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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

URS offers $1.25 billion for Canadian oil, gas firm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Construction giant URS Corp. has offered $1.25 billion in cash to buy Canadian oil and gas contractor Flint Energy Services Ltd.

URS, which is based in San Francisco and has an office in Buffalo, said Monday that the deal will significantly expand its presence in the oil and gas industry. It will add to URS' earnings this year and boost oil and gas revenue to 22 percent of URS' total annual revenue, the company said.

URS will assume about $225 million in Flint debt. The deal values Flint at $25 per share. That's a 68 percent premium over Flint's Friday closing price of $14.90.

Flint, based in Calgary, Alberta, trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The deal will be conducted under Canadian law and in Canadian dollars. Canadian dollars are nearly equal in value to U.S. dollars.

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Fighter jet begins flight tests

LOS ANGELES -- The F-35, the military's next-generation fighter jet, has begun its first flight tests carrying external missiles at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.

The stealthy, supersonic fighter, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., has been undergoing tests since its first flight in late 2006. Each jet contains about $1 million in equipment made by East Aurora-based Moog Inc.

The F-35, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, will be used by the Navy, Marines and Air Force. Three versions of the F-35 are being built -- one that can operate off aircraft carriers, one capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, and a conventional fighter jet.

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Triathletes face rising costs

SAN DIEGO -- The sport of tri-athlon draws competitors with household incomes of about $100,000 who are looking for inexpensive hotel rooms, according to a survey revealed Monday.

The sport, which involves swimming, biking and running, draws high-earning, college-educated athletes and has grown more than sixfold in the United States since its debut in the 2000 Olympics. But the top issue facing competitors is rising costs, a study conducted by the Active Network and Triathlon America says.

"They're willing to spend money, but they're actually reasonably stingy," Dave Alberga, chief executive Officer of Active Network, said. "These are not luxury travelers."

In a survey of 1,700 triathletes, 55 percent had a household income of more than $100,000 a year, 90 percent attended college or have a post-graduate degree, 70 percent work full time and 74 percent own their home.

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LA Fitness to open in city

LA Fitness will occupy a planned 41,000-square-foot building on a parcel near Hertel and Elmwood avenues, according to documents filed with the City of Buffalo.

Benderson Development's plans for the 9.9-acre site behind a Citizens Bank have been public for nearly a year, but no tenant for the fitness center had been previously announced.

The city Planning Board in December approved slightly revised plans for the site, with the developer scrapping a proposal to tear down a former warehouse on the site.