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Tesla wants to electrify big trucks, adding to its ambitions

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:45:04 UT

DETROIT (AP) — After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The company unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles (804 kilometers) on an electric charge — even with a full 80,000-pound (36,287-kilogram) load — and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors. Musk said customers can put down a $5,000 deposit for the semi now and production will begin in 2019.



UN panel agrees to move ahead with debate on 'killer robots'

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:59:00 UT

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel agreed Friday to move ahead with talks to define and possibly set limits on weapons that can kill without human involvement, as human rights groups said governments are moving too slowly to keep up with advances in artificial intelligence that could put computers in control one day. Advocacy groups warned about the threats posed by such "killer robots" and aired a chilling video illustrating their possible uses on the sidelines of the first formal U.N. meeting of government experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems this week. More than 80 countries took part. Ambassador Amandeep Gill of India, who chaired the gathering, said participants plan to meet again in 2018.



VW to spend $40B on electric cars, technology through 2022

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:38:10 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen says it plans to spend more than 34 billion euros ($40 billion) over the next five years on developing electric cars, autonomous driving and other new technologies. The German automaker released the figure Friday after its supervisory board discussed the company's plans for the 2018-2022 period. It said most of the money will go into the electrification and hybridization of all its brands' models. Volkswagen in September announced a long-term electrification campaign, saying its brands would introduce 80 new electric vehicles by 2025. By 2030, it plans to offer at least one electric variant of each of its roughly 300 models.



Federal "extreme vetting" plan castigated by tech experts

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:22:58 UT

Leading researchers castigated a federal plan that would use artificial intelligence methods to scrutinize immigrants and visa applicants, saying it is unworkable as written and likely to be "inaccurate and biased" if deployed. The experts, a group of more than 50 computer and data scientists, mathematicians and other specialists in automated decision-making, urged the Department of Homeland Security to abandon the project, dubbed the "Extreme Vetting Initiative." That plan has its roots in President Donald Trump's repeated pledge during the 2016 campaign to subject immigrants seeking admission to the United States to more intense ideological scrutiny — or, as he put it, "extreme vetting .



FCC relaxes limits on owning newspapers, TV stations

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:28:20 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators have weakened rules meant to support independent local media. Now, one company can own newspapers and broadcast stations in one market, undoing a ban in place since 1975. Thursday's decision by the Federal Communications Commission also makes it easier for one company to own two broadcast TV stations in one market and coordinate operations with stations owned by others. Although the changes won't affect AT&T's pending bid for Time Warner and its cable channels, they come as cable and phone companies have grown into industry giants through acquisitions. The newspaper and broadcasting industries say they need the changes to deal with growing competition from the web and cable companies.



Phone companies get new tools to block spam calls

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:04:59 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Phone companies will have greater authority to block unwanted calls from reaching customers as regulators adopted new rules to combat automated messages known as robocalls. Rules adopted Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission represent the latest tools against robocalls, which pester consumers, sometimes multiple times each day, and often push scams. The agency, which regulates the country's phone, broadcast TV and internet services, also hopes that recent big fines will help deter scammers. Phone companies can already block some calls that trick consumers by showing up on Caller ID with fake numbers.



European court rules against Greece over wiretap death

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:22:15 UT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A European court has ordered Greece to pay damages to relatives of a Vodafone telecoms executive who was found dead on the eve of the government's discovery of a major illegal wiretapping operation that had targeted the country's political and military leadership. In a statement Thursday, the Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to pay 50,000 euros ($59,000) in damages plus court costs, after finding that the investigation into the death of executive Costas Tsalikidis had been incomplete. Tsalikidis was found hanged in his Athens apartment in March 2005, just before the scandal broke.



Kaspersky Lab releases report into upload of NSA documents

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:04:01 UT

LONDON (AP) — Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kasperksy Lab is releasing new details about how its software uploaded classified U.S. documents several years ago. The incident is at the center of a controversy over whether the company's popular anti-virus really works as described. Previous reports alleged that Kaspersky had uploaded National Security Agency files from an intelligence worker's home computer in 2015. Founder Eugene Kaspersky confirmed the incident in a recent interview with The Associated Press, although he said that it occurred in September 2014, that the upload was accidental and that the files were quickly deleted.



