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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Business Briefcase

May 7, 2003

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Retailer says magazines too racy for its shelves

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has pulled the men's magazines Maxim, Stuff and FHM from its shelves, deeming them too racy for its customers.

The retail giant made the decision after hearing from customers and associates, Melissa Berryhill, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, told The New York Times in Tuesday's editions.

The halt in sales is one of a series of moves by Wal-Mart to pull back on items it considers too risque. Maxim, Stuff and FHM often feature actresses or models posing on the cover and in layouts in skimpy clothing.

Sales: Carmakers sweeten deals

Financing deals and cash rebates on new cars and trucks rose to record levels last month, and Ford Motor Co. became the latest automaker on Tuesday to sweeten its offers.

Like rival General Motors Corp. did last week, Ford has extended its offer of interest-free loans for up to five years on a variety of vehicles, including the Taurus, Explorer and some F-150 pickups.

International: Bush strikes trade pact

President Bush and the prime minister of Singapore signed an agreement Tuesday that would wipe out tariffs and other trade barriers on about $33 billion in annual trade and give U.S. banks and companies more access to one of Asia's main financial centers.

If approved by Congress, Singapore -- a city-state of 4 million people -- would become the fifth nation to have such a duty-free arrangement with the United States, and the first in Asia. The United States currently has free-trade relations with Canada, Mexico, Israel and Jordan.

Aviation: Wichita approves incentive for Bombardier

A $1 million-plus financial incentive package for Bombardier Aerospace won unanimous city council approval Tuesday as the Canadian firm mulls over which plants in North America and Europe to close down.

Mayor Carlos Mayans said the incentive package was an investment for the community.

Bombardier spokesman Dave Franson said he was pleased and believed it would send a message to the company's top officials that the plant has strong support in Wichita.

The company asked for $36,000 a year in rent savings on city-owned land that is part of Bombardier's manufacturing site at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, a $500,000 federal grant to fund a navigational aid device, $550,000 in city- and county-funded road improvements, and the rerouting of a recreational trail planned to pass through its property.

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