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  • 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...

  • NKorea outage a case study in online uncertainties Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 6:35 AM ET

    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. The mysterious problems have some talking of a retaliatory cyberattack by the United States, which holds Pyongyang responsible for last month's spectacular hack of Sony Pictures.

  • Officials cite progress on health care enrollment Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:23 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The second sign-up season under President Barack Obama's health care law is off to a good start but has a way to go to make it a success, administration officials said Tuesday. The numbers don't include states running their own insurance exchanges, including California and New York. At her year-end news conference, Burwell dodged questions about a...

  • No bail for Uber driver accused of sex assault Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:01 AM ET

    Alejandro Done, 46, of Boston, waived his right to a dangerousness hearing in Cambridge District Court and will be held until his next scheduled court hearing Jan. 26. Prosecutors say Done picked up the woman from a Boston residence Dec. 6. The woman had been out with friends and had summoned an Uber driver to take her to her Cambridge home.

  • Sony tries to save face with 'Interview' flip-flop Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 1:13 AM ET

    ATLANTA— Sony's flip-flop on releasing "The Interview" shows the studio is working furiously to try to chart the right course through political and public-opinion minefields. Although analysts don't believe the decision will have any effect on Sony's image, it will at least give the movie-going public a chance to vote with their wallets and send North Korea a...

  • DEALTALK-Dealmakers turn their sights to U.S. billboards Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 1:00 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 24- Billboards, which trace their roots to ancient Egypt, are set to generate a boom in U.S. deal activity as the biggest operators seek to expand in regional markets, investment banking sources said. The four biggest publicly traded outdoor ad companies- Lamar Advertising REIT Co, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc, Outfront Media Inc and France's J.C...

  • LOS ANGELES, Dec 23- High-brow art house theaters and low-key college town cinemas became the unlikely stars of a Hollywood comeback by convincing the powerful Sony Pictures studio on Tuesday to let them screen "The Interview," the film shunned by the multiplexes and corporate chains. "This is completely atypical of Sony's usual deliberate and precise manner of...

  • The White House praised Sony's about-face, which the studio said would result in "a limited theatrical release" of the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and is about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. "The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome...

  • Judge limits medical marijuana delivery app Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 6:04 PM ET

    LOS ANGELES— A judge has ordered a smartphone application that facilitates the delivery of medical marijuana to stop its activities in Los Angeles and to remove all reference to marijuana delivery within city limits. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien issued the preliminary injunction against Nestdrop on Tuesday, more than a year after...

  • Safeway pulls caramel apples amid listeria scare Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 5:23 PM ET

    LOS ANGELES— Safeway has pulled prepackaged caramel apples from its shelves, the grocery chain said Tuesday, a day after the family of a person who died from a listeria infection linked to the fruit sued the company. Shirlee Jean Frey, who died Dec. 2, became ill after buying several caramel apples from a Safeway supermarket in Felton in October, according to the suit...

  • SAN FRANCISCO— A group led by Apple and Microsoft has sold about 4,000 technology patents to patent management company RPX Corp. for $900 million. Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony formed the Rockstar Consortium to buy the patents for $4.5 billion, outbidding Google Inc. for the rights to technology used in many mobile devices.

  • CalAmp tops 3Q profit forecasts Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 4:18 PM ET

    OXNARD, Calif. _ CalAmp Corp. on Tuesday reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $4 million. Analysts expected $63.4 million, according to Zacks. For the current quarter ending in February, CalAmp expects its per-share earnings to range from 26 cents to 30 cents.

  • Shortly thereafter, the White House praised Sony's about-face, which the studio said would result in "a limited theatrical release" on Christmas Day of the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and is about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. "The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own...

  • Jerry Brown named a former adviser on Tuesday to be the next head of California's troubled utilities commission, replacing a regulatory chief accused of back-channel dealings with utilities. Michael Picker, a former adviser to Brown on renewable energy and a former board member of a California utility, was Brown's pick to lead the California Public...