Walmart joins forces with Google on voice-activated shopping
NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is diving into voice-activated shopping. But unlike online leader Amazon, it’s not doing it alone. Walmart is working with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items for voice shopping through Google Assistant. The move illustrates how serious Walmart is about being competitive in an area dominated by Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices.
BOSTON (AP) — One of the nation’s largest student-loan companies is accused of mismanaging programs that offer debt forgiveness to public servants.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says problems at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency have caused financial harm to many teachers and other public servants.
The agency oversees a federal program that forgives remaining student loans for public servants after they make 120 qualifying monthly payments. Healey says processing delays at the agency have prevented borrowers from making payments and set them back on their path toward forgiveness.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former Tampa police detective faces up to 10 years in prison for her part in a tax-refund scheme.
A U.S. attorney’s office news release says 51-year-old LaJoyce Houston pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving stolen government property. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.
Authorities say Houston received goods, services, money orders and cash from debit cards loaded with fraudulently obtained tax refunds in 2011 and 2012. The accounts connected to these debit cards contained more than $284,000 in fraudulent refunds. Payments to Houston came from Rita Girven, who was sentenced in 2015 to 12 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California prosecutors can bring money laundering charges against the creators of a website that prosecutors label an online brothel, a judge ruled Wednesday. But he dismissed other charges months after another judge threw out the entire case as violating free speech and federal protections.
Prosecutors filed new and expanded charges against Backpage.com chief executive Carl Ferrer and website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin this spring. The three pleaded not guilty after the judge allowed the money laundering charges.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the abandonment of a nuclear power project in South Carolina (all times local):
Legislators ended a hearing on the failure of a nuclear power project in South Carolina debating whether they could legally ask state regulators about their role in the debacle.
A House panel adjourned Wednesday after House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford argued the law legislators passed in 2007 to encourage nuclear construction bars the regulators from discussing rulings that may impact future decisions.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on Wednesday:
Lowe’s Cos., down $2.81 to $73.01
The home improvement retailer fell short of expectations in the second quarter and gave a weak profit forecast.
Cree Inc., down 82 cents to $22.21
The energy efficient lighting maker disclosed a smaller-than-expected profit and its forecast was lower than expected.
La-Z-Boy Inc., down $6.30 to $24.95
Stocks retreated on Wednesday and gave back some of their gains from a day earlier, when the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had one of its best days of the year.
Advertising companies and retailers had some of the steepest drops on worries about their earnings, while prices for Treasury bonds and gold rose modestly as investors sought safer ground. It’s the latest move lower for a stock market that’s yo-yoed since setting a record high earlier this month.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he and President Donald Trump are in regular contact about “shared goals” and working together to advance them. He says people suggesting otherwise are “clearly not part of the conversation.”
McConnell says priorities include tax overhaul, spending and other bills.
The Kentucky Republican released the statement Wednesday during a rocky period between the two leaders.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman is suing an Oregon cremation company for $2.5 million, claiming it gave her the remains of a stranger instead of her deceased father.
Kimberly Grecco, 53, discovered the remains were her not her father’s as she prepared to spread the ashes on Father’s Day last year, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (http://bit.ly/2xtnN0l ) Tuesday.
Grecco, of Portland, said she opened the box from Crown Memorial Center and found a tag indicating the remains belonged to someone else, according to the lawsuit.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A former Dutch justice minister was appointed Wednesday to lead an investigation into the illegal use of a pesticide on laying hens, which sparked a food scare in Europe and beyond and led to the destruction of millions of eggs.
According to a government-commissioned report, the estimated direct economic cost of the scandal to affected Dutch egg farmers was around 33 million euros ($39 million), due to sales bans and measures to clean up contaminated farms.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An attorney representing South Carolina’s major industries says ratepayers have repeatedly been shortchanged by a decade-old state law encouraging nuclear power construction, but state regulators can reject a utility’s efforts to recoup billions more from residents for two now-abandoned nuclear reactors.
Scott Elliott with the South Carolina Energy Users Committee told legislators Wednesday that SCE&G’s initial 2008 application to expand V.C. Summer Nuclear Station was approved without a true construction schedule, and the law made the nine requested rate hikes since nearly automatic.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Farmers around the country are donating tons of hay for ranchers whose livestock are suffering from the drought in the Northern Plains, but the officials and groups lining up the aid aren’t finding it easy getting the feed to the region.
North Dakota’s Agriculture Department has issued a plea for truckers to help haul donated hay hundreds of miles from other states for a hay lottery program, while an effort in the eastern U.S. started by a tractor pulling team is seeking thousands of dollars to pay for fuel.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is looking to crowdfund enough money to buy Twitter so President Donald Trump can’t use it.
Wilson launched the fundraiser last week, tweeting: “If @Twitter executives won’t shut down Trump’s violence and hate, then it’s up to us. #BuyTwitter #BanTrump.” The GoFundMe page for the fundraiser says Trump’s tweets “damage the country and put people in harm’s way.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just a week into talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump is already threatening to abandon the 23-year-old pact with Canada and Mexico.
At a high-profile campaign-style rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, Trump predicted that the United States would “end up probably terminating” NAFTA “at some point,” though he said he hadn’t made a final decision.
HONOLULU (AP) — State and city officials are hoping to get together with Waikiki business owners and the surfing community to brainstorm ways to fix a serious beach erosion problem.
In 2012, the state took two concrete erosion barriers off of Waikiki beach because they were falling apart. But ever since then, the shore has been eroding to the point where water is now turning brown.
“It’s ugly,” said Sabrina Kim, who was visiting the beach from California. “It’s not what you really expect when you come to Hawaii. You want to see sand.”