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The Independent Online
Continental Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways signed a memorandum of understanding for a code-share arrangement involving the carriers' Newark/New York-London routes and eight other routes between the UK and the US. The agreement replaces Virgin's alliance with Delta Air Lines. Continental will add two daily flights between Newark and London and Virgin Atlantic a second flight between London and Newark. Continental expects to add two DC10-30 aircraft to its Newark-London routes and Virgin Atlantic expects to add an additional Boeing 747.

Nokia will start marketing a digital satellite receiver, the Mediamaster DVB 9200S Free To Air, in the UK from the end of the month. Nokia said the receiver, which was geared to receive clear unencrypted digital programmes, would be the first of its kind to be launched in the UK.

The City Disputes Panel will act as the final court of appeal in the three-way bid battle for Scottish Amicable. The life and pensions group also announced that Abbey National, Prudential, and AMP of Australia had been asked to submit final, binding proposals for the group by 6pm today.

Further management changes were announced by Toad, the loss-making producer of car security systems that recently shocked investors with news that Charles Parker had resigned as chief executive. Kevin Turnbull, managing director of main operating subsidiary Toad Innovations, and Iain Brown, international director of Toad Innovations, have resigned from the board and left the group.

John Taylor, Minister for Corporate and Consumer Affairs, has decided, on the advice of the director-general of Fair Trading, to refer the acquisition by Carlton Communications of Metrocolor London, currently owned by Time Warner Entertainment, to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission. The commission is required to make its report by 25 June. Separately, Time Warner said it had abandoned plans to list on the London Stock Exchange.

General Cable announced an increase in full-year pre-tax losses from pounds 21.17m to pounds 29.81m, but said that net churn of customers continued to improve, falling from 28 to 21 per cent in cable television and remaining flat at 17 per cent in residential telephony. The company also announced the acquisition of Imminus, the largest independent managed data network services provider in the UK, for a total consideration of up to pounds 33m.

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