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Nevada battery recycler wins $2bn loan from Energy Department

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Nevada battery recycler wins $2bn loan from Energy Department

A Nevada company that recycles batteries for electric vehicles has won a $2 billion green energy loan from the Biden administration.

Redwood Materials, a recycling venture founded by the former chief technology officer at Tesla Inc., secured the conditional loan from the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which helped Tesla more than a decade ago.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced the grant Thursday at Redwood’s facility in Nevada with Gov. Joe Lombardo, where they spoke from a stage to dozens of employees.

“This region is leading the way to a broader story of what is happening in the country,” Granholm said, pointing to a map of 80 battery manufacturing or supply chain companies that are expanding or opening in the U.S. Most have been announced in response to the infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed in 2021 and the climate law he signed last year, she said.

Battery recycling will help the U.S. establish its own electric-vehicle supply chain, a major goal of the Biden administration as it seeks to move away from gas-powered cars in the larger fight against climate change. Biden also has promoted domestic production of critical minerals used in EVs and other electronics, as part of the climate fight and to counter China’s longtime dominance in the supply chain.

With Redwood and other projects underway, “China might be starting to worry,″ Granholm boasted. “And to that I say we’re just getting started.″

The Energy Department said its conditional commitment demonstrates its intent to finance the Nevada project, but several steps remain before officials approve a final loan.
Redwood Materials was founded in 2017 by Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, Tesla’s former chief technology officer. It now has more than 300 employees who recycle used batteries and has supply contracts with Ford and with Panasonic, which makes batteries for Tesla.

Straubel said the company already has more material than it can process from spent consumer batteries from lawnmowers, cellphones and toothbrushes, as well as production scraps from lithium-ion battery manufacturing.

The company says it can recover more than 95% of the elements in a spent battery, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and copper. The metals are then used to make anode and cathode components for new battery cells.

Redwood Materials “is going to play this outsized role in bringing the batteries supply chain home — because you’re focused on the pieces that we don’t have in the United States,″ Granholm told employees at Thursday’s event. “You guys are making history in this.″

Redwood Materials is expected to create about 3,400 construction jobs and employ about 1,600 full-time workers, the department said.

Redwood Materials’ history in Nevada started under former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who was in attendance on Thursday. It continued under Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak before the loan was conditionally approved under Lombardo, who acknowledged he was a latecomer to negotiations. The investments and subsequent jobs help fulfill a campaign pledge by Lombardo and past governors to diversify Nevada’s casino and tourism-based economy.

“This is what we’re going to have to do to have success in the state of Nevada,” Lombardo said. “We can’t have all our eggs in one basket.”

In December, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development awarded $105 million in tax incentives to Redwood, the second-largest capital investment in the office’s history, behind Tesla.

Last month, the Energy Department announced a conditional loan of $700 million to an Australian company to mine lithium in northern Nevada as the U.S. seeks domestic supplies for the key component in electric vehicle batteries.

Redwood also has announced plans to build a $3.5 billion battery manufacturing and recycling factory in South Carolina.

Once fully operational, the battery materials campus in McCarran, Nevada, outside Reno, will be the first domestic facility to support production of anode copper foil and cathode active materials for a lithium-ion battery manufacturing process. The process would recycle end-of-life battery and production scrap and remanufacture it into critical materials, the Energy Department said in a blog post.

Straubel, Redwood’s CEO, told The Associated Press last year that recycling battery materials will help the U.S. establish its own electric-vehicle supply chain. China now dominates the EV supply chain, including critical minerals needed for EV batteries.

“Redwood fills a critical gap in that whole piece, and our goal is to close the loop on all the materials that we’ve already mined and produced into products, keep them in the regions where they were bought and are being used,″ Straubel told the AP. “Every battery that we can recycle is one battery worth of materials that we don’t need to mine again.″

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp has unveiled a groundbreaking feature that revolutionizes text messaging by allowing users to customize their messages like never before.

Prior to this update, users were limited to basic text modifications such as bold and italic; however, the new feature introduces a plethora of formatting options, including numbers, bullets, block quotes, and text highlighting.

The process is simple and intuitive, requiring users to incorporate specific symbols to achieve their desired text format. For monospacing text, users can enclose their message with three backticks on both sides. Adding a quote is as easy as placing an angle bracket and a space before the text.

To strike through a message, users need to flank their text with tilde symbols, while bolding requires asterisks on both sides. One of the standout additions is the ability to create bulleted lists effortlessly. Users can precede each word or sentence with an asterisk or hyphen and a space to generate a neatly organized list.

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Moreover, numbering and spacing at the beginning of text with “1.” facilitates the creation of itemized lists, enhancing the overall clarity and structure of messages.

Inline code can now be seamlessly integrated into messages by enclosing the text with backtick symbols at the start and end. This provides users with a practical way to share code snippets or emphasize specific phrases within their conversations.

The accompanying image showcases the versatility of this new feature, illustrating the various formatting options available to users. WhatsApp users across iOS, Android, and web devices can now leverage this advanced text formatting feature to elevate their communication experience.

The update reflects WhatsApp’s commitment to continually enhance user experience and foster more expressive and organized conversations. Whether you’re conveying information, emphasizing key points, or sharing code snippets, the new formatting options provide a dynamic and engaging communication platform for users worldwide. 

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

 Facebook owner Meta will set up a team to tackle disinformation and the abuse of generative artificial intelligence in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June amid concerns about election interference and misleading AI-generated content.

The rapid growth of generative AI, which can create text, images and video in seconds in response to prompts, has triggered fears that the new technology could be used to disrupt major elections, across the world this year. 

European Parliament elections will take place June 6-9. Its 720 lawmakers, together with EU governments, pass new EU policies and laws.

“As the election approaches, we’ll activate an Elections Operations Center to identify potential threats and put mitigations in place in real time,” Marco Pancini, Meta’s head of EU affairs, said in a blogpost.

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He said experts from the company’s intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy and legal teams will focus on combating misinformation, tackling influence operations and counter the risks related to the abuse of generative AI.

Meta, which currently works with 26 independent fact-checking organisations across the European Union covering 22 languages, will add three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia, Pancini said.

Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and 17 other tech companies earlier this month agreed to work together to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence content from interfering with elections across the globe this year.

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‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

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'X' faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

The popular microblogging site ‘X,’ formerly known as Twitter, has been inaccessible across Pakistan for over a week. 

Despite a brief interval when the site was accessible, users are now reporting a persistent outage, even when using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government agency responsible for overseeing telecommunications, hasn’t released any official statement regarding the suspension of the service.

This lack of transparency has only intensified the frustration among users who heavily rely on ‘X’ for information and news updates. Users who initially turned to VPNs as a workaround have also hit a roadblock, as the microblogging site remains inaccessible. 

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The situation has raised concerns about the government’s stance on digital freedom and freedom of speech. The outage has not gone unnoticed by the public, with many expressing their discontent on various platforms. 

Criticism has been directed towards the government and the IT minister for what is perceived as an attack on freedom of speech and a hindrance to the revenue generated by the country’s thriving IT professionals.

Earlier, the Sindh High Court issued a directive to restore access to ‘X’ across Pakistan, recognising the site’s significance for information dissemination. However, despite court’s order, there has been no implementation, leaving users and advocates of digital freedom in a state of dismay.

The suspension of ‘X’ has broader implications, impacting not only the general public but also businesses and professionals who rely on the platform for communication, networking, and staying informed about the latest developments. The longer the outage persists, the more severe the consequences may be for the nation’s digital landscape.

As the public awaits an official statement from the PTA and the government, concerns about the potential ramifications of such a prolonged suspension continue to grow.

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