Once a whaling port, New Bedford wants to light the world again, with wind

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — The vessel UHF Felicity pulled into the port of New Bedford shortly before 5:00 Wednesday afternoon carrying massive parts for offshore wind turbines. New Bedford was once known as the city that lit the world, exporting whale oil for lamps in the early 1800s. Workers packed the docks, unloading casks of oil that had been extracted at sea from whale carcasses and brought in by a fleet of hundreds of whaling ships. Now more than 170 years later New Bedford aspires to light the world again, in a different relationship with the sea, as the ship arrived with parts for the country's first commercial offshore wind farm. Once assembled out on the water this summer, the turbines will stand more than 850 feet high.

Target on the defensive after removing LGBTQ+-themed products

NEW YORK (AP) — Target once distinguished itself as being boldly supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Now, it has tarnished that status after removing some LGBTQ+-themed products and relocating Pride Month displays to the back of stores in certain Southern locations. The company is addressing online complaints and in-store confrontations that it says were a threat to employees’ well-being. Target is facing a second backlash from customers who are upset by the discount retailer’s reaction to aggressive, anti-LGBTQ+ activism, which has also been sweeping through Republican state legislatures. Civil rights groups chided the company for caving to anti-LGBTQ customers who tipped over displays and expressed outrage over gender-fluid bathing suits.

Why is Target pulling some Pride merch? The retailer's response to hostile backlash, explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — Target is removing some items and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide after intense backlash from some shoppers ahead of Pride month. In a Tuesday statement, Target pointed to hostile behavior from customers that has impacted employees’ sense of safety. Target said that customers knocked down Pride displays at some stores, angrily approached workers and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores. The confrontations in Target stores is taking place as state legislatures introduce a record number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ individuals across the country. Some activists and advocacy groups have criticzied Target’s response — calling on the retailer to reaffirm its support with the LGBTQ+ community.

A June pause in rate hikes would be a close call for Fed officials, minutes of last meeting show

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials were divided earlier this month on whether to pause their interest rate hikes at their upcoming meeting in June, according to the minutes of their May 2-3 meeting. “Several [policymakers] noted if the economy evolved along the lines of their current outlooks, then further policy firming after this meeting may not be necessary” — Fed parlance for a pause — the minutes said. At the same time, “some” officials said that the persistence of high inflation meant that “additional [rate hikes] would likely be warranted at future meetings.” Yet in the language used in the minutes, “several” is considered to be more than “some,” suggesting that those favoring a pause may have the upper hand.

McCarthy says debt ceiling standoff 'not my fault,' as White House warns of economic risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A defiant House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the debt ceiling standoff is “not my fault” after he sent Republican negotiators to the White House to finish out debt limit talks. But he's warning that the two sides need more time as they try to reach a budget deal with President Joe Biden. McCarthy says he remains optimistic they can make progress in hopes of an agreement before a deadline as soon as next week. That's when the Treasury Department could run out of cash to pay its bills. McCarthy vows, “We’re not going to default." The White House says Republicans have set in motion a “manufactured crisis” by pushing “extreme proposals” that would hurt “every single part of the country.”

Elon Musk wants to build a digital town square. But his debut for DeSantis had a tech failure.

Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into a “digital town square,” but his much-publicized Twitter Spaces kickoff event, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing his run for president, struggled with technical glitches and a near half-hour delay Tuesday. The billionaire Twitter owner said the problems were due to “straining” servers because so many people were trying to listen to the audio-only event. But even at their highest, the number of listeners listed topped out at around 420,000, far from the millions of viewers that televised presidential announcements attract.

Shell agrees to pay $10 million for air pollution at massive new Pennsylvania petrochemical plant

Shell has agreed to pay $10 million to resolve allegations that it polluted the air around its massive new petrochemical refinery in western Pennsylvania. The administration of Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the penalty Wednesday. Shell acknowledged the plant violated air emissions limits. The multibillion-dollar refinery near Pittsburgh opened in November, only to be shut down months later after Shell said it identified a problem with a system that’s designed to burn off unwanted gases. Shell said it has fixed the problems, and plans to restart the facility. The plant makes polyethylene, a plastic used in everything from consumer and food packaging to tires.

Just in case: Anxious retirees, social service groups among those making default contingency plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Politicians in Washington may be offering assurance that the government will figure out a way to avert default, but around the country, economic anxiety is rising and some people already are adjusting their routines. Government beneficiaries, social service groups that receive state and federal subsidies and millions more across the country are contemplating the possibility of massive and immediate cuts if the U.S. were to default on its financial obligations. Some are cutting back on necessities and others are finding ways to save money.

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

BOSTON (AP) — Microsoft says state-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of communications between the U.S. and Asia in future crises. The targets include Guam, where the U.S. has a major military presence. Separately, the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain published a joint advisory sharing technical details on what they called the recently discovered cluster of activity. Hostile activity in cyberspace — from espionage to the advanced positioning malware for potential future attacks — has become a hallmark of modern geopolitical rivalry.

Pennsylvania high court appears split over plan to force power plants to pay for carbon emissions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Justices on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court are indicating that they're likely to have split opinions on whether a governor can force power plant owners to pay for their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Hanging in the balance is Pennsylvania’s effort to become the first major fossil fuel-producing state to adopt carbon pricing. On Wednesday, the state’s highest court began considering whether former Gov. Tom Wolf unconstitutionally usurped the Legislature’s authority to approve any form of taxation. Republican Justice Kevin Brobson signaled a number of objections to the plan. Meanwhile, Democratic justices closely questioned assertions by a lawyer for Republican senators that the carbon-pricing plan is an unconstitutional tax.

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