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Striking Comair pilots are to begin voting on a proposed contract settlement this week, but its outcome is in doubt, industry analysts said. The carrier has said it will accept terms recommended by the National Mediation Board. But representatives of the Air Line Pilots Association said they do not, although they want pilots to decide. Details of the proposed settlement were not released. However, pilots have been seeking higher overall pay, pay for hours they are on duty but not in the air, and company-paid retirement. Since the strike began March 26, Comair, based at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, has laid off 2,000 of its 4,000 nonstriking employees and has sold several planes.

Archstone Communities Trust said it has agreed to acquire rival Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Inc. for $2.2 billion in stock, plus $1.4 billion in debt-assumption. The deal, announced Friday, would make Archstone the US's No. 2 apartment real-estate investment trust and ramp up its presence in urban markets. Smith, based in Arlington, Va., focuses on high-rise apartments. Archstone is an Englewood, Colo., owner/operator of garden-style apartments in major-city suburbs. Most of Archstone-Smith's investments would be in such areas as south Florida, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.

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