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It’s Summer, and Meatpackers Wage War Against Killer E. Coli

Summer is here, and so is E. coli. At this time of the year as many as one of every four cattle being herded into Excel Corp.’s slaughterhouse and others like it may harbor the deadly human pathogen.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Before this plant’s meat reaches consumers, the cattle and their carcasses will be put through a state-of-the-art system of scrubbing, washes, rinses and steam pasteurization designed to remove or destroy the bacteria.

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EU Says Microsoft Agrees to Limit Investment in Britain

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to limit its investment in British cable television provider Telewest Communications PLC after the European Commission objected to its original plan to take a controlling stake.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The huge software maker will buy a 23.7 percent stake in Telewest for about $3 billion but no longer plans to take control in partnership with AT&T Corp.

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Jobs Up — and Banks Too&ne;

The drop in the nation’s unemployment rate for June provides further evidence of a slowing economy and might help banks with higher loan demand if the Federal Reserve abstains from imposing further increases in interest rates, economists say.<@SM><@SM><TAB>The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday that unemployment fell to 4 percent, down from 4.1 percent in May, but slightly higher than April’s 30-year low of 3.9 percent. Total employment increased by only 11,000, as about 190,000 temporary workers hired to work on the federal decennial census finished their jobs.

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The Pitch: That Wiggly Jiggly Jello-O, Once Silly, Is Now Serious Stuff

Watch it wiggle. Watch it jiggle. Now go to your room without dessert.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Once hawked as a colorful, shimmering treat for kids, Jell-O is becoming into something slightly more utilitarian.<@SM><@SM>A series of austere, black-and-white magazine ads tout the famous gelatin snack as a weight-loss method, a quick-fix baking good, a fat-free sweet substitute — anything but frivolous and zany.<@SM><@SM>Philip Morris Cos.’ Kraft unit, which makes Jell-O, says the food is still amusing. It’s “fun, delicious and a little surprising,’’ says Kraft’s Margery Schelling, the category business director for Jell-O . “For the first time’’ she adds, people are “thinking about Jell-O in a whole new light.’’<@SM><@SM>The print ads — which run in women- and food-oriented magazines — crow less about Jell-O’s fun, and more about its functionality. After all, Americans have consumed Jell-O since the late 1890s, and the name now encompasses 158 different products, ranging from puddings to cakes to c

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Gore, Bush Visits to Conferences This Week Put Spotlight on Baltimore

Two national conferences this week will draw the top two presidential candidates and other national leaders to Baltimore, spotlighting a city long in the shadow of neighboring Washington, D.C.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush will speak at the 91st annual National Convention of the NAACP, which began yesterday and runs through Thursday.

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