Archive for Tuesday, December 5, 2000

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December 5, 2000

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Microsoft donates millions to Boys & Girls Clubs

Microsoft Corp. is donating $100 million in cash and software to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The computer industry giant will give $12.3 million in cash and $88 million in software over five years.

"It's a great time to be a kid," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said at a Boys & Girls Club in New York. "Working together, Microsoft and the Boys & Girls Clubs are committed to bridging the digital divide and providing all our children with the technology skills to succeed."

Gates said the donation was designed to bring technology access and programs to more than 3.3 million children across the country.

Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., told the children: "Your access to these computers, if you take advantage of it, can literally transform your lives and the lives of other people."

Economy

Report indicates slowdown

A key gauge of future economic activity fell 0.2 percent in October, suggesting further slowing for the U.S. economy in the new year.

The Conference Board said Monday that its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators declined to 105.5 in October after registering no change in September and dropping 0.1 percent in August. October's fall was slightly more than the 0.1 percent analysts had anticipated.

The index is watched closely because it indicates where the overall U.S. economy is headed in the next three to six months.

Farmland Industries

Cooperatives to end refining joint venture

After about a year as partners in a petroleum joint venture, Farmland Industries and the National Cooperative Refinery Assn. have agreed to go their separate ways.

The two cooperatives announced Monday that they would dissolve the venture Dec. 31, thus returning control of two refineries to their respective owners.

Triggering the move: Pending EPA regulations regarding sulfur content in gasoline and diesel fuels, which are expected to require extensive upgrades at each plant, said David Eaheart, a Farmland spokesman.

"It will require some extensive capital," he said. "It's millions and millions of dollars."

Kansas City, Mo.-based Farmland will keep its Coffeyville refinery, which handles 95,000 barrels a day. NCRA, based in St. Paul, Minn., will keep its McPherson operation, which uses 80,000 barrels a day.

NCRA is owned by Cenex Harvest States, Growmark Inc. and MFA Oil. The move is expected to have minimal effect of customers and employees, the co-ops said.

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