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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2003

Briefcase

March 27, 2003

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HealthSouth executive pleads guilty to fraud

The suspended chief financial officer of health care giant HealthSouth Corp. pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of fraud and conspiracy.

William T. Owens, suspended Thursday along with chief executive Richard Scrushy, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $5.5 million in fines. A sentencing date was to be set later.

The charges include fraud, conspiracy and filing false certification of financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Commerce

Reports signal struggles within U.S. economy

New-home sales in February plunged to their lowest level in more than two years as bad weather kept house hunters indoors, and orders for costly manufactured goods fell by the largest amount in three months.

The pair of reports released by the Commerce Department Wednesday underscored the struggles facing the economy as it tries to get back on firmer footing.

Trade

WTO frowns upon U.S. steel tariffs

The World Trade Organization has issued a preliminary ruling that stiff tariffs President Bush imposed a year ago to protect the U.S. steel industry are a violation of global trade rules, officials who have seen the report said Wednesday.

The WTO decision, provided to the administration and the countries that brought the case, will not be made public for another month, giving the parties time to file comments. The WTO has never reversed a preliminary ruling during the one-month comment period.

Newspaper

J-W seeks comment on stock listings

The Journal-World is considering changes in the way it presents listings of stocks, mutual funds and information on other financial markets. We would like to hear what type of financial information you want and need. In the past we have tried to provide listings for a wide variety of companies and funds of local interest, based on what we've heard from our readers.

Please let us know if there are companies or funds you would like to see in the Journal-World's listings. If there are other features you'd like to see, we'd like to hear about those, too.

Send your suggestions to Managing Editor Richard Brack at rbrack@ljworld.com or by mail at Lawrence Journal-World, P.O. Box 888, Lawrence, 66044.

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