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Kraft Foods Inc. to cut 1,600 positions in North America

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Kraft Foods Inc. will cut 1,600 positions in North America as it prepares to split its business in two.

The Northfield, Ill.-based food company said Tuesday that it plans to eliminate the positions throughout the U.S. and Canada during the coming year. The cuts will be made among its sales, corporate and other business units. About 20 percent of the job eliminations are currently open positions.

Kraft has roughly 127,000 employees worldwide, including 46,500 in North America.

The company announced in August that it would split into two independent companies: a global snacks business and North American grocery business. Kraft said the moves are needed to help the businesses run more effectively.

The bulk of the cuts – about 40 percent – will be made among sales positions.

Kraft did not cut jobs at its manufacturing facilities at this time, but the company said in a statement that with the pending split, it is still reviewing this part of its business to consider what is best for both new companies.

Associated Press

China’s growth slowed in 2011, may slip further

BEIJING – In the final quarter of 2011, China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in 2 1/2 years because of shrinking exports, tighter bank lending and a cooling real estate market.

Compared with the same period a year earlier, the country’s gross domestic product grew by 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from 9.1 percent in the previous quarter, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

For the year, the world’s second-largest economy expanded by 9.2 percent, off from 10.4 percent in 2010.

Though blazingly high by international standards, China’s economic growth is likely slipping uncomfortably fast for the country’s leadership.

Quarter-on-quarter growth slowed to 8.2 percent between the third and fourth quarters compared with 9.5 percent between the second and third quarters.

Many analysts expect conditions to worsen as Europe, China’s biggest export market, shows no signs of stabilizing. Consensus is growing that China’s growth could falter further, to around 7.5 percent, in the first quarter of this year.

Los Angeles Times

Judge blocks Madoff trustee from appealing Mets ruling

NEW YORK – A trustee trying to recover money for investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was blocked Tuesday from immediately appealing a ruling limiting how much the New York Mets’ owners might have to give up to other investors.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said letting trustee Irving Picard appeal his September ruling would delay a trial set for March 19 and slow a final resolution of the case. In the earlier ruling, the judge limited what the Mets’ owners might have to pay to $386 million, depending on how much of what they received from Madoff was fictitious profits and how much was principal.

Rakoff wrote, “The result of permitting interim appeals is vexatious and duplicative litigation, prolonged uncertainty and endless delay.”

The judge added, in a nod to ex-Mets manager Yogi Berra, “Whether on the ballfield or in court, ‘it ain’t over till it’s over’ is both shrewd observation and sound advice.”

Picard was seeking $1 billion. He said the Mets’ owners received $83.3 million in fictitious profits and $301 million in principal in the two years before Madoff’s fraud was revealed in 2008. He accused them in court papers of ignoring warnings that Madoff’s high returns might not be real.

Associated Press


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