Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime.AP photos. With: â¿¿ CEO FLAMEOUTS â¿¿ Ron Johnson's 17-month tenure as J.C. Penney's CEO will go down as one of the biggest flameouts in corporate America. But Johnson isn't the only executive to be pushed out after failing to live up to big expectations. A look at some major ousters in recent times. AP photos. ZERO TV LOS ANGELES â¿¿A growing number of people have had it with TV. They've had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don't like timing their lives around network show schedules. They're tired of paying $100 or more a month. Many of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV. These "cord-cutters" are watching shows and movies on the Internet. Last month, the Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group "Zero TV" households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007. Winning back the Zero TV crowd will be one of the many issues broadcasters discuss at their national meeting, taking place this week in Las Vegas. By Ryan Nakashima. Eds: Sent Sunday for use anytime. HACKERS IN TRAINING NEW YORK â¿¿ Every week, a group of teenagers and 20-somethings dressed in hoodies gets together in a tiny room on a college campus and plug in their laptops. They turn up pulsing electronic funk music, order pizza and begin furiously hacking into computer networks. But they're not shadowy criminals: They're students training to become "white-hat" hackers, experts to help business and government agencies protect their data from cyberattacks that have become an almost daily occurrence. By Jake Pearson. Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime. AP Photos. OBAMA'S IOUS-ENERGY INDEPENDENCE Every president since Richard Nixon has pushed to cut U.S. dependence on imported oil, and President Barack Obama is no exception. Now, though, for the first time in 30 years, oil imports are falling in a significant way. By Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey. Eds: Part of a series examining Obama's campaign promises.
Eds: Sent Monday for use anytime.AP photos. ONLINE PRIVACY AS ART NEW YORK â¿¿ One art piece consists of photos taken from people's computers without their knowledge. Another involves sifting through Facebook photos from unwitting users, with tags such as "sly" or "smug" added. Another shows recordings made by a camera surgically implanted in an artist's head. The works are part of "The Public Private," an art exhibit that pushes the boundaries of online privacy. It runs until April 17. By Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay. Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime. AP photos. CYPRUS-DYING FATHER'S WISHES NICOSIA, Cyprus â¿¿ When Costas Kalapodas was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago and given months to live, he saw one sure place to put his money: Cyprus' biggest bank. The 43-year-old threw his entire savings into Bank of Cyprus stock, and even took out a big loan to pad his holdings. Today, a multi-billion bailout has rendered Bank of Cyprus shares effectively worthless, their value wiped out under the terms of a complicated recapitalization scheme. Like many ordinary Cypriots, Kalapodas' 35-year-old widow is wondering how she and her family will survive in the years to come. By Menelaos Hadjicostis. Eds: Sent Tuesday for use anytime. AP photos CHINA-FOREIGN INVESTORS BOAO, China â¿¿ Major multinational companies appeal gingerly to Chinese President Xi Jinping to reduce barriers to doing business in China's heavily government-directed economy, drawing a commitment to create a more level playing field. In a rare audience with the head of the Communist Party, executives from Pepsico, Samsung Group, Volvo Group and more than a dozen other companies â¿¿ from agri-businesses to finance â¿¿ trade handshakes with Xi while carefully broaching the problems that have bedeviled business success in the world's second-largest economy. By Charles Hutzler. Eds: Sent Monday for use anytime.
VENEZUELA-FOREIGN FOOD PLATECARACAS, Venezuela â¿¿ Venezuelans complain that what goes into their Sunday dinner plate comes from abroad: Steak, from Brazil; plantains, the Dominican Republic; rice, South Africa; Parmesan cheese, Uruguay; oats, Chile. Even coffee, in a country famed for it, often is Colombian. By James Anderson. Eds: Sent Wednesday for use anytime. AP photo. COLUMNS: SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK NEW YORK â¿¿ When a witness at a Senate hearing on small business accused state and local governments of not doing enough to prepare for disasters, he got a sharp retort from the committee chair. Mary Landieu (D.-La.) has watched as businesses in her state were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The state was hit again in 2010 by the Gulf oil spill, and last year, by Hurricane Isaac. She brings that perspective to her job, but she's also concerned about the broad spectrum of issues that small companies contend with. Her agenda includes helping companies continue their recovery from the recession, find skilled workers and have a voice in the debate in Congress over taxes. And she wants to make federal agencies reach the government's goal for giving contracts to small business. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. Eds: Sent Wednesday for use anytime. With: â¿¿ BIO BOX- LANDRIEU DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-FACEBOOK HOME NEW YORK â¿¿When I got my first smartphone in 2010, I checked Facebook obsessively. Over time, opening Facebook's app to check photos, links and posts from friends turned into a chore and the novelty wore off. In a sense, I'm the ideal target for Facebook's new Home app. Photos, links and posts automatically come to the screen when I turn on the phone. It's as if Facebook has taken over the phone's prime real estate. Foursquare, email, weather, YouTube and my alarm clock get pushed over to the slums. Home is ideal for people whose lives are centered around Facebook. But, others might not feel at home. By Technology Writer Nick Jesdanun.
Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime.AP photos. ON THE MONEY-BUYING GLASSES ONLINE The Internet is enticing a rapidly growing number of shoppers to make a very personal purchase â¿¿ prescription eyeglasses â¿¿ online. Technology, however, hasn't erased all the advantages of buying glasses in a store. Here are some factors to consider before clicking on a pair glasses and adding them to your virtual shopping cart. Eds: Sent Wednesday for use anytime. DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-HTC ONE NEW YORK â¿¿ The HTC One is this year's first top-notch super phone, and it's the first iPhone challenger that can measure up to Apple's standards of feel and finish. It marries a stupendous screen to true stereo speakers, making for a superb entertainment device. Unfortunately, the manufacturer keeps meddling with Google's Android software, making the phone unnecessarily confusing to use. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson. Eds: Sent Monday for use anytime. AP photos planned. SMART SPENDING-THINKING INSIDE THE BOX Once, free samples were handed out to passersby or included with other purchases. Now, businesses have sprouted up devoted to sending out a box of samples to customers once a month, and actually getting them to pay for it. Is it ever worth it? By Retail Writer Mae Anderson. Eds: Sent Thursday for use anytime.