TOKYO (AP) — Sony Corp. reported a 33.5 percent jump in quarterly profit as sales improved in its PlayStation 4 video game business.

Tokyo-based Sony kept its full-year profit projection unchanged Friday at 140 billion yen ($1.2 billion), which would be a reversal from red ink in the previous fiscal year.

Sony recorded a 120 billion yen ($1 billion) October-December profit. Sales for the fiscal third quarter edged up 0.5 percent to 2.58 trillion yen ($21.4 billion).

Sony, which also makes Bravia TVs and Xperia mobile phones, has been undergoing a marathon restructuring to focus on more profitable operations.

Sony’s sales were still struggling in image sensors and mobile communications. But it got a lift from better sales of PS4 game software as well as the machines.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate, which also has a music division, benefited from the strong theatrical performances of the films “Spectre” and “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

Sales in its music business improved with the release of Adele’s new album “25.” One Direction’s “Made in the A.M.” was also a strong seller.

The results appeared to show that Sony was gradually getting its restructuring under control, after selling some assets, such as its Vaio personal computer business and its stake in Japanese game maker Square Enix.

But its once strong brand image has lost much of its luster in the face of competition from Apple Inc. in digital music players and smartphones as well as Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea in TVs.


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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Absent Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidates strained to take advantage of a rare opportunity to step out of the front-runner’s shadow in Thursday night’s debate — a staid, policy-heavy contest that offered a glimpse of what the GOP contest might have been without the unpredictable businessman.

Still, the candidates couldn’t resist mocking Trump, who boycotted the final debate before Iowa kicks off voting in the 2016 campaign on Monday.

“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is competing with Trump for the lead in Iowa. Cruz then thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a frequent target of Trump, said with a wry smile, “I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me.”

Never one to go quietly, Trump held a competing rally elsewhere in Des Moines, an event he said raised $6 million for military veterans.

“When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” Trump said in explaining he was skipping the debate because he felt Fox News had dealt with him unfairly. Broadening his point, he said, “We have to stick up for ourselves as people and we have to stick up for our country if we’re being mistreated.”

Trump’s absence put the spotlight on Cruz, as well as on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who needs a strong showing in Iowa in order to stay in the top tier of candidates.

The two senators were confronted with video clips suggesting they had changed their positions on immigration, one of the most contentious issues among Republicans. While each insisted the other had flip-flopped, both denied they had switched their own views allowing some people in the U.S. illegally to stay.

Cruz accused Rubio of making a “politically advantageous” decision to support a 2013 Senate bill that included a pathway to citizenship, while the Florida senator said his rival was “willing to say or do anything to get votes.”

“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on,” Rubio said. “That he’s the most conservative guy.”

In a rare standout debate moment for Bush, the former Florida governor sharply sided with Cruz in accusing Rubio of having “cut and run” on the Senate immigration bill.

“He cut and ran because it wasn’t popular with conservatives,” said Bush.

Cruz was put on the spot over his opposition to ethanol subsidies that support Iowa’s powerful corn industry — a position that has long been considered politically untenable for presidential candidates in the state. The Texas senator cast his position as an effort to keep the government from picking economic winners and losers.

With their White House hopes on the line, the candidates worked hard to present themselves as best prepared to be commander in chief and take on terror threats.

Rubio struck an aggressive posture, pledging that as president he would go after terrorists “wherever they are. And if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo.” Rubio also stood by his previous calls for shutting down mosques in the U.S if there were indications that the Muslim religious centers were being used to radicalize terrorists.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — back on the main debate stage after being downgraded to an undercard event because of low poll numbers earlier this month — warned against closing down mosques. A proponent of a more isolationist foreign policy, Paul also raised concerns about the U.S. getting involved militarily in Syria, where the Islamic State group has a stronghold.

The candidates focused some of their most pointed attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“She is not qualified to be president of the United States,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

Christie is part of a crowded field of more mainstream candidates who have struggled to break through in an election year where Trump, and increasingly Cruz, have tapped into voter anger with the political system. Party leaders have grown increasingly anxious for some of the more traditional candidates to step aside to allow one to rise up and challenge for the nomination.

