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Apple, Amazon and others back groups trying to kill US climate legislation

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Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Disney are among the major companies backing corporate lobby groups and organizations that are battling a US climate bill, according to a report. That’s despite those companies all making pledges to reduce their impact on the environment.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the Rate Coalition are three of the lobbyist and business groups that oppose the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill, which includes measures to fight climate change. The Guardian reports that watchdog Accountable.US analyzed the groups to learn which companies have connections to them.

The Chamber of Commerce, the biggest lobbying group in the US, has said it would “do everything we can to prevent this tax-raising, job-killing reconciliation bill from becoming law.” The group’s board includes executives from the likes of United Airlines and Microsoft.

The board of the Business Roundtable includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. The group has said it’s “deeply concerned” about the bill and the increased taxes it would lead to for the rich. Google has also made political contributions in the past to individuals and organizations that have denied climate change.

The report notes that The Rate Coalition is set to release attack ads against the bill. That body’s members include Disney and Verizon (Engadget’s former parent company).

The support of lobbying groups that are attempting to kill the bill conflicts with the tech companies’ attempts to tackle the climate crisis. Apple, Google and Microsoft have all backed the Paris Agreement, for one thing. Apple and Microsoft promised to become carbon neutral and carbon negative respectively by 2030.

In 2019, Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos launched the Climate Pledge, which has a goal of hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and meeting the Paris Agreement benchmarks a decade early. Microsoft is among the 200+ companies that have joined the pledge. Disney, meanwhile, is aiming to reach net zero emissions for its direct operations by 2030.

Engadget has contacted Apple, Google and Microsoft for comment. The Guardian said that none of the companies it contacted rejected the stances of the groups they’re members of. None of them said they would re-assess their connections to those bodies either.

As Congress considers a vote on the #IIJA, we urge action to modernize the transportation network, reduce emissions and address the climate change crisis. The climate-focused elements included represent significant strides to turn ideas to reality. https://t.co/J1nHUGs1yC

— Amazon Public Policy (@amazon_policy) October 1, 2021

On Friday, Amazon expressed support for the infrastructure bill and the climate aspects of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. A spokesperson provided the following statement to Engadget:

Amazon believes both private and public sector leadership is required to tackle the global issue of climate change. That’s why we actively advocate for policies that promote clean energy, increase access to renewable electricity, and decarbonize the transportation system. In addition to advocating for these issues on a local, state, and international level, we have a worldwide sustainability team that innovates sustainable solutions for both our business and customers, as well as co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net-zero carbon 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Amazon has made bold commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, and we continue to encourage other companies to join us. We support investments in the Infrastructure and Build Back Better bills to lower emissions in key sectors like energy and transportation, and we believe these investments will help advance America’s carbon reduction goals. As we said earlier this year, we support an increase in the corporate tax rate to pay for things like infrastructure, and we look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness.

Update 1/10 12:22PM ET: Added Amazon’s statement.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-amazon-disney-microsoft-climate-bill-lobbyist-opposition-161736552.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

GM Temporarily Abandons Its Super Cruise Self-Driving Feature

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Since its 2017 debut, GM’s Super Cruise has remained one of the best hands-free driver-assist tools available in any vehicle. But good luck finding a car with the feature! GM now confirms that it’s dropping Super Cruise from the 2022 Cadillac Escalade. Other cars with Super Cruise, such as the Chevy Bolt, are currently out of production or delayed.

Read This Article on Review Geek ›

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/99295/gms-most-advanced-driving-feature-disappears-amid-parts-shortages-and-recalls/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Google Will Help You Find In-Stock Products in Stores

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The disconnect between online and in-store shopping is shrinking. Most big-box retailers offer pickup as an option, and now Google is making it so local shops can show whether they have an item available right through Search.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/758582/google-will-help-you-find-in-stock-products-in-stores/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dave LeClair

Ford’s big plans to turbocharge the electric car industry in the U.S.

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Ford Motor Company’s new $11 billion manufacturing plan, the biggest component of which will sit just outside Memphis, is part of a much bigger effort to put the U.S. at the center of the electric vehicle revolution, Executive Chairman Bill Ford says.

