Eat Here restaurant in Holmes Beach opens for lunch

December 29, 2012 

HOLMES BEACH -- The restaurant Eat Here Anna Maria Island is now serving lunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. seven days a week.

The restaurant, owned by Beach Bistro owner Sean Murphy, was recently renovated and expanded with indoor and outdoor seating.

Law firm contributes to endowment fund

SARASOTA -- The Sarasota office of the law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP has established and made a significant contribution to an endowment fund in memory of former partner Jeffrey S. Russell, who passed away in October.

The Jeffrey S. Russell-Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Memorial Fund has been established through Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The company's real estate department will direct an annual donation from the endowment to one or more charitable organizations that enhance the quality of life for all who live and work in the Sarasota region.

Additional contributions to the fund in Jeff's memory can be made online at https://www.gulfcoastcf.org/donorform.php or by mail to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Taylor Morrison reports more home sales in 2012

MANATEE -- Homebuilder Taylor Morrison sold 23 percent more homes in 2012 from 2012. Customer traffic at sales centers has increased and closings are up. Year-to-date, the division has pulled 527 permits in communities ranging from Tampa to Naples.

The company's West Florida division is building two new golf course communities in Naples and in the Esplanade Golf and Country Club in Lakewood Ranch. They are also expanding into waterfront communities with the opening of a new Gulf-access neighborhood in the Tampa Bay area including The Cove at Loggerhead Marina in St. Petersburg.

Taylor Morrison has developed three new communities: Arbor Reserve in Bradenton, Arbor Woods in Wesley Chapel, and Esplanade by Siesta Key in Sarasota. The company has also joined a number of existing communities as a preferred builder, including Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch.

Fewer U.S. banks failing as industry strengthens

WASHINGTON -- U.S. banks are ending the year with their best profits since 2006 and fewer failures than at any time since the financial crisis struck in 2008. They're helping support an economy slowed by high unemployment, flat pay, sluggish manufacturing and anxious consumers.

As the economy heals from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, more people and businesses are taking out -- and repaying -- loans.

And for the first time since 2009, banks' earnings growth is being driven by higher revenue -- a healthy trend. Banks had

previously managed to boost earnings by putting aside less money for possible losses.

Champagne loses fizzin Europe after tough year

PARIS -- Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region's appetite for the finer things. But while the latest industry figures show that sales might be on the wane in Europe, other markets, particularly Japan and the United States, are developing a taste for a glass of bubbly.

In what is certain to be bad news for the vineyards, France -- Champagne's largest market -- is drinking fewer bottles. Sales of Champagne for the country were down 4.9 percent, and 5 percent elsewhere in the 27-country European Union, in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to CIVC, the national association of growers and producers of the wine.

Nineteen months of rising unemployment and growing fears that the worst is yet to come have taken their toll on France -- nearly seven in 10 French are worried about their country's future, according to a recent poll.

U.K.'s Pearson investsin Barnes & Noble's Nook

LONDON -- Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, is to take a 5 percent stake in Barnes & Noble's NOOK e-reader as technology companies seek new inroads into the potentially lucrative business of digital textbooks for schools.

Pearson PLC will pay $89.5 million cash for a 5 percent stake in NOOK Media LLC which includes the bookseller's e-reader and tablets, its digital bookstore and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges. Barnes & Noble will hold 78.2 percent of the business and Microsoft will have about 16.8 percent, the company said Friday.

Major tech companies have looked for inroads into the industry, seeing tablets like the iPad and the NOOK as replacements for the dozens of books that students must lug to and from school each day.

HP says government investigating Autonomy unit

NEW YORK -- Autonomy, the British business software company now owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., is facing a Justice Department investigation over improper accounting under previous management, according to HP.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, HP said Justice officials had informed the company on Nov. 21 that they were opening an investigation into the allegations, which HP said in November that it had uncovered after a senior Autonomy executive came forward.

HP also reiterated that it provided information to the SEC and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office related to "accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy." HP said it was cooperating with all three government agencies.

China court orders Appleto pay in rights dispute

BEIJING -- A Chinese court has ordered Apple Inc. to pay 1.03 million yuan ($165,000) to eight Chinese writers and two companies who say unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple's online store.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ruled Thursday that Apple violated the writers' copyrights by allowing applications containing their work to be distributed through its App Store, according to an official who answered the phone at the court and said he was the judge in the case. He refused to give his name, as is common among Chinese officials.

The award was less than the 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) sought by the authors. The case grouped together eight lawsuits filed by them and their publishers.

FDA clears anticlotting drug Eliquis for atrial fibrillation

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the anticlotting drug Eliquis, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc. It's a potential blockbuster drug in a new category of medicines to prevent strokes.

The agency previously rejected the drug twice, most recently in June, awaiting additional data from company trials.

The FDA cleared the pill for treating the most common type of irregular heartbeat -- atrial fibrillation -- in patients at risk for strokes or dangerous clots.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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