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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm •  Published: December 16, 2014
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Ruble collapse shakes Russian economy, consumer

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin faces a major challenge after a catastrophic fall in the value of the ruble, which hit a new low Tuesday despite the Central Bank's desperate efforts to halt the selling.

On the streets of Moscow, panicky consumers rushed out to buy home appliances before they became even more expensive.

Putin's popularity has been based on oil-driven economic growth that has helped increase incomes during his 15-year rule. The ruble's collapse, driven by a combination of slumping oil prices and Western sanctions, is denting that pillar of his power.

The Kremlin has tried to shift blame for Russia's economic woes, accusing the West of inflicting economic pain on Russia in an attempt to force a regime change.

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Apple wins class-action lawsuit over iPod prices

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A federal jury decided Tuesday that Apple did not compete unfairly when it sold music players and songs with software that made it incompatible with rival devices.

Attorneys for consumers and iPod resellers were seeking as much as $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit. They argued that Apple was able to overcharge consumers for iPods by making it difficult to switch to a rival music player, as music bought from Apple's iTunes store wouldn't work on other players, nor would music from other stores work on iPods.

Apple argued that the copy-protection software provided necessary security protection and was part of a larger package of improvements that made iPods and iTunes popular with consumers.

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Ex-employees sue Sony Pictures over hacked personal details

NEW YORK (AP) — Two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment are suing the company for not preventing hackers from stealing nearly 50,000 social security numbers, salary details and other personal information from current and former workers.

The lawsuit claims that Sony Pictures failed to secure its computer systems despite "weaknesses that it has known about for years," and made a business decision to accept the risk.

The case filed in a federal court in Los Angeles on Monday seeks class-action status for other current and former employees whose personal information was stolen posted online.

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Robin Williams tops 2014 list of Google searches

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams' suicide seared into the world's collective mindset more than anything else this year, based on what people were searching for on Google.

The reaction to Williams' death topped Google's list of 2014's fastest-rising search requests.

It beat notable events such as the World Cup, the Ebola outbreak and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Other topics of worldwide intrigue on Google included the addictive smartphone game "Flappy Bird," bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, the Middle East extremist group ISIS, the hit Disney movie "Frozen" and the Winter Olympics in Russia.

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American Apparel fires founder Charney, names new CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — American Apparel has fired founder Dov Charney and named longtime fashion executive Paula Schneider to be its next CEO.

The Los Angeles-based company's board voted to oust Charney as CEO in June, citing allegations of misconduct. He was put under suspension, but still served as a consultant to the company. American Apparel said Tuesday that it has terminated his position "for cause" after an internal investigation.

Schneider previously served as a senior executive at retail and clothing companies including Warnaco, Gores Group and BCBG Max Azria. She officially takes over the role January 5.

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US home construction drops 1.6 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes fell slightly in November, reflecting weakness in construction of single-family homes.

Builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million homes and apartments last month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That was a decline of 1.6 percent from October when construction activity had posted a 1.7 percent gain.

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