News In Brief

Details of an agreement that would avoid inconveniencing up to 100,000 passengers were to be announced as soon as today by America West Airlines and its flight attendants union. The two sides reached a tentative five-year pact over the weekend to end a long-running dispute over pay-and-benefits issues and work schedules, although it still must be ratified by the union's 2,400 members. The flight attendants rejected terms of a 1997 agreement and have continued working under a contract signed in 1993. The latest deal was reached as a 30-day cooling-off period imposed by the National Mediation Board was set to expire.

Tomorrow's opening of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna was expected to be anticlimactic, since several members already have agreed to deep cuts in production to try to end the global crude-oil glut. Ratification of the plan, decided upon March 12 at a secret meeting in The Hague, is considered mostly a formality. Analysts said OPEC's main challenge would be finding the will to enforce the 2 million barrel-a-day cuts, which are due to go into effect April 1.

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