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Japan and the European Union were singled out by the Clinton administration today for the largest amount of criticism among trading partners accused of erecting unfair barriers to U.S. exports.

The 1998 "National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers" covered the alleged improper activities of 49 countries and three trading groups.

The nations ranged from Argentina to Zimbabwe in the report, which puts countries on notice that they could be subject to potential U.S. economic sanctions if they do not mend their ways.

In reality, the number of nations actually selected for intensive negotiations aimed at removing the offending barriers is much smaller than the initial list, which the administration is required by law to release before April 1 each year.

"There is much work that must be accomplished to ensure that rules for fair and open trade are applied around the world," U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said in the 13th annual "Foreign Trade Barriers" report.

Yields increase on Treasury bills
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities rose in Monday's auction to the highest level in four weeks.

The Treasury Department sold $6.26 billion in three-month bills at an average discount rate of 5.050 percent, up from 5.030 percent last week.

An additional $7.27 billion was sold in six-month bills at an average rate of 5.075 percent, up from 4.990 percent.

The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors -- 5.188 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,872.30, and 5.282 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,743.40.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, the most popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, rose to 5.39 percent last week from 5.36 percent the previous week.

Reader's Digest to get new look
PLEASANTVILLE (AP) -- Next month, for the first time in 75 years, you'll have to open up Reader's Digest to find out what's inside.

Beginning with the May issue, the world's largest-circulation magazine will move its table of contents off the front cover to modernize its look and make it easier for readers to navigate, editor in chief Christopher Willcox announced Monday.

Reader's Digest was first published in 1922, with line drawings on the covers, and in September 1923 began listing the contents on the front. For a couple of years in the 1960s, Willcox said, the table of contents was shifted to the back cover.

Record soybean, corn crops planned
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Farmers intend this spring to plant another record soybean crop and the biggest corn crop in 13 years, the Agriculture Department predicted today.

Wheat plantings, meanwhile, are expected to drop 6 percent from last year, while cotton is down 4 percent.

The Agriculture Department survey of 57,000 farmers across the country provides the first official indications of the major crops that will be harvested this year, barring drought or other disaster.

In other business news
Seven months after taking over troubled Cabletron Systems Inc., chief executive and president Donald Reed resigned Monday from the computer networking company. Reed is the former president of the regional telephone company Nynex.

Hawaiian Airlines on Monday became the first airline to offer tickets through automated teller machines. Coupons for flights within Hawaii can be acquired at more than 140 Bank of Hawaii ATMs throughout the state. Travelers then reserve a seat with Hawaiian Air, with the coupons acting as tickets.

Walgreen Co. on Monday reported its second-quarter earnings jumped 16 percent to $171 million, or 34 cents a diluted share, up from $147 million, or 30 cents a diluted share, in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenues rose 13.6 percent to $4.1 billion from $3.6 billion a year ago.

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