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Showing posts from May 15, 2013

Angelina Jolie has double mastectomy to elude cancer

Oscar-winning film star Angelina Jolie revealed on Tuesday that she underwent a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited a high risk of breast cancer and said she hoped her story would inspire other women fighting the life-threatening disease. Jolie, an actress who has long embodied Hollywood glamour and has in recent years drawn nearly as much attention for her globe-trotting work on behalf of refugees as for her role as a celebrity mom, disclosed her choice in an op-ed column in the New York Times. The 37-year-old performer, raising a family with fellow film star and fiance Brad Pitt, wrote that she went through with the operation in part to reassure her six children that she would not die young from cancer, as her own mother did at age 56. "We often speak of 'Mommy's mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me," wrote Jolie. "I have always told them not

Cannes set to ditch austerity with 'Great Gatsby' launch

The Cannes film festival may get some of its swagger back on Wednesday when it opens with Baz Luhrmann's lavish 3D period drama "The Great Gatsby", an opportunity to shed the caution of recent years overshadowed by broader economic gloom. Leonardo DiCaprio and his British co-star Carey Mulligan will walk the red carpet on the French Riviera to promote the $105 million adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel which has already opened in North America. Over 12 days of world premieres, champagne parties and sun- and celebrity worship, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan are among the big names in town promoting their latest pictures. Festival veterans are eager to see if Luhrmann can top his opening in 2001, viewed as the last truly extravagant launch on the palm-lined Croisette waterfront, when he filled the red carpet with can-can girls to promote his movie "Moulin Rouge". "For a few years

Billy Crystal to revive one-man play, '700 Sundays,' on Broadway

Actor Billy Crystal will give his autobiographical one-man play "700 Sundays" a Broadway send-off later this year with a nine-week run, promoters said on Tuesday. _0"> Previews of the two-act play, which deals with Crystal's coming of age and the death of his father, are set to begin on November 5 at New York's Imperial Theater with a formal opening night on November 13. Its final show will be on January 5, 2014. "'700 Sundays' has, without question, been the most satisfying experience of my career," Crystal said in a statement. "It is a privilege to return to Broadway to say goodbye to one of the greatest thrills of my life." The play debuted with success in 2004 on Broadway and won a Tony Award for Special Theatrical Experience. Crystal, 65, has toured "700 Sundays" throughout the United States and internationally in Canada and Australia . The play takes its name from how many Sundays Crystal was able to spend wit

Christina Aguilera in talks to return to 'The Voice'

Pop singer Christina Aguilera is in discussions to return as a judge on NBC television singing competition "The Voice" next season, sources with knowledge of the talks said on Tuesday. _0"> Aguilera, 32, went on hiatus from the program this season to promote her latest album, "Lotus," with a concert tour. The singer had been a judge on the first three seasons of the program, which debuted in 2011. The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the talks, said the former Disney child star would earn about $12 million to serve as a judge, less than the $15 million Britney Spears reportedly earned on rival "The X Factor." Representatives for Aguilera and NBC did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Aguilera and R&B singer Cee Lo Green both left the show last year. They were replaced by Colombian singer Shakira and R&B singer Usher, who joined returning judges country singer Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, fr

ABC bets TV viewers will marvel at superhero show

Walt Disney Co's ABC network is tapping its blockbuster "Avengers" franchise for a new TV show, looking to reverse a ratings decline that put it last of the four largest networks among audiences coveted by advertisers. The network is so confident in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." that it scheduled the show on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. eastern time, where it will face off against TV's top-rated scripted show, CBS' crime juggernaut "NCIS." ABC plans to air a total eight new shows this fall, according to a schedule of its Fall lineup that was released by the network. It will also retool its long-running hit "Dancing with the Stars," cutting it back from two nights to one after its ratings weakened. Its "S.H.I.E.L.D." offering is ABC's first effort to translate the big-screen success of Disney's Marvel comics movie franchise to television. Last year's Marvel movie "The Avengers" and current hit "

