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'Halo' TV series, 'Halo 5' game launching in 2015

Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2014 |
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Master Chief is returning to the battlefield next year.

Microsoft announced plans Friday to release the video game sequel "Halo 5: Guardians" for the Xbox One and a "Halo" television series to be produced by Steven Spielberg in fall 2015. The next entry in the sci-fi shooter series starring super-soldier Master Chief will runs at 60 frames per second on a new engine created by "Halo" developer 343 Studios.

"Halo 4" smashed entertainment industry records by making $300 million in its opening week in 2012.

343 Studio general manager Bonnie Ross noted that additional plans this year for the "Halo" franchise would be announced June 9 at Microsoft's presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the largest annual gathering of the gaming industry.
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Last Update on June 03, 2015 07:28 GMT

THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Among a host of economic reports due out later this morning is the Commerce Department's release of international trade data for April. The Institute for Supply Management will put out its service sector index for May a little later and in early afternoon the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book, a summary of economic conditions in the various states. In Frankfurt, Germany, the European Central Bank's governing council is set to meet to set monetary policy for the 19-nation Eurozone.

CONGRESS-IRS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government investigator has told Congress that the IRS failed to implement dozens of security upgrades to its computer systems, some of which could have made it more difficult for hackers to use an IRS website to steal tax information from 104,000 taxpayers.

The agency's inspector general couldn't say Tuesday whether the upgrades would have prevented the breach. But, inspector general J. Russell George added, "I can say it would have been much more difficult had they implemented all of the recommendations that we made."

George says that each year, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration audits the IRS's security systems and recommends improvements. He says that as of March, 44 of those upgrades had not been completed. Ten of the recommendations were made more than three years ago.

In addition, the Government Accountability Office issued a report in March that identified more than 50 weaknesses in the IRS's computer security that had not been resolved. The GAO said that until those weaknesses are fixed, "financial and taxpayer data will remain unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification or disclosure."

RETAIL-RACISM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new study says African-American and Latino cashiers, salespeople and first-line managers are paid less, are less likely to be promoted off the floor and more likely to be poorer than their white counterparts in the retail industry.

The study released Tuesday was done by the NAACP and Demos, a public policy organization.

For example, black cashiers average $9.17, while salespeople average $11.54 and first-line supervisors get $17.31. Those numbers are well below their white colleagues, who make $10.06 at the cash register, $15.32 in sales and $17.43 as supervisors.

Also, 17 percent of the African-American retail workforce lives below the poverty line, compared to 7 percent of white and Asian retail workers and 13 percent of Latino workers.

CONGRESS-SPENDING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A GOP-controlled House panel has approved using $37 billion in unrequested war money to match President Barack Obama's 7 percent budget boost for the military. The move came over the opposition of Democrats and the White House, who argue that domestic programs deserve equal treatment.

The Appropriations Committee action came Tuesday as it approved a $579 billion Pentagon spending bill that would fund a 2.3 percent pay increase for the military and add new money to boost air reconnaissance.

The bill advances toward a floor debate later this month, even as measures that fund the departments of Commerce, Justice, Transportation as well as Housing and Urban Development are moving ahead this week -- headlong into twin administration veto threats issued on Tuesday.

SHOPIFY-PINTEREST

NEW YORK (AP) -- Users of Pinterest will soon be able to buy items directly through the company's app using a new type of pin.

Pinterest and Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said Tuesday that the "buyable pins" will debut in the next few weeks.

Pinterest says buyable items will have a blue pin displaying their price. Users will be able to search for similar items based on color and price. The company says items from brands including Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Cole Haan, Michaels and thousands of Shopify stores will have the pins. Fabric and craft retailer Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores Inc. says it will also participate in the program.

Users can pay for the items they buy with Apple Pay or a credit card. Shopify says their credit card information will be stored by payment processors and not by Shopify itself.

INDIANA FINANCIER-NATIONAL LAMPOON

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- National Lampoon Inc. has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit. The legal action alleges that a financier convicted of swindling investors in an Ohio company fraudulently transferred millions of dollars from those investors to the entertainment company known for movies such as "Animal House."

A judge must approve that proposed settlement, which was filed last week in federal bankruptcy court in Ohio.

