Court blocks judge’s order for U.S. to act on drill permits

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has blocked a judge’s order requiring regulators to act on several drilling permit applications.

The federal government filed court documents earlier this month saying it may have to deny the applications if regulators must make a decision within 30 days as ordered.

But U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who overturned the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, ruled last month that the government must act on five applications within 30 days. He later said his ruling also applies to two other permits.

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday issued a stay of Feldman’s order while the government appeals.

Movie ticket sales plunge in Japan in wake of quake

Early estimates indicate there was a steep drop-off in box office revenue outside the U.S. immediately after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The country is one of Hollywood’s biggest international markets, although industry analysts say the disaster’s long-term financial impact on movie studios should be limited.

Box office revenue in Japan plunged about 41 percent last weekend, compared with the prior weekend, according to data from Rentrak Corp. In the U.S., the decline over the same time period was about 3 percent.

Ex-FCC chief Powell chosen to head cable-TV trade group

Michael Powell, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, was named Tuesday as president and chief executive of the cable industry’s biggest trade group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Powell, son of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, served as chairman of the FCC from January 2001 to January 2005 and was known as a stalwart of deregulation and for unraveling media ownership rules that would allow for greater concentration.

Fund manager claimed loss despite insider tip on deal

A government witness says a high-flying hedge fund manager took a loss on a big trade in 2008 even though he had an inside tip.

Jurors heard Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam on tape Tuesday at his insider trading trial. He told one of his employees that he “had a big bet” on a then-secret multibillion-dollar deal that was to be announced the next day. He had learned about the deal from Anil Kumar, a financial consultant he is accused of paying for tips. Kumar testified that the deal went through just as the market was crashing in 2008. Afterward, Kumar said Rajaratnam told him “he lost quite a bit.”

The 53-year-old Rajaratnam is charged in what prosecutors call the largest hedge fund insider-trading case in history.