It appears there’s a new late-night TV feud, this time over the thorny topic of weight.
“The Late Late Show” host James Corden has slammed “Real Time” host Bill Maher over recent remarks cheering on “fat-shaming.”
Maher took a moment in his closing monologue on last week’s show to lament the so-called disappearance of “fat-shaming” and call for a “comeback.”
“Being fat isn’t a birth defect. Nobody comes out of the womb needing to buy two seats on an airplane,” Mahar said. “We have gone to this weird place where fat is good. It’s pointing out that fat is unhealthy. That’s what’s bad. Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good.”
Corden told his audience on Thursday night that he felt obligated to “say something about this,” noting that he has a platform to do so and admitting that he himself is “overweight.”
“I’ve got to say that anytime that I’ve met Bill Maher in person, he’s been nothing but pleasant and kind and nice, which is why I found it so surprising that he or anybody thinks that fat-shaming needs to make a comeback because fat-shaming never went anywhere,” Corden said. “I mean, ask literally any fat person.”
The CBS star acknowledged that being overweight “isn’t good” and pointed to his own struggles with losing weight, saying he’s had “good days and bad months.”
“We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher, you know. We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day,” Corden joked.
Corden said Maher is “working against his own cause,” pointing out that fat-shaming leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior “like overeating.”
“Fat shaming is just bullying, that’s what it is. It’s bullying,” Corden continued. “And bullying only makes the problem worse.”
The London-born comedian challenged Maher’s claim that Europe doesn’t have a weight issue, referring to himself as “Exhibit A.” He also insisted that the issue is more “complex” than the HBO host portrayed it, pointing to poverty as a significant factor in the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
“I believe that Bill Maher’s heart is in the right place … but in the meantime Bill, please hear me when I say this: While you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse.
The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving in Missouri since 1945 — more than 2,000 priests and 300 deacons, seminarians and religious women, Schmitt said. Investigators also spoke to abuse survivors and their relatives who contacted the attorney general’s office.
Schmitt, a Republican and a Catholic, said that his investigators concluded the Church was involved in a “long, sustained and far-reaching cover-up” of abuse, finding 163 priests or clergy members accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against minors. Of the 80 who are still alive, the statute of limitations has expired on 46 of the crimes.
The attorney general added that 16 of the remaining 34 cases have been previously referred for local prosecution and five cases have been or are being investigated by prosecutors. Another case is still under investigation by the Catholic Church, leaving the 12 cases referred by Smith.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is seen as a state senator in this 2013 photo. (Kile Brewer/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File)
Schmitt said his office didn’t consider recommending charges against anyone in the church hierarchy because the focus was on the “perpetrators of the crimes.” David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called that decision “tragic.”
Clohessy, of St. Louis, also said Schmitt should have released more details about the alleged crimes and where they occurred.
“Even without naming individual names, he could still provide much more helpful information than he has,” Clohessy said.
Schmitt said the 12 referrals are the most by any state attorney general since a Pensylvania grand jury report in August 2018 accused upwards of 300 priests of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children.
“The betrayal of trust and of innocence is devastating and in many instances incomprehensible,” said Schmitt, who added that the investigation’s clergy abuse hotline will remain open and he encouraged any additional abuse victims to come forward.
Missouri’s four Roman Catholic jurisdictions conducted their own internal investigations, too, but found fewer alleged crimes than the state investigation.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis investigation released in July found 61 clergy with what the archdiocese called “substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse of children. Thirty-four of the priests are deceased. The archdiocese said all of the living priests have been removed from the ministry. The list separately named three additional priests accused of possessing child pornography.
The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese released its report last week, citing 19 clerics, none of them currently serving. Thirteen have died, two have been removed from ministry, and four have been laicized, or removed from the clerical state. One of the laicized clerics, Shawn Ratigan, is serving 50 years in federal prison on a 2013 conviction for producing or attempting to produce child pornography.
The other two dioceses released similar lists of accused religious leaders last year. The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau identified 16 priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse of children. The Diocese of Jefferson City listed 35 credibly accused church officials, including 30 priests and five members of a religious order.
The New York attorney general’s office said Friday that it had tracked about $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, including through Swiss bank accounts, suggesting that the family tried to shield wealth as it faced a raft of litigation over its role in the opioid crisis.