Actress Gina Lollobrigida's diamonds fetch $4.9 million at auction

Diamond jewelry belonging to Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida sold for more than 4.74 million Swiss francs ($4.9 million) on Tuesday in Geneva and set a record for pearl earrings, auctioneer Sotheby's said. _0"> Lollobrigida, a leading sex symbol of the 1950s and 1960s, said she was selling the jewelry to raise money for stem cell research. A pair of diamond and natural pearl earrings sold for 2.29 million francs ($2.37 million), an auction record. The earrings beat the $1.98 million figure set in 2011 from the sale of natural pearl and diamond earrings by Bulgari, owned by late actress Elizabeth Taylor. Other prized items from Lollobrigida's collection included a Bulgari necklace and bracelet combination, and a Bulgari ring featuring a 19.03-carat cushion-shaped diamond. Each fetched 749,000 francs ($776,056). The 85-year-old actress attended the auction and said she hoped the money raised would be put towards advancing stem cell research in Italy . "Jew

Gay South Korean film director to marry in bid to pry open closet

A gay South Korean film director is set to symbolically marry his long-term partner, saying he aims to pry open the closet in this conservative Asian country where homosexuality is still taboo and gays have been subjected to hate crimes. Kim Jho Gwang-soo announced plans to marry his partner of nine years on Wednesday, becoming the first South Korean show business personality to do so and only the second to ever come out. The other, an actor, now says he regrets his decision. "We wanted to convey the message that all sexual minorities should be given rights equally in a beautiful way," the 49-year-old Kim told a news conference in the South Korean capital of Seoul as he sat next to his partner, Kim Seung-hwan. The two then kissed in an unprecedented display of affection for a same-sex couple in Korea, where traditional Confucian and Christian values remain strong. Kim has directed a handful of films that were well received by domestic audiences and came out in 2005 dur

CBS adds Robin Williams to veteran hits in fall TV lineup

Top-rated U.S. broadcast network CBS will bring comedian Robin Williams back to television next season to plug one of the few holes in its primetime schedule. CBS Corp unveiled eight new series on Wednesday ahead of its upfront presentation in New York, an annual rite when broadcasters try to persuade advertisers to spend billions of dollars in commercials for their new shows. CBS is riding a stable of megahits, including crime drama "NCIS" and comedies "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men." Last week, the network had five of the six highest-rated programs on broadcast primetime TV, according to Nielsen ratings. As such, the network is bringing back 20 shows, more than any of its competitors. Chief Executive Les Moonves said CBS has never been so profitable, which helped drive the stock to an all time high on Tuesday. "The key is getting hits on this network," Moonves told reporters. "Our schedule going into next year is goin

As tallying goes on, top Florida Democrat cheers Obama's win

The chairman of Florida's Democratic Party congratulated President Barack Obama on Thursday on winning the battleground state on Tuesday, while blasting the state's Republican governor for his handling of the election. _0"> "On behalf of Florida Democrats, I wish President Barack Obama congratulations on his re-election and on winning Florida's 29 electoral votes," said Rod Smith in a statement posted on the party's website. Vote counting in Florida continued on Thursday, with Obama holding a narrow 58,000 vote lead that Republican challenger Mitt Romney appeared unlikely to overturn. If Obama's victory is confirmed, the Florida result would give the president 332 electoral college votes and 206 for Romney. The Republican Party in Florida has yet to officially concede the race, though one party strategist was quoted by The Miami Herald accepting defeat. Said Smith: "It is appalling that two days after the election, Florida was not able

Obama to make statement on economy Friday

Newly re-elected President Barack Obama will make a statement on the economy on Friday, the White House said, setting the stage for a showdown with congressional Republicans over contentious tax and spending issues. The president is likely to discuss looming tax increases and government spending cuts - the so-called fiscal cliff - that would go into effect early next year unless Congress acts to prevent them. He is due to make the statement from the East Room of the White House at 1:05 p.m. (1805 GMT). Obama, who defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday in a race in which the two candidates offered different visions for jump-starting the sluggish economy, is not expected to put forward a new or specific plan. Instead, he is more likely to urge Congress to tackle the fiscal cliff and try to cut the massive U.S. budget deficit. Analysts have said that if left unaddressed, the abrupt fiscal tightening would knock the economy back into recession. Congressional Republica

Election blurring of church, state separation draws complaints

Political watchdog and secularist groups are asking the U.S. government to investigate whether Catholic bishops and a Christian evangelical group headed by preacher Billy Graham should lose tax breaks for telling followers how to vote in this year's election. Under constitutional protections of free speech and separation of church and state, churches are free to speak on any issue. But they risk losing tax breaks worth $145 billion in the past decade if they violate Internal Revenue Service rules by promoting or opposing any particular candidate. Other non-profits also have special tax status. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a political watchdog group, in its complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, cited reports of individual bishops "abusing their positions to advocate against the election of President Barack Obama." The group's executive director, Melanie Sloan, said some bishops went too far by saying a vote for Democrats would m

