September 11, 2023
Google’s search engine dominance is at the center of the biggest US antitrust trial in decades
The U.S. government is taking aim at what has been an indomitable empire: Google’s ubiquitous search engine. An antitrust trial will swing into full force Tuesday in a Washington D.C. federal courtroom. The case marks the biggest U.S. antitrust trial since regulators went after Microsoft a quarter century ago to challenge Microsoft’s dominance in personal computer software. The 10-week trial comes years after the Justice Department alleged Google abused the power of its search engine in ways that stifle competition. The government says Google’s practices increasingly force consumers to settle for inferior search results.
In India and Vietnam, Biden looks past differences on Russia and embraces imperfect partners
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — President Joe Biden has wrapped up a five-day diplomatic sprint through Vietnam and India that put a spotlight on complicated relationships he believes will be crucial for global stability. The whirlwind visit demonstrated that as Russia’s war on Ukraine plods on, Biden appears to have become more willing to look past differences with imperfect partners that he badly needs to keep close for the sake of stability in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East and beyond. Biden closed out his Asia trip on Monday by spotlighting new business deals and partnerships with Vietnam. He also celebrating the Communist government’s elevation of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to a higher level.
US sets record for expensive weather disasters in a year — with four months yet to go
The deadly firestorm in Hawaii and Hurricane Idalia’s watery storm surge helped push the United States to an annual record for the number of weather disasters that cost at least $1 billion. And there’s still four months to go on what’s looking more like a calendar of calamities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday there have been 23 weather extreme events in America that cost at least $1 billion this year through August. That breaks the annual record of 22 set in 2020. So far disasters this year have cost more than $57.6 billion and claimed at least 253 lives.
Europe’s economic outlook worsens as high prices plague consumer spending
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe’s economic outlook just took a turn for the worse. The European Union’s executive commission on Monday cut its forecast because high inflation is still discouraging consumers from spending money. The European Commission now expects economic growth of 0.8% this year for the 20 countries that use the euro currency. The old forecast was for 1.1% growth. Despite fears of recession, it’s more stagnation because unemployment is low. The weaker outlook could affect what the European Central Bank does on interest rates this week. Some economists think the ECB might avoid another rate increase after nine straight hikes.
Hostess is being acquired by JM Smucker in a deal valued at $5.6B after coming back from the brink
Hostess, the maker of snack classics like Twinkies and HoHos, is being sold to J.M. Smucker in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $5.6 billion. Smucker, which makes everything from coffee to peanut butter and jelly, will pay $34.25 per share in cash and stock, and it will also pick up approximately $900 million in net debt. In addition to Twinkies, Hostess makes CupCakes, DingDongs and Zingers, and also Voortman cookies.
Disney, Charter settle cable dispute hours before ‘Monday Night Football’ season opener
NEW YORK (AP) — Disney and Charter Communications announced a deal to settle a dispute that had cut some 15 million cable TV customers off from ESPN and other Disney-owned stations. The two businesses faced a pressing deadline — the year’s first ‘Monday Night Football’ game, that would have left a lot of angry football fans if they weren’t able to watch the game. It matches the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills, and many of the affected customers with the Charter-owned Spectrum TV are in the New York area. The companies were seeking to nail an agreement for Spectrum to carry Disney’s stations, made difficult by cord-cutting that has cut into cable’s audience.
Stock market today: Wall Street ticks higher to reverse some of last week’s losses
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ticking higher as Wall Street recovers some of its losses from last week. The S&P 500 was 0.5% higher Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 77 points, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.6% higher. Treasury yields were holding relatively steady after a swift rise earlier hurt stock prices. Where yields head next will likely depend on several big U.S. economic reports due this upcoming week on inflation and retail sales. They’re among the last pieces of data that could sway the Federal Reserve on what to do with interest rates before its meeting next week.
Inflection.ai CEO Mustafa Suleyman explains how to catch a ride on the ‘coming wave’ of technology
If you have watched a telecast involving basketball superstar LeBron James during the past 20 years, you probably have heard an announcer declare: “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” That sentiment sums up how Inflection.ai CEO Mustafa Suleyman feels about artificial intelligence — a technology that he helped advance as a co-founder of DeepMind, which Google acquired in 2014. After leaving Google last year, Suleyman founded Inflection in an effort to create artificial intelligence that won’t veer into vile behavior. His new book, “The Coming Wave,” focuses on AI’s promise and the need to limit its potential perils.
Stellantis reports progress in talks with auto workers and plans to make another offer Monday
DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis is reporting progress in talks with the United Auto Workers union with just three days left before contracts expire with Detroit’s three automakers. Human resources chief Tobin Williams told employees in an email that the union made counteroffer to its economic proposal on Sunday Stellantis plans to respond to that on Monday morning. He also says both sides have reached agreement in a number of areas including health and safety, and that both sides are on a path to reach a deal without a strike. UAW President Shawn Fain on Friday called counter offers from Stellantis, General Motors and Ford inadequate. He warned of strikes against any company without a deal when contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Sunday night he reported progress but said things are moving slowly.
US approves updated COVID vaccines to rev up protection this fall
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators have approved updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, shots aimed at revving up protection this fall and winter. The Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday is part of a shift to treat fall COVID-19 vaccine updates much like getting a yearly flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off. Its advisers meet Tuesday to recommend how to best use this round of vaccinations. The shots could begin later this week. Both the COVID-19 and flu shot can be given at the same time.