News In Brief

Engineers and technicians at Boeing Co. went on strike after negotiations on a new contract failed despite the help of a federal mediator. Their 13,000-member union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, is Boeing's second-largest. It seeks more guaranteed pay raises and bonuses like those won by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The engineers and technicians have no strike fund and have not previously attempted a full-scale walkout. No further talks were scheduled.

A merger that would lead to one of the largest oil and gas companies in Europe was being discussed intensively by negotiators for Italy's Eni group and Repsol-YPF of Spain, The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reported, citing sources close to both organizations. If true, the combined companies would have assets of more than $60 billion, with a network of markets and supply links across southern Europe, in North Africa, Russia, and much of Latin America. Eni discussed mergers last year with energy giants TotalFina and Elf Aquitaine of France, but they ended up in a $52 billion deal with each other.

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