Asked whether the crowded establishment lane was putting Trump in position to win, Bush said, “We’re just starting out. The first vote hasn’t been counted. Why don’t we let the process work?”

Bush also defended the flurry of critical advertisements his well-funded super PAC has launched against Rubio and other rivals.

“It’s called politics,” Bush said. “That’s the way it is. I’m running hard.”

Bush and Christie, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are looking beyond Iowa and hoping New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary jumpstarts their campaigns. In an election where a lengthy political resume has been a liability, Kasich defended government’s ability to tackle big problems.

“We serve you,” Kasich said of government officials and voters. “You don’t serve us. We listen to you and then we act.”

Cruz proudly claimed he was “not the candidate of career politicians in Washington.” Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a small but loyal base in Iowa, said that even though he hasn’t been in government, he’s made plenty of life-and-death decisions as a doctor.

“I don’t think you need to be a politician to tell the truth,” he said.

Trump pulled out this week, citing unfair treatment from host Fox News. He’s feuded with the network for months, particularly anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

While Fox covered the debate, other cable channels aired portions of his rally at Drake University, likely pulling away at least some TV viewers.

Trump was joined by fellow candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who spoke briefly at the rally after appearing in an early undercard debate for low-polling candidates. Huckabee told the audience that he, Santorum and Trump are political competitors but “tonight we are colleagues” in supporting veterans.


AP writer Kathleen Ronayne contributed to this report.


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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It was clear, even before it started, that Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate would be dramatically different.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump had voluntarily given up his regular place at center stage. He skipped the debate, preferring to mount a rally across town to punish Fox News Channel for “toying” with him.

The billionaire businessman’s absence was addressed early and then his Republican rivals quickly moved on, getting a far better opportunity to shine. Overall, the two-hour affair featured a sober tone focused more on substance than personality.

There were exceptions, of course, as Ted Cruz defended his authenticity and Marco Rubio faced pointed questions on immigration.

But just days before Iowa’s leadoff caucuses, there were none of the breakout moments that have sometimes characterized the more colorful debates featuring Trump, battling Cruz for first place in the 2016 primary season’s opening contest.

Some takeaways from Thursday’s Republican debate:



Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to dominate the stage. There is little doubt he helped his rivals by not showing up.

He was mocked early and largely forgotten. Cruz set the tone with a sarcastic impression of his top rival: “I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” Cruz said. Then he thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up.

“I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me,” said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a frequent target of Trump.

Beyond a few playful jabs, the two-hour debate was a Trump-free zone, one of the few such events in the race so far.



Cruz fought to make sure he was positioned at center stage in Trump’s absence. And he embraced the role of de facto front-runner at the outset, pointing out that he was being attacked by several rivals — even before there were any pointed exchanges.

Cruz later faced sharp questions on immigration, national security and, perhaps most importantly, whether he was trustworthy. Trust is the theme of the fiery conservative’s campaign, and several candidates questioned his authenticity.

“Ted, throughout this campaign, you’ve been willing to say or do anything in order to get votes,” Rubio charged.

Cruz fought back by accusing Rubio of bending to the will of donors on immigration.



Rubio did not help himself among the conservatives who question his position on immigration. The issue is by far his greatest vulnerability as he tries to convince skeptical GOP activists that he doesn’t support so-called amnesty.

The debate moderators played a series of video clips highlighting Rubio’s apparent shift on the issue, which put the first-term senator on the defensive at the outset of a key exchange.

At best, Rubio may have clouded the issue of whether he had backed off his earlier calls for comprehensive legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship.

But rival Jeb Bush seemed to get the best of him in an exchange in which Bush questioned Rubio’s retreat on the issue.

“You shouldn’t cut and run,” Bush charged.



