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  • Best of the season’s 39 bowl games

    The College Football Playoff era is here and as the bowl season starts, it feels a bit like a New Year’s three-for-one special: Three big games instead of one. There’s still a bit of controversy just like there was in the BCS — ask Baylor and TCU — but most college football fans believe the…

  • China’s wealth finds home in Washington state

    MEDINA, Wash. (AP) — Savvy Seattle-area real estate agents have gained an advantage by paying attention to the growing connections between China and Washington state. “I’m so glad my mother made me study Chinese,” laughed property broker Janie Lee, after showing a client from Beijing a $4 million home in the suburb of Medina. “I’ve…

  • US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. From wheat to rice to beans, the industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s plan to ease economic and travel restrictions imposed against the communist-ruled island. Agricultural exports have been among the few exceptions to…

  • Will artists skip studio support after Sony scandal?

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sony’s decision to cancel “The Interview” in the face of terrorist threats is already affecting the way Hollywood does business. It has outraged artists, killing their faith in studios to release edgy content. But it’s also inspired a rare hush across a usually chatty industry as everyone from moguls to makeup…

  • Lava slows but still on track to hit Hawaii market

    HONOLULU (AP) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. The molten rock was 1,200 to 1,300 yards away from the edge of Pahoa Marketplace on Thursday and had advanced about 165 yards from the previous…

  • Brazil graft cases: Beginning of impunity’s end?

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A federal investigation into a kickback scheme at Brazil’s state oil company has, so far, ensnared 30 executives. In Sao Paulo, prosecutors accuse 33 businessmen of running a “cartel” to profit from the city’s subway system. And in perhaps the most stunning turn of all, the oil and mining tycoon…

  • Asia equity rally continues after Fed rate pledge

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks rallied for a second day Friday after the Federal Reserve’s reassurance it was in no hurry to hike interest rates. But shares of Sony Corp. dropped as a hacking scandal rocked its American movies unit. KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.2 percent to 17,588.88 and South Korea’s…

  • Companies’ data security in question after Sony hack

    ATLANTA (AP) — Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being the next company brought to its knees by hackers like those that executed the dramatic cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated…

  • Sides ‘far apart’ in West Coast port negotiations

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — While West Coast seaports struggle to keep up with billions of dollars of cargo, dockworkers and their employers apparently aren’t close to a new contract nearly six months after their old deal expired. Longshoremen have continued to work without a contract at 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle that are…

  • California’s top utility regulator defends record

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s chief utility regulator ended the last scheduled public hearing of his increasingly embattled 12-year term Thursday with no explicit reference to the alleged back-channel dealings with the state’s largest utility company that have marred his tenure. California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey’s only public reference to the matter Thursday…

  • AP News in Brief at 9:58 p.m. EST

    Convicted spy’s parents searching for son after Cuba-US relations breakthrough HAVANA (AP) — When convicted spy Rolando Sarraff Trujillo failed to call home from prison, his parents went to the jail to see if their son had fallen ill. Officials told the elderly couple not to worry, saying only that he was better off. A…

  • Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited

    TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited has resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results. Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem…

  • Louisville 1st-in-South to raise minimum wage

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville became the first city in the South to raise the minimum wage, joining 20 other local governments nationwide that have increased the hourly wage. The Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday night to raise the minimum wage to at least $9 per hour by 2017. The current federal minimum wage is…

  • Contrite Vegas hotelier wins gambling license

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Los Angeles nightlife magnate who revamped Las Vegas’ Sahara hotel and casino won a Nevada gambling license Thursday after explaining his drug use and curious business dealings, but not without limits and a promise that he’ll remain under heavy scrutiny. Sam Nazarian’s license expires in a year, bars him from…

  • Hellmann’s maker Unilever drops suit over ‘Just Mayo’

    Hellmann’s mayonnaise maker Unilever has withdrawn its lawsuit against the maker of “Just Mayo.” Unilever filed suit against Hampton Creek earlier this year claiming the name of the small California company’s product amounted to false advertising. The consumer-products giant, whose U.S. arm is based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, had said that “Just Mayo” has…