DETROIT
Ford poised for biggest loss in corporate history

Ford Motor Co. could post the worst annual loss in its storied 103-year history when the automaker releases its 2006 earnings today.

The old record net loss was $7.39 billion in 1992, but through three quarters of this year, Ford already had lost $7 billion.

Burnham Securities analyst David Healy said in a note to investors that Ford has yet to recover from its finances being wrecked by collapsing sales of its F-series pickup trucks and truck-based sport utility vehicles.

The company has mortgaged its assets to borrow up to $23.4 billion to fund a massive restructuring plan and cover billions in losses expected until 2009. It expects to burn up $17 billion in cash during the next two years before returning to profitability.

About 38,000 hourly workers have signed up for buyout or early retirement offers from the company, and Ford plans to cut its white-collar work force by 14,000 with buyouts and early retirements.

MEXICO CITY
Disastrous bus plunge kills 29

A bus plunged into a ravine in the remote mountains of southern Mexico yesterday, killing at least 29 people, officials said.

The spokesman for the state attorney general’s office in Oaxaca, Jesus Perez, told The Associated Press by phone that the bus went off the road shortly after leaving Huautla, 600 kilometers (375 miles) southeast of Mexico City. It was headed to the capital.

More than two dozen survivors were injured, Perez said.

BAGHDAD
Four contractors executed after helicopter crash

Four of the five Americans killed when a U.S. security company’s helicopter crashed in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad were shot execution style in the back the head, Iraqi and U.S. officials said yesterday.

A senior Iraqi military official said a machine gunner downed the helicopter, but a U.S. military official in Washington said there were no indications that the aircraft, owned by Blackwater USA, had been shot out of the sky. Two Sunni insurgent groups, separately, claimed responsibility for the crash.

The helicopter was shot down after responding to assist a U.S. Embassy ground convoy that came under fire in a Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad, said a U.S. diplomatic official in Washington.

A second helicopter also was struck, but there were no casualties among its crew, said the diplomatic official, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to make statements.

JERUSALEM
Israeli PM calls for president to resign amid rape charges

Israeli President Moshe Katsav rebuffed growing calls for his resignation yesterday.

Katsav asked parliament to temporarily suspend him from office while he fought to clear his name. But momentum was building for lawmakers to open unprecedented impeachment proceedings against the president, and top officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, urged Katsav to stop clinging to office and allow the nation to heal.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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