- The Washington Times - Friday, April 4, 2008


U Maurice Jones, vice president and general manager of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services, was named publisher of the newspaper. When Mr. Jones begins the job April 14, the newspaper will become the largest daily in the United States with a black publisher, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

U Shares of USEC Inc. of Bethesda, the lone U.S. producer of enriched uranium to fuel nuclear power plants, jumped 28 percent to $5.26 after competitor Urenco Ltd. reported rising profit because of growing demand for nuclear energy. Urenco, owned by Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, said net income increased 14 percent last year as Russia, India and China added atomic reactors.


U The Bank of France said that the younger brother of International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn took a post with the U.S.Federal Reserve. Marc-Olivier Strauss-Kahn will be the Bank of France’s representative in the United States and will have the position of “visiting senior adviser” to the Fed.

U The Bear Stearns Cos. assets pledged as collateral for the Federal Reserve’s $29 billion loan to save the firm from bankruptcy include debt from commercial mortgage-backed securities to home loans, the central bank said. None of the bonds are rated lower than BBB-minus by any of the three largest credit-rating companies, the New York Fed said.

U Rates on 15-year and 30-year mortgages rose this week, delivering another dose of unwelcome news to the troubled housing industry. Freddie Mac said 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.88 percent for the week ending yesterday, up from last week’s 5.85 percent and the highest since mid-March, when 30-year rates stood.

U Suspected mortgage fraud by borrowers, brokers and other participants soared 44 percent in the year before the U.S. housing market collapsed, outpacing all other types of dishonest financial activity reported by financial institutions, the Treasury Department said. Cash-out refinancings, home-equity lines and stated-income or low-documentation loans helped lead the increase.

U Thornburg Mortgage Inc., which averted bankruptcy this week, expects to rebound as a leading lender to borrowers of high-priced homes because of backing from its new investors. “The opportunity to get a jumbo mortgage loan is fairly limited,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Goldstone said, referring to loans of more than $417,000. “There is minimal to no competition.”

U Shares of National City Corp., Ohio’s largest lender, gained 6.2 percent to $9.79 after reports that it is talking about a possible merger with two other large Ohio banks. Fifth Third Bancorp, Ohio’s second-largest bank, and KeyCorp, the third-largest, are discussing a transaction with National City, the Wall Street Journal reported.

U Lehman Brothers, seeking to get high-risk, high-yield loans off its books, created a $2.8 billion collateralized loan obligation (CLO). Freedom CLO contains 66 loans, including debt the fourth-largest U.S. securities firm underwrote for buyouts. New York-based Lehman will hold a piece of the $565 million subordinated note, the riskiest portion.

U Northwest Airlines Corp. again raised prices on international flights and said it will freeze pilot hiring because of high fuel prices. The surcharge on flights from Japan to North America will rise by $20 to $160 beginning May 1.

U MetroPCS Communications of Dallas and Leap Wireless International of San Diego, two providers of cheap, no-contract service, may become the Wal-Mart of their industry. With recession in sight, consumers who can’t win credit approval at major carriers are opting for plans that cost as little as $30 a month for unlimited calling. The companies forecast subscriber growth of more than 20 percent.

U Liberty Media Corp. of Englewood, Colo., said it purchased 78.3 million shares of DirecTV to increase its stake in the No. 1 satellite television provider to 48 percent. Liberty Media, controlled by media entrepreneur John Malone, financed the private transaction by borrowing $1.98 billion against 110 million shares of DirecTV Group Inc.

U Apple Inc. filed a federal challenge to New York’s trademark application for a new “Big Apple” logo, saying it’s too similar to the stylized emblem found on iPhones, iPods and iMac computers. Apple said the symbol for New York’s “GreeNYC” initiative promoting energy efficiency and recycling is confusingly similar to the logo used by the electronics maker since 1977.

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