News In Brief

A class-action lawsuit filed in Massachusetts challenges John Hancock Life Insurance's plan to convert from a mutual company owned by policyholders to a stock company. A policyholder for 56 years and ex-Hancock employee claims in the suit that he and other policyholders are not being compensated properly for their ownership in the company - although Hancock has pledged to give stock to eligible policyholders who request it. State regulators and policyholders already have approved the conversion plan, and the company is preparing for an initial public offering later this month on the New York Stock Exchange.

After "bottoming out" last year, the worst for economic growth in a decade, China should experience a rebound in 2000 with the potential to carry it at least as far as 2003, a new forecast said. In Singapore, the East Asian Institute predicted the Chinese economy "can look forward to growth of about 7.5 percent" this year, led largely by exports. The institute said China's economic growth slid from 7.8 percent in 1998 to 7.1 percent last year because of "overproduction, under-consumption, and falling consumer confidence."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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