Business highlights: self-driving technology, GDP decline

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New Head of NHTSA: Agency to Examine Automated Driver Technology

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new head of the government’s highway safety agency says he will step up efforts to understand the risks posed by automated vehicle technology. Steven Cliff says the goal is to help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decide what regulations may be needed to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Cliff said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press that the agency is evaluating recently reported crash data from automakers and technology companies. Any new regulation the agency might impose would fill what critics say is an urgent need to address the growing use of driver-assisted systems. The systems have been linked to crashes involving fatalities and serious injuries, but they also have tremendous potential to prevent crashes.

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Most say the nation is on the wrong track, including Democrats: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll shows an overwhelming and growing majority of Americans say America is headed in the wrong direction, including nearly 8 in 10 Democrats. The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, finds that deep pessimism about the economy continues to weigh on President Joe Biden. Eighty-five percent of American adults surveyed say the country is on the wrong track. Seventy-nine percent describe the economy as bad. The findings suggest that Biden faces fundamental challenges as he tries to motivate voters to vote Democratic in November’s midterm elections. The poll shows that only 39% of Americans approve of Biden’s leadership overall, while 60% disapprove.

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The US economy fell 1.6% at the beginning of the year; return to growth eyes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy shrank at a 1.6% annual rate in the first three months of the year even as consumers and businesses kept spending at a healthy pace, the government said Wednesday. down slightly from its previous estimate for January. March quarter. It was the first drop in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic output, since the second quarter of 2020, at the depth of the COVID-19 recession, and followed a strong 6.9% expansion in the last three months of 2021. , the negative number likely does not signal the start of a recession, and economists expect growth to resume later this year.

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Powell: ‘No guarantee’ Fed can control inflation and save jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said there is “no guarantee” the central bank can rein in runaway inflation without hurting the job market. Speaking Wednesday at a European Central Bank forum, Powell reiterated his hope that the Fed can achieve a so-called soft landing, raising interest rates enough to slow the economy and curb rising consumer prices without leading to the US economy into a recession. He says “we think we can do that”. But he says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made work more difficult by disrupting trade and driving up the price of food, energy and chemicals. The president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, echoed the “important impact” of the energy shocks.

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Spirit merger vote could reshape discount airline market

DALLAS (AP) — Spirit Airlines shareholders will vote Thursday on a proposed merger with Frontier Airlines, and the result could hurt fares for millions of passengers who rely on low-cost carriers. The merger would create a single airline that could dominate the lower price segment of the airline market. Opinions are divided on what would happen if JetBlue buys Spirit. Either way, consumers will likely find something to complain about. Spirit, Frontier and JetBlue had the highest complaint rates in the industry last year.

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US stocks fall, on track for fourth monthly loss this year

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mostly lower on Wall Street on Wednesday, keeping the market on track for its fourth monthly loss this year. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%. The benchmark index has been volatile all week and is down 20% on the year as investors worry about inflation and rising interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq fell less than 0.1%. Small company stocks fell sharply. Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 23.6% after reporting a much larger loss than analysts expected and replacing its chief executive. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.10%.

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American newspapers continue to die at the rate of 2 every week.

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite growing recognition of the news industry’s problems among politicians and philanthropists, a new report says a downward trend continues. A Northwestern University report says that local newspapers in the United States are dying at the rate of two per week. There has been growth in digital alternatives, but not enough to make up for what has been lost. Northwestern says the number of counties without newspapers or with only one outlet continues to rise, and underserved areas tend to have residents who are poorer, older and less educated than those who are well covered. Many digital-only sites are clustered in or near big cities, since that’s where the money is to fund them.

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Gas lines and fighting: Sri Lanka faces a humanitarian crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s economy, which a few years ago enjoyed strong growth that brought jobs and financial security, is now in a state of collapse, dependent on aid from India and other countries as its leaders desperately try to negotiate. a bailout with the International Monetary Fund. What is happening in this country of 22 million is worse than typical financial crises in the developing world: it is a total economic collapse that has left ordinary people scrambling to buy food, fuel and other necessities and sparked political unrest and violence. and it is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis. ___

Sale puts Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back in the West Bank, something like that

JERUSALEM (AP) — Unilever says it has reached a new trade deal in Israel that will effectively end Ben & Jerry’s policy of not selling ice cream in annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Israel hailed the move as a victory against the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS aims to put economic pressure on Israel for its military occupation of land that Palestinians want for a future state. Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, had distanced itself from the ice cream maker’s apparent boycott of Israeli settlements. It said on Wednesday that it had sold its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout Israel and the West Bank.

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The S&P 500 fell 2.72 points, or 0.1%, to 3,818.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 82.32 points, or 0.3%, to 31,029.31. The Nasdaq fell 3.65 points, or less than 0.1%, to 11,177.89. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 19.47 points, or 1.1%, to 1,719.37.

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