Business & Finance

With indications that no government officials would stand in the way, Cuba has asked US exporters how much they'd charge for emergency shipments of food and medical supplies in the wake of hurricane Michelle, reports said. The two countries haven't traded with each other in more than 40 years because of the US embargo. But the aftermath of the Nov. 4 hurricane, which killed five people, left thousands of others homeless, and caused heavy property damage, is rapidly depleting the communist-run island's food and medicine stocks. Cuban officials have turned down US offers of emergency help and have made clear that any purchases would be on a one-time basis, the reports said.

Burlington Industries, one of the US's largest textile companies, was expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors, The Wall Street Journal reported. Greensboro, N.C.-based Burlington makes material used to produce apparel and interior furnishings.

In another round of job-cut announcements:

• VF Corp., which makes lingerie, Lee and Wrangler jeans, and other major brands of clothing, said it will lay off 13,000 workers. The Greensboro. N.C., company said it will drop its swimwear, private-label knitwear, and specialty workwear businesses by the end of 2002.

• Citigroup said it will cut 7,800 jobs, mostly in Mexico, after buying the banking chain Banamex for $12.5 billion.

• Japan Airlines and Japan Air System said they'll reduce their combined workforce by 5,000 jobs over the next five years. The carriers merged earlier this week.

• Qantas, the Australian airline, announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and discontinue flights to New York beginning Nov. 25.

• Novell Inc., a leading maker of networking software, will cut 1,400 jobs, it said in a statement. The company's headquarters are in Provo, Utah.

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