The big picture: Ford’s plans — for enormous facilities in both Tennessee and Kentucky, employing a combined 11,000 workers — are ambitious manufacturing efforts designed to minimize their environmental impact.


  • But Ford says these investments will also help the U.S. build its own supply chain for batteries, rather than continuing to import them from Asia — providing economic security, insulation from supply chain disruptions and ultimately bringing down the price of EVs.

“We need to, as a country, decide — do we want to have a domestic battery industry? And that’s something that’s kind of starting tomorrow,” Ford said in an interview conducted Monday, before the company publicly announced its new manufacturing plants.

Details: The company is building two battery manufacturing plants in Kentucky, as well as an enormous new complex near Memphis that will include both battery manufacturing and vehicle assembly for electric F-series pickup trucks.

  • Long-term, the plan is to perpetually recycle EV batteries in the U.S., and end imports of batteries made with precious metals like nickel, lithium, cobalt and copper from foreign mines.
  • “We’ll be importing a lot of these batteries initially, but then they stay within our country and start to be remade into American batteries, if you will,” Ford told me.
  • Ultimately, he said, a more robust U.S. supply chain will help bring down the cost of EVs.

“That does require us to completely remake our company in many, many ways. And we’re in the process of doing that,” said Ford, who is the great-grandson of Henry Ford.

The bottom line: “My great-grandfather was the ultimate sort of disruptor,” Ford said. “And I think if he looked at what we’re announcing … he might just say, what took you so long? And he’d be right.”

Source: https://www.axios.com/ford-memphis-louisville-climate-batteries-a5dd01ab-4895-4523-98fa-c943fe5c4577.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joann Muller

PayPal launches its ‘super app’ combining payments, savings, bill pay, crypto, shopping and more

PayPal has been talking about its “super app” plans for some time, having recently told investors its upcoming digital wallet and payments app had been given a go for launch. Today, the first version of that app is officially being introduced, offering a combination of financial tools including direct deposit, bill pay, a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payments, shopping tools, crypto capabilities and more. The company is also announcing its partnership with Synchrony Bank for its new high-yield savings account, PayPal Savings.

These changes shift PayPal from being largely a payments utility that’s tacked on other offerings here and there, to being a more fully fleshed out finance app. Though PayPal itself doesn’t aim to be a “bank,” the new app offers a range of competitive features for those considering shifting their finances to neobanks, like Chime or Varo, as it will now also include support for paycheck Direct Deposits through PayPal’s bank partners, bill pay and more.

By enabling direct deposit, PayPal users can get paid up to two days earlier, which is one of the bigger draws among those considering digital banking apps over traditional banks.

In addition to shifting their paychecks to Payal, customers’ PayPal funds can then be used for things that are a part of daily life, like paying their bills, saving or shopping, for example.

The enhanced bill pay feature lets customers track, view and pay bills from thousands of companies, including utilities, TV and internet, insurance, credit cards, phone and more, PayPal says. When bill pay first arrived earlier this year, it offered access to (single-digit) thousands of billers. Now, it will support around 17,000 billers. Customers can also discover billers through an improved, intelligent search feature, set reminders to be notified of upcoming bills and schedule automatic payments for bills they have to pay on a regular basis. The bills don’t have to only be paid from funds currently in the PayPal account, but can be paid through any eligible funding source that’s already linked to their PayPal account.

Via a Synchrony Bank partnership, PayPal Savings will offer a high-yield savings account with a 0.40% Annual Percentage Yield (APY), which is more than six times the national average of 0.06%, the company says. However, that’s lower than top rivals in the digital banking market offer, like Chime (0.50%), Varo (starts at 0.20%, but users can qualify to get 3.00% APY), Marcus (0.50%), Ally (0.50%), ONE (1.00% or 3.00% on Auto-Save transactions), and others. However, the rate may appeal to those who are switching from a traditional bank, where rates tend to be lower.

PayPal believes its high-yield offering will be able to compete not based on the APY alone, but on the strength of its combined offerings.

Image Credits: PayPal

“We know that about half of customers in the United States don’t even have a savings account, much less one with a very competitive rate,” notes PayPal SVP of Consumer, Julian King. “So all in all, we think that by bringing together the full set of solutions on the platform, it’s a really competitive offering for an individual.”

