- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2008

Regional

Maxjet Airways Inc. asked a bankruptcy court for permission to sell its non-core assets piecemeal as it prepares for a comprehensive liquidation of its more valuable assets. The all-business-class airline, which operated out of Washington Dulles International Airport, asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., to allow it to sell vehicles, inventory, computers, office equipment and other assets that it doesn’t need anymore.

Shares of Sallie Mae tumbled 13 percent, hitting a 52-week low, as investors reacted to the Reston company’s disclosure that it would cut back on its core business of making student loans.

Johnson’s on the Avenue, a clothing shop that tailored uniforms for Naval officers and formal wear for Annapolis residents for 55 years, will close this month, the victim of falling profits, parking problems and increased competition from malls.

National

Merrill Lynch & Co.’s head of global wealth management for the Americas will step down at the end of this month, the brokerage company said. No reason was given for Mac Gardner’s exit, and no replacement was named.

The country’s top mine-safety regulator will stay on the job despite the expiration of his temporary appointment as assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health. President Bush designated Richard Stickler as acting head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration yesterday, a few days after the expiration of his recess appointment.

The Treasury Department said it would begin offering the option of providing monthly Social Security payments on debit cards, and said it hopes millions of people without bank accounts will make use of the new service. Comerica Bank was chosen to offer the new debit cards, named “Direct Express,” because of its experience in handling prepaid cards for benefit recipients in various state-run programs.

TransCanada Alaska Co., LLC/Foothills Pipelines Ltd. beat out four competitors in a bid to build a natural gas pipeline out of Alaska that would supply energy to millions of consumers throughout North America.

IMS Health, which provides market research to the pharmaceutical and health care industries, said it will cut 10 percent of jobs worldwide by the end of the year. The Norwalk, Conn., company expects to save at least $55 million a year starting next year.

Talbots Inc. will close its 78 children’s and men’s apparel stores to focus on its core middle-aged female customer, a retrenchment that follows disappointing sales at Talbots as well as other specialty women’s apparel retailers amid tough economic conditions. Talbots shares sank to their lowest level in nearly a decade.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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