Bush repeatedly beat back questions about his long-term viability in the 2016 contest, insisting he has a path to the nomination and would ultimately defeat leading Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“We’re just starting. The first vote hasn’t been counted. Why don’t we let the process work?” Bush said.

Overall, Bush had more success on the debate stage without having to contend with Trump. His strength — and full-steam-ahead approach — was a pointed reminder that the fight for the party’s mainstream wing is far from over.

Bush and Rubio are competing with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to win over the GOP’s centrist wing. Some party officials hoped Rubio would have emerged as the consensus choice by now.

Bush defended rounds of anti-Rubio attack ads.

“This is beanbag compared to what the Clinton hit machine is going to do to the Republican nominee,” Bush said.



It was a risky move politically, but Donald Trump helped raise $6 million to benefit veterans at an event three miles away from the debate stage.

Instead of going after his rivals on national television, Trump read out the names of wealthy friends who’d pledged major contributions to veterans’ causes. When he announced he’d pledged $1 million himself, the crowd erupted into cheers.

He explained to the Drake University crowd that he had little choice but to skip the debate. Trump admitted he didn’t know if the decision would hurt him in the polls, but tried to cast it as a sign of strength.

“You have to stick up for your rights. When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” he said.

As for the debate, Trump predicted it would have far fewer viewers without him on the stage. That may be true, but Iowa voters will decide in four days whether Trump hurt his chances in the 2016 race simply to prove a point.


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CLEVELAND (AP) — Johnny Manziel’s relationship with the Browns may be strained and showing sizeable cracks.

Owner Jimmy Haslam isn’t ready to call it over.

Manziel’s off-field antics, which led to him being benched last season and include new videos of him partying, have concerned the Browns but Haslam isn’t ready to publicly say the quarterback’s days in Cleveland have ended.

Speaking with reporters backstage at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards along with wife and co-owner, Dee, Haslam discussed several topics before the event, including his recently hired and restructured front office and Manziel, who has had two tumultuous seasons with Browns.

Manziel was benched last season by former coach Mike Pettine for off-field misbehavior, and Haslam was asked if he was concerned that more videos have surfaced of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who spent 73 days in rehab last year, partying.

“I think we made clear, I don’t have any different feelings than we had on Sunday January 3rd,” Haslam said referring to the final day of the season when Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer were fired hours after a loss to Pittsburgh. “I think Johnny made progress on the field last year. I think that’s undeniable. We have a certain expectation for our players and that includes Johnny and he’s got to live up to those expectations.”

The Browns may have already decided to move on from Manziel and will trade or release him.

Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown doesn’t think that would be the right move.

“I know a lot of kids that if you don’t know how to deal with them you lose them,” said the greatest Brown of them all. “They don’t come ready made. But on the other hand the argument is that he’s a man. He should know how to conduct himself. He has an opportunity. We’ve got all of that. But I like him and I hope that they are able to relate, and I think if they’re able to relate that he will respect the coach.

“I don’t want to see him traded or anything like that.”

New Browns coach Hue Jackson has not yet spoken to Manziel, but Haslam is confident that meeting will take place soon. Haslam said there would be obvious disappointment if that day comes.

“Look, one of the reasons the Browns are in the condition they’re in is they’ve not drafted well,” he said. “Our predecessors didn’t draft well and we didn’t draft well. Any time a number one draft pick or any high draft pick is not successful and is not a big contributor, that’s disappointing to the organization.”

Haslam said any decision about Manziel’s future with Cleveland will be made by Jackson and new vice president of football operations Sashi Brown.

The Browns have the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft and will likely use it on a quarterback, perhaps California’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, who met with Jackson this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Quarterback Josh McCown, who started for Cleveland last season and grew close to Manziel, isn’t sure a change of scenery would be best for the Browns and the young QB.

“It’s hard for me to comment on that,” he said. “I want what’s best for him, and he’s a member of our team, so it’s what can we do for him to help him be the best member of the Cleveland Browns that he can in whatever role that is? So that’s what I’m for.”



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