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Technology

    German automaker Audi says it will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emissions performance, following a similar move by rival Daimler as the auto industry tries to get ahead of public controversy over the technology. Audi, the luxury brand of the Volkswagen Group, announced the voluntary retrofitting program on Friday. The company said in a statement that it 'aims to maintain the future viability of diesel engines' and believes the program 'will counteract possible bans on vehicles with diesel engines.' The free program, which will apply to Europe and other markets outside the U.S. and Canada, applies to cars with six-cylinder and eight-cylinder diesel engines. The service action also applies to Porsche and Volkswagen models with the same types of engines. On Tuesday, Daimler said it will voluntarily recall 3 million Mercedes-Benz cars with diesel engines in Europe to improve their emissions performance. Diesels have been under a cloud since Volkswagen admitted equipping vehicles with software that manipulates the level of emissions. In the U.S., the software turned on emissions controls during lab tests and illegally turned them off when the cars were on the road, to improve performance. Separately, five German automakers — Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche — last year agreed to recall a total of 630,000 diesel vehicles in Europe after it was found that real-world emissions often exceeded EU emissions standards. There have been calls for bans on diesels in several German cities due to concerns about pollution levels, while the government in the large southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg has said it would reject such demands if automakers came up with a way to adjust older vehicles to reduce emissions levels. Volkswagen has admitted using illegal software in 11 million vehicles worldwide. It agreed to pay more than $20 billion in civil and criminal settlements and penalties in the U.S. and eight executives have been charged there. In other cases, engine control software turns off emission controls at certain temperatures to avoid engine damage, carmakers say. That exemption is legal but German regulators have questioned whether its use was always justified. Auto executives and state and city officials will meet with Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt at a 'diesel summit' over the issue on Aug. 2 in Berlin. Government officials say the purpose of the summit is to reduce diesel emissions and at the same to ensure that the technology can continue to be used in the future. The auto industry is a major employer in Germany and it's an election year, with a national election slated for Sept. 24. Diesels have lower emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for global warming. Automakers say diesel is therefore needed to meet stricter limits on CO2 emissions as part of fighting climate change. Expensive and cumbersome emissions controls are needed, however, to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, an air pollutant that harms health. Stock prices of automakers fell Friday after a report in Der Spiegel magazine that they had colluded for years on holding down the cost of diesel technology and that information about the meetings had been given to German anti-trust authorities. Daimler shares were off 2.1 percent, while BMW shares fell 2.6 percent and Volkswagen dipped 2.8 percent. The Spiegel report said companies had agreed on things like the size of the tanks that hold a urea solution injected into exhaust gases to control emissions of nitrogen oxide. The report could not be independently confirmed. ___ McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Hackers who breached a Kansas Department of Commerce data system in March had access to more than 5.5 million Social Security numbers in 10 states, along with another 805,000 accounts that didn't include the Social Security numbers, according to records obtained from the agency. The department will be required to pay for credit monitoring for most of the victims of the hacking, according to records obtained through an open records request by the Kansas News Service (http://bit.ly/2gQcgoq ). Besides Kansas, the other states affected by the hack are Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, Alabama and Illinois. The suspicious activity was discovered March 12 by America's Job Link Alliance-TS, the commerce department division that operates the system. It was isolated March 14 and the FBI was contacted the next day, according to testimony from agency officials to the Legislature this spring. The Kansas News Service filed its open records request May 24 and the commerce department fulfilled the request Wednesday. A commerce department representative didn't immediately return a call Friday from The Associated Press seeking comment. The data is from websites that help people find jobs, such as Kansasworks.com, where people can post resumes and search job openings. At the time of the hack, Kansas was managing data for 16 states but not all the states were affected. After the hack, AJLA-TS officials called in a third-party IT company specializing in forensic analysis to verify the coding error the hackers exploited was fixed and to identify victims. The documents show the commerce department also contracted with private companies to help victims, provide IT support and to provide legal services. The state is paying $175,000 to the law firm and $60,000 to the IT firm. The commerce department didn't provide the cost of the third contract. Earlier testimony to lawmakers indicated a fourth company, Texas-based Denim Group, was contracted in April to review code and provide advice for improvements, which has since been implemented. The agency didn't provide documents related to that contract. Kansas will pay for up to a year of credit monitoring services for victims in nine of the affected states. Delaware residents are eligible for three years of services because of contractual obligations to that state. The agency said in May this was the first known breach of AJLA-TS' databases and the contractor's response exceeded requirements in Kansas law. However, the commerce department said it had sent about 260,000 emails to victims but couldn't contact all victims because it didn't have their email addresses. Kansas law does not require notification to the victims via post or telephone, the department said. The call center for victims, which can be reached at (844) 469-3939, will remain open through the end of July.
