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BlackBerry announced the outage in postings on Facebook and Twitter on Friday, and later said it resolved the issue. The service disruption lasted up to three hours for some BlackBerry users in those regions.

The outage brought up unpleasant memories of last year's troubles with emails and chat messages that left many users without service for up to three days.

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Wal-Mart's holiday hiring to be up slightly

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it expects to hire more than 50,000 people this holiday season and will be offering more hours to its existing employees.

The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., said that this year's seasonal hiring will be up slightly from last year, although it declined to give a precise figure.

The discounter operates more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and employs about 1.4 million people nationwide. It is the nation's largest private employer.

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Wal-Mart to open India stores in 12 to 18 months

MUMBAI, India (AP) â¿¿ Wal-Mart plans to open retail outlets in India in the next 12 to 18 months, the company said Friday, making it the first multinational to jump on the government's decision to open the country's huge retail market to foreign players.

Raj Jain, the managing director of Bharti Wal-Mart, a joint venture that operates 17 outlets that cater to small businesses in India, confirmed by email that Wal-Mart plans to open stores that serve consumers over the next 18 months, but he declined to say how many.

India announced last week that it will allow foreign firms to take majority stakes in multi-brand stores for the first time. The surprise decision cheered investors but sparked protests within the country.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 17.46 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,579.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.11 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,460.15. The Nasdaq composite, rose four points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,179.96.

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