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Snapchat market value hits $800 million

The startup behind a Snapchat application for sharing self-destructing smartphone photos and messages got a dizzying valuation on Monday in a new funding round. Reports that the company launched in late 2011 had raised $60 million from investors, giving it a market value of about $800 million, hit the Internet…

Facebook buys Instagram photo app for $1 billion

Facebook announced Monday that it made a billion-dollar-deal to buy the startup behind wildly popular smartphone photo sharing application Instagram. “For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family,” Facebook co-founderMark Zuckerberg said in announcing the deal. “Now, we’ll be able to work even more…

Microsoft patent application opens door to spying on Skype

A U.S. patent application filed by Microsoft in 2009 specifically mentions “Skype” and “Skype-like applications” as being likely candidates for software that would give government spies easy, official access to any and all communications, public documents show. While back doors in software for “legal intercepts” are not uncommon in the…

Woman who killed banker husband seeks transfer to U.S.

HONG KONG — American Nancy Kissel, twice convicted of murder over the 2003 killing of her banker husband, will not appeal her life sentence and is seeking a transfer to a US prison, her lawyer said Thursday. “She has filed an application to be transferred to United States to serve…

BP asks to resume drilling in Gulf Coast

Less than a year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster that pumped oil into the waters off the Gulf Coast, BP is applying for permission to resume drilling in the area, reports the New York Times. Citing two unnamed sources — “company officials with direct knowledge of the application” — the…

Apple called on to pull ‘gay cure’ app from iTunes

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple on Monday was under pressure to yank a so-called “gay cure” application from its iTunes shop for software for iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. More than 110,000 people had electronically signed an online petition at a change.org website calling for Apple to remove the Exodus International…

Vatican appoints Protestant to lead science body

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI named Saturday Nobel laureate Werner Arber, a Protestant, to head the Vatican’s scientific academy, the first time a non-Catholic is heading the centuries-old body. The 81-year old Swiss microbiologist will succeed Italian Nicola Cabibbo, who died in August, to lead the Pontifical Academy…

Vaseline launches skin-whitening Facebook India app

NEW DELHI — Skincare group Vaseline has introduced a skin-lightening application for Facebook in India, enabling users to make their skin whiter in their profile pictures. The download is designed to promote Vaseline’s range of skin-lightening creams for men, a huge and fast-growing market driven by fashion and a cultural…

Need to report Gulf spill issues? There’s an App for that

WASHINGTON — A team of software developers has created a free iPhone program that allows members of the public to report the presence of oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico. “Oil Reporter” was developed by CrisisCommons, an international volunteer network of technical and business professionals which…

Pulitzer winning cartoonist gets iPhone app reprieve

A once-rejected NewsToons political satire application for the iPhone was available at iTunes on Tuesday after Apple granted its Pulitzer Prize winning creator a reprieve. Apple had rejected the NewsToons application in December on the grounds it violated the iconic California firm’s developer rules by lambasting public officials. Newstoons creator…

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