- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 26, 2008

XM-Sirius merger approved by FCC

Federal regulators formally approved the merger of the nation’s only two satellite radio operators Friday, ending a 16-month-long drama closely watched by Washington and Wall Street.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.’s $3.3 billion buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. will mean 18 million-plus subscribers will be able to receive programming from both services. Executives say it will mean huge cost savings that will lead to a first-ever profit for the relatively nascent industry.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to approve the buyout, with the tie-breaking vote coming Friday night from Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate.

Ms. Tate had insisted the companies settle charges they violated FCC rules before she would approve the deal. The companies agreed this week to pay $19.7 million to the U.S. Treasury for violations related to radio receivers and ground-based signal repeaters.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin confirmed the final 3-2 vote Friday night.

Governor signs bill on restaurant fats

SACRAMENTO, Calif. | On Friday, California became the first state to prohibit restaurants from using artery-clogging trans fats in preparing their food.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that will ban restaurants and other retail food establishments from using oil, margarine and shortening containing trans fats in spreads or for frying beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Restaurants can continue using trans fats to deep-fry yeast dough and in cake batter until Jan. 1, 2011.

“Today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California,” the former bodybuilding and movie star said.

Violations could result in fines of $25 to $1,000. Food items sold in their manufacturers’ sealed packaging would be exempt. New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Montgomery County, Md., have ordinances banning trans fats, but California is the first state to adopt such a law.

49 illegal immigrants found in water tank

SAN DIEGO | Border Patrol agents have arrested 49 illegal immigrants who were discovered being smuggled into the U.S. inside the tank of a water truck.

Border Patrol officials say the people were discovered Friday after an agent spotted the water truck in an area near San Diego known as “Smuggler’s Gulch.”

Spokesman Daryl Reed says agents chased the truck on Interstate 5 before the driver pulled over and ran off. The man was later arrested. His name has not been released. Mr. Reed says some of the people inside the tank were dehydrated.

Mayor accused of assault

DETROIT | Investigators said Friday that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick berated and attacked them as they tried to serve a subpoena to a friend, and a judge ordered the troubled mayor to pay $7,500 and undergo random drug testing.

The ruling came after the two investigators testified that an irate Mr. Kilpatrick launched into a profanity-laced tirade and shoved one of them as they tried to serve the subpoena Thursday to Detroit businessman Bobby Ferguson.

One investigator, a black woman, testified that the black mayor tried to shame her for working with a white colleague.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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