- - Thursday, May 3, 2012


LONDON — Britain’s Border Force said Thursday that it was bringing in an extra 480 people at London’s Heathrow Airport to help cope with the Olympics, following a row about lengthy immigration lines.

The delays at the air hub, the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic and the main gateway for the Olympics, which begin July 27, are proving a major embarrassment for the British government.

Immigration Minister Damian Green confirmed Monday that some passengers from outside Europe were forced to wait up to 90 minutes to get through passport control at Heathrow’s flagship Terminal 5.

“We know, at times, queues have been too long,” a Border Force spokesman said.

“That is why we have announced an extra 80 staff for peak times at Heathrow. And it’s why we’ve also engaged an extra 480 people to cover the Olympic period.

“In the longer term, our management and rostering changes will address the issue of queues.”

Last year, Heathrow’s Terminal 5 handled more than 26 million passengers on more than 184,000 flights.


New treatments sought from old pharmaceuticals

Three pharmaceutical giants are unlocking their freezers to see whether government-funded scientists can reinvent some of their old drugs.

Lots of experimental drugs prove safe in human testing but fail to help the diseases their manufacturers hoped to target. The National Institutes of Health says those drugs might fight other diseases if more scientists could test them. It has happened before: A failed cancer treatment turned out to be the first effective AIDS drug.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly & Co. agreed Thursday to share two dozen of their shelved drugs, and the data about them, for NIH research. In the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, it’s “to see whether we can teach old drugs new tricks.”


MGM’s quarterly loss dwarfs revenue increase

LAS VEGAS — MGM Resorts International said Thursday that its first-quarter loss ballooned as higher costs and some one-time charges overshadowed a jump in sales.

MGM shares dropped nearly 4 percent in morning trading.

The Las Vegas casino and hotel operator lost $217.3 million, or 44 cents per share, in the January-to-March quarter, compared with a loss of $89.9 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts predicted a loss of 17 cents per share, according to FactSet. The one-time charges during the quarter were related to a dividend tax for MGM China and for paying down some long-term debt earlier than expected.

Revenue jumped 51 percent to $2.29 billion. Analysts forecast $2.26 billion.


Europe’s central bank chief urges more government cuts

FRANKFURT — European Central Bank President Mario Draghi offered little promise of new help for the struggling eurozone economy and urged governments to stay the course on tough spending cuts.

Speaking after the bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1 percent, Mr. Draghi said Thursday that the best hope for growth would be a Europe-wide push on deep economic reforms.

Those could include cutting red tape for businesses and reforming unbalanced labor market practices that make it hard to fire established employees, leaving older workers protected and younger ones facing a high likelihood of unemployment.

“We have to put growth back at the center of the agenda,” he said, elaborating on his call last week for a “growth compact” to go alongside the fiscal treaty signed this year tightening limits on government spending and deficits.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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