SlimAmerica, which claimed its pills could "blast" pounds off consumers without any exercise or dieting, must pay more than $8 million in redress, the Federal Trade Commission said. The agency said SlimAmerica falsely claimed that a three-pill combination -- Slim Again, Absorbit-All and Absorbit-All Plus -- could rid consumers of up to 49 pounds in 29 days.
Olsten Kimberly agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and its parent company, Olsten Corp., will pay $61 million in fines to settle government allegations that the subsidiary teamed with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. to defraud Medicare. The Justice Department alleged Columbia and Olsten illegally obtained Medicare reimbursement for costs associated with Columbia's purchase of Olsten home-health agencies.
Uptons, a privately held chain of 75 department stores, will close all of its locations after a going-out-of-business sale. The stores include one each in Fairfax, Manassas, Springfield, Reston, Columbia and Gaithersburg. New York-based American Retail Group, which owns Uptons, has struggled to turn the chain around in the face of competition from Target and Kohl's. American Retail said it would continue to focus on its specialty store business, which includes Eastern Mountain Sports and Millers Outpost. The company has a total of 1,000 stores.
An FCC paper recommends that the agency continue its policy of deregulation of the Internet. Federal Communications Commission analyst Jason Oxman, author of "The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet," examines the agency's 30-year history of resistance against regulating the data services market and how the tradition of federal "unregulation" was a crucial factor in the growth of the Net. While the paper doesn't represent the official position of the commission, FCC Chairman William E. Kennard has in the past expressed his commitment to a deregulatory policy toward the Internet.
Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit company the federal government selected to manage the Net's addressing system, said it would drop a proposal to charge a $1 fee for each Internet address. The group's officials are to go before a congressional hearing on Thursday, when lawmakers were expected to be sharply critical of the proposed fee. In a letter to the Commerce Department from the corporation's temporary chairwoman, Esther Dyson, the group also pledged to stop holding its board meetings in secret and to move quickly to establish an elected board of directors.
T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 4.52 percent from 4.60 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 4.49 percent from 4.54 percent. The actual return to investors is 4.65 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,885.70, and 4.671 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,773. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 5.01 percent last week from 5.06 percent the previous week.
Foodmaker, operator and franchiser of Jack in the Box, said it is adopting the name of its fast-food restaurants to ensure better name recognition as it expands nationwide. The change to Jack in the Box Inc., which goes into effect Oct. 4, will mean a new ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange, JBX instead of FM.
American Bankers Association, the lobbying group of commercial banks, plans to merge with America's Community Bankers, its counterpart in the savings-and-loan industry. The two groups have often been at odds in the past but said the differences between S&Ls, which once specialized in home loans, and banks have become "increasingly blurred" over the last 20 years. The move signifies how the banking industry has shrunk -- banks largely through mergers, and S&Ls through mergers and a wave of failures during the 1980s.
Vodafone AirTouch of London agreed to buy CommNet Cellular for $1.4 billion, giving the British company access to regions in nine western states. CommNet, which is controlled by the Blackstone Group, a New York-based private equity fund, will be sold for $764 million, plus debt expected to be around $600 million.
DaimlerChrysler should pay $20 million to a female machinist who accused the world's third-largest carmaker of ignoring her sexual harassment complaints for more than seven years, a jury decided. A state court jury in Detroit deliberated about 10 hours before awarding Linda Gilbert the money on claims that co-workers at a Detroit assembly plant repeatedly left sexually explicit pictures and cartoons posted in her work areas and urinated on her clothes.
First Union is hiring 2,000 tellers in an admission that it has misjudged how much its customers want to deal with real people. The Charlotte-based banking started hiring about 1,000 new tellers a few months ago, but now plans to hire at least 1,000 more. In March, First Union laid off 5,800 workers.
The Commerce Department is sending David Aaron, the undersecretary for international affairs, to China next week to discuss a host of trade and commercial issues. The move is aimed at improving the diplomatic climate for the resumption of talks on Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization, which have been suspended since the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
Fuji Heavy Industries has opened negotiations with General Motors and Ford toward possible tie-ups in technology and auto parts, Japanese newspapers reported. Fuji Heavy President Takeshi Tanaka visited the United States last week and met with senior executives at both GM and Ford about a possible agreement with either of the U.S. automakers, the Nihon Keizai and the Asahi newspapers said. Fuji is the Japanese maker of Subaru cars.
Bank of New York posted a 10 percent increase in second-quarter earnings, spurred by continued growth in fee-based services such as stock trading and trust services. The bank, the nation's 17th-largest in terms of assets, reported earnings of $323 million, up from $295 million.
Citigroup, the largest U.S. financial services company, said its second-quarter net income rose 9 percent, to $2.45 billion, boosted by its global consumer banking business, investment banking and asset management.
Continental Airlines saw its earnings fall to $137 million, from $163 million, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was $2.2 billion, up 7 percent from $2 billion.
Dana Corp., the world's biggest maker of light-truck axles, said second-quarter earnings rose 22 percent, to $195.2 million, because of demand for its axles and engine parts.
Delta Air Lines reported fourth-quarter earnings of $364 million, up from $362 million in the same period last year. Operating revenue for the quarter ended June 30 rose 5 percent to $3.96 billion. For the year, Delta had a profit of $1.1 billion, up from $1 billion.
ETrade Group lost $21.2 million during its third quarter as the online broker invested heavily in new technology, but the results were better than Wall Street expected.
J.P. Morgan, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, said second-quarter earnings rose 25 percent on fees from investment banking and managing clients' money. Profit from operations climbed to $504 million, from $402 million in the second quarter of 1998.
PanAmSat, the largest commercial satellite operator, said second-quarter profit rose 10 percent, partly because it introduced satellite-television service in Latin America. Net income for the Greenwich, Conn.-based firm rose to $30.6 million, from $27.8 million in the year-earlier period.
Priceline.com, which lets consumers bid online for airline tickets and hotel rooms, said its loss widened in the second quarter but revenue surged about 16-fold, to $111.6 million, topping analysts' forecasts. The second-quarter loss came to $14.3 million, up from $14 million a year earlier.
Viacom, the world's fourth-largest media company, turned a profit in the second quarter after a year- earlier loss. The company had net income of $59 million. Viacom cited higher advertising revenue.