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After all, Sony's movie "The Interview" will be released in some theaters on Xmas day. 5% US GDP growth in third quarter, revised up from 3.9%, is the fastest in 11 years Three men charged for December 12 gang shooting at Oregon high school (4 injured). Growing divide among Democrats, between Warren populists and Clinton centrists. Police seizes 225 dogs, steroids, and weapons in a multistate dog-fighting ring string. Recent study: yoga may be as beneficial for your heart as aerobic exercises. Pending judge approval, Madoff's victims could get another $322 million payout. North Korea's internet down for a day, now back up; possible US retaliation for Sony hack; US official ominously says that some actions will be visible, and some won't. Obama administration to investigate discrimination by insurance companies for expensive chronic conditions. Photo-essay: what 2,000 calories look like. A single meal at popular restaurant chains can give you what you need for the entire day. Consumer Watchdog advises Californians to avoid Cal Index (online medical records) until privacy questions are answered. FAA launches new awareness campaign after increasingly common near-accidents between drones and manned aircrafts. After legal battle against deferred deportation program, children of illegal immigrants in Arizona can now get their driver's license. Florida: youth turns himself in for killing a (protected) dolphin with an arrow.

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Russian ruble stabilizes and rebounds after orders to top state-owned exporters to sell their foreign reserves and deal in rubles. Consumer spending up 0.6%, fastest rise in 3 months, and incomes rose 0.4%, the best increase since similar numbers last June. Italy regulators fine travel site Tripadvisor for not handling false reviews. Sony threatens Twitter with lawsuit if it doesn't prevent sharing leaked emails. Keurig recalls 7.2 million hot-beverage brewing machines, which can overheat and spray hot liquids in some case. Despite relatively low revenues, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi becomes world's most valued private company, passing Uber. Alfa Romeo 4C goes from concept to product in 28 months: this rear-wheel-drive two-seater gets glowing reviews. Serbian professor successfully crowdfunds Nanoplug on Indiegogo: the size of a coffee bean, this hearing aid is virtually invisible. Trend: companies use insurance companies like Prudential to take over pensions; good for companies and shareholders, but employees lose federal gov protection in the transaction. In a sense, managing risk is insurers' bread and butter; on the other, some of those are seen as taking on too much risk. This is too new to understand all the risks. 6 months after ousting founder Dov Charney, American Apparel considers take-over bid. US home sales, and inventory, down to a six-month low, after two positive months. Apple Pay rolls out as an available option at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Temporarily pulled as the ruble falls, Apple's iPhone is back in Russian stores, but 35% more expensive: base iPhone 6 at $978. Despite higher upfront costs, oil extraction like Canada's Oil Sands makes sense in the long run: once the expensive mining-type operation is set, operating costs are low. Iron ore prices down to 2009 levels, because of global oversupply and slowing growth in China, its largest importer. Russia complains that US' decision to cancel 15 years-old deal that spared them high import duties goes against WTO rules. TV report shows abuses at Gucci's Chinese subcontractors; defensive, the company however promises more inspections. SpiceJet, India's 4th largest carrier, seeks help from private equity investors: 5th quarterly loss in a row, millions in debt. Behind-the-scenes: how UPS and FedEx's team of meteorologists ensures that our packages get delivered as promised! Boring cybersecurity stocks sore after the Sony hack: these services are generally considered only once it's too late. Takata airbag issues push BMW to recall over 500,000 cars in the US (3-series, made between 2004 and 2006). Air China sign order agreement for 60 Boeings B737, for $5.9 billion total. Trying to make it in China, world's largest online retail, growing at over 8% per year. Growing US demand for iPhones means a revived Taiwanese economy. YOY exports to the US up 11%, mostly electronics. Starbucks drops support for Square mobile payment app in favor of its own, which supports pre-ordering and loyalty program. To spare about 150 pensions funds from running out of money, Congress passed law allowing benefits to be cut: money paid to retirees may not be enough to live on.

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South Korea: Seoul city government promises to pays ~$900 to anyone who reports unlicensed (Uber) driver Capitalizing on Sony hack, a messaging app is pitched to Hollywood: year-old Confide app sends encrypted messages which automatically self-destruct. Apple releases Mac security update for first time without prompting users - no restart needed. This vulnerability also affects Linux / UNIX (upon which Mac OS X is built). Two experimental DNA vaccines for Ebola and related Marburg virus being tried in the US, the UK, Mali, and Uganda. Oldest stone tool found in Turkey, 1.2 million years old, show humans through Asia and Europe much earlier than thought. Top 10 tech articles of 2014, according to The Age, like the most expensive tweet. In-depth review: philosophical and moral underpinnings of The Talos Principle. Ever-cheaper prices popularize the drone an its uses: mapping drones now used in all kinds of unpredictable scenarios (read!) Diamonds, strongly linked carbon atoms that form the strongest known mineral, could be used to understand life's origins on Earth. Google shows off first non-prototype build of its self-driving car: features headlights, and keeps manual override controls. Following EU court's "Right to Be Forgotten" ruling, Google expunges over 250,000 URLs from search results tied to a person's name. In switching from hunting-gathering (heavy exertion) to farming, human bones got lighter and weaker; 7,000 years ago, humans had bones as strong as an orangutan's.

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India: 27 killed by Bodo separatist rebels in northeast state of Assam; over 10,000 people killed in that region over past 30 years. Tunisia: post-presidential-election riots subside, new era of democracy since 2011 revolution and Ben Ali ousting. Qatar news network al-Jazeera suspends Egyptian TV channel, which angered government by seemingly backing opposition - Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Imprisoned journalist's last plea to make Canadian PM pressure Egyptian government into releasing him, before his 7-year jail sentence runs out of appeals. India: time running out as developers convert Mumbai's red light district (a prime piece of real estate in space-starved city of 20 million) into offices, malls, and apartments. Sierra Leone: UK medical staff leaves as locals administer heart drug to Ebola patients, treatment untested in animals or humans. Amazonian tribe steps up protests against Brazilian government development projects on what they consider their land. China's ministry of health promises medical care and living allowance for HIV-infected boy, 8, shunned by his village. Cameroon: army dismantles Islamists Boko Haram's training camp, arresting or killing dozens, and taking kids trained to fight. India: protests fill the streets as Hindu hardliners, linked to PM Narendra Modi, want to convert Christians and Muslims. Libya: fighting goes on, and expands to third oil field (to get its revenues), between official government forces and opposition. Myanmar (Burma): 1 killed and 20 hurt during protests against mine expansion (land seizures) for China-linked company. Nigeria: 15 killed and 21 wounded after bus stop explosion in Gombe; no responsibility claimed, Boko Haram Islamists suspected. Dresden, Germany: over 17,000 march in protest against Islamization, an increasingly public and frequent demonstration. Hong Kong: a week after their encampments were dismantled by police, pro-democracy protesters now resort to Christmas carols. Iraq: trying to retake the town of Sinjar from ISIS, Kurdish fighters face fierce resistance. Chinese military plane crashes near Weinan, 600 miles north-west of Beijing; 2 dead. Cambodia: unlicensed medical practitioner charged with murder plus other charges for negligently infecting over 100 with HIV. Pakistan, after lifting ban on death penalty, plans on executing 500 militants in the coming weeks, following Peshawar school massacre (132 kids, 13 adults killed). In-depth look: a third of Botswana's GDP comes from diamond; the global recession translated into negative growth. The country works at diversifying its economy. India-administered Kashmir: election and vote-counting from over a 1m eligible voters. France on alert after three Islamist attacks against civilians in as many days.

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