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Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the troubled chipmaker of South Korea, won approval of a $4 billion debt-relief plan from its creditors, mainly state-owned banks. The bailout includes a $1.6 billion debt-for-equity swap and is the latest in a series for Hynix. Analysts said it is likely to renew complaints from rivals in the US and elsewhere of unfair subsidies from the Seoul government.

JP Morgan Chase filed two lawsuits against Enron to recover $184 million in loans for power projects, the Financial Times reported. The suits filed last week in New York allege that cash from the loans, which were made to an Enron subsidiary, was linked directly to the building of five power plants and therefore should not be included among assets to be divided up as part of Enron's bankruptcy. The paper notes that the lawsuit opens a new front in the legal battles that JP Morgan Chase is fighting as a result of Enron's collapse.

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AT&T's long-distance customers will begin seeing higher rates and fees from Jan. 1, The Wall Street Journal reported. The telecom giant is phasing in a $1 hike to the $3.95 monthly fee for its 7-cents-a-minute calling plan, starting with new customers, and raising charges for calling-card calls, collect calls, and other operator-assisted services. The increases follow similar moves by AT&T's main rival, MCI Group, a subsidiary of bankrupt WorldCom.

It's been another record-shattering year at the box office. The New York Times reported that more than $9 billion worth of tickets were sold in North America in 2002, up about 10 percent from the record set in 2001. While higher prices account for a large portion of that increase, attendance was up at least 5 percent. This year an estimated 1.5 billion tickets were sold, the highest since 1959, the Times said.


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