Technology

Asia stocks mixed after Wall St gain, Powell warns on rates

Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street rose and the Federal Reserve's chairman said it will raise interest rates further if needed to cool inflation. Shanghai and Hong Kong declined. Tokyo and Seoul advanced. Oil prices rose to stay above $110 per barrel. Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index rose by an unusually wide daily margin of 2% after positive U.S. retail sales data helped to offset concern about inflation. Fed chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank will “have to consider moving more aggressively” if inflation that is at a four-decade high fails to ease.

Nielsen list illustrates power of franchises for networks

Broadcast television networks, inundated with competition from cable and streaming services, have learned the power of franchises. Last week's Nielsen company list is a stark reminder: 12 of the 20 most popular scripted series last week were parts of existing franchises — the three “Chicago” dramas on NBC and the three “FBI” shows on CBS, for example. ABC, in announcing its new fall schedule on Tuesday, said it will try to create its own franchise by spinning off a companion version to its show “The Rookie” in the fall. CBS won the week in prime time last week, with NBC coming in second.

Musk wars with Twitter over his buyout deal - on Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his deal to buy Twitter can’t “move forward” unless the company shows public proof that less than 5% of the accounts on the platform are fake or spam. Musk made the comment in a reply to another user on Twitter early Tuesday. He spent much of the previous day in a back-and-forth with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. Agrawal posted a series of tweets explaining his company’s effort to fight bots and how it has consistently estimated that less than 5% of Twitter accounts are fake.

Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War

Ukrainian guerrilla fighters reportedly have killed several high-ranking Russian officers in the southern city of Melitopol. That information comes from the regional administration on Telegram. Russian forces have occupied the city since early in the war. According to the regional administration, the occupiers are trying to conceal the situation but Russian troops were more actively checking private cars in the city Tuesday, most likely looking for the guerrillas.” No details of the killings were given and the report could not immediately be confirmed. Throughout the war, the Ukrainians have claimed to have killed many Russian generals and other officers. A few of the deaths have been confirmed by the Russians.

Dusty demise for NASA Mars lander in July; power dwindling

A NASA spacecraft on Mars is losing power and is headed for a dusty demise. The InSight lander has just a couple more months of science work before succumbing to the Martian dust on its solar panels. NASA said Tuesday it will keep using the spacecraft's seismometer to detect marsquakes until the power peters out. Officials expect operations to cease in July, almost four years after InSight's arrival at Mars. InSight is one of three NASA spacecraft operating on the Martian surface. Rovers Curiosity and Perseverance are still going strong, thanks to nuclear power.

Environmentalists oppose more life for California nuke plant

Dozens of environmental and anti-nuclear organizations are opposing any attempt to extend the operating life of California's last running nuclear power plant. A coalition that includes San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the Oregon Conservancy Foundation and the Ohio Nuclear Free Network say the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is old, unsafe and too close to earthquake faults. The plant located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles is scheduled to close by 2025. As the state faces potential electricity shortages, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom recently suggested that plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric consider reversing course and seek to keep the plant open longer. 

Livestreamed carnage: Tech's hard lessons from mass killings

Experts are calling for a broader discussion around livestreams after a white gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket. The self-described white supremacist mounted a GoPro camera to his helmet to stream his assault live on Twitch, the video game streaming platform. Twitch and other sites like Twitter and Facebook have learned painful lessons from dealing with the violent videos that now often accompany such shootings. Experts are discussing whether livestreams should exist at all, since once such videos go online, they’re almost impossible to erase completely.

Musk's China ties add potential risks to Twitter purchase

Elon Musk’s ties to China through his role as electric car brand Tesla’s biggest shareholder could add complexity to his bid to buy Twitter. Other companies that want access to China’s huge market give in to pressure to follow Beijing’s positions on Taiwan and other issues. Internet barriers block most of China’s public from seeing global social media, including Twitter, though Beijing uses the platform to convey its own messaging. Some experts believe Tesla Inc.’s ambitions in China could give its ruling Communist Party leverage to silence human rights activists and other critics of Beijing if Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter goes ahead. Chinese customers bought half the Teslas sold last year.

