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Briefs (left)

Retrenching Ford Will Offer
Buyouts to 75,000 Hourly Workers

By Micheline Maynard
and Nick Bunkley
THE NEW YORK TIMES DEARBORN, MICH.

In the latest sign that Detroit has decided it needs to shrink to survive, the Ford Motor Co. agreed Thursday to offer buyouts and other incentives worth as much as $140,000 each to its 75,000 hourly workers in the United States to persuade them to leave their jobs.

The deal with the United Automobile Workers comes after a similar offer at General Motors earlier this year that was accepted by nearly a third of its union workers.

Together, the agreements mean that nearly 200,000 hourly employees in the United States — or three-quarters of those working on the assembly lines of Detroit’s three car companies — have been offered deals to give up their jobs this year. By contrast, nearly 1 million workers were employed by Detroit automakers at their peak in 1978.

The buyout offer has strengthened the expectation that Ford will announce more plant closings Friday, when it said it would disclose details of the next phase of its sweeping plan to overhaul the company, called the Way Forward.

Nuclear Agency For U.N. Faults
Report on Iran by U.S. House

By David E. Sanger
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

The International Atomic Energy Agency has complained about a staff report from the House Intelligence Committee, saying that it “contains erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated information” about Iran’s nuclear program. Agency officials said Thursday that their concerns had echoes of their arguments with the Bush administration over Iraq three years ago.

The charges were contained in a letter dated Sept. 12 and sent to Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich, who chairs the committee.

Its unclassified staff report, released in mid-August, was widely seen as an effort to prod American intelligence agencies to be more aggressive in their examination of Iran’s nuclear program, amid charges from some conservatives that the mistakes made in assessing Iraq’s programs four years ago had bred an overly cautious atmosphere.

But the staff report immediately came under criticism, especially from Democrats on the committee, who said it had overstated aspects of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. The committee’s vice chairman, Rep. Jane Harman, R-Calif., accused the staff of taking shortcuts that inflated the Iranian threat.

Russian Bank Reformer
Dies After Shooting

By C.J. Chivers
and Andrew E. Kramer
THE NEW YORK TIMES MOSCOW

A top Russian bank regulator who had been engaged in an effort to reform Russia’s corrupt and risk-laden banking system died early Thursday after being shot on the street the night before.

Andrei Kozlov, 41, the first deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, had been leading a drive to combat money laundering and to bring stability to Russia’s rapidly expanding banking sector. Among many programs in his portfolio, he had been closing disreputable banks by withdrawing their licenses, a practice his colleagues said had made him enemies in criminal circles.

The authorities and Kozlov’s colleagues described the shooting as a contract killing, making the crime an immediate reminder of the lingering dangers in the coarse and unruly worlds of Russian business and government.