'Guardians of the Galaxy' boosts slumping summer box office as highest-grossing film this year

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 23:33
by  Associated Press 'Guardians' tops box office for the summer, year Associated Press - 2 September 2014 18:33-04:00

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Guardians of the Galaxy" closed out the summer movie season with a first-place finish.

Marvel's Disney-distributed space adventure — the top-grossing film of the year so far in North America — added another $22.9 million to its coffers over Labor Day weekend.

Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and the Warner Bros. tear-jerker "If I Stay" claimed the second and third spots, just as they did the weekend prior.

The new offerings, including the horror tale "As Above, So Below" and the thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, "The November Man," debuted in fifth and sixth, place respectively.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:

1."Guardians of the Galaxy," Disney, $22,906,851, 3,462 locations, $6,617 average, $281,204,119, 5 weeks.

2."Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Paramount, $15,622,005, 3,543 locations, $4,409 average, $166,277,985, 4 weeks.

3."If I Stay," Warner Bros., $11,768,220, 3,003 locations, $3,919 average, $32,330,502, 2 weeks.

4."Let's Be Cops," 20th Century Fox, $10,371,201, 3,010 locations, $3,446 average, $59,492,722, 3 weeks.

5."As Above, So Below," Universal, $10,284,110, 2,640 locations, $3,895 average, $10,284,110, 1 week.

6."The November Man," Relativity Media, $10,105,877, 2,776 locations, $3,640 average, $11,797,351, 1 week.

7."When The Game Stands Tall," Sony, $8,158,363, 2,673 locations, $3,052 average, $18,828,455, 2 weeks.

8."The Giver," The Weinstein Co., $6,957,664, 2,805 locations, $2,480 average, $33,230,314, 3 weeks.

9."The Hundred-Foot Journey," Disney, $6,467,392, 1,918 locations, $3,372 average, $41,262,637, 4 weeks.

10."The Expendables 3," Lionsgate, $4,538,535, 2,564 locations, $1,770 average, $34,177,584, 3 weeks.

11."Lucy," Universal, $3,532,210, 1,293 locations, $2,732 average, $118,611,525, 6 weeks.

12."Cantinflas," Lionsgate, $3,358,013, 382 locations, $8,791 average, $3,358,013, 1 week.

13."Into The Storm," Warner Bros., $3,251,312, 1,603 locations, $2,028 average, $42,699,712, 4 weeks.

14."Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," The Weinstein Co., $2,860,470, 2,894 locations, $988 average, $11,452,031, 2 weeks.

15."Ghostbusters," Sony, $2,305,924, 784 locations, $2,941 average, $223,434,059, 1578 weeks.

16."Boyhood," IFC Films, $1,971,308, 632 locations, $3,119 average, $18,971,829, 8 weeks.

17."How to Train Your Dragon 2," 20th Century Fox, $1,684,605, 1,096 locations, $1,537 average, $174,014,832, 12 weeks.

18."Begin Again," The Weinstein Co., $1,163,419, 335 locations, $3,473 average, $15,704,534, 10 weeks.

19."Magic In The Moonlight," Sony Pictures Classics, $1,139,146, 438 locations, $2,601 average, $8,328,691, 6 weeks.

20."Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes," 20th Century Fox, $1,111,347, 468 locations, $2,375 average, $205,531,338, 8 weeks.


Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

News Topics: Business, Arts and entertainment, General news, Movies, Entertainment, Box office receipts

People, Places and Companies: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, Comcast Corp, Sony Corp, Viacom Inc, Walt Disney Co, Time Warner Inc, Amc Networks Inc, Pierce Brosnan, Frank Miller, Carl Icahn

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Categories: News

Survey ranks Switzerland, Singapore, US as world's most competitive economies

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 23:02
by  Associated Press Switzerland, Singapore, US top economic rankings by JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 18:02-04:00

GENEVA (AP) — The United States' competitiveness among global economies has risen to the No. 3 spot behind Switzerland and Singapore in rankings published annually by the World Economic Forum.

In its latest survey, released early Wednesday, the Forum said the U.S. — the world's largest economy — moved up two spots from fifth position last year, thanks to improvements in its financial markets and public institutions.

Six European countries dominated the top 10: Switzerland, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Aside from the U.S., the remaining three slots were Asian: Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

The results are based on data from the United Nations and other international organizations as well as the Forum's surveys of business executives.

The Forum, which hosts the annual gathering of global business and political leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos every winter, ranks a country's competitiveness according to factors such as its ability to innovate and the quality of its infrastructure.

Switzerland and Singapore were at the top of the rankings last year as well. Finland fell this year to fourth from third last year, while Germany was fifth, down from fourth last year. Japan moved up to sixth, from ninth last year.

Klaus Schwab, the Forum's founder and executive chairman, cautioned that the health of the global economy is at risk, despite years of support from central banks, because governments are struggling to make the economic reforms needed for growth.

"The strained global geopolitical situation, the rise of income inequality, and the potential tightening of the financial conditions could put the still tentative recovery at risk and call for structural reforms to ensure more sustainable and inclusive growth," he said.

Switzerland has topped the rankings of 144 economies in the Global Competitiveness Report for six years. The Forum said Switzerland's standing is based on its innovation, sophistication of its business sector, top-notch education and scientific research institutions, and labor market efficiency.

The survey found that countries in southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and Greece, have made significant improvement in their markets, while France and Italy were lagging in that area.

News Topics: Business, General news, Economy, National competitiveness, Government policy, Government and politics

People, Places and Companies: Klaus Schwab, Switzerland, Singapore, Western Europe, Europe, Southeast Asia, Asia

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Categories: News

Brazil officials announce new sewerage project aimed at cleaning up Olympic venue

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:50
by  Associated Press Brazil: new project to clean Olympic waters Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:50-04:00

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro state officials have signed off on a new sewerage project aimed at stemming the flow of untreated sewage into the city's Gloria Marina, where the 2016 Olympic sailing events are to be held.

