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News Update

'Chainsaw' Cuts Firm in Half

Albert (Chainsaw) Dunlap remained true to his nickname.

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Mr. Dunlap on Tuesday slashed the payroll of Ft. Lauderdale-based Sunbeam Corporation by 50 percent and said 18 of the company's 26 factories will close. He told securities analysts, "There is a new Sunbeam shining."

Business analysts believe it is one of the most dramatic staff reductions in business history. Communities where Sunbeam factories are located have been waiting with trepidation for the ax to fall since Dunlap became chairman of the firm in July. (See Monitor story, Nov. 8.)

The plant closures leave only four Sunbeam factories in the US: Neosho, Mo., Waynesboro, Ga., McMinnville, Tenn., and Hattiesburg, Miss. Dunlap says the rest will be sold or closed.

Even factories that are to remain open will see temporary layoffs as the company shifts its production. "We're excited to have survived," says Joanne Marsh of the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg. But "we won't be completely unscathed."

- Ron Scherer, New York

Date-Rape Case Inconclusive

A mistrial in a high-profile Connecticut rape case is disappointing not only to the woman who waited a decade to confront her accused in court, but also to groups that have worked to establish date rape as a crime.

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Former high school wrestling star Alex Kelly was on trial for a rape that allegedly occurred 10 years ago when he drove a teenage girl home from a party. Four days later, he was arrested for a second rape. Mr. Kelly fled the country in 1987, after his lawyer advised that he would not get a fair trial. (See Monitor story, Oct. 18.)

Back home and in court last month, Kelly and his lawyer claimed that the girl consented to sex with Kelly and that she was intoxicated at the time. The jury deadlocked this week, 4 to 2.

Rape and substance-abuse counselors say the defense relied on stereotypes about date rape. "There are rules ... that have been developed that basically say that if a woman's intoxicated she can't give knowing consent to sex," says William DeJong at the Harvard School of Public Health. The prosecution expects to retry Kelly.

- Christina Nifong, Boston

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