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

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Google prototype self-driving car [Agence France-Presse]

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.

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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.

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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Richard Chang)

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

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Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

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2020 Election

Lots of red hats — but not many COVID masks — at Bedminster ‘Cops for Trump’ event with the president

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Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, but the president of the United States left Washington, DC on Friday for yet another weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

"This weekend’s trip to Trump National Bedminster is the president’s 23rd since taking office, and will increase his golf-related taxpayer tab to $142 million in travel and security expenses," HuffPost White House corresponded S.V. Dáte reported Friday. "Trump has already spent 268 days on golf courses that he owns in his 1,303 days in office, of which 85 have been at Bedminster."

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