Apple buys AI voice startup that helps companies build Alexa and Google Assistant apps

Apple has acquired a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup called PullString that specializes in helping companies build conversational voice apps, according to a report from Axios. Pullstring was founded back in 2011 by former Pixar employees — its CEO, Oren Jacob, is Pixar’s former chief technology officer. Up until now, PullString was most well known within the tech industry as the software backbone behind voice systems for popular toys, like Mattell’s talking Hello Barbie doll. It’s not clear what Apple will be getting out of the deal, which is said…

Uber sues New York City over ruled that capped ride-hailing driver licenses

Uber sued New York City on Friday over the City Council’s vote last August to impose a year-long cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles. Uber’s lawsuit seeks to reverse the cap and allow new licenses again. div > div.group > p:first-child »> New York’s cap was designed to limit the number of vehicles on the road, reducing congestion and helping taxi drivers, who say their livelihoods were hurt by the influx of ride-haling drivers in the city. It also allowed the state of New York to set a minimum…

Police arrest ‘potential suspects’ in alleged attack on ‘Empire’ actor

(Reuters) – Two Nigerian brothers have been arrested in connection with an alleged racist and homophobic assault on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago, the city’s police department said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: Jussie Smollett performs a tribute to President’s Award recipient John Legend at the 47th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniAuthorities had previously said only that the pair, whose names have not been released, were persons of interest after they were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in the area where Smollett said…

After strong 2019 start for U.S. stocks, trade verdict looms

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Optimism about a U.S.-China trade agreement has helped drive U.S. stocks to more than two-month highs, creating a make-or-break moment for Wall Street as a year-long clash between the world’s two largest economies comes to a head. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidInvestors are increasingly hopeful about a positive resolution as a March 1 deadline for trade talks nears. And if the United States and China reach a deal,…

After Auschwitz visit, Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism

MUNICH/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism on Friday, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. After visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Pence said the Nazi death camp had made him more determined to confront Tehran, saying it was “breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe.” Iran’s ancient Jewish community has slumped to an estimated 10,000 to…

Epic CEO Judy Faulkner: We would never sell to Apple

Most CEOs would not balk at the idea of Apple buying their company. div > div.group > p:first-child »> But Epic Systems CEO Judy Faulkner is not like most CEOs. In January, CNBC’s Jim Cramer suggested that Apple should consider buying Epic, one of the largest private health IT companies in the world. The move would help Apple convince customers and investors that it’s serious about health care, as Epic sells its medical record software to many of the largest hospitals in America. But a buyer needs a seller, and…

Portrait of Brazilian revolutionary is a salvo in fight over history

BERLIN (Reuters) – The makers of “Marighella”, a film about a left-wing revolutionary murdered by Brazil’s 1960s military dictatorship, hope their film will help counter a version of the country’s history that they see far-right President Jair Bolsonaro as propagating. Director and screenwriter Wagner Moura and actors Bella Camero, Seu Jorge and Bruno Gagliasso arrive for the screening of the movie « Marighella » at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal HanschkeThe drama was shot before last year’s presidential election, but director Wagner…

Police have ‘potential suspects’ in alleged attack on ‘Empire’ actor

(Reuters) – Two men being questioned in connection with an alleged racist and homophobic assault on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago are potential suspects in the alleged crime, the city’s police department said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: Jussie Smollett performs a tribute to President’s Award recipient John Legend at the 47th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniAuthorities had previously said only that the pair, whose names have not been released, were persons of interest after they were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in…

Apollo affiliates to buy stake in Cox Media Group TV stations

Apollo Global Management will buy a majority stake Cox Media Group’s broadcast TV stations, Cox announced Friday. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Here is the full announcement from Cox: Cox Enterprises Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement with funds (the « Apollo Funds ») managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, « Apollo ») (NYSE: APO) to buy a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations, including the company’s radio, newspaper and TV properties in Ohio. Cox Enterprises…

‘Million Dollar Listing’ agent Ryan Serhant: Buyers are ‘freaking out’ about Amazon ditching NYC

Developers and speculators — who bought property on the promise of Amazon’s planned New York City headquarters — are « freaking out, » now that the e-commerce giant pulled out of the deal due to local opposition, luxury real estate agent Ryan Serhant told CNBC on Friday. div > div.group > p:first-child »> « Was I dumbfounded that New York politicians were going to ruin it for everyone? No. Was it an exhausting day yesterday? Yes, » said Serhant, who runs a team of agents at Nest Seekers International. He…