Earlier this week, thousands of municipal governments and nearly two dozen states tentatively reached a settlement with the Sackler family and the company it owns, Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. But the attorneys general of a majority of states, including New York and Massachusetts, are balking at the proposed deal, contending that the Sackler family has siphoned off company profits that should be used to pay for the billions of dollars in damage caused by opioids.
The wire transfers are part of a lawsuit against Purdue and individual Sacklers in New York. Letitia James, now the state’s attorney general, had issued subpoenas last month to 33 financial institutions and investment advisers with ties to the Sacklers in an effort to trace the full measure of the family’s wealth.
“While the Sacklers continue to lowball victims and skirt a responsible settlement, we refuse to allow the family to misuse the courts in an effort to shield their financial misconduct,” Ms. James said in a statement. “Records from one financial institution alone have shown approximately $1 billion in wire transfers between the Sacklers, entities they control, and different financial institutions, including those that have funneled funds into Swiss bank accounts,” she added.
Forbes has estimated that the family fortune is worth $13 billion, a figure the family has not disputed, but many state attorneys general believe that the family has far more hidden away, as a safeguard against the cascade of litigation.
In addition to the thousands of lawsuits in state and federal court aimed at Purdue itself, some 26 states have named the Sacklers individually, with more, most recently North Carolina, having announced they are about to pursue family members as well.
The Sacklers and Purdue have contested the legal actions.
“Purdue has already produced more than 51 million pages of documents to the state, including voluminous financial and business information,” a lawyer representing Purdue said in a filing in the New York case earlier this month. The company is seeking to quash subpoenas, calling them “premature, facially defective, overbroad” as well as “harassing, and an improper attempt to avoid the rules and procedures governing party discovery.”
Mortimer D.A. SacklerCreditShane O’Neill/Patrick McMullan, via Getty Image
New court documents filed by Ms. James’s office Friday afternoon presented only initial findings, from a single unnamed financial institution that has thus far responded to the subpoenas issued by her office.
A series of transfers involving Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a former Purdue board member, was highlighted in the filings. In one case, $64 million was transferred in 2009 from a previously unknown trust called Purdue Pharma Trust MDAS, through a Swiss bank account, and then to Mr. Sackler, the filing said.
Transfers to Mr. Sackler from another trust, called Heatheridge Trust Company Limited, were also routed through the same Swiss account, the filing said, while some transfers from a third trust, called Millborne Trust Company Limited, were routed through a different Swiss bank account.
Mr. Sackler also directed millions of dollars worth of the transfers to two real estate entities that owned a house in Amagansett on Long Island and a Manhattan townhouse.
Investigators believe that the initial records reviewed show that there is much more to be learned before a fair resolution can be reached.
Letitia James, the New York attorney general, announcing the state’s lawsuit against the Sackler family at a news conference in March.CreditTimothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
In a letter to the court Friday, a lawyer in the attorney general’s office, David E. Nachman, wrote: “Already, these records have allowed the state to identify previously unknown shell companies that one of the Sackler defendants used to shift Purdue money through accounts around the world and then conceal it in at least two separate multimillion-dollar real estate investments back here in New York, sanitized (until now) of any readily detectable connections to the Sackler family.”
The tentative settlement announced earlier this week, involving nearly 2,300 cases in federal court and 23 states, included terms that Purdue Pharma would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy imminently. Typically, when a company begins bankruptcy proceedings, all litigation against it is, at least temporarily, stayed.
Whether such bankruptcy protections would extend to individual Sacklers is in dispute. States like New York are seeking to find the sources of the Sackler fortune, hoping to reclaim portions of it, particularly in the event that a Purdue bankruptcy could constrain payouts to litigants.
It was unclear whether Ms. James’s initial findings of new Sackler funds would influence the parties that have agreed to the settlement.
The family has long ties abroad. It still owns Mundipharma, a pharmaceutical company that sells drugs overseas, including OxyContin. In addition, it has familial ties in England and has made its philanthropic presence felt in museums in London and Paris.
“Ed Markey is a proud and strong progressive champion for working families — not just in Massachusetts but across the country,” she said.
Markey, 73, joined the Senate in a 2013 special election before winning a full term the following year. The 38-year-old Kennedy, a grandson of late senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, was first elected to the House in 2012.
