2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Apple says its systems not to blame for celebrity photo breach
    Apple says its systems not to blame for celebrity photo breach

    By Edwin Chan and Christina Farr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of celebrities including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence were leaked online through the apparent hacking of individual iCloud accounts. Apple rushed to restore confidence in its systems' security, saying the celebrity photo scandal that also ensnared swimsuit model Kate Upton, actress Kirsten Dunst and possibly dozens more was the result of targeted attacks on accounts storing personal data and not a direct breach of Apple systems. "We have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet," Apple said in a statement. "None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud or Find My iPhone." The celebrity hacking that came to light over the long Labor Day weekend nevertheless ranks among the highest-profile public fiascos for Apple in recent years.

  • Key hearing on Detroit's historic bankruptcy begins in U.S. court

    By Karen Pierog DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit will not recover, and it may not survive as a major city if its debts are not significantly reduced during bankruptcy, a city attorney told a federal judge at the start of a critical phase of the case on Tuesday. As Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr looked on in the courtroom, Bruce Bennett, an attorney for the city, sought to convince Judge Steven Rhodes that Detroit's 1,034-page plan to adjust $18 billion of debt would save the city. "There is no doubt, your honor, that progress has been made, but Detroit is still a city in distress," said Bennett, an attorney with the Jones Day law firm, in his opening statement. The plan is aimed at reducing Detroit's debt by about $7 billion and reinvesting as much as $1.7 billion in the city, according to Bennett.

  • Russia repeating Georgia and Moldova formula in Ukraine: analysts
    Russia repeating Georgia and Moldova formula in Ukraine: analysts

    Russia aims to employ the well-tested strategy it used to destabilise its neighbours Georgia and Moldova, and with separatists gaining ground it looks like Moscow will succeed again, analysts said. Last weekend, for the first time, President Vladimir Putin raised the possibility of "statehood" for eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting against government forces. While the Kremlin said Putin's comments were misinterpreted, "the choice of words were not by chance," said Fyodor Lukyanov, chief editor of Russia in Global Affairs. Russia had previously only called for the region -- where Russian-speakers predominate -- to have more authority in a federal system.

  • Putin orders building hastened at new Russian spaceport

    By Vladimir Soldatkin VOSTOCHNY Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered construction sped up on a multi-billion-dollar spaceport in Russia's Far East that he said would break reliance on the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and launch future missions to the Moon and Mars. Putin flew in a helicopter over the sprawling building site in Vostochny at a time when conflict with Ukraine, maker of Zenit and Dnepr rockets, is highlighting the fragility of Russia's dependence on former Soviet republics in defense and space. Building a new launchpad on its own soil is central to Putin's effort to reform a once-pioneering space industry hobbled by years of budget cuts and a brain drain in the 1990s. "Our own space infrastructure and modern network of cosmodromes ... will allow Russia to strengthen its standing as a leading space superpower and guarantee the independence of space activities," Putin said at Vostochny, near Russia's border with China.

  • Dethroned Myanmar beauty queen blasts pageant boss
    Dethroned Myanmar beauty queen blasts pageant boss

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A dethroned 16-year-old beauty queen from Myanmar said Tuesday she won't return her bejeweled $100,000 crown until pageant organizers apologize for calling her a liar and a thief.

  • Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament
    Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament

    Angry relatives of missing Iraqi soldiers stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Tuesday, attacked MPs and staged a sit-in for several hours in its main chamber, an official said. An emergency session of parliament, with relatives in attendance, will be held on Wednesday, Juburi's office said in a statement. Around 1,700 soldiers surrendered to the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group in June as its fighters seized second city Mosul and swept south towards Baghdad.

  • UK: Passports could be seized to fight terrorism
    UK: Passports could be seized to fight terrorism

    LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday proposed new laws that would give police the power to seize the passports of Britons suspected of having traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups.

  • Christie to Mexico on trade mission, 2016 politics
    Christie to Mexico on trade mission, 2016 politics

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Mexico on Wednesday, officially on a trade mission for his state. But the trip also serves as schooling for Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate with a lot of swagger but little foreign policy experience.

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