News In Brief
The already weak euro sagged to a new record low against the US dollar, and its short-term future appeared to hinge on whether the region's central bank would intervene massively to prop it up. Help from the US was seen as unlikely in a contentious election year. In London, the single currency of the European Union was trading at just 0.849 cents at midday, its seventh record decline in the last 10 sessions. Analysts said the sense of crisis over the struggling currency would deepen further if voters in Denmark defeat a Sept. 28 referendum that calls for abandoning the krone in favor of joining monetary union and adopting the euro. A "no" vote, they said, virtually would rule out the viability of holding similar referenda in Britain and Sweden for the foreseeable future. (Story, page 1.)
Bridgestone hinted at major changes in its US operations, among them an overhaul in management ranks and closure - at least temporarily - of the Decatur, Ill., plant where many of the tires subject to recall were manufactured. In an interview in Tokyo with the Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal, company president Yoichiro Kaizaki said the future of the Decatur plant depended on sales of Bridgestone/Firestone tires in the wake of the recall crisis.
Signaling the end of a two-year labor dispute, the United Steelworkers of America and Houston-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. agreed to a new contract at the behest of an arbitrator. The five-year pact, which calls for modest pay increases but also 500 job cuts, covers 2,900 employees who have been on strike since Sept. 30, 1998.
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