- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2008


ICF Emergency Management LLC of Fairfax and Quadel Housing Services Inc. of the District were forced to pay $225,275 in back wages to 399 current and former housing advisers who worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The workers were not properly paid for overtime, the U.S. Labor Department said.

AOL, the Sterling, Va., Internet access unit of Time Warner Inc., started a Spanish-language Web site for Mexican users to help draw advertisers in Latin America. AOL Mexico is the company’s 17th site with country-specific content, as part of a strategy to expand in 30 countries by the end of the year.

AOL suggested users of the Netscape Navigator browser switch to Flock or Firefox after Netscape shuts down March 1. AOL gave instructions for downloading the Flock and Firefox browsers in a blog on Netscape’s Web site.

Sallie Mae named Michael Sheehan general counsel, replacing Robert Lavet, who resigned from the student-loan company’s top legal position less than a month ago. Mr. Sheehan joined Sallie Mae in 1992 and previously led the Reston company’s legal work on corporate finance and securities matters.

Smithfield Foods Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Pope, who runs the biggest pork-producing company, said U.S. food prices must rise to keep pace with accelerating commodity costs and to avoid shortages. “Major producers are going out of business,” Mr. Pope told the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual forum in Arlington.

Arlington investment bank Friedman Billings Ramsey reported a fourth-quarter loss of $270 million ($1.77 a share) compared with net income of $3.8 million (2 cents) a year ago. Revenue fell 94 percent to $19 million.

VSE Corp., an Alexandria defense contractor, said net income for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 jumped 87 percent to $4.5 million (88 cents) from $2.4 million (49 cents) a year ago.

Celsion Corp., a Columbia, Md., pharmaceutical firm, reported net losses for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 more than doubled to $2.3 million (22 cents) from $1.1 million (24 cents) a year ago.

Radio One Inc., a D.C. owner of broadcast properties, reported net losses for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 soared to $386.4 million ($3.91) from a net loss of $25.5 million (26 cents) a year ago.

LaSalle Hotel Properties of Bethesda said net income for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 40 percent to $6.3 million (16 cents) from $4.5 million (11 cents) a year ago.

U Lillian Vernon Corp., the bankrupt Virginia Beach catalog retailer owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc., won court approval to hold going-out-of-business sales. The court also allowed Lillian Vernon to borrow $8.5 million to finance operations while in court protection.


Chevron plans to expand the search for untapped oil reserves by drilling wells on Alaska’s North Slope this year. Chevron will focus on the White Hills prospect acquired as part of the company’s 2005 purchase of Unocal Corp.

Harbinger Capital Partners increased its stake in the New York Times to 15.6 percent from 11.8 percent, according to a regulatory filing. The hedge fund run by Philip Falcone is now the largest shareholder of New York Times.

ChoicePoint Inc. is being acquired by Reed-Elsevier, parent of LexisNexis, in a cash deal worth $3.6 billion, a major premium for a company that weathered an embarrassing breach of its database, federal investigations and a stock-trading probe of its top two executives. The deal combines ChoicePoint’s data and analytics assets with LexisNexis’ search technology.

Daily Variety, the venerable show business trade magazine and Hollywood fixture for more than 70 years, was put up for sale as part of a cost-cutting plan by its parent company, Reed-Elsevier. The Anglo-Dutch company said it would spin off Variety as part of a planned sale of its Reed Business Information publishing unit.

Google Inc. will expand its options for advertisers with a program to pair commercials with online video. The ads will appear as in-video overlays, online advertising network YuMe Inc. said. The company will sell the spots through its AdSense platform.

Shares of Career Education Corp., a for-profit operator of colleges and trade schools, sank after reporting that some students face cuts in financial aid. Shares of other education companies also fell. Reston student-lender Sallie Mae said it will stop some loans to Career Education students.

Flowserve Corp., a maker of pumps and valves for the energy sector, agreed to pay more than $10.5 million in penalties for making illegal kickbacks through the United Nations’ oil-for-food program, the Justice Department said.

Wachovia Corp. has upped the number of stock options given to Chief Executive Ken Thompson, although the leader of the nation’s fourth-largest bank will not receive a cash bonus for his work last year. Wachovia’s profit fell 19 percent to $6.31 billion in 2007, partly because of losses tied to mortgage-related investments and weakening credit markets.

MBIA Inc.’s new chief executive, Jay Brown, trying to rescue the company, said bond insurers must separate their municipal guarantees from asset-backed securities. MBIA left its main trade association because the group didn’t share the company’s vision for the industry, Mr. Brown said. Bond insurers should also stop issuing credit-default swaps, he said.

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose to the highest level in seven weeks, breaking above the 6 percent level. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04 percent this week, up from 5.72 percent last week.

Federal officials say that more than one-third of the 143 million pounds of California beef recalled last week went to school lunch programs. U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Administrator Eric Steiner said that about 50 million pounds went to schools and that 20 million pounds have already been eaten.


China’s trade surplus with the United States fell last month as demand for Chinese goods weakened amid fears of a U.S. recession, while the surplus with Europe surged by 42 percent. The surplus with the United States was $12.1 billion, down 6.7 percent from the same month last year, the Chinese customs agency reported.

Monopoly, the iconic game of capitalism, has been drawn into the dispute over Jerusalem. Hasbro Inc. issued an apology after an employee, responding to complaints from pro-Palestinian groups, eliminated the word “Israel” after the city in an online contest to select names for a new Monopoly board game: Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

A bill to nationalize troubled bank Northern Rock was accepted without a vote by Britain’s upper House of Lords.

European data privacy regulators said that Internet search engines based outside Europe must also comply with EU rules on how a person’s Internet address or search history is stored. EU rules say that someone must consent to their data being collected and give people the right to object or verify their information apply to search engines.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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