News In Brief

ICG Communications Inc. announced it has filed for federal bankruptcy protection. The disclosure comes amid other setbacks for the Englewood, Colo.-based company: It recently laid off 300 employees, about 10 percent of its workforce, and has acknowledged customer service problems relating to the reliability of its network. Still, ICG said it plans to maintain normal operations for its almost 10,000 nationwide customers. Toward that end, it recently announced $350 million in new financial backing from Chase Manhattan Bank.

Crude oil prices again defied efforts by OPEC and other major suppliers to bring them down to the $22- to $28-a-barrel range on world markets. In London, the benchmark Brent crude gained 91 cents since the close of trading Tuesday, to $33.60, and US light crude was trading above $35. Both prices were attributed to the announcement by the American Petroleum Institute of a 650,000-barrel drop in US heating oil stocks, leaving them more than 30 percent lower than at this time a year ago. On the Singapore market, the same news sent crude futures prices to $35.13. Earlier this week, OPEC decided against another supply increase this year and scheduled a Jan. 17 meeting to discuss cutting production.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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