Originally created 10/17/00

Business briefs



Access to Internet grows dramatically

WASHINGTON - Americans' access to computers and the Internet has grown dramatically in the past 20 months, with computers now in more than half of all households, a new government report said Monday.

The share of households with computers rose from 42.1 percent in December 1998 to 51 percent in August of this year - to 53.7 million households, the Commerce Department found in its latest survey. The number of households with Internet access also soared, hitting 41.5 percent in August, up from just 26.2 percent in the previous 1999 survey.

Tax evasion puts chiropractor in jail

A Bamberg County chiropractor convicted of tax evasion was sentenced to three years in prison for failure to file a state income tax return from 1994-96.

Mark Moyers, 39, owner and operator of Moyers Chiropractic Clinic in Denmark, S.C., was sentenced by Judge William P. Keesley on Oct. 6. Mr. Moyers had maintained "natural law" dictated chiropractors were exempt from taxation. One of Mr. Moyers' three tax evasion counts stemmed from his work as an independent contractor in 1994.

Memo: Ford used wrong tires for gulf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ford Motor Co. has blamed Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. for equipping its vehicles with unsound tires, but the automaker shipped thousands of Explorers and Mountaineers to the Persian Gulf with tires that were not intended for that market - without the tiremaker's approval, according to internal Ford documents.

At least seven people in the Persian Gulf region died in rollover accidents involving the sport utility vehicles with Firestone's 16-inch Wilderness AT tires, made for use on North American roads, before Ford quietly began replacing them last year with Goodyear tires.

Bridgestone/Firestone refused to help pay the $4.3 million cost, claiming the tire was made properly, but not made for the hot climate, fast drivers and heavy off-road use in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperative Council countries. Ford conceded this was the case, according to one of the memos provided to congressional investigators by the auto company.

Continental's earnings take off

HOUSTON - Third-quarter earnings at Continental Airlines rose nearly 30 percent, beating analysts' expectations, propelled by strong gains in passenger revenue.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the nation's fifth-largest airline earned $135 million, or $2.21 a share, up from $104 million, or $1.44 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Passenger revenues, driven by a quarterly record load factor of 77.5 percent, were $2.62 billion, up 16 percent from $2.26 billion a year ago. The Houston-based airline said a 77 percent on-time performance also drew customers.

Defamatory messengers will be ID'd

MIAMI - In a ruling that challenges online anonymity, a Florida appeals court declared Monday that Internet service providers must divulge the identities of people who post defamatory messages on the Internet.

Critics of the ruling say it could have a chilling effect on free expression in Internet chat rooms.

The ruling comes against the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union to protect the identity of eight individuals who posted anonymous missives on a Yahoo! financial chat room about Erik Hvide, the former chief executive officer of Hvide Marine Inc.

Inventories grow by 0.7 percent

WASHINGTON - U.S. companies boosted inventories in August by a brisk 0.7 percent, the best showing in two months, with retailers leading the way.

Stockpiles of goods on shelves and back lots nationwide rose to a seasonally adjusted $1.21 trillion, the Commerce Department said Monday. August's increase was the largest since June, when inventories rose 0.8 percent and marked a stronger performance than the 0.4 percent increase many analysts were anticipating.