Business & Finance

Hundreds of workers for the DHL Worldwide Network struck for a third day Sunday at the company's European hub in Brussels. Workers for the parcel delivery service want management to guarantee jobs in Brussels in the run-up to DHL's planned move of its European base from Brussels to Leipzig, Germany, in 2008. The decision to move was made because DHL and government officials couldn't work out a compromise about limits on the number of night flights over the Belgian capital.

Police investigators Monday raided the Tokyo headquarters of trading firm Mitsui & Company Ltd. in search of information about alleged falsified data. While cooperating with the probe, the company refused to comment on allegations that fabricated data was used to obtain government approval for diesel engine filters, which cut down on pollutants from cars, trucks, and heavy machinery.

Cuba has attracted 2 million visitors so far this year, the country's tourism minister said Sunday in announcing that President Fidel Castro's government had reached this long-sought goal despite US efforts to stifle Cuba's tourist trade. Cuba turned to tourism after the collapse of European communism plunged its socialist government into economic crisis. Since 1990, Cuba has tripled its number of hotel rooms and seen the percentage of foreign exchange earnings from tourism grow from 4 percent to 41 percent. About 200,000 Americans, including 130,000 of Cuban origin, have visited Cuba this year.

This year's lackluster holiday shopping season may be due in part to an increase in gift-card sales, estimated at 11 percent of holiday purchases, Bloomberg.com reported Monday. The gift cards, which can't be counted as revenue until they are redeemed for purchases, may boost year-end retail sales and help kick off the new year. Over half of gift-card recipients spend more than the value of the card when purchasing something, a Valuelink survey found.

This week will be more hectic than usual for charities accepting donated cars, thanks to a change in tax code that will result in lower write-off values for most donors beginning Jan. 1. Under the new federal law, donors will receive a tax deduction only for the actual sales price of their car, not for the estimated market value, as has been the case. Donated cars are often sold for several hundred dollars below their market value.

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