Stories for April 2008

Wednesday, April 30

United Online Buying Florist FTD Group Inc.

Online service provider United Online has agreed to purchase global florist FTD Group Inc. In a deal worth $800 million.

State's New Vehicle Registrations Declined in First Quarter

New cars and light truck registrations in California declined by 18.6 percent in the first quarter.

Fed Cuts Key Rate

On an 8-2 vote, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point, to 2.0 percent, citing a high level of uncertainty about inflation.

Many Postal Rate Changes to Take Effect May 12

Businesses may find themselves getting a bit of a break from the U.S. Postal Service come May 12.

Tuesday, April 29

Western Commercial Bank Profitable Again

Bank records second consecutive profitable quarter

K-Swiss Earnings Tumble

First quarter 2008 earnings were 60 percent lower than Q1 2007

Bank of Santa Clarita Bucks Trend

Santa Clarita's only locally headquartered bank reports profit

IPC Signs Five New Contracts with IASIS Healthcare

North Hollywood-based physician group practice enters into agreements

Monday, April 28

Retailers Get Cast In Big Studio Role

Stylists with major retailers give the scoop on how they make television and film actors look good on screen

School No. 13 is Unlucky for Firms

Panorama City businesses face relocation to make way for a new elementary school.

Bank of America to pledge mortgage aid

Pushing to fast-track its takeover of wounded home-loan goliath Countrywide Financial Corp., Bank of America Corp. will promise to help 265,000 troubled borrowers keep their homes over the next two years by refinancing or modifying at least $40 billion in

Speaking Unique Language of Apparel Law and Finance

Lawyers, accountants have piece of the fashion pie

Employers Must Abide By State Wage-Hour Rules

Employers Must Abide By State Wage-Hour Rules. Q & A; Column by Ira Rosenblatt

Nation, Region Stir Concerns as Summit Nears

Preview on the annual Economic Summit and Forecast.

What Is Biotech Anyway?

What Is Biotech Anyway? From Broad to Narrow, Industry Means Something Different to Each Scientist

Need for Products Seen As Driver

Need for Products Seen As Driver. Biotech Funding Available But 101 Corridor Faces Challenges In Attracting Investor Interest

Aviation Executives To Meet in Van Nuys On Airport Issues

Preview on the American Association of Airport Executives general aviation conference at Van Nuys Airport in May.

Simi Valley Hospital Addition to Open

Simi Valley Hospital has been upgraded.


A new reader-driven feature: photographs of Valley business people being feted, awarded, commended or just taking part in interesting regional events.


Stock activity for 50 selected greater San Fernando Valley-based public companies: Bi-Weekly Top Gainers, Losers; The Valley 50 Stock Index; 52-week Performance; Market Summary / Indexes

Stimulus program rebates start today

The government's economic stimulus program begins April 28, and William Pearson of Los Angeles is ready to receive his $600 tax rebate -- and hoard it.

Transformation of Roscoe Blvd. Building Complete

Linda Coburn reports on new developments and transactions

Economic Impact - Industry Raises Salary Averages

Industry Raises Salary Averages. Housing Prices, Retail Sales Among Sectors That Get Boost From Amgen, Other Firms

Filmmaker Turns Camera On Baseball Love Affair

Holy Cow! Filmmaker John Scheinfeld talks about his new project on the Chicago Cubs. Column by Mark Madler

VICA 'Hall of Fame' Honors Pioneers

VICA Business Hall of Fame

Woodbury, CSUN Prepare Students for Industry Jobs

Burbank university dresses the world in style with its Fashion Marketing degree program and their Fashion Design program

Life Beyond Amgen

Life Beyond Amgen - Are Smaller Firms Standing Ready To Create Cluster Of Growth?

LAUSD's Bad Biz Practices

LAUSD's Bad Biz Practices. Guest Column by Rickey Gelb

Technology Transfer: A Crucial Biotech Component

A Crucial Biotech Component

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Partners in Cleanup

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Partners in Cleanup. This regular feature focuses on philanthropic activities by Valley-area companies and businesspeople.