Hit political blogger Nate Silver on future of predictive modeling,,,,

Nate Silver is an oxymoron come to life: the famous statistician. After successfully calling the Electoral College results in all 50 states ahead of the U.S. presidential election, Silver, the man behind the popular FiveThirtyEight blog, has quickly become a symbol of the new power of data in politics. Television pundits across the political spectrum praised his accuracy on the night of the election. His book, "The Signal and the Noise," about the science of prediction, shot up to number two on Amazon.com. Silver spoke with Reuters Thursday evening. Here is an edited and condensed version of the conversation. Q: Some of the more established polls this year had some of the worst results. Why do you think that was? A: I think pollsters have to get back to the basics here. Do you have a poll that is actually calling everyone? Some of the polls that didn't include cellphones had bad years and that's what you would expect. If you aren't taking a representative

Obama, buoyed by election win, faces new battles,,

President Barack Obama had little time to savor victory on Wednesday after voters gave him a second term in the White House where he faces urgent economic challenges, a looming fiscal showdown and a still-divided Congress able to block his every move. Despite a decisive win over Republican Mitt Romney in Tuesday's election, Obama must negotiate with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives to try to overcome the partisan gridlock that gripped Washington for much of his first term. The Democratic president's most immediate concern is the "fiscal cliff" of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts that could crush the U.S. economic recovery if it kicks in at the start of next year. The prospect of Obama and Congress struggling to agree on the issue weighed heavily on global financial markets on Wednesday and helped send Wall Street stocks into a post-election swoon. Obama also faces challenges abroad including the West's nuclear standoff with Ira

Boehner: ""Obamacare is law of the land""",,,,

Top Republican lawmaker John Boehner said on Thursday he would not make it his mission to repeal the Obama administration's healthcare reform law following the re-election of President Barack Obama. _0"> "The election changes that," Boehner, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer when asked if repealing the law was "still your mission." "It's pretty clear that the president was re-elected," Boehner added. "Obamacare is the law of the land." Under Boehner's leadership, the House tried repeatedly to repeal the healthcare law, the signature domestic measure of Obama's first term. While a few provisions were eliminated or changed, Senate Democrats blocked outright termination of the law. Boehner added that parts of the law were going to be difficult to implement and that everything had to be on the table as lawmakers try to create a path to a balanced budget. A spokesman for Boe

Florida governor orders review of election laws after voting snafus,,,,

Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered his top elections official on Wednesday to figure out what caused long lines at polling stations and delays in ballot counting in the battleground state on Election Day. A week after Florida again made headlines for an election fiasco that forced voters to wait hours to cast ballots after polls closed and caused long delays in counting votes, Scott urged lawmakers to review recent changes to state election laws that critics say contributed to the problems. "Floridians should not have to wait several days for the results of a major presidential election to be tabulated because of the delays in a few counties when the majority of counties, including major metropolitan areas, have been counted," Scott said in a statement. Scott, a Republican, has faced intense criticism over the delays and long lines. Last year, Scott backed a law passed by Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature that reduced the number of early voting days and

White House lists two dozen leaders to meet with Obama on deficit,,,,

Two dozen business, labor and civic leaders, including the chief executives of major U.S. corporations such as Ford, IBM and Wal-Mart, will meet President Barack Obama to discuss how to control the federal deficit, said the White House on Monday. _0"> Obama was scheduled to meet labor and civic leaders on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with business executives on Wednesday. A White House official said the leaders would discuss "the best ways to move our economy forward and find a balanced approach to reduce the deficit." Unless the president and lawmakers agree, a combination of tax increases and government spending cuts will take effect in early 2013, the so-called fiscal cliff that would reduce the deficit but harm the U.S. economy. Expected at the meeting on Tuesday were four labor leaders - Mary Kay Henry of the Service Employees International Union, Lee Saunders of the public employees union AFSCME, Dennis Van Roekel of the National Education Association an

US STOCKS-Wall St extends rally as tech shares lead

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as tech shares gained and offset some weak economic data. Equities have rallied in recent weeks, with both the Dow and S&P 500 hitting all-time highs as investors expect central bank stimulus measures will keep supporting market gains. Such policies have helped spur advances of about 15 percent in major indexes this year despite data showing signs of slowing growth. Activity in New York state's manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in May, falling to minus 1.43 from 3.05, below expectations for an increase to 4. Another report showed that U.S. industrial production fell 0.5 percent in April, more than expected. "It's disconcerting that the data was so much lower than what we were looking for, but there's no reason for investors to sell," said Michael Binger, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Minneapolis. "The main things driving the market - the Fed,

