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Business briefs

Microsoft hangs up on its production of Kin phones

For Microsoft, there will be no next of Kin. The company halted the rollout of Kin One and Kin Two phones after less than two months. Kin phones were aimed at people who wanted a constant stream of updates from social networks and who wanted to share Web snippets, photos and video with friends. Microsoft says it won't sell the phones in Europe as planned. It will focus instead on Windows Phone 7. Verizon Wireless will continue to sell the current Kin phones.

Lynbrook firm wins $86.6M contract at Trade Center hub

The Port Authority has awarded a Long Island company an $86.6-million contract to build a key component of its planned World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Manhattan. The contract went to Sorbara Construction Corp. of Lynbrook, which specializes in concrete superstructure work. The construction is part of the Port Authority's planned transit hall designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Sorbara Construction will "furnish and install all concrete for floor slabs, beams and walls to bring the Transit Hall/Oculus area to street level," the Port Authority said in a news release. Port Authority chairman Anthony R. Coscia said in the news release that the agency has awarded more than $1 billion in contracts for the Transportation Hub.- Joseph Mallia

Mortgages applications up 9 percent after rates fall

Applications for mortgages rose last week as consumers refinanced their loans at the lowest rates in more than 50 years. Overall applications increased nearly 9 percent from a week earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said yesterday. But the growth in borrowing came from applications to refinance home loans and not to make new purchases. Refinancings were up 13 percent, the highest level since May 2009. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan sank to 4.69 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. That was the lowest since the mortgage company began keeping records in 1971.

Ex-AIG boss: Risky trades tripled in run-up to crisis

A former top executive of American International Group Inc. acknowledged yesterday that his division more than tripled the amount of risky investments it insured in the three years leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown. But Joseph Cassano, who led AIG's key Financial Products division, rebuffed accusations in Washington from a special panel investigating the crisis that he relaxed standards to issue more credit default swaps. AIG received a $182- billion taxpayer bailout - the biggest of the federal rescues - after it nearly collapsed and helped trigger the financial crisis. Cassano, who was forced to retire in March 2008, said the federal government paid too much to settle AIG's debt.

Gov. Rell woos NY hedge funders to Connecticut

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell is inviting New Yorkers who may feel overtaxed to move next door to Connecticut. Rell sent a letter yesterday to Timothy Selby, president of the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable, inviting him and other hedge fund managers to relocate. She is wooing wealthy New Yorkers after the New York State Legislature said it will tax hedge fund managers to help raise $50 million. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Albany's plan would help Connecticut, and Rell hopes the billionaire mayor is right. The hedge fund roundtable did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

From staff and wire reports


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