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In Brief

NEW YORK

Cisco Systems will roll out own tablet computer in ’11

Thanks to Apple Inc.’s iPad, tablet computers are finally a hot consumer item — after many false starts. On Tuesday, Cisco Systems Inc. said it aims to take the tablet computer into the business world with its own device, to launch early next year.

Cisco says its tablet, the Cius, has been in the works for a year and a half. The Cius will have a 7-inch screen, making it smaller and lighter than the iPad. While the iPad has no camera, the Cius will have two, facing both toward and away from the user. Videoconferencing on the go will be a major focus of the product, according to Barry O’Sullivan, senior vice president of Cisco’s Voice Technology Group.

The Cius will run Google Inc.’s Android software, which is popular in smart phones that compete with Apple’s iPhone.

Geothermal power plant granted fast-track status

The federal Bureau of Land Management has approved a company’s "fast-track" plan to build a 30-megawatt geothermal power plant in Nevada’s Pershing County.

The BLM says Ormat Technologies’ Jersey Valley Project will cover a little more than 13 square miles at a site about 120 miles northeast of Reno.

The BLM granted first-phase approval June 4 for a 15-megawatt plant. A second plant may be built next year.

Jersey Valley is BLM’s second geothermal fast-track project in Nevada.

The 49.5-megawatt Blue Mountain plant began operating in October in Humboldt County.

Nevada has 11 geothermal plants, including three on BLM-managed public lands. Officials say they produce more than 325 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power more than 200,000 homes.

WASHINGTON

Homebuyers who qualified for credit get time to close deals

Homebuyers would get an extra three months to complete their purchases and qualify for a generous tax credit under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the House on Tuesday.

Under current law, homebuyers who signed purchase agreements by April 30 have until to day to close on the sale to qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. The bill would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases.

The extended deadline only applies to people who signed purchase agreements by April 30. The National Association of Realtors estimates that about 180,000 homebuyers who already signed purchase agreements are likely to miss today’s deadline.

The bill passed 409-5. It now goes to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has sponsored a similar measure.

MINNEAPOLIS

Charges push quarterly profits down for General Mills Inc.

General Mills Inc. reported Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income dipped as its revenue fell and it recorded several one-time charges.

The maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and other foods met analyst predictions. But it forecast 2011 earnings below Wall Street’s expectations, and its shares fell in after-hours trading.

The company said it earned $211.9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the quarter. That’s down from $358.8 million, or 53 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 41 cents per share for the quarter. That compares with adjusted net income of 43 cents per share a year earlier, after accounting for the company’s 2-for-1 stock split during the quarter this year.

General Mills’ revenue fell 2 percent to $3.57 billion, hurt partly by an extra week in last year’s fourth quarter.

LOS ANGELES

Aiming for bigger profits, Hulu unveils subscription service

Online video site Hulu, under pressure from its media company parents to generate a bigger profit, launched a subscription service Tuesday with complete access to back episodes of popular television shows.

For $9.99 a month, subscribers can get the entire current season of "Glee," "The Office," "House" and other shows from broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC, as well as all the past seasons of several series. The popular, ad-supported website will continue to have a few recent episodes for free online.

The new site is initially available by invitation only on computers and through special applications designed for Apple Inc.’s iPad and iPhones and certain Samsung Blu-ray players and TVs — the first time Hulu is available off desktop and laptop computers.

It’s coming soon to Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 and some of its TVs and Blu-ray players, and there are plans to launch on Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox early next year.

Hulu’s media parents include Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and News Corp.

DETROIT

GM sees itself selling 2 million vehicles in China this year

GM told potential investors Tuesday it will be the first global automaker to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China this year, portraying itself as poised for overseas growth a year after exiting bankruptcy protection.

General Motors Co. executives are trying to convince investors that the company, which emerged from a government-led restructuring last July, can money because of its international strength and lower expenses. The automaker, now a private company 61 percent held by the government, plans to sell shares to the public as early as the fourth quarter of 2010.

GM’s market share in China is 13.3 percent. GM’s sales there will grow, even with small market share increases, because overall Chinese auto sales are expected to keep climbing, including a 20 percent jump this year to 16.5 million.

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