Southwest Air boosts dividend, revises plane deliveries

Southwest Airlines Co on Wednesday announced a boost in its dividend and its share repurchase program and said it is changing some plane orders and deliveries. _0"> The discounter said its board boosted the quarterly dividend to 4 cents a share from 1 cent a share, to begin with the payment on June 26 to shareholders of record on June 5. The company said its share buyback authorization was increased to $1.5 billion from $1 billion. Southwest also said it plans to buy 10 pre-owned 737-700s airplanes to be delivered in 2014 and 2015, and it made changes to some existing aircraft orders. The carrier said it would be the first customer to take the 7 series of Boeing's upcoming 737 MAX plane in 2019. Southwest has an all-Boeing fleet.

CBS adds Robin Williams to veteran hits in fall TV lineup

Top-rated U.S. broadcast network CBS will bring comedian Robin Williams back to television next season to plug one of the few holes in its primetime schedule. CBS Corp unveiled eight new series on Wednesday ahead of its upfront presentation in New York, an annual rite when broadcasters try to persuade advertisers to spend billions of dollars in commercials for their new shows. CBS is riding a stable of megahits, including crime drama "NCIS" and comedies "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men." Last week, the network had five of the six highest-rated programs on broadcast primetime TV, according to Nielsen ratings. As such, the network is bringing back 20 shows, more than any of its competitors. Chief Executive Les Moonves said CBS has never been so profitable, which helped drive the stock to an all time high on Tuesday. "The key is getting hits on this network," Moonves told reporters. "Our schedule going into next year is goin

JPMorgan, Portugal in talks to resolve swaps tussle-source

The Portuguese government and JP Morgan Chase & Co are attempting to resolve a tussle over potentially costly derivative contracts sold by the U.S. investment bank to state-owned companies. _0"> One source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said talks had begun after both sides threatened legal action over a series of complex hedging products described as "toxic" by Lisbon. No further information was immediately available. The row between JP Morgan and Lisbon, which is trying to stem potential losses of up to 3.0 billion euros ($4.0 billion)from complex hedging products sold to companies such as the Lisbon and Porto Metro, echoes similar battles in countries such as Italy as bank clients say they were missold products. JPMorgan launched a London lawsuit as a "protective measure" after Portugal's cash-strapped government vowed on April 26 to challenge in court swap contracts with JP Morgan and the local unit of S

Regulators set September deadline for derivatives deal

Financial regulators have given themselves until September to try to resolve differences over how to supervise derivatives markets in the wake of the financial crisis, a U.S. watchdog said on Wednesday. Leaders of the Group of 20 economies (G20) pledged in 2009 to make off-exchange traded derivatives like credit default swaps more transparent. They wanted rules in place by the end of 2012, but this has proved difficult to achieve. The delay is partly because regulators want a common approach to avoid costly overlaps that could distort markets and competition among banks. "We have an aspirational goal of September for reaching resolution on some of these issues," Brian Bussey, associate director for derivatives policy at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), told a Chatham House roundtable. The September deadline coincides with a G20 summit in Russia to review progress on the rules. The plan is for the $640 trillion derivatives sector, dominated by 16 big

Angola LNG fire mars latest start-up attempt

Angola's hopes of becoming this year's only major new liquefied natural gas supplier suffered another setback in April after fire occurred at its plant just hours before production was to begin. This could further delay the troubled project, which is seen as key to relieving a global shortage of the fuel and could help push global LNG prices back towards record highs. A small electrical fire broke out when a high voltage cable overloaded as operations were about to begin, according to a private report by energy consultants Poten & Partners, seen by Reuters and corroborated by industry sources. In June 2012, a fire ignited at the site, delaying its opening, which is now 18 months behind schedule. "Operators were just hours away from making LNG when the incident occurred," the Poten report said of the April 15 fire, adding the overloaded cable was connected to a helper motor linked to a compressor. Helper motors are used to get the plant's turbines and c

