News In Brief

Whirlpool Corp., the world's largest home appliance maker, announced it would cut up to 10 percent of its global workforce of about 63,000. The move is part of a restructuring as the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company deals with sluggish sales.

Ask Jeeves Inc., a well-used Internet search engine, laid off 180 workers, or 25 percent of its employees. The Emeryville, Calif.-based company is among those that depend on online advertising for revenue and have been scrambling to adjust as that market weakens.

Production of Etch A Sketch, a popular toy since its introduction in 1960, is headed to China from Bryan, Ohio, its maker announced. Ohio Art Co. earlier said that increasing labor and production costs might force the move, which is expected to affect about 30 workers in Bryan. Almost all the company's other toys already are made in China.

Another state-owned investment trust, the second in China this year and at least the third since late 1998, has failed to make a heavy bond interest payment and may be in danger of defaulting, reports said. Tianjin International Trust & Investment Corp. owes $111 million to foreign creditors led by Fuji Bank of Japan. Analysts were skeptical that the trust could come up with the money before its grace period expires Dec. 27, which could further deepen doubts among overseas lenders about the credit-worthiness of Chinese trusts. In October, the Hainan investment trust also defaulted on bond interest payments, and the Guangdong trust collapsed in the same fashion two years ago, leaving debts of $4.3 billion.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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