North County Area Nurturing Biotech

Santa Clarita Also Leads Flurry of Activity in Region

Court Ruling Gives Guidance On Workplace Retaliation Sue Ben David

Court Ruling Gives Guidance On Workplace Retaliation Sue Ben David

Interior Design Firm Finds Right Space in Valley

Hospitality and residential interior design firm Creative Resource Associates has opened a state of the art facility in Woodland Hills.

Familiar Faces

The Dakar family of MINDYS Cosmetics

Filming Still Down Though Strike is Over

Filming Still Down Though Strike is Over


Charts of Economic Indicators, Real Estate, Tourism...

Driven to Please

Limousine Connection in North Hollywood

A Success Story

Ceres Doing What Most Firms Strive for; Moving Toward Marketing of a Product

Biomedical Industry Thriving in Santa Clarita

Biomedical Industry Thriving in Santa Clarita

Biotech Companies Along The 101 Corridor

List of Biotech Companies Along The 101 Corridor

Valley-Area Colleges Push Biotech Curriculum

Students Offered Research, Laboratory Experience for Industry-Related Careers

There Really Is a Here, Here

Remember Otto's Pink Pig and Busch Gardens in Van Nuys? Martin Cooper does.

Help From the Public Sector Seen as Crucial for Firms

Help From the Public Sector Seen as Crucial for Firms

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity. Creating a New Regional Life Sciences Industry

Global Reach?

Although Their Cluster is Small, Local Companies Push to Have Greater Role in World of Biotech

Apparel Industry is Alive and Kicking

Jerry Leigh, K-Swiss, Cherokee and Juicy Couture call the Valley home

TV crew members still feeling effects of writers strike

Many can't find work with production down, and their bills are piling up. Some are facing foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Biotech 101: Sorting it Out

New Life Sciences Ecosystem Developing as Commercialization Shifts From Large Companies to Smaller, More Efficient Startups

Why Has Area Failed to Build a Biotech Cluster?

With biotech giant Amgen undergoing big changes in recent months that include hundreds of layoffs of scientists, the stage has been set for growth of the fledgling biotech industry along the so-called "101 Corridor" in the West San Fernando Valley and Con

Thursday, April 24

Amgen Sales Down in Q1

Net income for pharmaceutical manufacturer Amgen increased a sluggish 2 percent for the first quarter when compared to a year ago.

SAG, studios extend talks one week

The Screen Actors Guild and major Hollywood studios have agreed to extend their contract talks another week in a sign that the two sides are making some, albeit limited, headway in their negotiations toward a new three-year agreement.

Engineer Firm Named For Lancaster Biorefinery

BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc. hired Brinderson to engineer and construct a biorefinery in Lancaster.

City looks for ways to ease parking congestion

MAGNOLIA PARK , Ten years ago, Wayne Thornton never had a problem finding a parking spot near his store.

Late Deliveries Leads to Net Loss

Inability to deliver product on time to its customers contributed to power conversion manufacturer Power-One Inc. posting a net loss for the first quarter.

U.S. offers L.A. $213 million for toll lane plan

MTA will weigh project to convert carpool lanes to congestion pricing, beginning with parts of the 10 and 210 freeways, but many obstacles remain.

Despite Weak Sales, Ixia Posts Profit

Performance test systems manufacturer Ixia had a weak first quarter noted by a sales drop in Canadian and European markets.

Youbet Names New CEO

Michael Brodsky has been named as the new president and CEO of online wagering firm

Wednesday, April 23

Aerospace exports flew high in '07

The U.S. aerospace export balance soared to a record $60.4 billion in 2007, good news for the about 75,000 workers employed by the industry in Los Angeles County, an industry group reported.

California home foreclosures hit a record

The number rises to 47,171 in the first quarter, more than four times as many as a year earlier.

Teledyne Ups Earnings Guidance

Teledyne Technologies Inc. restated its earnings guidance for the year due to anticipated growth in its defense-related business units.

