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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Sprint Corp., which operates the nation's third biggest long-distance telephone service, plans to cut about 1,200 jobs, or 1.5 percent of its work force, in its latest effort to cut costs.

The company said Friday the job cuts will come from the Overland Park, Kan.-based company's global markets group, which includes the struggling long-distance business.

Like others in the industry, Sprint has struggled to cut costs to boost earnings and compete more effectively with the bigger long-distance operators AT&T and MCI.

A news release from Sprint did not indicate where jobs would be cut but said they would occur over the next several weeks. It said it was cutting about 1,200 positions in a move ``impacting'' 1,100 employees. It employs 80,000 people.

``We are making significant steps that will enhance our focus on meeting financial commitments and position us to meet marketplace demands for 2003 and beyond,'' Len Lauer, president of Sprint's global markets group, said in the release.

Since eliminating 7,500 jobs last October and 3,000 more in February, Sprint has trickled out layoffs a few dozen to a few hundred at a time. But employees have said the constant layoffs are hurting morale.

The global markets group reported a $75 million operating loss in the first quarter. Its expects to report second-quarter earnings on Thursday,