The nation's supply of vaccine for the impending flu season took a big hit when Chiron announced it found tainted doses in its factory. The company said it will hold up shipment of about 50 million shots -- about half the supply U.S. health officials had hoped to have on hand this year -- while it investigates what went wrong and determines whether the vaccine is safe to use. U.S. health officials said some people may not get flu shots when they want this year, but that they were hopeful Chiron's production problems are only temporary. Demand typically peaks in October and November.
53 Convicted in Cyber-Crime Sweep
U.S. authorities have successfully prosecuted 53 people and arrested 103 others since June 1 in an investigation of economic crimes committed on the Internet, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said. Investigators have identified more than 150,000 victims who cumulatively have lost more than $215 million, he told reporters in Washington.
Workers are likely to shoulder a larger share of health care costs next year, according to a new survey of more than 900 firms. Mercer Human Resource Consulting found that employers expect health care costs to rise an average 12.9 percent next year if they leave benefits unchanged. But the companies that participated in the survey said they are only budgeting an average increase of 9.6 percent in their health care spending, making it likely that employees will make up the difference with higher contributions and co-payments.
Boeing won a $54 million contract to launch four navigation satellites for the Air Force, in the second exception to a defense-contract ban imposed on the company last year for improperly obtaining documents from Lockheed Martin to help it win a launch contract in 1998. The decision to use Boeing's Delta II rockets for the launch was made because the Global Positioning System satellites constituted a "compelling national interest," an Air Force spokeswoman said.
Toronto-Dominion Bank took its first step into U.S. consumer banking as it agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Banknorth Group of Portland, Maine, for $3.8 billion. W. Edmund Clark, the Canadian bank's chief executive, said the purchase will be a steppingstone to further U.S. expansion since the Canadian government put domestic bank mergers on hold.
Delta Air Lines creditors said they won't agree to a plan to restructure the airline's debt because the company has refused to provide information it has requested. Delta wanted them to agree to a debt restructuring by Tuesday.
A federal judge said she'll decide next week whether to accept Halliburton's $6 million lawsuit settlement with investors who had accused the company of fraud. One plaintiff, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund, says the settlement is too small and wants the judge to allow the case to proceed so its lawyers can pursue broader fraud allegations. The lawsuit alleges deceptive accounting practices and claims Halliburton misled investors and analysts by failing to disclose for nearly three months in 2001 a multimillion-dollar asbestos verdict against a company with which Halliburton had merged.
Citigroup was sued by a group of institutional investors who contend the bank defrauded them in selling $2.4 billion of notes linked to the creditworthiness of Enron. The investors contend that Citigroup's Citibank unit aided Enron in artificially maintaining the former energy trader's creditworthiness from 1999 until it declared bankruptcy in December 2001. Citigroup, which paid $2.65 billion in May to settle a suit by WorldCom investors, has set aside $6.7 billion to pay for legal costs in such actions.
Initial jobless claims rose for the first time in four weeks, boosted by more filings related to Hurricane Charley, a Labor Department report showed. First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to 343,000 in the week ended Aug. 21 from a revised 333,000 the week before, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said. About half the gain was attributed to the storm, a spokesman said.
Bridgestone said it will replace 27,000 tires sold in North America for use on light trucks because the belt may separate from the rest of the tire. The company, which said that the action is not a recall, said it would replace some sizes of Dueler A/T-model tires that may fail if they are under-inflated or if vehicles are overloaded.
Garrett Van Wagoner, who oversaw some of America's top-performing mutual funds in the late 1990s, and his San Francisco investment firm agreed to pay $800,000 to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges of allegedly misstating the value of "illiquid securities" held by his funds. The settlement also bars Van Wagoner from serving as a fund director or officer for seven years, and he resigned as the firm's president.
Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines pilots may offer to revamp their pensions after a United Airlines threat to terminate its plans to save money sparked worker fears that a trend may be starting. The Air Line Pilots Association at Continental initiated pension discussions with the airline during talks on ways to reduce costs, said Jay Panarello, chairman of the union. Northwest's union is considering options such as freezing the plan and switching to a version similar to a 401(k), union spokesman Hal Myers said.
Former Coca-Cola employees have been granted immunity in return for testimony about rigged marketing tests at Burger King four years ago, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That and federal grand jury testimony indicate that prosecutors are considering criminal charges in the case. Coca-Cola in June 2003 admitted undermining the marketing test at Burger King restaurants in Richmond and said the employees involved were disciplined.
Standard & Poor's is being investigated by the Justice Department about its "Spiders," exchange-traded funds that track the S&P 500-stock index. S&P was first contacted about the probe in June and has received a civil investigative demand, usually a request for documents or other materials, spokesman David R. Guarino said. He declined to say what division is running the probe or to provide other details.
ConAgra Foods is recalling 85,600 pounds of its Banquet frozen chicken breast strips because they may contain pieces of metal, the Agriculture Department said. The recalled products are 28-ounce packages labeled "new, Banquet, chicken breast strips, breaded chicken breast patties with rib meat, original" with "best if used by" dates of either July 20 or July 27, 2005, and 28-ounce packages labeled "made with chicken breast with rib meat, Banquet, chicken breast strips, original" with "best if used by" dates of either July 20 or July 21, 2005. All packages bear the code P-107.
Japan's anti-monopoly agency raided several top record companies on suspicion they illegally blocked other firms from offering music ring-tone services to mobile phone users. Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, EMI-Toshiba, Avex, Victor Entertainment and Label Mobile were among those raided, said Fair Trade Commission official Toshihiko Oizumi.
Smithfield Foods, the world's largest hog producer, said profit in its first quarter more than doubled, to $54.1 million, as livestock prices and pork demand surged.
UAL, the parent of United Airlines, reported net income of $6 million for July, compared with a $113 million loss for the same month last year. In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, it said its cash balance declined $153 million in the month, to $2.1 billion.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.