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Bridgestone Corp. defended its decision to end almost a century of doing business with Ford, saying it was left with "no option" in the matter and would refuse any request by the automaker to recall up to 13 million additional tires. The cutoff is expected to lower annual sales by only "about 2 percent," a senior executive said. A letter from Firestone, the Tokyo-based company's US division, accused Ford of being unwilling to acknowledge "significant safety issues" unrelated to tires that contributed to at least 174 deaths in crashes involving the popular Explorer sport utility vehicle. The Bridgestone/Firestone decision affects only the Western Hemisphere. The tiremaker plans to continue as a supplier to Ford in Europe and Asia.

Teligent Inc. filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code while it reorganizes, becoming the latest casualty of the telecommunications-industry slowdown. Teligent, based in Vienna, Va., lost more than $1 billion in building an advanced wireless network and was unable to obtain $350 million in needed financing to stay afloat. The three-year-old company provides phone and high-speed Internet service to businesses in 43 cities through a network of rooftop satellite dishes and fiber-optic cables.

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Due to a decision to outsource the pickup and transporting of mail, Germany's Deutsche Post will eliminate 7,500 jobs, the service announced. The move, to be completed by 2004, was worked out in cooperation with employee unions and is expected to save $88 million a year.


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