Under the $6.2 million project, a 1 kilometer-long network of subterranean tubes built in Rio's Flamengo neighborhood will connect area rainwater collectors to a sewage treatment plant in the Ipanema Beach neighborhood. With less than half of Rio's sewage treated, rainwater collectors here are often contaminated with raw sewage.

At the signing ceremony on Tuesday, officials said the project could start as early as next week. Construction is scheduled to last one year.

Rio officials have repeatedly pledged the Olympics would lead to a massive cleanup of the city's trash and sewage-filled waterways.

News Topics: General news, Sports, Olympic games, Events

People, Places and Companies: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, South America, Latin America and Caribbean

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Categories: News

Slovenia wins, alone atop its group at Basketball World Cup after Australia beats Lithuania

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:49
by  Associated Press Slovenia alone atop group at basketball worlds by BRIAN MAHONEY, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:49-04:00

Goran Dragic got Slovenia out of the kind of trouble that Lithuania couldn't escape.

Now the Slovenians are in position for the No. 1 spot in Group D and the chance to avoid the U.S. until the semifinals of the Basketball World Cup.

Dragic scored 22 points and Slovenia broke away from a close game to beat South Korea 89-72 on Tuesday and remain the only unbeaten team in the Las Palmas, Canary Islands pool. The Slovenians led by one point at halftime before outscoring the South Koreans 49-33 in the second half.

The Slovenians haven't lost since the Americans beat them on the same court in their final exhibition game four days before the World Cup opener.

Lithuania missed a chance to keep pace when it lost 82-75 to Australia, leaving both teams at 2-1. Lithuania fell into a huge early hole and trailed 47-28 at halftime before a second-half rally fell short.

The first-place team from Group D wouldn't have to face the Americans, assuming the defending champions win Group C as expected, until the semifinals. Finishing second would mean having to play the world's No. 1 team one round earlier.

The U.S. is the only unbeaten team in Group C after beating New Zealand 98-71 in Bilbao, Spain. Ukraine and the Dominican Republic also won to share second place at 2-1.

Groups A and B had the day off. All 24 teams will be in action on Wednesday and Thursday before the field is cut to 16, with eight teams from Groups A and B going to Madrid, and the other eight to Barcelona.



Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds, Kenneth Faried added 15 and 11 boards as the Americans led all the way after having to overcome a halftime deficit to beat Turkey in their last outing. BJ Anthony was the only player in double figures with 11 points for New Zealand (0-3).


Alexander Mishula scored 19 points and Igor Zaytsev added 12 for Ukraine (2-1) in a game that was close throughout. Omer Asik of the New Orleans Pelicans had 16 points and Emir Preldzic chipped in 14 for Turkey (1-2).


Elroy Vargas scored 18 points and Francisco Garcia of the Houston Rockets added 16, despite both appearing to suffer leg or ankle injuries in the final minutes, and the Dominican Republic (2-1) blew most of a big lead before holding on for its second straight victory. Petteri Koponen finished with 23 points for Finland (1-2), which was coming off its first victory ever in the World Cup.



Dragic shot 10 of 14 and the Phoenix Suns guard also had four assists for the Slovenians, who play Angola next before closing group play with Lithuania. Jonghyun Lee had 12 points for South Korea (0-3).


Joe Ingles scored 18 points and Aron Baynes, who played last season for the San Antonio Spurs, added 14 as Australia won its second straight since falling to Slovenia in its opener. Lithuania, which managed just eight points in the second quarter, got 21 points from Renaldas Seibutis.


Gustavo Ayon, recovered from shoulder surgery that ended his season with the Atlanta Hawks, had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Mexico (1-2) in its first victory at this tournament since 1974. Yanick Moreira had 13 points for Angola (1-2).

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, FIBA Basketball World Cup, International basketball, Athlete injuries, Men's basketball, Basketball, Events, Athlete health, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik, Francisco Garcia, Aron Baynes, Gustavo Ayon, Lithuania, Dominican Republic, Australia, Slovenia, Spain, United States, New Zealand, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Europe, Caribbean, Latin America and Caribbean, Oceania, Western Europe, North America, South Korea, East Asia, Asia, Angola, Southern Africa, Africa

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Categories: News

Brazilian club Santos fires coach Oliveira after series of disappointing results

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:45
by  Associated Press Brazilian club Santos fires coach Oliveira Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:45-04:00

SAO PAULO (AP) — Santos has fired coach Oswaldo de Oliveira after poor results in the Brazilian league following the World Cup break.

Santos has had six losses in nine league matches since the World Cup, and dropped to 11th in the 20-team standings. The team added former Brazil star Robinho to the squad last month but the struggles continued.

Oliveira coached Santos in 44 games, winning 25 and losing 10. He previously coached the club made famous by Pele, in 2005.

Santos reportedly already reached a deal to replace Oliveira with newcomer Enderson Moreira, who was without a club since being fired by Gremio in July.

The 42-year-old Moreira is expected to be officially introduced on Wednesday. He gained notoriety in Brazil after a good campaign with Goias in 2013.

News Topics: Sports, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, Soccer, Events, Men's sports, International soccer

People, Places and Companies: Brazil, South America, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Arrest of man in US skyway was caught on cellphone, posted to YouTube, now under review

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:44
by  Associated Press Recorded arrest of US man is under review by AMY FORLITI, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:44-04:00

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cellphone video of a black Minnesota man's arrest is attracting attention eight months after it was recorded, and now a civilian police review board is looking into the incident.

Chris Lollie, 28, says he was doing nothing wrong when he was sitting in a St. Paul skyway in January. But authorities who were called to investigate a report of trespassing used a stun gun on him after they say he refused to give his name, refused to follow orders, and resisted arrest.

St. Paul's skyway system is a series of elevated bridges linking buildings in the city's downtown district allowing people to move between buildings without having to go outside.

In the wake of racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, a YouTube video of the incident that Lollie posted in August has been viewed more than 1 million times.

In the video, an officer asks Lollie for his name. Lollie responds that he doesn't have to give it because he's done nothing wrong. He tells the officer he was sitting in a part of the skyway that he says didn't have any signs indicating it was private.

"The problem is I'm black," he says on the recording.

He was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process, but those charges were dropped in July.

