By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times,
AMERICAN FLAGS SELLING FAST: Kroger Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. say they are selling out of American flags in what retailers and manufacturers say is the biggest buying spree in the past decade. Atlas Flags Inc. of Atlanta has sold 400,000 U.S. flags in the past two days, or its typical sales for two months, co-owner Bob Rosenthal said. Home Depot, the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, has placed orders for flags and expects to restock its 1,132 U.S. stores in the next day or two, a spokeswoman said. At Kroger Co., a company spokesman said the supermarket chain has sold all its American flags throughout the country.
COMPANIES LEND A HAND: General Electric Co., Cisco Systems Inc., Novartis Corp. and Microsoft Corp. pledged to millions of dollars of cash or products to aid victims of Tuesday's terrorist attack. General Electric, the biggest company by market value, pledged $10-million for a fund for the families of New York City firefighters and police officers missing and presumed dead. Computer network-equipmentmaker Cisco is giving $6-million to aid agencies in New York and Washington, a spokesman said. Drugmaker Novartis said it donated $3-million to the American Red Cross and is donating supplies of Apligraf, a skin replacement used to treat burn victims. Microsoft said it's donating $5-million in cash and $5-million in technical support to rescue and relief efforts.
FED ASSISTS BANKS: The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that $50-billion will be made available to European banks with subsidiaries in the United States to help them meet emergency withdrawal needs. Dollars will be exchanged for euros, the new currency for 12 European countries. Separately, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill expressed satisfaction with how the banking system has operated after Tuesday's attacks.
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