- - Monday, April 30, 2012

LAS VEGAS — A 23-year-old Irish-themed casino on the Las Vegas Strip has gone dark to make way for a major entertainment district.

O’Shea’s Casino closed Monday after urging patrons to “drink us dry” over the weekend.

The casino’s parent company is making way for a $500 million Linq project, which will include an outdoor shopping and dining area and a giant observation wheel.

Caesars Entertainment executives say they’ll bring back the casino’s distinctive casual atmosphere, live music and beer pong in a reinvented O’Shea’s within the Linq project.

O’Shea’s employs about 300 people. Casino officials say they’ve been trying to place them in other jobs within the company.

UAE

Qatar to pump $250M into Barclays fund

DUBAI — A government-backed Qatari firm laid out plans Monday to invest $250 million in a Barclays PLC natural resource investment business, deepening the Gulf nation’s bet on raw materials.

The Qatar Asset Management Co. said it will invest the funds into current and future holdings of a private equity business run by the British bank. A “substantial proportion” of its investment is destined for the $2.1 billion worth of assets already held by the business, known as Barclays Natural Resource Investments.

BNRI buys into companies involved in oil and gas, mining and other resource industries on behalf of co-investors around the world.

QAMC is run by the Qatar Financial Center Authority, which oversees the Gulf state’s financial sector, and the country’s Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.

Already the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, Qatar has recently been pumping money into mining company Xstrata PLC. A regulatory filing Monday shows state-run Qatar Holding now owns more than 7 percent of the Anglo-Swiss company, which is being taken over by commodities trader Glencore International PLC.

CALIFORNIA

Yahoo plans to double Olympics presence

LOS ANGELES — Yahoo plans to double its Olympics presence this summer, aiming to be the top website for the fourth straight games.

Yahoo is sending 25 people from around the world to cover the Summer Olympics in London - about “twice as big” as it had in the Winter Olympics - including U.S. gold medal winners Shannon Miller and Dan O’Brien and many of its sports columnists and reporters. It also plans to cover the games in dozens of languages.

The move is an effort to outshine competitors. Despite not paying for exclusive rights to cover the games, Yahoo says it has been the No. 1 global destination for Olympics coverage for the past three games.

In February 2010, Yahoo Sports had 32 million unique visitors and 254 million page views for thegames in Vancouver, it says. Second-place NBC, which paid for exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to cover, had 19 million visitors and 251 million page views.

NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp. that has agreed to pay $4.4 billion for the U.S. rights to carry the games through 2020, lost $200 million on the Winter Olympics. By contrast, Yahoo’s Olympics coverage is profitable, says Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s head of global media.

“These games will be the biggest revenue driver we’ve ever had for an event by a long shot,” he said.

MICHIGAN

Strong Grand Cherokee sales keep factory going

DETROIT — Sales of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs are so strong that their factory will stay open through the normal two-week summer shutdown.

Automakers typically close plants around the July 4 holiday to update cars and trucks for the new model year and maintain the machinery.

But Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson says the Jefferson North factory in Detroit that makes the SUVs will stay open all summer. The plant is working overtime on two shifts and running two of every three Saturdays.

Chrysler sold nearly 38,000 Grand Cherokees from January through March, up 44 percent from a year ago. Durango sales were up 33 percent at just over 11,000.

Ms. Tinson says Chrysler can make changes for the 2013 model year while the plant is running.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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