Lollie posted the video to YouTube on Aug. 26, shortly after he got his phone back from police. It prompted St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to call for a review by the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission.

Police Chief Tom Smith said that he welcomed the review and that the video doesn't show the full story. Two officers who can be seen in the video appear to be white; the third officer is not on camera.

Smith and Coleman met Monday with black community leaders, who also said they would work together to review the incident.

Jeff Martin, president of the St. Paul branch of the NAACP, said Tuesday that he would like to see an independent investigator look into the case.

"From the community, there's not a high level of trust with the civilian review board," which includes police officers, he said.

Officers said in their reports that they tried to reason with Lollie while questioning him, but then he squared his shoulders and clenched his fist as if he was getting ready to fight. Officers then grabbed him and tried to arrest him. The police reports say they used the stun gun on his leg because he was struggling.

A phone number for Lollie was not listed, and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The St. Paul Police Federation is standing by the three officers, saying they acted responsibly and respectfully.


Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter:

News Topics: General news, Arrests, Crime, Law and order

People, Places and Companies: Chris Coleman, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, North America

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Categories: News

Transportation Department rejects exemption for low-cost air carrier to fly between US, Europe

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:42
by  Associated Press US rejects Norwegian Air bid for US-Europe flights by JOAN LOWY, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:42-04:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has rejected a request by a low-cost air carrier to begin flying immediately between the U.S. and Europe in a case that has significant labor and trade policy implications.

The Transportation Department turned down a request by Norwegian Air International for an exemption to allow it to begin service before the government is finished reviewing its application for new flights.

European carriers are usually granted such exemptions under a U.S.-European Union aviation agreement.

The carrier's origin and ownership are Norwegian, but it plans to register its planes in Ireland and to hire pilots using a Singapore hiring agency and base them in Thailand.

Pilots unions and U.S. airlines opposed the exemption, saying Norwegian is using Ireland as a "flag of convenience."

News Topics: Business, General news, Travel, Lifestyle

People, Places and Companies: Norway, Europe, Ireland, United States, Western Europe, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

US judges question the boundaries in the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:38
by  Associated Press US court hears debate in NSA phone records case by LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:38-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer defending the government's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records found himself facing tough questions Tuesday from appeals judges wanting to know whether the program will inevitably lead to, as one judge put it, the government's study of "every American's everything."

Questions about the scope of the program arose frequently during arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.

After nearly two hours of arguments, the court reserved decision on the American Civil Liberty Union's appeal of a December ruling giving a green light to the National Security Agency program on the grounds that it was necessary extension to security measures taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. A 2nd Circuit ruling is likely months away.

Even the judges acknowledged the issue will probably be decided by the Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge Robert Sack noted that a judge in Washington, D.C., had ruled the other way, blocking the collection of phone records of two men who had challenged the program. Sack asked ACLU attorney Alex Abdo if the 2nd Circuit should issue its ruling but stay its effect if it sides with the ACLU until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to speak.

"Supposing we're wrong and somebody blows up a subway train?" he asked.

Judge Gerard Lynch asked Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery why the program would not be extended to collect the bank and credit card records of Americans.

"What's so special about telephone records that makes them so valuable, so uniquely interactive or whatever, that the same arguments you're making don't apply to every record in the hands of a third party business entity of every American's everything?" Lynch asked.

The judge questioned why the government didn't "collect everything there is to know about everybody and have it all in one big government cloud."

"C'mon," he added, "isn't it at least as relevant to you whether somebody that you had some reasonable suspicion is engaged in terrorist connections used his credit card last week to buy a ton of fertilizer as it is to find out whether he called his gym using his Verizon cellphone or even to find out who his other colleagues are?"

District Judge Vernon Broderick, sitting by designation on the appeals court, also questioned why the government wouldn't store everyone's banking records.

Delery, though, said all records are not the same and analysis of the phone records enables law enforcement to make speedy determinations when a terrorist is reaching out to others. Other records, he said, are more useful when law enforcement agencies are looking back at a crime to determine who carried it out.

"The purpose of the bulk collection is to allow for the use of analytic tools in counterterrorism investigations," he said.

Delery said the phone records are most useful in a probe that is "designed to be forward-looking."

"The purpose of the work is to detect and disrupt future plots before an attack can be made," he said.

Secret NSA documents were leaked to journalists last year by contractor Edward Snowden, revealing that the agency was collecting phone records and digital communications of millions of citizens not suspected of crimes and prompting congressional reform. Snowden remains exiled in Russia.

News Topics: General news, National security, Intelligence agencies, Government and politics, Supreme courts, Military and defense, National courts, National governments, Courts, Judiciary

People, Places and Companies: Edward Snowden, United States, North America

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Categories: News

Hingis back in major doubles semifinal for 1st time since 2002, wins at US Open with Pennetta

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:17
by  Associated Press Hingis in 1st major doubles semifinal since 2002 Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:17-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Martina Hingis is back in a Grand Slam doubles semifinal for the first time since 2002.

Hingis and Flavia Pennetta beat fifth-seeded Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday at the U.S. Open. The 33-year-old Hingis returned from her latest retirement to play doubles last year, but she lost in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open with Daniela Hantuchova and this summer's Wimbledon with Vera Zvonareva.

She and Pennetta had played in three tournaments together leading up to the U.S. Open.

Pennetta is also still alive in singles. The 11th-seeded Italian faces No. 1 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Hingis has won nine major doubles championships to go along with her five Grand Slam singles titles. Her protege didn't fare as well Tuesday: 17-year-old Belinda Bencic lost to Peng Shuai in straight sets in a singles quarterfinal.

Peschke and Srebotnik won Wimbledon in 2011.

News Topics: Sports, U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Women's tennis, Tennis, Events, Women's sports

People, Places and Companies: Martina Hingis, Flavia Pennetta, Kveta Peschke, Katarina Srebotnik, Daniela Hantuchova, Vera Zvonareva, Serena Williams, Belinda Bencic, United States, North America

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Categories: News

Home Depot may be latest retailer to be hacked; investigates suspicious credit card activity

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:13
by  Associated Press Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:13-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a credit card data breach.

