Nokia sheds 300 IT jobs, transfers 820 workers

HELSINKI (AP) -- Struggling Nokia Corp. is downsizing by more than 1,000 jobs, part of a wide-ranging plan to cut costs and streamline operations.

The Finnish firm says it will lay off 300 workers in its IT sector and transfer "some activities and up to 820 employees to strategic partners," India-based HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services, which have operations in Finland.

PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama curbs ambition this time

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite a relentless workload ahead, President Barack Obama is lighter on his feet in one sense as he opens his second term. Gone are the hundreds of promises of the past. He's toting carry-ons instead of heavy cargo this time.

Obama's first presidential campaign and the years that followed were distinguished by an overflowing ambition, converted into a checklist of things he swore to do. The list was striking not only for its length but its breadth, ranging from tidbits in forgotten corners of public policy to grand - even grandiose - pronouncements worthy of Moses.

He made a sweeping vow to calm the rise of the seas. And a literally down-in-the-weeds pledge to aid the sage grouse and its grassy habitat.

Obama worked his way through that stockpile, breaking dozens of his promises along the way and keeping many more of them.

UCI willing to offer amnesty if in line with WADA

LONDON (AP) -- Following criticism of its investigation into the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, cycling's governing body says it is willing to offer amnesty to riders and officials who provide information to its independent panel on doping, as long as the process is in line with the world anti-doping code.

The International Cycling Union has been under attack in recent days from anti-doping groups over the terms of its independent inquiry into its own links with Armstrong.

After previously refusing to offer amnesties, the UCI said Wednesday it is now prepared to do so if it does not violate the World Anti-Doping Agency's rules. The commission will meet next week to discuss the possibility of providing amnesties to witnesses who appear at the panel's hearings in London in April.

US businesses increased stockpiles 0.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. companies increased their stockpiles a steady pace in November from October, responding to a solid increase in sales.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that business inventories grew 0.3 percent in November, matching the October gain.

Sales rose 1 percent in November, the best showing since a 1.2 percent rise in September. In October, sales had fallen 0.3 percent, reflecting in part disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy.

More restocking leads to more factory production, which boosts economic growth. Faster restocking helped the economy grow at a 3.1 percent annual rate from July through September.

787 emergency landing: Japan grounds entire Boeing Dreamliner fleet

Plane makes emergency landing at Takamatsu airport, western Japan, in latest safety scare for troubled new aircraft

Japan's largest airline, ANA, and it competitor JAL have grounded their entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners after an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit – the most dramatic of a spate of incidents involving the troubled aircraft over the past week and since its inception.

All Nippon Airways said the plane's eight crew and all 129 passengers had evacuated safely on inflatable slides. Instruments in the cockpit indicated there had been a battery malfunction and the pilot had noticed a strange smell.

ANA said the plane diverted to Takamatsu, western Japan, at 8.45am on Wednesday. It had been bound for Haneda airport in Tokyo.

What's Facebook's secret? Company tells all today

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Facebook's mystery "press event" on Tuesday could reveal a more robust search feature that would intensify the competition between the social networking giant and its rival Google Inc.

Facebook is holding the event at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The company has not said what it plans to announce. Last week, it invited bloggers and journalists to "come see what we're building."

The company probably won't be showing off a new office building -unless it decided to make its invitation very literal.

Facebook launches Graph Search to aid users and take on Google

Mark Zuckerberg says search feature which will eventually index all information on site is 'just some really neat stuff'

Facebook has unveiled a new feature that allows users to sift through pictures, posts and messages that the company's founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, claimed could transform how people use the social network.

Unveiling the tool, Graph Search, at its first major product launch since the company's IPO last May, Zuckerberg described it as the site's "third pillar", after Timeline and News Feed.

"Graph Search is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook," he told a packed press conference at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park on Tuesday.

Big night for cable TV in Globes

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- The taut political thriller "Homeland," the coming of age comedy "Girls" and "Game Change," the movie about Sarah Palin's rocky campaign for the vice presidency in 2008, were the big television winners in the Golden Globes.

The biggest losers? Commercial broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox - none of which aired those shows. One award for PBS saved broadcast television from a complete shutout.

Premium cable rivals HBO and Showtime battled for supremacy throughout Sunday night's telecast. In the end, HBO pulled out a 5-4 victory.

"It's the only place to have made a show like this," Lena Dunham said backstage after the series she created for HBO, "Girls," won two Globes. "Cable television is the only place where I'm going to get the kinds of stories I want to tell funded."

