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News In Brief

Effective Feb. 1, a cut in production of 1.5 million barrels a day was voted by the Organization of Oil Exporting Counties meeting in Vienna sources in the cartel said. OPEC's move is aimed at keeping the per-barrel price for future deliveries in the range of $25, although governments of major consuming nations have expressed worry that the cutback will both send prices higher and keep them from rebuilding low stocks of crude.

Among companies reporting new financial trouble:

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*NorthPoint Communications Inc. said it filed for federal bankruptcy protection and will sell most of its business following Verizon's decision to pull out of a deal to buy 55 percent of the company. It has sued Verizon and is seeking up to $1 billion in damages.

*Trying to avoid the problems that beset satellite-phone rival Iridium, Globalstar announced it was halting payments on $3 billion worth of debt to make sure it has enough cash to continue operations into next year.

*Chiquita Brands International Inc., the nation's biggest banana producer, indicated it has stopped paying $862 million in public debt, was planning to negotiations with bondholders, and could file for bankruptcy protection later this year.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society