The endorsement seemed to be personal for Ocasio-Cortez, who received early support from Markey for her ambitious proposals to address the specter of climate change.
“When I first got to Congress and we started to discuss big bold plans, a solution on the scale of the crisis, many members shied away,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a video released on Friday.
“A lot of people said we can’t do too much, we can’t go too fast in order to pursue change for the American people,” she added. “And Ed Markey was one of the few people that had the courage to stand up and take a chance, and take a chance on a freshman congresswoman.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s plan has come to symbolize progressives’ aggressive agenda on the environment. She has faced pushback from members of her own party, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as well as sweeping attacks from Republicans who dubbed her a “socialist.”Conservative groups have estimated the plan would cost trillions of dollars and inflict a heavy financial toll on American families.
Her endorsement seemed to fit with her record of challenging the Democratic establishment. While Kennedy has endorsed the freshman congresswoman’s “Green New Deal,” his family is also considered political royalty in Massachusetts.
Ocasio-Cortez said that Markey’s willingness to take a chance on her plan was “so emblematic” of who he was. “He’s not just resting on his record of the past. He’s aggressively pursuing an agenda for the future.”
While Markey has enjoyed endorsements from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and prominent liberal advocacy groups, he has trailed Kennedy in polling. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll earlier this month showed Markey with just 26 percent of primary voters’ support, versus 35 percent for Kennedy.
Kennedy is expected to make a decision about challenging Markey by the end of September.
HOUSTON ― Joe Biden on Thursday committed to releasing his medical records before the first votes are cast in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The 76-year-old former vice president pledged to do so when asked by HuffPost about concerns ― raised by some of his challengers in the Democratic race ― about his fitness for office.
“What the hell concerns?” Biden said in a brief comments following a meet-and-greet with students at Texas Southern University in Houston, site of last night’s debate among 10 Democratic White House contenders. He then jokingly challenged a reporter to a wrestling match. (Full disclosure: It was me.)
He added he would release the records “when I get the next physical … before there’s a first vote.”
The Iowa caucuses kick off the balloting in the Democratic race on Feb. 3.
Biden’s promise Friday was new. Previously he had said only that he would release his records before the general election.
At one point in Thursday’s debate, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro targeted the former vice president with a sharp attack, suggesting that Biden’s memory was failing him. Biden’s campaign called the barb a “cheap shot,” and that characterization has been echoed by others in the media.
But New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker seemed to back up Castro in a post-debate interview with CNN, saying, “There’s a lot of people concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to carry the ball all the way across the end line without fumbling.”
Though Biden consistently has led the polls in the Democratic race, periodic verbal gaffes and miscues he’s committed have opened the gate to questions about his mental alertness.
Biden hasn’t disclosed his medical history since 2008, when he last sought the presidency and ended up as Barack Obama’s running mate on the winning Democratic ticket. At that time, doctors disclosed he suffered from an irregular heartbeat as recently as 2006. The records also showed he took aspirin and was prescribed medication to help lower his cholesterol.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
“The conspiracy theories about Marilyn’s death as they exist now. Did not exist in the 60’s. They grew exponentially from the 60’s to where we are now,” said Donald McGovern, in the final episode of the Fox Nation series, “Scandalous: The Death of Marilyn Monroe.”
McGovern, author of “Murder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death,” is just one of several experts featured in the new episode, which re-examines a secret plot to pin blame for the Hollywood icon’s death on the then-U.S. Attorney General and brother of the President, Bobby Kennedy.
“Walter Winchell serialized what essentially was a theory. That Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn had had an affair and that Bobby Kennedy had Marilyn murdered. I don’t know that Winchell ever comes out and says that. But it’s insinuated,” recounted McGovern.
The theories surrounding Monroe did not end there. They re-surfaced in the 1970’s, around the 10th anniversary of her death, when novelist Norman Mailer wrote an instant best-selling book, “Marilyn: A Biography.”
In the final chapter of that book, Mailer turns the Capell-Reis-Clemmons conspiracy on its head and suggests that Monroe was killed by the conspirators.
Fox Nation programs are viewable on-demand and from your mobile device app, but only for Fox Nation subscribers. Go to Fox Nation to start a free trial and watch the extensive library from Tomi Lahren, Pete Hegseth, Abby Hornacek, Laura Ingraham, Ainsley Earhardt, Greg Gutfeld, Judge Andrew Napolitano and many more of your favorite Fox News personalities.
“Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman has arrived at Boston’s federal court to learn her fate in the college admissions scandal. (Sept. 13) AP, AP
BOSTON — A federal judge sentenced actress Felicity Huffman to 14 days in prison in the nation’s college admissions scandal, giving prosecutors a crucial win as they seek prison sentences for other parents charged in the historic case.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also sentenced Huffman to a $30,000 fine, supervised release for one year and 250 hours of community service in the case’s first sentencing of a parent – a defendant who is also one of the case’s most famous.
She was confronted in court by a prosecutor who argued for a prison term and said she had shown “disdain and contempt for the rule of law.” But her legal team argued that she should not be treated “more harshly” because of her wealth and fame.
Judge Talwani said she made her decision based a number of factors, including Huffman’s “moral character.” She also said the idea the case “undermined confidence in a level-playing field” in college admissions is flawed.
“Our current admissions process does not ensure there’s not a backdoor” into college through bribery and cheating, the judge said.
“I don’t think anyone wants to go to prison,” Talwani said. “I do think this is the right thing here. I think without this sentence you would be looking at a future with a community around you asking how you got away with this.”
Huffman was directed to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons by Oct. 25. “Ms. Huffman, I wish you success moving forward,” the judge told her.
Her husband, actor William H. Macy, rubbed his wife’s back and held her hand they left the courtroom.
Earlier, Huffman, 56, also apologized again for her actions and reiterated her regrets to her family.
“I take full responsibility of my actions and making amends with my crime,” she said. “I will deserve whatever punishment you give me.”
She teared up recounting the story of how her daughter found out what she had done.
“She said, ‘I don’t know who you are anymore, mom. Why didn’t you believe in me, mom? Why didn’t you think I can do it on my own?’ I can only say, ‘I’m sorry Sophia. I was so stupid and I was so wrong’. … I have done more damage than I could have ever imagined.”
About 45 minutes before the hearing, Huffman arrived at the courthouse with Macy. A jostling mob of reporters and cameras focused on them as they got out of a black SUV. Wearing a black dress, she also was accompanied by her brother and an older woman, but her two daughters did not appear to be them.
Prosecutors sought a one month of prison for the former “Desperate Housewives” actress, who has admitted to paying $15,000 to have someone correct answers on the SAT exam for her older daughter, Sophia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen argued forcefully in court, saying “the only meaningful and efficient sanction is prison” and “there is simply no excuse for what she did.”
“With all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,” he said. “What parenthood does not do is it does not make you a felon, it does not make you cheat… Most parents have the moral compass to not step over the line. The defendant did not.”
He noted that Huffman did not disengage from her conduct “until the very, very end.” She showed “disdain and contempt for the rule of law,” Rosen said.
He cited an Akron, Ohio, case in which a single African-American mother was sentenced to 10 days in prison for lying about her daughters’ residence to get them into a better school district.
“If we respect the rule of law, we should not treat defendants (differently) because of wealth and status,” Rosen said.
Huffman’s attorney, Martin Murphy, argued for 12 months of probation and 250 hours of community service for Huffman. He disputed the government’s argument that probation is “not real punishment,” calling that a “penological joke. That is simply wrong and it is wrong as a mater of law. … A sentence of punishment is real punishment.”
Murphy called for a sentence that treats Huffman like other similarly situated defendants, “not more harshly or more favorably for her wealth….Unlike what the government says, that is not fair.”
When Huffman had the chance to decide whether “she was going to do this again, she said, ‘No.’ She said, ‘No, I don’t want to do this. It doesn’t seem right.’ This is a litmus test of Ms. Huffman’s character,” Murphy said.
Inside the courtroom, Macy sat in the first row of the gallery. U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling, who doesn’t ordinarily attend hearings in the case his office launched, also was there. And more than 50 reporters crowded in as well.
Three hours before the hearing, about 100 reporters, photographers and six TV trucks gathered outside the courthouse to await the arrival of the Oscar-nominated (“Transamerica”) star.
A tearful Huffman pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying Rick Singer, the mastermind of nationwide admissions scheme, to facilitate the test-cheating. Her daughter’s SAT score improved to a 1420, up 400 points from when she took the PSAT the previous year.