  • A Wisconsin county is likely violating the U.S. Constitution's free-speech protection with its requirement that game developers obtain permits for augmented-reality apps like Pokemon Go to be played in parks, a federal judge says. Wisconsin U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ruled Thursday that Milwaukee County can't enforce the ordinance while a lawsuit over it moves forward. Irvine, California-based game developer Candy Lab Inc., which is working on a poker game that would be affected by the county's ordinance, sued to overturn it. Milwaukee County passed the permitting requirement in February in response to the large crowds that Pokemon Go attracted last summer to a park along Lake Michigan. Officials said the sudden influx of people left the park trash-ridden and the county had to pay for the cleanup. The ordinance requires that developers apply for and obtain a permit like any other business or group that wants to host park events. The money is for the park's upkeep and the permits are supposed to help the county prepare for the volume of people In the ruling, the judge criticized the ordinance 'for its strangeness and lack of sophistication' because it treats game developers 'as though they are trying to hold an 'event' in a Milwaukee County park.' 'However, this misunderstands the nature of the problem, since Candy Lab's video game will not be played at a discrete time or location within a park,' Stadtmueller wrote. He suggested a better alternative would be to punish gamers who violate park rules. Milwaukee County can't comment on pending litigation, spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said. But the county has argued in court filings that augmented-reality games are not protected speech under the Constitution. The sponsor of the ordinance, County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, said Friday he's confident the law will be upheld. 'We're dealing with a government's ability to control its own neighborhood,' he said. The game Candy Lab is developing is called Texas Rope 'Em, a variation of the poker game Texas Hold 'em. Gamers are directed to different places to pick up cards and build a five-card hand to play against a computer-controlled dealer. Cities the game is being tested in include Milwaukee.
  • Lyft said Friday that it is setting up its own unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but its approach will be different from other companies and partnerships working on self-driving cars. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service said it will open its network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers in their self-driving vehicles and gather data. It may even share computer software and sensor technology. Raj Kapoor, the company's chief strategy officer, says Lyft is pursuing the open strategy as a way to bring the environmental and safety benefits of autonomous vehicles to market faster. Lyft brings network expertise to the table, he said. 'We believe this is inevitable where the world is going,' he said. 'We need to be playing this role.' Like other tech companies and automakers, Lyft has partnerships with companies like Google's Waymo autonomous vehicle operation and with General Motors. It does not want to produce cars, but wants to make a standardized system for use on its network. At first, the network will be open to Lyft's current partners. Just how it would make money off the system is yet to be determined, but it likely would take a cut of passenger fares from everyone who uses its network or shares its system. For example, General Motors, which has invested $500 million in Lyft, would be invited to run its own autonomous vehicles on Lyft's network. Data gathered by GM and vehicles from other companies would be used to help build high-definition maps that are needed for the vehicles to navigate streets across the world. The data also would be used to develop computers that would make decisions to run the autonomous vehicles. Lyft is calling its unit 'Level Five,' the industry term for fully-autonomous vehicles. It expects to have several hundred employees working on the vehicles in Palo Alto, California, by the end of 2018. The company, which carries passengers in 350 cities worldwide, says even when autonomous vehicles are in operation, it will still have humans in the driver's seat. In many places, detailed maps won't be available to guide the autonomous vehicles, so humans will still be needed. ___ This story has been updated to correct that Lyft expects to have several hundred employees working on the vehicles by the end of 2018, not the end of this year.
