Thursday, June 20, 2024

AP morning business news brief – May 12, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Commerce Department starts process to fund tech hubs across the US with $500 million in grants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department is launching the application process for cities to receive a total of $500 million in grants to become technology hubs. The $500 million is part of a $10 billion authorization from last year’s CHIPS and Science Act to stimulate investments in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotech. It’s an attempt to expand to the entire United States tech investment that’s largely concentrated around Austin, Texas; Boston; New York; San Francisco; and Seattle. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says, “This is about taking these places on the edge of glory to being world leaders.” The application process for cities to receive the tech hubs grants starts Friday.

Pope joins Meloni in urging Italians to have more kids, not pets

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has joined Italy’s conservative premier in encouraging Italians to have more children after Italy registered a record low birth rate last year. Francis urged concrete political action to invert the “demographic winter” that in population terms resulted in the disappearance of a city the size of Bari. He called on Friday for resources to be dedicated to helping couples grow their families. Francis said it was necessary to “plant the future” with hope. The government of Premier Giorgia Meloni is backing a campaign to encourage at least 500,000 births annually by 2033. That’s a rate that demographers say is necessary to prevent the economy from collapsing by growing the wage-earning population as retirees draw on their pensions.

The AP Interview: Mitsotakis hopes for better relations with Turkey if reelected as Greek premier

VOLOS, Greece (AP) — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has told The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview that he will extend “a hand of friendship” to the winner of the upcoming Turkish election and try to build on the momentum of recently reduced tensions. But Mitsotakis told the AP on Thursday that he hopes the next Turkish government will reconsider its approach to the West. Mitsoakis says that if he is reelected in Greece’s own election on May 21 he will maintain what he has called Greece’s strict but fair migration policy. That includes robust border patrols on land and at sea and the building of a fence along Greece’s land border with Turkey.

McDonald’s found liable for hot Chicken McNugget that fell from Happy Meal and burned girl

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A jury in Florida says McDonald’s and a franchise holder are fault after a hot Chicken McNugget from a Happy Meal fell on a little girl’s leg and caused second-degree burns. Thursday’s split decision found the franchise holder liable for negligence and failure to warn customers about the risk of hot food. It found McDonald’s USA liable for failing to provide instructions for safe handling of the food. The girl’s mother ordered Happy Meals from a drive-thru in 2019. A nugget fell onto her 4-year-old daughter’s leg. A second jury determine how much McDonald’s USA and franchise holder Upchurch Foods will have to pay the family.

Toyota: Data on more than 2 million vehicles in Japan were at risk in decade-long breach

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota’s much-touted online service for its drivers had a data breach spanning over a decade, risking outside access to information on more than 2 million vehicles. Vehicles belonging to about 2.15 million people have been affected, including those who used net services called G-Link and G-Book, as well as Connected. The problem with Japanese automaker Toyota’s cloud-based Connected service began in January 2012 and lasted until April. A spokesperson says the problem pertains to vehicles only in Japan. Among the possibly leaked data are vehicle IDs, locations and video taken by the vehicle. There is no evidence any information was leaked, copied or misused. Toyota said the problem has been resolved and Connect-enabled vehicles can be used normally.

Germany braces for 50-hour train strike after employers refuse union demands

BERLIN (AP) — A labor union representing more than 200,000 railway workers says it’s going ahead with a planned strike next week after its demands for better pay were rejected by employers. The EVG union said Friday that its members will walk out for 50 hours from late Sunday until late Tuesday. Rail company Deutsche Bahn has canceled all long-distance travel during that period and warned that most regional trains also won’t run. The strike will likely be one of the biggest in recent years following a previous large-scale walkout in April. But union co-leader Cosima Ingenschay said a strike could still be averted at the last minute if employers put forward another offer.

Montenegro court agrees to release founder of cryptocurrency firm Terraform Labs on bail

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — A court in Montenegro has agreed to release Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon from jail along with another South Korean citizen who is also charged with using forged identification documents in the Balkan country. The Basic Court Podgorica accepted 400,000 euros ( $435,000) in bail for each of the two suspects pending the outcome of their trial but prohibited them from leaving their apartment, which will be guarded by Montenegrin police. Both have pleaded not guilty. Their trial in Montenegro opened Thursday. Do Kwon was arrested on an international arrest warrant in connection with a $40 billion crash of Terraform Labs’ cryptocurrency. Both South Korea and the United States have requested his extradition.

United pilots to picket; airline unions press for higher pay

DALLAS (AP) — The peak summer travel season is almost here, and pilots are stepping up their pressure on major airlines for new contracts that will include higher pay. United Airlines pilots plan to walk picket lines at 10 big U.S. airports on Friday and hand out leaflets to travelers. Their protests come right after pilots at American and Southwest voted to authorize strikes. Union officials at United say they might hold a strike vote too. But that doesn’t mean your summer trip will be ruined. Federal law makes it very hard for airline unions to conduct strikes, and gives Congress and the president power to block a strike.

US wholesale price data for April points to easing inflation pressures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices in the United States rose modestly last month, the latest sign that inflationary pressures may be easing more than a year after the Federal Reserve unleashed an aggressive campaign of steadily higher interest rates. From March to April, the government’s producer price index rose just 0.2% after falling 0.4% from February to March, held down by falling prices for food, transportation and warehousing. Compared with a year earlier, wholesale prices rose just 2.3% last month, the 10th straight slowdown and the lowest figure since January 2021. The index reflects prices charged by manufacturers, farmers and wholesalers. It can provide an early sign of how fast consumer inflation will rise.

IRS takes steps to protect identity of workers in effort to deter personal threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS is taking steps to protect the identity of its workers in an effort to deter personal threats aimed at the tax agency’s employees. The IRS says it’ll start limiting workers’ personal identifying information on communications with taxpayers. The change begins next month. The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration said in a report this week that it was “concerned that taxpayers and anti-government or anti-tax groups with malevolent intent” could use the internet or social media to track down and harass IRS workers and their families. The IRS says it’ll remove workers’ first names from communications, leaving their last names and respective Mr., Ms., or a gender-neutral title. Phone numbers will still be included in communications.

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