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Bank Of America To Cut 12,500 Jobs in Merger


Bank of America Corp. plans to cut 12,500 jobs as it takes over the operations of Boston's biggest bank, executives said publicly for the first time Monday.

As soon as next week, the bank plans to tell FleetBoston Financial Corp. employees whether they will lose their jobs. But the Charlotte, N.C., bank would not say Monday how many of those layoffs would hit New England.

Though Bank of America has pledged to keep employment levels in New England flat in the long term, it plans to shift its workers around and may move hundreds of its other employees to Boston.

“In the short term, you'll see employment levels drop, but over time they will grow” in New England, said Eloise Hale, a Bank of America spokeswoman.

She declined, however, to say how long “over time” would be.

But the elimination of 12,500 jobs -- about 7 percent of the banks' 180,000 workforce -- is only one cost-cutting measure. In the past several years, chief executive Kenneth D. Lewis has aggressively cut expenses as he worked to boost Bank of America's stock price. The bank may apply some of the same strategies to Fleet as it looks to keep its promise of saving $1.1 billion in the merger.

As it looks to integrate Fleet, Bank of America declined to provide specific information on job cuts, but Lewis has already said that some of Fleet’s middle managers may be eliminated.

In Math, Computers Don’t Lie. Or Do They?


A leading mathematics journal has finally accepted that one of the longest-standing problems in the field -- the most efficient way to pack oranges -- has been conclusively solved.

That is, if you believe a computer.

The answer is what experts -- and grocers -- have long suspected: stacked as a pyramid. That allows each layer of oranges to sit lower, in the hollows of the layer below, and take up less space than if the oranges sat directly on top of each other.

While that appeared to be the correct answer, no one offered a convincing mathematical proof until 1998 -- and even then people were not entirely convinced.

For six years, mathematicians have pored over hundreds of pages of a proof by Dr. Thomas C. Hales, a professor of mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh.

But Hales’ proof of the problem, known as the Kepler Conjecture, hinges on a complex series of computer calculations, too many and too tedious for mathematicians reviewing his paper to check by hand.