The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer told The Associated Press Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and working with both banks and law enforcement.

"Protecting our customers' information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers," said Paula Drake, a spokeswoman at Home Depot, declining to elaborate. She said the retailer would notify customers immediately if it confirms a breach.

Shares of Home Depot Inc. fell $1.88, or 2 percent, to close at $91.15.

Many retailers have had security walls broken in recent months, including Target, grocery store chain Supervalu, P.F. Chang's and the thrift store operations of Goodwill. The rash of breaches has rattled shoppers' confidence in the security of their personal data and pushed retailers, banks and card companies to increase security by speeding the adoption of microchips into U.S. credit and debit cards.

Supports say chip cards are safer because, unlike magnetic strip cards that transfer a credit card number when they are swiped at a point-of-sale terminal, chip cards use a one-time code that moves between the chip and the retailer's register. The result is a transfer of data that is useless to anyone except the parties involved. Chip cards are also nearly impossible to copy, experts say.

The possible data breach at Home Depot was first reported by Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security, a website that focuses on cybersecurity. Krebs said multiple banks reported "evidence that Home Depot stores may be the source of a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards."

Krebs said that the party responsible for the Home Depot breach may be the same group of Russian and Ukrainian hackers suspected in the Target breach late last year. Krebs broke the news of Target's breach.

Target Corp., based in Minneapolis, is still trying to get beyond its massive breach that occurred late last year and hurt sales, profits and its reputation with customers. It has been overhauling its security department and systems and is accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology in all of its nearly 1,800 stores.

New payment terminals will appear in stores by this month, six months ahead of schedule. In April, the retailer announced it teamed up with MasterCard to issue branded Target payment cards equipped with chip technology by early in 2015.

In its data breach, 40 million credit and debit card accounts were compromised and hackers stole personal information from as many as 70 million customers.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is sending customers who have a store credit card a chip-enabled MasterCard, while its Sam's Club division introduced a chip-enabled MasterCard in June. The company has chip-enabled check-out terminals in 4,600 stores, and terminals in the remaining U.S stores will be activated before the end of the year.

In a separate statement Tuesday, Goodwill said its customers' credit and debit card numbers had been stolen at more than 300 stores in 19 states and Washington, D.C. rom February 2013 through Aug. 14. Goodwill blamed the security lapse on an unidentified contractor's payment processing system. Reports about fraud linked to shoppers' cards have been "very limited," Goodwill said.

The company had said in July that it was investigating the breach.


List of affected Goodwill stores:


Follow Anne D'Innocenzio at

News Topics: Business, General news, Technology, Computer and data security, Credit card services, Retail industry, Computing and information technology, Consumer banking, Banking and credit, Financial services, Industries, Retail and wholesale, Consumer services, Consumer products and services

People, Places and Companies: Home Depot Inc, Target Corp, Mastercard Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Halliburton reaches $1B settlement of plaintiff suits from Gulf of Mexico oil spill

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:11
by  Associated Press Halliburton reaches $1B Gulf oil spill settlement by KEVIN McGILL and JONATHAN FAHEY, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:11-04:00

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be a way for the company and victims of the spill to avoid years of costly litigation — if all the pieces fall into place.

A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. That same judge has rulings pending on the extent to which parties, including Halliburton, were negligent in the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. Those rulings could affect plaintiffs' decisions on whether to participate in the settlement, which was announced Tuesday.

Pending action by the Supreme Court over interpretations of an earlier BP settlement with businesses also comes into play.

Joe Rice, of the law firm Motley Rice, which has been working for the plaintiffs, doesn't see those as major barriers to the settlement.

"They're not extremely complicated pieces," said Rice. "Whereas the litigation would be extremely complicated."

The settlement involves commercial or subsistence fishermen or hunters whose catches were affected by the spill, and businesses and property owners, including local government entities, who had property touched by the oil. They would be able to collect punitive damages from Halliburton through a fund to be administered by a court-appointed representative. The agreement also would settle claims for a separate class of businesses and individuals who were deemed to have causes of action against Halliburton under BP's 2012 settlement with businesses affected by the spill.

Rice said the settlement, if approved by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, would settle most major claims against Halliburton, except those filed by state governments affected by the spill.

Halliburton declined comment on the settlement, other than what was in its brief official statement, which noted that the company had a $1.3 billion loss-contingency provision related to the spill litigation.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Kurt Hallead said Tuesday that, given Halliburton's loss contingency, the settlement shouldn't have a major effect on profits or losses.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico for months. BP leased the rig from Transocean Ltd. Halliburton was in charge of sealing the completed well with cement.

BP issued a statement saying Tuesday's settlement shows that the explosion and spill was the responsibility of multiple parties.

"This settlement marks the very first time — despite three years of official investigations and litigation implicating the company — that Halliburton has acknowledged that it played a role in the accident," said the emailed statement from BP spokesman Geoff Morrell.

The deal is contingent upon a minimum number of plaintiffs signing on. If Barbier decides that gross negligence on the part of Halliburton was a major factor in the accident, plaintiffs could decide instead to hold out for a larger award.

Rice, however, downplayed that possibility.

"I don't think that a finding of gross negligence is necessarily fatal to the settlement," Rice said, noting that anyone who rejected the settlement would still face years of costly litigation with no guarantee of victory.

BP's continued fight over the interpretation of its own 2012 settlement with businesses claiming damages from the spill also is a factor in the future of the settlement.

At issue in that case is whether, under the terms of that settlement, businesses have to prove they were directly harmed by the spill in order to collect payments. BP has lost at the district and appellate court level. Attorneys expect to know by late October or November whether the Supreme Court will hear the matter.

Halliburton shares fell 12 cents Tuesday to close at $67.49.


Associated Press energy writer Jonathan Fahey reported from New York.

