Business briefs 3/23/06

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Caterpillar CEO assails anti-China trade efforts

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Caterpillar Inc. CEO Jim Owens said Wednesday that protectionists in Congress who want to "bully" China by imposing a tariff on Chinese imports risk serious global economic consequences if they succeed. Speaking at a gathering of U.S. manufacturers, Owens called on lawmakers to stop bashing China over the U.S. trade imbalance and reject a bill to slap a 27.5 percent tariff on its goods if it doesn't halt what some call the manipulation of its currency to gain a trading edge.

Financier Frankel to be resentenced today

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Financier Martin Frankel, sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison for masterminding a scheme to loot insurance companies of more than $200 million, is scheduled to be resentenced Thursday to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sentencing guidelines. Using those guidelines, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen B. Burns sentenced Frankel in Dec. 2004 to 16 years and eight months in prison. But a Supreme Court ruling last January made the guidelines advisory rather than mandatory, and compelled the resentencing. Burns has said the high court ruling would not have affected the sentence she imposed.

Walgreen Co. seeks gag order in Reno lawsuit

RENO, Nev. -- Attorneys for Walgreen Co. have filed a motion seeking a gag order to stop a Texas man from talking about his discrimination lawsuit against the drugstore chain. Bruce Johnson, one of four black men suing the company, said Tuesday he won't be silenced. Johnson and three other men from Houston, ages 28 to 42, filed a lawsuit in June 2003 seeking $2.5 million each in damages from Walgreen after they say they were discriminated against at a Walgreens store in Reno. The men said after they complained about the quality of a photograph processed at the store in February 2003, the clerk shouted a racial slur, slammed a door and refused service.

-- From wire reports

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