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News Briefs

Poll Shows Americans Pessimistic About Economy


More Americans have grown pessimistic about the U.S. economy in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but most express confidence in their own finances and the nation’s long-term economic health, according to a Los Angeles Times Poll.

The poll found that 73 percent of Americans believe the nation is in a recession -- a 22-point jump from mid-September. And those who think the downturn will be deep and long nearly doubled over the past month, to 17 percent.

Even so, an overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed say their own finances are secure and that they expect to have at least the same amount of money to spend next year.

Public sentiment will have an enormous bearing on how quickly and strongly the economy recovers over the next year, given that consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity.

Likewise, 71 percent think the terrorist attacks will do no lasting damage to the nation’s economy. And three-quarters believe the stock market will do well over the next year.

Grand Jury Subpoenas Condit Papers in Missing Intern Case


Rep. Gary A. Condit, who has long denied any role in the disappearance of former government intern Chandra Levy, disclosed Thursday that a District of Columbia Superior Court grand jury has subpoenaed an undetermined number of documents in his possession.

The subpoena, coming after several months of apparent inactivity in the case, suggests that officials may be focusing anew on the truthfulness of statements made by Condit or his staff members, legal analysts said.

Neither Condit nor his attorney, Abbe D. Lowell, would describe what materials were subpoenaed, but Lowell termed the move “not necessary” and added that Condit would willingly “provide the information law enforcement seeks.”

Lowell said that the Ceres, Calif., congressman had been interviewed four times by District of Columbia police detectives and FBI agents, most recently in late July, and that he provided “documents such as phone records and his schedule” for the period before and after May 1, when Levy disappeared.

Yahoo Announces Plan To Turn Business Around


Yahoo Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Terry Semel unveiled his long-awaited strategy Thursday to turn around the struggling Internet bellwether, outlining a plan that will trim the company’s vaunted free services, reduce its work force by 9 percent and bolster its now-young sales force with a new group of hardened veterans.

Semel unveiled his strategy in a daylong meeting with analysts at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. It was a coming out party of sorts for the longtime Hollywood studio chief, who joined the venerable Silicon Valley company seven months ago with the mandate of turning an adolescent dot-com into a grown-up media company.

Semel emphasized that despite the current advertising slump, ad income will continue to be Yahoo’s most important source of revenue over the next three years, even as the company collects more fees for online services and from e-commerce transactions.

“This is a company that does -- and always will -- believe in advertising revenue,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with ad revenue. It’s supported many traditional media companies over the decades.”