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AT&T is reportedly in talks to buy Time Warner for $80B

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 19:44:10 UT

At least that's the word on Wall Street after several reports citing unnamed sources said the giant phone company is in advanced talks to buy Time Warner, owner of the Warner Bros. movie studio as well as HBO and CNN. The acquisition would combine a telecom giant with a leading cellphone business, DirecTV and internet service with the company behind some of the world's most popular entertainment, including Game of Thrones, ''The Big Bang Theory and professional basketball. Companies that provide phone and internet connections are investing in media to find new revenue sources and ensure they don't get relegated to being just "dumb pipes." After its attempt to buy wireless competitor T-Mobile was scrapped in 2011 following opposition from regulators, the company doubled down on television by purchasing satellite-TV company DirecTV for $48.5 billion. The venerable phone company with roots back to Alexander Graham Bell has to contend with slowing growth in wireless services, given that most Americans already have smartphones, and it faces new competitors for that business from cable companies.

Attacks on the internet keep getting bigger and nastier

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:40:18 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Could millions of connected cameras, thermostats and kids' toys bring the internet to its knees? The hacker group claiming responsibility says that the day's antics were just a dry run and that it has its sights set on a much bigger target. [...] the attackers now have a secret weapon in the increasing array of internet-enabled household devices they can subvert and use to wreak havoc. According to a report from the cybersecurity firm Verisign, the largest DDoS attack perpetrated during that second quarter of this year peaked at just 256 billion bits per second. Lance Cottrell, chief scientist for the cybersecurity firm Ntrepid, said while DDoS attacks have been used for years, they've become very popular in recent months, thanks to the proliferation of "internet of things" devices ranging from connected thermostats to security cameras and smart TVs. The average North American home contains 13 internet-connected devices , according to the research firm IHS Markit. Since the attacks usually don't harm the consumer electronics companies that build the devices, or the consumers that unwittingly use them, companies have little incentive to boost security, Cottrell said. For its part, a member of New World Hackers who identified themselves as "Prophet" told an AP reporter via Twitter direct message exchange that collective isn't motivated by money and doesn't have anything personal against Dyn, Twitter or any of the other sites affected by the attacks. [...] monthly subscription fees for these services are generally equal to a typical DDoS extortion payment, giving companies little incentive to pay for them.

India launches phone app to monitor New Delhi's pollution

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:49:03 UT

A smartphone application that allows residents to report the presence of construction dust or the burning of leaves and garbage in New Delhi's public parks to authorities was launched Friday. The newest measure, the phone app, was launched by the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, a monitoring group set up on the order of India's Supreme Court in April.

Hard crash-landing may have wrecked Europe's Mars probe

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:14:02 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists say Europe's experimental Mars probe has hit the right spot but may have been destroyed in a fiery ball of rocket fuel because it was traveling too fast. Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end days of speculation over the probe's likely fate following unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing. The agency said in a statement that the probe dropped from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.4 miles to 2.4 miles) and struck the surface at a speed exceeding 300 kph (186 mph), "therefore impacting at a considerable speed." The European Space Agency said the probe's mother ship was successfully placed into orbit Wednesday and soon will begin analyzing the Martian atmosphere in search for evidence of life. The Beagle 2 probe landed on Mars in 2003 but failed to deploy its solar panels properly, preventing it from functioning.

Cyberattacks on key internet firm disrupt internet services

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:18:36 UT

Withering cyberattacks on server farms of a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix and PayPal across the United States on Friday. Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc. said its data centers were hit by three waves of distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overwhelm targeted machines with junk data traffic. The data flood came from tens of millions of different Internet-connected machines — including increasingly popular but highly insecure household devices such as web-connected cameras. The level of disruption was difficult to gauge, but Dyn serves some of the biggest names on the web, providing the domain name services that translate the numerical internet addresses into human-readable destinations such as "" Steve Grobman, chief technology officer at Intel Security, compared an outage at a domain name services company to tearing up a map or turning off GPS before driving to the department store. Jason Read, founder of the internet performance monitoring firm CloudHarmony, owned by Gartner Inc., said his company tracked a half-hour-long disruption early Friday in which roughly one in two end users would have found it impossible to access various websites from the East Coast. For James Norton, the former deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who now teaches on cybersecurity policy at Johns Hopkins University, the incident was an example of how attacks on key junctures in the network can yield massive disruption. Dyn officials said attacks stemmed from tens of millions of devices connected to the internet — closed-circuit video cameras, digital video recorders and even thermostats — that were infected with malware. Security experts have recently expressed concern over increasing power of denial-of-service attacks following high-profile electronic assaults against investigative journalist Brian

Russian indicted on charges he hacked LinkedIn

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:10:34 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Russian man has been charged with hacking and stealing information from computers at LinkedIn and other San Francisco Bay Area companies, federal prosecutors announced Friday. A grand jury indicted Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, 29, of Moscow on Thursday on charges including computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco said. The U.S. has accused Russia of coordinating the theft and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and individuals in the U.S. to influence the outcome of the election.

