National and world business highlights, Aug. 30

National and world business highlights, Aug. 30
Oklahoman Modified: August 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm •  Published: August 30, 2012
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Business Briefs

Nation

Computer blamed in outage

United Airlines said a piece of computer hardware was behind the technology meltdown that delayed 580 flights and shut down its website for more than two hours. The outage on Tuesday prevented workers from boarding passengers on time. United passengers reported long lines in the airline's hubs in Newark, N.J., San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago. It also caused nine cancellations. The problem was a piece of hardware in a data center that failed to communicate properly with other computer equipment, said Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United Continental Holdings Inc. A backup system failed to take over for the troubled hardware.

New sets to out-do HDTVs

High-definition TVs roughly quadrupled the resolution of the sets that came before them. Now, the industry is poised to do it again. By December U.S. stores will sell a TV set with four times the resolution of today's best HDTVs, Sony Corp. said Wednesday. The set will measure 84 inches on the diagonal, making the screen area four times as large as the common 42-inch set. Executives said Sony will reveal the price of the set next week. There is, for now, very little video content available that can take advantage of the higher resolution. With some work and know-how, a computer connected to the set can display video in the ultra-HD “4K” resolution. The set will also do its best to “upscale” TV, DVD and Blu-ray movies, so they look better.

Artists oppose N.Y. fracking

Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, on Wednesday launched a coalition of artists, musicians and filmmakers who oppose hydraulic fracturing in New York state. The formation of the group Artists Against Fracking was announced at a news conference in Manhattan with Ono, Lennon and Mark Ruffalo, who has long been outspoken on the issue. Other celebrities joining the coalition's cause include Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin. The group's formation comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to decide whether to allow shale gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing — known as hydrofracking, or fracking — after four years of studying its health and environmental impacts. The process uses millions of gallons of chemically treated water to blast open gas-rich shale deposits deep underground.

Trade secrets theft nets 4 years

A federal judge sentenced a Chinese-born American Wednesday to four years in prison for stealing millions of dollars in trade secrets from Motorola, describing her as a soft-spoken, unassuming woman who carried out a “very purposeful raid” on the company in the dead of night. In a barely audible voice and heavily accented English, 41-year-old Hanjuan Jin told the judge she was “so sorry for what happened” and pleaded for a second chance. Her lawyers had argued that she took the files merely to refresh her knowledge after a long absence from work and was not spying for China. They appealed for leniency and asked that Jin receive probation, in part because of her poor health. But U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said it was important to send a message that would deter others.

Biggest lenders provide relief

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