The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Co. had sued National Lampoon in 2011, seeking more than $9 million and alleging that money was fraudulently moved from Fair Finance to the Los Angeles-based company which owns the rights to the "Vacation," "Animal House" and "Van Wilder" movies.

Those transfers allegedly occurred when National Lampoon was controlled by former Fair Finance executive Timothy Durham, who was its CEO, and another man, Daniel Laikin, according to the suit.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration reports more than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's health care law.

That puts the nation finally within reach of coverage for all, but it may not last.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services comes as dozens of insurers are proposing double-digit premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about future affordability. And the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states. A decision is due around the end of the month.

The 10.2 million sign-ups represent consumers who enrolled in a plan and followed through by paying their first month's premiums. That number will fluctuate during the year as some people get jobs that offer coverage, and others decide to drop their insurance.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's prime minister has a meeting set in Brussels Wednesday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss his government's proposal to secure a vital, long-overdue agreement with the country's bailout lenders.

The announcement of the talks by Alexis Tsipras' office came hours after Athens submitted its ideas for a compromise, in the hope of getting desperately needed rescue money. But its creditors were quick to respond that much work remained to be done.

No details on the 47-page proposal have been made public. Tsipras said Tuesday his government had made compromises in the negotiations, and that it was now up to the leaders of Europe, who are Greece's main creditors, to accept a deal or risk potentially disastrous consequences for the region.

Without the rescue loans, Greece could default on its debts this month and eventually even drop out of Europe's currency bloc, a step that would push Europe and the global economy into uncharted territory.

COAL MINES-CLIMATE

DENVER (AP) -- A Colorado coal mine at the center of a legal fight over whether coal's impact on climate change needs to be considered before it is mined wants to make sure it can keep operating.

The Colowyo Co. has asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to overturn a ruling requiring federal regulators to redo their environmental review of operations at its mine near Craig within four months. U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson said the mine's permit would be yanked if the deadline was missed.

Such appeals normally take months to complete, so the company also asked Jackson to put his ruling on hold while the various legal issues are considered.

In their request to Jackson, Colowyo lawyers argue that regulators might not be able to complete such a process in time, which could potentially put 220 miners out of work.

SAN FRANCISCO-BUILDING MORATORIUM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Check out rental sites for San Francisco, especially the trendier parts: Well over $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat and nearly $5,000 for two bedrooms.

Finding a place to live has become so expensive and emotional that city supervisors are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, which has long been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.

The area, home to taquerias and corner markets, is now teeming with Silicon Valley workers and the pricey restaurants that cater to them.

Fancy high-rises are planned to take over dilapidated street corners, including one that tenant activists have dubbed the "Monster in the Mission," a 345-unit building with rents projected to start at $3,500.

The growth is pushing out longtime tenants, according to hundreds of people who crowded San Francisco City Hall last month to support the moratorium and urge a time-out on evictions.

NUCLEAR POWER-GEORGIA

ATLANTA (AP) -- Southern Co. has an emerging message when talking about its over-budget nuclear plant in Georgia: It's not our fault.

The cost of building two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH'-gohl) has grown since the project was first approved years ago.

Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power owns a 46 percent stake in the project. Its share of construction costs has grown from roughly $6.1 billion to $7.5 billion in the company's latest filings. Analysts working for the state's Public Service Commission expect the costs will go higher.

In testimony Tuesday, Southern Co. executives said they were responsible for project oversight generally, but not nuts-and-bolts construction. Southern Co. says responsibility for most construction decisions and costs rests with its contractors, Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Inc.

JPMORGAN-VOICEMAIL

NEW YORK (AP) -- For JPMorgan Chase employees, it might be best not to leave a message.

JPMorgan has ended voicemail services for roughly half of its roughly 136,000 consumer bank employees, in an effort to save money and recognition that voicemail is slowly being replaced by text messages and emails.

Chase is one of a small, but growing number of large employers who have re-evaluated the need for office voicemail. Coca-Cola Co. gave employees the option to get rid of voicemail late last year.

The Chase employees who no longer have voicemail are those who do not work directly with customers, such as in information technology or operations. In some company departments that only interact with other bank employees, as many as 90 percent of employees no longer have voicemail. That's according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. spokesman Michael Fusco.

However, employees who work directly with customers still have and will continue to have voicemail.

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