The nation's work force registered its best productivity gain
in nearly five years in the third quarter, the Labor Department
said. Nonfarm business productivity - output per hour worked - grew
at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.1 percent, the largest
gain since the final months of 1992. Analysts said such robust
productivity gains are unusual so late in an economic expansion.
Productivity increased 2.4 percent in the second quarter and 1.4
percent in the first.
Financier and philanthropist George Soros gave $4.5 million
to help children and the poor in New York City. The money was
donated to the Robin Hood Foundation, formed by a group of Wall
Street financiers in the 1980s. Soros, best known for his grants to
overseas causes, said he was expanding his giving in the US and
would focus it on young people.
A clash between US and Canadian fishermen over salmon
catches off the Pacific coast is gradually being resolved, US and
Canadian officials indicated. Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles (D) said
ferry service to Prince Rupert, B.C., was resuming for the first
time since last summer, when angry Canadian fishermen blockaded his
state's ferry, Malaspina, there for three days.
The New York Stock Exchange was to announce a widening of the
"circuit breakers" that bring trading to a temporary halt after
rapid drops in stock prices, Wall Street sources said. Currently,
trading is stopped if the Dow Jones industrial average falls 350
points in one session. The new approach would be to stop trading
when the Dow falls 10 percent, the sources said. At current levels,
that would translate to a loss of about 800 points.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will refer
year-old safety recommendations relating to the explosion of TWA
Flight 800 to an advisory group. A year ago, the National
Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations for reducing
flammability of vapors in the center fuel tanks of Boeing 747s. The
FAA said it would refer the matter to an advisory committee within
two months, instructing it to provide specific solutions six months
A US appeals court dismissed a lawsuit by human-rights
victims seeking funds deposited in Swiss banks by the late
Philippines president, Ferdinand Marcos. The three-judge panel in
San Francisco ruled unanimously that a suit against Credit Suisse
and Swiss Bank Corp. could not be heard in the US. If upheld, the
ruling appears to block efforts by a Filipino group to use US
courts to tap some $475 million held in the two banks.
The judge in the trial of Unabomber suspect Theodore
Kaczynski told lawyers they should aim to give opening arguments
Dec. 29. Jury selection began Nov. 12, but has moved slowly. The
cabin Kaczynski built and inhabited is being hauled through Butte,
Mont., to Sacramento, Calif., where it will reportedly be shown to
the jury by defense attorneys trying to prove he is mentally ill.
A trial began in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where a $150 million
defamation lawsuit has been brought against three advisers to
Tawana Brawley, a decade after the then-15-year-old claimed white
law-enforcement officers abducted and raped her. Former prosecutor
Steven Pagones is suing the Rev. Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox Jr., and
C. Vernon Mason, accusing them of defamation by saying he was one
of six who allegedly attacked Miss Brawley in 1987. A 1988 grand
jury report found her claim a fabrication. Sharpton recently came
close to winning the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York.
There was new debate over whether a potato-size meteorite
contains evidence of past life on Mars. Scientists who found it in
Antarctic wastes said they had proved it contains no signs of life.
But US space agency researchers, who stunned the scientific world
with a discovery of remains of tiny bacteria in the rock, said they
were more convinced than ever of their finding. Both views were
published in the scientific journal Nature. …