Airlines threaten to move flights from Atlanta

ATLANTA - Airlines that do business at the world's busiest airport are playing hardball in talks over new lease agreements, threatening to move some flights to other airports if they can't maintain competitive costs on fees they pay.

The master lease agreements that apply to airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport do not expire until September 2010, but talks between the sides have already heated up.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's biggest carrier, and discount carrier AirTran Airways, a unit of Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran Holdings Inc., say that if their costs are too high they may be forced to move some connecting flights to other airports.

Neither Delta nor AirTran is considering pulling out of Atlanta altogether.

Britain announces second banking rescue plan

LONDON - Britain announced a second rescue plan for the country's ailing banks on Monday, hoping to thaw frozen lending by offering to insure banks against large-scale losses on bad assets they already hold.

Stock investors, however, were spooked by fears that the second bank rescue plan in three months was a step toward full nationalization of one or more banks. Fears focused on the Royal Bank of Scotland, which disclosed that it is likely to report a record full-year loss - its shares closed down 67 percent.

EU: recession will be deep and long-lasting

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union said Monday it is facing a 'deep and protracted recession' and slashed growth forecasts, while Britain announced its second massive bank bailout in just over three months in another wave of bad economic news in Europe.

The economy in the 16 nations that use the euro will shrink by 1.9 percent in 2009, with the entire EU contracting 1.8 percent, the European Commission said, drastically cutting earlier forecasts of 0.1 percent for the euro zone and 0.2 percent for the EU.

The 27-member bloc said 3.5 million jobs will disappear in the EU in the year ahead as business and household spending falls and banks tighten lending.