The college admissions scam involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman shows how some rich families use a “side door” to game an already unfair education system. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
Prison would show everyone is ‘subject to the law,’ prosecutors say
The judge issued an order Friday agreeing with the court’s probation department, which found no financial losses, and thus no victim, as a result of actions by any defendant, including Huffman. It’s a blow to prosecutors, who had argued universities and testing companies suffered damages.
Still, Talwani said sentences will account for “consideration of all of the factors” outlined in federal guidelines.
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy arrive at Boston federal court for college admissions scandal sentencing. pic.twitter.com/wDTVn7UfI9
In a sentencing memo filed last week, prosecutors called Huffman’s conduct “deliberate and manifestly criminal.” In addition to prison, the government is seeking 12 months of supervised release and a $20,000 fine.
“It was wrong, she knew it was wrong, and she actively participated in manipulating her daughter’s guidance counselor, the testing services and the schools to which her daughter applied,” the memo reads. “Her efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”
Prosecutors argued neither probation nor home confinement would “constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes.” Neither would a significant dollar fine, which they said would “amount to little more than a rounding error for a defendant with a net worth measured in the tens of millions of dollars.” They called community service “hardly a punishment,” especially for the famous.
Prosecutors had previously recommended four months of prison. They said they reduced the length after Huffman acknowledged the agreed-upon payment to be $15,000. She had objected earlier.
Huffman’s lead attorney, Martin Murphy, in a separate memo argued several reasons why his defendant should be spared prison: No incarceration falls within the federal sentencing guidelines for her crimes; probation would be consistent with cases with similar charges; and Huffman’s conduct was “completely out of character.”
Felicity Huffman will be one of the first people sentenced in the college admissions scandal. Huffman agreed to plead guilty in a deal in April. USA TODAY
The actress’ legal team included letters to the judge from Huffman and 27 others including her husband, William H. Macy, friends such as former co-star Eva Longoria and other family members, each vouching for her character.
Felicity Huffman: I ‘feared of being bad mother’ if I didn’t cheat
Actress Felicity Huffman is one of 13 parents who negotiated plea agreements in the college admissions scandal. USA TODAY
Huffman said she “didn’t go shopping for a college counselor to find out how to rig a SAT score.” Rather, she hired a counselor for guidance on how to apply to colleges for her daughter, who has learning disabilities. She said Singer was recommended.
She said Singer advised that her daughter’s SAT score would prevent her from getting accepted into her college of choice. He then told her about the cheating scheme, Huffman said, which she pondered six weeks before agreeing to.
“As warped as this sounds now, I honestly began to feel that maybe I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do what Mr. Singer was suggesting,” Huffman said.
“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot. I see the irony of that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the education community, betrayed my daughter and failed my family.”
Huffman was arrested in March. She is one of 51 people charged with crimes in the case in which parents are accused of paying more than $25 million collectively to Singer to either tag their children as fake athletic recruits to get them into college or to carry out the test scam. Twenty-three people, including parents, coaches, other co-conspirators and Singer himself, have pleaded guilty to felonies.
Macy told the judge his daughter is “slowly regaining her equilibrium and getting on with her life. She still doesn’t like to sleep alone and has nightmares from the FBI agents waking her that morning with guns drawn.”
Huffman was a ‘retail customer’ in scheme, her attorneys argue
The first defendant sentenced in the college admissions scandal, former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, was given home supervision, not prison, after admitting to collecting $610,000 in payments from Singer. The judge who ruled on his case noted that Vandemoer funneled payments to Stanford’s sailing program, not his personal use, and none of the students tied to his payments attended Stanford as a direct result of his actions.
In its case against Huffman, the government has singled out other examples of cheating on tests or misrepresenting academic records that resulted in prison. But Murphy, in a new filing Wednesday, argued that none mirror the situation involving Huffman, whom he likened to a “retail customer” of Singer’s scheme.
For example, one case highlighted by prosecutors involves a defendant sentenced to 84 months in prison for scheming to access Florida A&M University’s online-grading system and changing grades for themselves and friends. He did so by installing a “keylogger” onto a computer. But, as noted by Huffman’s attorney, the defendant falsified more than 650 grades for at least 90 students.
Murphy said the federal government did not prosecute any of the defendants’ “customers” in that case.