Funky Greenwood homes to see this weekend

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:52:51 UT

If you're on the hunt for bright colors and bold designs, check out these open homes in Greenwood this weekend.

Figures on government spending and debt

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:52:03 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Figures on government spending and debt in millions of dollars. The government's fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Total public debt subject to limit Oct. 20$19,750,573Statutory debt limitSuspendedTotal public debt outstanding Oct. 20$19,785,585Operating balance Oct. 20$433,309Interest fiscal year 2016$240,722Interest pvs fiscal year$223,680Deficit fiscal year 2016$587,412Deficit pvs fiscal year$439,089Receipts fiscal year 2016$3,266,688Receipts pvs fiscal year$3,248,701Outlays fiscal year 2016$3,854,100Outlays pvs fiscal year$3,687,790Gold assets in Sept$11,041

Business Highlights

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:36:42 UT

LONDON (AP) — British American Tobacco has offered to buy out Reynolds American Inc. for $47 billion in an attempt to gain a strong presence in the U.S., a lucrative market where sales of electronic cigarettes are booming as traditional smoking fades. The takeover would create the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company and combine BAT's presence in developing countries, where anti-smoking campaigns are not as strong as in the U.S. and Europe, with Reynolds' almost exclusive focus on the U.S. The attack had knock-on effects for users trying to access popular websites from across America and Europe, including Twitter, Netflix and Sony's PlayStation Network. Health care and energy stocks also took some losses, while consumer staples and technology companies held on to slight gains. NEW YORK (AP) — The launch of all-day breakfast helped McDonald's record higher sales at established U.S. locations for a fifth straight quarter, but the boost from that is shrinking and the company is hoping new menu items and recipe tweaks will keep customers coming back. (AP) — Jim Beam ended a nearly weeklong strike at two bourbon distilleries in Kentucky on Friday, toasting a labor settlement that answers the workers' key demand with a commitment to hire more full-time staff. Union members picketing since last Saturday approved the company's latest contract offer on a 204-19 vote and will resume producing whiskey Monday, said United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard. BRUSSELS (AP) — Canada walked out of talks Friday meant to save a massive trade deal with the European Union, unable to break a deadlock with a small Belgian region that has been defying multinational efforts to have the pact signed next week. Supporters of the measure say many property owners use sites like Airbnb to offer residential apartments as short-term rentals to visitors, hurting existing hotels while taking residentia

How the Dow Jones industrial average fared on Friday

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:24:24 UT

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Friday, led by declines in phone companies, health care and energy stocks. Consumer staples and technology companies eked out slight gains. Investors continued to focus on corporate America, reviewing earnings from General Electric, McDonald's and other big companies.

Muni week in review: Yields trend still trending higher

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:17:47 UT

[...] while investors buying muni bonds for interest income have likely welcomed the recent rise in yields, those that already hold them have seen prices fall. Long-term bonds carry the risk that future interest rate increases could cause their prices to fall. Local governments and other municipal borrowers issued $35.7 billion in muni bonds last month, the largest September issuance on record, according to a recent report from asset manager BlackRock. According to the report, September supply was up 51 percent versus 2015 and 35 percent above the five-year average.

US stocks close mostly lower; eke out gain for the week

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:10:54 UT

Health care and energy stocks also took some losses, while consumer staples and technology companies held on to slight gains. Roughly two weeks into the third-quarter financial reporting period, earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are projected be down about 0.8 percent overall from a year ago, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. General Electric slipped 9 cents to $28.98 after the company said its latest quarterly sales fell more than anticipated due to weaker results from its lighting and transportation businesses. Microsoft climbed 4.2 percent a day after the software giant posted a surprisingly high profit for its fiscal first quarter. Reynolds was evaluating the offer, which analysts say would help both sides overcome a decline in smoking rates in their home markets and competition from electronic cigarettes. Beyond earnings, concerns about the implications of a rising dollar and a possible interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this year have kept the market in a listless state recently, noted Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at OppenheimerFunds. After an early slide, crude oil prices recovered in afternoon trading. In other U.S. energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline added 4 cents to $1.53 a gallon, while heating oil gained a penny to $1.57 a gallon.

Tesla may enter ride ride-hailing business next year

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:52:42 UT

The company says in a disclaimer that use of self-driving Teslas to make money with ride-hailing or sharing will be allowed only on Tesla's own network. Tesla announced Wednesday that all cars including the lower-cost Model 3 would have more cameras, sensors, radar and computing power so they can drive themselves.

Moody's, GE and Skechers slide; Reynolds American surges

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:21:09 UT

The company Justice Department is getting ready to file a civil complaint over its ratings of securities before the financial crisis. The payment technology company's results were better than anticipated, as transactions and payment volume jumped. The industrial conglomerate's sales were lower than expected and it trimmed its revenue outlook for the year.

