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Business news highlights

Business news highlights for Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
From Wire reports Published: July 23, 2013

Business briefs

Mines hold valuable ‘rare earth'

— Early miners digging for gold, silver and copper across the West had no idea that one day something else valuable would be hidden in the discarded piles of dirt and rocks called tailings. Today, there's a rush to find key components for cellphones, televisions, weapons systems, wind turbines, MRI machines and the regenerative brakes in hybrid cars. And it turns out old mine leftovers just might be the answer. Federal geologists are hunting for deposits of the elements known as rare earth supplies. And old mines are becoming increasingly important to that search as the U.S. government seeks to break the Chinese stranglehold on the materials.

Alaska jet incident investigated

— The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after an Alaska Airlines jet was told to abort its landing because another plane crossed the runway. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says an air traffic controller had Flight 157 make another approach to Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport on Saturday after a chartered Boeing 737 taxied across the runway without authorization. The plane landed on the second attempt. The two planes were about a mile and a half apart when the go-around order was issued. Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy says there were no injuries to the 157 passengers or six crewmembers aboard the Los Angeles-to-Anchorage flight.

Home sales near 3½-year high

— U.S. sales of previously occupied homes slipped in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million but remain near a 3 1/2-year high. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales fell 1.2 percent last month from an annual rate of 5.14 million in May. The NAR revised down May's sales, but they were still the highest since November 2009. Despite last month's dip, home sales have surged 15.2 percent from a year ago. Sales have recovered since early last year, buoyed by job gains and low mortgage rates.

Toyota opens training center

— Toyota is opening a training facility for mechanics complete with a test course that simulates 13 driving conditions including cobblestones and bumpy roads as part of the automaker's efforts to avoid a repeat of its recall fiasco. A ceremony with Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda and government officials was held Monday at the $90 millionTajimi Service Center in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, near Toyota city where the car maker is headquartered. The center will initially train about 2,600 mechanics year, and eventually 4,800 mechanics a year, the company said.

Toymaker's sales suffer

— It wasn't a blockbuster quarter for Hasbro. The No. 2 toymaker said that its second-quarter net income fell 16 percent, hurt by weak sales of movie-related action figures and its spinning-top game Beyblade. Results missed expectations but shares ticked up nearly 2 percent in morning trading, as investors focused on Hasbro's upcoming “Star Wars” opportunities in 2015 and beyond and strength in its girls' properties such as My Little Pony.

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