News Topics: Business, General news, Oil and gas support services, Violations of environmental law, National courts, Supreme courts, Oil spills, Oil and gas industry, Energy industry, Industries, Environmental concerns, Environment, Environment and nature, Crime, National governments, Government and politics, Courts, Judiciary, Pollution, Industrial accidents, Accidents, Accidents and disasters

People, Places and Companies: Halliburton Co, Bp Plc, Transocean Ltd, Joe Rice, Geoff Morrell, Gulf of Mexico

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

BC-US--Index, US

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 22:11
by  Associated Press BC-US--Index, US Associated Press - 2 September 2014 17:11-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Standard and Poor's Stock Indexes for Tuesday

Close Change MidCap 400 1442.81 Up 4.63 500 Stocks 2002.28 Down 1.09 100 Stocks 888.48 Down .60 Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Categories: News

Guam police, migrant community leaders look for ways to stem flow of unlicensed drivers

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:49
by  Associated Press Guam wants to stem flow of unlicensed drivers Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:49-04:00

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Leaders of Guam's migrant community and Guam police want to reduce the number of unlicensed drivers on the island's roads.

The Pacific Daily News ( ) reported Tuesday unlicensed drivers caused two fatal crashes this year. Police say they regularly encounter drivers without licenses when they pull people over.

Police say many unlicensed drivers are nationals of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Micronesia Consul General Robert Ruecho says he's noticed the same thing. Almost daily he sees someone who was arrested for driving without a license or driving while intoxicated.

Police say there needs to be an effort to inform immigrants of road laws when they come to Guam.

Lt. Manny Chong suggests handing out pamphlets to people boarding planes to Guam.


Information from: Pacific Daily News:

News Topics: General news

People, Places and Companies: Guam, Hagatna, Oceania

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

NATO seeks to ward off more Russian aggression; Obama flies to Estonia to reassure Baltics

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:40
by  Associated Press Obama to Europe: NATO to oppose Russian aggression by JULIE PACE, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:40-04:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Western allies will approve plans this week to position at least 4,000 troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, bolstering NATO's security commitments to nervous member states near the Russian border warily eyeing a Kremlin-backed military offensive in Ukraine.

Ahead of a high-stakes NATO summit that begins Thursday, Obama will also make a symbolic show of solidarity with Eastern Europe when he visits Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders. He was due to arrive in the Estonian capital of Tallinn Wednesday.

Russia's months-long conflict with Ukraine comes at a time when members of the NATO defense alliance have been cutting military spending and reassessing the organization's role after years of peace in Europe. While Ukraine is not part of NATO, alliance members in Eastern and Central Europe fear they could be Russia's next targets, prompting the 28-nation bloc to seek a more robust response.

"The current situation shows that the principle of collective territorial defense hasn't gone away — on the contrary," Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said Sunday, marking the 20th anniversary of the exit of the last Russian troops from Estonian territory.

Ukrainian officials say their country's armed forces are now locked in a conflict with not only Moscow-backed separatists, but also the Russian army. Officials said Tuesday that Russian military forces had been spotted in two major rebel-held cities in eastern Ukraine, though that could not be independently verified.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that his forces are invading Ukraine. A Kremlin aide sharply criticized EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Tuesday, accusing him of breaching confidentiality when he quoted Putin as saying that Moscow could take over Kiev in two weeks if it wished.

Yuri Ushakov, the Russian leader's foreign policy adviser, told reporters that Putin's statement was "taken out of context and carried a completely different meaning."

For Obama, Russia's provocations in Ukraine and his response to them have prompted criticism that he has been unable to stop the crisis through his preferred method of steadily escalating economic sanctions. The president has warned Putin that the U.S. and Europe could impose more financial penalties, but he remains steadfastly opposed to intervening militarily.

Still, the U.S. will contribute to the rapid response force that NATO will agree to this week. While the specifics of the operation are to be decided when leaders meet in Wales on Thursday for a two-day summit, U.S. and European officials say it will involve training and deployments in the Baltics, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European nations.

The scope of the American contributions will be particularly important to Baltic nations and others in Eastern Europe.

"If there's anything that the Baltics do trust within NATO, it's a U.S. commitment," said Kathleen Hicks, a former Pentagon official who now chairs the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "So they will be pushing hard that that NATO contingent will have a heavy U.S. signal in it."

The U.S. has long provided troops for a NATO response force. Beginning Oct. 1, about 600 troops from the 1st Brigades, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, will be part of that effort.

However, the current rapid response force structure is seen as having little capability to deploy in meaningful numbers. The goal of the new effort will be to station forces that can deploy within 48 hours.

Obama will also use the NATO summit to urge allies to meet their commitments to devote at least 2 percent of GDP to military spending. Only four NATO nations currently meet that benchmark: the U.S., Britain, Greece and Estonia.

Obama will confront some rifts within the alliance when it comes to dealing with Russia. Despite tough talk about Moscow's behavior, France is proceeding with plans to send Russia warships, a move the U.S. and Britain have denounced.

Other nations are also concerned that the new rapid response force could violate a 1997 agreement with Moscow in which NATO pledged not to permanently station substantial numbers of soldiers in Eastern Europe. Officials say NATO is expected to get around that agreement by referring to its new military commitments as "persistent" rather than "permanent."

Before arriving in Wales, Obama will make a daytrip to Estonia, becoming the second U.S. president to visit the Baltic nation. He'll meet with Estonian officials, then convene broader security discussions with other Baltic leaders from Latvia and Lithuania.

Like Ukraine, the Baltics were ruled by Moscow until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. After the Soviet Union crumbled, the Baltic countries turned to the West and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004, irritating Russia.

Beyond the crisis in Ukraine, NATO leaders will also discuss the final stages of the Afghan war. Alliance plans to celebrate the end of combat missions, however, are being clouded by political instability in Afghanistan that has stalled planning for the West's commitment to the country after this year.

Obama will also be seeking support from allies for efforts against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. Shortly before the president's departure for Estonia, an Internet video surfaced purporting to show the militants beheading a second U.S. journalist.


Associated Press writers John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, Liudas Dapkus in Vilnius, Lithuania, Jari Tanner in Tallinn, Estonia, and Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.


