GM Reaches Contract Deal With CAW

General Motors avoided a strike by reaching a three-year contract agreement late last night with the Canadian Auto Workers union. The agreement wraps up talks in which the three U.S.-based automakers pressed for job cuts and efficiency improvements.

The CAW, which has 17,100 members at GM, announced the accord last night in Toronto. Union President Buzz Hargrove said more than 1,000 jobs will be cut, with many done through attrition, he said. In return, the union was able to secure investment in some Canadian plants. The talks came as GM posted a first-half loss of $1.39 billion.

The union has agreed to similar job cuts in recent deals with Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit. The contract is subject to a vote by CAW members at GM this weekend.


Disney Considers Seoul, Mayor Says

Walt Disney is considering building a theme park outside South Korea's capital, Seoul Mayor Lee Myung Bak said.

Disney has nothing specific to announce about a park in Korea and is constantly evaluating markets around the world, a company spokeswoman said.

"We've made significant progress on our plan to attract a world-class theme park near Seoul and may officially announce it early next year," Lee said in an interview.


New Chrysler Chief to Meet With Board

Dieter Zetsche, who takes over as DaimlerChrysler chief executive on Jan. 1 and has already assumed responsibility for the Mercedes-Benz division, is scheduled to meet with the company's supervisory board today in Detroit.

Officials with DaimlerChrysler, its labor groups and analysts have said Zetsche may focus on trimming thousands of jobs at the struggling Mercedes Car Group.


UBS to Invest in Bank of China Partnership

Swiss bank UBS said it will invest $500 million in state-owned Bank of China, the nation's second-largest bank, to create an investment banking partnership for Chinese clients. The deal is the latest in a series of strategic investments by foreign banks seeking footholds in the fast-growing and increasingly competitive Chinese banking market.

China is due to fully open its banking industry to foreign competition under commitments made as a part of its entry into the World Trade Organization by late 2006. Chinese banks have been encouraged by authorities to seek foreign partnerships to build up their capital and improve management.

Record Firms, Baidu in Mediation

Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony and their local subsidiaries are in mediation with Baidu, China's largest Internet search engine, over the record companies' claims of copyright infringement.

The companies claim that Baidu made it easy for users to download songs. Baidu says it simply provides basic search functions, not downloading services.

A judge will resolve the issue if mediation does not work.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.