Pride becomes a minefield for big companies, but many continue their support
Dozens of big companies from Delta and Coca-Cola to Walmart are sponsoring LGBTQ+ Pride events and displaying racks of Pride-themed merchandise. But this year, the rainbow has lost some shine. Longtime Pride sponsors like Bud Light and Target have come under attack by conservatives for their LGBTQ-friendly marketing. Calls to boycott Kohl’s, Lego and Southwest Airlines for their LGBTQ-friendly marketing have also popped up in recent days. Nonetheless, many big companies are still backing Pride celebrations. Some say they want to support their LGBTQ+ employees. They also don’t want to turn their back on a population with significant spending power.
Is it real or made by AI? Europe wants a label for that as it fights disinformation
LONDON (AP) — The European Union is pushing online platforms like Google and Meta to step up efforts to fight false information by adding labels to text, photos and other content generated by artificial intelligence. A top EU Commission official said Monday that the ability of a new generation of AI chatbots to create complex content and visuals in seconds raises “fresh challenges for the fight against disinformation.” The 27-nation bloc has asked Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok and other tech companies that have signed up to the voluntary EU agreement on combating disinformation to dedicate efforts to tackling the AI problem. The official says companies should roll out technology to recognize AI-generated content and “clearly label this to users.”
Dozens of dangerous rail crossings will be eliminated with $570 million in grants
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Biden administration is handing out more than $570 million in grants to help eliminate railroad crossings in 32 states just as the industry is increasingly relying on longer and longer trains to cut costs. The grants announced Monday will help eliminate more than three dozen crossings that delay traffic and sometimes keep first responders from where help is desperately needed. There have been examples of ambulance delay resulting in a death and homes burning down while firefighters wait at a blocked crossing. In addition, roughly 2,000 collisions are reported at railroad crossings every year. Nearly 250 deaths were recorded last year in those car-train crashes.
Saudi Arabia is slashing oil supply. It could mean higher gas prices for US drivers
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Saudi Arabia says it will reduce how much oil it sends to the global economy. It’s took a unilateral step Sunday to support the sagging cost of crude after two earlier cuts in supply by major producing countries in the OPEC+ alliance failed to push prices higher. The Saudi cut of 1 million barrels per day starts in July. The other OPEC+ oil producers agreed to extend earlier production cuts through next year. Analysts say the Saudi cut would likely push up oil prices in the short term and that gasoline will become a bit more expensive. That the Saudis felt another cut was necessary underlines the uncertain outlook for fuel demand in the months ahead.
Apple is expected to unveil a sleek, pricey headset. Is it the device VR has been looking for?
Apple appears poised to unveil a long-rumored headset that will place its users between the virtual and real world. The headset will also serve to test the technology trendsetter’s ability to popularize new-fangled devices after others failed to capture the public’s imagination. The stage is set for the widely anticipated announcement be be made Monday at Apple’s annual developers conference. Apple is also likely discuss other products and software during the event. But the show’s star is expected to be a pair of goggles that could become another milestone in Apple’s lore of releasing game-changing technology, even though the company wasn’t always the first to try its hand at making a particular device
Stock market today: Wall Street drifts in early trading as oil rises
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are drifting to begin what could be a quiet stretch following several weeks of gains. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was basically flat, while the Nasdaq composite was up 0.3%. Some of the sharpest action was in the oil market, where crude rose after Saudi Arabia said it would cut back production in hopes of boosting its price. Devon Energy rose 2%. The S&P 500 is close to ending the day 20% above where it was in mid-October. If it does, that would mark the end of its bear market.
UK to house hundreds more migrants on barges, Sunak says
LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the U.K. government will house hundreds more asylum-seekers on barges. Two more barges will house about 1,000 migrants alongside one that’s set to be docked in Portland in southern England within the next two weeks. The move is meant to help save millions in taxpayers’ money currently spent to house asylum-seekers in hotels across the country. Sunak on Monday also unveiled latest migration figures that he said showed that his plans to crack down on small boat crossings on the English Channel are working. He said the number of people making the dangerous sea crossing on small vessels from northern France to the southern English coast so far this year has decreased by a fifth compared to the same time last year.
Las Vegas ballpark pitch revives debate over public funding for sports stadiums
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A proposal to help finance a new ballpark for Major League Baseball’s Athletics in Las Vegas has revived nationwide debates about public funding for private stadiums. And that has pitted Nevada’s powerful tourism industry and labor unions against some progressive groups, raising concerns about ceding tax revenue when services such as public schools are funded below the national average. Proponents say the proposal could create new jobs, increase the state’s general revenue and further diversify the city’s casino and gaming-based economy. But skeptics warn of empty promises, citing growing evidence that minimal dollars generated from the new stadium would not otherwise be spent among nearby resorts and restaurants.
Slow start to New York’s legal pot market leaves farmers holding the bag
ARGYLE, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s fledgling marijuana market doesn’t have enough licensed retailers to sell the 300,000 pounds (136,000 kilograms) of cannabis grown by farmers in the state. Farmers can only legally sell their product in a dozen licensed dispensaries statewide, and they’re feeling a financial pinch as another growing season gets underway. Pot businesses in the West have struggled with black market competition and high taxes, but in New York, the farmers’ plight is part of the bumpy launch of New York’s recreational pot market. State leaders had always planned to gear up the market in stages, but dispensaries have debuted at a slower pace than expected.
Chuck Todd leaving NBC political panel show ‘Meet the Press’ and being replaced by Kristen Welker
NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck Todd says he’s leaving “Meet the Press” after a tumultuous near-decade of moderating the NBC political panel show and will be replaced by Kristen Welker. The 51-year-old Todd told viewers Sunday he’s ”watched too many friends and family let work consume them before it was too late.” Todd has often been an online punching bag for critics, including Donald Trump. There were rumors Todd’s time at the show would be short when its executive producer was reassigned last year. It’s unclear when Todd’s last show will be. Welker will be the first Black moderator of “Meet the Press” and the first woman since Martha Rountree left in 1953.