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Review & Preview

Review

January 3 – 9

Hospital Billing:

Tenet Healthcare Corp. will reduce by $700 million the amount it charges the government in anticipation of changes in the Medicare program. The Santa Barbara-based company that is the focus of a government audit in connection with Tenet’s billing practices said it would adopt anticipated changes in the government’s payment structure to hospitals. Tenet has acknowledged raising hospital charges that led to inflated payments from Medicare.




High-Priced Fun:

Walt Disney Co. raised the adult admission price at Disneyland and California Adventure by $2, to $47. Despite occasional promotions and uneven attendance, especially after Sept. 11, 2001, Disney generally has increased its admission prices over the years. Disney officials said the increases reflect higher operating expenses and greater investments made at the two parks.

Online Plea:

A former Homestore Inc. employee agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges related to inflating revenue at the Westlake Village-based online home-listings company. Jeff Kalina, former senior manager of mergers and acquisitions, will be the fourth ex-Homestore employee to enter guilty pleas in the case. He will plead guilty to one count of criminal securities fraud and has settled insider-trading charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Separately, Homestore settled its arbitration dispute with America Online, paying the AOL unit $97.5 million to terminate an old distribution agreement and $3.75 million a quarter under a new one that keeps Homestore on the AOL site.




Grammy Nominees:

Rapper Eminem, rocker Bruce Springsteen and six other artists each received five Grammy nominations. Three newcomers jazz-influenced Norah Jones, Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne and R & B; singer Ashanti dominated the major categories. Pop singer Sheryl Crow, rapper Nelly and hip-hop artist Raphael Saadiq each also received five nominations. The awards, which in recent years were held at Staples Center, will take place this year at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Feb. 23.

Holiday Effect:

Guess Inc. said its loss last year of 12-14 cents a share was wider than forecast after the Los Angeles-based clothing retailer and designer increased its promotions and discounts to lure shoppers during the holidays. The revised projected loss compared with October projections of 2-5 cents. Meanwhile, City of Industry-based Hot Topic Inc. said its revenue jumped 36 percent during the holiday season as it projected better than expected fourth quarter earnings.

Bank Sale:

East West Bancorp, the San Marino-based parent of East West Bank, has agreed to acquire Pacific Business Bank for $25 million in cash. Santa Fe Springs-based Pacific, with four branches and $165 million in assets, lends mostly to small manufacturing operations.

Drug Charges:

State officials have accused Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a civil suit of bilking the state’s MediCal program through inflated drug prices. Attorney General Bill Lockyer cited fraud by the drug companies as behind Medi-Cal drug costs doubling to $3 billion a year, while the patient load shrank by 15 percent from 1997 to 2001. Abbott denied the allegations; Wyeth had no immediate comment

Case Load:

The 24 judges of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, opted against a court-wide policy of hearing only those cases with trials of four days or fewer. U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter Jr. said each judge will be responsible for managing his own caseload as he sees fit.

Preview

January 13-19

‘John Adams’ Author:

David McCullough, who won the Pulitzer Prize for biographies of Harry S. Truman and John Adams, will appear at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Tuesday (14th) as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Program begins at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $30-$50. For information: 626-449-7360.

Filmmaker Series:

Director Rob Reiner discusses “On the Waterfront” on Friday (17th) after the Academy Award-winning film is screened as part of a series on filmmaking sponsored by the Skirball Cultural Center and the American Film Institute. Program at the Skirball begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $6-$10. For information: 310-440-4500.




Awards, Awards:

The American Music Awards, hosted by the Osbournes, will be held on Monday (13th) at the Shrine Auditorium. ABC airs the event from 8-11 p.m. On Wednesday (15th), it’s the 28th annual Achievement Awards presented by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association at Santa Monica’s Casa Del Mar Hotel. On Thursday (16th), it’s the AFI Awards Luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel honoring outstanding achievement in film and television. And, in what has become the second-biggest awards ceremony of the year, it’s the 60th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday (19th) at the Beverly Hilton and aired on NBC.

Sundance Awaits:

It’s not quite the event it used to be but for Hollywood’s independent film community the Sundance Film Festival remains a must. The 11-day gala gets started on Thursday (16th) in Park City, Utah.

Sports Beat:

Slow week on the NBA front. The Lakers are out of town all week while the Clippers are home on Wednesday (15th) against Minnesota, Friday (17th) against Sacramento and Sunday (19th) against Dallas. USC is at the Sports Arena on Thursday (16th) against Arizona and Saturday against Arizona State. UCLA takes on Arizona State Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion and Arizona on Saturday. The Kings are home on Monday against San Jose.




Middle East Chat:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at the University of Judaism-sponsored Public Lecture Series on Monday (13th) at Universal Amphitheatre. Program begins at 7:30 p.m. For information: 310-440-1246.

Earnings Reports:

City National Corp., Hughes Electronics, KB Home and PFF Bancorp are set to release fourth quarter earnings figures this week.

Econ Data: December retail sales come out on Tuesday (14th), when we’ll really find out how merchants fared during the holiday season. Also out this week: the December Consumer Price Index (16th) and November’s trade deficit (17th).

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