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With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that collect personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance. One fear is that law enforcement or vigilantes could use data troves from Facebook, Google and other social platforms against people seeking ways to end unwanted pregnancies. History has repeatedly demonstrated that whenever people’s personal data is tracked and stored, there’s always a risk that it could be misused or abused.

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The birds no longer sing. The cows die. And if the people in this northern Myanmar forest complain, they too face the threat of death from militias. This forest is the source of key metallic elements known as rare earths, often called the vitamins of the modern world. Rare earths turn up in everything from hard drives to elevators, and are vital to the fast-growing field of green energy. But an AP investigation found their cost is environmental destruction, the theft of land and the funneling of money to brutal militias. The AP tied rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies. Nearly all who responded said they took environmental protection and human rights seriously.

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A tax credit of up to $7,500 could be used to defray the cost of an electric vehicle under the Inflation Reduction Act now moving toward final approval in Congress. But the auto industry warns that the vast majority of EV purchases won’t qualify for a tax credit that large. That’s mainly because of the bill’s requirement that, to qualify for the credit, an electric vehicle must contain a battery built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent. And those rules become more stringent over time — to the point where, in a few years, it’s possible that no EVs would qualify for the tax credit.

AP
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Asian shares are mostly declining amid a global fall in technology shares, including Japan’s SoftBank, which just reported hefty losses caused by the market downturn. Such worries are coming on top of concerns about inflation and what central banks might do to curb it. Shares fell Tuesday in Tokyo but rose in other regional markets. U.S. futures edged higher while oil prices fell. Analysts say regional tensions also remain a risk after the recent visit of U.S. House Speak Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Technology stocks were the biggest drag on Wall Street, where the benchmark S&P 500 edged 0.1% lower.

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Amazon on Friday announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion. It's a move that will allow Amazon to scoop up another company to add to its collection of smart home appliances amid broader concerns about its market power. iRobot sells its products worldwide and is most famous for the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum. Amazon says it will acquire the company for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that will include iRobot’s net debt. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Upon completion, iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, will remain in his position.

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Elon Musk accused Twitter of fraud in a countersuit over his aborted $44 billion deal for the social media company, which he said held back necessary information and misled his team about its true user base. The countersuit filed by the billionaire and Tesla CEO on Thursday alleges that Twitter committed fraud, breach of contract and violation of the Texas Securities Act. Musk’s counterclaims were filed confidentially last week and unsealed in a filing late Thursday at the Delaware Chancery Court. Twitter called Musk's claims an imagined story based on sloppy data from a generic web tool.

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FILE - A Roomba 980 vacuum cleaning robot is presented during a presentation in Tokyo, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Amazon on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.66 billion. The company sells its robots worldwide and is most famous for the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

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Worshippers, tourists and visitors around the world are increasingly joining virtual reality spiritual trips to some of Earth’s most sacred sites. Without ever leaving home, you can gaze at the majesty of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Or join thousands of pilgrims in Mecca as they pray and circle the cube-shaped Kaaba building at Islam’s most sacred site. Or tour the holy city of Jerusalem, to the murmur of Jewish prayers at the Western Wall and the “amens” of worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Such VR pilgrimages and religious explorations are among the many evolving spaces in the immersive virtual world known as the metaverse.

AP
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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that China will not isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from traveling there. She made the remarks in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asia tour highlighted by a visit to Taiwan that infuriated China. Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said Wednesday in Taipei that the U.S. commitment to democracy in the self-governing island and elsewhere “remains ironclad.” Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.

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Twitter denied in a court filing that it had deprived its would-be acquirer, billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, of necessary information or misrepresented details about its business. Musk originally made those charges to justify his attempt to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social platform. In a counterclaim filed Thursday, Twitter calls Musk's reasoning “a story, imagined in an effort to escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive.” Musk's counterclaim, which Twitter is responding to, has not been made public. A judge ruled on Wednesday that it will be made public by Friday.