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Google close to deal on self-driving cars with Fiat Chrysler: report

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Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are close to agreeing on a partnership that could break boundaries between Silicon Valley and the auto industry in the race to develop self-driving cars, people familiar with the discussions said on Friday.

The partnership could be announced soon, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. The talks were first reported Thursday by the blog AutoExtremist.com.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.

Google has said that it does not want to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored alliances with auto companies, but none have been finalized. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said this week the company was in talks with an advanced technology company, but offered no details.

Executives at other auto makers, including Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Daimler AG, have expressed wariness about alliances with Alphabet or other technology companies that could relegate them to the role of hardware suppliers. Auto executives have said they do not want to stand by while Alphabet reaps richer profits from the data generated by vehicles and their passengers.

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GM has signaled that it plans to go its own way on driverless car technology, moving to buy self-driving vehicle startup Cruise Automation.

On a conference call after Fiat Chrysler issued quarterly earnings on Tuesday, Marchionne repeated that he was interested in partnerships with Google or Apple Inc.

“Dialogue continues with people who are interested in exploring their relevance in the automotive world and we will continue to help them find their way out,” Marchionne said in response to a question about working with non-traditional automakers.

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John Krafcik, a former auto executive who heads Alphabet’s self-driving car project, made a public pitch for partners in January at a conference in Detroit in January. Fiat Chrysler officials in Michigan and Italy have declined to comment on speculation that Google’s technology could eventually be offered on the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan launched in February. Marchionne and other FCA officials are scheduled on May 6 to visit the Windsor, Ontario plant that builds the Pacifica.

Auto and technology industry executives have said self-driving vehicles, possibly minivans, might hit the roads first in ride-sharing or shuttle fleets.

Among the models that Alphabet has been using in its self-driving project is the Lexus RX450h, a hybrid sport utility vehicle, made by Toyota Motor Corp.

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(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Richard Chang)


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Lara Trump snarls at critics of ‘send her back’ for pushing a ‘biased, racially-charged narrative’

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Lara Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump's son Eric, has accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of pushing a "biased, racially-charged narrative" after he criticized her recent defense of the Trump administration over the "send her back" scandal.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"Anyone insinuating that there was some premeditated plan to orchestrate the “send her back” chant is obviously desperate to continue pushing a biased, racially-charged narrative. #FakeNews," Trump posted to her Twitter account on Saturday. She included a link to the Washington Examiner, a right-leaning newspaper which included a quote from Cooper blasting Trump for supposedly "lying" about her role in whipping up a crowd to chant "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

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Trump’s trade war with China has led to foreign investments in the US drying up: report

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Not only are U.S. manufacturers and farmers feeling the devastating brunt of Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China -- among other countries -- now the New York Times reports that foreign investors no longer see America as a safe bet to park their money.

According to the report, "the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office."

With the report stating, the drop-off "stems from tougher regulatory scrutiny in the United States and a less hospitable climate toward Chinese investment, as well Beijing’s tightened limits on foreign spending," one analyst blamed the increasingly hostile trade relationship between the two countries.

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Marvel reveals next star-studded superhero films at Comic-Con

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Marvel unveiled its bumper slate of new superhero movies Saturday, wheeling out a who's who of Hollywood stars and prompting a collective meltdown at Comic-Con as it ended frenzied speculation over the most lucrative franchise in film history.

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Rachel Weisz were brought on stage in San Diego to join Marvel film stalwarts such as Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in the upcoming -- and sure to be multi-billion-grossing -- movies.

"I can spend 90 minutes talking about what we've done or I can spend some time talking about what we're about to do," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, drawing rapturous screams from thousands packed into the world's largest pop-culture fan convention.

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