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Passwords got you down? Solutions are out there

CHICAGO (AP) — Good thing she doesn't need a password to get into heaven. That's what Donna Spinner often mutters when she tries to remember the growing list of letter-number-and-symbol codes she's had to create to access her various online accounts.

"At my age, it just gets too confusing," says the 72-year-old grandmother who lives outside Decatur, Illinois.

But this is far from just a senior moment. Frustration over passwords is as common across the age brackets as the little reminder notes on which people often write them.

"We are in the midst of an era I call the 'tyranny of the password,'" says Thomas Way, a computer science professor at Villanova University.

"We're due for a revolution."

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After Aereo, what's next for Internet TV?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Supreme Court shot down Aereo's business model this week, but that doesn't mean customers' desire for a better TV experience is gone.

Americans are still fed up with huge channel bundles, high prices, poor service and the lack of ability to watch all their shows on all their devices. That's part of why Aereo was attractive: It offered a few dozen local broadcast channels and the Bloomberg TV financial channel on multiple devices for just $8 a month.

Industry watchers say the pay TV business must continue to evolve to win over unhappy customers, even if the nation's top court said grabbing signals from the airwaves and distributing them online without content-owner permission isn't the way.

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Threat of housing bubble pushes Britain to act

LONDON (AP) — Can Britain avoid bubble trouble in its economy?

Concerns are mounting that the country's housing market is overinflated, with London house prices rising almost 19 per cent in 12 months. Experts fear it is fueled by debt and the market might 'pop' and come crashing down, as it did in the U.S. during the financial crisis, dragging the country into recession and leaving millions of homeowners with properties that are worth less than their mortgages.

In an attempt to avoid such a scenario, the Bank of England on Thursday announced measures to tighten credit and cool off the sector. The move is of interest globally, as it will show how much a major central bank can keep a specific sector from overheating in an economy that is otherwise still recovering.

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FDA grapples with oversight of fecal transplants

WASHINGTON (AP) — Imagine a low-cost treatment for a life-threatening infection that could cure up to 90 per cent of patients with minimal side effects, often in a few days.

It may sound like a miracle drug, but this cutting-edge treatment is profoundly simple — though somewhat icky: take the stool of healthy patients to cure those with hard-to-treat intestinal infections. A small but growing number of physicians have begun using these so-called fecal transplants to treat Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to as C-diff, a bacterial infection that causes nausea, cramping and diarrhea. The germ afflicts a half-million Americans annually and kills about 15,000 of them.

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Google begins editing European search results

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Google has begun deleting some search results at the request of its users, following a court ruling that European Union citizens have a right to ask for the removal of embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names.

Several weeks after the May ruling by the European Court of Justice on the so-called "right to be forgotten," the company set up an online interface for users to register their complaints.

The company said Thursday it has begun taking down results this week. But Google's European spokesman Al Verney said there is a significant backlog to work through. At last report, more than 50,000 people from multiple nationalities had filed requests to have information removed.

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Stocks head lower on Wall Street, led by banks

NEW YORK (AP) — Banks and other financial firms tugged the stock market slightly lower Thursday as a mixed batch of economic reports and earnings results gave investors little reason to push the market up.

Barclays sank following news that New York's attorney general sued the British bank, claiming that it favoured high-frequency traders over large institutions in its private-trading platform, known as a "dark pool."

It was only the third loss in 10 trading days for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which closed at its latest record high just under a week ago, on June 20. Many investors have been saying stocks could be due for a pullback given their rapid rise recently.

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Consumer spending in May was disappointingly weak

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers boosted their spending only modestly in May, a disappointment to economists who said the weaker-than-expected gain will likely mean a lesser economic rebound in the April-June quarter than many had envisioned.

Spending rose just 0.2 per cent last month after no gain in April, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The two months followed a robust spending surge of 0.8 per cent in March.

Income rose a solid 0.4 per cent in May after a 0.3 per cent April gain.

Last month's 0.2 per cent gain in spending was just half the increase that analysts had been expecting. Some said that unless June brings a big increase, spending may not provide as much support to the economy in the second half of the year as they had been expecting.

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Applications for US unemployment benefits dip

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the latest evidence that a sharp economic slowdown earlier this year hasn't caused employers to cut jobs.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 2,000 to 314,000.

The average has fallen 9 per cent since the beginning of this year. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the declines indicate that companies are cutting fewer jobs.

The figures come a day after the government said the economy shrank at a 2.9 per cent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst reading since early 2009, when the U.S. was mired in the depths of the recession.

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Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.14 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week, hovering near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year loan eased to 4.14 per cent from 4.17 per cent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.22 per cent from 3.30 per cent.

Rising prices and higher interest rates beginning in mid-2013 have made homes less affordable for would-be buyers. At the same time, a limited supply of homes is available to buy. Sales of new homes are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market.

Home prices rose in April from a year ago at the slowest pace in 13 months, reflecting the recent drop-off in sales, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday.

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Drink up, NYC: Ban on big sodas canned

NEW YORK (AP) — Big sodas can stay on the menu in the Big Apple after New York state's highest court refused Thursday to reinstate the city's first-of-its-kind size limit on sugary drinks. But city officials suggested they might be willing to revisit the supersize-soda ban.

The Court of Appeals found that the city Board of Health overstepped its bounds by imposing a 16-ounce cap on sugary beverages sold in restaurants, delis, movie theatres, stadiums and street carts. The appointed board tread on the policy-making turf of the elected City Council, the court said.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 21 points, or 0.1 per cent, to close at 16,846. It was down as much as 121 points earlier. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost two points, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,957. The Nasdaq composite slipped less than a point to 4,379.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery fell 66 cents to $105.84 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 79 cents to $113.21 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 0.71 cents to $3.086 a gallon. Natural gas declined 15.3 cents to $4.40 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil shed 1.6 cents to $3.014 gallon.

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