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Southwest Airlines Co., the only major U.S. carrier that doesn't assign seats, may change the way it boards families to get passengers on its planes faster. The airline currently splits passengers into three groups, based on check-in time, and lets them pick their seats once aboard the plane. Families get on before the first, or A, group. Southwest is experimenting in San Antonio, Texas, with letting adults traveling with young children board after the A group. In some of the tests, the airline is setting aside seats so families "are assured they will be together during the flight, and so that flight attendants aren't searching for seats together when those families get on the plane," Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said. Last year, Southwest tried a variety of boarding methods and assigned seating. It hasn't released details or results. The airline plans to decide on any changes before the year's end, King said.


IRS names staffer to lead agency

Internal Revenue Service official Linda Stiff will take over as provisional head of the tax agency when the current acting commissioner, Kevin M. Brown, departs in September, the IRS said Friday. Stiff has been serving as the agency's deputy commissioner for operations support, overseeing development of policy for IRS personnel services, technology and security. She has also been responsible for the accounting of tax revenues collected by the IRS. The IRS announced Thursday that Brown, acting commissioner since May, will leave that post in September to become chief operating officer of the American Red Cross.


GE revises financial results for 2000-03

General Electric Co. revised four years of financial results after finding that employees had improperly booked locomotive sales in 2000 through 2003, again spotlighting the conglomerate's accounting practices. The amounts involved were relatively small for a company of GE's size. In 2002, for example, the changes reduced revenue by $158-million and net income by $22-million, less than 0.2 percent of GE's net income, according to a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. GE said it is firing a handful of employees and was cooperating with the SEC's investigation.

YouTube vows to end illegal postings

Google Inc.'s YouTube hopes recognition technology will be in place in September to stop the posting of copyrighted videos on the popular Web site, a lawyer Friday told a judge presiding over copyright lawsuits. The lawyer, Philip S. Beck, told U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in Manhattan that YouTube was working "very intensely and cooperating" with major content providers on a video recognition technology as sophisticated as fingerprint technology the FBI uses. Beck said the video recognition technology will allow those holding copyrights on videos to provide a digital fingerprint so that if anyone tries to share a copyrighted video, the system will shut it down within a minute or so. Beck said the new technology goes way beyond what the law requires to stop copyright infringement.

Times wires


Wolfgang Bernhard, a senior adviser to Cerberus Capital Management LP, will become chairman of the automaker's board of directors once its sale to the private equity firm is completed, several news sources reported Friday.