AIG selling Asian unit to raise payback cash

American International Group Inc. is selling a cornerstone of its business, Asia-based life insurer AIA Group, in a government-approved $35.5 billion deal. The sale to British insurer Prudential PLC could reduce by nearly one-fifth the amount of federal bailout money still invested in struggling AIG. But officials and analysts say it's not clear whether taxpayers will eventually recoup all the money AIG drew from a $182.5 billion rescue package from the government. (Prudential PLC is unrelated to U.S. insurer Prudential Financial Inc.)

Sony warns of glitch with PS3's clock

Sony Corp. said a glitch has knocked PlayStation 3 users off the game console's online network, and the company warned that data loss could occur if gamers continued using the machines. Sony said in a blog post that the problem was likely caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system, reminiscent of the Y2K bug a decade ago. The problem is affecting older PlayStation 3 models, but not the newest slim version that went on sale in September.

BAE Systems pleads guilty in corruption case

British defense company BAE Systems PLC pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a judge imposed a $400 million fine, among the largest in the Justice Department's efforts to combat overseas corruption in international business. The defense contractor knowingly failed to ensure compliance with legal prohibitions on foreign bribery. The company's conduct impeded U.S. efforts to be certain international trade is free of corruption, said acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler.

Hyundai ads get a new voice for Oscars

Hyundai has pulled actor Jeff Bridges' voice from its ads airing during Sunday night's Oscars broadcast because of an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rule limiting the use of nominees in Oscars ads. Bridges, nominated for the best actor award for his role in "Crazy Heart," has voiced ads for the Korean automaker since 2007.

Toyoda apologizes to Chinese customers

Toyota President Akio Toyoda brought his damage-control campaign to the world's biggest auto market, apologizing to Chinese customers for quality problems and stressing their importance to the Japanese automaker. Toyoda said he flew straight to Beijing from the United States to show his sincerity to Chinese customers after a string of vehicle recalls.

Goldman rejects demands to look into pay

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has rejected demands by shareholders to investigate the Wall Street bank's compensation practices. Shareholder lawsuits filed recently in New York and Delaware charge that Goldman's compensation levels in 2009 were too high, Goldman said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Goldman said government agencies and regulators have sought information about its pay practices, and the bank said it was cooperating with those inquiries.

Merck makes final payment to Vioxx fund

Drugmaker Merck & Co. has made its final, $4.1 billion payment into a fund to settle tens of thousands of U.S. claims that withdrawn painkiller Vioxx caused heart attacks or strokes, the company said in a regulatory filing. The final payouts to those patients or their survivors, from the $4.85 billion settlement fund, should be made by the end of June, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jobless rate falls to 4.9 percent in Japan

Japan's unemployment rate in January eased for the second straight month and household spending posted solid growth despite a decline in wages, adding to signs of recovery in the world's second largest economy. January's jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent from a revised 5.2 percent in December, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. The result was better than the 5.1 percent expected by economists in a Kyodo News agency survey.

Apple finds labor violations with suppliers

Apple Inc. said it found more than a dozen serious violations of labor laws or Apple's own rules at its suppliers that needed immediate correction. The findings were outlined in a company report on audits of 102 supplier facilities conducted in 2009. That was a year in which questions about the practices of one of Apple's suppliers came into focus after the suicide of a Chinese worker who held a sensitive job handling iPhones.

FROM NEWS SERVICES