Sumter daily newspaper ceasing Monday editions

SUMTER — The Item of Sumter will stop publishing a Monday edition July 1 as a way to cut costs.

Publisher Jack Osteen says the Monday newspaper costs more to produce than it generates in revenue. Subscribers will get discounts because of the cutback.

The newspaper says keeping subscriptions affordable was increasingly difficult because of energy and newsprint costs and the economic downturn. The Item will continue to report news on Mondays on its Web site. The Item had been a six-day publication for its first 93 years before adding a Sunday edition in 1987.

The paper said it plans to enlarge its news staff to expand local coverage.

Honda to start selling new hybrid in U.S. in '09

TOKYO — Honda will sell a new, improved and affordable gas-electric hybrid in the U.S., Japan and Europe starting in early 2009, underlining the automaker's commitment to "green" technology, the company president said Wednesday.

The new model, to be sold solely as a hybrid, and not as a traditional, gasoline-powered car, is a key part of Honda's strategy for the next three years that its president, Takeo Fukui, outlined.

Also, Honda will introduce several other hybrids: a Civic and a new sporty model based on the CR-Z, Fukui said. He said the difference between hybrids and their comparable standard models should be kept within $1,900, although such price gaps can now reach $4,800.

Duke to buy all power generated at solar plant

CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy says it plans to buy for 20 years all the power generated at a massive solar power plant to be built north of Charlotte.

The utility said Wednesday it will purchase more than 16 megawatts of power from SunEdison. A state law passed last year requires utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources such as solar by 2021. SunEdison expects to start generating energy in North Carolina by the end of 2010.

Ga. investor convicted in hedge fund scheme

ATLANTA — A former hedge fund manager was convicted Wednesday of leading an investment scheme that caused clients, ranging from former NFL players to his mother, to lose millions of dollars while he spent the money on jewelry, real estate and a $500,000 wedding.

Kirk Wright, 37, of Marietta faces up to what amounts to a life sentence after a federal jury found him guilty of mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.

The charges relate to the 2006 collapse of Wright's International Management Associates.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 26.

Report: Barnes & Noble may be eyeing Borders

WASHINGTON — The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Barnes & Noble had assembled a team to study the possibility of buying rival bookseller Borders Group, a deal that analysts predicted would face numerous obstacles.

Borders said in March that it might put itself up for sale and that it had lined up $42.5 million to help it continue operations.

Barnes & Noble said after that announcement that it would take a "good look" at Borders if approached.

Asset sale gives earnings at Limited Brands a lift

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Limited Brands Inc. said its first-quarter earnings rose nearly 85 percent to $97.8 million on the a sale of an undisclosed asset that generated a pretax gain of $128 million.

The operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works said sales for the quarter ended May 3 fell 17 percent to $1.9 billion.

It also reported an 8 percent decline in sales during the quarter at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.