Business & Finance

Another 7,500 layoffs are planned by MCI, the telecommunications giant newly emerged from bankruptcy. They will come on top of 4,500 job cuts announced in March, although not all of those have taken effect yet. In making Monday's announcement, the company did not specify which jobs would be eliminated or what locations affected. MCI, the former WorldCom, posted a first-quarter loss of $388 million.

Monsanto, a leader in biotechnology research, decided to shelve its eight-year quest to introduce genetically modified wheat into world markets, the company announced Monday. It had hoped to introduce a new variety next spring, engineered to be tolerant to its own popular herbicide, Roundup, allowing farmers to spray their fields without harming crops. Environmentalists, some farmers, and foreign customers have opposed the modified wheat, arguing that consumers wouldn't buy bread or pasta made from it. But a Monsanto spokesman said the decision was driven mainly by the fact that US and Canadian farmers have been planting less spring wheat in recent years.

The world's largest maker of products from human plasma, CSL Ltd., will close 35 collection centers in the US, resulting in unspecified but "very significant reductions" in its payroll, a senior executive said. Also affected will be some operations in Germany, he said. The company, based in Parkville, Australia, recently acquired the plasma business of Aventis, the German-French pharmaceutical giant.

Almost $1.4 billion worth of assets were sold by Georgia-Pacific Corp. in its ongoing effort to reduce debt and return to financial health. The forest-products company identified the properties as its building-products distribution business, its nonintegrated pulp operations, and its stake in three Brazilian companies.

New World Pasta Co., the maker of Ronzoni, San Giorgio, American Beauty, Prince, and other brands of dry foods, filed for bankruptcy Monday. Analysts said the company, based in Harrisburg, Pa., and a former subsidiary of chocolate candy giant Hershey Foods, is the latest in its industry to be hurt by the growing popularity of the Atkins diet and others based on a low intake of carbohydrates.

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