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    Friday, March 7, 2008

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    Headline - Stallone wanted Beckham for Rambo

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    Reuters - Google pulls some map images at Pentagon's request

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    Google pulls some map images at Pentagon's request

    Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 11:20PM UTC

    By Kristin Roberts and Eric Auchard

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc has complied with a request by the Pentagon to remove some online images from its street-level map service because they pose a security threat to U.S. military bases, military and company officials said on Thursday.

    Gen. Gene Renuart, head of the military command responsible for homeland defense, said the Pentagon had talked to Google about the risks and expected the company to cooperate in removing selected images from its Street View service.

    "We have been contacted by the military," Google spokesman Larry Yu said. "In those instances where they (the U.S military) have expressed concerns about the imagery, we have accommodated their requests."

    The Defense Department, which is still studying how many images are available, has also banned Google teams from taking video images on bases.

    "We've got to get a sense of what is there and see how we can mitigate it," Renuart said.

    But because many images were taken from public streets, the military may not have a legal right to request that videos be pulled.

    Street View, a feature of Google Maps, offers ground-level, 360-degree views of streets in 30 U.S. cities. Web users are able to drive down a street, in a virtual sense, using their mouse to adjust views of roadside scenery.

    The feature has become a popular service for drivers seeking to plan a trip to an unfamiliar neighborhoods. But from the outset, Street View has been a magnet of controversy over potential privacy invasion of people captured in the images.

    In one instance, a man was pictured exiting a San Francisco strip club. In another case, a woman was shown sunbathing. Complaints have even included a woman asking that a picture of her cat be taken down, a request Google denied.

    The images that worry the Pentagon include views of bases, including security at the entrances to those installations.

    "It actually shows where all the guards are. It shows how the barriers go up and down. It shows how to get in and out of buildings," said Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command.

    "I think that poses a real security risk for our military installations," he told reporters at the Pentagon.

    The Google spokesman said his company's policy was to photograph only those images visible from public roads.

    "It is against Google's policy for a driver to seek access to a military base," Yu said.

    Street View has yet to be introduced outside the United States. Web-based Google Maps and a related computer-based service called Google Earth have drawn criticism from a variety of countries for providing images of sensitive locations, such as military bases or potential targets of terror attacks.

    The services rely on civilian versions of satellite maps that it licenses from commercial mapping services.

    (Editing by Stuart Grudgings)

    Reuters - Apple iPhone targets RIM with corporate e-mail

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    Apple iPhone targets RIM with corporate e-mail

    Friday, Mar 07, 2008 2:30PM UTC

    By Scott Hillis

    CUPERTINO, California (Reuters) - Apple Inc said on Thursday its iPhone soon will support corporate e-mail, targeting a new market and challenging the dominance of Research In Motion Ltd's popular Blackberry devices.

    Apple also said it will roll out tools for developers to create software for the iPhone, news that was accompanied by a pledge from legendary venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers to set up a $100 million "iFund" to back iPhone software start-ups.

    "This takes the iPhone from being not really in the running in the enterprise to being very much in the running and gives RIM a serious challenge," Van Baker, an analyst with market research firm Gartner.

    The move would help Apple hit its goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of this year, a target some analysts have questioned if the weakening U.S. economy takes a toll on consumer spending.

    "Apple answered the majority of objections that most IT professionals had to the iPhone as an enterprise device," Baker said.

    The shares of RIM, whose Blackberry products are widely used in corporations, fell 3.8 percent to $98.72 on the news on Nasdaq. The shares of Apple, which also makes iPod media players and Macintosh computers, fell 2.9 percent to


    Apple said the iPhone would work with Microsoft Corp's Exchange software for managing business e-mails, contacts and calendars and "pushing" that information to handheld devices.

    "We are doing all of these things with the next release of iPhone software," Phil Schiller, vice president of global marketing for Apple, said at the company's headquarters. "I think enterprise customers are going to be pretty excited."

    The new programming tools are also seen as a way to build more interest in the iPhone, which has so far only been able to run outside programs through the Web browser. The tool kit will let software makers write applications that can tap more of the iPhone's capabilities, such as its touch-sensitive screen and motion sensors.

    "Starting today, we are opening up the same native (interfaces) and tools that we use internally to build all our iPhone applications," said Scott Forstall, vice president of iPhone software.

    Programs will only be available through a new "apps store" on the iPhone and in Apple's iTunes software that currently sells music and videos. Apple will keep 30 percent of revenue, with the rest going to developers.

    Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs dismissed concerns the company was keeping too tight of a grip on iPhone software distribution.

    "As a developer, your dream is to get your app in front of every iPhone user and hopefully they love it and buy it. That's not possible today. Even big developers would have trouble getting in front of every iPhone user," Jobs said.

    "Are there going to be limitations? Of course. There are some apps we're not going to distribute. Porn, malicious apps."

    John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and one of Silicon Valley's most famous venture capitalists, said his firm started the $100 million iFund out of belief that the iPhone would prove to be a long-lived platform.

    "We believe the mobile Internet is a platform and that the iPhone is the best instance of that," added Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy, who will manage the fund.

    (Additional reporting by Duncan Martell in San Francisco; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe/Andre Grenon)

    Reuters - Pioneer to post loss, exit plasma display production

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    Pioneer to post loss, exit plasma display production

    Friday, Mar 07, 2008 12:44PM UTC

    By Kiyoshi Takenaka

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Consumer electronics maker Pioneer Corp <6773.T> said it would fall into the red for the fourth straight year on costs to scrap production of plasma displays as it rejigs its strategy in the cut-throat flat TV market.

