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The Latest: Hacker releases stolen copies of Netflix series

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 19:28:25 UT

A hacker claims to have followed through on a threat to release several episodes from the upcoming season of Netflix's hit series "Orange Is The New Black." The hacker had been demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom in exchange for not releasing the episodes prematurely online. A hacker claims to have stolen the upcoming season of Netflix's hit series "Orange Is The New Black," and is demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom to prevent all the new episodes from being prematurely released online.

Hacker releases stolen copies of Netflix series

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 19:20:09 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A hacker claims to have followed through on a threat to release several episodes from the upcoming season of Netflix's hit series "Orange Is The New Black." Pirated copies of the series' episodes could dent Netflix's subscriber growth and the company's stock price. Rumors of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency. When the AP contacted The Dark Overlord in February, the hacker said the purloined video wouldn't be made publicly available after all, making the far-fetched claim that "no one really (cares) about unreleased movies and TV show episodes."

Turkish court formally blocks access to Wikipedia

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:43:56 UT

ISTANBUL (AP) — In a move that social media users called censorship, a Turkish court on Saturday blocked access to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, enforcing an earlier restriction by Turkey's telecommunications watchdog. The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said an Ankara court ordered Saturday that a "protection measure" related to suspected internet crimes be applied to Wikipedia. [...] Turkey's official news agency, quoting the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, said Saturday the site was blocked for "becoming an information source acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena."

For Trump in White House, conflicts of interest range widely

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:52:09 UT

The proposal would eliminate the estate tax, repeal the alternative minimum tax that affects some affluent people, deeply slash corporate rates, reduce investment taxes and allow "pass-through" firms to qualify for a much lower rate — all of which could benefit Trump, his family or his businesses. THE WINTER WHITE HOUSE Since Trump became president, he has spent about half his weekends at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, where he has hosted the prime minister of Japan and the president of China. Since inauguration, he has doubled membership fees to join the club to $200,000. The watchdog group argues that the president is violating a clause in the U.S. Constitution barring him from accepting payments from foreign governments without Congress' consent. NEW TRADEMARKS OVERSEAS Since his election, the president has been granted preliminary approval for 38 trademarks in China for hotels and golf clubs and others businesses there. Ivanka Trump is receiving good news from China, too. Since the inauguration, the president's daughter and West Wing adviser has received preliminary approval for five trademarks in China. [...] media reports highlighted the Chinese company's ties to the ruling Communist Party and how its investment could give Beijing leverage on some issues with the White House.

US probes GM headlight failures, may add vehicles to recall

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:39:51 UT

The investigation covers the 2005 and 2009 Buick Lacrosse; the 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Buick Rainier; the 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X; and the 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix. [...] of the recall GM said the headlamp module in the engine compartment could overheat and stop working properly.

Thai family mourns girl killed in video streamed on Facebook

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 11:43:43 UT

After the funeral service his mother issued a tearful apology for her son's actions and appealed to young people who were troubled to speak with their parents. Facebook has been seeking ways to quickly block videos after a series of gruesome events were livestreamed on the site, including murder and sexual assault.

Analysis shows declining engagement with Trump's tweets

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:36:41 UT

The number of people engaging with Trump on Twitter — through likes, retweets, quotes and replies — has gradually declined, according to an Associated Press analysis of his feed and the users who read, react and propel his words throughout the Twittersphere. Cortico, launched from the Laboratory for Social Machines at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, used information pulled from Twitter users' profiles, networks and tweets to assess their political leaning, age and gender. The group has developed algorithms to determine a representative sample of users and how they engage with the president. The tweet that prompted the most responses — including likes, retweets, quotes with comment and replies — illustrates one truism of Trump's twitter account: Other Trump tweets near the top in engagement include "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" and "We must keep 'evil' out of our country!" Trump's official @POTUS account is mostly run by Trump's social media director, Scavino, and largely operates as a politician's standard account, predominantly putting out news releases and talking points. Some of it may be due to Trump's recent show of restraint on Twitter, while some may simply be because the novelty of the celebrity businessman in office has faded a bit. Since the midpoint of the 100 days, Trump's tweets have featured fewer of his trademark exclamation points and all capital letters. Reaction to Trump's tweets break down sharply along partisan lines, with conservatives more likely to retweet without commentary while liberals are for more likely to respond to a tweet and, presumably, disagree. Verified accounts — often journalists, celebrities, politicians or other public figures — are 70% more likely to weigh in on Trump's tweets by quoting them, interjecting their own voices to the discussio

US economy expanded at weakest pace in 3 years

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:47:15 UT

The slowdown primarily reflected slower consumer spending, which grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.3 percent after a growth rate of 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Growth is expected to be fueled by a revival in consumer spending, supported by continued strong job growth, accelerating wage gains and record stock levels. The sharp slowdown in consumer spending in the first quarter was attributed to a collection of temporary factors: warmer weather, which shrank spending on heating bills, a drop-off in auto sales after a strong fourth quarter and a delay in sending out tax refund checks, which also dampened spending. Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said he expected consumer and government spending to bounce back, leading to a much stronger second quarter. [...] acting as a drag was a reduction in government spending, which fell at a 1.7 percent annual rate with both the federal government and state and local governments seeing cuts. On the positive side, business investment rose at a 9.4 percent rate, helped by a record surge in spending in the category that tracks spending in the energy sector.

