- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2007

Regional

U The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said for the first time that the portfolio limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be lifted or altered significantly in February if the companies are able to resume filing timely and audited financial statements.

U John Malone’s Discovery Holding said it is in talks to acquire Advance-Newhouse Communications’ one-third stake in Discovery Communications of Silver Spring.

National

U US Airways Group, in talks for a new pilot contract, said it canceled 30 flights after pilots called in sick at about six times the usual rate. About 110 pilots stayed off the job after reporting that they were ill, an increase from 15 to 20 on a normal day, the airline said.

U Three spreadsheets containing more than 5,000 Social Security numbers and other personal details about customers of ABN Amro Mortgage Group were inadvertently leaked over an online file-sharing network by a former employee, the company said.

U HSBC Holdings PLC said it will close its Decision One subprime mortgage unit in the United States, eliminating 750 jobs.

U Bankers marketing the $5 billion loan for First Data Corp.’s leveraged buyout have found more than enough buyers for the deal, sources said. The “road show” for that portion of the $13 billion loan package is the first part of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.’s $24 billion fundraising effort for the deal.

U A drummer who spent four years in one of the greatest punk bands of all time, the Ramones, filed a federal lawsuit claiming he is owed nearly $1 million in royalties on songs sold over the Internet. The suit by Richard “Richie Ramone” Reinhardt names Wal-Mart, Apple and the estate of lead guitarist, Jeffrey Ross “Joey Ramone” Hyman, among others.

U Fox Broadcasting plans to offer the premieres of some television series for free on Apple’s ITunes, showing support to the service after NBC decided to pull its programs from the online music store. New shows “Back to You” and “K-Ville,” and returning programs “Prison Break” and “Bones” will be available.

International

U Britain’s mortgage lender Northern Rock was forced to borrow about $6 billion from the central bank to ease its financial crisis, the Financial Times reported today. The loan would represent about 10 percent of Northern Rock’s deposit base.

U Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest bank, may have to revalue its securities holdings at a “significantly lower price” because of credit-market turmoil triggered by subprime-mortgage defaults in the United States.

U The British government said it is considering a U.S. request for information about BAE Systems PLC and reputed kickbacks to members of the Saudi royal family to win arms deals, and denied accusations that it is stalling in the politically sensitive investigation.

U British health authorities are investigating a suspected new case of foot-and-mouthdisease in a control zone in the southeastern county Surrey and ordered cattle that showed symptoms of the virus slaughtered.

U The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the United States in a dispute over Turkey’s restrictions on U.S. rice imports.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

U Home Depot Inc. doesn’t plan to make any broad-based job cuts or reduce the number of its core retail stores in the face of a persistent housing slump that isn’t expected to improve anytime soon, Chief Executive Officer Frank Blake said. The Atlanta company’s focus on customer service means more employees, not fewer, will be needed, he said.

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