The U.S. Department of Transportation yesterday lifted 18-year-old restrictions on flights between Libya and the United States in a sign of improved relations between the two nations after long tensions over terrorism and the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet by Libyans that killed 270 in Lockerbie, Scotland.

The U.S. government said it will permit U.S carriers to fly cargo to Libya, but passenger flights between the two countries are still prohibited.

Coors Plans Brewery in Virginia

Coors Brewing said it will spend as much as $190 million in the next three years adding a brewery to its beer-packaging plant in Elkton, Va., to save about $25 million yearly in shipping costs. The facility will brew Keystone Light, Aspen Edge and Coors Light, the biggest-selling U.S. light beer. The plant will be the first to brew Coors Light outside of Colorado, a spokeswoman said.

MORE NEWS

AT&T will spend $25 million during the 2004 Olympic Games to advertise Internet phone service and networking for businesses. The television commercials will be the telecommunications company's first advertising campaign since it said it would stop seeking residential local and long-distance customers because it is too expensive to serve them.

A holding company owned by New York financier Ronald Perelman will take over AM General, the maker of the military Humvee and the civilian model Hummer. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings will be managing partner of a new joint venture with AM General's current owner, Renco Group of New York. It said that AM General's management will remain in place.

Freddie Mac's former chief financial officer, Vaughn A. Clarke, sued the company's regulator for withholding $1.1 million in pay, bonuses and stock during an inquiry into the errors behind a $5 billion earnings restatement. The compensation freeze by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion" and in defiance of the constitutional right to due process, Clarke said in a court filing.

The judge overseeing a shareholder accounting fraud suit against Halliburton stepped down from the case after disclosing that his children own stock in the company. Investors' lawyers asked U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to transfer the case to another judge last week. The change may delay approval of a proposed $6 million settlement.

Hollinger International, which publishes the Chicago Sun-Times and London's Daily Telegraph, said it spent about $7 million in the second quarter on legal fees related to its investigation into payments to company executives. A committee of independent directors studied transactions involving payments to certain executives from company asset sales, Hollinger said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The criminal trial of two former Enron executives and four former Merrill Lynch executives has been delayed from Aug. 18 to Sept. 20 to allow defense attorneys to prepare for the government's intention to seek enhanced prison sentences. The six defendants are accused of helping push through an alleged sham sale to help the energy company appear to have met earnings targets.

Exelon said the Justice Department agreed to immediately reimburse the Chicago electric utility holding company for $80 million in spent nuclear fuel storage costs. It said that it may eventually receive up to $300 million if the Department of Energy, which participated in the negotiations, begins accepting spent nuclear fuel and opens a national repository by 2010.

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking a court order to force Utah Medical Products to stop making and selling medical devices used by obstetricians, gynecologists, urologists and neonatal intensive care wards until certain questions can be resolved. The action followed two warning letters and four comprehensive inspections over three years at the company's Midvale, Utah, manufacturing facility where a pattern of "significant deviations" was found, FDA officials said.

Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle antitrust allegations by New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer that the retailers conspired with the makers of Lenox china and Waterford crystal to keep the tableware out of Bed Bath & Beyond's stores.

HealthSouth, the rehabilitation hospital chain accused of $2.7 billion in accounting fraud, will again delay submitting its quarterly results to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

El Paso Corp.'s pending restatements of financial results will likely revise accounting for natural gas hedges and reduce proven oil and gas reserves, the company said. The natural gas pipeline company said the elimination of hedge accounting could result in non-cash write-downs of asset values by no more than $2 billion, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former Stan Lee Media executives were sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of manipulating the stock in 2000. The lawsuit charges Stan Lee Media co-founder Peter F. Paul and Stephen M. Gordon, its former executive vice president of operations, as well as broker Jeffrey L. Pittsburg. Gordon, without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed to a judgment barring him from serving as an officer of a public company and levying civil fines, the SEC said.

321 Studios, which shut down last week and stopped selling DVD-copying software amid litigation with the movie and video-gaming industries, agreed to make "a substantial financial payment" to movie studios' anti-piracy efforts. The Motion Picture Association of America said it would use the money to educate consumers about illegal copying.

Blockbuster plans to launch an Internet-based DVD rental service nationwide today, a move aimed squarely at competitors such as Netflix, which have cut into the video giant's store-based business. All the offers will come without late fees, and Blockbuster will throw in coupons for free rentals in the stores. It will also pick up shipping charges if customers return the DVDs in specially designed envelopes. Blockbuster said it will offer 25,000 titles.

Hewlett-Packard said Alex Gruzen, its vice president for notebook computers, left to join rival Dell. The two are battling for the lead in the profitable notebook market.

INTERNATIONAL

Parmalat Finanziaria refused to accept claims of more than $1.3 billion in debt from Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS and other global creditors as part of its attempt to share the blame and costs of its fraudulent near-collapse. The Italian dairy giant argues that global institutions either abetted the fraud or received payment at the expense of creditors.

Nortel Networks, whose accounting is under scrutiny by U.S. and Canadian regulators, announced it would report only limited first-half results on Aug. 19. Also, the Brampton, Ontario, company said it had appointed a board committee to evaluate a letter from a shareholder group calling for action against present and former directors they allege issued false statements and otherwise breached fiduciary duties.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Capital One Financial will invest about $117 million in a synthetic fuel business to get tax benefits that may boost its profit. The McLean company created a business unit in June to buy a 25 percent stake in a Kentucky synthetic fuel producer, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The partnership will produce an estimated $138 million in tax benefits through 2007, according to the filing.

EARNINGS

Cisco Systems reported a 41 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit thanks to new businesses such as security and Internet calling. The networking giant posted profit of $1.38 billion on $5.93 billion in revenue, up from $982 million on $4.7 billion in revenue in the same period last year.

Cargill posted a 38 percent jump in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on its strengthened meat business. Profit for the period ended May 31 was $195 million, up from $141 million in the same period last year. For fiscal 2004, Cargill posted profit of $1.33 billion on $62.9 billion in revenue, both improvements.

Bridgestone's net income for the first half of the fiscal year jumped 64 percent over the same period last year on strong sales in Europe and higher U.S. margins, the Tokyo tiremaker said. Its first-half profit was $473 million on $10.4 billion in sales.

EchoStar Communications reported second-quarter earnings that were 34 percent lower than in the same period last year despite increased revenue and 340,000 new subscribers. The satellite TV company posted $85 million in profit on $1.78 billion in sales, down from $129 million on $1.41 billion a year earlier.

UBS reported second-quarter profit increased 28 percent over the same period last year, to $1.57 billion on $7.56 billion in revenue.

May Department Stores swung to a second-quarter profit after losing money a year ago, despite lower sales than expected. The chain posted earnings of $101 million on $2.96 billion in revenue, up from a loss of $110 million on $3 billion in revenue in the same period last year.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.

Former Tyco International chief financial officer Mark H. Swartz, left, and former chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski arrive at court in New York. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus ruled that they must face the most serious charge against them, enterprise corruption, when they go to trial again next year. Their first trial ended in a mistrial in April. The charge alleges that the two ran a criminal enterprise to fleece Tyco of $600 million. Enterprise corruption carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.