Leaders of the airline pilots union rejected a proposal night to send a proposal by US Airways management to its members for possible ratification. Officials the Air Line Pilots Association met over the weekend to discuss options. The council adjourned at about 10:30 p.m. Monday after voting against putting the company's proposal to a vote. "At this time it is uncertain as to whether or not discussions will continue between ALPA and the company," union spokesman Jack Stephan said in an e-mail. US Airways, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, says it needs to cut costs by $1.5 billion a year to avoid a return to bankruptcy and possible liquidation. The company is seeking about $800 million in labor cuts, including $295 million a year from pilots.

OPEC Leader Predicts Lower Prices

The head of OPEC predicted that the price of oil would soon fall, partly because of more production in Iraq. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, who is also Indonesia's energy minister, said resolution of the Yukos oil scandal in Russia, which is the world's largest non-OPEC oil producer, should also help keep prices down. OPEC oil ministers are to meet in Vienna this month to discuss how prices might be brought down.


Norway, the world's third-largest oil exporter, expects to open more of the Barents Sea for drilling to speed the search for new deposits as oil reserves in its North Sea fields run dry, its energy minister said. Oil companies will probably be offered licenses to drill in unexplored parts of the southern Barents Sea, the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. It would be Norway's 19th licensing round since 1965, the minister said. The date for the licensing round has not been set

Alitalia plans to cut 5,000 jobs, split Italy's largest carrier into two companies and let seasonal employees' contracts expire, a transport union official said. One unit, called AZ Fly, is to include flight operations; the other unit, AZ Service, will deal with ground-handling, maintenance and information technology businesses, the official said. The Rome carrier has lost $2.86 billion since 1989 and has said it has only enough cash to last through the end of the month.

Turkey deserves to start European Union entry talks, a panel of senior European politicians said. The independent panel said E.U. refusal to start membership negotiations would set back Turkey's progress in overhauling its justice system and economy. Turkey, which has been bidding to join the E.U. since 1987, is counting on the negotiations to draw in foreign investment and help lower borrowing costs on its more than $200 billion in debt.

Airbus plans to challenge Boeing by offering a new aircraft as soon as the end of this year, its chief executive said. The European planemaker is considering introducing a new plane, which could cost $8 billion, or using a cheaper derivative of an existing model. Boeing is seeking a comeback in the commercial aircraft market with its first new model in 15 years, the 7E7, which will seat 200 to 300 passengers. Airbus sells about 80 percent of the planes in that category.

Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Scania, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota's Brazilian will give 46,000 workers in Sao Paulo state a 10 percent raise as faster growth in South America's biggest economy sparks demands for higher pay, a union official said.

Chile's economy expanded 4.5 percent in July from a year earlier after low interest rates boosted business at retailers and demand climbed for the nation's commodities exports, the nation's central bank said. The expansion compares with 5 percent year-to-year growth in June.

Sotheby's Holdings said it will auction artworks estimated to be worth more than $5.3 million collected by Max Steinthal, chairman in the 1920s of what is now Deutsche Bank. The works, which were found in a Dresden museum's basement during flooding in 2002, are by artists such as 19th-century Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, French impressionist Camille Pissarro and Norway's Edvard Munch. They will be offered in a series of sales in London, Sotheby's said in a written statement. The sellers are Steinthal's heirs.

DaimlerChrysler said global sales in its Mercedes group fell 7.8 percent to 77,300 vehicles in August as the automaker changed its lineup and demand in Germany slipped. Mercedes-Benz sales declined 9.3 percent from a year earlier to 69,000 units, while sales of its Smart-brand cars rose 7.3 percent to 8,300 vehicles, the automaker said.

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