Amid global electric-car buzz, Toyota bullish on hydrogen

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 04:10:56 UT

TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — At a car factory in this city named after Toyota, the usual robots with their swinging arms are missing. Instead, workers intently fit parts into place by hand with craftsmanship-like care. The big moment on the assembly line comes when two bulbous yellow tanks of hydrogen are rolled over and delicately fitted into each car's underside. While much of the world is going gung-ho for electric vehicles to help get rid of auto emissions and end reliance on fossil fuels, Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. is banking on hydrogen. Toyota sells about 10 million vehicles a year around the world. It has sold only about 4,000 Mirai fuel cell vehicles since late 2014, roughly half of them outside Japan.



Cisco stock up on upbeat earnings, revenue growth forecast

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:14:24 UT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. rose in after-hours trading Wednesday after the internet gear maker reported better-than-expected earnings and forecast revenue growth after two years of decline. The San Jose, California-based company reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $2.39 billion, up from $2.32 billion a year ago. Cisco said its earnings adjusted for non-recurring costs and stock option expense, were 61 cents per share in the latest quarter, beating expectations of 60 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. The seller of routers, switches, software and services posted revenue of $12.14 billion in the period, matching Wall Street forecasts. That was down from $12.



California may limit liability of self-driving carmakers

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:36:01 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators are embracing a General Motors recommendation that would help makers of self-driving cars avoid paying for accidents and other trouble, raising concerns that the proposal will put an unfair burden on vehicle owners. If adopted, the regulations drafted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles would protect these carmakers from lawsuits in cases where vehicles haven't been maintained according to manufacturer specifications. That could open a loophole for automakers to skirt responsibility for accidents, injuries and deaths caused by defective autonomous vehicles, said Armand Feliciano, vice president for the Association of California Insurance Companies.



Couples sue fertility clinic over eggs with genetic defect

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:31:50 UT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two couples are suing a New York fertility doctor and his clinic after giving birth to children with a genetic abnormality later traced back to donated eggs. The two children, both born in 2009, have Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that can lead to intellectual and developmental impairments. The parents, identified by initials and last names in legal papers, argue the doctor and the clinic failed to test the women who donated the eggs to determine whether they were carriers for Fragile X. They're seeking damages for the added expenses of raising a disabled child. The New York Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case on Wednesday. A decision is expected next year.



Feds charge man they say worked for 'darknet' marketplace

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 21:02:14 UT

ATLANTA (AP) — An Illinois man who federal prosecutors say worked as a spokesman for a "darknet" marketplace for illicit internet commerce has been charged in Atlanta. Authorities have said AlphaBay was the internet's largest darknet site — trading in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods, among other things — before it was taken down through an international law enforcement effort in July. Federal prosecutors in Atlanta have charged 24-year-old Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, Illinois, with conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Wheeler pleaded not guilty Wednesday at an initial hearing before federal Magistrate Judge Janet King.



Twitter, BuzzFeed join for breezy online morning show

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:41:28 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter and BuzzFeed initially planned to start their new morning show, "AM to DM," each weekday at 8 a.m. Then they considered their likely audience, and scheduled it for 10. Now there's time to wake up leisurely, have coffee and fire up your smartphone. Hosts Isaac Fitzgerald and Saeed Jones, who like four-fifths of the show's audience are under age 35, don't have to rise at an ungodly hour. It's all so civilized. Launched quietly in late September from a studio in BuzzFeed's Manhattan office, "AM to DM" is a breezy mix of news and pop culture. Viewers can click on Twitter and watch the stream live, or catch highlights later in the day. "It's been kind of fun," said Shani Hilton, head of U.S. news at BuzzFeed.



AP Exclusive: US scientists try 1st gene editing in the body

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:19:53 UT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person's DNA to cure a disease. The experiment was done Monday in California on 44-year-old Brian Madeux. Through an IV, he received billions of copies of a corrective gene and a genetic tool to cut his DNA in a precise spot. "It's kind of humbling" to be the first to test this, said Madeux, who has a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome. "I'm willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people." Signs of whether it's working may come in a month; tests will show for sure in three months. If it's successful, it could give a major boost to the fledgling field of gene therapy .