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Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

Briefcase

May 29, 2004

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Farm destroys chickens after bird flu discovered

About 24,000 chickens were destroyed after avian flu was found on a Texas farm that supplies chickens to the poultry giant Pilgrim's Pride, state officials said Friday.

Routine blood tests at the farm discovered the infection, but no symptoms were found in chickens. Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest poultry producer in the United States and Mexico, said the farm supplied less than 1 percent of the company's flock.

Texas agriculture officials said the disease did not compromise the safety of cooked poultry.

Above, a worker sprays a disinfectant solution on carbon dioxide containers Friday at the farm near Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Wall Street

Markets to close Monday

U.S. financial and commodities markets are scheduled to be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. The Journal-World's daily market report will return Wednesday.

Automaker

Fiat chairman dies

Fiat Chairman Umberto Agnelli, who helped orchestrate a turnaround at his family's troubled automaker, died of cancer a little more than a year after taking the company's top position, a Fiat spokesman said Friday. He was 69.

Agnelli died late Thursday, Fiat spokesman Raffaello Porro said. The Turin, Italy-based company acknowledged last month that Agnelli was undergoing treatment for cancer but his health appeared to have taken a sudden turn for the worse.

Agnelli, who was long sidelined in his family's auto empire, got his chance to take over after his elder brother Giovanni "Gianni" Agnelli died in January 2003. That death came after Fiat was in decline.

"We worked hard in these 15 months and from the first days, what struck me was his deep love for Fiat, his sense of duty, responsibility and the spirit of service," said Fiat CEO Giuseppe Morchio, who was hired after Umberto Agnelli took over.

Telecommunications

FCC leading negotiations about leasing networks

U.S. regulators this weekend are leading high-stakes talks among telephone companies aimed at reaching deals for leasing the networks of dominant local telephone carriers.

A federal appeals court threw out Federal Communications Commission rules requiring the dominant local carriers to lease access to rivals at government-set rates, a decision set to take effect June 15.

Dominant local carriers BellSouth Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications have been locked in talks with AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., two long-distance carriers trying to expand their local service.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell and Commissioner Kevin Martin are leading the talks, which will continue through the three-day weekend.

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