Business & Finance

Northwest Airlines wants to lay off another 1,000 mechanics and cleaners, reduce the pay of those who remain up to 16.7 percent, and increase outsourcing, a representative of the mechanics' union alleged Monday. He termed the proposals "unjustified." They would save the carrier $173 million in annual costs. Northwest, based in Eagan, Minn., has cut almost 7,000 jobs in the past month and has lost about $1.2 billion during the past two years.

Elsewhere in the airline industry:

• A federal court approved the liquidation of bankrupt National Airlines of Las Vegas. The carrier, which furloughed its 1,500 workers in November, reportedly is considering a joint venture with Northern Air Cargo of Anchorage, Alaska, on service to the Russian Far East.

• Atlantic Coast Airlines announced plans to cut 330 jobs and lower salaries as much as 10 percent. The regional carrier is based at Washington's Dulles Airport and operates flights for United Express and Delta Connection to 84 destinations.

America Online targeted alleged sources of "spam," or junk e-mail, in five federal lawsuits filed Monday and last Friday in Alexandria, Va. The nation's top Internet access provider is seeking $10 million in damages for the estimated 1 billion unwanted pitches sent to its subscribers as well as an end to the messages.

Beginning next month, more than $60 billion worth of bad loans will be bought from struggling Japanese companies that are nonetheless deemed salvageable, the Tokyo government announced. Despite critics' doubts, it predicted that the quasi-governmental Industrial Revitalization Corp. (IRC), which is being created to help turn around debt-ridden companies, would show a profit in its third year. The IRC is one of a number of promised reforms for the Japanese economy, which has been mired in a slowdown for more than a decade. A major part of the problem is nonperforming loans held by the nation's banks, currently estimated at $332 billion.

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