Business news briefs for 6/8/10


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Jobs unveils Apple's thinner new iPhone 4

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says the next iPhone will have a higher-resolution screen, longer battery life and thinner design. Mr. Jobs opened Apple's annual conference in San Francisco for software developers Monday by unveiling the new iPhone 4, which is due to be released June 24. It will cost $199 or $299, depending on the capacity. It is about three-eighths of an inch thick; the previous iPhone was nearly half an inch. It is getting a camera on the front that could be used for videoconferencing, in addition to a five-megapixel camera and a flash on the back. It can shoot high-definition video, catching up to some other smart phones.

Australian group offers Duquesne Light interest

The lead investor in the consortium that bought Duquesne Light in 2007 is offering to sell its share of Pittsburgh's electric utility. The Diversified Utility and Energy Trust Group, based in Sydney, Australia, owns 29 percent of the company, which it said it wanted to sell in order to focus on Australian opportunities. Duquesne Light is the investment group's only non-Australian holding.

Chrysler to recall 600,000 minivans, Jeep Wranglers

Chrysler is recalling almost 600,000 minivans and Jeep Wranglers in the United States and another 100,000 elsewhere because of brake or wiring problems that could create safety issues, the company and federal regulators said Monday. Chrysler said it was recalling 288,968 Jeep Wranglers from the 2006 through 2010 model years due to a potential brake fluid leak. It also is recalling 284,831 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from the 2008 and 2009 model years because a wiring problem can cause a fire inside the sliding doors. Chrysler will notify owners and dealers about the repairs, which will be made free of charge. The recall is expected to start later this month.

Mortgage firms to pay in excessive-charge cases

Two Countrywide mortgage servicing companies will pay $108 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they collected excessive fees from strapped borrowers who were struggling to keep their homes. The money will reimburse overcharged homeowners whose loans were serviced by Countrywide before it was acquired by Bank of America in July 2008. Mortgage servicers collect and credit monthly mortgage payments. The FTC will notify homeowners affected by the settlement. For more information go to www.ftc.gov/countrywide.

Actress sues Bayer Corp. in birth-control pill case

An understudy in the Broadway musical "Wicked" is among the latest to file suit against Bayer Corp., claiming its Yasmin birth-control pill caused her health problems. Brenda Hamilton filed the civil suit in New York City claiming that Yasmin caused her to have a stroke at age 27. She claims Bayer knew Yasmin had a greater risk than other birth-control pills for blood clots and strokes and withheld that information from patients and doctors. Bayer did not comment.

Coca-Cola pays for rights to distribute Dr Pepper

The Coca-Cola Co. will pay $715 million to Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. for the rights to distribute Dr Pepper and Canada Dry in the United States after Coke acquires its largest bottler. Those drinks have been distributed by bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., a separate company that Coca-Cola is acquiring. That acquisition is expected to be finished in the fourth quarter. The new agreement will last for 20 years and includes renewal options and makes the company Dr Pepper's largest distributor, with about 42 percent of its business.

PNC to pay $1.38 million to settle patent lawsuit

PNC Financial Services Group will pay $1.38 million to license LML Patent Corp.'s patents for electronic check conversion transactions, LML said Monday. The deal settles a patent infringement lawsuit filed by LML in U.S. District Court in Texas. PNC declined comment.

Also in business ...

West Penn Allegheny Health System has recruited William K. Johnjulio to chair the system's Department of Family Medicine beginning July 1. Dr. Johnjulio has been chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at UPMC Mercy since 2001. ... William Wulfsohn resigned as senior vice president, industrial coatings, for PPG Industries effective this week to become president and CEO of Carpenter Technology Corp. of Reading, Pa. Carpenter makes specialty alloys.



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