Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Brussels shows vulnerability of airports to terror attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — The airport attack in Brussels highlights one of the most vulnerable stages of aviation security: the time travelers spend between the curb and the checkpoint.

As travelers wait first to check luggage and then go through metal detectors, they crowd together in areas that are usually lightly patrolled and easily accessible.

Security checkpoints are designed to keep terrorists and weapons off planes, and for the most part they have worked since the September 2001 attacks. But along the way, the airport itself became a target.


FBI: Attacker's phone possibly accessible without Apple help

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The government has been adamant for weeks: FBI investigators need to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, and Apple Inc. was the only one that could do it.

In a stunning reversal on Monday, federal prosecutors asked a judge to halt a much-anticipated hearing on their efforts to force Apple to unlock the phone. The FBI may have found another way, and Apple's cooperation may not be needed, according to court papers.

An outside party came forward over the weekend and showed the FBI a possible method to access the data.


J&J expands project that aims to predict, prevent diseases

Johnson & Johnson has ramped up its ambitious project to learn how to predict who will develop particular diseases and find therapies to prevent or stop the disease early, when it's most treatable.

Since the health care giant announced its groundbreaking project in February 2015, it's expanded to include two dozen research programs with partners — in government, universities, patient advocacy groups and other drug and diagnostic test companies. Their expertise and resources should speed discoveries and allow Johnson & Johnson to spread its funding across more ventures.


US indexes mostly fall; travel companies drop after attacks

U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Tuesday as airlines, cruise companies and travel booking sites fell following the deadly bombings in Belgium.

News of the attacks, which killed at least 31 people, pulled the broader market lower for much of the morning. An early afternoon rally erased some of the losses, but the rebound didn't hold.

Oil drilling companies also slumped following a downbeat forecast on drilling.

The last-minute slide snapped a four-day winning streak for the market. Trading was relatively light, reflecting the Easter holiday weekend. It also signaled that traders were not rattled by the potential market implications of the attack.


FDA adds boldest warning to most widely-used painkillers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators will add their strongest warning labels to the most widely-prescribed painkillers, part of a multi-pronged government campaign to stem an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday plans to add a boxed warning — the most serious type — to all immediate-release opioid painkillers, including some 175 branded and generic drugs.

Those medications, which often combine oxycodone with lower-grade medications, are among the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. and account for 90 percent of all opioid painkillers prescribed.


Justices uphold $5.8 million award against Tyson Foods

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a setback to business, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods Inc. in a pay dispute with more than 3,000 workers at a pork-processing plant in Iowa.

The court's 6-2 ruling rejected new limits Tyson asked the high court to impose on the ability of workers to band together to challenge pay and workplace issues. It was the second time this year the court has ruled against business interests in class-action cases.

The justices decided three other cases Tuesday, including one by its first 4-4 tie vote since Justice Antonin Scalia's death last month.


Employers fight rule that could broaden transgender rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big companies are pushing back against proposed federal rules they say would require their medical plans to cover gender transition and other services under the nondiscrimination mandate of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Civil rights advocates representing transgender people say the regulation, now being finalized, would be a major step forward for a marginalized community.

The latest dispute over the health care law may have to be resolved by the courts.


Lumber Liquidators pays $2.5M to settle California case

TOANO, Va. (AP) — Lumber Liquidators is paying $2.5 million to settle allegations that some of its products violated California's air-safety standards.

The penalty announced Tuesday was the latest that the retailer has absorbed for formerly selling laminate flooring made in China.

In this case, Lumber Liquidators faced allegations that the imported flooring contained high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde that violated California's air-quality controls. The flooring was sold at Lumber Liquidators' California stores from September 2013 until May 2015 when the retailer suspended sales of the products made in China.

Lumber Liquidators currently operates 40 of its 375 stores in California.


US urges final approval of $20 billion BP oil spill pact

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A $20 billion oil spill settlement involving BP, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states is moving closer to final approval.

Federal lawyers on Tuesday formally asked a judge to accept the agreement, which was announced last July and aims to resolve years of legal fighting over damage from the 2010 Gulf oil spill. A judge had found BP "grossly negligent" in the offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused the 134 million gallon spill.

The settlement included $5.5 billion in civil penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the states and local governments.


Germany's Ifo confidence index up after 3 monthly falls

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany's Ifo Institute says its index of business confidence, a closely watched gauge of economic activity in Europe's largest economy, has risen after three months of declines.

Munich-based Ifo said Tuesday that its main index rose to 106.7 points from 105.7 points the month before. Market expectations were for a more modest rise to 106.0 points.

The improvement comes as fears about global trade and financial market turmoil seem to be easing after a shaky start to the year.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 41.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,582.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 1.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,049.80. The Nasdaq composite index added 12.79 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,821.66.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 7 cents to close at $41.45 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose 25 cents to $41.79 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline added 4 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $1.50 a gallon, while heating oil rose a penny to close at $1.25 a gallon. Natural gas added 4 cents, or 1.9 percent, to close at $1.86 per 1,000 cubic feet.