U.S. offers aid to RussiaThe United States yesterday...

BUSINESS DIGEST

September 15, 1992

U.S. offers aid to Russia

The United States yesterday offered Russia $1.15 billion in loan guarantees and other assistance to buy food and held out hope it would offer more despite concern that Russia will have difficulty repaying the loans. The Agriculture Department announced the package consisting of $900 million in U.S.-backed loan guarantees and $250 million in food aid and other kinds of assistance.

About $100 million of credit guarantees will be made available this month to buy grains and livestock feed, $500 million for October-December use and $300 million for January-February.

GM hit by strike in Ontario

General Motors Corp., still recovering from an Ohio parts plant strike that idled workers across North America, suffered another blow yesterday when workers at its joint venture plant with Suzuki Motor Corp. went on strike.

About 2,100 workers at the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, walked out, complaining that their wages and working conditions trail those of other Canadian employees of the Big Three North American automakers.

Insurers sue hospital chain

Aetna and Metropolitan life insurance companies yesterday sued National Medical Enterprises Inc., alleging the psychiatric hospital chain illicitly recruited patients and billed for services that weren't performed.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas against Santa Monica, Calif.-based NME, one of the nation's largest health-care service companies. NME officials released a statement saying the lawsuit "is symptomatic of the larger national debate over the cost of health care."

Canadian defends trade pact

Canada's minister of international trade, Michael Wilson, facing strong criticism from political opponents, yesterday defended the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement, saying the lower barriers to trade with the United States and Mexico will help Canada's economy.

The Canadian Parliament will debate the NAFTA accord later this year or early next year, Mr. Wilson said. Canada's economy went into recession in 1990, and a wide variety of government critics say the high unemployment rate can be linked to an earlier free trade agreement between Canada and the United States.

$27.8 million fine for Salomon

The Justice Department said yesterday that Salomon Bros. Inc. will pay a record fine of $27.8 million to settle charges it violated antitrust laws by coordinating the auction of Treasury notes.

The settlement, approved yesterday by Judge Robert P. Patterson of U.S. District Court in Manhattan, resolves a civil antitrust suit brought by the department against Salomon in May.

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