Google is launching a new search engine today that will focus on finding works of academic research. Located online at http://scholar.google.com, the free service will facilitate Internet searches for theses, books, abstracts and technical reports. It will also offer ways to find scholarly works in hard copy that are not available on the Internet.

EU Selects U.S. Goods for Tariffs

The European Union said it has selected U.S. products, including textiles, sweet corn and heavy machinery, to punish with tariffs starting early next year if Washington doesn't quickly repeal an antidumping law ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. The list submitted to the WTO this week targets "vocal U.S. sectors that could help Congress focus its mind on compliance," said E.U. trade spokeswoman Arancha Gonzalez. U.S. trade spokeswoman Neena Moorjani said the Bush administration was working with Congress to bring the law into compliance.

MORE NEWS

The Securities and Exchange Commission is postponing for a year a rule that would reduce the amount of time companies are given to file their financial reports. The delay gives companies more time to adjust to controls mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the SEC said.

Segway's president and chief executive, Ronald A. Bills, resigned. No replacement was named. Segway's product, a two-wheeled self-balancing scooter, was introduced in 2001, and a 2003 recall revealed that only about 6,000 had been sold.

Microsoft developed policies to destroy internal e-mails and other documents crucial to ongoing lawsuits, according to a motion by California software company Burst.com originally filed Oct. 29 and unsealed Monday. Burst is suing Microsoft for anticompetitive behavior.

Merck's three biggest investors may have suffered losses of as much as $4.46 billion since the company withdrew its Vioxx painkiller from the market. Holdings by the company's biggest investor, Barclays, may have lost $2.04 billion since Sept. 29. State Street's stake may have fallen $1.37 billion, and the value of Fidelity Investment's interest may have dropped $1.05 billion.

SBC Communications will use a Microsoft software system to transmit television over high-speed Internet connections. The deal was valued at $400 million over 10 years. SBC plans to offer TV after replacing its copper-wire telephone network with fiber-optic cables.

The U.S. Navy again delayed a contract award worth about $1.6 billion to build the next presidential helicopter fleet, saying it needs more time to choose between teams led by Lockheed Martin and United Technologies. The decision will be made by the end of January.

The board that oversees the U.S. accounting industry said it is developing new rules on the types of tax services that auditors can provide. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board also said it hopes to issue new standards in 2005 for detecting corporate fraud.

A health care financing executive admitted participation in a scheme to take money from National Century Financial Enterprises and hide it by moving it among subsidiaries' bank accounts. The charge against John Allen Snoble stemmed from the company's collapse, which affected health care providers across the country. The fraud cost investors between $2.1 billion and $2.9 billion, according to a U.S. attorney. Two former company officials have also pleaded guilty in the case.

Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry handheld device, said the number of subscribers who use its e-mail system has risen 21 percent since Aug. 30, to 1.66 million. To expand that base, the company is making deals that let it offer e-mail services on devices sold by competing mobile phone makers.

Portal Player, which designs the semiconductor and software for iPod digital music players, raised the size of its initial public offering to as much as $115 million after boosting the price range for the shares to $14 to $16 each. The company said in an earlier filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it planned to sell its stock at between $11 and $13 a share.

RECALL

Maytag has recalled more than 1,100 of its Jenn-Air gas ranges, including built-in models of the Jenn-Air Downdraft Gas Cooktop, model JGD8348CDP, because switches are too close to the gas tubing, resulting in a fire hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced. The ranges were manufactured between January and September 2004 and sold for about $2,000. The model name is printed on a label on the vent fan housing. Customers should contact Maytag to schedule a free in-home repair, the CPSC said, and should stop using the grill or burners activated by the two left-hand controls.

INTERNATIONAL

The United States and Australia ironed out last-minute differences over a free-trade deal, paving the way for the agreement to go into effect Jan. 1. The deal has been held up by U.S. officials' concerns over Australia's price protections on pharmaceuticals and copyright laws.

China unveiled rules allowing foreign investors to acquire stakes of up to 49 percent in television production ventures, widening access for Viacom, Walt Disney Co. and other media companies to the world's biggest TV market by viewers. Investment in news and current affairs programming and in TV stations remains off-limits, according to today's statement by the broadcasting regulator.

LOCAL BUSINESS

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against two former employees of Baltimore's Mercantile Bankshares and several of their relatives for insider trading before Mercantile announced its merger with F&M Bancorp in March 2003. Analyst Russell T. Bradlee and his father, Thomas, and analyst Louis P. Stone IV and his sister, Angela DelVacchio, consented to the SEC complaint and agreed to disgorge their profits. In addition, Russell Bradlee, his father and DelVacchio agreed to pay a civil money penalty equal to their profits.

EARNINGS

Medtronic, the world's largest maker of devices that regulate heart rhythm, said second-quarter profit rose to $535.7 million, from $476.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 29 rose 11 percent, to $2.4 billion.

Zurich Financial Services reported a profit increase of more than 35 percent for the first nine months of 2004, to $1.9 billion from $1.4 billion in the same period a year earlier, despite the cost of hurricane damage in the Caribbean. The Swiss insurance giant also confirmed that it has received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission and from the New York attorney general requesting information related to "nontraditional products."

Jack in the Box said fourth-quarter profit increased 32 percent, to $21.7 million, compared with $16.4 million during the year-ago period. Sales rose 20 percent, to $593.9 million from $493 million.

Applied Materials, the world's biggest maker of semiconductor-production equipment, said fourth-quarter profit rose to $455 million, from $15.5 million a year ago, on demand from chipmakers for new machines. Sales at the Santa Clara, Calif., company rose to $2.2 billion from $1.22 billion.

Intuit said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $46.1 million, from $54 million a year ago, on sales growth in its QuickBooks software line. Sales rose 11 percent, to $266 million from $239.3 million.

Talbots said third-quarter profit fell 21 percent, to $27.6 million, while sales rose 3 percent, to $421.2 million.

Petsmart, the largest U.S. pet-supplies retailer, said third-quarter earnings rose 21 percent on demand for services such as grooming. Profit for the quarter ended Oct. 31 was $35.9 million, compared with $29.6 million during the same period a year earlier.

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

Electronics retailer Best Buy has been accused in a lawsuit of discriminating against older workers during its transfer of information technology jobs to Accenture. The lawsuit claims Best Buy targeted workers over age 40 when it fired about 150 people in October 2003 and June 2004. About 68 percent of those fired were over 40, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by 44 former employees. Best Buy called the suit "without merit" and said it would fight the allegations.