Colombia coal output slides 21.4 pct in 1st qtr - gov't

Colombia, the world's fourth-largest exporter of coal, said on Wednesday it produced 18.4 million tonnes of coal in the first quarter, a drop of 21.4 percent from the same quarter last year, due to labor disputes as well as port and rail disruptions. Workers at Colombia's top coal miner, Cerrejon, walked off the job for more than a month in February, demanding better wages and benefits. Weeks of tough negotiations led to the signing of a three-year agreement in March, but Cerrejon said it will likely miss its 2013 output goal of 34 million tonnes. Loading at a coal port controlled by U.S.-based Drummond Ltd , the country's second largest coal miner, was suspended by Colombia's environmental regulator in February after bad weather caused a coal spill from a barge into the water. "Among the reasons that led to this performance are the stoppage at Cerrejon for 32 days and the suspension on loading ships at Drummond's port for 23 days," the government-ru

RPT-UPDATE 4-HSBC may cut 14,000 more jobs as revenue faces pressure

HSBC will redouble its cost-cutting efforts, including axing up to 14,000 more jobs, but Europe's largest bank was forced to soften a key performance target in the face of muted revenue. London-headquartered HSBC is seeking up to $3 billion in additional annual savings by 2016, on top of $4 billion already achieved, but sluggish growth outside Asia, particularly in Europe, means its target to get costs below 52 percent of revenue has been eased. The new goal is to keep the ratio near 55 percent, the level it was at in 2010 - the year before Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver took over and kickstarted a radical retrenchment at a bank that was criticised in the past for "planting flags" around the world. "We're clearly hitting on the costs, but we're missing on the cost efficiency ratio because of revenue, which is hard for us to control," Gulliver told reporters. "Top line growth is clearly a challenge." He added: "We need to have a cost

BRIEF-Google says 900 million android devices activated as of now

Google Inc : * Says 900 million android devices activated as of now * Says revenue per user for app developers in Google play store now 2.5 times _0"> what it was a year ago

Google to face UK lawmakers again over tax

Google Inc faces another grilling over its tax affairs from a committee of British lawmakers on Thursday who have called the company back after questions were raised about testimony given in an earlier hearing. Corporate tax avoidance has become a major issue in Britain, where there are concerns over rising government debt and accusations from lawmakers that the UK tax authority has adopted a light touch approach to taxing big businesses. Google's Northern Europe boss, Matt Brittin, was called to testify to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in November about Google's low UK tax bill. From 2006 to 2011, Google generated $18 billion in revenues from the UK, according to statutory filings, and paid just $16 million in taxes. Brittin told the PAC Google was not taxed on the profits of its core advertising business in Britain, because all UK sales were conducted from Ireland . Reuters revealed that the Internet search giant had described its London offices on its website a

Google says 900 mln Android mobile devices activated

Some 900 million smartphones and tablets running Google Inc's Android software have been activated since the platform's inception in 2010, executives said at the company's annual developers' conference on Wednesday. _0"> Google said revenue from Android, the software used by Samsung and other mobile device makers that competes with Apple Inc, is also gaining momentum. Google executives said revenue per user for Android applications developers is now 2-1/2 times its year-earlier level. Roughly 5,500 software developers are attending this year's "Google I/O" convention at San Francisco's Moscone Center from Wednesday through Friday.

Swiss stocks lift European shares to fresh heights

European shares scaled new five-year highs on Wednesday, led by gains for several major Swiss stocks after a fresh fall on the Swiss franc that should continue to buoy the country's exporters. UBS technical analysts said European equity markets may retreat by June, but the majority of traders and investors felt any such pull-back would be short-lived and that European stock markets should continue to rise over the course of 2013. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.7 percent at 1,245.66 points, its highest level since mid-2008, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also rose 0.5 percent to 2,809.58 points. The Swiss SMI index rose 1.5 percent to outperform other European markets, with gains at pharmaceutical groups Novartis and Roche, and food company Nestle adding the most points to the FTSEurofirst 300. Clarinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu said Swiss companies were benefiting from a fresh fall in the Swiss franc against the euro and U

BRIEF-Google announces Google play music all access music subscription service

Google Inc : * Announces Google play music all access music subscription service * Says new music service will cost $9.99 a month in US _0">

Shoppers Drug Mart sells C$500 mln notes in 2 parts - term sheet

Shoppers Drug Mart Corp on Wednesday sold C$500 million ($490 million) of senior unsecured medium-term notes in two parts, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters. _0"> The sale included C$225 million ($221 million) of notes due May 24, 2016. The 2.01 percent notes were priced at 99.980 to yield 2.017 percent, or 79.7 basis points over the Canadian government benchmark, according to the term sheet. It also included C$275 million ($270 million) of notes due May 24, 2018. The 2.36 percent notes were priced at 99.962 to yield 2.368 percent, or 94.8 basis points over the Canadian government benchmark. The joint book-running managers on the sale were the investment dealer arms of Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Toronto-Dominion Bank.

