Economy Briefs: German minister signals no letup on Greek austerity

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EUROPE

BERLIN — Germany’s finance minister is keeping the pressure on Greece to implement reforms and spending cuts before a visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who travels to Athens on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble rejected on ZDF television Sunday suggestions that the trip signals that Greece will definitely get further bailout money from its creditors.

Mr. Schaeuble stressed that “Greece must fulfill its obligations” to secure the next $40 billion tranche of its bailout.

LABOR

CenturyLink, union agree 
to continue talks, avert strike

DENVER — CenturyLink Inc. and the union representing 13,000 workers in 13 states in the West and Midwest have failed to reach a contract agreement, but agreed to a day-to-day extension of the expired pact.

The Communications Workers of America made the announcement after the existing labor contract just before midnight Saturday.

CWA spokesman Al Kogler said in a statement that negotiations will continue and workers will remain on the job. He has said the union opposes a proposed increase in health care premiums and wants to bring more jobs back to the U.S.

DEFENSE

Britain threatens veto of military-firms merger

LONDON — Britain’s defense minister said the French and German governments must reduce their stakes in defense company EADS, the parent company of Airbus, for Britain to permit a proposed merger with BAE Systems.

Philip Hammond said Britain would veto the massive merger of the aeronautics and defense companies if this requirement wasn’t satisfied.

“It is necessary to reduce that stake below the level at which [France or Germany] can control or direct the way the company acts,” Mr. Hammond told the BBC.

ENERGY

Federal geologists provide huge Utica oil, gas estimate

Drilling companies beginning to explore the Utica Shale got a piece of good news Friday when the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the rock formation in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states holds enormous reserves of natural gas and oil.

Releasing its first estimate of the Utica, the USGS calculated the shale formation holds about 38 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil and 9 million barrels of natural-gas liquids, such as ethane and propane.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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