USA

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett announced that his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will pay $4.5 billion for 60 percent of manufacturing and services group Marmon Holdings. Marmon is owned by trusts for the benefit of members of the Pritzker family, which developed the Hyatt Hotel chain. Berkshire Hathaway said it will acquire the remaining 40 percent of Marmon during the next five to six years.

Investigators tried to determine Wednesday how a Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo long enough on Christmas Day to kill one man and critically maul two others before being shot dead. The animal's enclosure is surrounded by a 15-foot-wide moat and 20-foot-high walls.

As shoppers headed back to stores for after-Christmas sales Wednesday, the National Retail Federation said consumers are expected to spend a total of $26.3 billion in gift cards over the holiday period, up 42 percent from two years ago. Such activity may be needed if holiday sales are to come in at or just below meager projections.

Power Fasteners Inc. which supplied the epoxy blamed for a woman's death in Boston's Big Dig tunnel, reached a $6 million settlement with the woman's family. The epoxy was not safe for securing overhead loads, which led to the collapse of a concrete ceiling tile onto a car in which Milena Del Valle was a passenger.

The California Supreme Court ruled that shopping malls can't stop protesters from urging the boycott of stores while on mall property. The decision stemmed from a 1988 demonstration by newspaper union members who distributed leaflets discouraging patronage of a certain store.

Houston-based Aquamaker has developed a water-generating machine capable of producing 36 liters of potable water (with no harsh minerals) from the atmosphere in 48 hours. The apparatus, which uses less energy than an electric tea kettle, has been introduced in Tel Aviv by an Israeli subsidiary.

Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., is building a prototype reactor designed to use a two-stage thermochemical reaction to "reenergize" carbon dioxide, Technology Review reports. Testing is expected to begin late spring on the device that will use solar energy to break down carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, which can be used to produce methanol, gasoline, and other fuels.

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