- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2009


MySpace to cut third of workers

LOS ANGELES | MySpace is cutting nearly 30 percent of its work force in a move the News Corp.-owned online hangout says will make it more efficient.

The cuts amount to about 420 people, bringing the total number of MySpace’s staff in the United States to 1,000.

The move comes less than two months after Beverly Hills, Calif.-based MySpace got a new CEO, Owen Van Natta, a former executive from rival Facebook.

MySpace says the restructuring crosses all its U.S. divisions. The company gave no further comment.

Mr. Van Natta called the previous staffing levels “bloated.” As of May, Facebook had about 850 employees worldwide.


Globe union delays NLRB

BOSTON | The Boston Newspaper Guild has postponed a meeting with the National Labor Relations Board so it can resume contract talks with management of the Boston Globe.

Negotiations between the guild and Globe management were set to resume at 3 p.m. Tuesday after 13 hours of negotiations Monday. Globe spokesman Robert Powers called the talks “substantive” but said an agreement had not been reached.

The New York Times Co., owner of the Globe, imposed a 23 percent pay cut after the guild narrowly rejected a new contract with $10 million in annual wage and benefit concessions last week.

The guild then filed an unfair labor complaint with the labor relations board.

A meeting on the complaint had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed until Thursday so the guild and management could continue negotiations.


Plane lands on golf course

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP | A small airplane with two people aboard made a safe emergency landing on a fairway at a golf course in southeastern Michigan.

The pilot then got a police escort and drove the single-engine, propeller-driven plane on public roads back to the airport where he started.

Pittsfield Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger told the Ann Arbor News no one was hurt.

Officials said the pilot reported he lost power shortly after taking off Tuesday morning from Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.

He brought the plane down on the fairway of the fifth hole at the nearby Stonebridge Golf Club in Pittsfield Township, about 35 miles west-southwest of Detroit.

Mr. Harshberger said there wasn’t much damage to the golf course.


Storms bring floods, tornadoes

DREXEL | Storms that spread across the central U.S. brought heavy rain, wind and at least two tornadoes, renewing flooding concerns in already soggy areas and leaving thousands of people without power.

No injuries were reported from the two storm systems that hit the central part of the U.S. on Monday and early Tuesday.

Heavy rain brought flooding concerns to areas of central North Dakota hit by flooding earlier this spring. Burleigh County Emergency Manager Mary Senger said the damage means some repairs made after flooding in March and April would have to be done again. Rainfall totals in Burleigh and Morton counties reached 5 inches to 7 inches.

South Dakota saw heavy rain, strong wind and hail, with two reports of funnel clouds in Stanley County.

A separate storm system that cut a wide swath across Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri knocked out power, damaged buildings and led to flash flooding. The National Weather Service said two tornadoes that touched down in central and western Nebraska caused little damage.


Newspaper served with subpoena

LAS VEGAS | A Nevada newspaper said it has been served a federal grand jury subpoena seeking information about readers who posted comments on the paper’s Web site.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal said the subpoena seeks information that would lead to the identities of people who commented on a story about a federal tax fraud case against Las Vegas business owner Robert Kahre.

Editor Thomas Mitchell said the paper plans to fight the request.

Mr. Kahre and others are accused of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service with a scheme involving gold and silver U.S. coins. The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

The paper said the subpoena was received June 2, a week after it ran the story about the trial.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for Nevada declined to comment.


Judge tosses Senate case

ALBANY | A judge says he won’t rule on last week’s takeover of the New York state Senate by a coalition of Republicans and dissident Democrats.

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara dismissed the case, saying it’s improper for the court to get involved in a legislative tussle. He recommended the legislature resolve the question of who’s in charge of the chamber.

Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson said he will step in and run the Senate, as he did while lieutenant governor. He said that will temporarily help Republicans and Democrats pass critical bills.

One of the two rogue Democrats who helped Republicans seize power returned to the Democratic fold Monday, putting the Senate in a 31-31 split between the Democratic conference and the uneasy coalition.


Newspapers get 60-day extension

PHILADELPHIA | A bankruptcy judge is giving Philadelphia Newspapers an additional 60 days to file a reorganization plan.

Creditors owed nearly $400 million objected to the extension. They said the company, which publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, hasn’t been negotiating seriously since it filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

At a Tuesday hearing, Executive Vice President Richard Thayer testified that Philadelphia Newspapers hopes to raise $50 million to emerge from bankruptcy, about half of it from insiders who put up $150 million toward the $515 million purchase of the company in 2006.

Mr. Thayer said the company won’t start labor negotiations until after the reorganization plan is filed. Several union contracts expire Aug. 31.


Jet returns safely after emergency

CHARLESTON | A jet carrying 53 people from South Carolina to Washington, D.C., landed safely in Charleston after the pilot reported a mechanical problem, officials said.

The U.S. Airways flight operated by Air Wisconsin reported a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff Tuesday morning.

Air Wisconsin spokeswoman Annette Daly said the emergency was declared as a precaution when a sensor on the plane showed something was wrong. Airline procedures required the pilot to return to the Charleston airport, where the plane landed safely and moved to the gate on its own power.

Passengers were booked on other flights. The plane was later returned to service.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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