- - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NEW YORK

IBM aims to boost client security with i2 purchase

NEW YORK | Computer giant IBM said Wednesday that it is buying i2, a British firm that makes software for crime and fraud prevention.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Cambridge, England-based i2 has 350 employees and more than 4,500 customers in 150 countries in sectors such as banking, defense, health care, insurance, law enforcement, national security and retail.

IBM said i2 will help its clients deal with the exponential increase in data as they seek to combat fraud and security threats.

IBM’s goal is to better equip public safety officials and businesses with the information and tools they need to ensure safer cities,” Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions at IBM, said in a statement.

“The combined capabilities of IBM and i2 will help customers uncover patterns and trends that will allow them to more effectively protect the privacy and safety of citizens, businesses and governments,” Mr. Hayman said.

Robert Griffin, i2’s CEO, said the combination of i2 and his company “will be compelling for clients seeking to enhance situational awareness and make connections between seemingly unrelated information from oceans of data.”

MASSACHUSETTS

Lease turns former bathroom into eatery

BOSTON | A former bathroom in the nation’s oldest public park is being converted into a sandwich shop.

The 660-square-foot Pink Palace restroom was built on Boston Common in the 1920s. It hasn’t been used as a restroom since the 1970s.

Boston officials announced Wednesday that Mayor Thomas Menino signed a 15-year lease with the Orlando, Fla.-based Earl of Sandwich chain for a takeout operation at the site.

Earl of Sandwich will pay $50,000 annually. It will renovate the interior of the mausoleumlike structure for use as a kitchen, with storage and preparation areas.

The goal is to open the shop as early as spring.

The Boston Common was set aside as public land in 1640. The restroom is called the Pink Palace because of the pinkish hue of its masonry.

LABOR

Jobless rates decline in most metropolitan areas

Unemployment rates fell in a majority of U.S. cities in July, despite a weak economy that is producing few jobs.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 193 large metropolitan areas, increased in 118 and were flat in 61. That was a sharp change from June, when unemployment rates rose in more than 90 percent of metropolitan areas.

The biggest monthly decrease was in Morgantown, W.Va. The unemployment rate there fell from 6.6 percent in June to 5 percent in July, mostly because people stopped looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively seeking work.

Yuma, Ariz., a farming hub that depends heavily on migrant workers, experienced the largest increase, from 27 percent in June to 30 percent in July.

Unlike the national data, metropolitan unemployment rates are not adjusted for seasonal changes, such as the start of the school year.

In July, the U.S. economy added 117,000 net jobs and the national unemployment rate fell to 9.1 percent. Still, the economy needs roughly twice that number of jobs to significantly lower the unemployment rate.

Many businesses pulled back on hiring this spring, after high gas prices, scant wage gains and supply disruptions caused by disasters in Japan contributed to a slowdown in growth.

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