Pressure on Feds Powell is rising as inflation worsens
WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell surely expected to have some breathing room after taking the first step this month to dial back the Feds emergency aid for the economy. Just a week later, though, the government reported that consumer prices grew over the previous 12 months by the most in three decades. The inflation spike has squeezed consumers, posed a threat to the Biden administration and intensified pressure on Powell to act. It all comes just as President Joe Biden is about to announce whether he will offer Powell a second four-year term as Fed chair.
Hate speech in Myanmar continues to thrive on Facebook
JAKARTA, Indonesia: Years after coming under scrutiny for contributing to ethnic and religious violence in Myanmar, Facebook still has problems detecting and moderating hate speech and misinformation on its platform in the Southeast Asian nation, internal documents viewed by The Associated Press show. In March 2018, United Nations human rights experts investigating attacks against Myanmars Muslim Rohingya minority said Facebook played a role in spreading hate speech. Information in the documents shows that while Facebook has tried harder to combat hate speech since then, tools and strategies to do so never came to full fruition, and individuals within the company repeatedly sounded the alarm.
Work starting on 1st commercial-scale US offshore wind farm
BOSTON: U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has joined with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to mark the groundbreaking of the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the United States. Haaland said Thursday on Cape Cod that the Vineyard Wind 1 project is the first of many that will contribute to President Joe Bidens goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. The farm will generate enough electricity annually to power more than 400,000 homes. Fishing groups have said the federal government did not adequately account for impacts on their industry.
Biden, Trudeau to discuss electric vehicle dispute at summit
WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden has kicked off the North American Leaders Summit with upbeat one-on-one meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador. Biden called the U.S. relationship with Canada one of the easiest in the early going of his presidency. And Lopez Obrador noted with approval that Biden said Mexico would never be referred to as the backyard of the United States. But Biden and Trudeau also discussed on Thursday their nations differences over proposed electric vehicle tax incentives in Bidens massive social services and climate bill.
State attorneys general probing Instagrams effects on kids
NEW YORK: A group of state attorneys general are investigating Instagram and its effects on children and young adults, saying its parent company Facebook recently renamed Meta Platforms ignored research about the harms it causes to young people. The investigation is led by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont. It comes on the heels of damning newspaper reports, first by The Wall Street Journal, that found that the company knew about the harms Instagram can cause to teenagers when it comes to mental health and body image issues.
White House offering more aid for winter heat, utility bills
WASHINGTON: The Biden administration is helping to distribute several billion dollars in aid for winter heating and utility bills. The money comes largely from the administrations $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. It provides an additional $4.5 billion for the governments Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which typically has funding of $3 billion to $4 billion annually. Aid for renters can also cover utility costs. The White House is hosting a call Thursday for governors offices to help release the aid to vulnerable households. Speakers will include the Energy and Health and Human Services secretaries and the governors of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan and Minnesota.
GOP paints Bidens choice for bank regulator as radical
WASHINGTON: President Joe Bidens choice to become one of the top banking regulators endured a contentious nomination hearing Thursday, with Republican senators warning she would nationalize the U.S. banking system and Democrats saying shes eminently qualified and would be tough overseer of Wall Street. Saule Omarova, 55, was nominated in September to be the nations next comptroller of the currency. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and person of color to run the 158-year-old agency. Many Republicans and the banking industry have taken issue with several papers published during her career where shes proposed wholesale changes to the banking system.
With supply short, Ford dips toe into computer chip business
DETROIT: Ford Motor Co. is in talks with a computer chip maker GlobalFoundaries Inc. to shore up its semiconductor supplies as it tries to avoid factory shutdowns in the future. Few details of the nonbinding agreement were released, but the deal aims to boost supplies with joint development of automotive-grade chips. And it could result in joint manufacturing to support the auto industry, the companies said Thursday in a statement. Ford has been hit particularly hard by a global shortage of computer chips that has affected nearly all automakers. Like other companies, Ford at times has had to temporarily close factories and even build models without some computers and install them later.
The S&P 500 gained 15.87 points, or 0.3%, to 4,704.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 60.10 points, or 0.2%, to 35,870.95. The Nasdaq added 72.14 points, or 0.5%, to 15,993.71. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 13.42 points, or 0.6%, to 2,363.59.
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