California's insurance commissioner rejected the $16.4 billion merger of Anthem and WellPoint Health Systems, the nation's largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield carriers. The Justice Department, nine other affected states and Puerto Rico have approved the merger, which would create the nation's largest health insurer. Commissioner John Garamendi has said the deal would take money out of California, where WellPoint is based. Executives at both companies accused Garamendi of playing politics, and Anthem's chief executive said he believes the deal will go through, although he could not say when.

Canada Chooses U.S.-Made Choppers

Canada said it has chosen U.S.-built Sikorsky S-92 helicopters to replace its fleet of Sea Kings, bought in 1963. The $2.4 billion purchase of 28 helicopters follows decades of political wrangling. Jean Chretien, the prime minister in 1993, canceled a $4.4 billion contract for helicopters built by a British-Italian consortium, calling them unaffordable. The cancellation cost the government $375 million in penalties.

MORE NEWS

Newsday said it fired its circulation vice president, Robert Brennan, the only person to be blamed publicly so far by the newspaper for inflating circulation figures in the past few years. In a letter to employees, incoming publisher Timothy P. Knight announced the news and said the Long Island, N.Y., paper plans to inform advertisers next week of a plan to remedy overcharges stemming from the false circulation numbers.

DaimlerChrysler reached a deal with its German workers after a week of protests and brief work stoppages. The deal calls for cutting labor costs by $612 million a year in return for securing jobs for more than 6,000 German workers through 2012, its chief executive and chief worker representative said.

Titan, which supplies translators to the U.S. Army in Iraq, won a contract extension from the Defense Department worth as much as $255 million to continue supporting computer systems used for intelligence. The award will allow Titan to manage the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support Systems through 2011.

United and Northwest will start new daily flights between the United States and China, the airlines said after the approval of the service was announced by the Transportation Department. American Airlines had asked the Transportation Department to delay awarding the routes until next year, when it says it plans to seek approval to fly to China.

The Dominican Republic will join the trade agreement between the United States and five Central American countries designed to cut tariffs and set rules for investment. The Caribbean country will become part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement on Aug. 5, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said in a prepared statement.

Del Monte Foods revamped its management structure in an effort to decrease costs and create a single, company-wide supply chain. The San Francisco company announced three executive appointments and said its chief operating officer will retire.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Pepco Holdings' D.C. utility will seek proposals for 1,465 megawatts of wholesale power to replace supplies provided by bankrupt Mirant, which had been Pepco's sole supplier in the District and Maryland after purchasing power plants from Pepco in June 2000. Deliveries would begin Feb. 8 under contracts ranging from one to six years, a spokeswoman said.

EARNINGS

Halliburton announced a $663 million loss in the second quarter compared with profit of $26 million a year ago. An unexpected charge on a project off the coast of Brazil contributed to the loss. The loss includes a charge of $609 million related to a pending $4.17 billion cash and stock settlement of asbestos and silica claims.

Maytag said it lost $41.1 million in the second quarter compared with a profit of $25.2 million a year ago. Falling sales in housewares and commercial appliances, costs from a strike at a washing machine plant and a corporate restructuring plan and litigation charges contributed to the loss.

Xerox said second-quarter profit more than doubled, to $208 million from $86 million, on lower costs and sales of higher-profit products such as color copiers and printers. The company raised its 2004 forecast.

Clear Channel Communications said it earned $254 million in the second quarter, a 1 percent increase from a year ago. The company's largest unit, radio, was also the most anemic, with a 3 percent gain in revenue. Outdoor advertising revenue jumped 12 percent and concert business rose 9 percent.

Belo, a Texas-based media company, posted a 16-percent increase in second-quarter earnings, to $45.6 million, over the same period last year. The company said its revenue increased 6 percent, to $391 million.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.