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... worth noting 6/5/03

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net1

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:: RealNetworks is launching a new service that delivers music, sports, news and entertainment audio and video to mobile phones and handheld computers running its software. Devices such as Nokia's 3650 camera-phone and Palm's Tungsten T and Zire 71 personal digital assistants are being shipped with its software for the new service.

:: Ted Turner, AOL Time Warner's largest shareholder and vice chairman, has sold nearly half his stake in the US media giant at a huge loss. Apparently the CNN founder has offloaded 60m shares, which have lost 70% of their value in the two years since the record-breaking £66bn merger between Internet giant America Online and Time Warner, owner of cable networks, Time magazine, a Hollywood studio and a major record label.

:: Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas are threatening legal action after topless pictures of the actress while heavily pregnant were posted on the Internet. The Hollywood couple's lawyers accused US radio operator Clear Channel Worldwide of 'continued malicious conduct' for allowing the photos on its Web sites.

:: Internet company USA Interactive, controlled by media mogul Barry Diller, is buying Web-based loan provider LendingTree for $720m (£446m) in stock, pushing the travel and retail merchant into financial services. The deal adds LendingTree to its array of retail businesses, which include Ticketmaster and the Home Shopping Network, in an attempt to rival ebay and Amazon for dominance in transacting net-based commerce. The deal values LendingTree at $21.67 (£13.4) per share or a 47.5% premium above its closing price of $14.69 (£19.10) on Friday.

:: Record labels have started developing Trojan horses and viruses that will attack the machines of people downloading copyright music. Some of the world's largest record labels are quietly financing the creation of programs by small software firms that, if implemented, would sabotage the computers and Internet connections of people who download pirated music, according to a published report.

:: T-Mobile is expected to reveal that it has lost up to 400,000 subscribers in the first three months of this year in the wake of a 'tidying-up' exercise which has seen it shed a host of customers who make limited use of its service.

:: BT has called on the UK Government to kick-start rural broadband initiatives. BT's Director for Public Sector Broadband, Patricia Jones, has said it was not doing enough to get fast net services to those on the wrong side of the digital divide.

:: Walt Disney is to launch its online multiplayer video game Toontown with an advertising campaign and a $9.95 (£6.16) per month subscription fee. The game which launches in June has been in trial for months and lets young players collaborate on line in a battle fought with gags rather than bullets is the first unit of what designers plan as a 'virtual theme park'.

:: Pay-per-click advertising network Espotting Media has joined forces with Exhibitions.com to promote its service to the event company's users. The joint marketing deal will see Espotting promote its services to Exhibitions.com's user base, by way of email and online campaigns. In return, Espotting will add Exhibitions.com to its network, to increase brand awareness and traffic to its site.