Potential impact of Mubarak retrial

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's highest appeals court on Sunday overturned Hosni Mubarak's conviction and ordered a retrial of the former president for failing to prevent the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled his 29-year regime. A look at the potential impact of the decision:

- A retrial can produce a not-guilty verdict, uphold Mubarak's life sentence or reduce it. It cannot stiffen his sentence, however, because defendants cannot draw a heavier sentence when they appeal a conviction. Still, new evidence could lead to the deposed leader being convicted of ordering the crackdown on the protesters, not just failing to prevent it, a scenario that would go a long way toward appeasing victims' families.

Imani Green murder: how violence plagues Jamaica

Poverty, gang violence, guns and the mistrust of police remain serious problems on the Caribbean island

Owen Ellington, the commissioner of the Jamaica constabulary, has worked to increase public confidence in his officers and promised to crack down on crime and corruption, but still the island is plagued by violence.

While major crime is decreasing, and the murder rate fell almost 5% to 1,087 deaths last year – well down from its 2009 peak of 1,683 – poverty, gang violence and the ubiquity of guns remain serious problems, as does mistrust of the police.

Fla. 'python challenge' draws about 800 hunters

BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE, Fla. (AP) -- An armed mob set out into the Florida Everglades on Saturday to flush out a scaly invader.

It sounds like the second act of a sci-fi horror flick but, really, it's pretty much Florida's plan for dealing with an infestation of Burmese pythons that are eating their way through a fragile ecosystem.

Nearly 800 people signed up for the month-long "Python Challenge" that started Saturday afternoon. The vast majority - 749 - are members of the general public who lack the permits usually required to harvest pythons on public lands.

"We feel like anybody can get out in the Everglades and figure out how to try and find these things," said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's very safe, getting out in the Everglades. People do it all the time."

Armstrong will answer 'honestly' during Oprah talk

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Lance Armstrong said he will answer questions "directly, honestly and candidly" during an interview with Oprah Winfrey next week. He will also apologize and make a limited confession to using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Armstrong has spent more than a decade denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times. Without saying whether he would confess or apologize during the taping, Armstrong told The Associated Press in a text message early Saturday, "I told her (Winfrey) to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That's all I can say."

A confession would be a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles from Austin to Europe in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

Hundreds of French troops drive back Mali rebels

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- The battle to retake Mali's north from the al-Qaida-linked groups controlling it began in earnest Saturday, after hundreds of French forces deployed to the country and began aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists.

At the same time, nations in West Africa authorized the immediate deployment of troops to Mali, fast-forwarding a military intervention that was not due to start until September.

The decision to begin the military operation was taken after the fighters, who seized the northern half of Mali nine months ago, decided earlier this week to push even further south to the town of Konna, coming within 50 kilometers (30 miles) of Mopti, the first town held by the government and a major base for the Malian military.

Smart TVs get smarter, by just a little bit

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- In the not-so-distant future, couch potatoes will be waving, pointing, swiping and tapping to make their TVs react, kind of like what Tom Cruise did in the 2002 movie "Minority Report." That's the vision of TV manufacturers as they show off "smart TVs."

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.

The idea is to make TV watching easier and more pleasant as viewers are confronted with more and more choices - from the hundreds of live TV channels from the cable or satellite provider to online video services such as Netflix Inc., Hulu and Apple's iTunes. A traditional remote control that lets you flip through channels one at a time suddenly seems inadequate.

Obama to tap budget expert Lew to lead Treasury

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will nominate White House chief of staff Jack Lew to be his second-term Secretary of the Treasury, turning to one of Washington's most knowledgeable budget experts to manage prickly fiscal negotiations with Congress and steer the still-shaky national economy.

Lew's nomination, expected Thursday, accelerates the overhaul of Obama's top advisers, with new leaders at the Pentagon, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency and Labor Department. Obama also must replace Lew with a new chief of staff, and that could have a ripple effect through the West Wing's senior ranks.

Second time with Obama not as thrilling as before

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Four years and one re-election after Barack Obama became America's first black president, some of the thrill is gone.

Yes, the inauguration of a U.S. president is still a big deal. But the ceremony that Washington will stage in a few weeks won't be the heady, historic affair it was in 2009, when nearly 2 million people flocked to the National Mall to see Obama take the oath of office. This time, District of Columbia officials expect between 600,000 and 800,000 people for Obama's public swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 21.

"There certainly will not be the sort of exultation you saw four years ago," said Mike Cornfield, a George Washington University political science professor. One reason why, Cornfield said, is it simply lacks the dramatic transfer of power from one president to the next.

"This is not a change that commands people's interest automatically," Cornfield said. "It's a confirmation of power."

