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Tentative deal helps avert strike at Ford

By Times Wires
Published November 4, 2007


DETROIT

Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers completed a tentative deal on a contract early Saturday, averting a strike and capping a watershed period of labor negotiations. Ford, in a statement, said the agreement included a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent health care trust for retirees. Analysts have estimated that Ford owed as much as $31-billion in future retiree health care costs. Ford was the last Detroit automaker to hammer out a deal with the union. Neither Ford nor the union was providing other details of the agreement, which still must pass a ratification vote by a majority of the UAW's 54,000 employees at Ford.

WASHINGTON

Curbs on Canadian meat tightened

U.S. regulators have tightened restrictions on meat and poultry products from Canada because of concerns about testing practices at Rancher's Beef Ltd. of Balzac, Alberta. The company is suspected to be the source of bacteria-contaminated meat that sickened 40 people in eight states. Starting next week, the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service will increase testing of Canadian meat for salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7. Rancher's Beef was linked in October to a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections involving the Topps Meat Co. A massive recall, the second largest beef recall in U.S. history, forced Topps out of business. Rancher's Beef has also ceased operations.

MINNEAPOLIS

Fears prompt huge ground beef recall

Cargill Inc. said Saturday it is recalling more than 1-million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the second time in less than a month it has voluntarily recalled beef that may have been tainted. No illnesses have been reported, said John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef. Retailers to whom the beef was distributed include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis in 10 states: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

CHARLESTON, W.Va.

Hundreds protest assault on woman

Hundreds of people gathered at West Virginia's Capitol on Saturday to urge prosecutors to add hate crime charges against six white people charged in the beating, torture and sexual assault of a 20-year-old black woman. Authorities say the accused, three men and three women, held Megan Williams captive for days at a rural trailer, sexually assaulting her, beating her, and forcing her to eat human and animal feces. "Hate crimes are out of control in America," Malik Shabazz, a legal adviser to Williams and her family and a founder of Black Lawyers for Justice, told the group.

Elsewhere

Chagrin Falls, Ohio: Hundreds of people crowded into a church Saturday to remember University of South Carolina student Allison Walden, 19, who was among seven students killed in a North Carolina beach house fire on Oct. 28.

New York: Mathematician and former professor Frank DeSena, 55, of Wayne, N.J., was shot and killed when masked men with guns broke into an illegal, floating poker game on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan late Friday night, the police said.