- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2007

Regional

U Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Valley, Md., said three of its stations are being investigated for airing material that might violate Federal Communications Commission rules. The inquiries involve stations in upstate New York, Ohio and Richmond, where WRLH-TV is accused of broadcasting indecent material in an advertisement. Sinclair denied the charges.

U Arlington power producer AES Corp. said second-quarter profit rose 41 percent. Net income climbed to $247 million (36 cents a share) from $175 million (26 cents) a year ago. Sales rose to $3.34 billion from $2.86 billion.

U A federal judge appointed a trustee to sell Mittal Steel’s Sparrows Point mill near Baltimore to settle antitrust concerns. The trustee, Joseph G. Krauss, could approve the planned sale of the mill to a global group led by Esmark for a reported $1.35 billion.

U Fairfax federal consultant SRA International Inc. said it completed the acquisition of Constella Group, a privately held global provider of health consulting services, with a presence in the Washington area. Terms were not disclosed. Constella reported 2006 sales of $169 million.

U Wireless-services providers Brightstar of Miami and InPhonic of the District said they signed a letter of intent to explore a strategic alliance, under which Brightstar would acquire InPhonic assets, become InPhonic’s exclusive provider of hardware and certain services and make a $5 million investment in InPhonic.

U Lockheed Martin of Bethesda said it will refund the Defense Department roughly $265 million for inadvertently over-billing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The company said it discovered the accounting glitch earlier this week and notified Pentagon officials immediately.

U Medifast of Owings Mills, Md., said net income for the second quarter fell to $909,000 (7 cents) from $1,448,000 (11 cents) a year ago. Sales rose 10 percent to $22 million.

U WidePoint Corp., a technology firm in Fairfax, said its net loss for the second quarter ended June 30 narrowed 99 percent to $772 (0 cents per diluted share) from $229,601 (1 cent) the previous year.

U Tier Technologies, a Reston software and financial processing firm, said its net loss for its third quarter ended June 30 grew 256 percent to $5.7 million (32 cents) from $1.6 million (8 cents) a year ago.

U ICF International, a Fairfax technology consulting firm, reported second quarter net income of $11.2 million (75 cents), compared with a net loss of $1.4 million (15 cents) the previous year.

U Worldspace Inc., a satellite radio company in Silver Spring, said its net loss for the second quarter ended June 30 widened 39 percent to $51 million ($1.30) from $36.6 million (98 cents) a year ago.

U Gannett Co. of McLean, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, amended several of its compensation plans to accelerate payments if the company is sold. The changes may signal that Gannett, owner of USA Today, is considering a leveraged buyout or takeover using an employee pension fund, an analyst said.

National

U Fired employees of American Home Mortgage Investment, the second-biggest mortgage lender in bankruptcy, sued the company for back wages, claiming they were terminated without the required 60-days notice. Attorneys filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of two former workers and sought to certify the case as a class action representing about 4,000 employees.

U D.R. Horton Inc., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, is being sued by a one-time customer who says he was forced to use the company’s affiliated mortgage service to buy his home, according to a regulatory filing. The complaint says the homebuilder required that home buyers use Horton’s affiliated mortgage company in order to get discounts and incentives.

U Rates on 30-year mortgages sank this week to their lowest point in two months, a dose of good news for people thinking about buying a home. Freddie Mac reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.59 percent.

U A judge ordered Joe Nacchio to deposit $19 million — the amount Nacchio was fined for his insider-trading conviction — into a court account to be held pending the outcome of the former Qwest chief executive’s appeal.

U Commerce Bancorp, the largest bank based in New Jersey, owes former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vernon Hill $11 million under terms of his employment contract, according to a regulatory filing. Mr. Hill, 61, left the bank after it settled a five-month probe by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

U The popular heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium don’t cause heart problems, U.S. health officials said. The sudden announcement followed a government safety review after reports of a possible risk emerged from preliminary studies.

U General Motors Corp. signed an agreement with a battery maker that could propel it ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. in the race to bring plug-in hybrid and electric cars to market. A123 Systems Inc. of Watertown, Mass., already produces millions of nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries for use in cordless power tools.

U Toyota Motor’s Prius, the world’s best-selling gasoline-electric car, probably won’t be revamped for 2008, a U.S. executive said, pushing the current model beyond the typical five-year life span. “It’s possible” a new Prius may arrive next year, “but probably not,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s U.S. executive vice president of sales.

U Buick tied with Lexus as the highest-ranking brand in a closely watched study of vehicle dependability, marking the first time in 12 years that Lexus has shared the top award, J.D. Power and Associates said. Cadillac, Mercury and Honda rounded out the top five brands in the annual survey.

U Credit-card companies target people fresh out of bankruptcy with credit offers, a finding that raises questions about the industry’s efforts to paint bankruptcy filers as “untrustworthy deadbeats.” A study by the University of Iowa found that nearly 100 percent of more than 300 families surveyed were offered new credit cards within a year after completing Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

International

U Trucks resumed transporting livestock across Britain after foot-and-mouth restrictions were eased, while a new spotlight was thrown on a laboratory at the center of the crisis. The Dutch ministry of agriculture also said that a ban on the transport of cows and pigs imposed five days ago would be lifted.

U China said it banned lead-tainted exports by two toy manufacturers whose products were subject to major recalls in the United States, in Beijing’s latest effort to repair its reputation. The government said the restrictions on Lee Der Industrial Co. Ltd. and Hansheng Wood Products were temporary, but did not give details.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

U Mikhail Kalashnikov, the 87-year-old designer of the world’s most famous assault rifle, is angry with what he calls “counterfeit” production of his gun and the rifle’s producer has the culprits in its sights. Officials at the Kalashnikov factory estimate their losses at around $360 million every year because of Kalashnikov-type rifles produced in Bulgaria, China, Poland and the United States.

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