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Airline to offer nonstop: Hub-Dominican Republic

THE REGION

JetBlue Airways Corp. will offer the only nonstop service from Boston to Santiago, Dominican Republic, between Dec. 12 and Jan. 15, on flights that arrive and leave from the Dominican capital in the wee hours of the morning. Fares start at $218 round trip, with tickets going on sale at noon today, JetBlue said. Flights, on 150-seat jets, will leave Logan International Airport at 11:10 p.m., arrive at 3:55 a.m. in Santiago and leave for the return trip at 4:50 a.m., arriving in Boston at 7:50 a.m. Travel from Boston to Santiago now normally requires changing planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York or Miami International Airport. (Peter J. Howe)

3 local law firms among best in US for women
Three local firms were named to a nationwide list of the 50 best law firms for women. The firms are Bingham McCutchen LLP; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo PC; and WilmerHale, which has headquarters in both Boston and Washington, D.C. The list was compiled by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm. According to Working Mother and Flex-Time, firms that made the list are "notable for their work/life and women-friendly policies -- including flex time, child care, women-focused mentoring, and leadership and networking programs." (Chris Reidy)

THE NATION

Compensation costs hurt Fortress results in period
Private equity and hedge fund manager Fortress Investment Group LLC posted a wider loss for the second quarter as compensation expenses rose dramatically. The firm lost $55.1 million during the second quarter, greater than the $42.3 million loss reported a year earlier. Revenue fell 18 percent to $268.1 million from $328.3 million a year earlier. The principal difference was a $208.8 million gain on investments in the second quarter last year. (AP)

Nokia says defective batteries could overheat
Nokia, the world's biggest cellphone maker, warned consumers 46 million of its handsets contained defective batteries made in China that could in rare cases overheat and even dislodge during recharging. Nokia, which has 38 percent of the global market in handsets, warned of potential danger from BL-5C Nokia-branded batteries made by a unit of Matsushita Electrical Industrial of Japan. Rick Simonson, Nokia's chief financial officer, said the firm was offering to replace the lithium-ion batteries at no cost to consumers. He added that Matsushita had agreed to pay a significant portion of recall costs, which he could not estimate. Consumers can find more information on a Nokia website, nokia.com/batteryreplacement. (New York Times News Service)

Wal-Mart to pay $3.9m in overtime in California
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest nongovernment US employer, agreed to pay more than $3.9 million to California workers for unpaid overtime wages, according to the state's labor commission. Wal-Mart also agreed to $198,000 in state civil penalties. Wal-Mart alerted California authorities in 2005 that errors in payroll processing shortchanged some workers, the commission said. The agreement covers wages or penalties owed to about 50,000 workers. (Bloomberg)

FDA warns Novartis on Alzheimer's drug claims
A Novartis AG promotion for Alzheimer's drug Exelon made misleading claims about the medicine's effectiveness and risks, US health officials warned the company. The claims appeared on a file card written for healthcare professionals about Exelon capsules and oral solution, the Food and Drug Administration said. The agency asked Novartis to stop using the material and to circulate new information to correct misleading statements. Novartis spokeswoman Christine Cascio said it was reviewing the FDA letter and would respond by Aug. 22 as the agency requested. (Reuters)

Troubled mortgage firm cancels annual meeting
The drumbeat of bad news at HomeBanc Corp. continued yesterday as the Atlanta company withheld its scheduled earnings report, canceled its annual shareholder meeting, and said it plans to operate with a "skeletal" crew after firing most of its employees. HomeBanc missed its second-quarter filing deadline and said it does not know when it will give investors those results. The embattled mortgage company, which sought bankruptcy protection last week, was to have released those results Aug. 9 but was granted an extension by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Cox News Service)

(Correction: Because of a reporting error, an item in yesterday's Business section about new JetBlue Airways flights from Boston to Santiago, Dominican Republic, erroneously identified Santiago as the country's capital. Santo Domingo is the capital.)

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