  • The neighbors had their suspicions. The young Canadian accused of masterminding the world's leading 'darknet' internet marketplace lived a seemingly quiet life for more than a year with his Thai girlfriend in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangkok. But the flashy cars he drove stood out. There was the nearly $1 million, metallic gray Lamborghini. There was the Porsche, and then the Mini Cooper for his girlfriend. All in an area where people drive pickup trucks and children tool around on plastic tricycles. The neighbors thought 25-year-old Alexandre Cazes worked in the hotel business. But according to the U.S. Justice Department, he was the mastermind of AlphaBay, an internet marketplace that traded in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods. By the time authorities closed in on July 5, Cazes had amassed a $23 million fortune as the site's creator and administrator, court documents show. On Thursday, U.S. Justice Department officials gave details of the global police operation that brought down Cazes, who authorities say hanged himself in his Thai jail cell a week after his arrest, and dealt a serious blow to illicit internet commerce. Interviews with Cazes' neighbors paint a picture of a young man who displayed flashes of ostentation but otherwise seemed unassuming. 'He was with his girlfriend,' said a neighbor, Hassanupong Pootrakulchote. 'Around New Year's or Christmas I saw some of his friends come over and they would have a little party. There were Thai people, some of them were his girlfriend's relatives ... Other than that it's mostly quiet, nothing flashy or anything.' Nothing except those expensive cars, which were completely out of place in the neighborhood where homes cost less than $120,000. 'Why does he have a Lamborghini? Why does he have a Porsche or Mini Cooper?' Hassanupong said. 'There are recent news reports about people laundering money and that sort of thing. But like I said, I thought he was in the hotel business.' Soon enough, talk in the neighborhood was that Cazes was ready to improve his standard of living. At the time of his arrest, he was building a palatial home about 20 minutes away in a far more upscale area. The price tag? More than $1.1 million. According to court documents, he also owned a luxury villa on the edge of a cliff in the holiday destination of Phuket and a $400,000 villa in Antigua. Much of Cazes' fortune was in digital currencies, the court documents show. He bought real estate and luxury cars, including the $900,000 Lamborghini, and pursued 'economic citizenship' in Liechtenstein, Cyprus and Thailand. He used what he claimed was a web design company, EBX Technologies, as a front, the indictment said. But his life in the Bangkok suburbs appeared stable, neighbors said. One neighbor, who asked not to be named because the case involves crime, said Cazes rarely left the house before noon. She said she got her first good look at him one day when was outside, trying to photograph a monitor lizard that had crawled out of a deserted field nearby. 'We smiled at each other, that's it,' she said. Darknet websites have thrived since the 2011 appearance of the Silk Road bazaar, which was taken down two years later. Merchants and buyers keep their identities secret by using encrypted communications and anonymity-providing tools such as the Tor browser. The darknet itself is only accessible through such specialized apps. Cazes' own carelessness apparently tripped him up — not the underlying security technology AlphaBay used. According to the indictment, he accidentally broadcast his personal Hotmail address in welcome messages sent to new users. And when he was tracked down and arrested in Thailand, Cazes was logged into the AlphaBay website as its administrator, allowing investigators access to passwords and other information, it says. Cazes also used the same personal email address — 'pimp_alex-91@hotmail.com — on a PayPal account.
  • An underwater robot captured images of solidified lava-like rocks Friday inside a damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, spotting for the first time what is believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the robot found large amounts of lava-like debris apparently containing fuel that had flowed out of the core into the primary containment vessel of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima. The plant was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the destroyed plant. Experts have said the fuel melted and much of it fell to the chamber's bottom and is now covered by radioactive water as deep as 6 meters (20 feet). The fuel, during meltdown, also likely melted its casing and other metal structures inside the reactor, forming rocks as it cooled. TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it was the first time a robot camera has captured what is believed to be the melted fuel. 'That debris has apparently fallen from somewhere higher above. We believe it is highly likely to be melted fuel or something mixed with it,' Kimoto said. He said it would take time to analyze which portions of the rocks were fuel. In an earlier survey Wednesday, the robot found severe damage in the vessel, including key structures that were broken and knocked out of place. The robot, nicknamed 'the Little Sunfish,' on Friday went inside a structure called the pedestal for a closer look. TEPCO plans to send the robot farther down on Saturday in hopes of finding more melted fuel and debris. Experts have said the melted fuel is most likely to have landed inside the pedestal after breaching the core. Kimoto said the robot probe in its two missions has captured a great deal of useful information and images showing the damage inside the reactor, which will help experts eventually determine a way to remove the melted fuel, a process expected to begin sometime after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 'It's still just the beginning of the (decades-long) decommissioning. There is still a long way to go, including developing the necessary technology,' he said. 'But it's a big step forward.' Locating and analyzing the fuel debris and damage in each of the three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels. The submersible robot, about the size of a loaf of bread, is equipped with lights, maneuvers with five propellers and collects data with two cameras and a dosimeter. It is controlled remotely by a group of four operators. It was co-developed by Toshiba Corp., the electronics, nuclear and energy company charged with helping clean up the plant, and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, a government-funded consortium. ___ Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at twitter.com/mariyamaguchi Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi .
