CHINA

No Abrupt Changes Planned, Bank Says

The central bank does not plan more abrupt changes in the yuan's value, a senior People's Bank of China official said, squelching speculation over further currency revaluations ahead of a meeting of top international finance officials this week in China.

The yuan climbed to its highest level since its July 21 revaluation as a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China suggested authorities will let the yuan appreciate in the foreign exchange market.

LABOR

Canadian Autoworkers Vote to Allow Strike

About 41,800 General Motors, Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler employees represented by the Canadian Auto Workers voted to allow a strike if a contract isn't reached by Sept. 20.

Talks, which began last month, may be a barometer for contracts to be negotiated by the three U.S. automakers with workers in 2007. The firms want to hold down cost increases in their Canadian operations, and GM is trying to cut spending in the United States, particularly on health care.

South African Steelworkers Plan Action

Mittal Steel South Africa, Africa's biggest steelmaker, faces a strike by about 2,500 workers at three plants next week because workers at some plants do not receive the same overtime pay as workers at other plants, the Solidarity labor union said.

Mittal, citing a year-old agreement with its unions not to cut jobs in return for a promise not to negotiate with the company on "any conditions of employments that have a cost implication," said it would go to court to stop the strike.

HUNGARY

Government in Privatization Talks

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, left, ordered a government review of investor confidence and warned that political wrangling over privatization plans could scare away buyers and companies seeking to do business in the country.

The government is in talks with 26 foreign companies, which could create 23,000 jobs and invest up to $20 million, a government spokeswoman said.

But opposition legislators have criticized some of the privatization plans, saying sales were being rushed to close budget holes and calling for the possible renationalization of state assets.

AIRLINES

Ticket Tax to Help Fight Poverty, Disease

France plans to put a tax on airline tickets next year to help finance the global struggle against poverty and diseases that are ravaging the developing world, including AIDS, President Jacques Chirac said. While the idea is still being debated at the international level, France wants to launch a pilot program to prove it could work.

The measure must pass parliament, in which Chirac's party has a majority.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.