Dun Bradstreet Plans Big Cuts

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NEW YORK _ Dun Bradstreet Corp., a leading supplier of business information that includes the Moody's bond rating company and Nielsen television service, said Friday it will cut several thousand jobs over the next two years. The company said the reductions were in response to the weak global economy and would be made through attrition and possible layoffs. Dun Bradstreet has 52,000 employees worldwide.

As part of the cuts, Dun Bradstreet's information services unit, based in Murray Hill, N.J., has offered voluntary severance packages to its 7,000 U.S. employees. The goal is to eliminate several hundred jobs in the division, said David Monfried, a spokesman for the unit. The workers have until Nov. 5 to sign up for the package, which offers up to 12 weeks pay and additional money based on years of service. Mexico Fears Loss of Culture Under NAFTA

MEXICO CITY _ Until now, Mexico has been able to strike a balance between American pop culture and its historical tapestry of Indians, mariachis and tortillas. But some people say that if the North American Free Trade Agreement wins ratification in the U.S. Congress, the Mexican lifestyle could change drastically. "The hamburger could replace the taco," Roberto Bermudez, sociology professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico. "We could be looking at the loss of our cultural environment." A flood of modern conveniences such as microwave ovens could help breed a more fast-paced, materialistic society like that in the United States, he said. "I see no reason why the infiltration of American culture would decrease and every reason why it would increase," said Mary Kelly, director of the Texas Center for Policy Studies.

Though city dwellers may notice more fast-food restaurants and chain discount stores, those most affected culturally may be Mexicans who live in rural areas. "The biggest effect is going to be on the peasant," said Angus Wright, an environmental studies professor at California State University in Sacramento. He said Mexico's farmers, most of whom subsist on small plots, can't compete technologically with farmers in United States. "Someone with five hectares (12.5 acres) of land in Mexico is not going to be able to run out and buy a tractor," he said. "As a result, we are going to see a lot of displaced rural people."

At least 5 million people are expected to move to urban areas such as Mexico City, a city already bursting at the seams with poor people who block traffic and sidewalks as they peddle goods and beg. "This will be a grave social explosion," Bermudez said. …

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