Alphabet paid Google CEO Sundar Pichai $200M in 2016

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:19:53 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google CEO Sundar Pichai (soon-DAHR pee-CHAY) received a $200 million compensation package last year for running the internet company that makes nearly all the money for Alphabet Inc. The 44-year-old Pichai also received a $650,000 salary last year in addition to personal security services and air travel valued at $372,000.

Business Highlights

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:45:03 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has left in place a decision blocking Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem's bid to buy rival Cigna, saying that a bigger company is not better for consumers. The 2-1 decision Friday upholds a federal judge's ruling in February that said the proposed $48 billion acquisition would further reduce competition in the already concentrated health insurance market. WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama-era clean air rules are under threat after a federal appeals court Friday went along with request to delay ruling on a legal challenge to carbon emission limits. NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is acknowledging that governments and other malicious non-state actors are using its social network to shift public sentiment. President Donald Trump's executive order directing his agencies to find new ocean expanses in the Atlantic and the Arctic for offshore drilling is unlikely to reach its goals anytime soon, but instead will kick off a yearslong review process and lawsuits. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is refusing to pay the royalties owed to mobile chip maker Qualcomm for some of the features in the iPhone, escalating a patent feud that has turned the former business partners into bitter adversaries. Facing a midnight deadline, lawmakers have passed a weeklong stop-gap spending bill that amounts to more of a defeat for Trump than a victory. IRVING, Texas (AP) — Exxon more than doubled its profit in the first quarter as rising crude prices magnified the cost cuts the company made when energy prices were lower. Home heating oil fell less than a penny to $1.50 a gallon, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.55 a gallon and natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Robotic fruit pickers may help orchards with worker shortage

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:39:26 UT

Harvest has been mechanized for large portions of the agriculture industry such as wheat, corn, green beans and tomatoes for some time. [...] for more fragile commodities like apples, berries, table grapes and lettuce — where the crop's appearance is especially important — harvest is still done by hand. Members of Washington's $7.5 billion annual agriculture industry have long grappled with labor shortages, and depend on workers coming up from Mexico each year to harvest many crops. Some have purchased new equipment to try to reduce the number of workers they'll need, while others have lobbied politicians to get them to deal with immigration in a way that minimizes harm to their livelihoods. The work is hard and dangerous, and has long drawn Mexican workers to central Washington, where several counties near the Canadian border are now majority-Hispanic. A robot is not going to rent a house, buy clothing for their kids, buy food in a grocery and reinvest that money in the local economy. The two robot makers are likely to hit their production goals, said Karen Lewis, a Washington State University cooperative extension agent who has studied the issue.

Time board: company not for sale; stock plunges

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:24:54 UT

[...] Time's board decided the company was better off continuing with its current plan, which includes increasing revenue from its digital operations and using its brand on other platforms such as TV, events and new products. The media giant is expected to report its first-quarter results on May 10.

How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:13:48 UT

How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday U.S. stock indexes ended modestly lower Friday, narrowly missing a fourth record-high close this week for the Nasdaq composite index. Technology stocks gained the most, while health care and energy also bucked the broader market slide.

US stocks close modestly lower, but end higher for the week

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:04:02 UT

Investors continued to focus on company earnings reports as they mine for insight into the health of Corporate America. "The market is worried that the second quarter perhaps will see continued weakness, and that's part of the tug-of-war we're seeing in the market," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. On Wednesday, White House officials unveiled the broad outlines of a tax plan, stoking expectations of lower taxes, plus less regulation for businesses, policy proposals that have helped drive stocks higher since November. The Labor Department said that the U.S. economy turned in its weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter, reflecting a slowdown in consumer spending. Some 55 percent of those turned in earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Investors bid up shares in companies that delivered better-than-expected results. Google's parent company, Alphabet, gained 3.7 percent after the internet giant reported better-than-expected quarterly results thanks partly to a big jump in advertising revenue. Royal Caribbean Cruises gained 6.1 percent after the cruise line operator posted solid earnings and bookings. The company also posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that matched Wall Street's expectations. Home heating oil fell less than a penny to $1.50 a gallon, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.55 a gallon and natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Alphabet, Amazon surge; Time Inc. and Starbucks fall

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:49:20 UT

The magazine publisher, which owns Sports Illustrated and People, said it would not sell itself after receiving several overtures from interested parties. The coffee chain reported disappointing U.S. sales growth as customer traffic stalled and tempered its profit forecast for the year. The maker of billing and medical practice management software reported results that missed analysts' forecasts.

