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'Flu researchers' turn out to be movie pirates

Movie pirates ran a DVD factory in secret for two years by pretending they were scientists conducting research into highly contagious avian flu, according to Chinese police. The factory, in a quiet farming area in eastern China, sold more than 30 million DVDs before authorities finally noticed the mysterious flow of discs coming from the claimed 'research facility'.

Initially, the warnings about the hazard of deadly bird flu infections had been enough to keep local residents and suspicious officials well away from the factory at the end of a forest road.

Norton AntiVirus software detects a new 'virus': Microsoft Windows - and disables it

A routine update of anti-virus software has disabled tens of thousands of PCs in China, according to local media reports. The faulty update caused Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software to remove critical Windows XP system files, the reports state.

A wave of PC failures swept the country this morning as PC users switched on their PCs and the software took action. Some companies have been so badly hit - with hundreds of failed PCs - that they are unable to function, local reporters said.

Microsoft pays $50 million for Xbox GTA game exclusive

Microsoft is paying an unprecedented $50 million for exclusive rights to publish two episodes of the forthcoming game, Grand Theft Auto IV, on its Xbox 360 games console, according to statements from a senior executive at GTA IV publisher, Take-Two Interactive.

Take-Two has already recorded the payments in financial filings as deferred revenue, explained Lainie Goldstein, Take-Two's newly appointed CFO, in a conference call with analysts.

Apple invents iPod hearing protection technology

Apple iPod hearing impactApple acknowledges that portable media players, a class of products which includes the iPod, can cause hearing damage, according to a newly published patent application filed by the company. The application describes a method of reducing the risk of hearing loss. The document, which does not mention the iPod by name, was originally filed one month before a class action lawsuit which alleges the iPod series' design may exacerbate hearing loss.

Ebay still can't catch up in China

Chinese consumers spent more than $1bn buying products from each other in online auctions during last year's Christmas season, according to a recent survey.

The world's leading online consumer auctions firm, eBay, maintained its number 2 position in the market. Ebay handled 29 percent of auctions, leaving it a distant second to local rival Taobao, which brokered more than twice as many. Taobao is a subsidiary of China's leading business-to-business auctions firm, Alibaba.

Rocket Racers Fall to Earth

In a significant setback for the world's first rocket racing league, a founding team has abandoned the competition. The withdrawal of Leading Edge Rocket Racing leaves the league with only two teams.

The Rocket Racing League plans to run high speed, low level flying races between manned rockets. Backers hope that the League can eventually rival Nascar or Formula 1 racing as a sport, while simultaneously boosting spaceflight and aerospace research.

Demonstration events are planned for the end of 2007, the League announced earlier this year.

Google denies acquiring internet directory service

UPDATED: Google has denied claims that it has acquired 265.com, a leading Chinese online directory, despite a change in internet domain records that showed it as the owner for several days. Negotiations between the two firms have been rumored for some months, and 265.com altered its domain records last week to indicate that Google was now the owner of the domain.

40GB PS3 sells 50,000 in first day in Japan

Updated: Sales of Sony's PS3 video games console surged 300 per cent after the company released a cheaper model in Japan last week, according to leaked survey data.

Sony Japan introduced the new PS3 model with a 40GB hard disk drive on November 11. One day later, local PS3 weekly sales figures had soared from an average of 16,000 to almost 66,000.

Korean netizens furious at Colbert 'Kimchi' parody

Korean internet users are up in arms over a satirical video clip from US humorist Stephen Colbert.

Lawsuit over Wikipedia defamation

A Miami law firm faces a lawsuit after its internet connection was apparently used to make libelous comments on Wikipedia. Lawyers filed the suit on behalf of professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller in a Miami court last week, the Miami Herald reports