News In Brief

Passage by the House of the measure granting China permanent normal trade relations with the US also means the long-sought Chinese admission to the World Trade Organization now is "pretty close," director-general Michael Moore said. But he declined to join other diplomats and economists in predicting that China would be admitted by the end of the year. The Beijing government still must negotiate bilateral market-opening agreements with five other nations - the largest of them Mexico and Switzerland. Senate endorsement of the House's action is considered little more than a formality. (Stories, pages 1, 6.)

Intel Corp. announced a $2 billion expansion of its computer-chip factory in Rio Rancho, N.M., which will add about 1,000 new jobs over the next three to five years. The plan is part of a project to make microchips on new, larger, 12-inch silicon wafers. The product will allow manufacturers to make about 2-1/2 times more microchips per wafer than are currently being produced, a company representative said.

Ford Motor Co. said it will lay off 945 employees - 31 percent of the workforce - at the plant it jointly owns with Mazda Motor Co. in Flat Rock, Mich. A Ford spokesman said the move was being made to reduce inventories of the Mercury Cougar and Mazda 626 coupes, which have been experiencing slow sales.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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