Early Briefing: GeoEye's Earthly Setbacks

*GeoEye's dreams have long been anchored high in the sky, with plans to launch next month a $500 million satellite powerful enough to snap a picture of home plate at Nationals Park from 423 miles above the planet. But on Tuesday, the Dulles satellite company disclosed that it is confronting setbacks here on Earth.

GeoEye said it will have to restate its accounting for 2005 through 2007, lowering profit for the period by $31 million. In addition, the company said a delay this year in launching the satellite, known as GeoEye-1, caused a major government customer to cut back on its orders. The reductions by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which provides satellite imagery to the spy agencies and the Pentagon, sharply lowered GeoEye's sales and profit in the quarter ending June 30.

*Avalon Pharmaceuticals told investors that it will not be able to continue operations past this year if it can't secure more funding. The Germantown-based biotech said its second-quarter loss narrowed to $5.6 million, from $5.8 million in the comparable period last year. Revenue was $137,000 for the quarter ended June 30, up from $78,000, thanks to its collaboration with Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.

But Avalon's cash, equivalents and marketable securities totaled $16.7 million, an amount that restrains its plans.

To thin its expenses, Avalon will cut a third of its employees, reducing its workforce to about 35 people.

*Private schools across the Washington region have begun to feel the effects of the nation's economic slumber, as some families seek more financial aid to help with staggering tuition bills and others simply opt out of paying for an education. Independent and parochial schools in the seven Maryland counties closest to Washington lost almost 8,000 students between 2005 and 2007, a 7 percent drop, in a trend that is expected to continue this fall.

*Forty-two workers suspected of being in the country illegally were detained Wednesday at Dulles International Airport as immigration authorities checked the identities of people entering one of the employee entrance gates. Although immigration officials were still investigating, they say the detainees, all of whom are men, were Latin American construction workers involved with some of the extensive building projects underway at the airport.

By Terri Rupar  |  August 14, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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