IBM says chip slowdown to force 1,000 job cuts

Thursday, November 29, 2001

NEW YORK -- IBM Corp. said Wednesday it is eliminating about 1,000 jobs from its seven U.S. chip manufacturing and development plants because of a slowdown in the microprocessor industry.

The company plans to reduce its Microelectronics Division from 21,500 employees to about 20,500. IBM employs about 320,000 people worldwide. The layoffs take effect in one to two months.

Big Blue's microprocessors are used in devices ranging from large server and storage computers to cell phones and electronic games.

Vietnamese lawmakers approve U.S. trade pact

HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam's National Assembly on Wednesday ratified a landmark trade agreement with the United States, the last step in a decades-long process of normalization of ties between the former wartime enemies.

But in a sign of continuing tensions, it warned that any U.S. interference in Vietnam's internal affairs could jeopardize implementation.

Vietnam's Communist government has bitterly complained over the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of a Vietnam Human Rights Act that would tie future U.S. non-humanitarian aid to improvements in Vietnam's human rights record.

Under the trade deal, Vietnamese goods and services will gain access to the world's largest market with the same low tariffs enjoyed by most nations.

In return, Vietnam must open its state-controlled markets to foreign competition and international standards.

Syphilis cases drop to record low in U.S.

ATLANTA -- Syphilis infections dropped to an all-time low in the United States last year, with fewer than 6,000 cases of the sexually transmitted disease reported nationwide, the government said Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 5,979 cases were recorded last year, down nearly 10 percent from 1999 and 30 percent since the government announced a plan three years ago to eradicated syphilis.

The government wants to cut annual cases to fewer than 1,000 by 2005 and boost the number of syphilis-free counties to 90 percent from the current level of about 80 percent.

"We're definitely talking about something that is possible and readily achievable," said Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri, CDC deputy chief of sexually transmitted diseases.

U.S. envoy meets Arafat, calls for peace

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Israelis and Palestinians have suffered too much in 14 months of violence and must make peace, U.S. mediator Anthony Zinni said Wednesday after meeting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The United States launched its initiative after several months of inaction, concerned that the fighting might interfere with efforts to keep moderate Arab states in a coalition to confront international terrorism, starting with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network in Afghanistan.

Arafat played host to Zinni and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns at the traditional sundown Iftar meal, breaking the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Cabbie who won lottery won't return to Pakistan

WASHINGTON -- Powerball's newest millionaire says he will not return to his native Pakistan with his winnings.

Ihsan Khan was the sole winner of a $55 million Powerball drawing Nov. 7. He opted for the lump-sum payout, which comes to nearly $32.5 million.

D.C. Lottery spokesman Bob Hainey said that when Khan claimed his prize earlier in November, he told lottery officials he felt more secure returning to Pakistan with the money. But since then, he has decided to stay in Arlington, Va.

The news that Khan would not leave the country caught lottery officials by surprise. They had fully expected to take Khan to the airport following Wednesday's check presentation.

-- From wire reports

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