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AP Executive Morning Briefing

May 5, 2003

A service of The Associated Press. Copyright 2003 All rights reserved.

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Monday, May 5, 2003:

War’s Quick End Produces No Economic Boom

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The hope had been that a fast and successful war in Iraq would set off an economic boom that would quickly translate into falling unemployment for American households and fatter order books for U.S. businesses. But so far, the boom has been a bust. U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad in the second week of April, but the military victory did not stem a wave of new job layoffs in the United States.

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Buffett Opposes Eliminating Dividend Tax

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Sunday that President Bush’s proposed tax cut on corporate dividends would be unfair and fail to deliver a boost to the economy. Bush wants to eliminate the tax on corporate dividends as a key to his 10-year, $726 billion tax cut plan. But the plan received a cool reception from Buffett at the annual shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway.

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Survey: Tech Job Market Remains Bleak

Technology job hunters will find slim pickings for at least another year, according to a new survey released Monday. Demand for information technology positions ranging from software programmers to network engineers will hold steady or decline in the next 12 months, according to a telephone poll of 400 hiring managers by the Arlington, Va.-based Information Technology Association of America.

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Three Named to Lead Iraq Oil Ministry

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq’s American administrators have appointed two Iraqi oil officials and a retired American oil executive to head Iraq’s Oil Ministry, a spokesman for the team helping to rebuild Iraq said Sunday. Thamer Abbas al-Ghadban, who was general director of the ministry’s studies, planning and follow-up departments, will be the ministry’s chief executive officer, according to John Kincannon, a spokesman for the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

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Buffett Says Some Major CEOs Are Overpaid

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Chief executives of some major companies are overpaid, according to Warren Buffett, the investment wizard who turned Berkshire Hathaway into a multibillion-dollar holding company. And at a time of criminal investigations of corporations such as Enron, Buffett cautioned stockholders Saturday to give careful attention to company financial reports.

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Grocers Go After Growing Hispanic Market

CHICAGO (AP) _ Aware that Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the United States, grocers nationwide are looking at ways to increase sales by adding more ethnic foods to store shelves, while food processors are expanding their product lines. Although generally ignored as a consumer group in the past, Hispanics number more than 36 million, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and that is prompting changes.

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Study: Women Still ‘Pink Collar’ Workers

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Women are more educated and employed at higher levels than ever before but remain largely confined to traditional ``pink-collar″ jobs, a study by the American Association of University Women finds. The highest proportions of college-educated working women are in teaching and nursing. For college-educated men, neither occupation appears on their list of the 10 most common.

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SEC Wants Assets Frozen in Scrushy Case

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Anticipating a federal judge’s ruling this week on former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy’s assets, the Securities and Exchange Commission is already pushing for a court order keeping the assets out of Scrushy’s hands during an appeal. Scrushy’s attorneys are expected to appeal any decision by U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson that goes against their client, hoping to release his assets partly to pay for his defense.

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Groups Want 3 Strikes Law for Businesses

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Borrowing from a popular punishment for multiple street crimes, California consumer activists are trying to create a three-strikes-and-you’re-out law for corporations. ``If this is good enough for individual felons in California, it’s certainly appropriate for the Enrons of the world,″ says Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

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SARS Fears Strike Calif. Tourist Industry

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It’s already been a challenging year for the tourism industry: The war with Iraq and concerns about terrorism have kept many people at home. Now the industry is dealing with a new threat _ the fear of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

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Gold Prices

LONDON (AP) _ London’s gold markets were closed Monday for a legal holiday.

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Japan Markets

Japan markets are closed Monday, a national holiday.