Rift Within WGA Widens
Tensions between the East and West Coast writers unions exploded Thursday when the WGA West's demand for a greater share of dues was rejected in the East as a "virtual shakedown" and a union-busting tactic more reminiscent of management, the Hollywood Reporter said. WGA East said rules like requiring East Coast-based writers to share dues with the West have been defunct since 1973. And WGA East claimed that WGA West now wants an additional $500,000 in dues as well as another $500,000 for managing services for East Coast members.

State Says Company Tricked Seniors
Regulators on Thursday sued Woodland Hills-based Family First Advanced Estate Planning Inc., claiming it tricked thousands of older Californians into buying unnecessary investment products, the Los Angeles Times reported. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi accused the company of violating state law in the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of living trusts and deferred annuities since 1997.The suit seeks more than $110 million in fines and restitution.

Verizon-MCI Talks Advance
Talks between Verizon Communications Inc. and MCI Inc. advanced Thursday, and the two companies could announce a deal in the next few days, The Wall Street Journal reported. While key issues, including exact price and the management of certain operations, weren't settled last night, the paper's sources said those matters could be worked out soon. MCI and Verizon's boards haven't yet voted on the deal.

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