Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Business Briefs: Europe’s world-first AI rules get final approval from lawmakers. Here’s what happens next

by Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — European Union lawmakers have given final approval to the 27-nation bloc’s artificial intelligence law. The move Wednesday put the world-leading set of rules on track to take effect later this year. Lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Artificial Intelligence Act, five years after regulations were first proposed. The AI Act is expected to act as a global signpost for other governments grappling with how to regulate the fast-developing technology. Next year, the law will take effect for generative AI models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which will have to mitigate risks and put cybersecurity measures in place, among other steps.

Chinese stocks slide as investors maintain caution after US inflation report

HONG KONG (AP) — China stocks slide after the overnight United States inflation report. It signaled a diminished possibility of the Fed’s rate cut, making investors cautious. Hong Kong stocks edged less than 0.1% lower, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.4% to 3,043.83, and the smaller market in Shenzhen also shed 0.3%. The overnight report on U.S. inflation showed that consumers paid prices that were a bit higher last month than economists expected, making it less possible for Fed’s rate cut. China’s local media reported Tuesday that the country’s state-owned banks may raise up to $11.2 billion in syndicated loans to assist the property developer China Vanke in meeting its impending repayment deadlines.

Native groups sit on a treasure trove of lithium. Now mines threaten their water, culture and wealth

TUSAQUILLAS, Argentina (AP) — In the “lithium triangle” – a region spanning Argentina, Chile and Bolivia – native communities sit upon an estimated trillion dollars in lithium. The metal is key in the global fight against climate change, used in electric car batteries, crucial to solar and wind energy and more. But to extract it, mines suck water out of the flats, tethered to the lives of thousands of communities. Those whose families have lived here for generations worry the search for “white gold” will mean sacrificing that very life force that has sustained them for centuries.

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts near its records amid a worldwide lull for markets

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting around their records on Wall Street, as a lull carries through financial markets worldwide. The S&P 500 was little changed Wednesday, a day after setting an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 71 points, or 0.2%, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% lower. The bond market was also quiet, with Treasury yields edging a bit higher. Stock markets around the world were likewise moving only modestly. Oil prices rose to add to their gains for the year so far. On Wall Street, Dollar Tree tumbled after reporting weaker results than analysts expected.

Yeezy shoe sales lead Adidas to $150 million in donations to anti-hate groups

LONDON (AP) — Adidas says it’s donated or is planning to give away more than $150 million to groups fighting antisemitism and other forms of hate from the sales of Yeezy shoes last year. The German sportswear brand reported the amount Wednesday after severing ties in 2022 with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, over his antisemitic and other offensive comments. Adidas has sold some of the remaining shoes in two releases last year and another late last month. Of roughly $328 million in profits earned from the sales of Yeezy shoes last year, Adidas says it had given away or planned to donate about $152 million to anti-hate groups like the Anti-Defamation League.

Dollar Tree to close nearly 1,000 stores, posts surprise fourth quarter loss

Dollar Tree will close nearly 1,000 stores and swung to a surprise fourth quarter loss as the discount retailer took a related $1.07 billion goodwill impairment charge. Shares tumbled 15% before the opening bell Wednesday. Dollar Tree plans to close about 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of this year and 370 Family Dollar and 30 Dollar Tree stores over the next several years. Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar for more than $8 billion almost a decade ago after a bidding war with rival Dollar General, but it has had difficulty absorbing the chain.

As TikTok bill steams forward, online influencers put on their lobbying hats to visit Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are facing their latest lobbyists — online influencers from TikTok. The platform is once again bringing influencers to Washington, this time to lobby members of Congress. The company wants lawmakers to reject a fast-moving bill that would force TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company to sell or face a ban in the United States. Some online content creators are beginning what’s poised to be a two-day lobbying and advocacy event in support of TikTok. The platform arranged their trips to Washington ahead of a House floor vote on the legislation on Wednesday.

US inflation up again in February in latest sign that price pressures remain elevated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices in the United States picked up last month, a sign that inflation remains a persistent challenge for the Federal Reserve and for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, both of which are counting on a steady easing of price pressures this year. Prices rose 0.4% from January to February, a pickup from the previous month’s figure of 0.3%. Compared with 12 months earlier, consumer prices rose 3.2% last month, faster than January’s 3.1% annual pace. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so called “core” prices also climbed 0.4% from January to February, matching the previous month’s increase and a faster pace than is consistent with the Fed’s 2% target.

The New York Times is fighting off Wordle look-alikes with copyright takedown notices

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times is fighting off Wordle “clones.” It’s arguing that numerous games inspired by the mega-popular word-guessing game infringe on its copyright protections. After Wordle skyrocketed to internet fame, hundreds of copycats have emerged over recent years. And the Times, which purchased the game in 2022, is now sending takedown notices to people behind some of the look-alikes. In a prepared statement, a spokesperson said the news company took action against one user on software developer platform GitHub who created a “Wordle clone” project that provides instructions on how to create “a knock-off version” of Wordle, and others who shared his code. Still, impacted developers and some legal experts are skeptical.

African Development Bank chief criticizes opaque loans tied to Africa’s natural resources

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The head of the African Development Bank is calling for an end to loans given in exchange for oil or critical minerals used in smartphones and electric car batteries. Such deals have left some African countries in financial crisis and have helped China control the extraction of critical minerals, such as cobalt, in Congo. Akinwumi Adesina said in an interview with The Associated Press that these arrangements come with a litany of problems, pointing to uneven negotiations where lenders typically dictate terms to cash-strapped African nations. He says a lack of transparency and potential for corruption also help create fertile ground for exploitation. At least 11 African countries have taken loans secured with their natural resources since the 2000s.

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