Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans said that national support for free trade with China will cool unless the latter cuts barriers to American investment and trade, and cracks down on software piracy. In the text of a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, Evans said China must float its currency, now pegged to the dollar, and restrict government-directed lending to commercial enterprises if it wants to be categorized as a "market economy" by the United States. Evans is pressing China, the third-largest and fastest-growing U.S. trading partner, to reduce a record $124 billion trade gap between the two countries.
Charges Added in Enron Barge Case
Former executives of Enron and Merrill Lynch face additional charges in their fraud trial scheduled to begin Aug. 16, the Justice Department said. A new indictment adds two charges of wire fraud against the four former Merrill Lynch executives and two former Enron executives. The defendants are accused of conspiring to sell electricity-generated Nigerian barges from Enron to Merrill Lynch to help the now-bankrupt energy trader inflate its earnings.
IBM settled more than 50 cancer lawsuits by former employees who worked in "clean rooms" at a plant in San Jose, Calif. The employees said they were sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals, but a jury in February found that IBM wasn't liable in the first of the cases to go to trial. Terms of the settlements are confidential, an IBM spokesman said.
Adelphia Communications' former assistant treasurer, Michael C. Mulcahey, should be acquitted in a trial that amounts to a mob action, his lawyer said in closing arguments. Mulcahey is accused along with Adelphia founder John J. Rigas and two of Rigas's sons of hiding more than $2 billion in debt at the company, helping to drive it into bankruptcy, and looting it of millions for personal luxuries.
Forstmann Little lawyers won a partial victory when Connecticut Superior Court Judge Samuel Sferrazza threw out claims that the buyout firm misled Connecticut's state pension fund, which is suing for breach of contract over loss-making telecommunications investments. Connecticut is seeking the return of its share of the losses, more than $120 million, in a trial that began June 1. The judge let stand the remainder of the case, which he said may go to the six-person jury next week.
Hotmail will become the latest Web-based e-mail service to increase the amount of storage space available for its free accounts, following similar moves by rivals. Beginning later this summer, Microsoft plans to increase the amount of storage for its free Hotmail account inboxes to 250 megabytes, up from two megabytes. Users also will be able to send larger attachments, up to 10 megabytes. Beginning next month, the software giant also plans to bolster the antivirus protection for its free e-mail accounts. The Hotmail changes announced follow Google's plans for its Gmail service, with 1,000 megabytes of free storage. The leading competitor in the Web e-mail field, Yahoo, recently upgraded its free mail accounts to 100 megabytes of storage.
Mylan Laboratories withdrew its earnings forecast and sued the Food and Drug Administration after the federal agency delayed approval of the generic drug manufacturer's version of the Duragesic pain-relief skin patch. The delay came as the FDA gave Johnson & Johnson six more months of exclusive rights to sell Duragesic.
Gemstar-TV Guide International will pay $10 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that the publisher of TV Guide magazine overstated its advertising and licensing revenue by almost $250 million from 1999 through 2002. The money will be distributed to investors who were harmed by the alleged overstatement, the SEC said.
Yields on two-year Treasury notes rose to the highest level in two years. The yield was 2.785 percent, up from 2.538 percent at the last auction on May 26. It was the highest rate for two-year notes since 2.970 percent on June 28, 2002.
Shrimp prices would rise as much as 44 percent if tariffs are imposed on imported shrimp, a coalition of shrimp importers, restaurants and grocery chains said. The report was commissioned by opponents of a drive by Southern shrimpers to get duties imposed on about $2.3 billion in cheap, pond-raised shrimp from some of the top shrimp exporters -- six South American and Asian countries. The Department of Commerce is expected to announce next month its determination of whether shrimp has been dumped at unfair prices.
Wilmington Trust, Delaware's largest bank, agreed to pay $125,000 to settle SEC allegations that one of its units kept poor records on securities ownership and failed to reconcile almost $5.8 billion in transactions. Wilmington Trust neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
New Hampshire regulators are seeking to fine Morgan Stanley $500,000 for offering improper incentives, including steaks, to its brokers to boost sales of its in-house mutual funds. Last September, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay a $2 million fine to NASD to settle allegations that it held prohibited sales contests -- offering tickets to Britney Spears concerts and the NBA finals -- to push its brokers to sell in-house mutual funds and certain annuities.
Tribune Co., which said last week that two of its newspapers inflated sales figures, will require circulation department heads to verify the accuracy of their numbers every quarter, chief executive Dennis FitzSimons said. The changes are effective at the end of the month, when the Chicago-based company's second quarter ends. The company now is reviewing circulation practices at all 14 of its newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun.
Dell chief executive Michael Dell, who founded the computer company as a college freshman in 1984, sold 10 million shares worth $351.9 million during the past week. Dell sold shares for prices ranging from $34.89 to $35.80, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He still controls 256.4 million shares.
Dorel Juvenile Group is recalling 300,000 baby strollers because the seat can partially detach from the frame and allow an infant to fall. There have been 77 reports of problems, including dozens of injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The Columbus, Ind., company is recalling the COSCO Rock 'N Roller strollers, which were sold at Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us, Target, J.C. Penney and other stores nationwide from April 1996 through August 2002.
Norwegian oil workers escalated their walkout as 16 more employees prepared to shut down another offshore production platform, bringing the total loss of production to 455,000 barrels per day, or about 15 percent of the country's oil output. The unions intend to cut Norway's daily oil production by 715,000 barrels and disrupt natural gas exports to Britain.
EBay is buying Baazee.com, India's most popular online shopping site. The $50 million deal is expected to be completed by September, the two companies said in a joint news release.
Coca-Cola may be forced to close a plant in southern India because a village council has accused it of depleting local groundwater and is refusing to renew its license, a company official said. Production there halted in March when the company was ordered to stop using groundwater until the monsoon rains began. The water-use ban expired June 15, but production has not resumed.
Bed Bath & Beyond, the largest U.S. housewares retailer, said first-quarter earnings climbed 43 percent, to $82 million. Sales in the three months ended May 29 increased 23 percent, to $1.1 billion.
FedEx reported a 47 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings, to $412 million. Revenue rose to $7.04 billion from $5.83 billion a year ago. Average daily package volume for FedEx Express, the company's cargo airline, and FedEx Ground grew by a combined 7 percent.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.