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Wednesday, November 17, 2021 10:02 PM

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DETROIT, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker General Motors Co. (TSX:GMM'U) (NYSE:GM) is raising the bar on its initial public offering, increasing the sale by 31 percent, sources told The New York Times.

GM is expected to sell 478 million common shares priced between $32 to $33 per share, but could raise that to 550 million shares, the Times reported Wednesday.

In addition, the U.S. Treasury will increase the sale of its GM holdings, expecting now to raise about $13 billion and reduce its GM holdings from 61 percent to 26 percent.

After paying back $9.5 billion of a federal loan of $49.5 billion, GM will still owe the Treasury about $27 billion by the end of the week, if demand holds up, the Times said.

In a statement issued by the White House Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the IPO "marks a major milestone in the turnaround of not just an iconic company but the entire American auto industry."

"Through the IPO, the government will cut its stake in GM by nearly half, continuing our disciplined commitment to exit this investment while protecting the American taxpayer," Obama said. "Supporting the American auto industry required tough decisions and shared sacrifices, but it helped save jobs, rescue an industry at the heart of America's manufacturing sector, and make it more competitive for the future."

Interest in the IPO has already raised expectations. GM had initially sought to raise about $10.1 billion in the sale. With 31 percent more shares for sale and with the price increasing from about $29 per share, GM could be on track to break the $22.1 billion IPO record set by the Agricultural Bank of China (OOTC:BACHY) (OOTC:ACGBY) earlier this year.

GM is also expected to sell $4.6 billion worth of preferred stock, after previously indicating it would sell $3 billion worth, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The price for the sale, set for Thursday, will be set after the close of markets Wednesday, the Journal said.

U.S.: 'Grave concern' on religious freedom

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department expressed "grave concern" Wednesday over what it called a growing trend of people being repatriated to face religious persecution.

In its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, covering the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said there have been "credible reports that the government of China attempted to forcibly return Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists from other countries because of their religious activities or advocacy on behalf of religious freedom."

"Similarly, the government of Uzbekistan continued to pursue the extradition of alleged members of religious groups it deemed Muslim extremist from third countries, particularly from Russia, although no actual extraditions occurred during the reporting period," the International Religious Freedom Report 2010 said.

"The growing trend of forcibly returning individuals from another country to face persecution or abuse in their home country in retribution for their religious activism is also of grave concern to the United States," the State Department report concluded.

Noting that promotion of religious freedom is a core objective of U.S. foreign policy, the State Department said the annual report is mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

The report's primary focus is on actions by governments "that contribute to religious repression or tolerate violence against religious communities, and actions that protect and promote religious freedom."

The report concluded that non-Muslim religious minorities in Afghanistan were "targets of intolerant attitudes" and that governments and government officials in Myanmar, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia restricted religious freedom.

Man acquitted on all but 1 terror count

NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A New York jury Wednesday acquitted a man accused in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on all but one of more than 280 counts.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani faces the scores of counts of conspiracy and murder in the bombings, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans, and injured thousands of others. The jury -- which heard the case anonymously -- found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property, The New York Times reported.

Ghailani's defense attorney told the jury in a closing statement Tuesday his client was a pawn of al-Qaida, which claimed responsibility for the bombings. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

Prosecutors accused Ghailani, 36, of mass murder, saying the Tanzanian played a critical role in securing materials and the truck that carried the bomb in Tanzania.

Ghailani is the first detainee from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be tried in civilian court. He was captured in Pakistan in 2004, moved to Guantanamo in 2006, then transferred to a federal prison in New York in 2009.

He could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, the Times said.

15 to get presidential medals

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Politicians, a billionaire, a poet, a musician, ex-athletes and activists were among 15 who will receive presidential medals, the White House said Wednesday.

In addition to billionaire investor Warren Buffett and former Boston Celtics star Russell, the "individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interest of the United States" include former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and poet-author-actress Maya Angelou.

Other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom will include: American artist Jasper Johns; John H. Adams, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein; cellist Yo-Yo-Ma; civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez; Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Stan "The Man" Musial; Jean Kennedy Smith, founder of the non-profit VSA organization to promote artistic talents of those with disabilities; and AFL-CIO President Emeritus John J. Sweeney.

Dr. Tom Little, an optometrist killed in Afghanistan on a humanitarian mission Aug. 6 will be awarded the medal posthumously. Little ran the NOOR (Persian for "light") program for the International Assistance Mission.

"These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they've excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

"I look forward to awarding them this honor."

The awards will be presented at a White House ceremony early next year.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)
 

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