Business & Finance

Financially strapped US Airways is poised to overhaul its flight routes, shifting from a hub-and-spoke service model to emphasize direct flights to and from major Eastern airports, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The carrier, which is based in Arlington, Va., has already eliminated a third of its flights in Pittsburgh, a long-time hub, and more changes are expect this fall. US Airways is seeking to cut costs $1.5 billion a year as it deals with high fuel prices and increased competition from low-fare carriers. On Tuesday, executives who forecast second-half losses despite a quarterly profit said they want to have new labor deals ratified by the end of September that would cut employee wages and benefits by $800 million.

State Farm Insurance will cut at least 500 jobs as it consolidates operations and closes claims offices in the Middle Atlantic region over the next 2-1/2 years, the largest US insurer said Tuesday. In some cases, employees may transfer to other locations as State Farm, which is based in Bloomington, Ill., eliminates nearly half its field claim offices in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

Four ex-executives of US Foodservice Inc, a subsidiary of supermarket giant Royal Ahold NV, were indicted Tuesday in New York of inflating earnings by $800 million. Two have already pleded guilty, and two others were to surrender to authorities Wednesday morning and face a federal judge later that day.

State-run China Netcom, China's second largest fixed-line telephone operator, has applied to list its shares in New York and Hong Kong in an initial public offering expected to raise $1.5 billion, China Daily reported Wednesday.

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