Business

As Utility Bills Rise, Low-Income Americans Struggle for Access to Clean Energy
Business

As Utility Bills Rise, Low-Income Americans Struggle for Access to Clean Energy

Cindy Camp is one of many Americans facing rising utility costs. Ms. Camp, who lives in Baltimore with three family members, said her gas and electric bills kept “going up and up” — reaching as high as $900 a month. Her family has tried to use less hot water by doing fewer loads of laundry, and she now eats more fast food to save on grocery bills.Ms. Camp would like to save money on energy bills by transitioning to more energy-efficient appliances like a heat pump and solar panels. But she simply cannot afford it.“It’s a struggle for me to even maintain food,” Ms. Camp said.Power bills have been rising nationwide, and in Baltimore, electricity rates have increased almost 30 percent over the last decade, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While clean energy systems and m...
Elections and Disinformation Are Colliding Like Never Before in 2024
Business

Elections and Disinformation Are Colliding Like Never Before in 2024

Billions of people will vote in major elections this year — around half of the global population, by some estimates — in one of the largest and most consequential democratic exercises in living memory. The results will affect how the world is run for decades to come.At the same time, false narratives and conspiracy theories have evolved into an increasingly global menace.Baseless claims of election fraud have battered trust in democracy. Foreign influence campaigns regularly target polarizing domestic challenges. Artificial intelligence has supercharged disinformation efforts and distorted perceptions of reality. All while major social media companies have scaled back their safeguards and downsized election teams.“Almost every democracy is under stress, independent of technology,” said Dar...
U.S. Steel Acquisition Proposal Tests Biden’s Industrial Policy
Business

U.S. Steel Acquisition Proposal Tests Biden’s Industrial Policy

U.S. Steel is an iconic example of the lost manufacturing muscle that President Biden says his economic policies will bring back to the United States.But last month, the storied-but-diminished company announced plans to be acquired by a Japanese competitor. That development has put Mr. Biden in an awkward bind as he tries to balance attempts to revitalize the nation’s industrial sector with his efforts to rebuild international alliances.Mr. Biden’s administration has expressed some discomfort with the deal and is reviewing the proposed $14.1 billion takeover bid by Japan’s Nippon Steel. The company is offering a hefty premium for U.S. Steel, which has struggled to compete against a flood of cheap foreign metal and has been weighing takeover offers for several months.The proposal has quickl...
F.A.A. Orders Airlines to Ground Some Boeing 737 Max 9 Jets After Midair Emergency
Business

F.A.A. Orders Airlines to Ground Some Boeing 737 Max 9 Jets After Midair Emergency

The Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday ordered U.S. airlines to stop using some Boeing 737 Max 9 planes until they were inspected, less than a day after one of those planes lost a chunk of its body in midair, terrifying passengers until the plane landed safely.Alaska and United Airlines on Saturday began canceling dozens of flights after grounding their Max 9 fleets so the planes could undergo the federally mandated inspections.Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 took off from Portland, Ore., on Friday, bound for Ontario, Calif., but was diverted back to Portland six minutes later, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking website. Those on board the flight described an unnerving experience, with wind blowing through a gaping hole that showed the night sky and the city lights below. The...
U.S. Awards Chip Supplier $162 Million to Bolster Critical Industries
Business

U.S. Awards Chip Supplier $162 Million to Bolster Critical Industries

The Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to provide $162 million in federal grants to Microchip Technology, an Arizona-based semiconductor company that supplies the automotive, defense and other industries.The agreement is the second award announced under a new program intended to help ensure that American companies that rely on semiconductors have a stable supply. Last month, the Biden administration announced a $35 million grant for BAE Systems, a defense contractor.The investment will enable Microchip to increase its production of semiconductors that are used in cars, airplanes, appliances, medical devices and military products. The administration said it expected the award to create more than 700 jobs in construction and manufacturing.“Today’s announcement with Microchip is...
The Eugene Weekly Halts Publication After Employee’s Embezzlement
Business

The Eugene Weekly Halts Publication After Employee’s Embezzlement

A weekly newspaper in Oregon abruptly stopped publishing and laid off all of its workers after an employee embezzled tens of thousands of dollars and left months of bills unpaid, its editor said.The newspaper, The Eugene Weekly, announced on Thursday that it would stop printing after it discovered financial problems, including money not being paid into employee retirement accounts and $70,000 of unpaid bills to the newspaper’s printer, Camilla Mortensen, the newspaper’s editor, said on Sunday.The entire 10-person newspaper staff was laid off three days before Christmas, though some workers, including Ms. Mortensen, were still volunteering to publish articles online.The Eugene Weekly, a free newspaper, was founded in 1982 and each week prints 30,000 copies, which can be found in bright red ...
U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up
Business

U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials.Until recently, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had argued that without action by Congress, seizing the funds was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States.” There has also been concern among some top American officials that nations around the world would hesitate to keep their funds at the New York Federal Reserve, or in dollars, if the United States established a precedent for seizing the money.But the administration, in coo...
From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023
Business

From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023

It has been a confusing year for the economy and markets. At the start of 2023, economists largely predicted a global recession, and Wall Street was bearish on stocks, with many analysts expecting the S&P 500 to finish the year just a touch higher than where it started. Fast-forward 12 months: No recession (yet) and the S&P 500 is tantalizingly close to a record high.Here are 11 charts that help explain how we got here.Inflation and its ripple effectsCentral bankers around the world continued an aggressive campaign of interest rate increases in 2023, raising policy rates in an effort to tame the highest inflation in generations.Inflation has cooled considerably in many places, though it remains above the Federal Reserve’s target (around 2 percent), and rate increases have paused. T...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 increased 3.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggest that the economy remains stron...
New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work
Business

New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, opening a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.The Times is the first major American media organization to sue the companies, the creators of ChatGPT and other popular A.I. platforms, over copyright issues associated with its written works. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, contends that millions of articles published by The Times were used to train automated chatbots that now compete with the news outlet as a source of reliable information.The suit does not include an exact monetary demand. But it says the defendants should be held responsible for “billions of dollars in statut...