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Pastor Tony Evans | Baptist Press/Karen McCutcheon

News briefs: Southwest takeover; Pastor Tony Evans’ “sin”; Apple AI concerns

Today’s news briefs include Apple AI security, Southwest Airlines rebellion; Pastor Tony Evans steps down over sin.

Apple announces AI partnership to cheers, jeers

Some Apple iPhone users are worried after the tech giant unveiled numerous tools powered by AI. Called “Apple Intelligence,” the company will now partner with the controversial ChatGPT creator of OpenAI to power new features. CNN reports that Apple “aligning itself with a company and a technology that have yet to win public trust, facing criticism for taking user inputs and incorporating them into ChatGPT’s data set may cause some challenges down the road.” Apple emphasized privacy and security during the announcement but many remain dubious. The most vocal critic is Elon Musk, a fan of Apple. “It’s patently absurd that Apple isn’t smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAi will protect your security and privacy!” Musk wrote in a social media post.

Southwest sees investor rebellion

Southwest Airlines may be forced to make leadership changes after Elliott Investment Management announced it has taken a $1.9 billion stake in the company. “Southwest’s poor execution and leadership’s stubborn unwillingness to evolve the company’s strategy have led to deeply disappointing results for shareholders, employees and customers alike,” said the statement from the firm. “Southwest’s rigid commitment to a decades-old approach has inhibited its ability to compete in the modern airline industry.” The company continues to use antiquated reservations software and has struggled with cancelled flights. It is also considering dropping the “cattle car” boarding method that prohibits seat reservations.

Hong Kong cabbies ensnaring Uber drivers backfires

A move by vigilante Hong Kong cab drivers to stop Uber drivers has not gone well. The backlash, in defense of Uber drivers, prompted Hong Kong leader John Lee to call for calm. Uber is technically illegal but remains a popular option as officials allowed it to operate in a gray area. Taxi drivers were going undercover on Uber rides, having the driver pull over where the cabbie would turn them over to police. Residents have increasingly abandoned the cab system because of rude drivers and poor service. “People with pets, a pram, wanting to cross the harbor, or going anywhere that may be crowded… they just reject you,” Jason Chan said. Police have refused to arrest the Uber drivers ensnared in the cabbie sting operations.

Baltimore shipping channel reopens

The Baltimore shipping channel has fully reopened 11 weeks after a cargo ship caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The US Army Corps of Engineers said the passageway is now “safe for transit.” The ship Dali veered into the span on 26 March, cutting off the shipping artery and killing six construction workers. The Corps, relying on 2,000 workers from around the world, removed 50,000 tons of wreckage. Federal authorities say the ship had lost power before the accident but have also seized the cell phones of all crew members. The new bridge will cost nearly $2 billion and take four years to complete.

Pastor Tony Evans steps down over “sin”

Pastor Tony Evans is stepping down from the pulpit and pastoral duties “due to sin” the church has announced. “This difficult decision was made after tremendous prayer and multiple meetings with Dr. Evans and the church elders,” elders at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas said in a statement posted on the church website. The elders stated that it is “obligated to govern the church in accordance with the scriptures.” Evans confessed in a written statement that no crimes were involved but he fell short of the biblical standards espoused by his ministry. Evans’ announcement comes after his December 2023 wedding to Carla Crummie four years after his wife Lois died.

–Dwight Widaman and wire services


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