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 at new highs again as rally keeps rolling

U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting new all-time highs as the market's recent upward momentum persisted and offset some weak economic data. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen for four straight sessions, extending their gains for the year. Equities have rallied in recent weeks as investors bet that central bank stimulus measures will keep supporting market gains. Such policies have helped spur advances of about 15 percent in major indexes this year despite data showing some signs of lackluster growth. In the latest reads on the economy, activity in New York state's manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in May, falling to minus 1.43 from 3.05, below expectations for an increase to 4. Another report showed that U.S. industrial production fell 0.5 percent in April, more than expected. "It's disconcerting that the data was so much lower than what we were looking for, but there's no reason for investors to sell,&quo

UPDATE 1-EU regulators to investigate Spanish aid for Ford

EU antitrust regulators are investigating whether Spain's plan to offer a 25.2 million euros ($32.71 million) grant to Ford Motor Co's plant will give the U.S. carmaker an unfair advantage. Ford is overhauling its European operations by cutting jobs and closing plants in Belgium and two British locations, as the economic downturn dampens consumer appetite for new cars and trucks. The company, which holds about 8 percent of the European market, expects to lose $2 billion in Europe this year. The sector in general is struggling with over-capacity. Ford plans to produce a new model of Ford Transit Connect in Valencia in the east of Spain , with the cost of the project estimated at 419.9 million euros. Spain informed the European Commission of its grant last year. The European Commission said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation showed that the project might exceed the authorised 5 percent increase in production capacity in a declining market. "At this stage, t

UPDATE 1-LulzSec hackers "at cutting edge" of cyber crime, court told

Four British hackers who took part in 2011 cyber-attacks on targets ranging from the CIA to Sony were audacious, arrogant men whose motivation was "anarchic self-amusement", a court heard on Wednesday. The men, who have pleaded guilty to a variety of offences, were members of the hacking collective LulzSec, which caused millions of dollars of damage to corporate and government computer networks during an online crime spree that they boasted about on Twitter. "They are at the cutting edge of a contemporary, emerging species of international criminal offending known as cyber crime," prosecutor Sandip Patel told a London court at the start of the men's sentencing hearing. Among other attacks, the men hacked into Pentagon computers, crashed the CIA's website, stole millions of items of private individuals' data such as passwords and user names from companies including Fox and Sony and posted them online on sites such as Pirate Bay. "LulzSec saw th

UPDATE 3-Macy's profit, sales rise even as some shoppers pull back

Macy's Inc reported higher first-quarter profit and sales on Wednesday as it won market share from rival department stores. Its shares were up 2.8 percent to $48.72 in early-afternoon trading, hitting a record high. The retailer, which operates the Macy's and high-end Bloomingdale's chains, said comparable sales rose 3.8 percent in the quarter, a slightly below Wall Street expectations. Overall sales were in line with expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, up 4 percent to $6.39 billion. Macy's has benefited from large investments in technology in recent years, which have allowed it to use hundreds of its stores to deliver orders placed online, fueling its e-commerce and giving it an edge over many department store rivals. It has also gotten a bump from a sharp sales decline at rival J.C. Penney Co Inc and a middling performance at Kohl's Corp. "I do think these guys (Macy's) continue to take share from the J.C. Penneys of this world and

UPDATE 3-EU warns China it is ready to launch telecoms dispute

The European Commission has told China it is prepared to launch an investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by producers of mobile telecoms equipment, opening a new front in a multi-billion-euro trade offensive against a critical partner. European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said he and fellow commissioners had agreed in principle to open an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy case against China, but would first seek to negotiate a solution with Chinese authorities. "The clock is ticking. We have had an open-door policy for negotiations with our Chinese partners for approximately one year now and we hope that the Chinese authorities step forward and engage with us in a serious manner," De Gucht's spokesman told a news briefing on Wednesday. While no companies were named in the statement from De Gucht, officials have in the past said Huawei and ZTE Corp, the world's second- and fifth-largest telecoms equipment makers, were the objects of their concern. In a