Father of supermodel concept awaits ex-wives’ verdict in film

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German photographer credited with inventing the concept of the supermodel in the 1980s is the subject of “Women’s Stories”, a documentary that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday. Peter Lindbergh, born in 1944 in German-occupied Poland, is seen as the creator of a style of naturalistic fashion photography that dispensed with the lavish make-up and detailed retouching that had characterized the genre. He brought this style, influenced by street photography and photojournalism, to a host of models who transformed the fashion world, shooting iconic…

Small banks you’ve never heard of are quietly enabling the tech takeover of the financial industry

Instead of trying to beat a wave of high-growth financial technology startups at their own game, a group of small banks is opting to join them. div > div.group > p:first-child »> These low profile community banks quietly run the plumbing underneath billion-dollar fintech firms like Square, Stripe and Robinhood — handling mundane banking activities for them like holding customer deposits and underwriting loans — while the tech firms remake finance for a digital age. For some, it’s a match made in heaven. These smaller banks, with names like Cross…

China’s pouring serious money into potential rivals of SpaceX and Blue Origin

Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have long dominated the news with their respective advances in private space travel industry. But two private Chinese companies are also making big moves and gaining billions in investments as China’s state space agency announces its own ambitious goals. Here’s what’s going on in the global space race. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Source: CNBC

Trump says he’ll declare emergency on U.S.-Mexico border

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, a move Democrats vowed to challenge as an unconstitutional attempt to fund his promised border wall without approval from Congress. U.S. President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border as he speaks about border security in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria“I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said from the Rose Garden of the White House.…

New York state eyes legal challenge to Trump’s emergency declaration

U.S. President Donald Trump stops and thrusts his fist as he heads back to the Oval Office after declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border during remarks about border security in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York’s state attorney general on Friday threatened legal action against U.S. President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration aimed at freeing up billions in funds to build a wall along the country’s border with Mexico. “We will not stand for this…

Brazilian documentary asks: do we live for work or work for life?

BERLIN (Reuters) – High in the hills of Brazil’s remote northeast, the town of Toritama echoes with the sound of sewing machines: in the self-proclaimed capital of jeans, people work all hours of the day to produce denim trousers. That piqued director Marcelo Gomes’s interest when he visited. From his childhood he remembered a sleepy town where you could hear a pin drop, not the bustling hive of cottage industries that the 40,000-strong township is today. In his Berlinale documentary, Gomes brings an anthropological eye to bear on the way…

Nest is locking users out of their accounts if it thinks their passwords have been breached

Nest, the smart home company owned by Google, is proactively locking people out of their accounts if it believes their passwords have been compromised. The company began sending out emails to affected users last night. If you’ve been affected, you’ll need to tell your Nest app to forget your current password and enter a new one. The standard response to this type of breach, which Nest recently used, following reports of strangers hijacking people’s security cameras, is to email any users who are affected when a breach has occurred and…

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom hint at engagement with ring picture

FILE PHOTO: Singer Katy Perry and actor Orlando Bloom smile upon their arrival for the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean in Monaco, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File PhotoLONDON (Reuters) – Pop star Katy Perry and her Hollywood actor boyfriend Orlando Bloom have hinted they are engaged, posting a picture of the American singer sporting a large diamond-encrusted ring. Perry and Bloom began dating in 2016 but split for a time before getting back together. Both took to Instagram after Valentine’s Day to share the same photo, which showed part…

Mexico border wall: Trump confirms emergency move

Media playback is unsupported on your device President Trump has confirmed he will use emergency powers to build a wall on the US border with Mexico, saying « walls work ». Building the wall was a key pledge of Mr Trump’s campaign, but Democrats have described the emergency as a « gross abuse of power ». He is due to sign the plan along with a spending bill aimed at preventing a repeat of a recent government shutdown. He announced the plan after Congress refused to pay for a wall…

‘Walls work’: Trump confirms emergency move

President Trump confirms he’ll use emergency powers to build a wall on Mexico’s border, saying « walls work » This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the PCF News App. You can also follow @PCFBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. Source: The Guardian

Shamima Begum: IS teen’s return to UK ‘could be prevented’

