Technology

Broadcast TV's reduced role made clear in fall presentations

There were constant reminders this past week, when major entertainment companies hawked their wares to advertisers in Manhattan presentations, of the diminished role of broadcast networks. In some ways, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox were after-thoughts. They've lost a tremendous amount of viewership in the past two decades, and ceded leadership in creativity to the streaming services. Yet their fall schedules illustrate how the networks are coming to terms with their new roles — by emphasizing dependable franchise dramas, live or unscripted programming, and sports. And, as one broadcast executive noted, they still supply a lot of popular shows for the streamers.

Biden: SKorean chip plant a model for deeper ties to Asia

President Joe Biden says a South Korean computer chip factory that is the model for a similar plant in Texas can help deepen ties with the Indo Pacific. He says that will help fuel technological innovation and foster vibrant democracies. Biden spoke Friday as he opened his first trip to Asia as president by touring a Samsung computer chip factory. Samsung has promised to open a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Texas. A semiconductor shortage last year hurt the availability of autos, kitchen appliances and other goods. The supply crunch also pushed inflation higher and crippled Biden’s public standing in the U.S.

Disinformation board's ex-leader faced wave of online abuse

The former head of a widely criticized disinformation board faced a torrent of sexist profanities on social media and menacing emails filled with rape or death threats. Nina Jankowicz, the former head of the Disinformation Governance Board set up by the Department of Homeland Security, is not alone. Women around the globe who have risen to powerful government positions have faced an overwhelming crush of online harassment, stalking and abuse. A recent report from the United Nations found female politicians, regardless of political affiliation, in Finland are subjected to 10 times more abusive Twitter messages. The U.N. says the online abuse prevents democracies from being equally representative.

Driver must stand trial for deadly Tesla crash in California

A judge says a driver who used a Tesla on autopilot must stand trial for a crash near Los Angeles that killed two people. The judge ruled Thursday that there's enough evidence to try 27-year-old Kevin Riad for manslaughter. He's pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors say Riad's Tesla Model S hit another car at 74 mph after blowing through a red light at the end of a freeway in Gardena in 2019. It's believed to be the first felony prosecution in the U.S. against a driver using a partially automated driving system. Tesla says drivers must always be attentive and ready to intervene when the system is activated.

Canada bans China’s Huawei Technologies from 5G networks

Canada says wireless carriers in the country won’t be allowed to install Huawei equipment in their high-speed 5G networks. In announcing the decision Thursday, Canada joined the U.S. and other allies that previously banned the giant Chinese technology company. The U.S. government has been lobbying allies for years to exclude Huawei from new ultra-fast 5G mobile networks over worries that China’s Communist rulers could compel the company to help with cyberespionage. The U.S. has warned that it will reconsider intelligence sharing with any countries that use Huawei gear. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Boeing crew capsule launches to space station on test redo

Boeing's crew capsule has blasted off on a repeat test flight to the International Space Station. Only a test dummy was on board for Thursday’s launch from Cape Canaveral. It's Boeing’s third shot at the flight demo. Two previous attempts were marred by software flaws and stuck valves. If the capsule reaches the space station Friday and everything else goes well, NASA test pilots could strap in by the end of this year for the company’s first astronaut flight. Boeing is trying to catch up with SpaceX, which has been flying NASA crews for two years.

Prosecutors debunk Colorado clerk's 2020 election claims

Prosecutors in a western Colorado county say they found no evidence of tampering in the 2020 presidential election as alleged by a clerk who has become a prominent voice among those promoting former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. The Mesa County District Attorney’s Office presented findings to county commissioners Thursday after investigating claims by Clerk Tina Peters, who is under indictment on accusations of providing unauthorized access to county voting equipment, a breach that led to a release of sensitive information. Peters is running for the Republican nomination to become the state’s chief election official. District Attorney Daniel P. Rubinstein used video from inside the clerk’s office during the elections to refute Peters' claims.

Stocks waver on Wall Street, hover close to bear market

Stocks wavered in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as persistently high inflation continues to weigh on the economy and keeps major indexes mired in a deep slump. The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, slipped 0.3%. It's down roughly 18% from the record high it set early this year, nearly at the 20% point that defines a bear market. Investors are worrying that the soaring inflation that's hurting people shopping for groceries and filling their cars up is also walloping company profits. Target fell again, a day after losing a quarter of its value on a surprisingly large drop in profits.

