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â¿¿ Updates: WALL STREET



BRUSSELS â¿¿ Record unemployment and fraying social welfare systems in southern Europe risk creating a new divide in the continent, the European Union warns. Joblessness across the 17 EU countries that use the euro hit a new high of 11.8 percent in November. By Raf Casert and Don Melvin.

AP photos.


â¿¿ EUROPE-ECONOMY-GLANCE â¿¿ A glance at Europe's unemployment rates.



LAS VEGAS â¿¿In living rooms of the not-so-distant future, couch potatoes will be waving, grabbing the air, pointing, swiping and tapping to make their TVs react. That's the vision of manufacturers who are showing off "smart TVs" at the International CES. The sets will recognize who's watching and will try to guess what viewers want to see. They'll respond to more natural speech and will connect with your smartphone in a single touch. But are consumers ready for a TV that watches them? By Ryan Nakashima

AP photos.



Many people who've tried Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system without a touch screen hate it because of their inability to use touch and swipe commands. Now a company has made a digital pen to allow people to use Windows 8's touch features on their old monitors â¿¿all for less than the cost of buying a touch-enabled computer. By Ryan Nakashima.



NEW YORK â¿¿The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring. In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed the service's legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month offering to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation. By Anick Jesdanun.

Other highlights:

â¿¿ GADGET SHOW-ULTRAVIOLET â¿¿ In a bid to jumpstart its fledgling online entertainment system, Hollywood studios are resorting to a time-honored tactic: giving stuff away.

â¿¿ GADGET SHOW-PANASONIC-ULTRA-HD OLED TV â¿¿ Panasonic is showing off a prototype TV that combines the two hottest technologies at this year's gadget show in Las Vegas: organic light-emitting diodes and ultrahigh definition.

â¿¿ GADGET SHOW-DETAILS â¿¿ A look at some details about the CES gadget show, the biggest trade show in the Americas.


PYONGYANG, North Korea â¿¿ Students at North Korea's premier university showed Google's executive chairman how they look for information online: they Google it. But surfing the Internet that way is the privilege of only a very few in North Korea, whose authoritarian government imposes strict limits on access to the World Wide Web. Google's Eric Schmidt got a first look at North Korea's limited Internet usage when an American delegation he and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson are leading visited a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. By Jean H. Lee.

AP photos, video.


â¿¿ GOOGLE-NYC â¿¿ Google says it will offer free Wi-Fi in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, where Google has more than 3,000 employees.


NEW YORK â¿¿ Shares of Sears Holdings fall a day after the retailer announced that chairman and hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert will take over the role of CEO. The investor queasiness comes even as the operator of Sears and Kmart stores offered an update on holiday sales that showed some improvements at its Sears stores. Overall, the company still faces a long, uphill battle to turn itself around. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

AP photo.


ALBANY, N.Y. â¿¿ The full report by an expert panel examining Superstorm Sandy's effects in New York calls for quick, simple prevention measures for future storms including flood gates for tunnels, subways and airports as well as safe havens like old Civil Defense shelters. But it also calls for two more tunnels out of Manhattan, a rapid bus system and another Long Island Rail Road track. By Michael Gormley.



WASHINGTON â¿¿ U.S. consumers borrowed more in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $15.2 billion. A category that measures credit card debt rose just $817 million. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ Unemployment rates fell below 7 percent in a majority of U.S. cities in November, suggesting steady job gains are benefiting most parts of the country. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber.

â¿¿ With glances showing unemployment rates for all 372 metro areas, broken into each of the four geographic regions. Also will include a glance showing 10 highest and lowest metro-area unemployment rates.

â¿¿ GLOBAL RISKS â¿¿ FRANKFURT, Germany â¿¿ The widening income gap between the rich and poor and burgeoning government deficits are the risks most likely to have a global impact over the next decade, according to experts surveyed by the World Economic Forum, followed by climate change, water shortages and aging populations.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM â¿¿ Small business owners were slightly more optimistic at the end of 2012 even as they awaited the outcome of negotiations in Congress over the "fiscal cliff."

â¿¿ SUPREME COURT-SEC LAWSUIT â¿¿ The Supreme Court seemed skeptical Tuesday about government claims that it should be allowed more time to sue some fund executives for securities fraud.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Internal Revenue Service says late changes to federal tax laws should mean only a short delay for most taxpayers to file their 2012 returns. About 80 percent of all filers should be able to start filing their federal returns on Jan. 30. Others will have to wait until late February or March to file because the agency needs time to update and test its systems. By Stephen Ohlemacher.

AP photo.


U.S. stocks closed lower as traders await the start of the corporate earnings season. Alcoa reports its fourth-quarter financial results after the market closes, marking the unofficial kickoff to weeks of earnings announcements from U.S. companies. By Business Writer Daniel Wagner.

AP photos.

â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ Oil prices fall below $93 per barrel.


â¿¿ EARNS-ALCOA â¿¿ Alcoa Inc. reports fourth-quarter earnings that meet Wall Street's expectations, and it sees slightly higher demand for aluminum this year.

â¿¿ EARNS-MONSANTO â¿¿ Monsanto says its net income nearly tripled in the agricultural products company's first quarter as sales of its biotech corn seeds expanded in Latin American countries.



NEW YORK â¿¿ Target Corp. is pledging to match prices of select online rivals year-round, a move that underscores how physical and online retailing are being meshed together. Matching online prices is rare but expected to become more common as shoppers move increasingly online. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.


