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  • Hundreds of theaters begin screening 'The Interview' Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 3:02 PM ET

    Hundreds of theaters Thursday, from The Edge 8 in Greenville, Alabama, to Michael Moore's Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan, made special holiday arrangements for the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But with President Obama among others criticizing the decision, Sony officials changed...

  • 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...

  • Russia offers support to North Korea amid Sony hack Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 10:39 AM ET

    MOSCOW— Russia on Thursday offered sympathy to North Korea amid the Sony hacking scandal, saying the movie that sparked the dispute was so scandalous that Pyongyang's anger was "quite understandable." Washington failed to offer any proof to back its claims of Pyongyang's involvement in the hacking, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • HAVANA, Dec 24- Cuba released more information on its fragile external finances this week than it has in over a decade, as it seeks foreign investment and credit following its sudden improvement in relations with the United States. President Barack Obama' s announcement last week that Washington would restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and lift some economic...

  • Figures on government spending and debt Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:51 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Figures on government spending and debt.

  • 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...

  • Average US 30-year mortgage edges up slightly Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 10:10 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but the benchmark 30- year low remained very close to the 19- month low hit last week. Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the nationwide average for a 30- year mortgage edged up to 3.83 percent this week from 3.80 percent last week, which had been the lowest level since May 2013.

  • Applications for US jobless aid fall to 7-week low Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 8:34 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest level in seven weeks, a sign that the U.S. economy and job market are steadily improving. The Labor Department said Wednesday that applications for unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 280,000.. "What we have seen in the data over the...

  • 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.

  • Ahead of the Bell: US unemployment benefits Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 6:29 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The U.S. Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. The report will be released Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. MINOR INCREASE: Economists forecast that weekly applications rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 290,000, according to a survey by data provider FactSet.

  • Severe storms slam the South, killing at least 4 Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:52 AM ET

    Phil Bryant said at a Wednesday news conference in Columbia, about 80 miles southeast of the state capital of Jackson. Bryant, who toured the stricken area by helicopter and by vehicle before the news conference, said state emergency officials believe the destruction was caused by a tornado, although the National Weather Service in Jackson has not confirmed...

  • 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...

  • Wealthy donors sided with Democrats in midterms Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:10 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— For as often as Democrats attack the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for their heavy spending on politics, it's actually the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash in the just completed midterm elections. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats— a...

  • GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 3:01 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Homeland Security Department is experimenting with a new way to track immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally and then released into the U.S.: GPS-enabled ankle bracelets. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month launched a program to give GPS devices to some parents caught crossing the Mexican border...

  • FDA to ease ban on blood donations by gay men Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 12:06 AM ET

    But many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, say the policy is no longer supported by science. Australia, Japan, the U.K. and many other countries previously moved to a one-year period. The agency will recommend the switch in draft guidelines early next year and move to finalize them after taking comments from the public, FDA officials...

  • Judge rejects lawsuit against Obama on immigration Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 10:36 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— A federal judge on Tuesday night rejected an Arizona sheriff's lawsuit seeking to halt President Barack Obama's plan to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation. "The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that federal officials can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws, and the actions announced by the president are...

  • 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...