- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008

Regional

Radio One Inc., the D.C.-based owner of stations serving African-American audiences, said that Zemira Z. Jones has resigned as its vice president of operations in the wake of a $386.4 million fourth-quarter loss.

•Infuriated by Constellation Energy’s failure to appear at a Feb. 6 hearing on the deregulation of the electric energy industry, the Maryland Public Service Commission scheduled another hearing next week and specifically ordered Constellation officials to attend. A spokesman for the Baltimore energy company said officials will be there.

National

•Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard W. Fisher said that the United States will probably see slower economic growth rather than a deeper downturn. The most likely scenario is that the United States will avoid a “prolonged period of negative economic growth,” Mr. Fisher said before a speech in Fort Worth, Texas.

•The Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission backed Liberty Media Corp.’s $12 billion purchase of a controlling stake in DirecTV Group Inc. from News Corp., with some conditions, two agency officials said.

Channel Reinsurance Ltd., a reinsurer for troubled financial guarantor MBIA Inc., had its credit rating cut three levels by Moody’s Investors Service because of a slump in the value of residential mortgage securities. Channel Re provides more than half the reinsurance bought by MBIA, the world’s largest bond insurer.

GMAC LLC, the lender part-owned by General Motors Corp., will prop up Residential Capital LLC with a loan of as much as $750 million while the mortgage unit tries to sell a financing business.

Citigroup Inc. agreed to provide $500 million in credit to one of its troubled hedge funds, the bank disclosed in a regulatory filing. The Citi-managed fund, known as Falcon, was brought onto the bank’s books, which will increase the bank’s assets and liabilities by about $10 billion.

•U.S. private equity fund First Reserve Corp. will buy CHC Helicopter Corp. for $1.48 billion in what the companies described as the largest oil field services buyout ever. Shares of CHC soared nearly 40 percent, or $8.43 to $29.93.

American Airlines executives met with labor union leaders this week to discuss a potential merger with another carrier, an airline executive told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

•Two Detroit pension funds sued Yahoo Inc. and its board of directors, saying they breached their duties to shareholders in trying to thwart a takeover by Microsoft Corp.

•Health plans that care for elderly patients under the U.S.-backed Medicare Advantage program may get a 4.8 percent premium increase in 2009 under a preliminary rate notice issued by the government. The increase may become final on April 7 and take effect Jan. 1, 2009, according to a notice posted on the Web site of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

•A federal appeals court denied former media mogul Conrad Black’s emergency request to remain free on bond while appealing his 6½-year sentence for swindling his company’s shareholders. But the court still could allow Black to remain free on bond rather than force him to start his sentence on his March 3 surrender date.

•A federal court jury found Steve Warshak, the owner of a company that sells Enzyte “male enhancement” tablets and other herbal supplements, guilty of bank fraud and money laundering. Warshak, founder of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, could face more than 20 years in prison.

Asarco LLC reached a $38 million settlement with the state of Washington over contamination tied to a former smelter, the latest deal to resolve the copper-mining company’s massive environmental liabilities.

Time Warner Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it expects to cut more jobs in its magazine publishing division in the first quarter, resulting in $10 million to $20 million in expenses. Fewer than 100 jobs will be affected, the company said.

Marvel Entertainment Inc.’s film-production unit was sued by U.S. rock band Foo Fighters over claims the company used its songs without permission in a preview for the planned “X-Men” animated television series.

•Want to break into a computer’s encrypted hard drive? Just blast the machine’s memory chip with a burst of supercold air. That’s the conclusion of new research out of Princeton University demonstrating a novel, low-tech way hackers can access even the most well-protected computers.

International

Puerto Rico officials canceled plans to sell as much as $2.5 billion of taxable pension bonds next week, citing a “tumultuous” market. The U.S. commonwealth sold $1.6 billion of the bonds to local investors last month.

Lloyds Bank TSB Group PLC said its annual profit rose 9 percent to $6.4 billion last year, as the British lender appeared to have weathered the global credit woes that have battered other banks.

Porsche AG named the head of its French operation to be the new president and chief executive of its North America unit whose focus is being shifted entirely to the U.S. market. The German automaker said Detlev von Platen will succeed Peter Schwarzenbauer on April 1 as chief executive of Porsche Cars North America.

•The French national soccer team will end its long sponsorship deal with Adidas in 2011 in favor of a $506 million contract with Nike. Adidas has sponsored the national team, called Les Bleus, since 1972.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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