Around the business world
Northwest Airlines pilots approve pay cut deal, but labor issues aren’t over: MINNEAPOLIS – Bankrupt Northwest Airlines took a major step toward reorganizing by winning pilot approval for $358 million in concessions. But its labor troubles aren’t over. Baggage handlers and the airline head to court on May 15 for a trial over whether the airline can reject their contract. Flight attendants still must approve pay cuts. And strike talk is brewing among pilots at Northwest feeder carrier Mesaba Airlines, which is also reorganizing in bankruptcy court.Beverage makers agree to stop selling sugary soda to most schools: NEW YORK – School vending machines are about to lose their high-calorie fizz. The nation’s largest beverage distributors agreed to stop selling non-diet sodas to most public schools, where childhood obesity has become an increasing concern.Last-minute changes to Enron earning reports were proper, defense expert testifies: HOUSTON – Last-minute changes to quarterly earnings reports that prosecutors contend were ordered by Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling to improve the company’s reputation on Wall Street were accurate and not because the company’s reserves were improperly tapped, an accounting expert testifies at the fraud and conspiracy trial of Skilling and Enron founder Kenneth Lay.Oil prices fall as gasoline demand weakens, supplies rise: WASHINGTON – Oil prices fell below $74 a barrel after the U.S. government released data showing that gasoline demand has been flat over the past four weeks and motor fuel supplies are growing as refineries ramp up output. But a high floor persists underneath oil prices amid nagging concern that Iran, a key exporter, could cut supplies because of international pressure to modify its nuclear program.Price-gouging bill moves ahead: WASHINGTON – Gasoline refiners and wholesalers could be fined up to $150 million for price gouging under legislation headed for passage in the House as a response to $3-a-gallon gas.Bird flu plan falls to private sector: WASHINGTON – Cities and businesses should make plans now to deal with a flu pandemic because the government won’t be able to rescue them, says an updated national response plan released by the White House.Germans trying to raise sinking birthrate: BERLIN – As a Cabinet minister, doctor and mother of seven, Ursula von der Leyen speaks from experience when she urges German lawmakers to make it easier to combine work and children. The 47-year-old minister for families is leading the government’s effort to combat one of Europe’s lowest birthrates by overhauling a generous benefits system that still hasn’t persuaded people to have more children.Vail, Colorado
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