The app has also been reorganized to accommodate the new features and those yet to come.

It now features a personalized dashboard offering an overview of the customer’s account. The wallet tab lets users manage Direct Deposits and connect funding sources like bank accounts and debit and credit cards alongside the ability to enroll in PayPal’s own debit, credit and cash cards. And a finance tab provides access to the high-yield savings and the previously available crypto capabilities, which allows users to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

The payments tab, meanwhile, will hold much of PayPal’s traditional feature set, including peer-to-peer payments, international remittances, charitable and nonprofit giving, plus now bill pay and a two-way messaging feature that allows users to request payments or say thank you after receiving a payment — whether that’s between friends and family or between merchants and customers. This addition could bring PayPal more in line with PayPal-owned Venmo, which already offers the ability to add notes to payments and make comments.

Messaging also ties into PayPal’s new Shopping hub, which is where the company is finally putting to good use its 2019 $4 billion Honey acquisition. Honey’s core features are now becoming a part of the PayPal mobile experience, including personalized deals and exclusive rewards.

Image Credits: PayPal

PayPal users will be able to browse the discounts and offers inside the app, then shop and transact through the in-app browser. The deals can be saved to the wallet for future use, so they can be applied if shopping later in the app or online. Customers will also be able to join a loyalty program, where they can earn cashback and PayPal shopping credit on their purchases. The company says these personalized deals will improve over time.

“We’ll use AI and [machine learning] capabilities to understand what kind of shopping deals are most interesting to customers and continue to develop that over time. They’ll just get smarter and smarter as the product gets more usage,” notes King. This will include using the data about the deals a customer likes, then bringing similar deals to them in the future.

Also new in the updated mobile app is the addition of PayPal’s crowdsourced fundraising platform, the Generosity Network, first launched late last year. The network is PayPal’s answer to GoFundMe or Facebook Fundraisers, by offering tools that allow individuals to raise money for themselves, others in need, or organizations like small businesses or charities. The network is also now expanding to international markets with Germany and the U.K. to start, with more countries to come.

As PayPal has said, the new app is laying the groundwork for other new products in the quarters to come. The biggest initiative on its roadmap is a plan to enter the investment space, to rival other mobile investing apps, like Robinhood. When this arrives, it will support the ability to buy stocks, fractional stocks and ETFs, PayPal says.

It will also later add support for paying with QR codes, like Venmo, and tools for using PayPal to save while in stores.

The updated app is rolling out starting today in the U.S. as a staggered release that will complete in the weeks ahead. However, PayPal Savings won’t be available immediately — it will arrive in the U.S. in the “coming months,” as will some of the shopping and rewards tools.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/21/paypal-launches-its-super-app-combining-payments-savings-bill-pay-crypto-shopping-and-more/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Perez

Biden’s cybersecurity summit shows interdependence of government and industry

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After assembling a team of tough-minded regulators to take on big technology companies, the Biden administration on Wednesday called on many of those same companies to work with the federal government to address a growing wave of cyberattacks.

Driving the news: A White House summit between President Biden and tech leaders Wednesday, including the CEOs of Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, concluded with a raft of announcements of new cybersecurity projects and spending plans.


  • Microsoft said it would spend an additional $20 billion over five years on “security by design” and offer $150 million in technical services to federal, state and local governments.
  • Google plans to spend $10 billion over five years on zero-trust programs and other measures to bolster software supply chains and open-source security.
  • Amazon said it would offer the public free access to the same “security awareness training” it provides its employees.
  • IBM said it would train 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills over three years and partner with 20 historically Black colleges and universities to create cybersecurity leadership centers.
  • Apple said it was starting a new program to enhance supply chain security.

Why it matters: Defending the U.S. against cyberattacks and cybercrime is too big a problem for either government or industry to solve on their own.

Yes, but: It’s an awkward moment for the White House to be trying to partner with tech companies that the executive branch is also pursuing with antitrust lawsuits and investigations.

Of note: Facebook was the one tech giant without a seat at the White House table Wednesday.