GOP directs culture war fury toward green investing trend

Red state officials are coming out swinging against growing Wall Street efforts to consider environmental risk in investment decisions. Their target is “ESG,” which stands for environmental, social and governance. The principles call on investors to consider factors other than traditional financial metrics in their decisions. The acronym has become the latest culture war fodder in conservative media and in state government this year. The movement against green investing indicates how the GOP has become more willing to damage its relationship with big business to fight ideological foes. Opposition has been particularly strong in red states where fossil fuels make up a large part of the economy.

The tiniest babies: Shifting the boundary of life earlier

Growing numbers of extremely premature infants are getting lifesaving treatment and surviving. Over the last half century, medical science has slowly shifted the boundary of what is known as viability ever earlier. While the concept of viability has long been associated with the abortion debate, it is a changing line that has little to do with most abortions. More than 99% of abortions occur at or before 21 weeks, according to federal statistics. It is a real concern for doctors, though, as they try to care for these children, who are highly susceptible to disabilities such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments, blindness and severe lung problems.

Fed nominee Michael Barr calls inflation 'far too high'

President Joe Biden’s pick to be the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator pledged Thursday to help reduce high inflation and provide clear rules to govern financial innovation. Michael Barr said he would be strongly committed to bringing down inflation to the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. Barr testified before the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his nomination. He was a top Treasury Department official during the Obama administration and helped design the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations after the devastating 2008 financial crisis. He is now the dean of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

New Twitter policy aims to pierce fog of war misinformation

Twitter is stepping up its fight against misinformation with a new policy cracking down on posts that spread potentially dangerous false stories. The change is part of a broader effort to promote accurate information during times of conflict or crisis. Under the new rules, which take effect Thursday, Twitter will no longer automatically recommend or amplify posts that mischaracterize conditions during a conflict or make misleading claims about war crimes or atrocities. Posts that violates the rules could also have warning labels applied, as well as links to more trustworthy content. Twitter says it will apply the rules first to Ukraine and then to future humanitarian crises.

Pro-Russian hackers spread hoaxes to divide Ukraine, allies

As Ukrainian refugees flooded into Poland to escape Russia's invasion, a hacking group aligned with the Kremlin tried to spread rumors and hoaxes intended to divide Ukraine from its allies. In one bizarre disinformation campaign, the hacking group known as Ghostwriter sought to spread rumors that Polish criminals were waiting to harvest the organs of the child refugees. That disinformation operation was one of many identified in a new report from the cyber security firm Mandiant which revealed how Russia has used fake accounts, state-controlled media and diplomats to spread disinformation and propaganda about its invasion.

'Twitter philanthropy' reveals chasms in social safety net

Practically every minute of every hour, someone sends a tweet to Bill Pulte, a 33-year-old private-equity investor and heir to the mammoth PulteGroup homebuilding company. And, nearly every day, Pulte responds. He sent $500 for a man who sent a video showing his missing teeth. He gave $125 for a woman to pay for gas so she could make the long drive to her brother’s funeral. It’s all part of what Pulte calls “Twitter philanthropy” – a concept of direct giving in which Pulte and others offer immediate financial support to a tiny percentage of people who reach out over social media. Philanthropy experts say Pulte’s generosity is laudable, but question whether his approach will produce any long-term results.

'The Real Love Boat' dating show to sail on CBS' fall lineup

Network TV’s fondness for reality fare and reboots combine in “The Real Love Boat,” a sea-going dating show that’s part of the CBS fall schedule announced Wednesday. Described as a “romance adventure competition,” the series credits as its inspiration the popular and kitschy comedy-drama “The Love Boat,” which aired from 1977-86 on ABC. “The Real Love Boat” will follow returning shows “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” on Wednesday this fall, a rare all-reality night for CBS. The network is also launching three new scripted series. There's a police drama, “East New York”; “Fire Country,” about a convict-firefighter, and a legal comedy-drama, “So Help Me Todd."