Business Briefs: Group says it will stop cyber attacks on banks

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Group says it will stop cyber attacks on banks

A group claiming responsibility for attacks on websites of major U.S. banks in recent months said Tuesday it was suspending the attacks after the main copy of a controversial film was removed from YouTube. In an online posting on Pastebin, the al-Qassam Cyber Fighters said it would suspend "till further notice" denial-of-service attacks that have intermittently prevented customers from accessing their accounts at banks including PNC, Citizens and Huntington. The group said it would allow time for other copies of the anti-Islamic video to be removed.

Westinghouse to source Czech reactors locally

Westinghouse Electric Co. will source a majority of the steel needed for its Czech Republic nuclear power plants from local Czech companies, the Cranberry-based energy company announced Tuesday. The decision to construct the firm's AP1000 reactors with the local metals is part of a larger localization effort.

Harmar-based ATRP wins $2.6M in federal awards

ATRP Solutions, a Harmar company that makes specialty polymers used in cosmetics, detergents and other products, said it won two awards from the National Science Foundation that are expected to be worth a total $2.6 million in federal funding. The first grant, for $1.1 million, is the next installment of a previous NSF award that will be used to manufacture an ingredient that improves the texture and performance of products such as sunscreen and body lotions. The other funding, for $1.47 million, will be awarded in installments over two years to develop new ingredients for shampoos and other products. The grants will come from the federal Small Business Innovation Research program.

Consumer confidence plummets in January

An increase in Social Security taxes is leaving Americans with less take-home pay -- and a more negative outlook for the U.S. economy. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence plunged 8.1 points in January from December to 58.6. That's the lowest reading in 14 months and the third straight decline. Consumers also said they felt less optimistic about their job prospects over the next six months.

Home price index saw solid gain in November

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.5 percent in November compared with the same month a year ago. That's the largest year-over-year gain in six years. The largest gain was in Phoenix, where prices jumped nearly 23 percent. The index does not include Pittsburgh.

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Michael Baker said it has hired search firm Korn/Ferry International to help it find a replacement for president and CEO Bradley L. Mallory, who resigned at the request of the board of directors Dec. 13. ... A total $50,000 that Bayer Corp. donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts included $25,000 raised by employees and $25,000 in matching funds from the Bayer USA Foundation. The foundation previously donated $150,000 to the same agencies for emergency and recovery efforts following the hurricane.

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