Follow Julie Pace at

News Topics: General news, Government and politics

People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Vladimir Putin, Jose Manuel Barroso, Kathleen Hicks, Moscow, Estonia, Russia, Europe, Ukraine, United States, Eastern Europe, Latvia, Wales, Middle East, North America, United Kingdom, Western Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

BC-US--Stock Prices, US

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:36
by  Associated Press BC-US--Stock Prices, US Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:36-04:00

New York (AP) — Stock Exchange closing prices Tuesday:

AFLAC 61.260 Up .020 AOL 44.050 Up .830 ASA Gold 13.910 Down .510 AT&T Inc 34.840 Down .120 AbbottLab 42.230 Down .010 Accenture 81.120 Up .060 Aegon 8.060 Up .130 Aetna 81.930 Down .200 Agilent 58.070 Up .910 AlcatelLuc 3.370 Down .040 Alcoa 16.670 Up .060 Allergan 166.450 Up 2.770 Altria 43.190 Up .110 AEP 52.880 Down .820 AmExp 89.720 Up .170 Anadarko 111.570 Down 1.120 Apache 100.160 Down 1.670 ArchDan 50.060 Up .200 AstraZen 74.640 Down 1.370 AutoZone 536.560 Down 2.280 AveryD 48.150 Up .020 Avon 13.800 Down .240 BakrHu 68.320 Down .820 BkofAm 16.270 Up .180 Barclay 14.810 Down .190 BarnesNob 23.160 Down .700 Baxter 74.290 Down .690 BestBuy 31.350 Down .540 Blackstone 33.470 Down .060 Boeing 125.480 Down 1.320 BostonSci 12.590 Down .090 BrMySq 50.580 Down .070 Brunswick 43.810 Up .810 CSX 31.060 Up .150 CampSp 44.640 Down .180 Canon 32.820 Up .150 Carnival 37.950 Up .070 Caterpillar 108.920 Down .150 Celestic g 10.960 Down .050 ChesEng 26.800 Down .400 Chevron 127.540 Down 1.910 Chiquita 13.650 Down .250 Cigna 94.200 Down .400 Citigroup 51.960 Up .310 Clorox 88.660 Up .060 Coach 36.750 Down .080 CocaCola 41.640 Down .080 ColgPalm 64.420 Down .310 ConocoPhil 80.220 Down 1.000 ConEd 57.160 Down .730 Corning 20.970 Up .110 CredSuiss 28.330 Up .090 CurtisWrt 72.860 Up 1.020 Deere 83.770 Down .320 DeutschBk 34.200 Down .110 DevonE 74.080 Down 1.340 Diebold 38.010 Up .040 Disney 90.800 Up .920 DowChm 53.550 unch DuPont 65.830 Down .280 Eaton 70.270 Up .460 Entergy 76.380 Down 1.030 Exelon 32.830 Down .590 ExxonMbl 98.490 Down .970 FMC Corp 65.970 Down .170 FedExCp 150.400 Up 2.520 FootLockr 57.250 Up 1.140 FordM 17.600 Up .190 GenDynam 122.660 Down .590 GenElec 25.850 Down .130 GenMills 53.360 Down .020 GlaxoSKln 48.290 Down .810 GoldmanS 179.770 Up .660 Hallibrtn 67.490 Down .120 HarleyD 63.320 Down .240 HartfdFn 37.070 Up .020 Hershey 91.710 Up .290 Hess 100.530 Down .570 HewlettP 38.050 Up .050 HomeDp 91.150 Down 2.350 Honda 33.770 Down .280 HonwllIntl 95.500 Up .270 ING 13.850 Up .080 ITT Corp 48.370 Up .510 ITW 88.370 Up .160 IBM 191.560 Down .740 IntFlav 101.340 Down .250 IntPap 48.460 Up .010 JPMorgCh 59.670 Up .220 JohnJn 103.360 Down .370 Kellogg 64.790 Down .180 KimbClk 108.000 unch KoreaFd 44.060 Down .640 Kroger 51.330 Up .350 LVSands 63.100 Down 3.410 LennarA 39.100 Down .080 Lexmark 49.830 Down .730 LillyEli 63.680 Up .120 LockhdM 173.800 Down .200 Luxottica 52.590 Down .390 MGM Rsts 23.830 Down .640 Macys 62.220 Down .070 MarathnO 41.020 Down .670 MasterCd s 75.580 Down .230 McDrmInt 7.060 Down .140 McDnlds 92.800 Down .920 McGrwH 81.950 Up .820 Medtrnic 63.910 Up .060 Merck 59.790 Down .320 MetLife 55.340 Up .600 MolsCoorB 73.110 Down .840 Monsanto 114.940 Down .710 Moodys 93.200 Down .370 MorgStan 34.550 Up .240 MotrlaSolu 59.010 Down .390 NL Inds 8.880 Up .090 NewmtM 26.410 Down .680 NokiaCp 8.340 Down .030 NorflkSo 107.010 Up .010 NorthropG 128.570 Up 1.350 Novartis 93.710 Up 3.870 OcciPet 102.360 Down 1.370 Olin 27.510 Up .220 Orange 14.620 Down .560 PG&E Cp 47.290 Up .810 PeabdyE 15.290 Down .590 Penney 10.540 Down .260 PepsiCo 92.480 Down .010 Petrobras 20.650 Up 1.080 Pfizer 29.260 Down .130 PhilipMor 85.490 Down .090 PhilipsNV 30.420 Down .110 ProctGam 82.980 Down .130 QstDiag 63.090 Down .120 RadioShk 1.250 Down .350 RLauren 169.810 Up .610 Raytheon 96.480 Up .140 Revlon 34.990 Up 1.020 RockwlAut 117.180 Up .570 Schlmbrg 108.060 Down 1.580 SonocoP 41.250 Up .090 SonyCp 19.400 Up .290 Sothebys 40.530 Down .280 SouthnCo 43.800 Down .600 Sprint 5.540 Down .070 Supvalu 9.510 Down .040 Sysco 38.200 Up .370 TalismE g 9.950 Down .120 Target 60.190 Up .120 Teradyn 20.570 Down .020 Textron 38.430 Up .430 3M Co 144.220 Up .220 Tiffany 101.680 Up .740 TimeWarn 77.320 Up .290 Transocn 37.980 Down .670 UBS AG 17.850 Down .090 USG 29.690 Up .720 UnionPac s 106.210 Up .940 Unisys 23.950 Up .540 US Bancrp 42.270 Down .010 USSteel 38.140 Down .510 UtdTech 109.040 Up 1.060 ValeantPh 120.100 Up 2.800 ValeroE 53.420 Down .720 VerizonCm 49.770 Down .050 ViadCorp 22.280 Up .340 Visa 214.730 Up 2.210 WalMart 75.750 Up .250 Walgrn 60.010 Down .510 WsteMInc 47.260 Up .290 WellsFargo 51.570 Up .130 Weyerhsr 33.990 Up .040 Whrlpl 153.390 Up .370 WolvWW s 27.040 Up .480 Xerox 13.840 Up .030 YumBrnds 71.420 Down 1.010 News Topics: Stock price movements, Stock markets, Stock prices, Stock performance, Corporate stock, Corporate news, Business, Financial markets, Leading economic indicators, Economy

