- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2008

Regional

Monitors of the mid-Atlantic electricity grid will be moved outside the control of the grid’s operator after a probe into the reputed silencing of an internal critic. Under the settlement announced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Monitoring Analytics LLC will operate independently from PJM Interconnection management, take concerns directly to members and regulators and issue reports to all interested parties.

Lockheed Martin Corp., the Bethesda defense contractor, won a $344 million contract from the Defense Department to operate and maintain super computers at four research centers.

General Dynamics Corp., the Falls Church defense contractor, reported compensation for Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Chabraja valued at $18.6 million in 2007, up 28 percent from the previous year. Mr. Chabraja also exercised options for stock valued at $45.2 million last year.

Norfolk Southern Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. railroad, boosted Chief Executive Officer Charles “Wick” Moorman’s compensation 21 percent to $14.6 million last year while profit fell 1 percent from 2006.

National

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin called for quick government action to tackle the rising level of home foreclosures and he indicated taxpayer money would have to be used. “There is a strong need for urgent action,” said Mr. Rubin, who is chairman of Citigroup Inc.’s executive committee. “I would be very, very seriously considering the possibility of using public funds in one form or another.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the biggest U.S. securities firm, and smaller rival Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. had their credit-rating outlook cut to negative by Standard & Poor’s, which said Wall Street bank profits may fall as much as 30 percent in the coming year.

FGIC Corp. and its bond insurance unit may have their ratings cut again by Standard & Poor’s because of doubt about their ability to raise capital and take on new business. S&P; put the corporation on CreditWatch with “negative implications.”

B. Braun Medical Inc. of Irvine, Calif., recalled heparin blood thinner in the U.S. and Canada after learning it contained a “heparin-like contaminant” from Scientific Protein Laboratories, a supplier linked to deaths and allergic reactions in heparin produced by Baxter International Inc.

A U.S. panel will review the safety and benefits of Lasik eye surgery and implanted lenses to permanently correct vision. The Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers on ophthalmic devices will discuss “general issues” concerning Lasik and intraocular lenses at a public meeting April 25 in Gaithersburg.

Starbucks Corp., the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain, must pay $105 million in penalties because the company’s supervisors in California took a share of servers’ tips, a state judge ruled. Under California law, employers are prohibited from taking employees’ tips.

Aloha Airgroup Inc., the closely held Hawaiian airline company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying competition from Mesa Air Group Inc. cut its sales. This is the second bankruptcy in three years for Aloha, the second-largest Hawaiian airline.

John Cota, the pilot of a ship that struck a bridge support in San Francisco Bay last year and dumped 58,000 gallons of oil, pleaded not guilty to negligence charges, his lawyer said.

AT&T; says it will make a down payment of $1.3 billion to the Federal Communications Commission within 10 business days for the portion of wireless spectrum licenses it won in a government airwaves auction. The remaining balance of $5.3 billion will be paid by April 17, AT&T; said.

Gibson Guitar Corp. sued Electronic Arts Inc. and Viacom Inc. units Harmonix and MTV Networks for infringing a patent by selling Activision Inc.’s “Guitar Hero” video game. The Nashville, Tenn., guitar maker filed a similar lawsuit Thursday against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

Sony Corp. and Nokia Oyj were among 30 companies named in a probe by the U.S. International Trade Commission into allegations they violated a patent for technology used in electronics such as Blu-ray DVD players.

Pressure on investment banks may create problems for studios and filmmakers trying to raise money, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Vice Chairman Michael Burns said. Companies will have a harder time persuading lenders to accept the risks involved in moviemaking, Mr. Burns said.

International

Government-run investment funds have so far been guided by commercial and not political interests, according to a report issued by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF said it would finish a guide to best practices for sovereign wealth funds by August. The paper from the IMF came a day after the U.S., Abu Dhabi and Singapore agreed to adopt rules for greater disclosure .

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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