News In Brief

A May 8 hearing was scheduled in federal bankruptcy court to discuss how to deal with last Friday's filing by Pacific Gas & Electric for protection from its creditors. Analysts called the filing the largest in US history for a utility. California's largest electricity supplier said it owes just under $9 billion. Under the state's "deregulation" law, electric utilities are unable to pass soaring wholesale costs through to customers, and PG&E said negotiations on a financial bailout with the administration of Gov. Gray Davis (D) have gone "nowhere" since last November. Davis angrily called the Chapter 11 filing "selfish" and said PG&E had "dishonored itself."

Northwest Airlines and the union representing its mechanics and cleaning personnel returned over the weekend to bargaining for a new contract - for the first time since President Bush intervened March 11 to halt a threatened strike. Recommendations by an emergency board appointed by Bush for settling the four-year-old dispute between the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association and the fourth-largest US carrier are due by Thursday.

Seven hundred jobs in the US are being cut by NEC Corp., the company announced late last week. A spokesman for the Tokyo-based maker of electronics and semiconductors said the move was decided upon because other cost-saving actions had failed to counter a massive decline in demand for chips.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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