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updated 3/21/2007 7:47:19 PM ET 2007-03-21T23:47:19

A new service lets visitors create custom news sites centered around niche hobbies, business ventures and other special interests, pulling stories on the topic from some 25,000 news sources.

Say, you're a big fan of curling, and have specific players you like to follow. Or perhaps you're a business executive needing to keep tabs on a diverse range of clients.

Congoo's new News Circles lets you pull news from about 480 predetermined categories or create your own using keywords. Once you've set up a circle, you can share the collection with friends and colleagues who have similar interests and needs. Others may add comments on specific items within the circle.

Congoo is one of several efforts aimed at helping people assemble news items from a variety of sources online rather than rely on a single media outlet, as was the case with the printed newspaper or a TV network's evening news.

The free news service gets about 150,000 news articles daily, including some through partnerships with for-pay sites like The Wall Street Journal. Access to the paid content is free, though users are limited on how many they can see a month.

The service attempts to group articles on related topics — news on the latest acquisition by Google Inc., for instance, would all appear together. That's a big difference from the Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, feed technology that many people use to pull news items on topics of interest, said Ash Nashed, Congoo's founder.

Congoo also differs from news portals like Google and Yahoo Inc. in offering more categories from which to choose, Nashed said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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