  • In an innovative blow to illicit internet commerce, cyberpolice shut down the world's leading 'darknet' marketplace — then quietly seized a second bazaar to amass intelligence on illicit drug merchants and buyers. AlphaBay, formerly the internet's largest darknet site, had already gone offline July 5 with the arrest in Thailand of its alleged creator and administrator. But on Thursday, European law enforcement revealed that Dutch cyberpolice had for a month been running Hansa Market. Like AlphaBay, Hansa operated in the darknet, an anonymity-friendly internet netherworld inaccessible to standard browsers. AlphaBay's users had flocked to Hansa, which is largely based in the Netherlands. The announcements Thursday on both sides of the Atlantic sowed panic among the sites' tech-savvy buyers and vendors. DARKNESS OVER THE DARKNET 'The cryptomarket community (is) spooked,' said darknet researcher Patrick Shortis, of Brunel University in London. 'Reddit boards are filled with users asking questions about their orders.' In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions deemed the operation 'the largest darknet marketplace takedown in history.' Darknet vendors are 'pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic,' he said, specifically citing cases of two U.S. teenagers killed this year, one a 13-year-old Utah boy, by overdoses of synthetic opioids purchased on AlphaBay. More than two-thirds of the quarter million listings on the two sites were for illegal drugs, said Sessions. Other illicit wares for sale included weapons, counterfeit and stolen identification and malware. The police agency Europol estimates AlphaBay did $1 billion in business after its 2014 creation. DEAD IN PRISON A California indictment named AlphaBay's founder as Alexandre Cazes, a 25-year-old Canadian who died in Thai police custody on July 12. The country's narcotics police chief told reporters Cazes hanged himself in jail just prior to a scheduled court hearing. He'd been arrested with DEA and FBI assistance. Cazes amassed a $23 million fortune, much of it in digital currencies, according to court documents. He bought real estate and luxury cars, including a $900,000 Lamborghini, and pursued 'economic citizenship' in Liechtenstein, Cyprus and Thailand. A $400,000 villa purchase in February had already bought him and his wife Antiguan passports, a U.S. forfeiture complaint said. He used what he claimed was a web design company, EBX Technologies, as a front, the indictment said. Just two other arrests were announced Thursday. Both were of Hansa system administrators in the German town of Siegen, who were taken into custody in June. Europol spokeswoman Claire Georges said they were not named under privacy law. The U.S. indictment lists several AlphaBay co-conspirators by title but not name. They include a security chief, a public relations manager and moderators. A U.S. attorney handling the case, Grant Rabenn, would not comment on whether additional arrests were expected. 'PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE' Nicolas Christin, a darknet expert at Carnegie Mellon University, called the one-two takedown punch 'psychological warfare.' 'It is definitely going to create a bit of chaos,' he said, though after takedowns in the past buyers and sellers move to other former second-tier sites after a few weeks of turmoil. But this time, Dutch police have upped the ante by craftily tracking darknet users, and that's expected to yield future arrests. They began running the Hansa site on June 20, impersonating its administrators, collecting usernames and passwords, logging data on thousands of drug sales and informing local police in nations where shipments would be arriving. Dutch cybercrime prosecutor Martijn Egberts said Dutch police had scooped up some 10,000 addresses for Hansa buyers outside Holland. Running the site was a challenge, Egberts said, with police forced to mediate frequent disputes between buyers and sellers. 'It turned out to be a lot of work!' he said. 'The biggest effort for us was to get the site going on a way that nobody noticed it was us.' Egberts noted with satisfaction that online rumors about other darknet drug marketplaces possibly being compromised were already spreading. 'This is the moment to show the world that you can't trust dark markets anymore, because you never know who is the admin,' he said. But seasoned buyers and sellers aren't likely to get tripped up, and will simply become more cautious, Christin said. BRANCHES OFF THE SILK ROAD Darknet websites have thrived since the 2011 appearance of the Silk Road bazaar, which was taken down two years later. Merchants and buyers keep their identities secret by using encrypted communications and anonymity-providing tools such as the Tor browser. The darknet itself is only accessible only through such specialized apps. Cazes' own carelessness apparently tripped him up — not the underlying security technology AlphaBay used. According to the indictment, he accidentally broadcast his personal Hotmail address in welcome messages sent to new users. And when he was tracked down and arrested in Thailand, Cazes was logged into the AlphaBay website as its administrator, it says. Cazes also used the same personal email address — 'pimp_alex-91@hotmail.com — on a PayPal account. The success of this operation may only cause a temporary disturbance in illicit online markets. After a November 2014 takedown called Operation Onymous took down more sites, the illicit markets not only recovered — but grew. For perspective, Christin said, a slow day for AlphaBay alone — one amounting to roughly $600,000 in transactions — would have been equivalent to a typical late-2014 day for the entire darknet. ___ Satter reported from Paris. AP Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York and AP reporter Kaweewit Kaewjinda in Bangkok contributed to this report.