Musk hints at paying less for Twitter than his $44B offer

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has given the strongest hint yet that he would like to pay less for Twitter than his $44 billion offer made last month. Musk told a Miami technology conference that a viable deal at a lower price would not be out of the question. That's according to a Bloomberg News report. Also at the All In Summit, Musk estimated that at least 20% of Twitter’s 229 million accounts are spam bots, a percentage he said was at the low end of his assessment. The appearance came a few hours after Musk began trolling Twitter CEO Paraj Agrawal, who posted a series of tweets explaining his company’s effort to fight bots and how it has consistently estimated that less than 5% of Twitter accounts are fake.

Ransomware gang threatens to overthrow Costa Rica government

A ransomware gang that infiltrated some Costa Rican government computer systems has upped its threat. It now says its goal is to overthrow the government. The Russian-speaking Conti gang attacked Costa Rica in April, accessing multiple critical systems in the Finance Ministry including customs and tax collection. Other government systems were also affected and a month later not all are fully functioning. President Rodrigo Chaves declared a state of emergency last week over the attack as soon as he was sworn in. The U.S. State Department has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the identification or location of Conti leaders.

NBC, Fox offer fall television plans, to a point amid change

During a week in mid-May, broadcast television networks traditionally unveil their fall plans in flashy presentations before advertisers in New York. Fox is no different, but this year the network is trying something new by announcing some programs but not its schedule. NBC, which had its first large-scale programming announcement in three years because of the COVID break, emphasized its place in the larger media conglomerate with the Peacock streaming service and cable networks. Fox says the absence of its schedule is an effort to try something new and give equal weight to its Tubi streaming service. Fixed schedules are slowly becoming obsolete as viewers decide what to watch and when.

A Bezos-Biden squabble: Can corporate taxes tame inflation?

Jeff Bezos this weekend became the latest centibillionaire to launch a political fight on Twitter by denouncing a tweet by President Joe Biden about corporate taxes as “disinformation” and “misdirection.” The White House quickly retorted Monday that Bezos “opposes an economic agenda for the middle class.” And then Bezos fired back, arguing that the Biden administration would have made inflation worse if its $3.5 trillion economic and social spending bill, known as “Build Back Better,” had made it into law. “They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40 year high,” Bezos tweeted. 

Get on your bike: Coldplay hopes to lead with a green tour

It’s often said that fans at live concerts give the band a jolt of electricity. Coldplay wants to literally harness it. The pop superstars have added kinetic dance floors and energy-storing stationary bikes to their latest world tour, encouraging fans to help power the show as they dance or spin. It’s part of a larger push to make the tour more environmentally friendly. The band, whose songs include the appropriately titled “Higher Power,” has pledged to be as sustainable and low-carbon as possible, hoping to cut their CO2 emissions by 50%.

Judge: California's women on boards law is unconstitutional

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that California’s landmark law requiring women on corporate boards is unconstitutional. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch sued over the law, saying it was illegal to use taxpayer funds to enforce a statute that violates the California Constitution by mandating a gender-based quota. The state attorney's general office countered that the law didn’t create a quota because boards could add seats for female directors without stripping men of their positions. The state said the law was necessary to reverse a culture of discrimination. Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis issued her ruling Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Fox tries something new by holding release of fall schedule

During a week in mid-May, broadcast television networks traditionally unveil their fall plans in flashy presentations before advertisers in New York. Fox is no different, but this year the network is trying something new by not announcing its schedule. TV schedules are slowly becoming obsolete as more viewers decide on their own when they want to watch or stream shows, but they still provide a guide. Fox Entertainment CEO Charles Collier says the network is trying something different, to give equal weight to its broadcast network and streaming service. Fox also hasn't nailed down deals with producers of “911” and “The Resident,” two shows it expects air in the fall.

