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Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm •  Published: December 23, 2014
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US economy accelerates and helps lift Dow to 18K

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge in U.S. economic growth lifted stocks Tuesday to record highs and showed that the United States is putting distance between itself and struggling economies around the world.

Fueled by hiring gains, cheaper gas and rising confidence, consumers and businesses drove growth to a sizzling 5 percent annual rate last quarter. The government's growth estimate for the July-September period was the strongest for any quarter in 11 years. Though the economy is likely cooling a bit, its solid pace is brightening hopes for 2015.

The economic strength could also shape the Federal Reserve's timetable for raising interest rates from record lows.

The government's third and final estimate of growth for the July-September period was the strongest for any quarter in 11 years. The result cheered investors. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up about 64 points to 18,024, the first time it's surpassed 18,000.

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Sony announces limited release for 'The Interview'

NEW YORK (AP) — Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited theatrical release for "The Interview," the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its cancelled release.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said Tuesday that Seth Rogen's North Korea farce "will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day." He said Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters.

After initially saying it had no plans to release the movie, Sony softened its position after it was broadly criticized.

"The Interview" began popping up in the listings of independent theaters across the country Tuesday. The film stands to open in as many as a few hundred theaters on Thursday, the day it was originally set for wide release.

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US moves to end ban on blood donations by gay men

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials recommended an end to the nation's lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, a 31-year-old policy that many medical groups and gay activists say is no longer justified.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it favors replacing the blanket ban with a new policy barring donations from men who have had man-on-man sex in the previous 12 months. The new policy would put the U.S. in line with other countries including Australia, Japan and the U.K.

Activists, however, questioned whether requiring a year of celibacy from gay men in order to donate blood amounted to a significant policy shift.

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Drones become popular holiday gifts

NEW YORK (AP) — Drones — flying devices that often carry cameras and can be navigated remotely by smartphones or controllers — have "taken off" as popular gifts as novices have become just as interested in the devices as serious hobbyists.

Demand has grown as the industry and government are working together to address safety concerns.

Best Buy expanded its selection from one last year to eight different models in stores and five more online because of rising demand. BHPhoto.com now offers 140-plus models online that range from $50.99 to $6,500. And Amazon says the Parrot's $160 MiniDrone Rolling Spider and DJI's Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter, which costs about $1,000, have been "popular sellers."

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US consumer spending up solid 0.6 pct. in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three months in November, while income posted the best gain in five months — both encouraging signs for economic growth.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that consumer spending increased 0.6 percent in November, double the 0.3 percent October gain. Income, helped by a surge of hiring in November, rose 0.4 percent after a 0.3 percent October rise.

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