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  • NEW YORK/ LOS ANGELES, Dec 25- "The Interview," the Sony Pictures film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opened in more than 300 cinemas across the United States on Christmas Day, drawing sell-out audiences in many theaters where outspoken patrons said they were championing freedom of expression. Seth Rogen, who co-stars in the...

  • Correction: NKorea-Mystery Outage story Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 8:55 AM ET

    LONDON— In a story Dec. 24 about North Korea's Internet outages, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Falkland Islands are located in the North Atlantic. LONDON— North Korea's microscopic corner of the Internet has had a rough couple of days, suffering seven outages in 48 hours, according to one Web traffic monitor. "A large city block in London or New...

  • LOS ANGELES, Dec 25- "The Interview," the Sony Pictures film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opened in midnight screenings in a smattering of U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day, drawing moviegoers who said they supported the studio's decision to stand up to efforts to censor the low-budget comedy. Seth Rogen, who co-stars in the film...

  • TOKYO/ LOS ANGELES, Dec 25- Sony Corp's Tokyo headquarters is changing its usual arm's-length relationship with its U.S. studio following a massive cyberattack and the controversy over the comedy "The Interview," with the group CEO being consulted on key decisions, company officials said. Officials with direct knowledge of the relationship said Sony Pictures...

  • Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 12:57 AM ET

    ATLANTA— Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Its Christmas Day release was canceled by Sony after threats of violence by hackers linked to North Korea. Sony released "The Interview" Wednesday on a variety of digital platforms— Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website.

  • Firm recalls caramel apples amid listeria fears Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 10:51 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. Happy Apple Co. of Washington, Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday that one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reported that there may be a connection between the listeria outbreak and the...

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 24- Google Inc's decision to screen Sony Pictures' film "The Interview" may help legitimize its YouTube platform as a serious rival to paid video streaming services, Netflix and Amazon.com Inc. Sony Pictures made the controversial film available online on Wednesday, expanding distribution of a comedy that triggered a destructive...

  • The film was available for rental on Google Inc's YouTube site as of early Wednesday afternoon. Microsoft Corp and Sony itself are also showing the comedy, a day before the hastily scheduled premiere at some 320 independent theaters. He added that Sony had first reached out to Google, Microsoft "and other partners" on Dec. 17, the day the studio said it had no future...

  • Microsoft Corp and Sony itself are also showing the comedy, a day before its scheduled premiere at some 320 independent theaters. He added that Sony had first reached out to Google, Microsoft "and other partners" on Dec. 17, the day the studio said it was canceling the movie's Christmas Day release. The showing is a chance for Google and Microsoft, which have been bit...

  • ( (Adds comment from Google and White House). Microsoft Corp and Sony itself are also showing the comedy, the studio said, a day after agreeing to release it at some 200 independent theaters. The showing is a chance for Google and Microsoft, which have been bit players in a VOD market dominated by Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and cable and satellite operators, to raise their...

  • LOS ANGELES, Dec 24- Sony Pictures will make its controversial comedy, "The Interview," available starting on Wednesday through online video platforms run by Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Sony itself, the studio said. Sony, which just last week canceled the release of the comedy- about two TV talk show hosts who are sent to North Korea to assassinate its leader Kim...

  • Dec 24- Facebook Inc must face a class action lawsuit accusing it of violating its users' privacy by scanning the content of messages they send to other users for advertising purposes, a U.S. judge has ruled. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, on Tuesday dismissed some state-law claims against the social media company but largely denied...

  • Sony statement on the on-demand release of 'The Interview' Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 12:26 PM ET

    "It has always been Sony's intention to have a national platform on which to release this film," said Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. "With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible. The statement continued: "I want to thank Google and...

  • Unions make push to recruit protected immigrants Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 12:19 PM ET

    CHICAGO— Unions across the U.S. are reaching out to immigrants affected by President Barack Obama's recent executive action, hoping to expand their dwindling ranks by recruiting millions of workers who entered the U.S. illegally. "I think we'll see very positive changes" because of the action, said Tom Balanoff, president of Service Employees International...

  • Sony broadly releases 'The Interview' in reversal of plans Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 11:58 AM ET

    LOS ANGELES— Amid a swell of controversy, backlash, confusion and threats, Sony Pictures broadly released "The Interview" online Wednesday— an unprecedented counterstroke against the hackers who spoiled the Christmas opening of the comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "It has always been Sony's intention to have a national...

  • Who hacked Sony becomes Internet's new mystery Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 11:42 AM ET

    Despite President Barack Obama's conclusion that North Korea was the culprit, the Internet's newest game of whodunit continues. Top theories include disgruntled Sony insiders, hired hackers, other foreign governments or Internet hooligans. "So we gather up a lot of evidence, and the evidence that the FBI has shown so far doesn't allow one to distinguish...

  • More 'Help Wanted' signs up at small businesses Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 11:18 AM ET

    NEW YORK— If you're looking for signs that the U.S. economy is growing and that the job market is improving, just talk to small business owners. Revenue is up 40 percent this year at the New York- based company with more customers paying $60 to $85— three or four times what a supermarket cake costs— for confections made of paper-thin pastry dough and flavored with...

  • Grant seeks to expand indoor farming in state Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 10:01 AM ET

    A New Haven- based technology company, Agrivolution LLC, has received a $73,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with Connecticut farmers and determine the feasibility of year-round, indoor production. Richard Fu, who began Agrivolution while a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, plans to use that money to research whether...

  • Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 8:46 AM ET

    PORTLAND, Ore.— Cats these days aren't associated with deities the way they were in ancient Egypt, but the Internet has gotten them a little closer. We adore Nora the piano-playing cat. "Social media has put pets front and center," said Christie Keith, social media consultant for Maddie's Fund, a California- based foundation that works to save pets' lives.

  • Los Angeles cracks down on tow truck bandits Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:04 AM ET

    LOS ANGELES— Residents of Los Angeles and some other major cities have another headache to add to their commuting woes— tow truck "bandits" who arrive unsolicited at an accident scene, tow away cars and hold them for ransom for big bucks. The cluster of cases recently led the city and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks such complaints nationwide, to...