USA

Worries about rising gasoline prices didn't stop shoppers in May, based on a Labor Department report released Thursday. Twenty-five of 39 major merchants beat estimates, with Federated Department Stores and J.C. Penney among the biggest winners. Meanwhile, the productivity of American workers, the key factor in rising living standards, rose at an annual rate of 3.7 percent during the first quarter.

Sun Microsystems, a major supplier of computer servers that run corporate networks and websites, said it will cut as many as 5,000 of 37,500 jobs in the next six months. The Santa Clara, Calif., company has slumped with four straight years of declining revenues.

Federal and state authorities are expected to meet a filing deadline Friday in Alaska for additional restitution of up to $100 million 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Exxon Mobil Corp. has paid $900 million in cleanup costs, but may have to pay more if continuing negative environmental effects can be proved.

A labor agreement that calls for $280 million in concessions by Delta Air Lines pilots took effect Thursday, the day after a bankruptcy judge approved the pact. The nation's third-largest carrier said the ratification by rank-and-file pilots marks a new beginning for the struggling airline. The deal calls for pilot pay to take an initial 14 percent cut and includes assurances the union won't fight company efforts to terminate pensions.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it may sell corn-based ethanol at its 383 US gas stations but is not ready to make an announcement. If the retailer were to sell E-85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline), it would significantly increase distribution of the alternative fuel.

Eliot Spitzer, New York's two-term attorney general, will complete a cross-state bus tour Friday as the Democratic Party's new gubernatorial choice. Spitzer hopes to succeed Gov. George Pataki (R), who is leaving after serving three terms. Former Assembly minority leader John Faso and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld are expected to continue their race for the GOP bid into September's primary.

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