Royal International Air Show, of course. The US defence secretary told his British counterpart that Washington is “concerned” that the UK’s military power and diplomatic influence is “at risk of erosion”.General Mattis said he wanted the UK to remain America’s “partner of choice” but also said that the French were committed to being “global actors” alongside the US.Mr Williamson has been pushing for extra cash, stepping up his efforts after the NHS was promised a funding boost. Dominic Nicholls tests out some kit Dominic Nicholls tests out some kit This was compounded by a leaked letter from Pentagon chief Jim Mattis to Mr Williamson, which hinted that the special relationship could be under strain unless the UK boosted its defence capability. A row continues to rage in Whitehall between Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and the Prime Minister over defence funding.Mrs May has refused to commit publicly to Britain remaining a “tier one” military power, raising fears in the Ministry of Defence that Britain’s military status could be in jeopardy. Which is why The Telegraph’s defence expert travelled to the Royal International Air Tattoo to learn just how much it costs to build an air force.Watch the video to find out if Dominic managed to stick to budget, even with a discount. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (R), her husband Philip May (C) and Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson attend the national Armed Forces Day celebrations Credit:OLI SCARFF/AFP Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (R), her husband Philip May (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson attend the national Armed Forces Day celebrations  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Selfridges becomes first major department store to ban sale of exotic skins

The most expensive handbag in the world is a crocodile skin Hermes Birkin A crocodile skin handbag, one upon a time, was a sign of great status and wealth, something which could be found in pride of place in London’s most expensive department stores.Now, that era is at an end as Selfridges becomes the first major department store to ban exotic animal skins, following many major fashion houses.The retailer, which banned the sale of fur in 2005, said it prided itself on being a “responsible retailer and a trusted curator of brands”.Python, alligator, crocodile and lizard skins are also disappearing from the catwalk, as Chanel and Victoria Beckham are among those who have banned the material, with  more expected to follow.Selfridges’ buying director Sebastian Manes said: “I am proud to confirm that exotic skins will no longer be available to purchase at Selfridges as of February 2020.”We will continue in our ambition to inspire our brands and customers through thoughtful, ethical and transparent buying strategies.” The most expensive handbag in the world is a crocodile skin Hermes BirkinCredit:REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  “Selfridges, Victoria Beckham and Chanel banning exotic skins within weeks of each other raises the bar in compassionate fashion and illustrates a shift in the industry towards innovative, high-end animal-free fabrics. We look forward to seeing more designers make the same ethical choice to stop subjecting exotic creatures to cruelty, and leave them in the wild where they belong.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. This move has been welcomed by animal rights activists. Humane Society International Executive Director Claire Bass, said “It is wonderful to see Selfridges end the sale of exotic skins, a move that will save countless crocodiles and snakes from losing their lives.”When Selfridges went fur-free more than a decade ago, it positioned itself as a retailer at the forefront of compassionate fashion. Banning exotic skins in recognition of the serious animal welfare issues that exist in this industry is a natural next step for a responsible retailer. read more