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Netflix to stream films and TV shows abroad

Netflix said Tuesday that it would begin offering its streaming movie and television service in Central America, South America and the Caribbean this year, a major expansion of the company’s geographic footprint.

Netflix has been available only in the U.S. and Canada. Investors have sought insight into the company’s international growth plans.

The expansion will total 43 countries, Netflix said in a news release. It did not specify when the streaming service would be for sale in those countries, beyond “later this year.” The service will be available in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Netflix declined requests for an interview about how it will license content in other languages. Licensing is thorny for services like Netflix because the rights to films and television shows are sometimes carved up on a country-by-country basis.

The Netflix chief executive, Reed Hastings, and chief financial officer, David Wells, acknowledged to shareholders in January that potential growth abroad was a fundamental issue.

—Brian Stelter, The New York Times

Dodgers press MLB for files in bankruptcy court

The Los Angeles Dodgers demanded on Tuesday that Major League Baseball turn over documents the team believes will show that the league’s “abusive” treatment of the team led to its filing for bankruptcy.

MLB’s actions reflected its “scheme to force a liquidity crisis” for the Dodgers, the filing said.

Team lawyers said in a motion filed in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware that MLB had refused to turn over many of the documents they asked for last weekend. The team said the evidence it was seeking would demonstrate MLB’s “bad faith” dealings in denying it the cash it needed to avoid bankruptcy.

It said the evidence would also show that baseball’s top executives, including Commissioner Bud Selig, had “treated the Dodgers more severely than other baseball teams in comparable circumstances.”

—Richard Sandomir, The New York Times

Search under way for sprout seeds linked to E. Coli outbreak

Authorities are frantically trying to trace all of the tainted fenugreek seeds from a large shipment linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe, saying the product was distributed more widely than previously thought.

In a new report, a large shipment of organic Egyptian fenugreek seed was distributed to dozens of companies in at least 12 European countries, the European Food Safety Authority said on Tuesday.Investigators were still trying to determine if additional countries had received some of the seeds.

“The trace forward operation is becoming complex and widespread and may take weeks,” the report said, referring to efforts to locate the seed shipments.

Investigators are now focusing on a single shipment of more than 16 tons of Egyptian fenugreek seeds that was received by a German importer in December 2009, according to the report.

Authorities say that sprouts grown from the seed, often used in salads, were responsible for two major outbreaks of a rare strain of E. coli bacteria, known as O104:H4.

The first outbreak, which began in Germany in May, has caused 49 deaths and more than 4,100 illnesses. A second outbreak in June sickened about 16 people in the Bordeaux area of France.

—William Neuman, The New York Times