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State worries insect could affect citrus

A tiny insect that spreads a virus that can kill citrus trees has been discovered in Cuba, causing scientists and growers to fear the insect will soon invade Florida.

The brown citrus aphid is the most efficient transmitter of severe strains of the citrus tristeza virus, posing an economic threat to Florida's $6-billion citrus industry. There is no cure for tristeza.

In the past two years, the aphid has moved steadily northwestward through the Caribbean.

"There is a real potential for disaster, because this aphid not only jeopardizes everything grown on sour orange rootstock, but also every grapefruit in this state of Florida," said Alan Hemenway, senior vice president of Ben Hill Griffin Inc.

In response to the news, orange juice futures prices skyrocketed Tuesday. Frozen concentrated orange juice for July delivery climbed 5.5 cents on the New York Cotton Exchange to $1.207 a pound.

DISNEY DEVELOPMENT APPROVED. The Walt Disney Co.'s plans to build a new $2.75-billion resort and theme park near Disneyland won the unanimous approval Tuesday of the Anaheim, Calif., city council. The planned resort will include 4,600 hotel rooms, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, a retail shopping center and Westcot Center, a theme park modeled after Disney World's 10-year-old Epcot Center in Orlando.

CHEAPER GAS FOR THE FOURTH. Gas prices are about 6 cents per gallon cheaper heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend than they were a year ago, the American Automobile Association said Tuesday. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline fell 0.9 cent per gallon in the past month to $1.123.

INSURANCE SURVEY DISPUTES CRITICS. Urban and minority homeowners have easy access to insurance coverage, said a study released Tuesday by the American Insurance Association. The industry survey of Atlanta and five other big cities was made in response to recent charges by consumer groups and congressional testimony that minorities have difficulty obtaining coverage. But the Association of Community Organizations for Reform challenged the findings.

UNITED LIMITS DEVICES. United Airlines said Tuesday it will prohibit the use of laptop computers, compact disc players and other portable electronic devices aboard its aircraft during takeoffs and landings, beginning July 1.

FAX RULE CHALLENGED. Five companies have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., challenging a federal ban on the use of telephone facsimile machines to send unsolicited advertisements. In the lawsuit filed against the Federal Communications Commission, the plaintiffs say a new federal law that institutes the ban violates free speech and equal protection rights. The lawsuit targets provisions of the Telephone Consumers Protection Act that took effect last Dec. 30.

Earnings

KASH N' KARRY FOOD STORES INC. The Tampa-based retail grocer reported a $6.5-million loss for the quarter ended May 2, compared with a $4.2-million loss in the same quarter in 1992. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization _ which is considered a better performance measure of leveraged buyout companies such as Kash n' Karry _ also dropped 6 percent to $17.7-million, down from $18.8-million. The company blamed competitive pricing pressures and a quarterly reporting period one week shorter than the comparable quarter in 1992.

JABIL CIRCUIT INC. The company reported net income of $2.6-million, or 19 cents per share, on revenue of $99.3-million for its third fiscal quarter ended May 31. In the same period last year, the St. Petersburg-based maker of custom circuit boards earned $998,000, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $44.9-million. Company president Thomas Sansone noted the improved performance came at a time when most of the corporate staff was focused on the company's recent initial public offering or the launch of its new facility in Scotland.

LLOYD'S OF LONDON. The venerable insurance institution on Tuesday posted an annual loss of more than $4.3-billion, a slightly worse-than-expected result. The huge loss was for 1990, the latest year to be tallied under the Lloyd's system of waiting three years to allow all claims to be processed.

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