The judge’s order on the issue could mean that parents who paid greater amounts to Singer won’t be eligible for tougher sentences. Sloane, a Los Angeles executive, pleaded guilty to paying $250,000 in bribes to Singer’s organization to falsely designate his son as a water polo player so he could gain acceptance to the University of Southern California. Semprevivo, also a California businessman, admitted to paying $400,000 to get his son into Georgetown university as a fake tennis recruit.
FRANKFURT — Car executives are paid to be optimists, but behind the pomp and salesmanship at the Frankfurt International Motor Show this week lurked an unmistakable sense of angst.
The talk among industry insiders at the show, one of the auto industry’s biggest events, reflected the existential threats that carmakers face.
The European and global auto markets are in decline. Carmakers are betting their futures on electric vehicles whose marketability is untested. Manufacturers are under intense public and regulatory pressure because of the role that vehicles play in climate change. The global trade war has disrupted supply chains.
Even auto shows are under threat. Many manufacturers scaled back their presence in Frankfurt this year or skipped the show altogether. Companies like Toyota and Fiat Chrysler decided the benefits didn’t justify the millions of euros it takes to put on a display.
“It’s an unprecedented situation we are in,” said Wolf-Henning Scheider, chief executive of ZF Friedrichshafen, a German transmission maker that has an extensive network of factories in the United States, Europe and China.
BMW is showing an electric Mini.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times
Volkswagen is producing its ID.3 electric sedan with wind and solar energy.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times
Mr. Scheider noted that carmakers must invest vast sums in electric vehicles and autonomous driving at the same time they are coping with a trade war. “All these at the same time is new,” Mr. Scheider said in an interview.
The Frankfurt show was as good a place as any to find out how auto executives plan to survive the tsunami. Here are some of the main takeaways.
Sustainability has become a matter of survival
Protests by environmental groups were especially intense this year, as carmakers increasingly take the blame for climate change. Volkswagen alone accounts for more than 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the company’s own calculations.
This week Greenpeace activists stood on the roofs of S.U.V.s on display at the Frankfurt exhibition grounds with signs that chided, “Climate Killer.” The militant group Attac planned to blockade streets and bring traffic to a standstill on Saturday, the day the show opens to the public.
Carmakers are desperate to show that they get the message. Ola Källenius, chief executive of Daimler, said in Frankfurt that the company’s Mercedes-Benz factories will be carbon neutral next year.
Volkswagen is producing its ID.3 electric sedan with wind and solar energy, and offsetting any additional emissions by financing a project in the rainforests of Borneo. At an event this week to unveil the ID.3, guests were handed bamboo forks to eat hors d’oeuvres.
“We’re serious,” Herbert Diess, the Volkswagen chief executive, said during a debate with Tina Velo, a leader of Attac, who questioned the company’s commitment to the environment.
But carmakers still make most of their money from fuel-thirsty S.U.V.s. Nicolas Peter, chief financial officer of BMW, said the industry couldn’t solve its image problems with public relations alone.
“We have to do the right thing,” he told a small group of reporters on Tuesday.
Trade tensions are reshaping the industry
Carmakers are operating on the assumption that tensions between China and the United States won’t be resolved soon. They are rethinking their supply chains and moving production closer to customers so that fewer goods have to cross borders and be exposed to tariffs.
That applies to software as well as hardware. Mr. Scheider of ZF said that, for security reasons, autonomous driving technology developed for the United States has to be kept out of China and vice versa. “That is a risk, that these two regions drift apart,” he said.
Forced to choose, many companies would have to pick China. It has become by far the biggest car market, and several executives said they expected it to keep growing despite a recent decline in sales. Mr. Scheider pointed out that rates of car ownership were still low outside the major cities.
“I’m pretty confident the Chinese market will grow continuously,” he said.
Electric cars are here, ready or not
A slew of mainstream carmakers unveiled battery-powered cars in Frankfurt that will sell at prices within reach of middle-class households.
The most important new product at the show is easily the ID.3, a four-door hatchback that Volkswagen said would be the first in a line of affordable battery-powered vehicles, including an S.U.V. and a minivan.
Honda unveiled an electric vehicle known simply as the E, and BMW showed an electric version of its popular Mini. Including incentives available in the United States, Germany and other countries, the end price of these vehicles should be 30,000 euros ($33,000) or less. Because electric cars have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, the cost of ownership may be lower than for a conventional car.
