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News In Brief

By Robert KilbornJudy Nichols, Noel Paul, and Sara Steindorf / September 18, 2000



Oil prices climbed to their highest levels since the Gulf War. Crude for delivery in October hit a new benchmark of $36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday, before settling at $35.92, a one-day jump of 5 percent. Analysts attributed the spike to several factors. Concerns have mounted about increased tensions between Kuwait and Iraq, after the latter accused its neighbor Thursday of stealing oil. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright subsequently threatened Iraq with military measures. Traders also apparently reacted to the possibility of hurricane Gordon disrupting supplies from the Gulf of Mexico. One-fifth of US domestic oil production comes from that region.

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AltaVista announced it is laying off one-quarter of its workforce and abandoning efforts to achieve top online media status in order to refocus on its search engine. The 225 layoffs, among the largest in the Internet industry this year, will be the second round for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company; it cut 40 employees from the payroll in May. Over the past two years, AltaVista tried to become an Internet portal, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to add chat rooms, shopping, and a finance site.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society