Early Briefing: Gathering Steam For Dulles Rail

*The region's chambers of commerce are mobilizing behind the Dulles rail project, trying to convince federal officials that it's key to the region's economic future. Companies say that too much time is wasted on the road and that it's difficult to attract younger employees. See story
Separately, a Federal Transit Administration report left unrated the proposed rail line to Dulles International Airport, which supporters viewed as a sign that the $5 billion project might win federal approval.

*Time Warner's chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, is giving his first address to investors today and plans to announce some changes. One could involve the break up of AOL. See story

*An effort to table legislation that would mandate paid sick leave for all workers in the city failed, and the D.C. Council gave it initial approval. See story

*The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to support state legislation that would require public contractors and subcontractors to verify through a federal database that employees are eligible to work in the United States.

*Harman International Industries, the audio-equipment maker whose planned $8 billion buyout collapsed in September, said it will cut 500 jobs as it closes two plants. A total of 1,400 employees will be affected as factories in Northridge, Calif., and Martinsville, Ind., are closed and other positions are transferred, the District-based company said.

*Growth in U.S. military budgets will decline as the war in Iraq winds down, Lockheed Martin chief executive Robert Stevens said. He didn't project the future growth rate. The proposed U.S. defense budget for 2009 was in line with Bethesda-based Lockheed's expectations, at $515.4 billion, up 7.5 percent, Stevens said at an investor conference. Funding for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was about $20 billion more than expected, at $70 billion, he said.

*Electric-power company AES, based in Arlington, said it agreed to sell its interests in a power plant and coal mine in Kazakhstan to London-based copper producer Kazakhmys for as much as $1.48 billion. The management agreement runs through December 2010.

*CoStar, a Bethesda operator of a commercial real estate database, sued rival LoopNet for false advertising, accusing it of overstating the number of its registered users. LoopNet, an online commercial real estate service, claims to have 2.5 million registered members, when it really has only a fraction of that, CoStar said in its complaint.

*Riverstone Holdings and District-based Carlyle Group, the private-equity firms involved in last year's $15 billion buyout of Kinder Morgan, committed $450 million for investment in Dynamic Offshore Resources, a new oil and natural-gas producer based in Houston.

By Terri Rupar  |  February 6, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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