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Firefox leads among web browsers in Europe, firm says

BERLIN ­— For the first time in a decade, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is no longer the leading Web browser in Europe, ceding the position to Mozilla’s Firefox, an Irish research company that tracks web use said Tuesday.

While three research companies also active in the field disputed the finding, StatCounter, a company in Dublin, said that Firefox surpassed Internet Explorer as the top European browser in December, with a 38.1 percent share, compared with Explorer’s 37.5 percent.

“This is a watershed event for Europe,” said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s chief executive and founder.

Cullen said Microsoft had lost market share mainly to Google’s Chrome browser, whose share rose to 14.6 percent from 5.1 percent a year earlier.

Internet Explorer is still the leader worldwide, with a 46.9 percent share in December, versus 30.8 percent for Firefox and 14.9 percent for Google, StatCounter said.

Barbara Huppe, a Mozilla spokeswoman in Berlin, said that her company tended to follow other studies more closely, which still placed Microsoft ahead of Firefox in Europe. But she said the StatCounter ranking showed the market was tightening.

“This is very positive for us,” Huppe said. “We have been the top browser in Germany, the biggest European market, since 2010. That has helped us a lot.”

American Airlines in fee battle with Orbitz and Expedia

A traveler searching two of the four largest online travel services, Orbitz and Expedia, is not going to find any listings for American Airlines flights, at least for the moment.

That is because American is in a standoff over the fees it must pay to list its flights with the agencies. And while that is the immediate reason for the dispute, there is a broader issue at stake: how American’s tickets are displayed and marketed to travelers.

American has developed a new direct connection distribution technology — which Orbitz and Expedia have refused to adopt — that could change the way it displays and sells tickets. Rather than displaying fare listings based primarily on schedules and prices, American’s technology eventually will customize offers to a traveler’s individual needs. So, during booking, the site will display fees charged for more legroom, priority seating or whatever else the passenger prefers, thus enabling American to promote options that could generate more revenue.

Industry analysts expect that American will resolve the disputes. In fact, Cory Garner, American’s director of distribution strategy, said Tuesday that “discussions are ongoing” and that he hoped the differences would be resolved since “it is in the best interest of all of us to continue to do business together.”

Publisher tinkers with Twain

A new edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is missing something: the n-word.

In its place, 219 times throughout the book, is the word “slave,” a substitution that was made by NewSouth Books, a publisher based in Alabama, which plans to release the edition in February.

Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, approached the publisher with the idea in July. Gribben said Tuesday that he had been teaching Mark Twain for decades and always hesitated before reading aloud the common racial epithet, which is used liberally throughout the book, a reflection of social attitudes in the mid-19th century.

“I found myself right out of graduate school at Berkeley not wanting to pronounce that word when I was teaching either Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer,” he said. “And I don’t think I’m alone.”

Gribben, who combined Huckleberry Finn with Tom Sawyer in a single volume and also supplied an introduction, said he worried that Huckleberry Finn had fallen off reading lists and wanted to offer an edition that is not for scholars but for younger people and general readers.

Japan to propose closer military ties with South Korea

TOKYO — Responding to recent provocations by North Korea, Japan’s defense minister will soon visit Seoul with several proposals aimed at strengthening military ties despite South Korea’s lingering bitterness over Japan’s colonial past, Japanese news media reported on Tuesday.

During the trip next week, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa will propose that the two Asian neighbors sign separate agreements to cooperate in supplying each other’s armed forces during peacekeeping and other international operations, and to facilitate sharing of sensitive military information, the reports said. They also said he would propose Japan and South Korea increase military contacts by scheduling regular high-level meetings between defense officials.

One Japanese newspaper, the right-leaning Yomiuri Shimbun, also said the nations were working on a more sweeping, joint declaration on military cooperation, though a South Korean Defense Ministry official denied that. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the other agreements had been discussed with the Japanese, but emphasized that these were about low-level cooperation.

In Tokyo, a spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry refused to comment on the reports or the agenda of the trip. However, the fact that the anonymously sourced reports all carried the same information suggested that they had come from an official background briefing.