Early Briefing: Sick Leave for All, Except for Some

*Legislation passed in the District that would make employers give their workers paid sick leave. There were a couple of amendments added to the measure that made it more palatable for business. New workers have to wait 12 months before becoming eligible, most health-care workers and wait staff are exempt, businesses can be exempt if they prove a hardship and the city must do an annual assessment of the legislation's effect on business. See story

*Six Flags, controlled by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, said it's teaming up with Dubai company Tatweer to build a theme park in the 70,000-acre development called Dubailand. Thomas Heath reports that Six Flags entered into a 25-year agreement with Dubai company Tatweer to lend its expertise, brand and characters to the project in return for an annual rights fee. See story

*The District's first Target was set to open today, and Mayor Adrian Fenty was set to be there Saturday for a ribbon-cutting. But he couldn't wait, showing up at the store in Columbia Heights yesterday. See the District briefing.

*Student lender Sallie Mae created the position of chief credit officer and hired industry veteran John Hewes to fill it. Reston-based Sallie Mae also hired Jonathan Clark from Credit Suisse to be senior vice president for corporate finance. Separately, Sallie Mae's long-term credit ratings were downgraded by Moody's Investors Service, which cited declines in profitability, liquidity and funding.

*FBR Capital Markets named Bradley Wright chief financial officer. Wright, who most recently was a senior managing director at Bear Stearns, replaces Kurt R. Harrington, who will remain chief financial officer of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, the majority owner of FBR Capital. See press release.

*Industrial supplier W.R. Grace named Hudson La Force, an official with the Education Department, as its chief financial officer. Outgoing finance chief Robert M. Tarola will remain as senior vice president, focusing on corporate strategy and the reorganization of Columbia-based Grace until he retires this year. See press release.

*MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals, a Germantown company focused on developing drugs to counter infections, said its losses narrowed in the fourth quarter as it explores strategic alternatives. MiddleBrook, formerly known as Advancis, reported a loss of $9.1 million (19 cents a share) for the quarter, down from $13.8 million (44 cents) in the fourth quarter of 2006. The company, which recently got approval for a once-a-day amoxicillin remedy, said it is considering the sale of some or all its assets.
For the year, the company said its loss widened slightly, to $42.2 million (96 cents), from $42 million ($1.38) in 2006. Full-year revenue more than doubled, to $10.5 million.

*Costs on Lockheed Martin's program to develop a helicopter to carry the president have risen at least 67 percent, said John J. Young Jr., the undersecretary of defense for acquisition. He said the cost estimate to develop the most advanced version of the helicopter is $7.5 billion, up from $4.5 billion. Costs for the first phase of an interim model rose to $3.7 billion from $2.3 billion, he said.

*Clearwire said it is still talking with Sprint Nextel about a WiMax collaboration. A planned joint venture between the companies fell apart late last year, but they have been discussing ways to rekindle their relationship. Here's a link to the company's financial results (revenues up; losses widen).

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