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Business news in brief

In the Region

Pa. House to vote on benefits bill

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives has scheduled a vote Monday on legislation that would keep 20 weeks of federally funded extended benefits from ending June 11 for 45,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians. The benefits are the final 20 weeks of payments anyone can receive. If passed, a retroactive measure in the bill would allow benefits to be restored, even after June 11. The extension is just one part of the legislation, which is designed to deal with the state's unemployment trust fund, now insolvent. The state has borrowed $3.8 billion from the federal government to pay jobless benefits. The legislation would use a variety of means to beef up the fund, including toughening eligibility. The bill must then go to the Senate. - Jane M. Von Bergen

Boston Scientific wins ruling

Boston Scientific Corp., the maker of implanted heart devices, won an appeals court ruling in a patent-infringement case against Johnson & Johnson. J&J has major operations in the Philadelphia area. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington upheld a lower- court ruling that four patents on drug-coated stents owned by J&J's Cordis unit are invalid because the company failed to accurately describe the invention. The case is one of multiple disputes between J&J and Boston Scientific over stents, mesh tubes that prop open arteries. - Bloomberg News

Permits given for Delco facility

Eastern Metal Recycling Terminal L.L.C. has been awarded the necessary environmental permits to operate a metal shredding and recycling facility at the former Foamex manufacturing site in Eddystone. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection placed conditions on the permits to address public concerns about air and water quality, including contaminants in storm-water runoff to the Delaware River. - Diane Mastrull

Comcast adds home-security line

Comcast Corp., Philadelphia, is rolling out a home-security business as it seeks sales growth beyond TV services. It is starting Xfinity Home Security in seven markets for $39.95 a month. It lets users remotely adjust lights and thermostats, watch cameras, and get e-mail or text alerts when doors and windows are opened and closed. Comcast tested a version of the home-security service in Houston last year. The expanded package will be available in additional markets including Philadelphia and Nashville. Comcast plans to expand the service in other markets later. - Bloomberg News


Lawsuit costs carrier $89.5M

British Airways agreed to pay $89.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging it conspired with other airlines to fix prices for hauling cargo. The settlement covers actions between 2000 and 2006. It still needs approval by a federal judge in New York. The law firm that led the cases said the settlement was the 11th from airlines around the world, for a total of almost $434 million. The firm also says Lan Airlines SA, Lan Cargo, and Aerolinhas Brasileiras SA have agreed to pay $66 million to settle. The allegations also resulted in a major criminal investigation. So far, 21 airlines including British Airways have agreed to pay fines totaling more than $1.7 billion. Nineteen executives have been charged with wrongdoing, and four have gone to prison. - AP

Pullback on April job postings

Businesses advertised fewer jobs in April than the previous month, a sign that hiring could slow further in the coming months. Employers posted three million job openings, down from 3.1 million from March, the Labor Department said. Job openings have been stuck at about three million for three months. Openings fell across most sectors in the economy. The report, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, suggests that the pace of hiring won't pick up soon. Companies can take from one to three months to fill a job opening. - AP

Consumers borrowed more in April

Americans borrowed more money in April for the seventh straight month, but they cut back on using their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said consumer borrowing rose by nearly $7.2 billion, fueled by greater demand for school and auto loans. A category that measures credit-card use fell for the second time in three months. It has risen only twice since August 2008, near the height of the financial crisis. The report includes auto loans, student loans, and credit cards but excludes mortgages and loans tied to real estate. - AP

HSBC to pay $62.5M in settlement

HSBC Holdings P.L.C. agreed to pay $62.5 million to settle class-action claims by investors in a fund that had invested with Bernard L. Madoff Securities. HSBC, which was named as a defendant in several lawsuits, serviced several funds outside the United States, including the Thema International Fund in Ireland, which invested assets with Madoff's firm. HSBC had acted as a custodian and provided administration and other services, the bank said in a statement. The settlement with the Thema fund investors is "without any admission of wrongdoing or liability," said HSBC, one of Europe's largest banks. - New York Times News Service

Sony PS3 boss: 'No turning back'

The head of the Sony Corp. unit that makes the PlayStation 3 game console said there's no going back on a push to offer always-connected play despite hacking attacks that downed its network and will cost the Japanese company about $173 million in special costs. Kazuo Hirai, group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., said that connectivity was central to the PlayStation experience. - AP

EU warns states on budget plans

Plans by European Union governments to cut budget deficits and boost their economies are often too vague and not ambitious enough, the bloc's executive warned as part of a broader effort to prevent another crisis. For the first time this year, EU states had to submit their plans for government budgets and economic reforms to the European Commission, an exercise introduced last fall when the bloc was reeling from a steep economic downturn. The commission's policy recommendations seek to catch developments before they lead to another systemic crisis. Five EU states - the euro countries Greece, Ireland, and Portugal as well as Romania and Latvia - rely on billions of euros in international aid. - AP