LUBBOCK, Texas â¿¿ Attention, bread shoppers: A Texas company could have the answer to some consumers' unwelcome discovery that just-purchased loaves contain mold. MicroZap claims its technology using microwaves allows bread to stay mold-free for 60 days. The process could eliminate bakers' need for preservatives and ingredients used to mask preservatives' flavor, the company says. Researchers at Texas Tech University also see using the technology in bread made in developing countries, where there are fewer food safety standards and spoilage is a problem. By Betsy Blaney.

AP photos, video.


BOSTON â¿¿ Eli Lilly and Co. failed to test a drug's effect on fetuses before promoting it as a way to prevent miscarriages, a lawyer says in opening statements in a trial over a lawsuit brought by four sisters who believe their breast cancer was caused by the medicine their mother took when she was pregnant with them. The sisters' case is the first to go to trial out of scores of similar claims filed around the country. By Denise Lavoie.

AP photos.


DALLAS â¿¿ No decision on a merger is expected when directors of American Airlines meet Wednesday to discuss a potential tie-up with US Airways. Momentum for a deal is building, however, although it's unclear if the two sides will eventually agree on terms or if US Airways will need to mount a hostile bid for its larger rival. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

â¿¿ CHEVROLET-NEW SLOGAN â¿¿ Chevrolet is dropping its "Chevy Runs Deep" slogan and replacing it with the new tagline "Find New Roads," saying that it's better geared toward drivers outside the U.S. AP photo.

â¿¿ AIRPLANE FUEL LEAK â¿¿ Officials at Boston's Logan International Airport say crews have contained a fuel leak from an outbound Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo in the second incident involving the airline's Boeing 787s at Logan in two days.

â¿¿ ANHEUSER-BUSCH-NEW BREW â¿¿ Anheuser-Busch InBev is introducing a new specialty beer â¿¿ an amber lager with a higher alcohol content â¿¿ and will promote its new brew with a Super Bowl ad.

â¿¿ JEEP-INVESTIGATION â¿¿ Government clears Jeep Grand Cherokee in probe of fluid leaks and engine fires.

â¿¿ INFANT SLEEPERS-WARNING â¿¿ The government is warning consumers to inspect Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleepers due to risk of exposure to mold for infants who use them.

â¿¿ OBIT-TURNER â¿¿ Former McDonald's CEO, who helped create 'Hamburger University,' dies at 80.



NEW YORK â¿¿ There's no media entity more pleased to be called an empire than Nerdist, the ever-proliferating factory of earnest pop culture enthusiasm. The unabashed sincerity of Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick has proved infectious, growing what began as a little weekly comedy podcast into a network of 21 podcasts, 27 YouTube shows and a growing TV presence. But as Nerdist expands, adapting a hydra-headed digital empire into more traditional, mainstream media poses challenges for the Nerdist realm. By Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle.

AP Photos.

â¿¿ SUPER BOWL-CBS â¿¿ Super Bowl ads have sold for more than $4 million for some 30-second spots for this year's game.

â¿¿ SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS â¿¿ Samsung, the world's largest technology company by revenue, expects record earnings for the fourth quarter as shoppers continue to snap up its smartphones and tablets.



TEHRAN â¿¿ For the first time in more than a decade, the black market pharmaceutical peddlers are back on Nasser Khosrow Street near Tehran's main bazaar. "Medicine, medicine," the street dealers shout. "Any kind you want." For Iranians who can afford the prices, such underground channels are the only way to get needed drugs as Western sanctions have indirectly limited normal supplies to hospitals and pharmacies. By Nasser Karimi.

AP photos.


GUATEMALA CITY â¿¿ Guatemalan developers are building a nearly independent city for the wealthy on the outskirts of the chaotic, crime-marred capital. At its heart is a tidy, wall-ringed downtown of apartments, boutiques and cafes. Backers promote it as a safe haven in a troubled country. Critics say it's a blow to hopes of saving the traditional heart of Guatemala City. By Romina Ruiz-Goiriena.

AP photos.

â¿¿ GERMANY-GREECE â¿¿ Greece's prime minister, meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stresses that his country is determined to win back credibility in Europe, and is delivering on the reforms and austerity needed to achieve that goal.

â¿¿ GERMANY-ECONOMY â¿¿ German industrial orders drop more than expected in November because of weaker foreign demand, while exports slide by 3.4 percent.

â¿¿ FRANCE-ECONOMY â¿¿ President Francois Hollande says his plans to put France's bloated government on a diet include cutting state aid to companies.

â¿¿ EGYPT-ECONOMY â¿¿ Qatar is doubling its financial aid to the Egyptian government with a new injection of $2.5 billion, underlining its role in propping up Cairo's foreign currency reserves and highlighting its strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.


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Earnings kick off

Corporate America hasn't closed its books for 2012. This week, companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index begin reporting their earnings for the fourth quarter of last year. Overall, analysts expect fourth quarter earnings for the S&P 500 to increase by 3.3 percent over the same period in 2011. That would mark the second quarterly increase since the S&P 500 posted relatively flat earnings in the second quarter -- growth of just 0.8 percent.


Lampert to take over

After a year as CEO of Sears Holdings, Louis D'Ambrosia is stepping down next month due to family health matters. Edward Lampert, the retailer's chairman and its largest shareholder, will take over on Feb. 2.

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