IN BRIEF

Talk will address housing, foreclosure

Mortgage Lending Commissioner Joseph Waltuch and Elisabeth Shurtleff, chairwoman of the Nevada Fight Fraud Taskforce, will speak today on housing foreclosure, loan modification and common scams.

The meeting, part of the Congress of Racial Equality’s series of free monthly seminars on financial issues, will start at 7:30 p.m. at Texas Station, 2101 Texas Star Lane.

Call 633-4464 for reservations.

MGM Mirage stock dips after payment made

Shares of MGM Mirage continued to drop Monday following the casino operator’s decision to pump $200 million into its troubled $8.7 billion CityCenter project.

On Friday the company, which is majority-owned by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, agreed to make the equity payment that includes the part owned by partner Dubai World. MGM was allowed to cover Dubai World’s commitment because the lenders agreed to a waiver. MGM and Dubai World still need to put up approximately $800 million more in equity before they can tap into a $1.8 billion credit agreement that completes the project’s funding.

MGM Mirage shares fell 45 cents, or 15.79 percent, Monday to close at $2.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.

HOUSTON

Unease over economy sends oil prices down

Oil prices tumbled below $49 Monday as unease about the economy, from Asia to Wall Street, raised doubts about the global appetite for energy.

Benchmark crude for May delivery fell more than 7.6 percent, or $3.97, to settle at $48.41 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consulting group Ritterbusch and Associates, said he expects oil to fall as low as $47 in advance of the U.S. crude inventory report, the monthly unemployment report and a meeting of the Group of 20 world leaders in London, all this week.

Bachelor venue coming to Hard Rock Hotel

The Hard Rock Hotel is tilting from Sin City to Skin City.

The Hard Rock Hotel and gentlemen’s club chain Rick’s Cabaret International announced Monday that they have partnered to design the “ultimate bachelor party venue” suite at the niche property.

The suite will be outfitted with a nightclub style sound and lighting system, goose down pillows, a master bath with a personal spa and, yes, a stripper pole.

The renter of the suite would, presumably, will have to provide his or her own stripper.

American Airlines to broaden Net access

American Airlines plans to expand internet access to about half its fleet of aircraft over the next two years as it attempts to raise revenue and improve customer service.

The company said Monday it will install flying Wi-Fi hot spots on about 300 planes used in the continental United States and charge up to $12.95 for browsing the Web, sending e-mail or connecting with corporate virtual private network sites.

The Internet access will be filtered to block pornographic sites.

American has been testing in-flight Internet service for several months on 15 planes.

WASHINGTON

Interest rates mixed in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in Monday’s auction with rates on three-month bills falling to the lowest level in two months while rates on six-month bills edged up.

The Treasury Department auctioned $31 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.195 percent, down from 0.225 percent last week. Another $29 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.42 percent, up from 0.39 percent last week.

Concerns over future send bank stocks down

Bank stocks are retreating amid fresh concerns that financial firms will need additional capital to weather the credit crisis and recession.

The KBW Bank Index, which tracks 24 of the nation’s largest banks, fell more than 7 percent to 27.06.

The fall comes a day after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during television interviews that the struggling banking sector might need even more money to help it right itself and increase lending.

The comments by Geithner affirmed that the credit crisis and recession is still weighing on banks.

LOS ANGELES

Former KB Home CEO enters not guilty plea

Former KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday to charges that he secretly backdated stock options to enrich himself and then concealed the scheme from regulators and investors.

Karatz, 63, entered the plea during a brief court appearance before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Johnson here. Johnson scheduled trial for May 19.

Karatz, who declined to comment after the hearing, could face a maximum sentence of 415 years in prison if convicted on all 20 felony charges. Regulators say Karatz personally netted more than $7 million from the backdating of options at Los Angeles-based KB Home. He served as chairman and chief executive from 1986 to 2006, when he resigned under fire.

He is one of just six executives nationwide to face criminal charges in the stock-option-manipulation scandal.

Free on $750,000 bond secured by his Bel-Air mansion, Karatz appeared in court with attorney John Keker of the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest. Keker declined to comment after the hearing.

MILPITAS, Calif.

KLA-Tencor will lay off 10 percent of staff

KLA-Tencor Corp. is laying off 10 percent of its global work force and consolidating facilities to cut costs as business conditions remain difficult.

The maker of chip manufacturing equipment, which had announced an earlier round of layoffs in November, aims to reduce quarterly operating costs by $140 million to $145 million by the end of the year. That’s down from the previous goal of $165 million to $170 million.

The company will also require time-off from workers and cut employee stock purchase plan benefits.

SAN FRANCISCO

Netflix raising prices for Blu-ray DVD rentals

Online digital video disc rental leader Netflix Inc. is raising its prices for Blu-ray discs in a change that will triple or quadruple the high-definition surcharge on Netflix’s most popular subscription plans.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company had been imposing a $1 monthly surcharge for Blu-ray rentals since September, regardless of how much the basic subscription plan costs.

Effective April 27, Netflix will adopt a sliding scale that will slap higher Blu-ray fees on plans that enable customers to check out multiple DVDs at a time.

Renters who pay $14 per month for Netflix’s two-DVD package will have to fork over another $3 if they want Blu-ray discs. Under another popular plan that costs $17 per month for three DVDs, customers who prefer Blu-ray discs will have to pay an additional $4.

All monthly fees will remain the same for customers who exclusively rent standard DVDs.

Netflix shares rose $2.35, or 5.92 percent, Monday to close at $42.03 on the Nasdaq National Market.

Google agrees to pay $20 million settlement

Google Inc., owner of the most-used Web-search engine, tentatively agreed to pay $20 million to resolve a lawsuit over claims it overcharged for advertisements that accompany Web search results.

CLRB Hanson Industries LLC sued in federal court in San Jose, Calif., claiming Google charges too much for text-based advertisements that appear alongside Internet search results. Under the proposed settlement, which needs a judge’s approval, Google would pay $20 million in cash and credits to users of its AdWords program, according to a March 26 court filing by the plaintiffs.

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., sells the ads using an online auction in which companies bid the amount they’re willing to pay when users click on ads.

NEW YORK

Car industry worries push Treasurys higher

Treasury prices mostly advanced Monday as worries about the stability of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC sent stocks tumbling.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 0.38 points to 100.25. Its yield fell to 2.71 percent late Monday from 2.76 percent late Friday. Prices move opposite to yields.

The 30-year bond rose 0.25 points to 98.16, and its yield fell to 3.60 percent from 3.62 percent.

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Business
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Varram lats you play with your pet remotely
Varram’s pet robot is designed to let you remotely interact with your real pet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES-Formlabs releases new products
Formlabs, a company that produces 3D printers for professionals, has released two new products that can be printed on their hardware. One is a material to print dentures, and the other is an elastic-like material that can be used for printing various flexible pieces. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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