Federal prosecutors are looking into possible criminal violations by commodities traders who may have received advance knowledge about the first U.S. case of mad cow disease and used it to reap profit in the cattle futures market. James E. Newsome, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, told the Senate Agriculture Committee that his agency is cooperating in a probe, expected to be completed this summer, with the U.S. attorney's office.
Children's Motrin Recall Ordered
Johnson & Johnson must recall 75,000 bottles of its Motrin painkiller for children because they may contain a different drug, an adult-strength Tylenol, creating risk for liver damage with repeat doses, U.S. regulators say. The Food and Drug Administration said it categorizes this as Class I recall, the most serious kind, because the mistaken product can cause harm. Consumers should return bottles from Lot JAM108, labeled as Children's Motrin Grape Chewable Tablets, Johnson & Johnson said.
The Federal Communications Commission proposed requiring local TV stations to allow vacant channels to be used to expand wireless high-speed Internet access in rural and low-income urban areas. The move was praised by consumer advocates and technology companies including Intel and Cisco. It is opposed by local TV stations that say the wireless use might interfere with local broadcasts.
Adelphia Communications' outside law firm, Buchanan Ingersoll, drafted and revised documents that were backdated by as much as two years, former Adelphia executive James R. Brown testified in the fraud trial of the cable company's founder and two of his sons. Earlier this month, Brown testified that phony, backdated documents were created to fool auditors into accepting acquisition fees that Adelphia's management concocted to inflate financial results. He testified that former chief financial officer Timothy J. Rigas knew the fees were fake and approved them.
The Bush administration, with its efforts to create a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stalled, is seeking $59.2 million for the Office of Federal Housing Oversight in fiscal 2005, up from an earlier budget request of $44.3 million. The additional funding would strengthen the agency and provide $5 million "to continue litigation and the ongoing special investigations at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which address unforeseen concerns" about the companies' financial statements, according to a budget document. If approved by Congress, the money would be raised through assessments on the companies.
As much as $130 billion may have been lost because of corruption in World Bank loans, said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The problem persists despite efforts by the 184-nation lending organization to end corruption, he said. The United States contributes more than $1 billion a year to these organizations.
HealthSouth, the rehabilitation hospital chain, said a majority of owners of one series of bonds agreed to accept payment of about 1 cent on the dollar and allow the company to delay some payments, in a move the company said was critical to avoiding bankruptcy. Some bondholders wanted HealthSouth to speed payments on the debt. HealthSouth is accused of a $2.7 billion accounting fraud that prosecutors claim was masterminded by Richard M. Scrushy, the company's founder and former chief executive officer, who has been indicted on fraud counts.
Ten-year Treasury yields rose at auction to the highest level in two years. The yield was 4.848 percent, up from 3.752 percent at the last auction on March 11. The notes will carry a coupon interest rate of 43/4 percent, with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,923.00.
The Transportation Department said it won't review an administrative law judge's ruling that Astar Air Cargo is U.S.-owned. United Parcel Service and FedEx argued that German firm Deutsche Post's DHL unit controlled Astar, formerly DHL Airways, in violation of U.S. laws that limit foreign holdings in U.S. airlines to 25 percent.
DK Publishing is recalling about 214,000 children's books because sound makers on the last page pose a choking hazard to young children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The cardboard books were sold under eight titles: "Dinosaurs," "Kitty's Adventure," "On The Road," "Puppy's Busy Day," "Tractors," "Trains," "Emergency!" and "Trucks."
Alitalia, Italy's struggling state-controlled airline, approved a preliminary turnaround plan that includes spinning off its ground and service operations and a government-guaranteed bridge loan. Alitalia didn't specify the loan amount and made no mention of job cuts -- the main point of contention with labor unions. Alitalia also said its loss widened in the first three months of the year to 190 million euros ($224 million) from 173 million euros last year.
Pepco Holdings said it stands to lose as much as $420 million in tax breaks under legislation passed by the Senate this week. The company warned shareholders in a regulatory filing that the legislation might decrease tax benefits it gets from a $1.2 billion portfolio of lease arrangements on power plants and natural gas pipelines in Austria, the Netherlands and Australia. The bill would deny future tax benefits from past deals after May 31, 2004, for transactions in which companies lease foreign transit systems, sewer systems, power lines and other infrastructure to claim depreciation tax deductions without operating the facilities.
Calvert Group, the Bethesda company that says it runs mutual funds investing in socially responsible companies, said its research department recommended removing government contractors CACI International and Titan from its eligibility list after allegations their employees were involved in Iraqi prisoner abuse. Titan said it has been wrongly implicated in the abuse. CACI declined to comment.
Reliant Energy won a contract valued at $67.3 million to supply electricity to the city of Baltimore and 22 other public institutions in Maryland, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council said. Baltimore and the other customers expect to save $6.1 million over the life of the contract by buying electricity from Reliant rather than from Baltimore Gas & Electric at state-regulated rates.
Dell's first-quarter profit climbed to $731 million on $11.5 billion in revenue as foreign demand rose and the company sold more servers and profitable storage equipment. The world's largest personal-computer maker earned $598 million on sales of $9.53 billion in the first quarter last year.
News Corp., the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 69 percent, to $465 million, as advertisers flocked to its "American Idol" television show and Fox News Channel.
Target's profit jumped 25 percent in its first quarter, to $438 million, as the company's namesake store continued to carry its other two sluggish divisions. Revenue increased 12.3 percent, to $11.58 billion.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.