Business Highlights: Gas ‘blackmail,’ Meta’s profit – The Associated Press – en Español

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Musk’s Twitter ambitions to collide with Europe’s tech rules

LONDON (AP) — A hands-off approach to moderating content at Elon Musk’s Twitter could clash with ambitious new laws in Europe meant to protect users from disinformation, hate speech and other harmful material. European Union officials and digital campaigners have been quick to say that any focus on free speech to the detriment of online safety would not fly after the 27-nation bloc solidified its status as a global leader in the effort to rein in the power of tech giants. With similar tech regulations absent in the U.S. and elsewhere, the job of reining in a Musk-led Twitter could fall to Europe.

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EU nations accuse Russia of using natural gas as ‘blackmail’

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland and Bulgaria have accused Moscow of using natural gas to blackmail their countries. Russia’s state-controlled energy company said it would stop supplying the two European nations with gas on Wednesday because they refused to pay in Russian rubles. European Union officials were holding emergency talks on Wednesday on the gas cutoff, which they also called blackmail. Russian authorities have warned they could cut off gas supplies to other nations as well. In parliament in Warsaw, Poland’s prime minister called the move “an attack on Poland.” He was cheered by lawmakers when he said the country was safe because it had worked for years to move away from Russian energy.

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Facebook parent Meta stock soars despite growth slowdown

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook parent Meta’s first quarter profit jumped past Wall Street’s expectations despite slower revenue growth, sending shares up sharply in after-hours trading. The company earned $7.47 billion, or $2.72 per share, in the January-March period. That’s down 21% from $9.5 billion, or $3.30 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Meta cut a sharp contrast with Google parent Alphabet, which on Monday reported what analysts called disappointing earnings, with profit below Wall Street’s expectations and revenue growth slower than in previous quarters. Shares rose 13.2% to $198 in after-hours trading.

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Greece taps bond markets after sovereign upgrade

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has raised 1.5 billion euros in a 7-year bond re-issue, tapping markets days after a sovereign credit rating upgrade. Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the money was raised with a yield of 2.4% ‒ up from the 2% yield in 2020 when the bond was first issued. The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s last week raised the Greek sovereign rating to BB+ from BB, one notch below investment grade. Athens is hoping to return to investment grade next year for the first time since the near-collapse of its economy triggered successive international bailouts starting in 2010.

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Twitter abuse victims fear Musk’s plans, but may not quit

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Perhaps no group of people is more alarmed about Elon Musk’s plan to make Twitter a free speech free-for-all than those most likely to be targeted for harassment: women, racial minorities and other marginalized groups. They fear that a more hands-off approach to policing the platform will embolden purveyors of hate speech, bullying and disinformation to ratchet up their bad behavior — a possibility Musk has done little to dispel. Yet even those who have faced extreme harassment on Twitter say they are unlikely to quit the platform. Despite the negative psychological toll, they still place a high value on Twitter as a place to express their views and engage with others.

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Microsoft: Russian hacks often accompany Ukraine attacks

BOSTON (AP) — Microsoft says cyberattacks by state-backed Russian hackers have destroyed data across dozens of organizations in Ukraine and produced a “chaotic information environment.” The company said in a report released Wednesday that Russia-aligned threat groups were preparing long before the Feb. 24 invasion. It said they were “pre-positioning for the conflict” as early as a year ago, hacking into networks to obtain footholds they could later use to collect “strategic and battlefield intelligence or to facilitate future destructive attacks.”

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Stocks end mixed after another wobbly day on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended with meager gains on Wall Street Wednesday, stabilizing after a sell-off in tech stocks a day earlier. It’s the latest turbulence for the market as traders brace for more earnings reports from major U.S. companies. The S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and wound up with a gain of just 0.2%. A tech recovery also petered out, leaving the Nasdaq just barely in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2%. Visa surged 6.5% after reporting better-than-expected earnings. Boeing slumped 7.5% after reporting a much bigger loss than Wall Street anticipated.

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Ideas on mute? Study: Remote meetings dampen brainstorming

NEW YORK (AP) A new study says if you want to brainstorm during a meeting, it works better in person than over remote video conferencing. Wednesday’s study in the journal Nature looks at pairs of engineers who tried to brainstorm ideas. In-person meetings generated 17% more ideas on average — and better ones at that. Researchers suggest that on video calls people stared at the other person instead of letting their eyes and minds wander, which dampens creativity. In real life, they tend to look around more because staring can be rude.

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The S&P 500 rose 8.76 points, or 0.2%, to 4,183.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93. The Nasdaq fell 1.81 points, or less than 0.1%, to 12,488.93. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 6.44 points, or 0.3%, to 1,884.04.

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