GERMANY

Mercedes Group to Cut 8,500 Jobs

DaimlerChrysler said it will eliminate 8,500 jobs at its Mercedes Car Group. The cuts will come through voluntary termination agreements over the next year and result in fourth-quarter charges of $1.11 billion.

The Mercedes group, which includes the flagship Mercedes-Benz models, the Smart mini-car and the luxury Maybach, employs 106,300 people, about 94,000 of them in Germany, where the jobs will be cut.

In April, DaimlerChrysler announced a $1.44 billion restructuring of Smart in which nearly 600 jobs were cut.

ITALY

Sale of Bank Clears Hurdle

The Bank of Italy said it was revoking its approval of Banca Popolare Italiana Scarl's bid for Banca Antonveneta.

The revocation means prosecutors can unfreeze Popolare's 29.5 percent stake in Antonveneta, allowing Popolare to sell the stake to Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding for $32.39 a share as agreed.

Prosecutors had frozen Popolare's stake after finding evidence of the bank's inappropriate behavior during its takeover attempt as it tried to scuttle ABN Amro's parallel takeover bid, which failed in July.

The takeover battle this summer between the two banks generated a scandal that engulfed the governor of the Bank of Italy, Antonio Fazio, after wiretapped conversations published in the Italian media suggested that Fazio unfairly favored the Italian bank's bid.

BRITAIN

Economic Growth Slowest Since '93

The British economy grew at the slowest rate in 12 years in the second quarter, the government said.

The National Statistics Office reported gross domestic product growth at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the quarter, compared with the 1.8 percent it estimated last month. Growth hasn't been that slow since the first quarter of 1993.

EUROPE

E.U. Boosts Market Oversight

The European Parliament approved tighter controls on company audits and new capital requirements for banks and investment firms. It passed a law to end self-regulation of accountants and adopted the Basel II global guidelines on capital for lenders.

The bank capital rules are part of a 1999 plan to unify financial markets that may boost economic growth by 1.1 percent over 10 years, European Union officials estimate.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.