Kaiser Permanente Celebrates New Panorama City Hospital

Elected officials, business and community leaders and the public will join Kaiser Permanente to celebrate the opening of the new hospital in Panorama City.

Court Throws Out Restraining Order against SEIU

The Alameda County Superior court has dismissed a temporary restraining order against the Service Employees International Union and its President Andy Stern obtained April 15 by the California Nurses Association.

Agency OKs expansion of DreamWorks site

A proposed expansion of the DreamWorks Animation campus on Flower Street in Glendale sailed through the Redevelopment Agency, paving the way for the studio to fulfill the majority of its remaining square footage allowed in a 1996 development agreement.

Tuesday, April 22

Inphi In Buying Mood; Eyes IPO

Electronic components manufacturer Inphi Corp. looks to acquire similar companies and take itself public in 2009.

Mayor proposes deep cuts in city budget

Facing the largest deficit in Los Angeles history, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a $7 billion budget that seeks to add more police and firefighters, but cuts deep into city spending and raises dozens of fees on everything from parking to golf.

California sees $4 gasoline up ahead

With oil and gasoline touching all-time highs again April 21, raging energy-price fever showed no sign of breaking. Before it's over, oil could cost at least $125 a barrel and gasoline more than $4 a gallon in California.

F-117 is leaving the same way it arrived -- stealthily

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin are giving a secret retirement send-off to the world's first radar-evading fighter.

Monday, April 21

Bank of America net down 77% on credit losses

NEW YORK -- Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. retail bank, said quarterly profit fell a larger-than-expected 77%, dragged down by more than $5 billion of write-downs and credit-related costs.

Retail gas hits record $3.50 a gallon as oil marches higher

NEW YORK -- Retail gas prices hit another new milestone April 21, jumping to an average $3.50 a gallon at filling stations across the country. Crude oil prices, meanwhile, set new records of their own, spiking above $117 a barrel after an attack on a Japa

Palmdale gains new upscale restaurant

PALMDALE - Navdeep Jaggi already owns a small Palmdale cafe, but it was the launch of his second venture last month that fulfilled a lifelong dream.

SEIU Seeks Dismissal of Restraining Order

The Service Employees International Union plans to file a motion to dismiss the temporary restraining order filed last week by the California Nurses Association against the organization and its president, Andy Stern, for harassment.

Friday, April 18

Apartment Owners Refinance

Venture West Funding of El Segundo, Calif. has arranged $24 million in refinancing for two owners of multi-family properties in Sherman Oaks, Chatsworth and Brentwood. Matt Douglas, principal of Venture West brokered the deals.

GlaxoSmithKline Renews License With Simulations Plus

Pharmaceutical software firm Simulations Plus Inc. announced that GlaxoSmithKline has renewed its global multi-year license for Simulations Plus software and has added a new site at its Parsippany, N.J. location.

Sign stands out in Hollywood plot

The world-famous HOLLYWOOD sign that has been used by TV and movie directors in more scene-setting shots than a film student could ever count was first erected in 1923 to promote real estate in the fledgling capital of celluloid.

AT & T; to cut about 4,600 jobs, sees $374 million 1Q charge

NEW YORK -- AT & T; Inc. on Friday said it plans to cut about 4,600 jobs, or 1.5 percent of its work force, to shift resources to growing parts of its business.

East West Q1 Profits Plummet

Pasadena-based East West Bancorp Inc. has seen its share price fall to its lowest point in the past year, to $13.97, in the two days following the company's announcement that first-quarter profits were 88 percent lower than the previous quarter.

Rising Beer Prices Hard To Swallow

Brewers are forced to pass along higher costs for their main ingredients.

Thursday, April 17

Q1 Office Vacancy Rates Jump Again

Office vacancy rates rose 11.7% for the first quarter in the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County markets, the third consecutive quarter of negative net absorption, according to the Colliers International Market Report.

