WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, testifying for a second day before Congress, said Thursday that the economy is in a “very good place” despite rising uncertainties and the Fed is prepared to do what it can to “keep it there.” Powell’s comments before the Senate Banking Committee strengthened the message he had sent to a House panel on Wednesday that the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates to support economic growth.
Trump hails conservatives for bypassing ‘fake news’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is telling the conservative critics of social media that they’ve successfully used the platforms to send messages directly to the American people without going through the “fake news filter.” Trump has weaponized social media to eviscerate opponents and promote himself. He convened Thursday’s White House “social media summit” of like-minded critics of Big Tech, excluding representatives from the very platforms he exploits.
‘Miss us?’ Twitter hit with hour-long outage
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter was down for about an hour Thursday in an outage that appeared to affect users around the world. The company is blaming “an internal configuration change.” The outage began before noon PT; some users were able to access Twitter again by 12:45 p.m. Twitter says some users may be able to access the service as the company worked on a fix.
Trump accuses China of foot-dragging on farm purchases
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is accusing China of “letting us down” by not promptly buying more U.S. farm products. “They have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” the president said on Twitter.
Software engineer accused of taking trade secrets to China
WASHINGTON (AP) — A software engineer is accused of stealing trade secrets from the Illinois locomotive company he once worked for and taking the information to China. A federal indictment charges Xudong Yao with nine counts of trade secrets theft. Prosecutors say Yao downloaded thousands of files from the suburban Chicago company while at the same time negotiating a job with a Chinese company. Prosecutors say Yao took the files with him when he flew to China in 2015 and began working at the company there.
Amazon, seeking more skilled workers, will do the training
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon will spend more than $700 million to provide additional training to about one-third of its U.S. workforce. Amazon, which like other companies has struggled to find technically qualified U.S. employees, said it will provide its workers with the skills to transition into software engineering positions and technical roles. Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday that its U.S. workforce will hit 300,000 this year. It has more than 630,000 employees worldwide.
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google contractors are able to listen to recordings of what people say to its artificial intelligence system Google Assistant, via either their phone or through smart speakers such as the Google Home. The company acknowledged that humans can access those recordings after some of its Dutch language recordings were leaked. Google is investigating the breach.
Trump defends Acosta but will look ‘closely’ at Epstein deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats are calling for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to give up his job or be fired. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida when he played a role in a secret 2008 plea deal that let billionaire Jeffrey Epstein avoid federal prosecution after he was accused of molesting teenage girls. President Donald Trump says he’ll take a close look at Acosta’s handling of the case involving Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty to new charges.
France adopts pioneering tax on tech giants after US threat
PARIS (AP) — France adopted a pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook despite U.S. threats of new tariffs on French imports if Paris went ahead with the plan. The final vote came hours after the Trump administration announced an investigation into the tax under the provision used last year to probe China’s technology policies, which led to tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The S&P 500 rose 6.84 points, or 0.2%, to 2,999.91. The Dow gained 227.88 points, or 0.8%, to 27,088.08. The Nasdaq composite slid 6.49 points, or 0.1%, to 8,196.04. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 7.13 points, or 0.5%, to 1,557.92.