Markets Right Now: Stocks end slightly lower on Wall Street

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:08:51 UT

Stocks ended slightly lower on Wall Street, narrowly missing a fourth record high close this week for the Nasdaq composite index. Energy companies rose as the price of crude oil headed higher. Stocks are falling in midday trading as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings. Real estate stocks lagged the most Friday, while energy companies led the gainers as the price of crude oil headed higher. Major U.S. stock indexes are off to a mixed start on Wall Street, while several big technology companies score gains after reporting solid earnings. Amazon rose 2.7 percent early Friday and Google's parent company Alphabet added 4.1 percent after both companies reported earnings that were far higher than analysts were expecting.

Apple ceases iPhone payments to Qualcomm, escalating feud

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:04:25 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is refusing to pay any royalties owed to mobile chip maker Qualcomm for some of the features in the iPhone, escalating a patent feud that has turned the former business partners into bitter adversaries. Qualcomm hasn't threatened to go to that extreme yet, but its top lawyer made it clear on Friday that the San Diego company is girding for a fierce fight with its Cupertino, California-based Apple, the world's most valuable company. [...] Apple believes Qualcomm has been abusing its power in the mobile chip market to charge for royalties on features that aren't covered by its patents. Qualcomm, in turn, has accused Apple of breaking contracts in an attempt to lower its licensing fees and also interfering in deals negotiated with iPhone suppliers.

Facebook gearing up to fight political propaganda

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:23:16 UT

In a paper posted online on Thursday, Facebook security researchers and its chief security officer said the company will monitor the efforts of those who try to hurt "civic discourse" on its service, whether that's governments or other groups. "(We) have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people," the report states. Using the 2016 U.S. presidential election as an example, Facebook said it uncovered "several situations" where malicious actors used social media to "share information stolen from other sources, such as email accounts, with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets." Jonathan Albright, a professor who studies data journalism at Elon University in North Carolina, urged journalists and others back in February to look not just at the role of Facebook in spreading false or misleading information, but also at the sources of such information.

US rig count rises 13 this week to 870; Texas up 11

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:16:59 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by 13 this week to 870. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 697 rigs sought oil and 171 explored for natural gas this week.

GM is motoring as profit jumps 34 pct on US truck, SUV sales

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:14:38 UT

DETROIT (AP) — People are buying more SUVs and trucks and paying General Motors handsomely for them, pushing the company's first-quarter net income up 34 percent to a record $2.6 billion. Top-line versions with leather seating, sunroof and advanced safety electronics, sell for more than $65,000. "All of our facilities, full-size SUVs and the three truck plants, are running full-on, three shifts, to meet demand," Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said. [...] gas prices should remain low, and any infrastructure spending that comes from President Donald Trump will increase construction and raise pickup demand. The company favors Trump's proposed corporate tax rate cut, but its impact would be limited for the next five years. Simplification "will allow us to take significant structure out of the business, whether it's corporate staff, whether it's engineering staff," he said on a conference call.

Recalls this week: child backpack carriers, infant booties

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:15:33 UT

More than 80,000 child carriers are being recalled because the leg openings may be too big, posing the risk of children slipping through and getting injured. Other recalled consumer products this week include remote-controlled vehicles that pose a fire hazard and infant booties that pose a choking hazard. The production date is stamped on a black label sewn into the interior of the large lower zippered compartment on the back of the carrier. A child seated in the carrier can slip through the leg openings, posing a fall hazard to children. Four reports of children falling through the carrier leg openings, resulting in one report of a skull fracture and one report of scratches to the head. Call Osprey at 866-951-5197 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, send email to or visit and click on "Poco Safety Notices" on the navigation bar at the top right hand corner of the page for more information. The vehicle's electronic speed control can fail and short circuit, posing a fire hazard Call Horizon Hobby at 800-338-4639 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 P.M. CT on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Sunday or visit and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information. The non-slip rubber grips on the bottom of the booties can detach, posing a choking hazard. Call Zutano Global at 866-314-8688 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, send email to or visit and click on "Product Recall" at the bottom of the page or go directly to for more information. The recalled women's sweaters fail to meet federal flammability standards for clothing textiles, posing a risk of burn injuries. The clamping bolts that secure the stem to the fork steerer and/or the handlebars can break, posing fall and injury hazards to riders.

Germany arrests 2 Japanese, 1 American in darknet drug case

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:03:00 UT

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors say authorities have arrested two Japanese citizens and an American on suspicion of selling millions of euros worth of drugs online. In a statement Friday, prosecutors said the suspects were part of a gang that sold cocaine, cannabis and Ecstasy on darknet websites, which aren't visible without special software.