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1. Colorado residents ask feds to block legal pot

DENVER — The owners of a mountain hotel and a southern Colorado horse farm argue in a pair of lawsuits filed Thursday in US District Court in Denver that the 2012 legalization of marijuana has hurt their property and that the marijuana industry attracts unsavory visitors. The lawsuits are the first in any state that has legalized recreational or medical marijuana in which state residents are asking the federal government to block pot laws. ‘‘It is a bedrock principle of the United States Constitution that federal law is the supreme law of the land,’’ said David Thompson, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. ‘‘The people of Colorado are free to advocate for a change [in federal drug law], but they must do so through their elected representatives in Congress.’’ The lawsuits are also the first to claim that federal racketeering laws allow them to win damages from pot businesses that flout federal law. The plaintiffs have not specified the amounts they are seeking. — Associated Press

2. Sanofi names a Bayer executive as its new CEO

Sanofi has named Bayer AG’s health care head, Olivier Brandicourt as the French drug maker’s chief executive, turning to a citizen of its home country for leadership after firing a Canadian-German national, Chris Viehbacher. Brandicourt will take his new post in April, said Sanofi, France’s biggest company by market value. Sanofi is the parent company of Genzyme Corp. in Cambridge, the largest biotechnology employer in Massachusetts. —

3. Taunton silver maker seeks bankruptcy protection

Reed and Barton, a Taunton company that makes silver, glass, and furniture, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which has about 76 employees, was founded in 1824 and is known for minting the medals for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and flatware for Ritz-Carlton hotels. But it has struggled in recent years, ending its domestic manufacturing operations in 2009 and moving its production to contract work in Asia. The company lost money for the past two years and forecast an even larger loss this year because its main retailers, Costco and QVC, cut their orders. Its main liability is an underfunded pension plan. Lifetime Brands, which sells Farberware, Cuisinart, and KitchenAid products, has agreed to pay $15 million for the company’s assets if they don’t fetch a higher price at auction, according to court documents. Reed and Barton will retain most of its employees for a few months as part of its proposed sale to Lifetime Brands, it said in its filing. — Jack Newsham

4. FairPoint, unions have tentative deal to end a four-month strike

PORTLAND, Maine — Northern New England’s primary landline provider, FairPoint Communications, and two unions representing more than 1,700 workers have reached a tentative agreement to end a four-month strike, following more than a month of federally mediated negotiations. Workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont went on strike in October. A joint statement from the union and company did not provide details of the proposed settlement, which will be put to workers for a ratification vote. They would return to their jobs Wednesday. The last contract included lucrative provisions that dated to the days when Verizon was the owner; FairPoint said the new contract needed to bring worker benefits into sync with changes in the industry. — Associated Press

5. A123 sues Apple, saying it poached battery engineers

NEW YORK — The battery maker A123 Systems Inc. is suing Apple Inc., claiming that it poached key staff members in violation of their nondisclosure and noncompete agreements with A123. According to a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Massachusetts, A123 is seeking a restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop former employee Mujeeb Ijaz from hiring former A123 employees at Apple, where he now works. A123 makes lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and other products. The complaint says that Apple is starting a battery division nearly identical to A123. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. The suit comes amid unconfirmed reports Apple may be developing an electric car. General Motors and Tesla Motors have electric cars in the works, and Nissan is already selling an electric car called the Leaf. —

6. Mortgage rates, though still low, are at a seven-week high

Mortgage rates for 30-year loans rose to a seven-week high, increasing borrowing costs that had been near historic lows. The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.76 percent, up from 3.69 percent last week, the mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday. The average 15-year rate climbed to 3.05 percent from 2.99 percent. An improving job market is leading to speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year, while the European Central Bank’s embracing of monetary stimulus has pushed up yields for the government bonds that guide mortgages. Borrowing costs are still low, considering the 30-year rate averaged 6 percent over the last two decades. — Bloomberg News

7. Some violations can double your car insurance costs

Breaking the rules of the road costs Massachusetts drivers a lot more than a traffic ticket. Numerous moving violations can cause auto insurance premiums to as much as double for a typical driver, according to InsuranceQuotes.com’s cost calculator. A conviction for operating under the influence would increase premiums by 107 percent, higher than in all but six other states. Reckless driving leads to the second-highest increase on the list, boosting the annual premium for an educated 45-year-old woman with good credit to almost $3,200. from $1,600. Many other offenses, such as speeding, driving the wrong way, or failing to stop, increase rates by 22 percent. The cost of a ticket is often a fraction of the total cost of a moving violation. Running a stop sign, for example, might cost $100 upfront, but the premium increase for a typical driver would cost more than $350 per year for up to five years. — Jack Newsham

8. Maine’s governor joins offshore energy coalition

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Governor Paul LePage (right) has joined a coalition of state leaders that wants the federal government to allow more offshore energy development. He joins the chief executives of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia in the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. The group, formed in 2011, is led by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. It wants federal officials to expand opportunities in coastal waters for more oil, gas, and renewable energy exploration and production. LePage said that safe and responsible offshore energy development will create jobs while boosting the economy and the nation’s energy security. —


9. Employers snub union as West Coast port fight drags on

LOS ANGELES — Cargo companies have gone straight to West Coast dockworkers with what they call their ‘‘last, best, and final’’ offer in a contract dispute that has choked off billions of dollars in international trade. The move is likely to upset union leaders, who have been negotiating behind closed doors. In Tacoma, Wash., on Wednesday, foremen handed dockworkers a letter from the president of the association that represents companies that own, load, and unload ships, detailing a contract offer that employers made a week ago. The letter says it includes wage and pension increases and the maintenance of low-cost health benefits. Employers appear to be hoping that union members will conclude the offer is strong, and that dockworkers will pressure their negotiators to accept it. Negotiators for the union and the Pacific Maritime Association have been meeting with US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. —


10. Postal Service and employees open talks on a new labor contract

WASHINGTON — The Postal Service and a major union began contract talks Thursday as the agency continues to face huge financial losses. Its current contract with the American Postal Workers Union expires May 20. The agency has proposed such cost-cutting moves as ending Saturday mail delivery, only to have them turned aside by Congress. The union has proposed that postal customers be able to set up accounts for cashing checks and paying bills. Post offices offered some banking services until 1967. The Postal Service reported a 4.3 percent increase in operating revenue in the October-December 2014 period but a net loss of $754 million, much of it due to the requirement that it pre-fund retiree health benefits. — Associated Press