  • The company is fresh off a confrontation with the Biden administration over the spread of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform.
  • But Facebook is also the primary online touchpoint for tens of millions of Americans in their personal lives, and any broad cybersecurity project might benefit from the company’s participation.

Between the lines: Some observers saw the White House meeting as a signal from Washington to the industry that it needed to take strong voluntary action or face a new wave of regulatory or legislative mandates.

  • Many in industry believe that baked-in government rules could hamstring companies trying to adapt to a rapidly changing cybersecurity environment.
  • But others view some additional regulation as inevitable.
  • IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Axios Today he supports new cybersecurity disclosure requirements for private companies. “Disclosures will go a long way because once it’s transparent, everyone will improve,” he said.

Our thought bubble: This needn’t be an either/or scenario. Rules can help set minimum security standards, while direct action against cyberattacks will likely need both the industry’s technical prowess and the government’s international reach and offensive capabilities.

The summit also covered ways to protect supply chains and critical infrastructure, cyber insurance for businesses, and a pressing shortage of workers in the sector, where “nearly half a million public and private cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled,” according to a White House statement.

The bottom line: The most successful cyber defense plans are the ones you don’t hear much about, because the attacks and disasters they foil never become news. That’s why it will take a while before we know whether this week’s announcements have any impact — and the less news you see, the more you can assume they’re working.

Source: https://www.axios.com/cybersecurity-summit-biden-government-industry-e8185e32-0346-40e5-af4f-6cd79f93cbb9.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Scott Rosenberg

OnlyFans reverses decision to ban sexy folk

OnlyFans, the social network built largely on the racy work of the sex workers there, last week announced a ban on adult material. Partly a desire to go mainstream, and partly pressure from payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard, the move led to a surprisingly intense PR backlash and today the company announced it was reversing its plans. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/08/25/onlyfans-reverses-decision-to-ban-sexy-folk.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=onlyfans-reverses-decision-to-ban-sexy-folk
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Beschizza

Google Still Wants to Be Your New Bank Account

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Google has faced a somewhat rocky road with the launch of the new Google Pay app. But that’s not stopping Google from diving even further into the world of payments, as the company still wants to launch bank accounts.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/750779/google-still-wants-to-be-your-new-bank-account/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dave LeClair

GM Recalls All Chevy Bolt Electric Vehicles

Chevrolet Bolt EVChevrolet

After several months of sporadic recalls, emergency software updates, and fire warnings, GM has announced a recall on all models of the Chevy Bolt. The company says that its flagship EV is prone to spontaneous combustion due to defects in the LG batteries.

GM identified the cause of its battery fires a few months ago—folded separators and torn anode tabs. The corporation previously believed that these defects only appeared in LG batteries produced in an Ochang, Korea plant.

But further investigation shows that batteries from multiple manufacturing plants are affected. GM hasn’t clarified which factories are to blame, a sign that it hasn’t uncovered the full extent of this problem. (Bear in mind that Hyundai encountered the same problem with LG batteries earlier this year.)

GM plans to replace all Chevy Bolt batteries as part of this recall, and will ensure that all new modules come with an 8-year 100,000-mile limited warranty (160,000 km in Canada). Until GM notifies Chevy Bolt owners that replacement parts are ready, the company suggests the following actions:

  • Don’t let your vehicle exceed a 90% charge. You can use the Target Charge Level mode to do so. Instructions are on the Chevy Bolt recall page.
  • Charge your vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting the battery below the 70-mile (or 113 km) mark.
  • Park your vehicle outside when it isn’t charging, and don’t charge it overnight.

If you aren’t comfortable following these steps, take your Chevy Bolt to the dealer. You can also contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge service (1-833-EVCHEVY) for more information on the recall. The line is open weekdays 8:00am to 12:00am ET and weekends 12:00pm to 9:00pm ET.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how much money Chevy’s lost in this recall, the company’s PR estimates that it’s spent a total of around $1.8 billion. That number will almost certainly go up, and Chevy makes a point to say that LG will help foot the bill.

Source: GM via The Verge

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/95569/gm-recalls-all-chevy-bolt-electric-vehicles/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

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