News In Brief

US manufacturing activity surged higher in February as production and orders for new business improved significantly, corporate purchasing executives reported. The National Association of Purchasing Management said after a survey of members that its index reversed an eight-month decline, rising 2.9 percentage points to 52.4 percent. .

A global alliance of 13 big-name computer, phone, and electric-utility companies was to unveil plans for a common software method linking consumer and small-business appliances to the Internet. The new Open Service Gateway would incorporate existing and emerging standards, dictating how electronic devices communicate. Among the group's founding members: Alcatel, Ericsson, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel Networks, IBM, and Oracle.

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