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Nothing controversial in Super Bowl ads PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MAE ANDERSON, AP Retail Writer   
Monday, 03 February 2014 07:26

NEW YORK (AP) — What Super Bowl ads will people discuss over the water cooler a day after the big game?

There were no crude jokes. Sexual innuendo was kept to a minimum. And uncomfortable scenes were missing.

In short, there wasn't much shock value

Sure, RadioShack poked fun at its image by starring 80s icons like Teen Wolf in its ad. And Coca-Cola struck an emotional chord by showcasing people of different diversities in its spot. As did Chrysler, with its "Made in America" message.

But with a 30-second Super Bowl commercial fetching $4 million and more than 108 million viewers expected to tune in to Sunday night's game, advertisers tried to keep it family friendly with socially conscious statements, patriotic messages and light humor. After all, shocking ads in previous years have not always been well received. (Think: GoDaddy.com's ad that featured a long, up-close kiss was at the bottom of the most popular ad lists last year.)

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Hackers sue German government over NSA spying PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 03 February 2014 07:23

BERLIN (AP) — A group of computer hackers and human rights campaigners in Germany say they are suing their government for allegedly breaking the law by aiding foreign spies.

The Chaos Computer Club and the International League for Human Rights said they submitted a criminal complaint Monday claiming that Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government tolerated spying and effectively even helped members of the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ to spy on German citizens.

The groups point to documents released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden as evidence.

In a statement they say the criminal complaint is meant to spark a "long-overdue investigation by federal prosecutors" into alleged lawbreaking by German officials and foreign spies.

Federal prosecutors have been considering for months whether to open an investigation of alleged NSA activities.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Lloyds turnaround continues despite more charges PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press   
Monday, 03 February 2014 07:24

LONDON (AP) — Lloyds bank, the part-nationalized British lender, on Monday set aside another 1.9 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) to cover the excesses of the past, but said it is ready to shed state ownership and pay a dividend again for the first time since the financial crisis.

The company warned it would need to set aside 1.8 billion to claims resulting from the miss-selling of payment protection insurance — bringing the total to almost 10 billion pounds. Some 130 million pounds was also set aside for interest rate hedging products that were inappropriately sold to small and mid-size businesses.

The group said in a preliminary earnings statement that the charges would result in an underlying profit of 6.2 billion pounds for 2013. The figure, which has to be confirmed in final earnings figures to be released next week, was still above analyst expectations.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC confirmed it has begun the preparatory work to sell the government's stake. The move had been telegraphed in speeches by Treasury chief George Osborne late last year. It also said it would pay a dividend for 2013, the first since the bank received a 20 billion-pound rescue from taxpayers in 2008.

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Farm bill plows under direct payments PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 08:00

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Farm subsidies that have guided agriculture through record profits in recent years are going away in the five-year farm bill that could become law in the coming week. But new subsidies in the legislation could be just as generous, and farmers aren't complaining.

Gone are direct payments, a politically untenable system in which landowners got fixed amounts per acre, whether crop prices were high or low — or even if they didn't plant at all. Those will be replaced by a choice of one of two different subsidy approaches that require producers to suffer losses before they can get payouts. The bill also contains a new insurance-based program for cotton farmers.

"We loved the old farm bill," said Woody Anderson, who grows 3,500 acres of cotton in west-central Texas near Colorado City. But farmers knew political support for direct payments was fading, he said.

"We felt like this insurance type program was innovative. It was reform, if you will, and it was the best we could get in the time that we're trying to operate in and get a new farm bill," he said.

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