United Check-In System Fails; Pepper, Freeh Law Firms Merge

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United flight check-ins slowed by system failure

The failure of a major passenger reservation system at United Continental Holdings has blocked automated check-ins at airports and affected the airline's website, according to FlightAware.com. The carrier confirmed a network outage affecting airports and its website without offering specifics. "We are working to resolve the issue and minimize any impact to our operations," said Mary Ryan, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United. United can check in passengers manually while working to get its system back online, FlightAware.com Chief Executive Officer Daniel Baker said.

Law firms Pepper Hamilton, Freeh in merger

Pepper Hamilton LLP said it is merging with Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, the law firm founded by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who also oversaw an investigation of the Penn State sex- abuse scandal involving ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky. With the firms' deal, effective Sept. 1, eight attorneys from Freeh Sporkin will join Pepper Hamilton's white-collar litigation and investigations practice. Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton has 37 attorneys in Pittsburgh, part of more than 500 attorneys firmwide. In addition, Pepper Hamilton acquired affiliate Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, a worldwide consulting firm.

Molycorp starts ore separation at rare-earth mine in California

Molycorp Inc., owner of the largest rare-earth deposit outside of China, climbed the most in nine weeks after ore separation began at its Mountain Pass mine in California. Molycorp began separating a concentrate containing dysprosium, terbium, europium and other rare earths from ore at its Mountain Pass project. Production of concentrate with heavy rare earths -- which fetch the highest prices -- will increase to an annual rate of 200 tons in 2012 before doubling the next year, CEO Mark Smith said.

Honda, Toyota dominate summer sales in region

Honda sales were up by 52 percent, and Toyota rose 40.4 percent, during June and July in the Pittsburgh region, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association said in a report on Monday. Local Honda dealers sold 2,638 new models, while Toyota sold 2,296, and registrations of new Japanese car and light truck brands gained 22.2 percent from the same two months a year ago. Sales of domestic brands were down 0.6 percent for June and July, although Chrysler sales grew by 16.8 percent, to 2,987 vehicles registered. European brands grew 17.6 percent.

IBM introduces new powerful mainframe computers

IBM on Tuesday introduced a new line of mainframe computers the company calls its most powerful and technologically advanced ever. IBM said its zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server is designed to help clients securely and quickly sift through massive amounts of data, meeting the demands of retail and other clients in the age of "Big Data." Running at 5.5 GHz, IBM said the microprocessor that powers the mainframe is the fastest chip in the world. Processing speed is 25 percent faster than the previous model. …