Gas prices pass $3.40 a gallon, are expected to rise higher

NEW YORK -- Retail gas prices pushed past a record high $3.40 a gallon, fulfilling expectations that they'll keep climbing toward $4 as the summer driving season approaches.

Valley Firms Join 3D Consortium

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and four other Valley region companies are among the founders of a new consortium to bring affordable 3D entertainment to the home.

Anthem Blue Cross sued over rescissions

The state's largest for-profit health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, was accused of a widespread pattern of false advertising and fraud in a $1-billion lawsuit that claims that the company's coverage "is largely illusory."

Wednesday, April 16

Power-One Gets Injunction Against Competitor

A federal court in Texas issued a permanent injunction to enforce a jury verdict in an infringement case involving Power-One Inc.

A revival in Reseda

An abandoned theater under renovation in the San Fernando Valley suburb is seen as a centerpiece of the area's renewal.

March consumer prices up despite big drop in clothing costs

WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices pushed higher last month as increases in energy, food and airline tickets overwhelmed the biggest drop in clothing prices in nearly a decade.

Wholesale prices rise faster than expected

WASHINGTON -- Soaring food and fuel costs caused wholesale prices to rise much faster than expected last month, raising the possibility of more sticker shock for consumers and more inflationary pressure for the nation's economy.

Waste Management Buys Pacoima Recycler

Recycling firm Looney Bins has been acquired by Waste Management, one of the largest waste haulers in the country.

Telecom Bill Passes Senate Committee

A state Senate committee gave its approval to a bill streamlining the process to approve mergers between phone companies.

Valley Area Code Overlay Up For Vote

A new area code for the San Fernando Valley goes before the California Public Utilities Commission next week for approval.

North American Appeals Delisting

A hearing takes place next month in which North American Scientific Inc. will appeal The NASDAQ Stock Market's decision to de-list the company.

Cherokee Profits Down in Fiscal '08

Brand management company Cherokee Inc. reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Feb. 2.

Park is shut indefinitely as more lead found

CHATSWORTH - A popular San Fernando Valley park closed since Valentine's Day will remain fenced off indefinitely after the discovery of more lead in the soil near playgrounds and picnic areas, according to a report obtained by the Daily News.

Tuesday, April 15

Carleo Named Acting President Of Valley College

Sue Carleo, a senior vice chancellor with the Los Angeles Community College District, has been named as the acting president of Los Angeles Valley College.

Satellite Firm Makes Canadian Connection

Satellite space re-reseller The Spaceconnection has agreed to acquire the occasional use satellite space segment business of 5DTV.

Baja Fresh Sets Sights East

Food chain Baja Fresh Mexican Grill announced April 15 that its future immediate franchise growth would focus on New York City, Boston and Atlanta.

Monday, April 14

Retailers aim for share of rebate checks

Prepare yourself. Tax rebates intended to jolt recession-wary consumers into spending won't start arriving in mailboxes until next month, but tax-rebate advertising has begun. And retailers are only warming up.

Volunteers Give Classrooms a Facelift

A Burbank elementary school gets a makeover thanks to a credit union's volunteer program

PUC Amendment to Streamline Telecom Mergers Will Be Voted on by Senate

A State Senate bill to streamline telecom mergers is going to a vote.

UCC Says Trade Pact Offers Californians a Fair Deal

The UCC supports the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Alliance Hires Marketing Team to Update Program

A new marketing campaign is being developed.

Roundtable Agreed: More Tourism Promotion Needed

People with a stake in the hospitality and tourism business get together to discuss the future of the industry in the Valley.


Stock activity for 50 selected greater San Fernando Valley-based public companies: Bi-Weekly Top Gainers, Losers; The Valley 50 Stock Index; 52-week Performance; Market Summary / Indexes

Covering All The Bases

An interview with Antelope Valley Jethawks general manager

Tourism Shines

The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the bright spots in the Valley economy.

Incoming Daily News Editor to Immerse Herself in Community

A new editor will be starting at the Daily News.


Charts of Economic Indicators, Real Estate, Tourism...

