Early Briefing: Artifacts for National Harbor

By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post

*A button, a bottle, a toothbrush and 300,000 other ordinary relics from colonial-era plantation life on the banks of the Potomac are now historical artifacts, to be examined, admired and cataloged by those who take stock of bygone days. The items are coming home to the place where they were discovered more than two decades ago, the spot beside the river once known as Oxon Hill Manor or the Addison plantation. Now it is the site of the glitzy new National Harbor mega-development in Prince George's County, and some the best of the artifacts will be put on display there.

*Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) agreed Tuesday to help hundreds of residents in danger of losing their homes. Under a memorandum of understanding, the state Department of Housing and Community Development will provide $2.5 million and Prince George's will give $1.5 million to develop a program that encourages local banks to refinance loans to county residents facing foreclosure. The money will be used to insure the bank loans, state officials said.

*Montgomery County planning chief Royce Hanson stepped up his criticism of a proposal to bring a music hall to downtown Silver Spring, saying a deal worked out by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is a "blank check" for the developer that could do more harm than good for downtown redevelopment. Hanson told the County Council that he supports bringing the Fillmore music hall to Silver Spring but believes that Leggett's proposed bill exempting the project from planning agency review poses too many risks.

*Four locals of the influential Service Employees International Union will endorse D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz today for reelection because of her support of a controversial bill that made the District the nation's second city to mandate paid sick leave for workers.

* XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio said they have completed their long-pending merger. The combined company plans to use the name Sirius XM Radio. Its stock will continue to be traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SIRI. They first announced their deal in March 2007. XM shareholders will receive 4.6 shares of Sirius common stock for each share of XM.

The combined company reaffirmed its guidance for the deal in a statement. It expects cost savings of about $400 million in 2009 and to post earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of more than $300 million. It also plans to achieve positive cash flow, before satellite capital expenditures, in 2009.

The corporate headquarters will be located in New York, and XM Satellite Radio will remain based in the District.

* Flu-vaccine maker Protein Sciences said that it had terminated its sale to Emergent BioSolutions, claiming a breach of contract.

The maker of FluBlok claimed that Emergent had revealed confidential information about Protein Sciences in a lawsuit and cut off funding it had promised as part of the deal. Rockville-based Emergent said Protein Sciences had no legal right to end the deal on its own, calling the claims "baseless."

Emergent announced its agreement to buy Protein Sciences in May. But on July 10 it filed a lawsuit claiming Protein Sciences' management had tried to sabotage the purchase.

Emergent said it would continue to pursue the lawsuit and said it is still negotiating with the Protein Sciences board to make the purchase happen. Protein Sciences Chief Operating Officer Manon Cox said her company is in talks with new investors, which she declined to name.

* SI International, an information technology and network services provider based in Reston, said it terminated its agreement to acquire Arrowpoint. SI International said just two weeks ago that it would purchase the information technology government contractor for $16 million in cash. No reasons were provided as to why the deal was canceled.

By Terri Rupar  |  July 30, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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