News

Goodyear deflates the last of its famous blimps





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Goodyear deflates the last of its famous blimps

Goodyear has let the helium out of the last of its fabled fleet of blimps, but the company’s flight program will continue. About two dozen employees were on hand early Tuesday to witness the deflation of California-based Spirit of Innovation. But shed no tears, blimp fans, you’ll still see a familiar blue-and-gold form floating over your favorite sports event or awards show. Although the blimp’s replacement, Wingfoot Two, will look about the same when it arrives at Goodyear’s airship base in Carson later this year, it will be a semi-rigid dirigible. Such aircraft, one of which has already replaced Goodyear’s Florida blimp, have a frame, which means they maintain their shape when the helium is drained. Blimps, on the other hand, go flat. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ROBOTICS

Myomo starts crowdfunding campaign

Myomo Inc., a Cambridge medical robotics company founded in 2004, has opened a crowdfunding campaign through the online brokerage Banq.co to help it sell shares in an initial public offering. The company, which markets braces and other products to people suffering from neurological disorders and upper-limb paralysis, is offering shares to ordinary investors as well as institutional investors under a federal law that allows startups to let individual investors participates in IPOs before they begin to trade. Federal regulators qualified the Myomo offering registration last Friday. The company hopes to raise up to $15 million and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of April, said Mark Elenowitz, an investment banker working on the transaction. Myomo developed its products with technology licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he said. — ROB WEISMAN

ADVERTISING

Heinz launches
ad campaign inspired
by Mad Men

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NEW YORK — Heinz is launching ketchup ads inspired by the TV show ‘‘Mad Men.’’ The idea of the campaign, which shows foods like French fries and hamburgers up close without any condiments, is to underscore that they need ketchup to be complete. Kraft Heinz is noting tongue-in-cheek that the ‘‘Pass the Heinz’’ campaign was created by the main character of ‘‘Mad Men,’’ ad executive Don Draper. It is also crediting Draper’s fictional ad agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, as well as its real-life agency. The Kraft Heinz Co. says the campaign will run as traditional print ads, such as in the New York Post, and on outdoor billboards. ‘‘Mad Men,’’ a drama set in the 1960s New York advertising world, ended its seven-season run in 2015. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

INSURANCE

MetLife to sell disability coverage to hedge fund employees

MetLife Inc., the largest US life insurer, is teaming up with broker Crystal & Co. for disability coverage aimed at higher-paid workers at financial firms. The policies are available for institutions with at least 40 employees, Crystal said Tuesday in a statement. The coverage will provide as much as $600,000 in annual benefits with no individual medical underwriting. Firms such as hedge funds and mutual funds are being targeted for coverage to higher-earning employees, according to Michael Grant, executive managing director of employee benefit services at Crystal. Companies including Facebook Inc. have been revamping benefits including parental leave to help attract and retain workers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

PHARMACEUTICALS

Glaxo’s first female CEO
to earn a quarter less than her male predecessor

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Emma Walmsley, poised to take over as the first female chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, will earn about a quarter less than her predecessor Andrew Witty to reflect her lack of experience at the helm. Walmsley will be paid an annual base salary of about 1 million pounds ($1.2 million), the London-based drugmaker said in its annual report. That compares to Witty’s pay of 1.15 million pounds last year. Her bonus will also be capped so that it can’t exceed her salary, whereas Witty was given the opportunity to collect 125 percent of his pay through the bonus. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AVIATION

American Airlines to serve meals in economy on some longer US flights

American Airlines said Tuesday that it plans to offer free meals to everyone in economy on certain cross-country flights starting May 1. The decision at the world’s biggest airline copies Delta Air Lines, which announced a month ago that it would restore free meals in economy on a dozen long-haul US routes this spring. Airlines dropped free sandwiches and other meals in economy on domestic flights after brutal downturns in 2001 and 2008, and they have been slow to bring back food despite record profits. American Airlines Group Inc. earned $2.7 billion last year. American said onstop flights between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco passengers will get a continental breakfast or a sandwich wrap, chips, and dessert, or they can pick a vegetarian meal or a fruit-and-cheese plate. That leaves United as the biggest carrier with no plans yet to bring back free meals on any domestic flights. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

STUDENT DEBT

Defaults rise
in last year,
study finds

A new analysis of federal student loans reveals the number of people severely behind on repaying their debt has soared in the last year, painting a bleak picture of one of the largest government programs. The Consumer Federation of America released a study Tuesday that found that millions of people had not made a payment on $137 billion in federal student loans for at least nine months in 2016, a 14 percent increase in defaults from a year earlier. The consumer watchdog used the latest data from the Education Department, which manages $1.3 trillion in federal student debt owed by 42.4 million Americans.
— WASHINGTON POST

SOCIAL MEDIA

German official proposes fines
up to $53 million for failing
to curb
hate speech

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Germany’s justice minister is proposing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for social networking sites that fail to swiftly remove illegal content, such as hate speech or defamatory ‘‘fake news.’’ The plan proposed Tuesday marks a further step in Germany’s attempt to impose its strict domestic laws against incitement on the free-wheeling world of online chatter. Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party, said social media companies had already taken voluntary steps to crack down on hate crimes that have resulted in improvements. ‘‘This isn’t sufficient yet,’’ Maas said, citing research that he said showed Twitter deletes just 1 percent of illegal content flagged by users, while Facebook deletes 39 percent. The proposal would require companies to provide a round-the-clock service for users to flag illegal content, which would have to be removed by the site within seven days. All copies of the content would also have to be deleted and social media companies would need to publish a quarterly report detailing how they have dealt with such material. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ECONOMY

Inflation
eases in
February

Inflation at the wholesale level rose at just half the rate in February as the previous month, as a surge in energy prices slowed. The Labor Department said Tuesday that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, increased 0.3 percent in February following a 0.6 percent rise in January. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 2.2 percent, reflecting a steady rise in inflation as energy prices have increased. Just six months ago, the year-over-year increase stood at zero. The Federal Reserve is meeting this week and is expected to boost a key interest rate, in part to reflect rising inflation. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


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