Business Briefs – August 23, 2017

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.

Former CIA Agent Wants to Buy Twitter to Kick Trump Off

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.” As of Wednesday afternoon, she had raised about $22,000 of her $1 billion goal.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls the fundraiser a “ridiculous attempt” to shut down the president’s First Amendment rights.

Wilson’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in former President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003. She left the agency in 2005.

Studies: Automated Safety Systems Are Preventing Car Crashes

WASHINGTON (AP) – Researchers say safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or that warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to reduce crashes significantly. Two studies released Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that vehicles with lane-keeping systems and blind-spot monitoring systems had lower crash rates than the same vehicles without the systems.

Trump Bashes NAFTA in Midst of Talks to Revamp Trade Deal

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, Mr. 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.

Warming Arctic Spurs Battles For Riches, Shipping Routes

LANCASTER SOUND, Nunavut (AP) – As climate change pushes ice farther north each year, it is spurring talk of a gold rush in the Arctic for natural resources, shipping routes, tourism and fishing. The Arctic, including the fabled Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific, is among earth’s last largely unexplored regions. However, experts say many obstacles remain to reaping riches once blocked by ice. Conservationists oppose large-scale extraction of Arctic resources, fearing the fragile environment will be harmed.