The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 65.0°F | Overcast

News briefs, part 1

Aerospace Giant Boeing Plans To Eliminate 28,000 Jobs by 1994

Los Angeles Times

Boeing Co., the aristocrat of world airplane builders, succumbed Thursday to a virulent downturn in the aerospace business by announcing that it will eliminate 28,000 jobs by mid-1994.

Hardest hit will be the Puget Sound area, a charmed region that has until now escaped the brutal cutbacks affecting Southern California, Texas and East Coast aerospace centers. About 15,000 jobs will be lost in Washington state this year and 4,000 more next year.

Although Boeing officials say they are confident that the reductions announced Thursday represent the bottom of the current downturn in the commercial aircraft business, other experts are more pessimistic.

Major airlines are in dire financial condition, having collectively lost about $10 billion in the last three years as sluggish air travel and tough fare wars have cut profits. Orders for new jetliners may not bounce back until 1995 or even 1996. In the meantime, additional cancellations could continue to undermine even Boeing's reduced production schedules.

"There is consistent optimism about the way the industry sees these things," said Don Scales, director of aerospace and defense at the consulting firm Arthur D. Little. "I think the bottom is a little ways further out, probably another year. And then there would be lagged effect on employment."

The layoffs amount to about 20 percent of Boeing's current work force of 143,000. Of the jobs cuts over the next 18 months, 7,000 will occur in Wichita, Kan., and 2,000 in other areas of the nation. Southern California companies -- Boeing's largest source of parts in the United States -- will also feel a ripple effect. Northrop Corp., which builds Boeing 747 fuselages, will lay off 200 workers, for example.

With its cutbacks, Boeing joins McDonnell Douglas Corp. and most other aerospace companies in taking drastic steps to adjust to declining business. Massive worker reductions at such corporate giants as International Business Machines and General Motors may strike yet another blow to the nation's fragile economic recovery.

In the first wave of cuts, Boeing sent layoff notices to 3,500 workers Thursday. The full force of layoffs will hit this summer. The company is hoping that 6,000 of the 23,000 job cuts planned this year can be accomplished by voluntary departures, with the other 17,000 coming from layoffs. As the Seattle economy deteriorates, however, voluntary departures from the company may slow down, Boeing Chairman Frank Shrontz said.

Senate Rebuffs Clinton On AIDS-Infected Immigrants

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON

In a politically embarrassing rebuff to President Clinton, the Senate Thursday approved an amendment to maintain the controversial ban on AIDS-infected immigrants, thus preventing Clinton from carrying out his oft-stated intention to remove it.

The prohibition, which has been in effect since 1987, has been the focus of an intense international debate and has been almost universally condemned by the global public health community as medically unjustified and discriminatory. The rule resulted in a decision by Harvard University to move last summer's prestigious international AIDS conference out of Boston, where it was originally scheduled, to the Netherlands, where no such prohibition exists.

The amendment, attached by Republicans to the National Institutes of Health reauthorization bill, was approved 76-23 with the support of 34 Democrats. A similar amendment is expected to be considered in the House.

The full reauthorization bill was later approved by the Senate 93-4. The House must also vote on the reauthorization bill and it was unclear Thursday whether Clinton would sign it if the AIDS amendment is in the final version.

Weather

A Cold Setup

By Marek Zebrowski
staff meteorologist

A rapidly developing low pressure system well off the Cape will graze the eastern shores of Nova Scotia by late Friday, pulling very cold air into our region for the end of this week and the first part of the weekend. With a chilly airmass in place, watch the western horizon at sunset Saturday for telltale signs of the next weather event that might affect us late Sunday and into Monday as an airmass boundry will be established along an axis stretching due east from Central Plains to the mid-Atlantic coast. Light snow will initially break out when the warmer air south of the front overruns the cold dome of air entrenched over the northeast. Additionally, there are some signs of a wave developing on the mid-Atlantic coast and may spell yet another wintry storm for our region early next week.

Friday afternoon: Partly to mostly sunny and cold. Flurries may persist in some coastal locations and on the Cape as the ocean storm pulls away northward. High 26F (-3C). Northerly winds 10-15 mph (16-24 kmh) may be stronger in gusts along the coast.

Friday night: Clearing and cold. Low of 14F (-10C) in the city and in single digits (-13 to -17C) well to the north and west. Northerly winds will diminish.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and cold, high around 30F (-1C). Light to moderate westerly winds may become onshore late in the day.

Saturday night: Increasing cloudiness, not so cold with lows in mid 20s (-2 to -5C)

Sunday outlook: Partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of light snow developing, highs in low 30s ( OC).