August 21, 2023
Looking for a new car under $20,000? Good luck. Your choice has dwindled to just one vehicle
DETROIT (AP) — Just five years ago, a price-conscious auto shopper in the United States could choose from among a dozen new small cars selling for under $20,000. Now, there’s just one: The Mitsubishi Mirage. And even the Mirage appears headed for the scrap yard. At a time when Americans increasingly want pricey SUVs and trucks rather than small cars, the Mirage remains the lone new vehicle whose average sale price is under 20 grand — a figure that once marked a kind of unofficial threshold of affordability. With prices — new and used — having soared since the pandemic, $20,000 is no longer much of a starting point for a new car.
Russia, China look to advance agendas at BRICS summit of developing countries in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Russia and China will look to gain more political and economic ground in the developing world at a summit in South Africa this week. Leaders from the BRICS economic bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will hold three days of meetings in Johannesburg. Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is attending to underline the diplomatic capital his country has invested in the bloc as an avenue for its ambitions. Russian President Vladimir Putin will appear on a video link after his travel to South Africa was complicated by an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against him.
‘Barbie’ for $4? National Cinema Day is coming, with discounted tickets nationwide
NEW YORK (AP) — Still haven’t seen “Barbie” or “Oppenheimer”? This Sunday, you’ll be able to catch up for $4 a ticket in movie theaters nationwide. Theater owners announced Monday that the second annual National Cinema Day will be held Sunday, Aug. 27. For one day, all movies — in all formats and at all showtimes — will be $4 at participating theaters. More than 3,000 theaters are participating, which accounts for most of the cinemas in the U.S., including the leading chains AMC and Regal. Last year’s inaugural National Cinema Day was judged an enormous success. An estimated 8.1 million moviegoers bought $3 tickets on Saturday, Sept. 3, making it the highest attended day of the year in cinemas.
White House science adviser calls for more safeguards against artificial intelligence risks
When President Joe Biden has questions about artificial intelligence, one expert he turns to is his science adviser Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prabhakar is helping to guide the U.S. approach to safeguarding AI technology, relying in part on cooperation from big American tech firms like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Meta. Prabhakar says the tech giants’ voluntary commitments are a start, but that more action is needed. She spoke to The Associated Press earlier this month ahead of a White House-coordinated testing of AI systems at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas.
China fines US research firm $1.5 million in crackdown on information-gathering
BEIJING (AP) — An American research firm has been fined $1.5 million by China’s government in a crackdown on information-gathering that has rattled foreign investors. Mintz Group was one of a series of foreign consultants that were raided starting in April after Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government announced expanded anti-spying rules that left companies unsure what they were allowed to do. A notice from the Beijing statistics bureau dated July 14 said Mintz Group illegally engaged in “foreign-related statistical investigation activities without obtaining approval.” It gave no details of the violation. Mintz Group does background checks on employees and business partners and gathers other information for corporate clients.
Stock market today: Wall Street is mixed as rising bond yields keep cranking up the pressure
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is mixed and holding a bit steadier after sliding for three straight weeks through what’s been a dismal August. The S&P 500 was up 0.4% Monday. The Dow was down 94 points, and the Nasdaq composite was 1.3% higher. In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield touched its highest level since 2007. The relatively quiet trading followed a mixed performance for markets worldwide. The week’s main event is likely to be a speech on Friday by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The Jackson Hole, Wyoming, setting has been the site of major policy announcements in the past by the Fed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slams Facebook for blocking Canada wildfire news
TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is accusing Facebook of putting profits over people’s safety during Canada’s wildfire emergencies. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced earlier this summer it would keep its promise to block news content in Canada on its platforms in response to a new law that requires tech giants to pay publishers for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online. Fires raging in Canada have pushed thousands from their homes and threatened a provincial capital hundreds of kilometers (miles) to the north. Trudeau say it is inconceivable that Facebook is choosing to put corporate profits ahead of insuring that local news organizations can get up to date information to Canadians.
More hearings begin soon for Summit’s proposed CO2 pipeline. Where does the project stand?
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More hearings this month and in September are set for Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed $5.5 billion, 2,000-mile pipeline network. The pipeline system would carry carbon dioxide emissions from dozens of ethanol plants in five states to central North Dakota for permanent storage deep underground. Iowa public utility regulators on Tuesday begin a weekslong hearing for Summit’s proposal, with South Dakota regulators set to hold their hearing in September. Landowners opposed to the project are concerned about a pipeline rupture and eminent domain, or the taking of their land for the pipeline. Other CO2 pipeline projects are proposed around the country as well, with new federal tax incentives making the burgeoning technology of carbon capture an attractive enterprise.
A tanker believed to hold sanctioned Iran oil starts offloading near Texas despite Tehran’s threats
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An oil tanker long suspected of carrying sanctioned Iranian crude oil has begun offloading its cargo near Texas. That’s according to tracking data analyzed Sunday. The fate of the cargo aboard the Suez Rajan has become mired in the wider tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic. That’s the case even as Tehran and Washington work toward a trade of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets in South Korea for the release of five Iranian-Americans held in Tehran. U.S. and Iranian officials did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.
WWE’s WrestleMania 40 ticket sales show strength of the brand months before 2-day event
WWE is flexing its branding muscle, selling more than 90,000 tickets to next year’s WrestleMania about eight months before the premium live event is held and before a single match has been announced. Tickets for WrestleMania 40, which will take place in Philadelphia on April 6 and April 7, 2024, went on sale on Friday. In one day, ticket sales for WrestleMania 40 topped the all-time total gross record of $21.6 million set by this year’s WrestleMania 39.