    Pioneer is expected to now turn to Panasonic brand maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co <6752.T> to supply it with panels for its plasma TVs, thereby allowing it to focus on design and marketing and save on production costs.

    Pioneer is the world's fifth-biggest plasma TV maker, but it has been struggling to compete with larger rivals such as plasma industry leader Matsushita and LG Electronics <066570.KS>, which can leverage economies of scale.

    The company, which also makes home stereos and car electronics, said it now expects to post a group net loss of 15 billion yen ($146 million) for the year to March 31, compared with its previous forecast of a 6 billion yen profit.

    The new forecast reflects 19 billion yen in losses to write down the value of its plasma panel production facilities.

    "This move will allow us to transform our business model for displays from vertically integrated, capital-intensive operations to a leaner business model geared to making value-added product proposals," Pioneer said in a news release.

    The decision to end production of plasma panels was widely flagged by the media, including Reuters, earlier in the week.

    The move follows a deal struck last year with Sharp Corp <6753.T> under which Sharp will supply Pioneer with liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, allowing Pioneer to round out its product line-up with LCD TVs.

    But pulling out of plasma production marks a major shift in Pioneer's strategy. The company has spent a little over 100 billion yen to build four plasma panel production lines and to buy two more lines from NEC Corp <6701.T>.

    Japanese TV makers have been undergoing a realignment as top manufacturers with ample output capacity such as Matsushita and Sharp look for panel buyers, while midtier players seek ways to obtain display panels without making hefty initial investments.

    Pioneer said it would now refocus its resources on more promising businesses such as car electronics and audio equipment.

    Shares of Pioneer closed Friday down 5 percent at 1,151 yen ahead of the announcement, but had surged 16 percent in the previous three days on reports it would cease making plasma panels to cut losses in its flat-TV business.

    The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier on Friday that Pioneer and Matsushita were also planning to jointly develop low-cost and high-quality panels for shipment as early as 2009, and that Pioneer engineers could be transferred to Matsushita.

    (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Mayumi Negishi and Nathan Layne; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

    Reuters - GM to add 900 more jobs in Brazil to boost output

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    GM to add 900 more jobs in Brazil to boost output

    Friday, Mar 07, 2008 4:2PM UTC

    SAO PAULO (Reuters) - General Motors Corp <GM.N> said on Friday it would add 900 more jobs than initially planned for a third shift at its main factory in Brazil to keep up with surging demand in Latin America's largest market.

    Last month, the U.S. automaker outlined plans for a third shift and 600 new jobs at the plant in Sao Caetano do Sul on the outskirts of Sao Paulo to produce an additional 50,000 vehicles a year.

    To keep up with red-hot demand, GM said it would now need a total of 1,500 new employees for the third shift, which it hopes to implement by June. Car and truck sales in Brazil jumped 52.5 percent in the first two months of the year over the same period in 2007, GM said.

    Brazil has been a rare bright spot for GM in recent years, helping to offset hefty losses in the United States. GM returned to profit in the South American country in 2006 after eight years of losses, benefiting from an economic upswing that has helped revive the entire auto industry.

    (Reporting by Todd Benson; editing by John Wallace)

    Reuters - Dollar extends gains vs euro amid profit-taking

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    Dollar extends gains vs euro amid profit-taking

    Friday, Mar 07, 2008 3:51PM UTC

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rallied against the euro on Friday, wiping out earlier losses suffered after data showed the United States shed 63,000 jobs last month.

    The euro fell to $1.5329 after earlier setting a fresh record high of $1.5459, according to Reuters data. It last traded at 1.5344. The dollar also pared losses against the yen, moving to 102.55 yen after earlier hitting an eight-year low at 101.44 yen.

    Traders tied the move mainly to investors taking profits after more than a week of steady dollar selling.

    "There has been a accumulation of dollar shorts and just a wave of profit-taking has come in," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.

    (Reporting by Steven C. Johnson and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

    Reuters - Obama aide quits over Clinton "monster" comment

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    Obama aide quits over Clinton "monster" comment

    Friday, Mar 07, 2008 4:59PM UTC

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - An aide to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Samantha Power, stepped down from the campaign on Friday amid uproar over a comment she made to a British newspaper referring to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as a "monster."

    "She made the decision to resign and we accepted it," said Robert Gibbs, Obama's communications director. Power had been an aide to Obama in his Senate office before signing on to advise his presidential campaign 14 months ago.

    (Reporting by Caren Bohan, Editing by Frances Kerry)

    USA TODAY - Kelly Rowland: I feel 'complete' after surgery

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    Kelly Rowland has gotten a little more bustylicious. Rowland, who sang Bootylicious with Beyonce in the group Destiny's Child, tells People magazine in its March 17 issue that she had plastic surgery last October to bring her "from an A-cup to a B-cup."

    As for the one-cup upgrade, Rowland says: "I didn't want to have double Ds and be a little bitty size 2 that would look nuts!"

    The 27-year-old singer went under the knife after a long decision-making process.

    "I was sick of not fitting into my tops," she says. "There was this one really hot House of Dereon top I just wanted to fill that out!"

    Rowland says that top designed by Beyonce's mom, Tina Knowles complements her new curves: "I put it on and I looked so good! I'm so happy. I feel complete."

    Rowland, who has released two solo albums, says she hesitated to discuss the surgery.

    "It is a decision I made for myself. I like it, and that's all that counts. For young people: Think about it before you just jump off and do something (you may regret later)," she says.

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