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IN BRIEF

FDIC opens local office to aid borrowers with failed banks

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it will place two full-time employees in Las Vegas to help borrowers who had loans with banks that failed.

Numerous loans made in Las Vegas are now held in receivership. So the FDIC decided to make it easier for borrowers to have an FDIC office to contact locally. The closest FDIC field office is 250 miles away in Monrovia, Calif.

The FDIC office will be at 1400 S. Rainbow Blvd. starting the week of April 12 and can be reached at 310-6203. Edmund Di Panni and Raymond Rudnicki will work out of the office for an undetermined length of time.

NEW YORK

American, JetBlue partner
to offer connecting flights

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have formed a partnership to offer passengers connections to flights in and out of New York and Boston.

JetBlue customers will be able to connect on flights to 12 of American’s international destinations from JFK and Boston. American customers can book nonstop JetBlue flights from JFK and Boston to 18 domestic spots that American doesn’t serve from those cities.

The deal will feed new passengers into both carriers’ networks by allowing them to book both legs of their flight at the same time. For example, it will provide streamlined service for customers who fly from Nantucket, Mass., to JFK on JetBlue, and from there to London on American.

American, a unit of AMR Corp., also plans to add 23 more flights to and from seven new destinations out of New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports by the end of the year.

Nevada minimum wage, overtime rules changing

Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek on Wednesday announced changes to Nevada’s minimum wage and daily overtime law that will take effect this summer.

As of July 1, the minimum wage for employees who receive health benefits from their employers will increase from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour and the minimum wage for employees who do not receive health benefits will increase from $7.55 per hour to $8.25 per hour.

Also on July 1, employees with health benefits earning less than $10.875 per hour and employees earning less than $12.375 per hour without health benefits must be paid overtime if they work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period.

The changes do not affect employees who are exempt from overtime.

MENLO PARK, Calif.

Venture capital firm boosts fund for Apple iPad applications

One of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms is doubling its bet on Apple’s mobile gadgets in hopes of cashing in on the highly anticipated iPad.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has added $100 million to an “iFund” that started with $100 million two years ago. That’s when the firm began to invest in startups focused on building applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.

With that initial round of money now invested in 14 companies, Kleiner Perkins sees another golden opportunity in the iPad. Apple will start selling the computer tablet Saturday.

People pay attention to Kleiner Perkins’ high-tech wagers because the firm has hit so many other jackpots. Its previous investments include Google, Netscape and Amazon.com.

DETROIT

Trust fund raises $1.78 billion selling warrants for Ford stock

A union trust fund that pays the health care bills for retired Ford factory workers raised $1.78 billion by selling warrants to buy the automaker’s stock.

The United Auto Workers trust auctioned warrants to buy 362 million shares on Tuesday for $5 each. They can be exercised any time between now and the end of 2012.

More than 200,000 retirees and their spouses are covered by the trust, which started paying their health care costs in January after Ford began transferring to the fund cash and other assets, including the warrants, valued at $14.8 billion.

The trust was established in 2007 as part of negotiations between Ford and the UAW. It allowed Ford to remove billions of liabilities from its books and gave the union control of health care coverage at a time when Ford was struggling.

After watching Ford’s share price climb to a five-year high recently, the UAW-run trust saw an opportunity to cash in rather than wait.

ATLANTIC CITY

Executive says Revel close
to securing casino financing

Revel Entertainment’s CEO says the company is “very close” to a deal with China’s Export-Import Bank to provide the $1 billion needed to finish the New Jersey casino project.

“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress,” CEO Kevin DeSanctis told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “We’ve had multiple meetings, and I think we’re very close. All I need now is some money.”

Word that Revel is closing in on financing was long-sought good news about a project seen as Atlantic City’s best bet to compete with new slots parlors in neighboring states that have clawed away a large chunk of the resort’s business — and that soon will add table games.

Revel got under way in 2007. When it opens — 2012 is the new target date, two years late — Revel will boast nearly 2,000 hotel rooms, seven swimming pools, two nightclubs, three theaters, numerous shops and restaurants.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.

Lawmakers push to stop states’ delays of tax refunds

Lawmakers nationwide are pushing back against states that delay tax refunds in an effort to help ailing budgets. Their rallying cry? Give the people their money.

Holding onto the money allows states to use it for other purposes, earn interest on it or simply wait until there’s enough cash to cover the checks. But the cost can be an unhappy public.

Several states have delayed refunds this year and more did it last year. Backlash from unhappy taxpayers has prompted legislation in several states trying to force money to be returned faster.

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THE LATEST
High prices, lower inventory send existing home sales down 2.2%

The National Association of Realtors says that homes sold last month declined at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.38 million units, ending two months of sales gains.