Funds for Bureau Head Dry Up

The Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau position never became a full-time one.

WaMu to Close 3 Area Loan Offices

WaMu to Close 3 Area Loan Offices

Blockbuster plans takeover bid of Circuit City

DALLAS -- Blockbuster Inc. said today that it would take an unsolicited $1 billion-plus bid for Circuit City Stores Inc. directly to shareholders of the nation's second biggest consumer electronics chain, saying the struggling retailer has not responded t

Blue Cross Becomes 'Anthem' in California

Blue Cross becomes Anthem.

Major League Soccer Seeks New Fans

Chivas USA is trying to make inroads into the Valley.


Blue Cross becomes Anthem.

Makeovers at Area Hotels Make Them More Inviting

Many Valley properties are undergoing renovations.

Organic Treats Just as Sweet

Santa Clarita company makes organic treats.

Reliable Transport Funds Required

Greg Lippe discusses transportation funding.

Antelope Valley Construction Halted By Water Concerns

New developments are on hold due to a water crisis.

Virgin Charter's New Online Service Lets High Flyers Book Private Jets With Ease

Air charter operators join up with Virgin brokering service.

Valley Tourism Marketing is a Challenge

Jason Schaff muses on the future and marketing of Valley tourism

Foreign Trade Zone Status Brands Tejon

Part of the Tejon Industrial Complex is now a foreign trade zone.

Politicians Forget Gas Taxes When Decrying Gas Prices

Rickey Gelb addresses pump prices.

Historic Lopez Adobe to be City's Key Tourist Attraction

City of San Fernando plans to boost tourism with the renovation of an historic property.

Encino Chamber Gives its 'Teacher of the Year' Award

Encino Chamber Gives its 'Teacher of the Year' Award

Census Bureau Counting on Valley as Useful Location

James Hames reports on new developments and transactions.

ValueClick Reaches 10 Years in Business

ValueClick Inc. marks its 10th anniversary as one of the largest online marketing firms in the world.

Tussle over Encino-Tarzana hospital provokes public

Last week in Sacramento, the Senate Health Committee sent a message that ought to be heard loud and clear by at least two businesses here in the San Fernando Valley: Be a good neighbor - or pay the price.

Friday, April 11

Ixia Lowers Q1 Guidance As Revenues Drop

Delays in purchasing decisions by its customers contributed to Ixia lowering it guidance for the first quarter.

American Airlines cancels 600 more flights; Frontier seeks bankruptcy

American Airlines canceled nearly 600 more flights across the U.S. today as part of its MD-80 jet fleet remains grounded for maintenance checks.

Retailers report weakest March in 13 years

U.S. retail sales were disappointing in March -- and people probably aren't changing their spending habits this month.

California utility customers to fund think tank on climate

California utility customers will foot the bill for a $600-million global-warming think tank under a Public Utilities Commission program that critics say is a costly and questionable departure from the agency's mission to make sure ratepayers get affordab

Thursday, April 10

White House swayed on mortgage aid

WASHINGTON -- -- With the Senate poised to take new action on the mortgage crisis and the House at work on far more sweeping proposals, the Bush White House is grudgingly giving ground on its ideological opposition to government intervention in the market

Image Programming Takes Flight

Programming from Image Entertainment Inc. will be shown for in-flight movies and on merchant sea vessels after inking a deal with Jaguar Distribution Corp.

MannKind CEO still betting on inhaled insulin

With the zeal of a young entrepreneur, 82-year-old Los Angeles billionaire and philanthropist Alfred Mann has bet nearly half of his estimated $2.2-billion fortune that he can develop an inhaled version of insulin for the nation's 5 million diabetics.

Delays In Orders Leads To Downgrade in Guidance

An inability to deliver orders on time led power conversion product manufacturer Power-One Inc. to downgrade its expectations for the first quarter.

North American Scientific Out of Compliance

North American Scientific Inc. has received notice from The NASDAQ Stock Market that it has failed to regain compliance due to shares falling below $1.

