Archive for Saturday, November 2, 2002

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November 2, 2002

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Shippers, longshoremen overcome major hurdle

West Coast longshoremen and shipping companies reached a tentative agreement Friday on the use of computer technology the major sticking point in the bitter dispute that shut down the ports for 10 days last month.

During negotiations conducted by federal mediator Peter Hurtgen, the 10,500-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union had said that it would agree to cuts in the number of marine clerks if the Pacific Maritime Assn. would agree that some of the new jobs created by the cargo-tracking technology would be under the union's jurisdiction.

The two sides have yet to come to terms on pensions and arbitration of disputes.

Pictured above, cargo is unloaded at a port in Portland, Ore.

CyDex: Pharmaceutical firm announces CEO change

Overland Park-based CyDex Inc. announced Friday that company president and CEO Peter Higuchi has resigned and been replaced by a former executive of Kansas City pharmaceutical giant Marion Merrell Dow.

The company said in a statement that Higuchi resigned to "pursue personal interests and new entrepreneurial opportunities."

Edward Mehrer, the former chief financial officer for Marion Merrell Dow, has been named the company's new president and CEO. Since 1996 he has served as CyDex's chief financial officer.

CyDex, a spin-off company of research at Kansas University, is a pharmaceutical firm that uses its technology to improve the solubility of various drugs.

Agriculture: Federal judge allows beef checkoff program

A federal judge ruled Friday that the national beef checkoff is constitutional, even as similar programs have been struck down by other federal judges as a violation of free speech.

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull's decision came in the case of Steve and Jeanne Charter, a Montana ranching couple who refused to pay $1-per-head tax on some cattle, and faced more than $12,000 in penalties and past charges.

The program annually collects about $86 million, which goes toward promotions, including the popular "Beef: It's what's for dinner" slogan in advertising.

Last week, a federal judge in Michigan declared the USDA's pork-checkoff program unconstitutional.

FDIC: Accounting giant sued by federal government

The government filed a $548 million fraud and negligence lawsuit Friday against accounting giant Ernst & Young in connection with the failure of a savings and loan in 2001.

The lawsuit, brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., accused Ernst & Young of misstating Superior Bank's assets and deliberately delaying reporting of the error for fear it would hurt an $11 billion sale of the accounting firm's consulting arm.

Ernst & Young denied it was responsible for the S&L's failure.

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