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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Microsoft fixes ‘critical’ security flaws

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Redmond, Wash. Microsoft Corp. released three security bulletins Tuesday to fix flaws that could let an attacker take complete control over a computer system.

The “critical” security flaws, the company’s highest threat level, affect Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The software maker released other patches to address less serious problems with Windows, the Exchange server system, services for the Unix operating system, Microsoft’s Interactive Training software for Windows, and ISA server, a network firewall program.

Microsoft said it was rereleasing three previous security bulletins: one for Windows, one for the .NET framework, and one for an SQL server scanning tool.

Some of the flaws affect computers with operating systems dating back to Windows 98. Users who have installed Microsoft’s massive security update for Windows XP, Service Pack 2, also will need to install some patches unless they’ve signed up for automatic updates.

S&P lowers Northwest Airlines’ debt rating

Minneapolis Standard & Poors downgraded Northwest Airlines Corp.’s debt rating on Tuesday, saying the nation’s fourth-largest carrier faces heavy losses and unions that aren’t accepting cuts.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered Northwest’s corporate debt two notches to CCC+, from B. Northwest’s short-term rating was cut one notch to C from B-3.

Standard & Poors airline analyst Philip Baggaley said Northwest was downgraded because of heavy losses expected this year and “the airline’s inability thus far to secure needed labor cost concessions, and sizable upcoming debt and pension obligations.”

Eagan-based Northwest lost $458 million in its latest quarter, which Baggaley blamed on high fuel prices and weak pricing for domestic flights.

Starbucks to close Torrefazione Italia cafes

Seattle Starbucks Corp. says it will close its Torrefazione Italia cafes, nearly two years after buying the chain and its sister company, Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Torrefazione has 17 stores in the Northwest, California, Chicago and Boston, where drinks are served in ceramic cups to re-create an Italian coffee-bar experience.

“Operationally, the stores were not performing where they needed to perform,” said Alan Hilowitz, a spokesman for Starbucks.

Starbucks has not said exactly when it will close the Torrefazione cafes.

Hilowitz said employees at each shuttered cafe will be able to opt for a transfer to Starbucks.

Umberto Bizzarri opened the first Torrefazione in the city’s Pioneer Square district in 1986, around the same time Howard Schultz, now Starbucks’ chairman, started his own chain of Italian-style coffee bars, Il Giornale.

In 1987, Starbucks merged with Il Giornale and has since become the world’s largest maker of specialty coffees.