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His four-day visit to the North was a golden propaganda opportunity for North Korean officials striving to give one of the world's most closed societies a modern, tech-savvy face. But the images of students surfing the Web in a brightly lit, spacious computer lab were far removed from daily reality for most North Koreans.

Access to the Internet is all but impossible for ordinary North Koreans and even the very few lucky enough to get online are subject to strict oversight of each click and every website. Outside Pyongyang, the word "Internet" is not in the daily lexicon and North Korea's own intranet only provides state-approved information.

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Ford's souped-up dividend could lure new investors

Ford may get a longer look from curious investors after rolling out a more muscular, souped-up dividend on Thursday.

The nation's No. 2 automaker is doubling its quarterly payout to 10 cents a share, just nine months after paying its first dividend in more than five years.

The dividend increase marks another milestone in Ford's comeback. It has strengthened its image with customers along with its balance sheet. Ford is expected to report its fourth consecutive annual profit when it releases earnings in a few weeks. In 2011, the company posted its largest profit since 1998.

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US unemployment aid applications tick up to 371,000

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The previous week's total was revised lower.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750. It had fallen to a four-year low the previous week.

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New federal rules aim to curb risky mortgages

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