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PLEDGES OF SUPPORT GIVE BOOST TO SOUTH KOREA

New pledges of support from foreign lenders helped ease South Korea's financial crisis today, although its currency declined due to year-end dollar demand.

Analysts said the year-end fall of the Korean won had been anticipated and predicted the currency will regain strength in 1998. They also cautiously welcomed promises of support from world financial circles.

After meeting in New York on Monday, representatives of about a dozen international financial institutions from the United States, Japan and Europe expressed support for efforts to relieve South Korea's short-term liquidity problems.

In a statement, they said they "share the view that the Korean economy is strong" and would look for ways to help the nation through its credit crunch.

Several U.S. investment companies also said they "are ready to participate in the program of support for Korea."

Justice hits Microsoft again

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department pressed its bid for a contempt citation against Microsoft on Monday, saying the software giant "is in clear violation" of a court order in a lawsuit involving Windows computer software.

Government lawyers accused Microsoft of "jerry-rigging its own products" to get around an order that it quit requiring computer makers to distribute the Internet Explorer browser program as a condition of installing the popular Windows 95 operation system software.

"Microsoft is in clear violation of both the injunction's letter and spirit," Justice Department lawyers said in court papers.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has scheduled a Jan. 13 hearing for arguments in the case.

New Nike slogan: 'I Can'

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- "Just Do It" isn't doing it any more for Nike, which is getting a new slogan on New Year's Day. The new phrase is: "I Can."

The company will continue to use the "Just Do it" slogan, but not as often, spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said today.

The change is a gamble for Nike Inc., whose advertising consistently ranks among the most popular and effective in the nation.

Sales momentum has waned. Fashion trends have moved away from athletic shoes to a more traditional casual look.

U.S. files suit to halt Alcoa deal

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saying the sale would hurt consumers, the Justice Department on Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Aluminum Company of America from buying the Reynolds Metals Co.'s aluminum mill and other property in Alabama.

Government lawyers said the $250 million purchase would raise prices for aluminum used to make cans for soft drinks and other beverages. The plan calls for the Reynolds aluminum rolling mill in Muscle Shoals to be shut down, they said.

Joel Klein, assistant attorney general for antitrust, said the mill's sale would make it easier for the few remaining producers to increase the price of can materials.

Viacom may sell Simon & Schuster

NEW YORK (AP) -- Viacom Inc., a media and entertainment conglomerate, reportedly is considering selling all or part of its Simon & Schuster book publishing unit.

The Wall Street Journal said Viacom might sell or spin off Simon & Schuster, which analysts value at about $4 billion. A Viacom spokeswoman said she would not comment on speculation.

A deal is not imminent, the paper said.

Yields decline on Treasury bills

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities fell in Monday's auction to the lowest level in two weeks.

The Treasury Department sold $7.26 billion in three-month bills at an average discount rate of 5.285 percent, down from 5.295 percent last week.

An additional $7.25 billion was sold in six-month bills, also at an average rate of 5.285 percent, down from 5.315 percent.

The Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, the most popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, rose to 5.55 percent last week from 5.49 percent the previous week.

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