Smiths Aerospace of the United Kingdom will provide a key avionics system for the Boeing Co.’s 7E7 Dreamliner. The companies announced Friday that Smiths will provide the jet’s common core system, which will replace the traditional wiring and electronics system found on current airplanes. The new system will be thousands of pounds lighter and will help make the plane more fuel-efficient, said Mike Bair, the chief of Boeing’s 7E7 program.
For the first time, the United States will be hit with trade sanctions approved by the World Trade Organization because of a fight in Congress over how to restructure $5 billion in corporate tax breaks. Starting Monday, a range of U.S. exports to Europe from roller skates to jewelry, steel, textiles and farm products will be subject to a 5 percent penalty tariff that will ratchet higher by 1 percentage point each month over the next year unless Congress acts. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said the penalty tariffs would be lifted as soon as Congress passes a WTO-compatible tax law dealing with U.S. corporations. But resolution of the issue could be months away, given the wide difference of opinions among Republicans who control Congress.
The first batch of checks mailed from the Internal Revenue Service this year showed the average tax refund climbed $97 compared to those issued at the same time last year, according to figures released Friday. Refunds mailed so far this year average $2,292, a 4.5 percent increase over refunds mailed at the same time in 2003. Tax refunds tend to be higher during the first weeks of the tax filing season, when taxpayers expecting checks hurry to file their returns.
America Online Inc. has quietly stopped offering a complete broadband package, requiring subscribers to instead obtain their high-speed Internet connections directly from a cable modem or DSL provider. The decision to stop selling bundled service – an AOL-branded cable or DSL connection combined with AOL’s walled garden of content – follows a strategic realignment that began in December 2002, AOL spokeswoman Anne Bentley said Friday. The change, which took effect late last month, does not affect customers who bought the package before then.
Payless ShoeSource Inc. Friday declared a loss in the latest quarter, hurt by aggressive promotions by competitors that it was forced to match. The Topeka-based company reported a loss of $17.2 million, or 25 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 31. That compares with the previous year’s net income of $5.1 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same period.
From Herald staff
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