In the Region
Budget chairmen OK early payment of malpractice rebates
The chairmen of both legislative budget committees wrote to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday, giving approval in advance for a budget amendment that would allow the state to provide malpractice premium rebates to doctors before July 1.
The lawmakers approved the rebates by overriding an Ehrlich veto in January and spelled out the mechanism in more detail in a bill which became law in April. The administration said it read the bill to say it couldn't make the payments until the new fiscal year, but an attorney general's opinion Tuesday said the governor could make the payments earlier through a budget amendment.
In the letter to Ehrlich, Sen. Ulysses Currie, the Prince George's County Democrat who chairs the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and Del. Norman H. Conway, the Eastern Shore Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said they would "provide their comment in advance" due to "the urgent need for these funds by physicians across the state."
Rumsfeld to reverse most of planned C-130J cuts
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agreed to reverse most of the cuts proposed for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s C-130J transport program, according to a letter Rumsfeld sent to U.S. lawmakers yesterday.
Rumsfeld said the Pentagon would complete deliveries on a five-year, $4.1 billion contract with the Air Force for 62 planes that runs through 2008.
In December, Rumsfeld ordered the program ended at the end of fiscal 2006 in the budget now before Congress - 37 aircraft and as much as $1.9 billion short of completion. But the Air Force estimated it would cost up to $1.6 billion to terminate the contract.
Celsion Corp. revenues rise sharply in 1st quarter
Celsion Corp., the Columbia maker of heat-based cancer therapies, said yesterday that it posted revenue 19 times higher than that of a year ago for the quarter that ended March 31. The company's net loss also shrank by 63 percent.
First-quarter revenue was $1.9 million, up from $100,000 in the first quarter of 2004. Celsion's net loss was $2.2 million, a penny a share, compared with $6 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.
First-quarter earnings increase 5% for Aegon
Dutch insurer Aegon NV said yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 5 percent, with underlying growth in its U.S., Dutch and Taiwanese life insurance businesses.
Net profit was 666 million euros ($857.4 million), up from 633 million euros, as sales fell to 9.61 billion euros ($12.4 billion) from 10.1 billion euros.
Aegon, whose U.S. operations are based in Baltimore, said its net profit fell 12 percent to $424 million in its American operations, which include Transamerica. The company blamed the fall on accounting changes.
Scrushy declines to take the stand at his fraud trial
HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy rested his defense at his accounting fraud trial yesterday without taking the witness stand to deny charges that he inflated profit by $2.7 billion from 1996 to 2002.
Scrushy denies wrongdoing and blames the fraud on 15 executives who pleaded guilty, including five former chief financial officers who testified against him. Defense lawyers rested their case in the 16th week of the trial in federal court in Birmingham, Ala., after calling 21 witnesses.
Scrushy's decision means he won't face cross-examination by U.S. prosecutors who say he inflated shares of HealthSouth stock to meet the expectations of Wall Street analysts.
This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.