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Daily Memo

Open Door releases new software for Macs

ASHLAND — Open Door Networks has released a new version of its Internet security software for the Macintosh, the company announced this week.

DoorStop Personal Firewall 2.0 allows users to block attempts via the Internet to access their computers. It also tracks such attempts, which can range from Internet service providers checking usage to serious hackers.

Alan Oppenheimer, the former Apple programmer who owns Open Door, says such access attempts are quite common.

More information about the program is available at opendoor.com. Current DoorStop users can upgrade for free, while new users can purchase it for $59.

The Ashland company released its firewall software for servers in 1998 and its first version for home users in fall 1999. There is no Windows or PC version of the firewall software.

Chastened AT&T decides to put off raising rates

WASHINGTON — After being sharply rebuked by federal regulators, AT&T said Wednesday it will defer its plan to raise many per-minute rates for millions of customers.

The move came hours after telecommunications regulators said they would enforce a pledge by AT&T to pass on to consumers billions of dollars in savings from a restructuring of the phone system.

Biggest accounting firms trade info for immunity

WASHINGTON — The nation's top five accounting firms, stung by widespread violations at one of their own, have agreed to report past violations of rules requiring accountants to remain indepen-dent from companies they audit.

In exchange, the firms will be sheltered from enforcement actions by regulators, except in cases involving the most serious violations, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday.

Mattel's new executive tries to soothe investors

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Presiding over his first shareholders meeting, new Mattel Inc. chief Robert Eckert was confronted by investors bruised by the company's big losses and angered by ousted chief executive Jill Barad's $40 million golden parachute.

Eckert, named Mattel's chairman and CEO last month, said he hoped to rebuild the company's profits by strength-ening Mattel's core brands, seeking out top management talent and cutting costs.

Investors praised Eckert, but said his answers were short on the detail needed to reassure stockholders, whose shares traded at $14.69 on Wednesday, down from a 10-year high of $46.75 reached in March 1998.World

British Airways, KLM consider merging airlines

LONDON — British Airways and KLM are discussing a possible merger, the airlines disclosed Wednesday, a combination that would create the world's third-largest airline and a worthy European challenger to any U.S. carriers that may emerge from the latest wave of industry consolidation.

Other European airlines — including Alitalia and Swissair — could be among the next to seek partners as companies in the region try to bulk up to compete with the strongest American players, analysts said.

Compiled from staff and wire reports