Convicted killer turned tech whiz confronts his sordid past

His partners tout him as a successful case of rehabilitation and second chances: When he was 20 years old, Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder. Today, he is the brains behind an Israeli health-tech startup, poised to make millions of dollars with the backing of prominent public figures and deep-pocket investors. But with his company set to go public, Hershtik’s past is coming under new scrutiny, raising questions about whether someone who took a person’s life deserves to rehabilitate his own to such an extent. It also tells an astounding tale of a life derailed and improbably set back on track.

New Zealand to help pay for cleaner cars to reduce emissions

New Zealand will help pay for lower-income families to scrap their old gas guzzlers and replace them with cleaner hybrid or electric cars as part of a sweeping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government said it plans to spend 569 million New Zealand dollars ($357 million) on the trial program. It's part of a larger plan that includes subsidies for businesses to reduce emissions, a switch to an entirely green bus fleet by 2035 and curbside food-waste collection for most homes by the end of the decade. The plan represents a step toward the pledges the nation made under the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Buffalo shooting: Sites yank videos faster, but not by much

Social platforms have learned to remove violent videos of extremist shootings more quickly over the past few years. It’s just not clear they’re moving quickly enough. Police say that when a white gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others Saturday in a “racially motivated violent extremist” shooting in Buffalo, he livestreamed the attack to the gaming platform Twitch. It didn’t stay there long; a Twitch spokesperson said it removed the video in less than two minutes. While that's much faster than the 17 minutes it took Facebook to remove a similar video in 2019, copies of the video continued to circulate online Sunday.

As Musk buyout looms, Twitter searches for its soul

A toxic cesspool. A lifeline. A finger on the world’s pulse. Twitter is all these things and more to its over 229 million users around the world. For Elon Musk, its ultimate troll and perhaps most prolific user on the verge of taking ownership of it, Twitter is a “de facto town square” in dire need of a libertarian makeover. Whether and how he’ll achieve this, at this stage in the game, is anyone’s guess. But if Twitter’s history is any indication, the process will be messy — inside and outside of the company. 

As Musk buyout looms, Twitter searches for its soul

A toxic cesspool. A lifeline. A finger on the world’s pulse. Twitter is all these things and more to its over 229 million users around the world. For Elon Musk, its ultimate troll and perhaps most prolific user whose buyout of the company is on increasingly shaky grounds, Twitter is a “de facto town square” in dire need of a libertarian makeover. Whether and how this will happen, at this stage in the game, is anyone’s guess. But if Twitter’s history is any indication, the process will be messy — inside and outside of the company. 

Menaced by flames, nuclear lab peers into future of wildfire

Lighter winds allowed for the most intense aerial attack this week on multiple wildfires in New Mexico, including the biggest U.S. wildfire burning northeast of Santa Fe. In Southern California, where a fire that has destroyed at least 20 homes in the coastal community of Laguna Niguel, the mandatory evacuation area was scaled back Friday from 900 residences to 131. West of Santa Fe, residents remain on alert as a fire slowly creeps toward the city of Los Alamos. That's where scientists at a U.S. national security lab are charged with assessing apocalyptic threats, including wildfires. Public schools remained closed there Friday as many residents prepared for possible evacuations.

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites from California

A SpaceX rocket has carried 53 satellites for the Starlink internet constellation into orbit. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Friday afternoon. Minutes later, the first stage landed on a droneship in the Pacific Ocean. The second stage continued toward low Earth orbit, and SpaceX later confirmed that all satellites had been deployed. Starlink is a space-based system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has hundreds of Starlink satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 340 miles.

Offseason QB moves played big role in NFL schedule

Tom Brady had just retired, Russell Wilson was in Seattle and the free-agent frenzy hadn’t even started when the NFL schedule makers started to dig in after the Super Bowl on putting together the complex puzzle of a 272-game schedule. After sifting through more than 100,000 schedules out of a possibility of more than one quadrillion possibilities, the final schedule had Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Wilson and his new team in Denver getting prime-time television windows in Week 1.