News In Brief

General Electric will cut 75,000 jobs - more than 15 percent of its workforce - over the next two years, BusinessWeek magazine reported. Citing analysts who had spoken to company executives, the magazine said about 50,000 of the layoffs would come because of GE's $45 billion merger with Honeywell International. Most of the other cuts would be in divisions susceptible to the effects of an economic slowdown.

For the first time in almost 10 years, the US economy did not expand last month, a key industry group indicated. The National Association of Purchasing Management Activity said the crucial manufacturing industry fell to a reading of 41.2 in January, the lowest since March 1991. NAPM officials likened the numbers to the 1991 recession but suggested the current economy may be more resilient.

At least 42 Democratic senators were expected to vote against John Ashcroft for attorney general, a legislative source said. But Democrats acknowledged his confirmation was all but certain - although they hoped a close tally would send a message about how they might treat future conservative nominees by the Bush administration. Ashcroft has drawn harsh criticism for his views.

Former ski-lift operator Nathan Hall was sentenced to 90 days in jail for negligent homicide in a fatal high-speed collision at a Vail, Colo., resort. It marks the first time a US jury has convicted someone for such a death. Alan Cobb was skiing on an intermediate slope in 1997 when Hall, (shown leaving the courthouse in Eagle, Colo.), slammed into him.

California's Assembly was expected to take another vote on a $10 billion plan to ease the state's power crisis, after the first failed narrowly in the early morning hours Thursday. The plan, already OK'd by the Senate, would permit the state to enter into long-term contracts with energy suppliers. Opponents objected to provisions they said would make steep rate hikes likely.

Four New York City policemen who fatally shot an unarmed African immigrant outside his apartment in February 1999 will not face federal prosecution. The Justice Department said it would not seek civil rights charges against the officers, who were acquitted of murder in state court last year. The police were looking for a rape suspect when they fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo.

Five of six convicts who escaped from an Alabama maximum-security prison were captured in Tennessee, police and FBI agents reported. They said a manhunt was under way for the remaining man. The inmates escaped by slipping beneath one electric and two razor-wire fences.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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