Name Change for Car Dealer Association

The California Motor Car Dealers Association has changed its name to the California New Car Dealers Association.

Capstone Gets $2 Million Deal

Capstone Turbine Corp. received a $2 million order for its microturbine energy systems for distribution in South Korea.

Fliers face 3rd day of frustration as American Airlines cancels flights

American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights today to fix faulty wiring in hundreds of jets, marking the third straight day of mass groundings as company executives offered profuse apologies and travel vouchers to calm angry customers.

Wednesday, April 9

Boeing delays 787 debut

CHICAGO -- The Boeing Co. delayed its 787 jetliner program again Tuesday, pushing back its expected debut in commercial service to the third quarter of 2009 as it continues to grapple with problems involving its supply chain and the need to redo some outs

Gumiyo, HomeNet Partner On Mobile Web Marketing

Automotive mobile marketing company Gumiyo will partner with HomeNet Inc. to equip auto dealers with a single-click mobile Web marketing solution.

Cruise ship safety bill sails through committee

A bill that would require peace officers aboard cruise ships sailing from California ports cleared its first hurdle Tuesday as the state Senate's public safety committee voted to move it forward in the legislative process.

CBS layoffs signal a financial squeeze on TV stations

When veteran Los Angeles news anchors Harold Greene and Ann Martin were felled by a round of jobs cuts last week, they were in good company.

Laser Maker Receives New Patent

QPC Lasers Inc. received its third new patent this year and its ninth overall related to design and manufacturer of semiconductor lasers.

Tuesday, April 8

Image, Relativity Clash Over Distribution Deal

Image Entertainment went to court in a contract dispute with Relativity Media over providing films for Image to distribute for the DVD market.

Poor economy curbs business expansions, study says

The number of major business expansions in Southern California during 2007 declined by 17.5 percent as a result of the sagging economy and industrial and office markets, according to a report released today by the Los Angeles County Economic Development C

Providence Gets Stake in Lakeside Systems Inc

Lakeside Systems Inc. and Providence Health & Services California Region today announced a significant multi-million dollar equity investment by Providence in Lakeside, giving the company a minority position in Lakeside.

Pump prices set records again

Retail gasoline prices surged to new highs in California and nationally over the last week, the Energy Department said.

WaMu gets $7 billion infusion, sees big loss

NEW YORK -- Washington Mutual Inc, the largest U.S. savings and loan, said today it received a $7 billion capital injection from private equity firm TPG Inc and other investors.

DTS Sells Imaging Business for $7.5 Million

DTS Inc. sold its digital images business for $7.5 million to Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd.

Monday, April 7

Washington Mutual Gains on Speculation of TPG Support

Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, rallied as much as 18% in New York trading as a group led by private-equity firm TPG Inc. considers a $5 billion investment in the Seattle-based company.

Disney Acquires Chinese Video Game Maker

Disney Interactive Studios added to its global growth plans with the acquisition of a Chinese-based video game software developer.

Carolina Garcia Named Daily News Editor

The executive editor of a northern California newspaper has been named as the new editor of the Daily News.

Passengers and airlines under pressure

The nation's air travelers may be wondering whether last week's three airline shutdowns signal more trouble ahead. But a bigger concern this spring may be the likelihood of more flight delays, jammed planes and even higher ticket prices.

Medacta Hip Surgery Procedure Done in U.S.

Joint replacement system distributor Medacta USA Inc. announced that the first hip replacement procedures in the U.S. featuring its muscle-sparing AMIS technique have been performed.

Overseas Sales Lead To Net Income For Electro Rent

An increase in international sales contributed to electronic equipment rental company Electro Rent Corp. reporting a net income for the third quarter.

Low Cost Airline Stops Valley Service

Discount air carrier Skybus Airlines shut down its operations April 5, including service at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Friday, April 4

Tech Company Receives $2 Million

Virtual communications technology company Fix8 received $2 million in funding from a Korean wireless company.

