Business & Finance

Bankrupt US Airways plans to cut 200 daily flights and an unspecified number of jobs as part of its restructuring, the Washington Post reported. The nation's sixth-largest carrier also said it would trim 31 jets from its fleet of 311. US Airways notified pilots last Friday of 500 layoffs by early next year. Earlier this week, rivals Continental Airlines and ATA also announced cost-cutting moves that include flight and fleet reductions.

With contract negotiations nearing their deadline, the union representing 25,000 Boeing Co. machinists accused the aerospace giant of trying to provoke a walkout, saying its proposals on job security, pensions, and other issues "are certain to ... trigger a strike." A Boeing spokesman dismissed the claim and said the company would do everything "reasonably possible to reach an agreement" at federally mediated negotiations. The current three-year contract expires at midnight Sept. 1. Boeing is the world leader in building commercial jets and is the No. 2 defense contractor in the US.

Adding to its vast empire in shipping, retailing, telecommunications, real estate, food distribution, hotels, and financial services, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. announced it will buy one of Europe's largest drug-store chains for $1.27 billion. Kruidvat Group of the Netherlands operates 1,900 stores in six countries. The deal requires the OK of European Union regulators. Hutchison Whampoa is based in Hong Kong.

HSBC Holdings, one of the world's largest financial services groups, said it will pay $1.14 billion for the Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Bital. The deal will give London-based HSBC more of a foothold in the Americas; Bital has almost 1,400 branches and 6 million customers. HSBC already operates in the US, Brazil, and Argentina.

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