Business-plan student winners
Two Roslyn High School students took top honors Wednesday in a business plan competition organized by Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos. The students each won a $1,500 scholarship to attend Hofstra University in Hempstead for their plan for an alternative fuel made from grass, called "grassoline." Maragos said, "The business ideas presented were stunning and could only have been conceived by fresh minds who view the world through different lenses" than adults. Second place went to a team of eight students from New Hyde Park Memorial High School, which presented a plan for an indoor sports complex. The students will split $4,000 from Healthplex Dental insurance. Ten schools in Nassau competed in the comptroller's first business plan contest for high school students. Maragos spokesman Jostyn Hernandez said, "Based on the reaction from the students and teachers, we definitely want to do next year." The event was held in the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola.-- James T. Madore
Bank of America revenue down
Bank of America Corp. revenue fell across almost all its businesses in the first quarter, it said Wednesday, and the bank was further hit by a legal settlement for mortgages, highlighting the difficulties chief executive Brian Moynihan faces in moving past the housing crisis. Many of the bank's revenue generators -- including consumer banking, mortgages and debt, currency and commodities trading -- turned in weaker performances. Bank of America shares fell 4.72 percent to $11.70 Wednesday. The results suggest that with its lingering mortgage issues, the bank may be recovering from the financial crisis more slowly than Citigroup Inc., the other big bank that required multiple government bailouts. Bank of America's purchase of Countrywide Financial at the height of the housing crisis is still haunting it. The bank said Wednesday it had settled three mortgage-backed securities lawsuits related to its Countrywide unit for $500 million, the latest in a series of mortgage settlements for Bank of America. Net income quadrupled as expenses dropped and the bank set aside less money to cover bad loans. But Wall Street analysts were expecting an even bigger gain, and the comparison was flattered by a host of one-time items in the year-earlier period. -- Reuters
Microsoft offers added security
Microsoft is offering enhanced security for its email, storage and other services. People who turn on the new feature will be asked not just for a username and password, but also a second piece of information, such as a temporary code sent as a text message to a phone on file. Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. already allow two-step verification as an option. The security enhancements work with all Microsoft accounts, such as email addresses ending in Hotmail.com, MSN.com and Outlook.com. Those accounts unlock a range of Microsoft Corp. products, including email, Skype, SkyDrive storage, Xbox gaming, Office software subscriptions and Windows 8 machines.
American restores most flights
American Airlines resumed most flights Wednesday, a day after a massive technology failure forced the nation's third-largest carrier to ground all planes from coast to coast. On Tuesday, American and regional offshoot American Eagle canceled nearly 1,000 flights and delayed another 1,100. The failure affected nearly two-thirds of scheduled flights aboard American and American Eagle. The company blamed the breakdown on a "software issue" that knocked out both primary and backup computer reservation systems, which are also used for everything from issuing boarding passes to determining how much fuel to pump into planes. -- APAnd it was a public-relations nightmare for American, which is preparing to merge with US Airways to become the world's biggest carrier. Passengers took to social media sites to criticize the airline, which for hours could only apologize and say that it was trying to fix the problem.