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US consumer prices rose a slim 0.2 percent in October, as gasoline and other energy prices fell, the Labor Department reported. The small consumer-price-index advance followed a modest 0.4 percent rise in September - and was the best showing in four months.

Comcast, the third-largest US cable-TV operator, agreed to buy Philadelphia-area rival Lenfest Communications for about $5.3 billion in stock from the Lenfest family and majority stockholder AT&T, the companies said. The addition of Lenfest's almost 1.3 million subscribers would boost Comcast's base to 7.2 million.

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The world's No. 2 telecommunications company, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. of Japan, announced it will cut its workforce by 21,000 over the next three years. NTT, second in size only to AT&T, also will freeze hiring for two years and reduce capital spending by $8.6 billion. The onetime monopoly was split into four parts in July by government order. It joins other giant Japanese employers Sony, NEC Corp., Mitsubishi Electronics, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, and Sumitomo Bank in announcing major job cutbacks this year.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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