Ola Källenius, chief executive of Daimler. He said the company’s Mercedes-Benz factories would be carbon neutral next year.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times
But no one knows yet whether these vehicles will be popular enough to justify the investment and allow carmakers to meet European Union fuel economy targets that take effect next year. Carmakers that fail to deliver average fuel economy of 57 miles per gallon face draconian fines.
The end of internal combustion is nigh
Regret is written on the faces of auto executives’ faces when they say it, but the age of the internal combustion engine is slowly coming to an end.
“One is amazed at what can still be achieved with the internal combustion engine,” said Markus Schäfer, the head of research and development at Daimler. He added, however: “Of course the main focus is on electrification.”
Mr. Schäfer told a small group of reporters that Mercedes did not plan to develop any more internal combustion engines after it finished the rollout of a new four-cylinder motor, which is underway. “That is the last,” he said.
But battery-powered cars are likely to be less profitable for carmakers, which tend to operate on thin margins to begin with. Most make their own gasoline or diesel motors. They must buy batteries from suppliers like LG Chem of South Korea, Panasonic of Japan or CATL of China, which will keep a big chunk of the profits.
Batteries are getting better and cheaper
Batteries for electric cars have made rapid progress in the last decade, dropping in price and delivering more juice per pound than even a few years ago. The latest generation of the Renault Zoe can travel 395 kilometers, or 245 miles, on a charge, more than double the range of the first generation, which went on sale in 2012.
“In less than a decade, we already have done huge progress,” Gilles Normand, senior vice president for electric vehicles at Renault, said in an interview. “You can easily imagine what’s going to come in the next 10 years.”
The BMW Vision iNext luxury electric automobile, left, and a Vision M Next concept car.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times
Thierry Bolloré, the chief executive of Renault, said that the company was working on a €10,000 ($12,000) electric car. “We have a clear estimate that this is reachable, absolutely, and still make money,” Mr. Bolloré said during a news conference Tuesday.
Others are more pessimistic. The prevailing lithium-ion technology will probably reach its limits in five years, Mr. Schäfer of Daimler said. Further progress will rest on new technologies such as solid state batteries, which will weigh less and be easier to cool but are not yet ready for mass production. “We need a quantum leap in the technology,” Mr. Schäfer said.
An industry shakeout is coming
Some companies will adapt to new technologies, but some won’t be able to invest enough to stay competitive.
Mergers would be a way out for weaker companies, but those have proved difficult. Mr. Bolloré of Renault said in Frankfurt that there was no effort to revive the aborted deal with Fiat Chrysler.
“We are not talking to each other,” he told reporters. “The offer was on the table. It’s no longer on the table. That’s it.” Mr. Bolloré added that he regretted the merger hadn’t worked out.
The coming shakeout may be most brutal among suppliers, particularly smaller companies far down the industry food chain that supply specialized parts for combustion engines.
“Every downturn, there is a consolidation that takes place,” said Derek Jenkins, a former Mazda and Volkswagen executive who is senior vice president of design at Lucid, a California company that plans to begin producing a luxury electric car at the end of 2020. Lucid, backed by Saudi investors, is an example of the start-ups challenging the established carmakers.
“Brands disappear,” Mr. Jenkins said in an interview. “That will happen in the next downturn cycle.”
Though the restaurant stated in its blog, The Chicken Wire, the brand has been serving only NAE chicken at Chick-fil-A restaurants since May, the packaging will not reflect the change until the beginning of October.
According to the restaurant, serving NAE chicken means the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ensures no antibiotics are administered to the chicken beginning with the egg.
The fast-food chain announced the goal in 2014, with a completion date of 2019. Chick-fil-A has met the goal early, the restaurant announced. (iStock)
“We know consumers care about how their food is made and where it comes from, including the use of antibiotics. Because it was important to our customers, it was important to us,” said Matt Abercrombie, director of menu and packaging. “Chick-fil-A has always been committed to serving customers delicious food made with high-quality ingredients and offering No Antibiotics Ever chicken was the next step. Our goal was to pursue the highest standard and partner with the USDA to verify it.”
Chick-fil-A claims it is the largest fast-food restaurant franchise to achieve such a feat.