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NATION



Published: Sat, February 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



NATION

Citigroup merging within

NEW YORK -- Citigroup Inc., the nation's largest financial institution, announced Friday that it was streamlining its corporate structure so the New York-based bank can be managed more efficiently.

The bank said it was merging its two main bank holding units into the parent company, consolidating capital markets operations and making other moves that appear aimed at simplifying its structure and increasing accountability.

Citigroup treasurer, Guy Whittaker, told analysts in a conference call the changes will improve liquidity, strengthen capital management and make the integration of acquired companies easier to accomplish.

He made no reference to recent scandals in Japan and Germany that have gotten the bank in trouble with foreign regulators.

Citi was forced to close its private bank in Japan last year for ethical lapses, including failure to check properly for possible money laundering operations. In Europe, Citigroup bond traders sought to boost profits by buying large amounts of futures contracts on German government bonds, driving up the price, then selling the bonds on other markets for a quick profit.

Tenn. beer plant to close

DENVER -- Only days after completing a merger that created the world's fifth biggest brewer, Molson Coors Brewing Co. said Friday it plans to close a Tennessee plant in early 2007 in a cost-cutting move at a facility that employs 410 people.

The Memphis plant, which has a brewing capacity of 3 million barrels a year, produces Coors Light for export, plus Zima XXX, Keystone Light and Blue Moon. It is one of 19 breweries owned by Molson Coors, which employs about 15,000 people.

Molson Coors said the closure is part of the overall plan to save $175 million by combining Golden-based Adolph Coors Co. and Canada's Molson Inc.

Studios settle lawsuit

LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood movie studios have settled a copyright lawsuit against a Web site operator they say had helped people find pirated copies of films for download.

The Web site, LokiTorrent.com, hosted "torrents," or file markers used by online file-swapping programs like BitTorrent to comb the Internet for other computer users sharing a given file.

Edward Webber, who ran the site, agreed to pay a "substantial" fine to settle the lawsuit and agreed to turn over copies of his computer server logs and data, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday.

Those records might prove to be even more valuable to the trade group as a way to ferret out individual computer users who had visited the site, which had more than 750,000 registered users downloading thousands of files, said John Malcolm, head of the MPAA's antipiracy division.

The MPAA also took over the LokiTorrent.com domain name and posted a warning against trading movie files online with the slogan "You can click, but you can't hide."

Unsafe lighters recalled

WASHINGTON -- A New Jersey company is recalling about 2 million multipurpose barbecue lighters because they fail to meet federal standards for child resistant mechanisms, so they could pose a fire hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday.

The gas-fueled lighters do not have safety mechanisms that meet federal standards, which require multipurpose lighters to have the same level of child resistance as that called for in the safety standard for cigarette lighters. The child resistant mechanism must operate safely, function for the expected life of the lighter, and be difficult to deactivate. The child resistant mechanism also must automatically reset after each use, the CPSC said in the recall.

Vindicator wire reports




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