By Jill Serjeant NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. television was alive with "The Sound of Music" on Thursday as country singer Carrie Underwood and "True Blood" actor Stephen Moyer starred in a live version of the classic musical about an aspiring nun who falls in love with an Austrian captain. Filmed on vast movie sets and with lavish costumes but without an audience, the NBC television broadcast harked back to the traditions of the 1950s and 1960s when live musicals were often shown on American television. Thursday's three-hour show was based on the 1959 stage version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show rather than the Oscar-winning 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews. After heavy promotion for weeks, the live broadcast was the No. 2 topic on Twitter on Thursday, behind the death of South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
Microsoft announced it worked with police in Europe and the United States to disrupt a "dangerous" army of virus-infected computers used to hijack searches at Google, Bing and Yahoo. Microsoft's digital crimes unit teamed with Europol's European cybercrime centre, the FBI and tech industry allies to tackle a "Sirefef botnet" that commandeers search results and routes queries to websites rigged to infect computers with malicious code, steal information or make money from bogus online ad "clicks." The botnet, or network of machines infected with a virus that lets hackers take command, is also referred to as ZeroAccess and is believed to have spread across nearly two million computers around the world. Microsoft estimated the bogus online ad billing and stolen traffic cost advertisers about $2.7 million monthly.
A close associate of the reportedly disgraced uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking asylum in South Korea, local media said on Friday. Jang Song Thaek's aide, who managed Jang's funds, requested asylum about two months ago and is currently in China under the protection of South Korean officials, South Korea's cable news network YTN said, citing a source familiar with the matter. A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, Kim Eui-do, said the defection report could not be confirmed. South Korea's National Intelligence Service said this week that Jang, the de-facto No.2 in North Korea, was removed from his positions, possibly in late November.
By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela died peacefully at home at the age of 95 on Thursday after months fighting a lung infection, leaving his nation and the world in mourning for a man revered as a moral giant. President Jacob Zuma's announcement late on Thursday of the death of a man who was a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation reverberated through South Africa and around the world. Mandela's passing, while long expected, left Africa's biggest economy still distant from being the "Rainbow Nation" ideal of social peace and shared prosperity that he had proclaimed on his triumphant release from prison in 1990. "He's in a better place, but I really hope South Africa realises what he wanted us to be ... we are not even half-way to what he wanted us to be," local resident Jack Van der Merwe said in the Johannesburg suburb of Melville.