- The Washington Times - Friday, July 13, 2007


U The National Labor Relations Board accused The Washington Post of failing to negotiate with the newspaper’s union over extra work employees were asked to perform for its radio station. In a complaint, the agency said Washington Post Co. management repeatedly violated labor laws, beginning in 2006, by failing to negotiate in good faith with the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, which represents more than 1,200 newsroom and commercial employees.

U Hotel operator Marriott International Inc. of Bethesda said second-quarter earnings rose 11 percent on higher demand for rooms. Net income totaled $207 million (51 cents per share) for the period ended June 15, up from the $186 million (43 cents) a year ago.

U A Delaware poultry producer plans to expand two plants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, bringing 750 jobs, state officials said. Allen Family Foods Inc. will expand a plant in Hurlock, with $1.7 million in financial assistance from Maryland, and another in Cordova over the next several years, the Seaford, Del., company said.

U A news site that allowed its users to write and submit their own articles is shutting down. Backfence Inc. had “hyperlocal” sites serving 13 communities in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago areas.

U AARP, the largest advocacy group for older Americans, said Richmond’s Genworth Financial Inc. will offer long-term health care insurance products to its members. Genworth, the insurer spun off by General Electric Co., said it expects the AARP relationship to increase long-term care sales by 20 percent to 25 percent.


U America’s trade deficit rose to its second-highest level of the year as the price of imported crude oil jumped and demand for Chinese products remained strong despite recalls of tainted products. The Commerce Department reported that the deficit for May rose to $60.04 billion, 2.3 percent more than in April.

U Rates on 30-year mortgages rose this week to the second-highest level of the year as financial markets reacted to stronger economic news. Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.73 percent this week, up from 6.63 percent last week and very close to the high point of the year, which was 6.74 percent set the week of June 14.

U Units of Washington Mutual Inc. and General Electric Co. were among four subprime lenders whose loans were behind many of the Moody’s Investors Service ratings downgrades on mortgage securities this week, the firm said. Washington Mutual’s Long Beach Mortgage, GE’s WMC Mortgage, New Century Financial and Fremont General made loans that backed about 60 percent of the $5 billion of bonds that were downgraded, Moody’s said.

U The examiner appointed to probe the collapse of subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. has sought a judge’s authorization to investigate the company’s dealings with its auditor, KPMG LLP. Michael J. Missal, tapped last month to investigate what went wrong at New Century, said lawyers for KPMG have refused — absent a subpoena — to provide documents and testimony related to the firm’s work for New Century.

U The Agriculture Department said it will permanently ban the slaughter of cattle for human food if they cannot stand or walk, a potential sign of mad cow disease, but is exempting some animals in that condition. The department said the ban will be effective Oct. 1. The regulation does allow cows to be processed if they become unable to stand or walk after their initial inspection at a plant. The Humane Society of the United States objects to that exception.

U Jurors in the fraud and racketeering trial of former media baron Conrad Black and three associates adjourned after an 11th day of deliberations, saying they will meet again today. There has been no further word on progress from the nine women and three men since they told the presiding judge Tuesday that they were deadlocked on one or more counts.

U Clothing designer and marketer Jones Apparel Group Inc. said that its president and chief executive, Peter Boneparth, has left the company and named Wesley R. Card as his replacement. Mr. Boneparth’s resignation was not a surprise as Jones has been struggling to become more profitable and its stock has languished. After a failed bid to sell the whole company, Mr. Boneparth did succeed in selling luxury retailer Barneys New York to a Dubai investment firm.

U Chemicals maker Huntsman Corp. agreed to a $6.5 billion buyout offer from an affiliate of Apollo Management, terminating an earlier deal to sell itself at a lower price to a Dutch company. Apollo, through its Hexion Specialty Chemicals unit, had offered $28 a share in cash for Huntsman, which had previously accepted a $25.25 a share offer from the Dutch manufacturer Basell AF.

U Soft-drink companies including Pepsico Inc. have settled a lawsuit contending that their products contained ingredients that could form the carcinogen benzene, the suit’s plaintiffs said. The settling companies, which also include Sunny Delight, Rockstar, Polar Beverages and Shasta, agreed to reformulate or had already reformulated some products to lessen the chance that their ingredients would form the cancer-causing chemical when exposed to heat and light.

U A group of measurement specialists rejected a proposal that consumer groups said might save motorists between 3 cents and 9 cents a gallon at the pump. The proposal, debated in Salt Lake City, targeted the so-called “hot fuel” effect. As temperatures rise, liquid gasoline expands and the amount of energy in each gallon falls. But because U.S. gasoline pumps don’t adjust for temperature changes, motorists who buy gas that’s hotter than the government-standard 60 degrees get less bang for their buck.

U VeriSign Inc., the main manager of the Internet address database, said in a filing that Chief Financial Officer Dana Evan resigned. The company also will restate about $171.4 million in pretax costs to correct misdated stock options. Chief Executive Officer Stratton Sclavos stepped down six weeks ago.

U Whole Foods Market Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Mackey made critical comments about Wild Oats Markets Inc. through anonymous Internet messages in the years before his company agreed to buy the smaller rival. The comments, posted on Yahoo’s online financial chat boards, were disclosed in court documents in the Federal Trade Commission’s suit to block the $565 million deal.


U Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco and Dow Chemical Co. said they awarded KBR Inc. a contract to manage the construction of a chemicals and plastics production complex in Ras Tanura.

U French legislators approved a measure championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy that would encourage people to work beyond the 35-hour workweek by cutting taxes on overtime pay.

U The United States requested a formal World Trade Organization hearing on China’s industrial subsidies that U.S. officials said violate global trading rules. The request for a dispute-settlement panel came after Washington initiated a complaint in February on what it called “illegal” subsidies on a variety of products.

U Brazil filed a new complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organization, claiming that U.S. payments to farmers have exceeded WTO limits. The request for consultations marks the first step in what could become another lengthy dispute between the United States and Brazil over the billions of dollars Washington gives out annually in farm subsidies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

U Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega said he was concerned by the “artificial” devaluation of China’s currency and intended to raise the matter with Beijing.

U The euro hit another record high close to $1.38 amid a political standoff between France and Germany over the European currency’s soaring value. The euro also set a new record of 168.81 against the yen as the Japanese currency continued to be weighed down by ultralow domestic interest rates.

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