People, Places and Companies: Cigna Corp, Fmc Corporation, Itt Corp, Pfizer Inc, 3M Co, Ubs Ag

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Spotify's Top 10 most viral tracks

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:31
by  Associated Press Spotify's Top 10 most viral tracks by The Associated Press, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:31-04:00

The following list represents the most viral tracks on Spotify, based on the number of people who shared it divided by the number who listened to it, from Monday, August 25 to Sunday, August 31 via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Spotify.


1. Jessie Ware, "Say You Love Me" (Island Records)

2. Eminem, "Guts Over Fear" (Shady/Interscope Records Inc)

3. Daniela Andrade, "Latch" (Crooked Lid Records)

4. Broods, "Four Walls" (Polydor Ltd. (UK))

5. Chris Brown, "X'' (RCA Records)

6. ODESZA, "Say My Name (feat. Zyra)" (Counter Records)

7. Hozier, "Take Me To Church" (Rubyworks)

8. Ella Eyre, "If I Go" (Virgin Records Ltd)

9. Dustin Lynch, "Mind Reader" (Broken Bow Records)

10. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, "Cecilia And The Sattelite" (Vanguard Records)


1. Baz Luhrmann, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Suncreen)" (Capitol Records)

2. "Weird Al" Yankovic, "NOW That's What I Call Polka!" (RCA Records)

3. AronChupra, "I'm an Albatraoz" (Sony Music Entertainment Sweden AB)

4. Death From Above 1979, "Government Trash" (Digital Distribution Latvia)

5. Ben Howard, "I Forget Where We Were" (Digital Distribution Latvia)

6. Rustie, "Raptor" (Warp Records)

7. Queens Of the Stone Age, "Make It Wit Chu" (Interscope Records)

8. The Script, "Superheroes" (Columbia)

9. Caribou, "Our Love" (City Slang)

10. alt-j, "Every Other Freckle" (Infectious)


1. Jesse Ware, "Say You Love Me" (Island Records)

2. Eminem, "Guts Over Fear" (Shady/Interscope Records Inc)

3. Broods, "Four Walls" (Polydor Ltd. (UK))

4. Daniel Andrade, "Latch" (Crooked Lid Records)

5. Chris Brown, "X'' (RCA Records)

6. Hozier, "Take Me To Church" (Rubyworks)

7. Maroon 5, "Animals" (Interscope Records)

8. Nickelback, "Edge Of A Revolution" (Republic Records)

9. Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" (Epic Records)

10. "Weird Al" Yankovic, "NOW That's What I Call Polka" (RCA Records)

News Topics: Business, Arts and entertainment, General news, Music, Entertainment, Pop music, Online media, Media

People, Places and Companies: Eminem, Baz Luhrmann, Latvia, Eastern Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Apple says some celebrity accounts compromised, but no general breach of its systems

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:27
by  Associated Press Apple acknowledges some celebrity info compromised Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:27-04:00

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is acknowledging that computer hackers broke into the accounts of several celebrities to steal personal photos that have been posted online, a security breakdown that the iPhone maker blamed on the intruders' ability to figure out passwords and bypass other safeguards.

The preliminary conclusions emerged Tuesday after Apple's engineers spent more than 40 hours investigating a high-tech break-in that has exposed weaknesses in online security at a time more people are storing photos and other sensitive information on other computers hosed in massive data centers.

Apple opened its inquiry over the Labor Day weekend after the online distribution of nude photographs of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and other stars, including Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Some of the stars say the photos are fakes, but Lawrence has acknowledged the revealing pictures of her are real in a statement branding their theft as a "flagrant violation of privacy."

The intrusion raised concerns that Apple's iCloud service, which is widely used by iPhone and iPad owners to store copies of personal photos, may have suffered a massive security lapse.

Apple, though, says it found no evidence of a widespread problem in iCloud or its Find my iPhone service. Instead, the affected celebrity accounts were targeted by hackers who had enough information to know the user names, passwords and answers to personal security questions designed to thwart unauthorized entries, according to Apple.

Knowing this crucial information would enable an outsider to break into Apple accounts, including iCloud.

It's much more difficult hack into an account if a user enables a two-step authentication feature offered by Apple, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and several other major technology companies. This security measure requires a user to enter a special code sent to a smartphone when an attempt is made to sign into an account from a device that hasn't been previously used.

Security specialists also suspect the hacking into the celebrity accounts could have been avoided if Apple had stricter controls on how many times an incorrect password can be entered before access to the account is forbidden for a short time period. Apple has a lockout feature on its online accounts, although it won't say how many times an incorrect password must be entered before it's triggered.

Apple is urging its users to switch to stronger passwords and enable the two-step authentication feature in the aftermath of the celebrity hacking attacks. "Our customers' privacy and security are of utmost importance to us," Apple said in its statement.

The Cupertino, California company also is cooperating with an FBI investigation into the intrusion.