Markets Right Now: Stocks edge mostly lower on Wall Street

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:09:26 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): Stocks are closing mostly lower on Wall Street, led by declines in phone companies, health care and energy stocks. Oil and gas stocks also took some losses.

SharkNinja, Dyson end legal battle over advertising claims

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:50:54 UT

In court documents, Dyson acknowledged that its claim became false once Lift-Away came out, but insisted it took prompt steps to eliminate the "twice the suction" advertising from the market, including spending nearly $1 million to replace packaging. A footnote said the claim referred to only one Dyson vacuum — the DC40 — but Dyson argued in court filings that the footnote was so small and inconspicuous that most consumers would not have noticed it and assumed the claim compared it to every full-size Dyson upright. Stacey Dogan, a Boston University law professor who specializes in intellectual property and competition law, said these kinds of cases can become emotional for two companies who take brand loyalty seriously.

A giant nude statue in California is stirring controversy

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:20:20 UT

A 55-foot tall statue of a nude woman unveiled this week in the working-class community of San Leandro is stirring controversy and a lot of conversation. The statue — roughly three times as tall as Michelangelo's David — is made of steel mesh in the form of a graceful dancer, with an arched back and arms stretched overhead. The debate is not over the statue's artistic merit or its message of female empowerment, which is aimed at the general public, not the tech industry. The statue, called "Truth is Beauty," is on private property at the edge of a new tech office complex — in a highly trafficked and visible area just across from San Leandro's commuter rail station. The sculptor, Marco Cochrane, says he was marked as a child by the rape of a neighborhood friend and tries through art to bring attention to sexual assault and to the fear of many women, but also to the strength women feel when not afraid.

Unemployment rates rose in 3 of 8 US swing states last month

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:55:55 UT

The Labor Department said Friday employers cut jobs in four swing states and added them in three, with job totals flat in New Hampshire. The figures reflect broader trends that were evident in the national jobs report issued earlier this month: Over a longer time horizon, the unemployment rate has fallen in the past year in five of the eight swing states:

US rig count up 14 this week to 553; Texas gains 10

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:02:09 UT

Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 443 rigs sought oil and 108 explored for natural gas this week.

Recalls this week: circular saws, lawnmowers

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:55:19 UT

Target is recalling Halloween-themed LED gel decorations that stick to windows and light up because parts can be ingested by children. Other recalled consumer products this week include circular saws, lawnmowers and rice and slow cookers. Six different Halloween-themed LED gel clings that come with two non-replaceable button cell batteries, sold at Target stores nationwide from August 2016 through September 2016 for about $1. The gel clings can separate and expose the inner decal and LED/button battery compartment, posing choking and button battery ingestion hazards to children. Contact Target at 800-440-0680, online at and click on "School/Stationery/Seasonal" on the product recalls page for more information, or the "Product Recalls" tab on Target's Facebook page. The lower blade guard can malfunction and expose the blade, posing a laceration hazard and risk of injury to the consumer. Model numbers are located on the back panel of the dehydrator. Summer Classics swivel rocking lounge chairs in the Aire, Belize, Bentley, Charleston, and Skye styles in multiple colors and finishes. The seat bucket of the lounge chairs can break away from the base while a user is in the chair, posing a fall hazard. The 20-cup/4-quart or 8-cup/1.7-quart programmable electric cookers are stainless steel with black molded plastic, have a control panel/keypad on the front and measure about 11 inches in diameter and12 inches tall. The rice/slow cooker's improperly installed wiring can cause electrical shorting in the unit, posing fire and electric shock hazards. Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, Jonsered, Craftsman, Yardworks, Murray, and Brute brand walk-behind gas powered lawn mowers with Briggs & Stratton 7.25 HP engines. The operator presence control bar can malfunction and cause the engine and blades to continue to operate when they should shut off, posing a laceration hazard to the operator. TUSA DC Solar Link IQ1204

Met Gala, exhibit to honor designer Rei Kawakubo

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:20:27 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The annual Met Gala, one of the most anticipated events in the fashion world, will honor designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.

McDonald's sales rise 1.3 percent at US stores

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:08:45 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The launch of all-day breakfast helped McDonald's record higher sales at established U.S. locations for a fifth straight quarter, but the boost from that is shrinking and the company is hoping new menu items and recipe tweaks will keep customers coming back. McDonald's said sales rose 1.3 percent at established U.S. locations in the third quarter, matching what Wall Street analysts expected. Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives were removed from Chicken McNuggets nationwide in August, leading sales of the classic menu item to spike 10 percent, CEO Stephen Easterbrook said in a conference call with investors and analysts. Adjusted earnings came to $1.62 per share, surpassing the $1.48 per share Wall Street analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.