  • Microsoft's cloud computing business helped boost its fourth-quarter revenue and earnings above Wall Street's expectations, further validating a strategy pushed by CEO Satya Nadella since he took over in 2014. Nadella described the better-than-expected performance in a conference call Thursday as part of the 'continuing transformation' of the Redmond, Washington-based company. Microsoft reported that is cloud business revenue, which includes its signature Azure platform, grew 11 percent year-over-year to $7.4 billion. Revenue from the Azure cloud platform nearly doubled, the company said. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $6.51 billion, or 83 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and asset impairment costs, came to 98 cents per share. The results handily beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for adjusted earnings of 71 cents per share. The software maker posted revenue of $23.32 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $24.7 billion, which also topped Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $24.19 billion. Microsoft shares have risen 19 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 10 percent. They slipped 57 cents to $73.70 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report. The company earlier this month announced it was cutting thousands of sales jobs. On Thursday it recorded $306 million in fourth-quarter employee-severance expenses related to a sales and marketing restructuring plan. Asked about the restructuring, Nadella characterized it as part of a shift in skill sets to adapt to changing demand. 'This transformation is ongoing,' Nadella said. 'It's been happening over multiple years, but now we've got very good customer momentum.' _____ Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MSFT at https://www.zacks.com/ap/MSFT _____ Keywords: Microsoft, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings
  • Sears will begin selling its appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The announcement Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring almost 11 percent. The tie-up with the internet behemoth could give shares of the storied retailer one of its biggest one-day percentage gains ever. Sears, which also owns Kmart, said that its Kenmore Smart appliances will be fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa, allowing users to control things like air conditioners through voice commands. 'The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.,' Sears Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said in a company release. Sears has struggled with weak sales for years, and announced more store closings earlier this month, partly due to the emergence of Amazon.com and other internet operators. It said in March that there was 'substantial doubt' it could continue as a business after years of bleeding money. Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail, said it's a win for Sears, putting its products where customers are shopping. Sales at existing Sears stores, a key measure of a retailer's health, have been in rapid retreat for years. 'Other channels and routes to market are needed,' Saunders said. Many saw the agreement with Amazon.com as a lifeline for Sears, with the volume of trading company shares enormous on Thursday. And the law of action-reaction is almost always visible when Amazon.com is in the mix. Shares of other major retailers that sell appliances, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe's, fell between 4 percent and 6 percent. The agreement with Seattle-based Amazon goes beyond the point of sale for Sears. Also part of the deal is delivery, installation and the service work that comes with product warranties, which will be provided by Sears Home Services. While Saunders doesn't think the deal represents a big shift for the retail sector, he said that it does illustrate how retailers must adapt and offer goods through multiple channels if they want to thrive. He believes others are already scrambling to do so. Shares of Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, jumped 92 cents to close at $9.60.
  • Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk says he has 'verbal government approval' to build a tunnel for high-speed transportation from New York to Washington that could break ground by the end of this year. Musk didn't say who gave him the approval, and he acknowledged that the deal is far from finalized. But the White House confirmed it had 'positive discussions' about the tunnel with Musk and executives from his underground drilling enterprise, The Boring Co. A White House spokesman wouldn't say who talked to Musk or whether he met with officials in person. 'We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector,' the White House said in a statement. In its own statement, The Boring Co. said feedback on the proposal has been positive and it has 'received verbal support from key government decision-makers for tunneling plans.' The company said it expects to secure the formal approvals necessary to break ground later this year. Musk runs electric car company Tesla Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., among other ventures. He is also a backer of so-called hyperloop systems, which move pods at high speeds through vacuum-sealed tubes. Musk said hyperloop tunnels could ferry people, cars and even bikes from New York to Washington in 29 minutes. That trip currently takes a little under three hours on Amtrak's high-speed Acela Express. The system would also have stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore, Musk said. In a later tweet, Musk said his priority with The Boring Co. is building tunnels to alleviate Los Angeles traffic. After that, he's like to build one hyperloop system on the East Coast and one from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He said Chicago has also talked to the company about building a high-speed tunnel to O'Hare International Airport. Musk said a lot of work needs to be done to get final approval, but he said he's 'optimistic that will occur rapidly.' He urged supporters to contact their representatives to speed that process. But some cast doubt on his timeline, pointing out that Musk would have to get approval from dozens of players, including federal, state and local officials. 'This is news to City Hall,' tweeted Eric Phillips, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in response to Musk's tweets. Mike Dunn, a spokesman for the city of Philadelphia, said Musk also has not contacted officials there. 'There are numerous hurdles for this unproven hyperloop technology before it can become reality,' Dunn said. At the very least, the tweets showed Musk is still engaging with the White House. President Donald Trump named Musk to White House councils on business and manufacturing earlier this year. But Musk quit both councils last month after Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords. ___ AP Writer Michael Sisak contributed from Philadelphia.