World and Nation

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Microsoft to Spend $1.15 Billion For Xbox 360 Repairs

In what may be one of the costliest consumer warranty repairs in history, Microsoft announced Thursday that it would spend up to $1.15 billion to fix failing Xbox 360 game machine consoles.

While the company would not say how many units were failing, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, said there have been an "unacceptable high number of repairs." The "majority" of Xbox 360 owners, he said, have not experienced hardware failure. Company officials said that Microsoft had sold a total of 11.6 million Xbox 360 units as of the end of the last quarter, slightly shy of the 12 million units the company had predicted. The XBox 360, which first went of sale in November 2005, is currently the best selling game machine in the United States, according to NPD, a market research firm.

The size of the anticipated repair bill suggests that a third to as many as half of the machines are flawed.

The Redmond, Wash., company said it would take a charge of between $1.05 billion and $1.15 billion against earnings in the quarter ended June 30th. Consumers know they have a problem if three red flashing lights appear on the console. Gamers on online forums have taken to referring to the event as "the Red Ring of Death" because the machine then shuts down.

Bus Carrying 40 Is Buried In Mexico Landslide

A landslide completely buried a bus carrying at least 40 passengers in the mountains of southern Puebla State early on Wednesday morning, and by late evening rescuers began pulling out bodies. Most of the people on board were feared dead.

Though it took several hours for rescue operations to begin, more than 400 soldiers, firefighters and other rescue workers eventually arrived. By 8 p.m. the bus had been located, according to Miguel Monterrubio, a spokesman for President Felipe Calderon.

Rescue workers began to pull bodies from the rubble just after dark, newspapers and radio stations reported. One woman was found alive, but died minutes later. Work was expected to continue through the night.

The accident happened about 7:45 a.m. on a mountainous road between Tlacotepec de Porfirio Diaz and Zoquitlan in the Sierra Negra, a remote region of forested mountains at the juncture of the states of Puebla, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

New Applicants For Citizenship Spiking Sharply

The number of legal immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens is surging, officials say, prompted by imminent increases in fees to process naturalization applications, citizenship drives across the country and new feelings of insecurity among immigrants.

The citizenship campaigns have tapped into the uneasiness that legal immigrants, especially Hispanics, say is a result of months of debate over an immigration bill that failed last week in the Senate. Although illegal immigrants were the center of attention in the debate, it prompted many legal immigrants who have put down roots here to seek the security of citizenship, as well as its voting power, immigrants' advocates said.

The numbers of new naturalized citizens have steadily grown, to 702,589 last year from 463,204 in 2003. A big jump occurred this year, with the number of applications increasing every month, to 115,175 in May compared with 65,782 last December.