Diodes Buys British Semiconductor Maker

Diodes Inc. added to its product line with the acquisition of Zetex, a British-based semiconductor manufacturer.

Countrywide Probe to Proceed

A federal judge has approved an investigation into Countrywide Financial by bankruptcy investigators, the Wall Street Journal reported.

CBS sharing Final Four online

When Final Four action begins Saturday, fans who want to watch the games live online will have to head to CBSSports .com, which owns exclusive online rights to the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

March unemployment rate hits 5.1%

unemployment rate rose past 5% last month and the economy lost more jobs than expected, the Labor Department reported today, deepening the growing consensus among economists that the country is in a recession.

Kaye Out as Daily News Editor; Replacement To Be Named Monday

A new editor for the Daily News will be named on April 7 following the departure of Ron Kaye from the position.

Commission Sides With DreamWorks Expansion

The Glendale Planning Commission gave its approval for DreamWorks Animation for an expansion project at its Flower Street campus.

Thursday, April 3

NBC unveils fall lineup

NEW YORK -- NBC got a jump start on its competitors Wednesday, unveiling a 2008-09 prime-time lineup that leans heavily on heroic tropes and classic tales of adventure.

Jobless claims shoot up to highest point since September 2005

WASHINGTON -- The number of new people signing up for unemployment benefits last week shot up to the highest level in more than two years, fresh evidence of the damage to a national economy clobbered by housing, credit and financial crises.

Amusement parks playing to international audiences

For kids -- and parents too -- it may be the ultimate play land: a 10-square-mile, $64-billion zone with amusement parks by Six Flags, DreamWorks Animation and Universal Studios, plus museums, shopping and 55 hotels.

Wednesday, April 2

Northrop begins assembly of 1st F-35

PALMDALE - Northrop Grumman Corp. has begun assembling the first F-35 Lightning II jet, marking the transition from demonstration to production of the Joint Strike Fighter, the defense giant announced.

THQ Adds to Casual Gaming Business

Video game publisher THQ Inc. expanded its casual gaming portfolio with the acquisition of Elephant Entertainment.

Michigan Firm Acquires Burbank Fastener Company

Saturn Fasteners Inc. in Burbank has been acquired by Acument Global Technologies as part of that company's growth in supplying aerospace customers.

Mobile Phone Developer Calls Chatsworth Home

The San Fernando Valley has become the headquarters for the new business unit of wireless phone manufacturer Kyocera Corp.

Senate ready to help stem tide of foreclosures

WASHINGTON -- Under pressure to help Main Street after the government saved a Wall Street firm from bankruptcy, senators ended weeks of partisan stalemate Tuesday and agreed to try to quickly pass legislation that could help some homeowners avoid foreclos

Factory, construction slumps persist

NEW YORK -- U.S. factory activity contracted again in March while prices paid by manufacturers rose to their highest levels in more than two years, data showed, suggesting higher inflation in a stagnating economy.

Tuesday, April 1

Disney machine working for Jonas Brothers

The alley behind the theater erupted into shrieks Wed- nesday night after band members stepped out of the stage door and walked to their cars. A crush of girls pressed up against the razor-wire fence; some lobbed roses and stuffed animals over the barrier

New Image President Named

David Borshell has been named as new president of Image Entertainment Inc. following the resignation of Martin Greenwald.

Fresh & Easy a tough sell for shoppers

Fresh isn't turning out to be all that easy.

Nestl & #233; Pulls Candy Prank

An April Fool's Day prank from Nestle USA had the company announcing it was changing the name of its popular Butterfinger candy bar to simply The Finger.

Stocks surge on firms' capital-raising plans

NEW YORK -- Stock prices began the second quarter with an impressive pop April 1, as capital-raising plans by two beleaguered investment banks raised hopes that Wall Street is nearing the end of its steep mortgage-related losses.

Veterans Compete for State Contracts

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that California's small and disabled veteran businesses are registered at record-breaking numbers to compete for the state's more than $9 billion a year in contracts.