A measure of inflation that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve increased in April
WASHINGTON (AP) — A key index of U.S. prices ticked higher in April, and consumer spending rebounded, a sign that inflationary pressures in the economy remain high. The index, which the Federal Reserve closely monitors, showed that prices rose 0.4% from March to April. That was much higher than the 0.1% rise the previous month. Measured year over year, prices increased 4.4% in April, up from 4.2% in March. The year-over-year figure is down sharply from a 7% peak last June but remains far above the Fed’s 2% target. The report also showed that despite rising prices, consumers remain buoyant. Their spending jumped 0.8% from March to April, the biggest increase since January.
Biden says debt deal 'very close' with default deadline now set at June 5
WASHINGTON (AP) — An upbeat President Joe Biden says a deal to resolve the government’s debt ceiling crisis seems “very close." He spoke late Friday, shortly after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed the deadline for a potentially catastrophic default back to June 5. That announcement seemed likely to drag negotiations between the White House and Republicans into another frustrating week. House Republicans led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy spent the day negotiating by phone and computers with the White House. One Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, called Biden’s comments “a hopeful sign” but also cautioned that there’s still “sticky points” impeding a final agreement.
Elon Musk's brain implant company Neuralink says it has US approval to begin trials in people
Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink says it's gotten permission from U.S. regulators to begin testing its device in people. The company made the announcement on Twitter Thursday evening. Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wouldn't confirm or deny whether the agency granted the approval, but a press officer acknowledged the announcement. Neuralink is one of many groups working on linking the nervous system to computers. The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull. Musk previously said one of the first applications in people would to attempt to restore vision.
Debt ceiling explained: What to know about the showdown in Washington as default looms
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans still don’t have a deal with President Joe Biden to raise the nation’s debt ceiling a little more than a week away from a potentially catastrophic default. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says negotiators are working to “finish the job” and seal a deal before the country runs out of cash to pay its bills. Republicans worked through the night with the White House to find agreement on spending cuts that GOP lawmakers have demanded in exchange for raising the debt limit and avoiding default. McCarthy says he doesn't know when they will finalize the details of a deal.
Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers
NEW YORK (AP) — As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when using AI. Already, automated systems and algorithms help determine credit ratings, loan terms, deposit account fees, and other aspects of our financial lives. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau says it will hold companies responsible for using the technology in ways that comply with existing regulation. Representatives from several federal agencies say they’re directing resources and staff to take aim at new tech and identify negative ways it could affect consumers’ lives.
Indiana funeral director pleads guilty to 40 theft counts after decomposing bodies found
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The director of a southern Indiana funeral home where 31 decomposing bodies and 17 cremains were found has pleaded guilty to more than 40 counts of felony theft. A Clark County judge said Friday that Randy Lankford faces a proposed sentence of 12 years: four in prison and eight of home incarceration. Last July, investigators discovered the decomposing bodies at Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center in Jeffersonville. The funeral director was charged with theft for failing to complete the services he was paid for. He must also pay restitution to 53 families totaling $46,000. A formal sentencing hearing is planned for June 23.
OpenAI boss downplays fears ChatGPT maker could leave Europe over AI rules
LONDON (AP) — OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is downplaying worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union if it can’t comply with the bloc’s strict new artificial intelligence rules. It comes after a top official rebuked him for comments raising such a possiblilty. Altman is traveling through Europe as part of a world tour to promote his AI company and meet with officials. In London this week, he said OpenAI might leave if the EU's AI rules are too tough. That triggered a pointed reply on social media from Commissioner Thierry Breton accusing the company of blackmail. Altman sought to calm the waters Friday, tweeting that there are "no plans to leave.”
EU official says Twitter abandons bloc's voluntary pact against disinformation
LONDON (AP) — A top European Union official says Twitter has dropped out of the bloc's voluntary agreement to combat online disinformation. European Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted Friday that Twitter had pulled out of the EU’s disinformation “code of practice” that other major social media platforms have pledged to support. But he added that Twitter’s “obligation” remained, referring to the EU’s tough new digital rules taking effect in August. San Francisco-based Twitter responded with an automated reply, as it does to most press inquiries, and did not comment.
Credit Suisse owes millions to Georgia's billionaire ex-prime minister, court says
LONDON (AP) — A Singapore court says Credit Suisse owes former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to protect the billionaire's money in a trust pilfered by a manager. The decision Friday is the latest scandal for the Swiss bank whose yearslong problems forced its takeover by a rival. Ivanishvili sued after an employee managing his trust “misappropriated many millions of dollars” over nine years. Credit Suisse says the decision is wrong and plans to appeal. The judge found that the lender ”is liable to compensate the plaintiffs for their loss.” That's been calculated at $926 million, minus $79.4 million that the bank agreed to pay last year in a settlement.
Stock market today: Tech leads more gains on Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street, led by more gains in technology stocks as another chipmaker reported strong demand related to artificial intelligence. The S&P 500 rose 1.3% Friday, and the Nasdaq rose 2.2%. The Dow added 1%. Marvell Technology jumped 32% after saying it expects AI revenue to at least double in fiscal 2024 from the prior year. That follows Thursday's report from fellow chipmaker Nvidia, which gave a big forecast for upcoming sales related to AI. Investors were encouraged to see a pickup in consumer spending last month. U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.
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