AAA says Maine gas prices up four cents in past week

According to AAA, Maine gas prices have risen four cents on average in the last week.

The association’s website reports that the average price for regular gasoline is $3.14. The mid-range gas average is $3.38 and $3.48 for premium.

A year ago gas prices were $2.67, $2.88 and $2.96 respectively.

Alcatel to pay $137 million to settle bribery complaints

Alcatel-Lucent SA has agreed to pay more than $137 million to settle charges brought against it by the federal government.

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused the Paris-based maker of telecommunications gear of paying bribes to foreign government officials to illegally win business in Latin America and Asia.

Alcatel, a top supplier to U.S. and European phone companies, agreed to pay more than $45 million to settle the SEC’s charges. It will pay an additional $92 million to settle separate criminal charges announced by the Justice Department.

Alcatel bought U.S.-based Lucent Technologies at the end of 2006.

Nokia-Motorola dealawaiting China’s approval

Nokia Siemens Networks said Tuesday that a regulatory hurdle will keep it from completing its acquisition of Motorola Corp.’s network equipment business by the end of the year.

Instead, the joint venture between Finland’s Nokia Corp. and Germany’s Siemens AG plans to close the deal in the first quarter of 2011.

The company said that the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of China still has to approve the takeover.

New China export quotas to further limit key minerals

China said Tuesday it is cutting quotas for rare earth exports by 11 percent in the first round of permits for 2011, threatening to worsen a global shortage of minerals needed for smartphones, hybrid cars and guided missiles.

The government allotted 14,446 metric tons of rare earth exports split among 31 companies, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. That compares with the first round this year of 16,304 tons and the second round of 7,976 tons, according to previous ministry statements. The government usually issues two rounds of export quotas every year.

China, which accounts for more than 90 percent of world supplies, slashed export quotas by 72 percent in the second half of this year, sparking a surge in prices.

Sales of movie tickets just shy of 2009 record

Domestic box-office revenues for 2010 won’t quite hit last year’s record-setting haul, but they’ll be awfully close.

Total movie-ticket sales will reach $10.556 billion, the tracking agency Hollywood.com said Tuesday.

That’s a slight drop from the $10.6 billion total from 2009.

At the same time, total attendance was down 5.36 percent.