News Topics: Business, Arts and entertainment, General news, Technology, Celebrity, Entertainment, Paparazzi, Hacking, Computer and data security, Smartphones, Computer hardware manufacturing, Technology issues, Computing and information technology, Mobile phones, Consumer electronics, Information technology, Industries

People, Places and Companies: Apple Inc, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Jennifer Lawrence, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, California, United States, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

How to keep your data secure while backing up to the cloud

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:26
by  Associated Press How to protect your data in the cloud by MAE ANDERSON, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:26-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — The circulation of nude photographs stolen from celebrities' online accounts has raised questions about the security of storing information over the Internet, a growing practice known as the cloud.

Apple confirmed Tuesday that some celebrity accounts were compromised by a targeted attack on usernames, passwords and security questions. Although Apple said there was no general breach in any of its systems, such as the iCloud storage service, it appears hackers were able to gain access to individual accounts simply by figuring out passwords and answers to security questions.

So if celebrities' information isn't safe, then whose is? Here is a closer look at how safe data is when stored remotely on these services.


Q. What is the cloud?

A. The cloud is a way of storing photos, documents, email and other data on computers located elsewhere, so you're not using space on your computer, phone or other device. Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft all offer cloud-based storage. Smaller companies like Dropbox and Evernote do, too.

The advantage is that you can access the same information from any device. And if you lose your phone, for example, you don't lose your vacation pictures.

The drawback is that you are putting your information somewhere else, so you run the risk of a hacking attack on those systems and accounts.

Q. Is it secure?

For the most part, yes. Companies invest a lot on trying to ensure that people's private information stays private.

"The short answer is the cloud is often more secure than other storage," says Rich Mogull, CEO of security research and advisory firm Securosis.

But that doesn't mean it is completely immune.

"Like a lot of internet services, there are a lot of attackers who have a lot of time," Mogull says.

Q. How can individuals make their data more secure?

A. You need passwords to access your accounts, so choosing a strong one is important.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst at technology research firm Creative Strategies, recommends having different passwords for each account you hold online, so a breach in one system won't compromise another. It is also important to have a number and punctuation mark in each password, or a creative spelling of a word to make it harder to guess. Also, avoid using common words or notable birthdays as passwords. A strong password is particularly important if you store sensitive information online.

Another way to make your information harder to hack is called multi-factor, or two-step, identification. That means the first time you log onto an account from a new device, you are asked for a second form of identification. Usually, that involves getting sent a code as a text on your phone or an email.

"If you have physical possession one of your other devices, the identification is really hard to break," Mogull says.

Most major cloud services, including Apple's iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox, offer this kind of protection. Amazon's Cloud Drive is the notable exception. But you usually have to turn this on.

News Topics: General news, Technology, Cloud computing, Computer and data security, Hacking, Paparazzi, Celebrity, Computing and information technology, Technology issues, Entertainment, Arts and entertainment

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Spotify's Top 10 most streamed tracks

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:17
by  Associated Press Spotify's Top 10 most streamed tracks by The Associated Press, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:17-04:00

The following list represents the most streamed tracks on Spotify, based on the number of people who shared it divided by the number who listened to it, from Monday, August 25 to Sunday August 31 via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Spotify.


1. Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" (Epic Records)

2. Ariana Grande, "Break Free" (Republic Records)

3. Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" (Capitol Records Ltd.)

4. Jessie J, "Bang Bang" (Republic Records)

5. Sia, "Chandelier" (RCA Records)

6. Iggy Azalea, "Black Widow" (Virgin EMI Records)

7. MAGIC!, "Rude" (RCA Records)

8. Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda" (Cash Money Records)

9. Ariana Grande, "Problem" (Republic Records)

10. Iggy Azalea, "Fancy" (Virgin EMI Records)


1. MAGIC!, "Rude" (Sony Music Entertainment International Limited)

2. Nico & Vinz, "Am I Wrong" (Parlophone Norway)

3. Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" (Capitol Records Ltd.)

4. Lilly Wood and The Prick, "Prayer in C - Robin Schulz Radio Edit" (Warner Music Germany)

5. George Ezra, "Budapest" (Columbia Records)

6. Ed Sheeran, "Don't" (Atlantic Records UK)

7. Ariana Grande, "Problem" (Republic Records)

8. Ed Sheeran, "Sing" (Atlantic Records UK)

9. Sia, "Chandelier" (Monkey Puzzle Records)

10. David Guetta, "Lovers on the Sun (feat. Sam Martin)" (Parlophone France)


1. MAGIC!, "Rude" (RCA Records)

2. Ariana Grande, "Break Free" (Republic Records)

3. Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" (Capitol Records Ltd.)

4. Sia, "Chanedlier" (RCA Records)

5. Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" (Epic Records)

6. Ariana Grande, "Problem" (Republic Records)

7. Maroon 5, "Maps" (Interscope Records)

8. Jessie J, "Bang Bang" (Republic Records)

9. Nico & Vinz, "Am I Wrong" (Parlophone Norway)

10. Lilly Wood and The Prick, "Prayer in C - Robin Schulz Radio Edit" (Warner Music Germany)

News Topics: Business, Arts and entertainment, General news, Music, Entertainment, Pop music, Music radio, Online media, Radio programs, Media

People, Places and Companies: Ariana Grande, Sia Furler, Iggy Azalea, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, David Guetta

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

NATO coalition in Afghanistan shrinking fast as it heads to extinction at year's end

New Europe News - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 21:13
by  Associated Press NATO coalition in Afghanistan shrinking by DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press - 2 September 2014 16:13-04:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alongside the exodus of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, soldiers who hail from countries like Singapore and Slovenia, Mongolia and Malaysia have been packing up too, leaving behind an ever-shrinking NATO coalition.

The coalition's combat mission ends in 17 weeks. On the agenda at this week's NATO meeting in Wales is nailing down which countries will contribute how many troops to the post-2014 mission to continue training the Afghan forces — and who will pay the salaries of the Afghan policemen and soldiers going forward.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to keep 9,800 American troops in the country after the end of the year. The number of non-American troops currently stands at roughly 14,400 — down more 65 percent from a peak in May 2011.

News Topics: General news

People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, Afghanistan, United States, Mongolia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Asia, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News