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Business news in brief

In the Region Gomes to gambling’s Hall of Fame


Gomes to gambling's Hall of Fame

The late owner of Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City is headed to the Gaming Hall of Fame. Dennis Gomes was a veteran casino executive and mob-busting investigator in Las Vegas. He died in February of complications from kidney dialysis. The head of the American Gaming Association, Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., said the casino industry "lost one of its boldest and most creative owners." The movie Casino was based on a mob-run theft operation that Gomes uncovered while working with the Nevada Gaming Commission. The induction ceremony will be held Oct. 23 in Las Vegas. — AP

Comcast offers ESPN on iPhone, iPad

Comcast Corp., of Philadelphia, made available to its cable-TV subscribers the WatchESPN service for iPhone and iPad devices, part of the TV Everywhere initiative. The WatchESPN app is free and allows Comcast subscribers to stream ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU to the mobile devices. Comcast subscribers also can watch the channels on if they provide their Comcast credentials. Later this week, Comcast says WatchESPN will be available on Comcast acquired the mobile-streaming rights to ESPN content in a 10-year rights deal, valued at about $26 billion, with the Disney Co. in January. — Bob Fernandez

Prison for chemist in trade-secret theft

A former research chemist in the New Jersey office of Sanofi-Aventis has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for stealing trade secrets from her former employer. Yuan Li of Somerset also must serve two years of supervised release and pay $131,000 in restitution under the sentence. She had pleaded guilty in January. Federal prosecutors say the 30-year-old Chinese national made the secrets available for sale through the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese chemicals company called Abby Pharmatech in which Li was a partner. She worked from 2006 through 2011 at Sanofi's U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, researching potential future drugs. Li admitted accessing, downloading and making available for sale on Abby's website internal Sanofi database information on compounds the company says were trade secrets. — AP

Company fined over surgical mesh

RAM Medical Inc., of Wayne, N.J., was sentenced in federal court in Newark to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $72,922.43 in restitution for importing and selling counterfeit and contaminated surgical hernia mesh. RAM Medical had pleaded guilty through its founder, owner and president, Richard A. Mazon, in December. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark alleged that RAM Medical bought the hernia mesh via companies in India and the United Arab Emirates. — David Sell


Germany urges continued austerity

Germany and the European Commission called on European Union nations to stick to their agreed budget cuts despite mounting voter discontent. In elections on Sunday, voters in France and Greece strongly supported parties who want to roll back or slow down the spending cuts and tax increases that have defined Europe's response to its debt crisis. Labor unions and some governments want to boost economic growth to offset the impact on jobs that austerity measures are having. Officials in Berlin and Brussels said there was some room for more reforms to help growth, but insisted that any new growth policies must not detract from Europe's drive to lower its deficits. — AP

Utah gas drilling approved

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the approval of a major natural gas drilling project in Utah that the Obama administration says will support more than 4,000 jobs during its development while safeguarding critical wildlife habitat and air quality. Salazar said Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. would be allowed to develop up to 3,675 new gas wells over the next decade in eastern Utah. "It will help power the American economy," Salazar said. The move comes at a time when the Obama administration is under fire from critics who say his energy plan falls short and is hurting job growth and the economy with undue opposition to new drilling. The administration says the attacks are political rhetoric. — AP

Refunds for stalled Internet names

The organization behind a major expansion of Internet address suffixes is offering full refunds to companies and organizations affected by a weeks-long delay in taking proposals. Each application costs $185,000. Last month, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers abruptly shut down a system for letting companies and organizations propose new suffixes, after it discovered a software glitch that exposed some private data. Up to 1,000 domain name suffixes — the ".com" part of an Internet address — could be added each year in the most sweeping change to the domain name system since its creation in the 1980s. — AP

Exec changes at BlackBerry maker

Frank Boulben will be the new chief marketing officer at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. Kristian Tear is the new chief operating officer. The changes come as the struggling company looks to regain market share lost to Apple Inc.'s iPhone. RIM's new CEO described the marketing job as critically important. RIM has been without a chief marketing officer since last year and without a chief operating officer since Thorsten Heins was promoted to CEO in January. — AP

Employers posted 3.74M jobs in March

U.S. companies posted 3.74 million job openings in March, the Labor Department said. That was the highest number in nearly four years, up from 3.57 million in February. With roughly 12.7 million people unemployed in March, an average of 3.4 people competed for each opening. That's down from a nearly 7-to-1 ratio when the recession ended, but above the 2-to-1 ratio in a healthy job market. Economists were encouraged by the gain, saying it may mean weaker hiring gains already reported for March and April will be temporary. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill an opening. — AP

BofA to reduce some home loans

Homeowners with a Bank of America mortgage have good reason to check their mailbox. The lender said it has begun mailing out letters to customers who may qualify to have their home loans reduced as part of a multistate settlement over alleged foreclosure abuses. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company estimates that more than 200,000 of its customers could potentially be in line for a reduction in the principal balance on their mortgage. — AP

University sells corporate debt

Columbia University, the Ivy League school whose endowment grew the most last year, sold $100 million of 30-year bonds in its first corporate-debt offering since 1996. Columbia brought its largest corporate offering to date following sales by schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. The colleges are forgoing the tax-free municipal market for greater flexibility and record-low corporate bond yields. — Bloomberg News