A British woman who fled to Syria as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State group could be prevented from returning to the UK, the home secretary has said. « My message is clear, » Sajid Javid told the Times: « If you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return. » He added that if Shamima Begum, 19, did come home she could be prosecuted. Ms Begum, who is pregnant, told the paper she had no regrets but wanted to have her baby in…

Climate strike: Schoolchildren protest over climate change

Pupils at schools around the UK have gone on strike as part of a global campaign for action on climate change. Students around the country walked out of school to call on the government to declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem. « Save our planet » was the message chanted by thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square in London. Organisers Youth Strike 4 Climate said protests were taking place in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK. According to the UK…

Brexit: Theresa May pushes on with her deal after latest defeat

Theresa May will press on with efforts to secure a revised Brexit deal, despite another Commons defeat, and will return to Brussels « within days ». MPs voted against a motion endorsing the government’s strategy by 303 to 258, with 66 Tory MPs abstaining. Steve Baker, of the Conservative backbench European Research Group, which led the rebellion, called the loss a « storm in a teacup ». Business Minister Richard Harrington accused the ERG of « treachery ». Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay met EU ambassadors in London on Friday morning…

Andrea Levy: Small Island and Long Song author dies aged 62

British author Andrea Levy, whose award-winning novels captured the black British experience in the years after Windrush, has died at the age of 62. A statement released on behalf of her family said she died of cancer. Levy was born in 1956 to Jamaican parents who had travelled to England on the Empire Windrush in 1948. Sir Lenny Henry, who played a slave in the PCF adaptation of her novel The Long Song, said he had « loved hanging out with this pugnacious woman ». Levy was best known for…

Oil prices are rising and poised for a breakout. Here are the next levels to watch

Analysts say oil prices are approaching breakout levels, and the final day of trading this week will offer clues about whether crude futures can keep rallying. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Brent crude on Friday topped $65 a barrel for the first time this year, hitting a nearly three-month high. The international benchmark for oil prices was pushing toward $66 around 9:45 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude popped above $55, and was threatening to take out last week’s 2½-month high at $55.75. The main catalyst for…

U.S. targeted 21 Savage for his rap lyrics, lawyer says

(Reuters) – A lawyer for rap artist 21 Savage said on Friday the entertainer was in part detained by U.S. immigration officials because he is a celebrity who has been outspoken about family-separation security issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. FILE PHOTO: 2018 MTV Video Music Awards – Arrivals – Radio City Music Hall, New York, U.S., August 20, 2018. – 21 Savage. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File PhotoThe entertainer, whose real name is She’yaa BinAbraham-Joseph, was arrested on Feb. 3 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on charges he is a…

Amazon reportedly held last-minute meetings with union and local officials before canceling HQ2

Amazon held 11th hour meetings with New York and trade union officials before pulling the plug on its Long Island City headquarters, according to reports by Bloomberg and The New York Times. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Amazon executives met on Wednesday morning with union officials from the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union as well as the AFL–CIO, a national federal of more than 50 labor unions, according to the reports. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facilitated and hosted the meeting, the reports say. « It was a…

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs wants a cut of Toronto taxes to build a smart city there

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs proposed taking a portion of Toronto property taxes, development fees and increased land value to build a smart city on the eastern waterfront, The Toronto Star reported. div > div.group > p:first-child »> According to internal documents obtained by the Star, Sidewalks Labs plans to argue it is « entitled to … a share in the uptick in land value on the entire geography … a share of developer charges and incremental tax revenue on all land. » This money, which would amount to an estimated $6…

Russia detains U.S. founder of Baring Vostok private equity group

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has detained the U.S. founder of the Baring Vostok private equity group in Moscow on suspicion of fraud, a Moscow court said on Friday, a move likely to concern foreign investors. Michael Calvey, senior partner at the Baring Vostok private equity group, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 24, 2018. Picture taken May 24, 2018. Pyotr Kovalev/TASS/Host Photo Agency/Pool via REUTERS Michael Calvey, a U.S. national and senior partner at the fund, was detained on Thursday, a spokeswoman for…

Exclusive: U.S. may trim over 1,000 troops from Afghanistan in belt-tightening – general

MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) – Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces. FILE PHOTO: U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File PhotoU.S. President Donald Trump told Congress this month he intended to reduce U.S. forces from Afghanistan as negotiators make progress in talks with Taliban insurgents,…