SC woman, oldest living US citizen, dies at 114

A 114-year-old South Carolina woman who was the oldest living U.S. citizen has died, two of her daughters said Saturday.

Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, who held the title as the country's oldest person for about two weeks, died Wednesday at a hospital in Augusta, Ga., said Sara Rearden of Burtonsville, Md., and Janie Ruth Osborne of Edgefield. They said their mother broke her hip after a fall about three weeks ago.

Gerontology Research Group, which verifies age information for Guinness World Records, listed Mamie Rearden as the oldest living American after last month's passing of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa. Rearden's Sept. 7, 1898, birth was recorded in the 1900 U.S. Census, the group's Robert Young said.

Israel ex-spy chief blasts PM ahead of election

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A prominent Israeli ex-intelligence chief sought to sway Israelis against Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections, saying in an interview published Friday that the prime minister has mismanaged Israel's response to Iran's nuclear program and missed opportunities to make inroads on a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The interview by Yuval Diskin was an unusually strong and overt assault on a prime minister by a figure formerly from the security establishment, coming less than three weeks before the Jan. 22 election, in which polls predict Netanyahu will be reelected. The election campaign has hardly touched on security issues like the conflict with Iran or the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, focusing almost entirely on domestic issues.

Utah school recasts musical with sexy Elvis songs

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A parent who was "All Shook Up" about Elvis Presley songs in a high-school drama prompted educators to cancel the musical, deeming it too sexual. But the decision was reversed Thursday by administrators at the high school south of Salt Lake City.

The administrators at Herriman High School received permission from the copyright owners of "All Shook Up" to edit some of Presley's songs and make scene changes in the American jukebox musical that borrows from William Shakespeare.

"The show will go on," said Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the Jordan School District. "Our biggest concern early on, we wanted to make some changes to keep the play within community values. It's a win-win for all of us."

Lazio president defends club after fans racially abuse Cagliari player

• Section of crowd targeted Cagliari's Victor Ibarbo
• Claudio Lotito: 'We can't control individual fans'

The Lazio president, Claudio Lotito, has again denied his club has a serious problem with racism after more abusive chanting marred Saturday's 2-1 win over Cagliari.

During the game, in which the away side's coach, Ivo Pulga, and two of his players were sent off, a section of fans in Lazio's notorious Curva Nord abused the Cagliari player Victor Ibarbo. While the rest of the stadium whistled in an attempt to drown out the chants, the referee warned both captains the match would be suspended if the abuse continued.

Live Nation in talks to host gigs at Olympic stadium from summer

World's biggest live music company understood to be in advanced talks to put on events at East End site

Live Nation, the world's biggest live music company which last year quit Hyde Park as a venue, is in talks to host gigs at the Olympic stadium in East London from this summer.

The company is understood to be in advanced talks to host events at the London Olympic stadium, which is set to re-open with an anniversary weekend of music gigs on the 27 and 28 July to mark the first anniversary of the start of the 2012 games.

Live Nation has been considering its options since quitting Hyde Park after more than a decade of putting on music events including Live 8, the Wireless Festival and Hard Rock calling.

Private New Year's memorial for slain Wash. ranger

PARADISE, Wash. (AP) -- A private sunrise memorial is planned on New Year's Day at Mount Rainier National Park in honor of a park ranger fatally shot a year ago.

Chief Ranger Chuck Young tells The News Tribune that many park employees plan to gather Tuesday morning at Paradise, Wash., to honor law enforcement Ranger Margaret Anderson.

Apple store in Paris robbed on New Year's Eve

Thousands of euros of goods stolen from flagship shop as armed robbers take advantage of festivities

Armed robbers targeted an Apple store in central Paris on New Year's Eve, taking thousands of euros worth of goods, a police official said on Tuesday.

The robbery took place at about 9pm on Monday, three hours after closing time at one of Apple's flagship stores behind the Paris Opera which sells products ranging from iPhones and iPads to iMac computers.

Saudi Arabia's riches conceal a growing problem of poverty

In a country with vast oil wealth and lavish royalty, an estimated quarter of Saudis live below the poverty line

A few kilometres from the blinged-out shopping malls of Saudi Arabia's capital, Souad al-Shamir lives in a concrete house on a trash-strewn alley. She has no job, no money, five children under 14 and an unemployed husband who is laid up with chronic heart problems.

"We are at the bottom," she said, sobbing hard behind a black veil that left only her eyes visible. "My kids are crying and I can't provide for them."

Millions of Saudis struggle on the fringes of one of the world's most powerful economies, where jobs and welfare programmes have failed to keep pace with a population that has soared from 6 million in 1970 to 28 million today.