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Making Chrysler independent again - a goal of the $9 billion lawsuit filed Monday against the automaker's German parent - was ruled out by senior officials at the latter's headquarters in Stuttgart. The German firm also picked up a key vote of support from its largest shareholder, Deutsche Bank, which recirculated statements by chief executive Rolf Breuer of "deep confidence" that Daimler-Benz was correct in merging with Chrysler in 1998 and would overcome problems with its US operations. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who owns 4 percent of DaimlerChrysler stock, alleges in his suit that he and other investors were deceived by being told that the $36 billion deal would be a "merger of equals." Instead, sweeping management changes have been imposed on Chrysler, and a broad restructuring plan is on the drawing boards. The Chrysler division reported a third-quarter loss of $512 million, and analysts say they expect even steeper losses next year.

Four hundred jobs will be cut by Covad Communications, the high-speed Internet access provider announced. The layoffs cover positions at all levels of the organization and at facilities in Denver, Atlanta, Manassas, Va., and at the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. Covad also is halting construction of an operations facility in Alpharetta, Ga. A spokesman said the moves are expected to result in a savings next year of up to 30 percent. Covad's shares, which were trading at $66.66 last March, closed at $2.72 Monday on the Nasdaq exchange.

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