Originally created 05/28/03

Business briefs



Sprint converts calls to 'packet' routing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Sprint Corp. announced Tuesday that it has begun transforming its telephone network so voice calls are transmitted in "packets" - the same way data move over the Internet. The move is designed to lead to a wide range of improved services for consumers, such as online voice-mail management.

While an increasing percentage of calls these days skip traditional phone circuits and are routed as data packets, Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint said it was the first major telecommunications company in the country to begin converting its entire network to the newer system.

WTO rules against U.S. tariff on lumber

WASHINGTON - The World Trade Organization has ruled that the United States erred in approving stiff tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber used to build homes, Canada's trade minister said Tuesday.

International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said the interim ruling by a panel of the world trade body supports Canada's claim that its logging practices - which include charging fees for use of government-owned forests - are not subsidies. The WTO panel is expected to issue a final report on the U.S. subsidy determination in July.

SEC adopts rules to combat fraud

WASHINGTON - Rules adopted Tuesday by federal securities regulators will force executives to certify that their companies have adequate controls to prevent and detect accounting violations and fraud.

The five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to adopt the requirements, ordered by Congress last summer in response to the accounting scandals that rattled public confidence in the stock market and the integrity of corporate America. The rules will take effect in June 2004.

Nissan inaugurates Mississippi plant

CANTON, Miss. - Less than three years after Nissan announced it was coming to Mississippi, a gold Quest minivan rolled off the assembly line Tuesday to officially open the first phase of a $1.4 billion plant.

The Quest burst through a paper barrier - the first tangible product of more than two years of construction on the 3.5 million-square-foot plant. Nissan's other U.S. plant was opened in 1983 in Smyrna, Tenn.